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  #1  
Old 01-15-2002, 10:36 PM
EADG
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MP3 Player Pics

I bought a hard drive based MP3 player last year because I was very unhappy listening to the radio - especially those god-awful commercials. Because the MP3 player uses a HDD I used a 13Gb I had laying around, although it will accept any size IDE drive. 11Gb is taken up with ~2100 songs. (about 105 hours worth of music I figure)

I mounted the player in the trunk with the supplied brackets;
http://home.cogeco.ca/~eadg/trunk2.jpg

http://home.cogeco.ca/~eadg/Trunk.jpg

Driving on bad, bumppy streets has not posed any problems as far as a head crash on the hard drive, I don't even think about it anymore when I hit a pot-hole. I mounted the player in the trunk primarilly to keep it out of site. I could have mounted it in the cabin; under a seat, in the glove box, on the side of the middle console, but the trunk kept it hidden and it's easly accessable. From the trunk I ran the 20' wired remote controll into the cabin, and again I had a few options as to where to mount the remote. I chose to put it in the ash tray.
http://home.cogeco.ca/~eadg/DashOpen.jpg

Mounting in the ash tray kept the remote with in arms reach and at the end of the day it too was out of site. (the head is pulled out too when i park)
http://home.cogeco.ca/~eadg/DashClosed.jpg

To fit the remote in the ash tray I had to remove the ash tray proper, the lighter and drill/cut out the tray mounts. I also had to replace the head unit with a Sony from my last Benz (Ya, I know it's old, but it works just fine)I couldn't figure out a way to add the signal from the MP3 player directlly into the factory head (could have used an FM modulator, but I was told sound quality would be diminished)

The player came with a home docking unit, which mounts into an empty 5.25" PC bay. When I need to add/delete tunes from the car player I pull it out of the mounting bracket in the trunk stuff it into the PC and boot it up. The player shows up on the PC as anouther HDD - dead easy.

This pic will give you an idea of the size of the player. The silver rectangle is the HDD, you can see the IDE and power plugs at the back.

http://home.cogeco.ca/~eadg/BottomOff.jpg

Well, that's my car stereo. Night.

CHeers for now.
EADG
91 300E
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2002, 10:41 PM
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Can you give us some details about equipement brands and interfacing the MP3 unit to the Sony cassette deck...?
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2002, 11:20 PM
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What is the price for that MP3 player?? i have about 10gig of music that I would love to have in my car! who makes it??
Thanks,
Adam
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2002, 06:12 PM
EADG
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In late 2000 I bought the Neo 35 Car Player from an independant distributer in Burlington Ontario. I paided $525 CDN for the player and the optional 20' wired remote. What I got for that was the following; the player (with out hard drive), PC docking bay, car bay, mounting brackets, 20' LCD wired remote, carrying case, credit card size IR remote, and a set of 3' RCA cables. The car bay has a left/right audio out and +/- power wires. I plugged the NEO outputs into "line in" on my Sony head, because has I mentioned before, I couldn't figure out a way to add the Neo signal to the factory head. The only thing I lost by replacing the head was the use of the console fader dial, which is no biggie as the Sony has front/rear fader. To power the Neo I spliced into a 12v line in the trunk when the ignition was on. (engine NOT running - key in 2nd position if I remember correctly) Since the Neo does not have an on/off switch you can't have it connected to an "always live" wire.

I had a few problems after installing the player, but nothing so severe that I thought about returning it. The instruction booklet that was packaged with the player was badly translated from Korean and was next to useless. I did find a message board that helped me solve all my initial problems. example; turning the car on and off while shopping, the 3rd start up and the player wouldn't play. Took me a couple weeks to figure out that I needed to push the "stop" button to park the drive heads before turning off the car (and killing power to the player) The IR remote is scketchy at the best of times, but I found a fix for that also on the message board: a hole punch, tin foil and abit of glue and the thing works like a charm now. (consider this... a $20DC adapter from Radio Shack and a RCA jack and you can plug the player into your home stereo, or your buddy's)

How does it sound? Well it's as good as the MP3 rip you play on it. If you encode your music at a low Kbps/Khz yer doomed from the start. 128/192 Kbps 44Khz is nearly indistinquesable from a cd. The player has a bass & treble adjustment and 5 or 6 EQ presets, in addition to what ever eq settings your head unit allows. My player supports ID tags and play lists, which comes in handy on long drives.

