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Old 07-04-2007, 20:53   #1
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Chartering w/ Ipod - MP3

Looking for those who have done recent charters & connected their digital music to existing radio/cassette/cd systems.
Did you go with a FM transmitter? Hook cables into radio? Other?
How did it work? advice & alternative ideas welcome. I've done the search but almost all talk about permanent installations.
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Old 08-04-2007, 03:43   #2
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I have not specifically chartered but I do frequently move both my I Pod and XM radio between my cars and boat. I use an FM transmitter with mixed results. The two issues that effect my intallations the most is the amount of interference and the quality of the receiving radio. For example here in the Houston/Galveston area there is not much free space in the broadcast range of the FM transmitters used for this application. Finding a station that does not get overwhelmed by a commercial station from time to time is hard to do. This should not be the case on a charter. On the other hand the car I use for my daily commute has an inexpensive radio and will pick up a signal only if the transmitter is placed in just the right spot. My wife's car has a higher end factory radio that can find the signal as long as the transmitter is inside the car.

As for the installation itself, I use an I Pod accessory that both holds the I Pod and fits into the 12 volt plug. The XM radio is attached with a piece of velcro hooks on the back and then a strip of the loops in the cars. On the boat the XM receiver just gets wedged between the radio and the edge of the liner. Velcro cable managers from the local computer store keep the cables from being in the way.
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Old 08-04-2007, 04:24   #3
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We used cables during charter, and allowed the guests to bring their own iPod so they could enjoy their music. Hooked into a sandard home-type 200 Watt Receiver. A little overkill on the batts, but good sound.
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:42   #4
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Every Little Bit Helps

PV - Thanks....the transmitter option is easier but has potential big weaknesses depending on antenna/radio..............agree that on a caribbean charter a packed FM band is less of a risk
SS - Thanks too......direct wires increase quality.......I'm leaning toward taking both with me (if I can be sure about the right connectors for the radio end = rca ? connectors) so that is the transmitter gives me trouble I can dig into the back of the radio which on some boats is easier said than done.
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Old 08-04-2007, 12:27   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuteman
Looking for those who have done recent charters & connected their digital music to existing radio/cassette/cd systems.
Did you go with a FM transmitter? Hook cables into radio? Other?
With the assumption that you are connecting to someone else's system (charter boat), a lot depends on the available components. Many modern systems are set up with auxilary input jacks. If that's the case, using a cable to connect directly is the best option. I've not had very good experiences with transmitting via FM. On Raven, I use a Monster cable with RCA stereo plugs on one end and a mini-plug on the other (to fit the IPod).

As a live aboard and music lover, the ability to play MP3 files has been one of the greatest innovations ever. I can store gigs and gigs of music on either my laptop or IPod in a fraction of the space that would be required to store an extensive CD collection aboard. (Imagine if we were still dealing with vinyl?)
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Old 08-04-2007, 13:25   #6
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Yes, that's it

Raven: Your asssumption is right, it's a charter boat.
Aux Jack - are you talking about the type in newer cars these days where you can just a mini-headphone style cable (male ends) which I already have or some other jack style?
RCA Cable - That is definitely one I plan on buying & taking with me knowing I will have to get to the back of the unit.
The FM transmitter sound quality rarely wins any prizes.....and I like sounds too much for 10 days of static.
Thanks for response & ideas.
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Old 08-04-2007, 17:02   #7
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Sorry Chuteman! I had read it as you were chartering your own boat out (with guests aboard her) and needed to set up for MP3s. Whoops!

I have no business saying what to do when going down to the islands to charter someone else's boat. I've never done that. If you cover it with a mini jack AND the RCA's, you'll be able to hook up to most anything that has inputs. If it doesn have inputs, the FM will be best of course. So maybe bring all 3?? Charters are big $$, so I'm sure grabbing a couple extra cables wouldn't blow out the budget for the trip.
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Old 08-04-2007, 17:51   #8
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I use an FM transmitter in my car all the time, I have no problem with the quality unless i happen to pass by someone using the same type of thing, then I get static until we're away from each other. But I doubt you'll have the same kind of problem out in the ocean.

