There was a time when we used to buy tapes, pop them into our car stereo and had to hold on to the forward button to find the next track in the cassette. Then came the age of CDs. Despite being much more efficient than cassettes, they were still uneasy to use because they get a scratch on the surface and that’s money down the drain. Plus, keeping tons of CDs in the car can be a big hassle. MP3 discs on the other hand contained 100s of songs together, so they were a much better option.
In the age of iTunes, where you can buy a track or an entire album by clicking away in your computer, it is essential to have some direct method to play MP3 in your car. Whether it is an entire new stereo unit, a built in hard drive MP3 player or a way to simply plugging in your portable MP3 player such as an iPod with the stereo speakers, playing MP3 tunes in the car with a dedicated car mp3 player isn’t just a luxury anymore.
The most conventional way of playing MP3s in a car is to install a completely new stereo unit that can play MP3 format CDs as well as regular CDs. Most of the car stereo systems available in the market have the compatibility to plug in MP3/ storage devices. Some of the most customer friendly names are Kenwood’s EZ500 or Sony’s Xplod CDX F5710. But the most vital part, when it comes to purchasing a new head unit, is to verify that it is easy to navigate through all the MP3 files and folders in the storage mediums.
There are companies that manufacture hard drives for cars that can store MP3 songs among other media files. This is a very esoteric and handy option. Many companies provide portable cartridges that contain memory up to 40 to 120 gigabytes. This system provides the benefit of having an updated music library in your car all the time as it requires synchronization to your computer’s music library.
The most popular way of carrying MP3 tunes in your car is using a cassette- adapter to hook your portable MP3 player up with the car stereo. Although a lot of car manufacturers these days provide default iPod compatibility, the most common way still is to plug the MP3 player up with an adapter that is connected to the cassette player. A new emerging problem is that most new car models have discarded installing cassette players, so the adapter may be an invalid option. However, there is a way to attach an adapter directly to the stereo head unit. To make this work, the stereo has to have a spare input, for example, a vacant CD port. To make sure a vacant port exists, it is best to consult the stereo manual provided with the car or online. To attach the adopter, you need to hook it up from the back of the stereo. There are a few stereo units that has a 1/8 auxiliary input installed.
To use a portable MP3 player in your car stereo, you might need some extra gadgets to make the experience more efficient. There is a chance the portable player can fly in every direction every time you take a turn, so a holder might come in handy. There are plenty of options on this field such as clip on holders that can be attached to cup holders or adhesive holders that can be set on the dashboard.
For safety issues, you can invest on a remote control that can be attached to your steering so you’ll have your hands on the wheel at all times, even when you are controlling the music. DLO TuneStik costs $60 USD and it has very simple command buttons that can be easily accessible while driving. A very sophisticated but expensive option would be an LCD screen iPod accessory that lets you control the music wirelessly with touch screen technology.