Hard Drive Mp3 players in Car

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Jackie Treehorn, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Active Member

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    Are there any commercial products out there besides Sony's head unit which is $1500 and only has 10gb? :(

    EMPEG Car seems to have been discontinued.

    Anyone know of anything else. I'd really like to do away with Cd's all together in my car.
     
  2. fairlite

    fairlite New Member

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    Well there the Alpine HDA-5460. But I would hold off on that one right now since there are LOTS of bug with it. I have one and I can't believe Alpine released this thing in the state it is in now. Almost make me wonder if they even did any testing on it.

    There is the NEO MP3 Car Jukebox, a 20GB one can be had for $299.00 up to a 80GB one for $449 and it has an adapter for most major Headunits so it can be used with the headunits controls (I.E. AI-Net for Alpine).

    I may be getting one of them soon if Alpine can not fix the bugs with the HDA-5460.

    Want to know what is wrong with it check out something I wrote on Caraudio.com

    Please excuse the typos etc. :)



    Well Here is my review for this new unit.

    The unit has a very nice design, with easy to operate controls, a wonderful BIO light display which is nice and bright. Can even be seen very will on a sunny day. The constuction of the unit is very nice. If you have an AI-Net head unit with MMDriver support, you can control it from your head unit as well. If not the unit can be used in a stand alone mode with any head unit.

    Now here are the problems with this unit and there are many.

    The drive uses USB 1.1 to transfer you music files from your computer. With this interface transfering 11GB to the drive will take 14 HOURS 15GB is about 18. This is due to the restricted speed of USB 1.1 but also because ther drive has a custome format on it that can only be read from the MMDriver software and the Units Indash housing. It does not just connect to the computer as a regular HD. Alpine's MMDriver software is needed no if and but or's about it and boy does it suck. :eek:

    The drive will have to be REGISTERED to your computer the first time you use it. This is so the drive will be keyed to your computer and ONLY that computer. This is to prevent copying the data from the drive to another computer. RIAA anyone :)
    If you have your MP3's all ready stored on you PC adding them to MMDriver's datebase is very simple. Tthe actual software is fairly easy to use. you can even rip your CD's with the MMDrive software. The probem is if you write say 10 GBs to the drive and you want to add to it you have a 50/50% shot at being successful and it will take you 4 to 5 hours to know if you will be because when you hook the drive up to the computer and run the software, MMDriver needs to do a Music Library Update wich checks the Drive's songs against the computers songs in MMDrivers DB. Like i said it take 4 to 5 hous for this check to happen. After it is done you can go add more music and choose to write it to the drive. Now here is the fun part, if you are lucky it will write the songs and everything will be ok. But most of the time the software somehow looses connection with the drive and tell you to disconnect the drive and reconnect it so I do and reconnect it and the software starts the whole Music Libray Update again and you have to wait another 4 to 5 hours. If you want to you can uninstall the software and remove all of the registry keys from the computer and reinstall it and re-register the drive, but doing this will erase the drive and you will have to wait the full 14-18 hours to write all the songs all over again. Not very fun.

    After everything is written to the drive and you put it in the car now you will have to deal with a fee more annoying issues. It takes the system about 3 1/2 minutes to read the database of songs from the drive before it will play anything. All songs are played Alphabetically even if you choose an Album to play. The system ignores the Track field in the IDTags. :eek: Alpine tech tells me to make a playlist for each album so it can play them in the correct order. I have almost 200 CD's on my drive that is a lot of work for something that can be done automatically if they just looked at the track field of the IDTag Try listening to a album you know very well that has songs that run into each other in Alpha order with 30 second gaps between songs and tell me how happy you would be. And if you do make a playlist. The gaps are STILL there. :mad:

    There also is a feature called Music DJ in this unit that gives you 10 Music types to choose from i.e Rock, Metal, etc. It will anounce things between songs with music etc like a radio but iafter it plays the little announcement you have to was up to 30 seconds for it to find a song. Kind of a novel feature if the unit was faster at finding songs.

    Also if you have lots of songs written to the drive say 10GB or so it will take the unit any where from 2 to 35 seconds to find the song. it all depends on where in the database the song is listed. I was told by Alpine tech that I can speed the unit up if I don't put so many songs on the drive. they said to put about 5GB on and it will perform much better. IT IS SOLD AS A 16GB DRIVE NOT A 5GB DRIVE. :mad:



    So Alpine's Tech support now knows of these problems but as of right now they are more interested in CES than working to resolve the problems. They said they can replicate these issues in their lab and have contacted Japan to help them with these issues. but I have to wait until after CES for them to look into it. I was asked to sit tight until the begining of MARCH.

    I am going to be nice and wait as they asked and see what they come up with. I will keep you all posted on any progress from them. If they can't resolve any of these things I will send it back to them and get a NEO HD Jukebox instead. i will keep you posted.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2004
  3. Mr.Sinister

    Mr.Sinister Putting the "fun" back into Dysfunctional.

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    Cliff Notes:

    If you're thinking about buying one of these units, in it's current incarnation, FORGET ABOUT IT! For less money, you can either build your own portable PC, or get a 40GB iPod and an iTrip, and still have money left over. Sure, it won't be as convenient as a head unit, and it won't sound as good as a direct connection, but at least you won't grow old transferring your music over to it (or playing your music either!).

    /end Cliff Notes

    To say that Fairlite is exaggerating is an understatement. Actually, I think he's being quite nice about it.

    Lets just say that if it was MY player, I'd have taken the P.O.S. to my local range and riddled it with 12 Ga. slugs just to put an end to it's miserable existance. I'd then send it back to Alpine with a two notes. The first one would be a suicide letter written by the player, saying why it put itself out of it's misery. The second one would be from me asking for a warranty replacement. :big grin:

    I saw the P.O.S. in action, and here's what I think of it:

    1) I could physically write music to the drive with a pencil (with a magnet glued to the tip of it) FASTER than it can with it's USB 1.1 interface. It SHOULD HAVE NEVER been released with a USB 1.1 interface. It could be excused if it also has a Firewire connection on it too, but it doesn't.

    2) The startup time is insanely long. While I don't expect an instantaneous startup, considering this is a dedicated unit that was designed to play MP3's, it's rather pathetic when a PC can boot up WinXP and launch WinAMP faster. It almost appears that Alpine made the internal interface between the head unit and the HD USB 1.1 too. How slow is it? While I wasn't exactly counting the seconds away, I believe that it took at it's longest FOUR MINUTES before the first song started playing.

    3) Skipping between songs is unacceptably slow too.

    If Alpine can:

    a) Update the HD cartridge with a USB 2.0 or Firewire connection
    b) Resolve the insanely long wait between songs
    and
    c) Get rid of the "updating media library" check it does when you try to add music to it.

    I might actually get one. Until then, they'd have to pay ME to be a beta tester!
     
  4. Mr.Sinister

    Mr.Sinister Putting the "fun" back into Dysfunctional.

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    Oh yeah Draco.. almost forgot. If your looking to add an MP3 player to your current setup, there is another alternative. There's a product called the NEO Car Jukebox (www.ssiamerica.com). I haven't tried it, but it may be worth looking into.
     
  5. euphoric

    euphoric Who else here has some pants? Moderator

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    ipod + the radio frequency transmitter for it = $400 @ 10gb
     
  6. BlackWRX

    BlackWRX New Member

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    And radio quality.
     

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