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Button Pusher
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alpine has a new 6-CD changer out that can play CDR/CDRWs with MP3 files! Model # is CHA-S634. $299 from Crutchfield but I've seen other internet sources carry it for $259.

http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S-YQ1UoyGfGCT/ProdView.asp?s=2&c=3&g=600&I=500CHAS634&o=m&a=0

I'm thinking that with one of these:

http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S-YQ1UoyGfGCT/ProdView.asp?s=2&c=2&g=57900&I=500KCA130B&o=m&a=0

(KCA-130B M-Bus to Ai-Net adapter cable, $10)

...and one of these:

http://www.logjamelectronics.com/souncdchanin4.html

(Soundgate BMW to Alpine M-Bus adapter, $100)

...I can replace my existing BMW 6-CD changer with the above and get MP3 capability using my existing (factory) head unit.

The Soundgate adapter works with *all* E46 cars and E39s *without* DSP.

Anyone looked into this?
 

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King of Rear Clunks
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I mentioned this in another thread a couple of days ago. I think you'd also want the CRA1667 changer/XM(!!) controller running off the Ai bus to get the display (but not use the RF modulator section).
 

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Button Pusher
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kaz said:
I mentioned this in another thread a couple of days ago. I think you'd also want the CRA1667 changer/XM(!!) controller running off the Ai bus to get the display (but not use the RF modulator section).
I'm not actually certain if the CRA1667 even *has* RCA outputs so that you can bypass the RF modulator (neither Alpine's or Crutchfield's site indicate that it does). Even if it did, if I went this route, I would lose the steering wheel track +/- controls.
 

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King of Rear Clunks
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AK said:


I'm not actually certain if the CRA1667 even *has* RCA outputs so that you can bypass the RF modulator (neither Alpine's or Crutchfield's site indicate that it does). Even if it did, if I went this route, I would lose the steering wheel track +/- controls.
No, the 1667 would be strictly for the display and maybe the controls. The wheel controls should still work through the interface and M->Ai adapter. I'd hate to try and navigate a MP3 CD without a display.
 

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Button Pusher
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Kaz said:


No, the 1667 would be strictly for the display and maybe the controls. The wheel controls should still work through the interface and M->Ai adapter. I'd hate to try and navigate a MP3 CD without a display.
Read this (and the rest of the thread):

http://forums.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e46m3/forum.php?postid=417291&page=1

Turns out someone on bimmer.org already swapped all this gear into his M3. According to him, if you use the 1667 controller/RF modulator, you can't plug it into the stock head unit (to retain wheel controls, etc). Furthermore, you're limited to RF modulation only.

I agree with the .org poster in his assessment of the tradeoff.
 

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King of Rear Clunks
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I don't think this would apply in this case. In old-school bus systems, the changer's one and only bus output would get connected to the RF box, and that's that. But I believe AINet is smarter than that, and will allow multiple devices on the same bus. I'd have to look at a real AINet setup, but I think its possible to hook up a AINet->Mbus adapter AND the 1667 simultaneously.
 

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Parking Spot Maven
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Can anyone provide a clear 'dummy' explanation of how to do this? I think my lack of background knowledge in this area is making it difficult for me to decipher this thread and the link to the other board. :(

Thanks!

--SONET
 

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Parking Spot Maven
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Oops!

I guess I skipped the clear explanation that was already posted on the other board. I just read through the board again and it was very clear. Sorry! :D

--SONET
 

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King of Rear Clunks
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SONET said:
Can anyone provide a clear 'dummy' explanation of how to do this? I think my lack of background knowledge in this area is making it difficult for me to decipher this thread and the link to the other board. :(

Thanks!

--SONET
OK...

Now, I'm talking in theory, though the .org thread seems to indicate that this actually works. Let's start at the factory head and go back from there.

The factory radios use a BMW-proprietary communication bus they call I-bus to talk to the CD changer. Since aftermarket changers use their manufacturer's own buses, an adapter is necessary. In the aftermarket, there are 3 busses that have converters available: Alpine's M bus, Pioneer's P bus, and Nakamichi's bus.

Theoretically, any aftermarket device that operates on the above buses have a chance of working. This has been proven by those who have installed 12-disc Pioneer changers. Phatnoize works in a similar way. I believe it uses the Alpine bus in this case.

Now, this new Alpine MP3-able CD changer adds a twist in that it uses Alpine's newer AiNet bus (M bus has been slowly phased out several years now). But Alpine makes a AiNet->M bus adapter cable, which will in turn work with the M bus -> I bus adapter.

This alone appears to work according to the .orger's post. However, since you can load shloads of MP3s on a CD-R, it would be nice to be able to have some visual navigation of the CD-R. Alpine makes a display/control unit that will do just that, and it also has a RF modulator, XM tuner controller and aux line input.

The question is whether or not that unit (CRA-1667RF) will work just as a display/controller for the AiNet changer without taking functionality out of the AiNet -> M bus -> I bus end.
 

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Parking Spot Maven
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Thanks Kaz, that really cleared everything up! :thumb:

This is exactly what I've been searching for so this is great! I just ordered the Soundgate adapter (just in time too, it was the last one!). I'll order the other two items (changer and other adapter) over the next couple of weeks... still about a month to go before my car gets here.

It looks like I'll end up with a MP3 changer for under $400 total, which is what the CD changer would have come out to. What a deal!

Thanks again AK and Kaz!

--SONET
 

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King of Rear Clunks
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I'm not a MP3 fan, but I like messing with this kind of stuff, so since you live locally, I'd like to check it out when you're all done, especially to see if the display unit is something that can be added.
 

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Parking Spot Maven
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Will do...

It will be a little while (being that I don't have my car yet), but I'll let you know. If I don't get back to you in 6 weeks don't be bashful... PM me. I'm very forgetful!

Do you have a link to the display unit you're talking about?

--SONET
 

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Button Pusher
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Kaz,

I just ordered the Soundgate adapter, changer, and M-Bus/Ai converter cable. I should have all this stuff in my 540 by the end of next week. I'm in OC also, so if you wanna check it out before pulling the trigger, let me know.

AK
 

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King of Rear Clunks
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Sweet. I'm actually looking at this as a way to possibly integrate other stuff, say a XM tuner or something. Having time display and some real controls for CD might be nice too.
 

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AK said:
Kaz,

I just ordered the Soundgate adapter, changer, and M-Bus/Ai converter cable. I should have all this stuff in my 540 by the end of next week. I'm in OC also, so if you wanna check it out before pulling the trigger, let me know.

AK
Nice:thumb: . Please let us know how it goes. I'm very interested in it as well. I'm weary of changing cds:( . I've searched the archives about this before, but never got much detail about it. Great Thread:thumb:
 
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