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  #1  
Old 09-30-2003, 10:13 AM
mbr129 mbr129 is offline
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Large-capacity MP3 player options (revisited)

I know this has been discussed before, but it seems the last discussion was few months ago and technology changes very quickly.

The best choice seems to be the Alpine changer with the adapter, etc. But I remember people mentioning how there were high-capacity iPod's available for about the same price as the changer and it would involve getting the same adapters as the changer.

Does that mean that in the case of going the iPod route, the connection would have to be made at the trunk location?

How does this all relate to the infamous auxiliary connection? Is there a way to get a portable, high-capacity MP3 player and just plug it near the dash? Is this complicated/expensive vs. the traditional setup?

Thanks guys! I am just getting sick of swapping CD's and starting to evaluate my options.

Last edited by mbr129; 09-30-2003 at 11:51 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2003, 10:16 AM
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The Roadstergal The Roadstergal is offline
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I did the intermediate option; I got a Kenwood CD/MP3 head unit. I can burn a lot of music onto one CD, ~180 songs, which keeps me happy for a long time.
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  #3  
Old 09-30-2003, 10:19 AM
mbr129 mbr129 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Roadstergal
I did the intermediate option; I got a Kenwood CD/MP3 head unit. I can burn a lot of music onto one CD, ~180 songs, which keeps me happy for a long time.
I would certainly do that if it weren't because the car is new and I don't want to interfere with the clean dash look and disable the steering wheel-mount controls. My M-B's head unit (cheapest Sony CD unit at the time) is on its last legs. That's what I'll do with that car if the stereo dies before the car.
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  #4  
Old 09-30-2003, 11:03 AM
eswimm eswimm is offline
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Don't know if you've looked at PhatBox or not (www.phatnoise.com). It's by no means a cheap solution, but it's a very clean setup and I have only good things to say about mine. It mounts in place of the CD changer in the trunk and interfaces seamlessly with the HU controls. Songs are loaded via USB cradle on PC into the 20, 40 or 60Gb HDD.

I got one for both cars, but since the wife sold off her 325, I've got a spare kicking around. If I ever stop being lazy and gather up all it's documentation and packaging, I'll probably throw it up on 'for sale'.
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  #5  
Old 09-30-2003, 11:17 AM
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You can hook up an iPod in 2 ways:

Get a BMWPILA or Blitzsafe Aux adapter that hooks up to the CD changer harness in the trunk. Run RCA cables from the trunk to the center console. Plug in to the iPod. The iPod fits nicely in the Euro style tray for the center console.

Get the BMW Aux adapter. You can place it in the glovebox or in the center console, from what I understand. (Default location is the glovebox). Plug in iPod. Somebody posted a DIY on this solution a while back. Looks pretty clean.

A third possible option is to wait for Blitssafe to release the iPod adapter they're working on. This adapter is supposed to integrate with the steering wheel controls so you can control the iPod that way. This is the solution I'm waiting for. ETA is Fall 2003... which is any time now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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  #6  
Old 09-30-2003, 11:32 AM
mbr129 mbr129 is offline
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Pete, that spounds pretty good. I was all for the Alpine changer before, but I am thinking that the aux adapter wired to the euro tray will work well (I found that thread... it does fit very nicely). OTOH, controlling the Ipod from the steering wheel would be nice.

There is still no way to get the stock HU to display iPod tracks right?
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  #7  
Old 09-30-2003, 11:35 AM
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No, there's no way that I know of to get the display on the stock HU. There's speculation as to whether the Blitzsafe iPod adapter will have that feature. Blitzsafe has been tight on the details of this upcoming adapter. I hope it's good.
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  #8  
Old 09-30-2003, 11:37 AM
mbr129 mbr129 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eswimm
Don't know if you've looked at PhatBox or not (www.phatnoise.com). It's by no means a cheap solution, but it's a very clean setup and I have only good things to say about mine. It mounts in place of the CD changer in the trunk and interfaces seamlessly with the HU controls. Songs are loaded via USB cradle on PC into the 20, 40 or 60Gb HDD.

I got one for both cars, but since the wife sold off her 325, I've got a spare kicking around. If I ever stop being lazy and gather up all it's documentation and packaging, I'll probably throw it up on 'for sale'.
I've heard of it, and it is nice, but frankly a bit too expensive for me. There is an iPod at Best Buy for $450 or so that holds 30 Gig ($300 for 10 Gig). And with the aux adapter solution, you could always plug any other type of sound source. I figure to just install it and let it hang under the tray (so if I ever need the cup holder I am not tied to the euro tray)
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  #9  
Old 09-30-2003, 11:38 AM
st_o_p st_o_p is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eswimm
Don't know if you've looked at PhatBox or not (www.phatnoise.com). It's by no means a cheap solution, but it's a very clean setup and I have only good things to say about mine. It mounts in place of the CD changer in the trunk and interfaces seamlessly with the HU controls. Songs are loaded via USB cradle on PC into the 20, 40 or 60Gb HDD.