I have no problem with the quality, but I'm not really one to ask for alot of quality in my sound. I've only once paid more than 20 dollars for speakers/headphones and didn't really notice any difference and so just went back to the cheapest I could find.
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Old 08-04-2007, 18:32   #9
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My FM/CD radio doesn't have aux inputs, so I have been using a combo charger/FM Transmitter cable for the iPod. One end has a cigarette lighter plug, and the other has the funny ipod connector.

The audio quality is OK. I wouldn't try to do golden-ear audiophile style listening with it, but for playing music while sailing, it's been fine. It's a little noisy, and might be a tiny bit distorted, but if there is any background noise (and there will be on a sailboat), it sounds OK.

If I am sailing in San Francisco Bay, I have to be careful to choose an appropriate frequency, and occasionally I need to switch from one freq to another if I get too close to a particular transmitter. At sea, this is no problem, of course.

I also have a generic lighter-plug-powered FM transmitter with a stereo mini-plug, which I use with the laptop when we are showing DVD videos. I hook up the cockpit speakers if conditions (and surroundings) permit, make some popcorn, and watch movies in the cockpit.

My next radio will definitely have an aux jack.
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Old 09-04-2007, 04:43   #10
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One last thing your might consider is a set of portable speakers. Some are getting to be quite good in quality and are about the same size and weight as carrying a handfull of cables and connection devices. Also you will know what you are getting in terms of quality. It would be a bummer to struggle to hook up an I Pod only to find out the arrangment was unsarisfactory due to the connection or radio.
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Old 09-04-2007, 05:03   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuteman
Raven: Your asssumption is right, it's a charter boat.
Aux Jack - are you talking about the type in newer cars these days where you can just a mini-headphone style cable (male ends) which I already have or some other jack style?
I'm not sure what's the state of the art in car stereo these days. The Kenwood unit that I installed in Raven two years ago has auxilary input available through RCA connectors on a short cable at the back of the unit. RCA jacks are the same ones that have been around for a long time on home stereo. Even if new units may have jacks configured for IPod mini-plugs on the front, they quite often have a pair of RCA jacks on the rear as well. RCA jacks have been around for decades, but in today's electronic world, nothing lasts that long anymore. Wouldn't it be great if there were "standards" that lasted more than a year or two?
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:22   #12
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Alternatives Abound

Thanks Gang for the responses & Ideas.
SS - Yes, I'm chartering the boat - I have the cables covered but the FM transmitter (reliable & better than most) is harder to identify.
SL - Static seems to be the one constant with transmitters
PE - Humm, that's what I'm afraid of = no aux inputs or way to cable up
PV - we have actually used the portable speaker option in the past & wanted to get away from them - less to carry, less to slide/fall, better sound from boat system
Raven - Agree, old standards work just fine....leave it alone....we'll see.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:02   #13
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I chartered in December in the BVI and broungt an fm transmitter. Worked flawlessly--no static, no interference. There was a cigarette lighter (theses days an aux power port) next to the radio.

Brett
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:39   #14
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Which One

LB - Which FM Transmitter did You use & on what type of boat? anything to improve my odds............read reviews on a bunch of FM transmitters & it does not sound promising although most were in cars & in populated areas. Thanks.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:59   #15
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I have the Griffin iTrip FM transmitter and it works very well. The sound quality will only be FM-grade because that is the nature of the beast. If you think there might be a problem with too many active stations (unlikely in the BVI) or that the boat FM antenna is mounted beyond reach of the transmitter signal, then bring along a small rubber duck FM antenna and attach it to the radio in place of the boat antenna. This will put the receiving ability out of reach of many signals and right next to your iPod.

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