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      09-11-2006, 10:03 PM   #1
kzam
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Review of iPod Integration without iDrive

I recently installed the bmw integration kit for the ipod in my new '06 325. I don't have the iDrive system -- and since there is limited information about it out there, I thought I could enlighten anyone else who is thinking of getting one.

First off -- I love it! It does have a few design flaws (I'll get to those) but overall it works well. I purchased the part for $320.00 from my dealer who charged $138.00 for installation. It took them almost a day and a half to install... but this was due to faulty instructions in what was their first install on the e90. Had they been correct, it would have only taken an hour and a half.

When you first plug in the device, it starts to play the first song on your first playlist as shown below. At this view screen, it really does just display a track number:

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From this screen, you can set the ipod to play in random mode or scan the songs (play 10 seconds of each). If you press the CD buttons (1-6) it will set your ipod to play music according to (in this order) playlist (default), artist, album, genre, podcast, or all songs. In my 60gig ipod, it reads the playlists almost immediately, but browsing by artist takes about 30-40 seconds for it to load and no music is played while it reads the info.

If you press the 'LIST' button, the screen will list all your playlists:

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When you select a playlist, it will expand to list all the songs in that playlist. From here you must select a song in the playlist for the playlist to begin playing:

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The screen will remain at this view by default. However, once I have a selected a playlist, I prefer to leave the system in the TRACK view which shows the song name and artist completely on the screen. Select TRACK to enter this mode, shown below:

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That's about it for features. The cable for the ipod is about 6 feet long and coils in the glove compartment. there is no holder for the ipod -- it simply floats loose.

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As for flaws -- they are small.
1) I don't appreciate the 'TRACK #' view when in the default CDC view (1st pic above). I feel it could be done better, but it's not really that big of a deal as the TRACK view screen is really pretty nice.
2) When pressing random, the current song stops playing and a new random song begins.
3) In RANDOM MODE, if you press NEXT, the next song (physically the next in the playlist) begins to play and NOT another random song.
3) When in a playlist you can browse using the NEXT button to a song that is passed the one in the current playlist, a new playlist will begin. For example, if the first playlist is 10 songs long, and you press next while song 10 is playing, it will take you to song 11 and begin to play in a different playlist. While this might be okay for normal play, in RANDOM play you could hear song 10 first, and when trying to skip it, go to a new playlist. It's a little unnatural, but again, not a big deal.

In the end, it works great. It remembers where you left off if you turn off the radio or the car (for about a half hour). After a half hour, if you come back to the car it starts the last song you heard over again.

Hope this helps!
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      09-11-2006, 10:13 PM   #2
oneshare325
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Thanks man!! Great right up!!!!
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      09-11-2006, 10:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kzam
It took them almost a day and a half to install... but this was due to faulty instructions in what was their first install on the e90. Had they been correct, it would have only taken an hour and a half.
Great info, thanks for posting.

Do you have any details on what was incorrect in the instructions? I just dropped my car at a dealer today to have the adapter installed. I'm the guinea pig. Any pointers I can pass along may help.

Also, did they have to do any software upgrading to get it to work?
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      09-11-2006, 11:08 PM   #4
kzam
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I'm not sure what exactly was wrong. It was a wiring issue that the mechanic figured out -- he didn't think the instructions were correct and to quote his rather ambigious explanation "wire 1 needed to go to wire 2 and wire 2 to wire 1". Only after that did it all work...

Also, yes -- it did require a software reprogramming which took almost a half hour. This was included in my price above. It was 1 hour installation and about 1/3 of an hour for programming which they discounted for all the delay (it was actually about a 1/2 hour to program).
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      09-11-2006, 11:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kzam
I'm not sure what exactly was wrong. It was a wiring issue that the mechanic figured out -- he didn't think the instructions were correct and to quote his rather ambigious explanation "wire 1 needed to go to wire 2 and wire 2 to wire 1". Only after that did it all work...

Also, yes -- it did require a software reprogramming which took almost a half hour. This was included in my price above. It was 1 hour installation and about 1/3 of an hour for programming which they discounted for all the delay (it was actually about a 1/2 hour to program).
Ok, thanks. A half hour for software sounds like a coding. I know a full progman update can take several hours to complete.

What dealership did the install?
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      09-12-2006, 02:19 AM   #6
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Carrera Motors in Bend, Oregon did the install for me...
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      09-12-2006, 09:22 AM   #7
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Great writeup....i just got it from my car and as you said it works fine...but i have a question though...probably a stupid one......Does a higher bit-rate sound better than a normal 128 kbps...What is the bit-rate that you guys use??
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      09-12-2006, 09:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vamc.mc
Great writeup....i just got it from my car and as you said it works fine...but i have a question though...probably a stupid one......Does a higher bit-rate sound better than a normal 128 kbps...What is the bit-rate that you guys use??
If you want quality sound. You should use a higher bit rate. I use 128 kbps as a minimum or higher.

The higher the bit rate, the closer to CD quality. When you go lower to store more songs, you lose sound quality.

It doesn't really matter much when listening with your iPod head phones, but when you play through better speakers, you'll notice the difference.

Make two MP3's with the same songs, one at 192 kbps and one at a much lower kbps. You really will notice the sound quality that drops off.

Hope that helps.
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      11-01-2006, 12:05 PM   #9
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Hi,

maybe a stupid question: Do you talk about the original Ipod Interface from BMW?

I have read some threads where they speak about a separate display on the dashboard especially for the ipod (Trackname etc.).

Sorry for my bad english...

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      11-01-2006, 12:24 PM   #10
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Hallo Frank, kein Problem. Wir reden hier von der neuen iPod Schnittstelle, die erst heuer auf den Markt gebracht worden ist.

Das Original BMW Interface war nur für die I-Bus BMWs, wie z.B. E46 3er, E39 5er usw. Es gab in der Zwischenzeit eine Schnittstelle mit Monitor, aber diese war eine temporäre Problemlösung.

Mit der neuen Schnittstelle gibt es keine Grenze, wie 5 Playlists usw. Man kann alle Titel anwählen und nach Interpreten und Komponist suchen.
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      11-04-2006, 01:19 PM   #11
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Danke Jonathan!

Dann steht der Bestellung dieser SA für meinen E91 ja nichts mehr im Wege.
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      11-05-2006, 12:16 AM   #12
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Number one, thank you for the well written review!

Do you know if the iPod pauses when you
1) turn off the car
2) change to AM/FM/Sat radio
3) answer a phone call

Thanks again!!

-Scott
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      11-05-2006, 03:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scm6079
Number one, thank you for the well written review!

Do you know if the iPod pauses when you
1) turn off the car
2) change to AM/FM/Sat radio
3) answer a phone call

Thanks again!!

-Scott
1) Yes

2) Yes, but if you have selected any mode (displays, random, etc.) other than default when you return to the iPod Random will be off and displays will be Track No. (default settings).

3) iPod pauses when the phone rings and resumes when either the phone call is over or the phone stops ringing.
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