4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Original review follows
OK, it has been I guess about 10 days and I'm still happy with this thing but with a few minor points-They relate proportionally to the complete lack of instructions.
I'm not overly familiar with mp3 players, even though I own a couple. I have found that my phone works just fine for music when I'm walking our dog so I really am not well-versed in their controls, which I assume are mimicked by this device.
I still have not figured out how, if is at all possible, to directly access a folder. As a comment pointed out, holding the Play/Pause button for a couple of seconds allows you to switch between All/One(?)/AllFolder(?!?)/Random options. "Random" seems to tend to play the same 7 or 8 "random" songs. Haven't really had a chance to try whatever "One" is and, after manually advancing through about 20 songs in one folder to get to the next one, I got rid of the folders.
I have yet to try any other input method so I can't offer an opinion on those. My wife is a self-described "techno-idiot" so I can't even get her to try the thing. She hasn't even figured out, despite my having shown her at least a dozen times, that instead of ejecting the CD and (subsequently destroying it by) throwing it down in the console, she can just press the AM/FM button and it will magically switch modes. BTW, I have to admit, that was the TRUE impetus behind this purchase. X-P
But, in the end, I maintain my original impression: For less than $10, this is the perfect low-cost device to "personalize" your audio options in your car. No problems with frequency bleed-over. I have migrated to 87.1 frequency. There was a talk radio station near my original frequency choice that actually would overpower the signal but only in certain parts of town. The sound quality, now that I've played with it a bit, actually is pretty close to CD quality, after all.
The only other negative I just remembered is that occasionally, not too often really, the plug will lose contact in the lighter socket. I attribute that, however, to the fact that my 4WD Blazer doesn't exactly have a "Cadillac" ride!
Bottom line: Definitely worth the price! No troubles whatsoever with basic operation. Like I said from the start: Have reasonable expectations. It's a $10 purchase.
I just received my transmitter and have used it only for about an hour in my 2002 Chevy Blazer 4WD. The weather here has been abysmal and I only drove my wife to work last night then back to pick her up. I have not used it with my phone, mp3 player nor SD card. I only have used it with a 2 GB USB stick on which I had thrown about 25 songs not in folders. This truly is my first impression of the product.
Before I start, however, I'd like to stress a couple of points. In researching a dozen or so similar devices and in reading review after review after review, I have to say this: The purpose of this gizmo is to cheaply allow you to play music you ordinarily could not play in your vehicle for whatever reason. Or, if you're like me, tired of wrestling with a bunch of CDs while driving. Not to mention the cost factor.
This device costs less than a Hamilton-c'mon, guys! You cannot pay for a used Chevy Cobalt and get a new Porsche. If you want all the features of an iPod, buy an iPod. If you want audiophile sound quality, drop a few grand in a basic audiophile system with high-end head unit, external amplifier(s), subwoofer(s), separate mids and highs, soundproofing materials, etc., etc.. FM broadcasts on a crappy bandwidth that cuts off at around 16Khz, if memory serves.
Also, USB sticks, SD Cards and mp3 players/phones are all essentially solid-state hard drives. There are no platters spinning with read/write heads. When you power off your computer and reboot it, does the file you had open previously immediately pop up? Not on my PC. This isn't like a CD player where the laser stops wherever it was when you killed the power. Of course the track is going to start over. Think about it. Keep it apples to apples.
Having said that, here goes:
The product was packaged very well in see-through plastic that, thankfully, did not require a jackhammer, dynamite and thermonuclear warheads to open. There, however, are absolutely no instructions whatsoever with the product other than a diagram of the controls. At the same time, if you knew what to search for to find this device in order to buy it, you should have some concept of how it works, don't you think? It's not rocket science. In lieu of instructions, just read a few reviews of this and similar products. You should be able to glean enough info to grasp the basic operation.
One reviewer mentioned that your USB stick has to be formatted with FAT(16). I took that at face value and it worked fine. I cannot say whether FAT32 will work. Maybe I'll try it and post back. They also mentioned the necessity of removing the plastic washer doohickey on the tip that plugs into the lighter. I did not have any issue with that. Mine worked fine with no modification.
I plugged in the stick, plugged the transmitter into an empty lighter receptacle, powered it on, set the frequency on the device and my radio, did a quick "gain" adjustment. All in less than three minutes. Voila! Music! BTW, I'm using 89.1. The frequencies adjust in increments of 0.1.
The packaging showed red lighting, mine is blue. You might be able to change it I don't know. I haven't gotten that far into it. The controls are pretty straightforward and the remote is self-explanatory. Speaking of the remote, it's really not bad. I had a Pioneer head unit back in the day with a credit card sized remote similar to this one. The buttons on mine were not that difficult to press.
The EQ settings are a nice touch, too, giving you (I think) seven presets to work with. The display is small and hard to see in daylight but pretty clear after dark. I, for one, know what music I have put on my device so I really don't need to have it scrolling constantly. It will come into play more when I start putting folders, etc., on my stick and using the device more. Bottom line: If you're parked (as you should be) when you're finagling with the device, there shouldn't be any problems. Mine came already set to English so I haven't had to spend any time looking around just yet. Just basic "getting it up and running."
I thought the placement of the USB port was a little odd since it's a 90° angle to the transmitter. If you're cramped on space that might be an issue although I was able to rotate the product 360° without losing power. Speaking of space, you can pick up a cigarette lighter "extension cord" at a store whose initials are H.F. for about three bucks. I had picked up one for a 12V light to make sure it would reach all the way around my truck. The extra slack really helped me to get familiar with the product without taking my eyes off the road. I finally plugged it directly into the lighter and used the remote with no problems at all. Just a little memorization of buttons.
Last thing: For all you folks who complained about the sound quality, here's a little tip from a broken down former competition car audio installer.
1) Start playing a song on your device.
2) Set your car radio volume to the lowest setting at which you can still hear the song playing through the speakers.
3) Slowly increase the volume on the device until you start to hear distortion through the speakers. Back off the device volume until the sound becomes clear
4) NOW increase the volume on your car radio. There should be no distortion and you should hear clear sound. Do the same thing with the EQ settings if you also have them in your car as does the factory radio in my Blazer. If you have external amplifiers in your system, you gain them exactly the same way. You ALWAYS start with the source and work your way up.
My device volume is set at 30 and I can turn my car radio nearly wide open with no gross distortion. It ain't exactly CD quality but it sounds much better than my local radio station.
Like I said, this is a cheap little doo-dad to let you play mp3 files in your car. That's it. I'm sure the QC on this ain't exactly stellar and maybe I got lucky but, for the price, it's a cool little gadget that does what it promises. You just have to have reasonable expectations.
I'll try to come back in a week or ten days to share my experiences after I've had a chance to get more in-depth with this toy. If you've got an older car that doesn't have auxiliary inputs or a CD player or for whatever reason you're looking at one of these, I recommend this one in particular. It's well worth the price.