Music in the car?

I’m looking at a change of car and things have moved on a bit over the last 10 years. My present BMW (123D) has the USB / 3.5mm interface which i used with an old iPod (until the iPod died). The cars i’m going to look at on Sunday both have the BMW media professional package along with the Harmon / Kardon audio system. i’m wondering (apart from good old CD and radio) how else to get music into the car. A memory card loaded with music or are there better ways ?

James

There’s a lot to like about the iPod in the car. The click wheel means that navigation is really easy, although mostly I just set it to shuffle tracks, which is fun, and also means you often end up listening to stuff you maybe haven’t heard in ages, and you’re pleasantly surprised. For the tracks where aren’t so keen, a quick click forwards is all it takes and no need to ever take your eyes off the road. And there lies the problem with many of these in car infotainment screens. There’s so much to look at and navigate, that you have to take your eyes off the road, and that’s not such a great idea.

For all that, I do like the latest system in the Bentley. The Naim elements apart, the front end and navigation is, I believe similarly shared some audis. Being able plug in an SD card or USB stick full of music and then have it show album art etc… right in front of you is pretty cool. Just make sure you find out what formats the BMW system can handle. FLAC &/or ALAC is a must in my book but many are still limited to MP3 or AAC.

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James, looks like you really need to re-consider “source-first” ie the car :sunglasses:

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I just use a memory stick

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I stream from either Radio Paradise or Amazon in a BMW i3 with the Harmon Kardon option and am almost constantly impressed with the sound quality…

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I have a BMW 320 with Harmon Kardon. True the system is good but I still struggle with listening to music in the car with road noise and other distractions.

But perhaps if I tried the Bentley…

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I have a 2018 mini with the equivalent system to BMW, I find a 64 Gb usb stick works well. The playlists can be used from the iPod but Ned some editing to change the format before use.

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My 2017 BMW (430d) has the HK professional system. In addition to using a usb stick you can also rip your CDs and save them on the system’s internal hard disk. This saves having to keep any CDs in the car and your music can easily be found when you want to play it. The ripping is fairly rapid, but, as far as I am aware, there are no options for file format. I presume it’s MP3. It sounds ok but it’s no Bentley-Naim system!

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Meridian sistem 850 what on range rover evoque

We run a 2016 Three series with HK and Professional media system. It fully interfaces with iPod via a standard USB to lightening cable. Sounds good. It will play back WAV files on a USB stick. Sounds good but puts a click between tracks. I’ve got a load of 16/44 WAVs on some DVDs which play in the dash slot. and sound good I don’t know it it will play music on internal HDD. My X6 does but the quality is not good enough.

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My BMW, now 7 years old, plays from a USB stick, and the display shows the bare essentials, i.e. a list of artists, then albums. On a quiet road, you can browse and select music without being too distracted, so I see the lack of artwork and other metadata as a good thing.
It will play WAVs, but not FLACs, although I dare say newer models might support more formats. I tried some MP3s, but even in the car, they didn’t cut it for me.
My wife’s Mazda has an iPod Touch living in it. There’s artwork and other stuff, but I prefer not to have the distraction. Poor sound quality too, with lots of flabby bass. My 1 Series has an upgraded speaker package, but not the full HK version, but still sounds pretty decent.

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I’m sure many will decry it, but the 10 speaker (with sub) Bose system in my Mazda CX-5 sounds terrific. Nice clear, balanced sound with quick, solid bass. Plays FLAC & WAV via USB sticks, but to be honest I’ve ripped a stickful of Mp3 files, and they sound just fine!

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We have Tesla Model X and a Model 3.

Both have great sounding systems built in.

Both have built-in Spotify, I don’t mean through your phone, but rather direct off the screen through the cars own built-in LTE/4G always on connectivity.

The model X even comes with its own Spotify Premium subscription.

And both allow playing hires FLAC files off USB up to 24bit/176.4kHz.

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Apple car play allows radio paradise and tidal. Of course your smartphone plays all via bluetooth

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An ancient iPod 80gb holds everything and gives great functionality in my cars. Until it dies!

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I had trouble getting anything approaching hifi in my truck; I’m stuck with a pioneer system. However, I have been pleasantly surprised that my iPhone/ iPod serves well over the noise of the engine.

Cheers folks - some useful info. I’ll take a memory stick with me and see what happens but it looks like i’ve got a few options if the test drives go ok.

James

I use two we hard drives in mine and have my whole music collection in the car. Synced with a backup on my pc from my Melco. Works a treat with voice control

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Western digital passport hard drives

Well the HK system sounded pretty good once i’d fiddled with the EQ, as the settings in use seemed to favour a bit too much bass. I ended up buying the car so i’ll have plenty of time to play around. Thanks again for the suggestions.

James