So you have an iPod, a Zune, a Zen, or any one of the veritable plethora or portable media products out there. But what some of you don’t have is a car stereo that will allow you to connect your tunes to your ride. Sure you can go out and drop a pile of dough on a new headunit, but there is another way.
Over at iSimple, they specialize in solving problems just like this everyday, and they’ve come up with a solution that should work for anyone with an FM radio in their vehicle. And fear not bitrate breath, it doesn’t matter if your radio is the stock deck or an aftermarket unit. The product is called the iSimple TranzIt (IS77) and it’s about as dead simple a solution as you could want.
Inside the box you’ll find a few plastic bags containing the various wires and harnesses, plus a small box about 3 x 2 x 0.75-inches called a PURI. Although it doesn’t say so anywhere, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out PURI stands for Peripheral Universal Radio Interface. You’ll also find a little owner’s / installation manual and if this is the first time you’ve had a pair of wire strippers in your hands, you’d do well to read through it first.
Installation is a pretty simple affair and basically involves removing the radio, then connecting the PURI between the antenna and the radio using the male and female Motorola plugs attached to the PURI. Once you find a good place to stash the little PURI box, you’ll have to mount an on/off switch and the 3.5mm dash mount mini plug that connects to your media player of choice.
The kit comes with a male to male 3.5mm cable, which goes from your player to the dash mounted jack, and then the dash mounted jack connects to an RCA to 3.5mm jack adapter which in turn connects to the PURI. The cables and adapters are of very nice quality with gold plated contacts. Best of all, it seems like everything you could need is already supplied in the kit, so you won’t need to run down to Uncle Ron’s CB radio emporium to pick up some obscure dual flywheel aperture grommet adapter wiki during the install. Even better, things are all well tagged and labeled, so it’s really difficult to screw things up.
It works like this; when you turn on the switch and power up the PURI, the incoming FM radio signal is interrupted and replaced by the signal from your digital media player. This ensures you don’t have any FM “bleed through” messing up your MP3’s. Turning the switch off again restores your regular FM reception.
After the hardware is installed, you can select either 87.9 or 88.3 as the FM station you’ll use to listen to your media player. The frequency choice is there simply because there is a chance you may already have a local station broadcasting on one of those frequencies. If that is the case, you simply select the other one and move on to the next step, setting the input level.
Because there are so many different audio players out there, and they have a wide range of output voltages, a single gain pot on the bottom of the PURI box allows you to adjust the adapter to best match your players output. This also ensures that the volume difference between FM radio and your media player is minimal. I suggest turning the volume control on your player to about 90% of full volume for the best performance when adjusting this gain setting.
Once that’s all said and done, just re-install the radio, button things up and sit back and enjoy the tunes. Easy, clean and compatible with almost anything out there, the team at Peripheral has done a great job of producing the iSimple IS77 which we consider a complete solution for today’s digital media interface problems.