Acura Music Link IPOD Adapter – review

March 8, 2006 10 comments

I got sick of listening to my iPOD through FM connector. The quality is really poor, constant interference, I’m sure I’m not alone.

So I was very excited when I read about Acura Music Link iPOD adapter. After trying to research it online, without much success, (I guess not many people out there use it), I gave up and made my way into Acura dealership.

Some number of years ago, I would just buy and install it myself. But the guy at Acura informed me that my warranty would void – so I decided to let the dealership do it. It was probably a wise decisions – since in new cars, installing a component like that, requires opening up the all of the front console, connecting and reconnecting a bunch of XM radio wires etc.

After I got my car back ($490 later, including installation) – I found a nice clean wire inside my glove compartment. The guys in the dealership couldn’t really explain to me how this iPOD connection works – so I had to figure it out myself.

After using it for 3 days – my feelings are mixed. On one hand – the quality is great! Can’t even compare with FM transmitter.
On the other hand – seems like Acura really tried hard to make this not a user friendly experience.

First – when you connect your iPOD, all the buttons on the ipod stop working. You can only control it from the Acura radio console. That wouldn’t be so bad, but the problem is that nothing is being displayed on radio screen! Nothing! The only thing you see is a word “Extension”. So you have to navigate your ipod blindly. Even that would be OK, if there would be some logic to it. However, the only 2 options you have – random shuffling between albums, or random shuffling between songs. Really lame.

Second – Acura provides you a way to control your ipod through voice commands. You need to install a software on your computer, and it goes through your iTunes library, and creates voice prints of all your playlists, songs, albums etc. Then it moves those “voice prints” to your ipod as special playlists. You suppose to click on a button on you radio, and it “voice scans” through first letters of playlists, songs or whatever. Terrible way of looking for your songs. I went through the whole process, but couldn’t make it work. Somehow, my radio ignores those “voice prints” all together.

Was it so hard to leave the controls on the ipod workable, or display ipod information on navigation screen and allow the user to choose songs and playlists from the screen?!

So my current solution is, before I connect the ipod, I put it on a playlist that I want to hear, push Play, and then connect it to the cord in the car. Then I can control from the console songs withing that playlist or album. If I want a different playlist, I disconnect, select it, and reconnect again.

Bottom line – this is a very expensive way to have “Line In” for your car radio!

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