Stream Machine from Spark Innovators is a device they say connects your music-playing device (like an iPhone or tablet) to your car stereo via its radio. They promise Stream Machine is easy to use, the sound is crystal clear, and works with any device that has an earphone jack.
How Stream Machine Works
Stream Machine is what’s known as a radio frequency (RF) transmitter, essentially turning your music device into a low-powered radio station and sending the signal to your stereo.
To use Stream Machine, they instruct you to plug it into the earphone jack and choose an unused station (one with static) on the digital readout, for example 98.3 FM. Next, tune your car stereo or other radio device to the exact same station.
And, BOOM, Stream Machine claims you will now have a wireless, clean signal from your music device. They state you can stream your favorite music or use it to DJ parties and even have a hands-free conversation in the car.
Stream Machine Cost:
$29.99 for 2 Stream Machines, pitched as $14.99 plus $7.50 in handing for both the first and second device.
Stream Machine comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, but this only includes the initial $14.99, not the $15 in fees.
Bottom Line: Is Stream Machine a Scam?
Stream Machine may indeed be an RF transmitter that works with your radio and Spark Innovators currently has a squeaky-clean A+ rating with the BBB for just 6 complaints in 3 years.
There are a couple of things you should know, however. First, you may not even need this type of device if your car is a model from within the last 10 years. Many automakers include a Bluetooth option (a type of wireless connection) or even an auxiliary input jack, where you can connect your device directly using a 3.5 mm mini plug cable. Check your manual or look up online to see if you have one of these.
If you have an older car with a cassette deck, you have the option of using a cassette adapter, which is essentially a fake cassette and a cable which also hooks up to your device.
Generally speaking, RF transmitters are considered to offer the weakest signal – CNET flat out recommends against using them.
However, there are some conveniences of an RF transmitter, namely that it is wireless and can be easier to set up and use than a Bluetooth. Our experience with RF transmitters (but not Stream Machine specifically) have been generally positive, but some complain that it may be hard to find a clear station to connect to, especially in major metropolitan areas.
Some RF transmitters offer other features like a charging cable, volume controls, and even a mounting stand for use in the car. One of the most popular is the GOgroove Flexsmart which offers charging as well as Bluetooth but no stand for $44.99 on Amazon.
The one we personally use is the iClever, which sells for $15.99 and comes with a charging cable and stand. This is powered by the 12-volt charger (aka cigarette lighter), is convenient and does the job for a decent price.
Stream Machine on the other hand has no charger, no stand, you have to buy 2 at once, and if it doesn’t work you only get back half your money. While they claim it can be used by the pool or in the club, when we spoke to customer service they told us Stream Machine needs to be plugged into a 12-volt charger as well.
We hope this has given you some good information about Stream Machine and the many ways you can get the music on your phone to your stereo speakers. Let us know what you think below!