For the past week I have taken a break from listening to local radio as I drive around and have instead been listening to music on my Pocket PC and iPod mini played through my car’s radio and speakers thanks to an interesting gadget: the Digiana Audia-X FM Transmitter.
How does it work? Continue reading the full review to find out……
The Digiana Audia-X is a simple little gadget: a small plastic box (2 x 1 x 0.6 inches) with two buttons and a LCD display on the front with an audio cable coming out the side ending in a standard 3.5mm jack.
What it does however is more impressive: you can plug the jack into the audio out of any gadget (such as a portable cd player, mp3 player, Pocket PC etc) and it will transmit the audio to any nearby radio over the FM radio band.
Packaging and Setup:
The Audia-X continues the simplicity theme in its packaging: a clear plastic sleeve with colorful card back.
The pack contains just two things: the Audia-X (with attached audio cable) and a AAA battery. There are no instructions included but that isn’t a problem as the Audia-X is easy to use.
Setup is as simple as sliding open the battery cover, inserting the battery, and closing the battery cover. There is also a lock you can slide over to keep the battery cover in place.
You then push the lower of the two buttons to turn on the Audia-X, a welcome message appears on the LCD then it changes to show the frequency in MHz and the battery status.
Using the Audia-X:
We first tested the Audia-X with the Dell Axim X30 Pocket PC.
Using the Audia-X with a Pocket PC or MP3 player is as easy as the setup was:
- Start the music on the Pocket PC (making sure the volume isn’t muted)
- Choose a Frequency on the Audia-X (using the two buttons to move up and down the FM radio band from 88.1MHz to 107.9MHz in 0.1 MHz intervals)
- With the Audia-X within a few feet of the radio tune the radio to the FM frequency shown on the Audia-X
- If you can’t hear the music or it sounds distorted you probably have interference from a regular FM Radio station so change the frequency on both the Audia-X and the radio to a frequency not in use
We live close to New York and there are a lot of radio stations here so it took a bit of testing to find a part of the FM band we could use. Once we took the Audia-X to a quieter part of the country (the New Jersey shore) there were plenty of gaps between radio stations that we could use.
Even in the busiest parts of the country you should be able to find a suitable frequency with a few minutes of testing.
Sound quality using the Audia-X with the Pocket PC was not as good as I expected (I expected it to sound the same as a local FM radio station) but this was likely due to me using low quality (64kbps) MP3 files to conserve storage space on the Pocket PC.
(64kbps is also described as FM quality, so we were taking FM quality music and sending it through FM again which further reduces the quality)
To see if it was the Audia-X or the Pocket PC causing the poor music quality I decided to also test with the iPod Mini.
Switching from one device to another is as simple as just taking the audio jack out of the Pocket PC and plugging it into the iPod Mini.
The iPod mini had two types of audio files on it: regular apple iTunes AAC format (128kbps) music (taken from various CDs I own) and Audible Audio Books.
With both types of audio files the quality was much better, definately equivalent to listening to music or spoken work from a normal FM radio station.
Battery life is supposed to be 8 hours but we used the Audia-X for much longer than that in our tests and the battery is still going strong.
Can be difficult to find a clear frequency to tune to in a busy metropolitan area.
A great little gadget, simple to use, good battery life. Does exactly what it is supposed to do. Sound is FM radio quality as long as the music files are CD quality (128mbps+).
Overall Rating: 8/10
The Digiana Audia-X can be bought for $34.99 from Merconnet