Pelican PSP FM Modulator
Whether you're using the PlayStation Portable's speakers or connecting a pair of headphones, it sometimes seems that the system can't produce adequate sound. While a few companies offer external speakers for the portable device, Pelican's $30 PSP FM Modulator allows you to listen to your PSP's audio through any audio system with an FM tuner.
The PSP FM Modulator is a simple, 2-inch wide dongle that attaches to your PSP's inline headphone port. Unlike the Griffin iTrip PSP, the Pelican FM Modulator doesn't extend across the entire bottom of the PSP. While it's good that the modulator is kept as small as possible, it's not the most elegant looking solution and some users may feel it negatively impacts the console's ergonomics. The modulator's small face houses an LED screen as well as "up" and "down" keys. While it won't add much bulk to your PSP, it does make the system too big for form-fitting cases like the system's neoprene case or the Logitech PlayGear Pocket.
Setup for the PSP FM Modulator is quite simple. All you have to do is scroll through the frequencies on the Modulator and match it up with your FM tuner--preferably on some of the lesser-used stations on the high or low end of the dial. That said, we were a bit disappointed that the modulator started with the 88.1 frequency rather than 87.9 like most FM tuners and transmitters. It's also important to note that your PSP's internal volume setting has to be at its maximum for your FM source to receive the audio signal from your PSP.
We tested the PSP FM Modulator with a wide range of media and on a broad spectrum of FM tuners. We first tried listening to our PSP's music collection through a car stereo. It performed well enough--no better or worse than similarly priced FM transmitters, but the sound wasn't always clear. When we paired the FM Modulator with the more dedicated FM tuner in the Tivoli Audio SongBook, we were able to better gauge the device's quality. We watched the UMD version of Labyrinth and the movie's audio played through the radio's speakers with only a slight amount of static. Where the FM Modulator failed to impress us was during game play. We tried to bolster the sound in Tekken: Dark Resurrection with the device, but were dismayed to find that the system didn't take well to spurts of silence, transmitting heavy amounts of static during loading screens and failing to resume sound playback once the game started back up.
For folks looking to widen the soundstage of the PSP's music and movies, the Pelican PSP FM Modulator is a perfectly acceptable--and affordable--option. However, it's unfortunate that the accessory can't better handle the PSP's strongest suit--its games.