How to Improve an iPod MP3 FM Transmitter


iPod FM transmitters are a great way to get music from your iPod to your car stereo if you can’t directly connect it using an auxiliary input. However, for many, getting good reception is difficult, and close to impossible if you live in an urban area. This is because consumer FM transmitters are regulated by the FCC and are notoriously weak due to the fact that they cannot compete with local radio stations and other forms of broadcast. While it is unlikely that FM transmitters will get any stronger, there are a few things you can do to increase the signal inside your own car.

Things You'll Need

  • FM transmitter
  • Headphone extension cable
  • Copper wire
  • Paperclip
  • Superglue

Simple Solutions

  • Adjust the volume of your iPod and stereo correctly. A lot of problems in iPod sound quality arise from the improper adjustment of volume controls. When using an FM transmitter, set your iPod volume to around 75 percent and then use the car stereo to adjust the volume further. By raising the volume on the iPod any higher, the audio becomes over modulated.

  • Remove your car antenna. If you are only listening to your iPod via your FM receiver and your car model allows it, you can unscrew your car’s exterior antenna. This will drastically reduce the amount of competing signals coming over the airwaves.

  • Increase the length of your FM transmitter antenna. If you still want to receive regular radio transmissions, or your car antennae cannot be unscrewed and your FM transmitter connects via the iPod headphone jack, connect the FM transmitter to a headphone extension cable and then plug it into your iPod. The extended cord will act as a stronger antenna for the transmitter.

Transmitter Fix

  • For a more powerful option that requires a bit of work, open your FM transmitter by carefully prying apart its plastic shell.

  • Wrap a length of copper wire tightly around a paperclip.

  • Slide the coiled copper wire off the paperclip and over the FM transmitter’s internal antenna.

  • Superglue the FM transmitter case back together.

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  • Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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