When I was researching an MP3 player purchase in mid 2000 there was not alot of car players on the market, 3 to be exact, but now there are quit a few more avalible. I know that the NEO 35 has had a couple of model revision since I bought mine... Here are a few links;

Makers of the Neo 35 (don't buy from this site, you can find it cheaper)
http://www.ssiamerica.com

Message forum for NEO 35 (lots of user feed back there)
http://www.funmp3players.com

Car players, both CD and HDD
http://www.mp3car.com/

More car players at MP3.com http://http://hardware.mp3.com/hardware/featured/carplayers/?cp=hw_main

My advice to anyone considering the purchase of a car MP3 player;
HDD or CD? Make that your first desision,
Set your budget,
Research the products, look for user feedback - do your homework,
Shop around for the best price.

Hope this helps

Cheers for now
EADG
91 300E
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2002, 06:19 PM
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Hey! Thanks for all the info. MP3 was just coming online when I got out of the car audio biz.

Can you imagine a factory MB with an MP3 player? We can't even get an in-dash CD player!!

If I upgrade my car audio, it will have to be some sort of MP3 system...
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2002, 08:27 PM
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There are several new head units that can play mp3's right off a CDR.

For me if I was going to add mp3 support to my car, simplest is to get the neo. I believe they also have the neo55 now which is better than the 35.

If I rememebr correct, minus hard disk, the neo 35 a couple of years back was $250.00 U.S.

Alon
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  #7  
Old 01-16-2002, 09:21 PM
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I think that if you have the stock head unit in a mercedes, it would make more sense to buy one of the new ones that play mp3s off a cd-r. It would be a little less convenient, as you would have to change cds every 250 songs!! or so, but I think the improvement in sound quality over the stock becker unit would be worth it. Plus, you would get the added benefit of line level outs so you could further upgrade the system in the future ;-)
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2002, 11:07 PM
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I WISH the factory head unit had line-in capability, as I really don't like the idea of changing out the factory head unit.

I might try to buy a used factory unit, a broken one if I could, and shave the face off, and make a motorized panel that would hide a new aftermarket unit.

I did this in my190E with the original Becker when it crapped out. Worked really well, and made sure NOBODY gave a thought to stealing my stereo.

I did a friends C-Class where we not only hid the new unit with the old deck face (has to be reconstructed into a single unit and "thinned" to fit), but we also hid a CD changer in the cassette holder pocket, also behind a panel. The car had a kick-ass system, and looked competely stock.

I'm paranoid, but having been in the biz, I've seen too many bad things to attract one extra ounce of attention to my car stereo.
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2002, 11:31 PM
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Yea, unit theft is a big problem. But, im intrigued by this motorized face deal you made. Can you tell us how you did it? Thanks.
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2002, 11:47 PM
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We used to get lots of junk decks, the occasional one with a motorized face (Eclipse and Kenwood both have ones going back some years).

I modified the pre-engineered motorized set-up to fit my own deck face by using the servos and modifiying the holder-arms for length.

We made one for a GMC with a double-DIN face by using a small servo motor from an RC-hobby shop. It worked pretty well, but we hated buying parts instead of just rummaging through the dust-bin.

We motorized tons of amp-racks, and needed linear actuators. The BEST was the linear actuator made by MB for it's power operated headrests. We'd search junkyards for HOURS to get a few of those puppies. They're AWESOME.
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  #11  
Old 01-17-2002, 12:04 AM
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Oh ok, I gotcha. Yea, I was always intrigued by the motorized face plates of radio units, and could never quite figure out how to get everything working together to make my own. But here is a question for you blackmercedes, I was thinking about modifying the dash on my 300E so that where the climate control is now, I would flush mount an LCD unit, and relocate the climate controls elsewhere on the dash. Do you think there would be a chance of somebody trying to steal an embedded LCD unit?
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2002, 12:57 AM
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Depends on your local car-stereo thieves. If they really want it, and don't think they can get it out in about two minutes, then they'll steal the car and take it to some place where they can work on it.