I got one for both cars, but since the wife sold off her 325, I've got a spare kicking around. If I ever stop being lazy and gather up all it's documentation and packaging, I'll probably throw it up on 'for sale'.
I am looking at a PhatBox or a Dension (http://www.densionusa.com/BMW-pakcage.htm) solution for my recently ordered 325xi. Both seem pretty good, but I'm more inclined to go with the Dension because it has a navigation display. ********Box has a voice-guided system, and that seems to me more difficult to navigate when you want to select from 10,000 songs. Both of them integrate nicely with the BMW factory head unit, and reuse the steering wheel controls. Additionally, the Dension DMP3 is a bit cheaper.

The problem is, there are not too many reviews around for either product. Whatever is out there is mostly outdated, since both products are being constantly upgraded. I'm looking to hear from people that own one of them.

I don't understand why everybody is so insistent on using iPod. iPod is great (I have one), but it doesn't seem a good fit for a car stereo. Why would you want to be fiddling with its tiny controls while driving, when you can use your steering wheel controls with a product specifically designed for that purpose.
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  #10  
Old 09-30-2003, 11:47 AM
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Portability and convenience is what I'm shooting for. I can use the same iPod for the gym, the car, and long flights. I can't strap a Phatbox to my waist at the gym or on a plane.

The steering wheel controls that the Blitzsafe adapter will provide will address your concern about fiddling with the iPod controls. That's the main reason I'm waiting for that.

You only really need to fiddle with the controls if you're changing tracks. If you set up a good enough playlist you can pretty much set the iPod to play and not have to touch it until you want to turn it off when leaving the car. The steering wheel controls would still work for controlling volume through any aux in solution.
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  #11  
Old 09-30-2003, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by st_o_p
I am looking at a PhatBox or a Dension (http://www.densionusa.com/BMW-pakcage.htm) solution for my recently ordered 325xi. Both seem pretty good, but I'm more inclined to go with the Dension because it has a navigation display. ********Box has a voice-guided system, and that seems to me more difficult to navigate when you want to select from 10,000 songs. Both of them integrate nicely with the BMW factory head unit, and reuse the steering wheel controls. Additionally, the Dension DMP3 is a bit cheaper.

The problem is, there are not too many reviews around for either product. Whatever is out there is mostly outdated, since both products are being constantly upgraded. I'm looking to hear from people that own one of them.

I don't understand why everybody is so insistent on using iPod. iPod is great (I have one), but it doesn't seem a good fit for a car stereo. Why would you want to be fiddling with its tiny controls while driving, when you can use your steering wheel controls with a product specifically designed for that purpose.
I've had my PhatBox for over a year now and would only be happier with it if I had more confidence in the Blitzsafe adapter that comes with it (one was replaced under warranty, but my arranty is over now).

The SSA (voice) navigation through tracks, artists, playlists, etc) works great. It's very easy to use and I love the fact that I don't have to take my eyes off the road to find what I'm looking for. I used an iPod (via RF) for a few months before getting ********Box and was never happy with using it as an in-car device. I didn't realize what a PITA navigation was until I installed ********Box.

There are a few other PhatBox owners here on the fest, and we all love it. Aside from the price and some physical install issues in Tourings (I wound up cutting and drilling some plywood to fashion a custom bracket instead of mangling the BMW CD/NAV bracket) the only negatives I have heard have been on PhatNoise's forum...and there has been very little of that.
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  #12  
Old 09-30-2003, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbr129
I've heard of it, and it is nice, but frankly a bit too expensive for me.
come on, we all know you're making some serious cheddar!


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  #13  
Old 09-30-2003, 12:11 PM
mbr129 mbr129 is offline
Why can't we get Diesels?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atyclb
come on, we all know you're making some serious cheddar!




I have to put away lots of cheese to buy a house in these parts.

On the serious note, I just am a bit afraid of forking out $800 bucks and having the thing go bad on me after 3 years. Installation seems more complicated too.

Portability is nice, since I could use the same iPod between cars, and it wouldn't hurt so much to have it go bad and lose 300-400 bucks as opposed to 800 or so. I just saw on apple's store that they have a small wireless remote for the iPod for $50. A little velcro pad and it could be steering wheel-mount. Though it would never be the same and may end up falling off more often than not (I wouldn't want a permanent attachment to the wheel).

Last edited by mbr129; 09-30-2003 at 12:20 PM.
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  #14  
Old 09-30-2003, 12:14 PM
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For that matter, there's also the wired remote that came with my 15GB iPod. It shouldn't be too hard to snake it up from the center console and velcro it somewhere reachable.
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  #15  
Old 09-30-2003, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ·clyde·
There are a few other PhatBox owners here on the fest, and we all love it.
I'll pretty much ditto Clyde. The blitzsafe adapter is definitely the weak point in the system, while mine has never failed it has required rebooting twice (a bit of a PITA to remove some of the trunk liner). Navigation via voice prompts is the key feature of this product for me - it's a safe and effective way to control this type of device in a car.
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  #16  
Old 09-30-2003, 12:25 PM
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aux. input + iPod w/ remote get my vote! All of the mobility and simplicity advantages of such a set-up have already been mentioned here, so I'll just throw in pics of how I have it connected in my car.

