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Macally FM Cup for iPod – Review
By Chuck Brown, Assoc. Editor
May 2, 2006

Not everyone is fortunate enough to own a nifty new BMW or a high priced specialty car stereo with a built-in iPod support. A lot car owners are particularly happy with the very nice sounding stereo that their vehicle came with. But finding an easy way to listen to your special programming on your iPod is not so easy.

If you still have a car stereo with a cassette deck (who still has these?), the best solution is the wired cassette adapter. But that ugly wire hanging from the deck to your iPod doesn’t contrast well with the beautiful simulated wood grain dashboard and Corinthian leather upholstery in your “ride”.

We’ve tried so many of the copy-cat AA battery powered “FM Receivers” that plug into your iPod’s headphone outputs, but provide questionable audio quality mixed with adjacent frequency static. Besides, still more ugly hanging exposed cables all over the place and it doesn’t power or recharge your iPod either. You also still need to find a convenient place to put your iPod too.

Macally’s better idea –
Long time Apple accessory “wise-guys” over at Macally had a better idea in their rather robust line of iPod goodies. Wrap up all the missing features for an iPod FM radio transmitter into one convenient to use package.
Also available in black, as well as a iPod white

Available in both white and black, the Macally “FM Cup” offers an FM transmitter to radio that covers a selectable 88.1 to 107.9 MHz range, an iPod cradle for all models from the last two years with a dock connector, it charges your iPod while using it and it has a 1/8-inch (3.5mm) auxiliary input for non-iPod audio devices like that 15 year old CD Walkman you still have.

All this fits nicely in your car or trucks coffee cup holder with a spring loaded variable circumference grip base. The only thing you need to plug in is the cigarette lighter power adapter, which you won’t be using for that nasty habit anyway.
                    
The Macally FM Cup comes with all you need. The DC power plug, a standard 1/8-inch (3.5mm) Stereo accessory cable for other audio devices, three different sized interchangeable iPod cradle inserts and the FM Cup itself

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All the controls for selecting the FM frequency you’ll use are up front and easy to access, the FM Cup will store the frequencies you most use and it has a “quick change frequency” button should you drive into an area where a channel change is needed because of interference.

We found that the FM Cup’s hold on a frequency is the best we seen of all the “FM” devices we tested yet. The fidelity is excellent even in a moderately metropolitan area like suburban Los Angeles or Orange County California, where we have a radio station on every couple frequency stops, including the Bean Mariachi flame-thrower pirate stations from down in Tijuana! Another form on illegal immigration, this time frequency “bleed” obnoxious noise.
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Recommended for: iPod® nano, iPod® with Video, iPod® Photo, iPod® with color display, iPod® 3G, iPod® 4G, and iPod® Mini

• Dock and charge iPod® devices simultaneously with 30-pin dock connector
• Fits cup holder securely in most of cars
• Powered through the car cigarette lighter adaptor
• Works with MP3 players, CD players and other audio devices with a 3.5mm headphone jack *
• Full FM spectrum 88.1MHz to 107.9MHz
• Easy-to-reach power on/off switch, frequency up and down buttons, and quick channel switch button
• Automatic last used frequency memory
• Tilted backlit LCD display, easy to read
• Designed to accept Apple dock insert shipped with iPod® nano and new iPod®
• Three docking inserts included

Specifications:
• 9oz
• 1 year warranty

Part Numbers:
• FMCUP (White)
• FMCUPB (Black)

MSRP:
• US 59.99
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The Bottom Line
This is pretty simple, the Macally FM Cup is the best of the FM transmitter connectivity options we’re tested and you can buy. It looks good in either white or black to match your iPod or cars interior, and it sounds the best too.

No batteries to go dead right in the middle of a long drive and only one power cord to live with. It’s sturdy and your beloved iPod won’t fall out as long as you’re using the right cradle size. The Macally FM Cup gets out 2006 Editors’ Choice Award and a 5 Stars rating.

 



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