Depends too on the local market for stolen gear. The cops here don't spend much time looking for stolen car decks, so selling them is easy. Anything that's the "hot" ticket will be a target for sure.

I have to park my car at the mall, as it's the daily run-the-munckin around and shopping machine. West Edmonton Mall is the dream of car audio thieves. Covered dark parking, lots of cars, and lax security. I wouldn't DARE park my car there with ANY aftermarket deck. Gone...

BTW, for those that think they're fooling the theif by storing their removable face in the glovebox, guess what? They know that 99% of deck owners leave the face in the car. One kid nabs the deck while the other turns the car looking for the face.

We did the occasional car where we installed a complete system, without the factory deck, but left the factory deck in place, unwired. We would use an IR remote and sensor, and nothing was visible. The people that asked for those systems were people that had been smash&grabbed a few times.

The kids that proudly displayed audio-brand decals on their cars, pounded their systems for all to hear, and then parked it at the mall while they went club-hopping killed me. We'd see them at the store, hoping that we'd be able to hook 'em up with whatever pittance the insurance company was going to give them...
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  #13  
Old 01-28-2002, 08:58 AM
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Smile RIO is the way Forward

Its a lovely idea what you have done , but as a computer engineer i know a hard drive based system would eventually give u probs . so i will recommend aplayer that is CD-based and with anti-shock capabilities like the RIO VOLT player (SP250) and i mean how long do you really drive- a cd with 250 songs is enuf and anything further would just be an overkill!
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  #14  
Old 01-28-2002, 06:10 PM
EADG
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ladomani;

I agree HDD based units can give you problems. I've had problems with my Neo. Since the instruction book that came with this model was less than helpfull, it failed to mention that I should hit the stop button before shutting the car off. What resulted was a badly fragmented drive. It got to the point where the player wouldn't recognize the hard drive. So out it came and into the computer it went for a quick de-frag. I've been hitting the stop button now for about 8 months, no problems as of yet.

Anouther concern I had was shock sensitivity of the HDD, last thing I wanted was to be replacing drives because of head crashes. I live in a city with horrable streets - pot holes, sunken manhole covers, rail way crossings, ect. So far the 13Gb Matox has held up just fine. An option I had considered was to use a lap top HDD which is much more resistant to shock than a regular home HDD, but the price is higher for comprable capacity.

At the time I bought this player there were 4 options avalible to me as far as MP3 players go;

1: HDD players. $500 - $1800 CND
2: CD in dash - 2 models were avalible. Aiwa, which was notorious for skipping, and Kenwood had a model out for $1000
3: Portable CD - cheapest option, but I'd have to use a cassete adapter and loose sound quility.
4: Build my own from a home PC. No thanks.

I took a quick look around on the net before posting this topic and I see there are many, many more players avalible now than when I bought mine. And judging the ratio of HDD vs CD players, looks like the CD will eventually reign supreme.

Rio makes some mighty fine players, I just wish they had the Rio Car out before I bought the Neo 35. I believe the Rio Car has been discontinued

Rio Car
http://www.riohome.com/products/riocar.htm

A comparison between 3 HDD car players

http://www.mypocket.com/mobilematrix/index.php?smaller=1

Your also right about overkill, but I must say this... music on demand. I'll never listen to 11Gb worth of tunes in one sitting, but having the ability to play a song in just a few button pushes is very convenient. If I were to transplant all my MP3s into the Neo I'd need only add a 60Gb HD. 1 HDD or 93+ CDs - Oh dear.

Cheers for now.
EADG
91 300E
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  #15  
Old 03-05-2002, 05:41 PM
minman
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Have two questions. Shock resistance was covered ealier in the thread, but not heat. I live in Houston. A trunk mount seems brutally hot. Any comments on durability in warmer climates? Also, the streets may not by as much a problem for causing interuptions in music, but what about the vibration from a trunk mounted subwoofer?
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