Aux. input in the glove box along with iPod itself. Wired remote hangs out, making it easy to turn iPod on/off and switch between tracks. For the most part, I just pick one of the playlists when getting in the car and enjoy the non-stop music! The only thing I had to do was get a small piece of metal, form a hook out of it, paint it black and stuff it into the gap between lower and upper center console. Holds the remote in place perfectly



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  #17  
Old 09-30-2003, 12:32 PM
mbr129 mbr129 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rost12
...
Thanks for the pics! Looks good. The wireless remote would make it even cleaner.

*It seems the wireless remote plugs on the top of the iPod... I thought power and line-out plugged there. Maybe you can't use said remote in a car set-up.
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  #18  
Old 09-30-2003, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbr129
I just saw on apple's store that they have a small wireless remote for the iPod for $50. A little velcro pad and it could be steering wheel-mount. Though it would never be the same and may end up falling off more often than not (I wouldn't want a permanent attachment to the wheel).
It seems that that remote is IR, as in infra-red? I think it requires direct line of sight, does it not? Then hiding your iPod in the glove box or anywhere else is out of the question
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Old 09-30-2003, 12:36 PM
mbr129 mbr129 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rost12
It seems that that remote is IR, as in infra-red? I think it requires direct line of sight, does it not? Then hiding your iPod in the glove box or anywhere else is out of the question
Oh well, forget it then. Better off saving the $50.

(Hey, it's post 2000!)
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  #20  
Old 09-30-2003, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbr129
Thanks for the pics! Looks good. The wireless remote would make it even cleaner.

*It seems the wireless remote plugs on the top of the iPod... I thought power and line-out plugged there. Maybe you can't use said remote in a car set-up.
I just looked at it myself. Power socket on the new (3rd) generation iPods is at the bottom, and there is a stereo jack on the back side of the unit too, but it's IR limitation still stands
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Old 09-30-2003, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbr129
Oh well, forget it then. Better off saving the $50.

(Hey, it's post 2000!)
I agree on the savings

Hey, now you are twice as due for an avatar as you were 1,000 posts back!
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  #22  
Old 09-30-2003, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rost12
aux. input + iPod w/ remote get my vote! All of the mobility and simplicity advantages of such a set-up have already been mentioned here, so I'll just throw in pics of how I have it connected in my car.

Aux. input in the glove box along with iPod itself. Wired remote hangs out, making it easy to turn iPod on/off and switch between tracks. For the most part, I just pick one of the playlists when getting in the car and enjoy the non-stop music! The only thing I had to do was get a small piece of metal, form a hook out of it, paint it black and stuff it into the gap between lower and upper center console. Holds the remote in place perfectly



Is there a special wire for the aux input cord with the ipod or can you just use a plain vanilla input cord? My BMW dealer knew nothing about it? And just to make sure, is the aux in option on all cars (or more specifically the 330Cic).
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  #23  
Old 09-30-2003, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beware_phog
Is there a special wire for the aux input cord with the ipod or can you just use a plain vanilla input cord? My BMW dealer knew nothing about it? And just to make sure, is the aux in option on all cars (or more specifically the 330Cic).
Plain vanilla stereo 3.5 mm male/male wire, bought at Radio Shack.

Aux. input is optional and dealer installed. I'm pretty sure they have them for CiCs, just need to make sure that your car is within production date limits...

Do a search for parts numbers if your dealership can't find them for you.
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Old 10-01-2003, 06:23 AM
mbr129 mbr129 is offline
Why can't we get Diesels?
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Re: Phatbox...

My fiancee seemed thrilled about having a voice activated selection of songs. Can the people who have it tell me a bit more about it? Right now that is the only thing that would make me pick it over the iPod setup.

Do you push a button and then say what you want? i.e. *push button* "Californication" and its starts playing the song? what about sorting by artist, etc? Thanks guys.

I did go to their website but I couldn't find a good enough explanation.
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  #25  
Old 10-01-2003, 06:41 AM
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It's the other way around...********Box speaks to you through a Text to Speech converter.

You select the mode that you want to browse (Track, Playlist, Album, Artist and Genre) by using the 1-5 buttons on the HU and then select what you want through the track up/down buttons. You can browse at two speeds. Each press of a track up/down button will advance by one item (which is read out loud to you). If you hold the button down it will cycle through the alphabet, reading out each letter.

It sounds more clunky than it actually is in practice. It is a very fast and efficent and efficent way to navigate through a massive amount of songs...and aside from choosing which mode that you want to use to browse, you don't have to take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel.
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