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edd_jedi

<£50 DAB/USB/AUX Solution

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As you may have seen I've been pondering for ages how to expand the ICE in my E61. I've been considering an Android unit, but the high price and reports of poor audio quality put me off. I had also been looking in to retrofitting OEM DAB and a MULF2-Hi to give me a USB input for my CCC, but both would again require significant investment but more importantly lots of coding and wiring which looked very complicated. Then by chance I stumbled across this thing on Amazon:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B076P86LXH/

 

It's an aftermarket DAB and Bluetooth adapter which I'm sure you are all aware of, but unlike most others on the market like the Pure Highway or Parrot etc it also has a line in (AUX) and SD card slot. It plugs in to my existing AUX connection, has a DAB aerial which attaches to the roof under the headlining with a magnet, and sticks to the windscreen or dash with a suction cup (although the attachment is magnetic so you can use any other magnetic holder eg a vent one if you don't want it on the windscreen.) With a bit of effort all of the wires have been hidden and it doesn't look a mess (this was really important to me, I hate dashboards with wires everywhere.)

 

I've been using it for a week now and am really impressed with it. It boots up in a couple of seconds when the car turns on, almost no delay. The DAB reception is great, it picked up 70 stations and so far has worked in car parks, tunnels etc where FM radio had previously not worked. It has a built-in volume control which if turned up to max matches the volume of the CD/Radio etc, the E60s super-quiet AUX input is a gripe many people complain about. The sound quality is excellent, and the LCD display shows the station/song or song in SD mode. And with just a 16GB SD card I have 100 albums on it which is 94 more than I had with the CD changer! I'll pick up a 64GB card when I get bored of these albums. Because it has a line in, I can still use my phone for music if needed too which again I didn't want to lose.

 

The only things I can pick holes in are the fact there are (obviously) no steering wheel/iDrive controls other than volume, but as the unit is so close to me and I can permanently leave the iDrive in AUX I haven't found it at all annoying. And also because the buttons on it are lit up blue it doesn't match the rest of the car's interior lighting, it does however have an orange text mode so the LCD screen at least can be matched. But for £50 these really are minor gripes, and overall I would highly recommend it. I know pictures speak a thousand words so I'll post a few up at the weekend.

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Great write up and very useful for those wanting DAB

 

Can I ask (as an out of touch 45yr old radio 4 bore) what's the big deal with DAB? What does it offer over standard FM?

 

More stations?

Better quality?

 

TIA

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Thanks for this. Just ten minutes before reading this I was playing around running AUX-in from my phone, and I agree, the volume does leave a bit to be desired. This unit seems a decent solution for the price, though how did you go about hiding the cables - a 'must' for me too?

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2 minutes ago, pidgeonpost said:

how did you go about hiding the cables - a 'must' for me too?

 

I have it mounted in the lower right (drivers side) corner of the windscreen. The DAB aeriel is in the top left (passengers side) of the windcsreen, the cable is really long so I've hidden it behind the head lining and then drivers A pillar. The AUX/USB cables are tucked in the door seal and then into the drivers footwell and to the glovebox. Another reason I bought this particular unit is because all of the inputs/outputs (apart from power) are on the right side, which makes them easier to hide. I bought a 90 degree angled USB cable to make the power cable, which plugs in to the bottom, easier to hide. I'll do some photos when I can.

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2 hours ago, edd_jedi said:

Thanks! Yes to both, noticeably better quality, and significantly more stations. Use the postcode search here to find what you can get in your area:

 

https://getdigitalradio.com/your-stations

 

 

Thanks man thats great.

 

Mine has it as standard but totally wasted on me and I'm not sure Ive even used it. Nor the rear auto blinds or lane deviation haha

 

As long as Ive got nav and bluetooth I'm happy and easily pleased!

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On 27/03/2019 at 16:52, edd_jedi said:

I'll do some photos when I can.

I'd like to see this too. I tried to add an Anker widget to replace Bluetooth and enable streaming from my phone but you had to manually turn it on every time you got in the car. I'd jump in the car to just go somewhere local, forget to turn it on and then the phone would ring - no way to answer it! It's now sitting in a drawer gathering dust. This sounds like a much better option. 

 

I only have the AUX port in the back of the centre console, I'm thinking I could run the cables under the drivers seat...

 

cheers

mark

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I am not a big fan of DAB in a vehicle.. 

I drive around East Sussex in my work, my van has DAB and it's always losing signal.. Sure the quality when its working is great but give me FM anytime.

FYI so far the only DAB station that works practically everywhere is Magic and that can get very depressing at times.

 

It's not the van either, I have had hire vans from Transits to Vivaro's and all of them are the same

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1 hour ago, Blobby said:

I am not a big fan of DAB in a vehicle.. 

I drive around East Sussex in my work, my van has DAB and it's always losing signal.. Sure the quality when its working is great but give me FM anytime.

FYI so far the only DAB station that works practically everywhere is Magic and that can get very depressing at times.

 

It's not the van either, I have had hire vans from Transits to Vivaro's and all of them are the same

Yeah loads of dead spots in Devon and Cornwall too... I only like dab for 6 music to be honest though...

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Here's some photos as promised. I might put some electrical tape around the 3 cables to combine them in to one, but this is tidy enough even for my OCD. The third photo shows the aerial and amplifier which is in the top passenger corner of the windscreen. Reception seems really good to me so far, hasn't cut out once, will update once I've done a long journey through some countryside though. But to be honest even if the DAB reception wasn't great, for under £50 it was worth it to have SD card input and louder AUX.

 

IMG_7812.thumb.jpg.0ba9edb36109ab06c0879ef6c79471f8.jpg

 

IMG_7813.thumb.jpg.178c666f78be8060c59844039e1f55d0.jpg

 

IMG_7814.thumb.jpg.7b183a14669b0bca77baddea5121a3ec.jpg

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If you stream from your phone there is a free android app called "Bluetooth autoconnect" 

You can set it to enable Bluetooth when the charger is plugged in and run an app. 

I use "radio player" another free app which starts and goes to what station you were on previously. 

 

You can set bluetooth autoconnect to turn bluetooth off when your charger is disconnected and it can also disable Bluetooth if it doesn't connect to any paired devices after so many tries. So when charging at home your Bluetooth will not be on all time. 

 

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I went on my first long drive this weekend through some countryside, and overall was impressed. The DAB reception did drop out in a couple of remote places, but I could see that during those times I didn't have any mobile reception either, so streaming radio would not have been any better than DAB. Also here's a better photo of it fitted with the whole dashboard in view:

 

IMG_7819.thumb.jpg.e2e01876a3460681fb19fd76e83dd72c.jpg

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Looks smart. I just ordered one from ebay yesterday so glad to hear it's working well. 
Did you remove the A pillar panel and roof lining or just tuck the cable in under the edge? The gap seems like it might be big enough to squeeze a cable in? 

cheers

Mark

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Great, good to know. The only difference for me will be the other cables need to go to the rear of the centre console as that's where my AUX and 12v sockets are. 

Thanks 

Mark

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That''s easy, you can tuck them under the door kick panel and then under the seat. I have actually ended up routing my power cable that way to the boot cigarette lighter socket to free up the drivers one (I don't have rear passenger sockets.)

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Funny, I don't have a drivers socket because the ashtray is jammed closed - I'd love to know what treasure my wife stuffed in there! :)

 

I thought I'd copy your route and go under the steering column before going down the side of the centre console. Our driver's seat goes back and forth quite a bit due to the height difference so it might not be the best route.

 

Mark

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