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View Full Version : Anyone considering Kenwood Music Keg?


jpsquared
07-03-2005, 07:46 AM
I'm not an Ipod person - I use a Creative Zen Touch 20 gig unit which suits me fine for my needs. At first I was really psyched about the Aux input on the E90 which seemed like a really nice solution to accomodate any of the digital players out there. But after reading other threads here, It sounds like the "integration" aspects are less than optimal - ie poor sound quality, where to mount the player, and track info not showing on the NAV screen, to name a few. I don't mean to minimize the technology, but why is digital music still such a jerry-rigging affair?

Anyway, I noticed in the Crutchfield catalogue this Kenwood Music Keg. It sounds like an amazing alternative to a CD changer as it can hold multiple gigs of music, can be updated by swapping out the removable drive or even wirelessly via a home network. I haven't researched the head-unit compatibility yet - I'm sure the Logic 7 in my E90 won't be...

My question - has anyone had experience with this system in other cars? What kind of setup do you have to make it work? Are there any problems, etc...

Terry Kennedy
07-03-2005, 11:03 AM
My question - has anyone had experience with this system in other cars? What kind of setup do you have to make it work? Are there any problems, etc...Do a search for "PhatBox" here. The PhatBox is a version of the Keg with car-specific head unit firmware. Note that the BMW version only works with i-bus cars, not MOST-bus cars like the new E90.

jpsquared
07-03-2005, 02:43 PM
Ahhh Phatbox... The more I think about it, these things are more worth the money than satellite. By the posts I've found, people seem pretty satisfied with the system, too.

Thanks Terry, I think I've found my first "mod" to start working on! :thumbup:

Bob Clevenger
07-03-2005, 10:30 PM
I have a PhatBox in my Touring with the stock nav unit radio and a Music Keg in my M coupe with a Kenwood nav/HU. The same hard drive cartridges work in both. The only problem I have had with them is that they don't seem to handle OGG files very well. MP3 files are just fine. FLAC files seem OK too.
The PhatBoxfor the BMW (and most others) does not display info on your nav screen or on the stock HU. It does, however have the info available via voice at the touch of a button.
I don't think I'll be getting rid of mine any time soon!

jpsquared
07-04-2005, 09:22 AM
Thanks Bob - those sound like some great setups. I keep my music files in the wma 128k format which is just right for my portable player and PC, so I imagine the Phatbox would accomodate me well enough.

I can't help thinking that this technology is still immature though, and within a year we'll be seeing more 3rd party integration tools. I can't believe that with all the cars offering NAV screens these days, that the car audio OEMs aren't jumping all over this. I mean, it's just a digital signal - am I oversimplifying?

As I mentioned, I'm tired of jerry-rigging wires and clipping devices to the dashboard. I'd gladly pay a little extra if these features could be built in. Just look how popular (and cool) the Stealthone setup is for the Valentine 1 radar detectors.

If I get impulsive (which I probably will), the Phatbox/Music Keg solution may be my next step. When something better comes out, I'll just move it into the wife's Volvo. I'm sure she wouldn't mind... :)

Bob Clevenger
07-04-2005, 01:16 PM
The problem seems to be that the auto makers do not use a standard interface for their nav sceeens.
The track/artist/cover art/etc. data can be sent in a common composite or RGB signal, but most auto stereos don't have video inputs, and they are illegal (if visible to the driver) in some countries, such as the good old USA.

JSpira
07-04-2005, 08:28 PM
The problem seems to be that the auto makers do not use a standard interface for their nav sceeens.
The track/artist/cover art/etc. data can be sent in a common composite or RGB signal, but most auto stereos don't have video inputs, and they are illegal (if visible to the driver) in some countries, such as the good old USA.

Not true, MOST is the standard for multi-media networks in autos.

Bob Clevenger
07-05-2005, 01:09 AM
Not true, MOST is the standard for multi-media networks in autos.
I'm glad they are adopting a standard. I hope they actually use it. The nav sceen on my old Mazda RX-8 was RGBs, and I believe the nav sceen on my '04 325xiT is too.

EHeath
07-07-2005, 12:36 AM
I'm not an Ipod person - I use a Creative Zen Touch 20 gig unit which suits me fine for my needs. At first I was really psyched about the Aux input on the E90 which seemed like a really nice solution to accomodate any of the digital players out there. But after reading other threads here, It sounds like the "integration" aspects are less than optimal - ie poor sound quality, where to mount the player, and track info not showing on the NAV screen, to name a few. I don't mean to minimize the technology, but why is digital music still such a jerry-rigging affair?

My question - has anyone had experience with this system in other cars? What kind of setup do you have to make it work? Are there any problems, etc...

Suggest reading the Road Music article by Jonathan Spira in the Roundel - I think it was a year or so ago. Excellent review of Phatnoise Phatbox. Not sure if these work in E90s.

Terry Kennedy
07-07-2005, 08:13 PM
Suggest reading the Road Music article by Jonathan Spira in the Roundel - I think it was a year or so ago. Excellent review of Phatnoise Phatbox. Not sure if these work in E90s.Not yet. No MOST adapter for the PhatBox. You'd have to go with a Kenwod Keg and an outboard display (or Kenwood head unit).