Apr 27 2009
With your mini and iPod, no doubt the bulk of your music collection lives in iTunes. Set your music free and enjoy it throughout your house the old fashioned way using your stereos’ FM receiver. For a few more dollars, add a wireless remote that will work walls away from your Mac.
What you’ll need:
- Mac mini or Mac with USB port
- RocketFM FM transmitter from Griffin Technology (Amazon: $32)
- Optional: RF Remote for your Mac, like Griffin’s AirClick (Amazon: $28) or the five grenade reviewed RF Remote for Front Row (Amazon: $31) from Keyspan
- Optional: TuneConnect freeware for controlling iTunes from another Mac and iTaf for scheduling iTunes
The first and most important piece to get in place is the transmitter. Griffin nailed it with the RocketFM. Like your iPod car transmitter, this USB audio device will transmit your Mac’s audio 30 feet through walls and floors. Your placement of the small and memorizingly-lit device will contribute a lot to the signal strength, as will the quality of your receiver. With a decent receiver, a centrally located RocketFM should broadcast throughout your average multi-story 2,500 square foot home.
Set-up is a breeze. The software – a preference pane – isn’t even required for the unit to function, but allows you to switch the frequency to find a nice quiet spot on your dial. Unlike WiFi, additional receivers will not decrease the broadcast range. The zero latency of FM will have every radio in your house playing in sync.
The RocketFM is a great way to get music, podcasts and internet radio into your stereo. It worked flawlessly in my testing. But the transmitter is just the beginning. With an RF remote you can control iTunes from anywhere your radio can get the signal. So not only can you have your music playing all over the house, you can control it from wherever you are.
The last piece is to control iTunes on you mini from your PowerBook or desktop Mac. With freeware like TuneConnect you can search tracks, play pause and skip from another Mac on the network. Rather have the Mac control itself? Then iTaf (requires Tiger) will allow you to schedule your music and even start your mini.
Forget the tangles of speaker wire and the high cost of WiFi audio and turn your Mac into a mini radio station. Long live FM!