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-   -   Dice Media Bridge review (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=842716)

spiderz17 05-09-2011 11:27 AM

Dice Media Bridge review
 
Here's my review of the Dice Mediabridge after about a month of ownership. I bought the version with Bluetooth and Radio Harness from EAS. Itís hooked up to the stock BMW Professional cd player in a 2004 M3 Coupe. Hope someone finds this helpful, and if you have any more questions let me know and Iíll do my best to answer them.

INSTALLATION:
Installation was relatively simple, just took a couple of hours. I used the Radio Interface sold by EAS. EAS was great to work with and shipping was fast. I found a DIY here (thanks, Shadowpuck): http://www.kcbmwclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2186
Everything is pretty straightforward, but if you've never taken the center vents off before, be warned that it is a royal pain. Also, when I put everything back together, I had room for the new harness underneath the radio (behind the HVAC controls). And speaking from experience, double check that your HVAC controls are properly functioning before putting everything completely back together. I had to take mine back out because as it turns out one of the connectors in the back was accidentally disconnected during the installation process.

I also ran the Bluetooth mic up to the stock location in the overhead panel following the DIY instructions. Iím having a couple of issues. First, the wire doesnít really stay very well from the A-pillar to the overhead panel where it runs along the top of the windshield. I might have to put a dab of glue to hold it. Also, where I wedged it in between the A-pillar and that piece that runs all along the window (half-inch strip of headliner material), that piece is coming loose. So I might have to re-investigate my strategy there. Has anyone tried to remove the A-pillar cover to run wires in it? I see two long slots near the windshield, but Iím not sure what theyíre for or if theyíre removable.

As for the Mediabridge unit itself, I put it behind my glove compartment and just fed the USB connection into the glove compartment.

USE:
First off, it functioned properly straight out of the box. I didnít have to update the firmware or anything like that. Just plugged it in and off we go. One thing that drives me nuts is that it wonít show the time on the cd player. Press the ďClockĒ button to the far left and itíll show the time for a split second, just long enough to read the time if youíre paying attention. In searching the forums, it seems that the only way to do that is to completely turn off the function that sends the ďArtist, Album, Song NameĒ to the radio. So it sucks that you have to choose. Iím not sure why itís not coded to work like it does with a cd where you can choose to show either the clock or the music information.

Bluetooth works fine. Iíve only used it a couple of times, but I could hear the other person clearly at highway speed (~50-60 mph) and they didnít have any issues hearing me. The unit interrupts whatever else is playing (music from a USB drive at the time) and tells me a call is incoming. Press the button on the steering wheel (the one that shows a person speaking) to answer. You do have to use the phone to hang up (or at least, I havenít found a way yet to hang up through the steering wheel or deck buttons). I had to talk at a ďslightly louder than normal conversationĒ tone, but nothing ridiculous. I donít hold teleconferences from my car and, from reading other reviews, I wasnít expecting crystal-clear call quality with the Bluetooth. But itís perfectly functional. I didnít have any problems holding a short conversation.

As for music, Iíve tried two different methods: Iíve hooked up my wifeís iPod touch and Iíve used a USB stick. I donít particularly care for the iPod interface. First, you can set the music from the iPod and hook it up and itíll just play whatever you have the iPod playing. From here, you have very limited control through the radio. You can skip ahead a song, but itís pretty difficult to do more than that because all I can see on the radio display is ďiPod unlocked.Ē I prefer to just use the buttons on the deck and steering wheel. With that, you can select song, artist, album, playlist, podcast, and audio book modes. However, Iíve found it to be pretty quirky. On my drive into work one morning, it got hung up on one song and wouldnít go to another song. Also, it keeps charging the iPod after the car shuts off. I think you can change this somehow (according to the DIY author), but I havenít figured out how. Honestly, I would be very disappointed if Iíd bought this solely for use with an iPod.

However, most of the time I just use a USB stick. I currently have about 4.5 gb of music on it. I usually just turn on the random feature from the deck to randomly shuffle all of the music I have on the stick. Two complaints with this method: first, it starts with the same exact song every time I start the car. Second, after selecting random, it actually shuffles all of the music from the entire USB stick at once. So for 4.5 gb of music, it takes about 15 seconds. Thatís 15 seconds of no music while itís shuffling. Not that big of a deal, but when Iím just bouncing around town or something and Iím only driving for a few minutes at a time, it sucks to have to do that every time I start the car. Itíd be much better if itíd pick a song randomly, start playing, then shuffle the remainder of the songs while the first one plays. As far as specifically choosing music, it gives me the option of choosing by song or by album. But with that much music, itís a real pain to go either song by song or even album by album looking for anything in particular.

The steering wheel controls work fine with both iPod and USB drive (volume up/down, skip forward/backward). I havenít used the AUX feature, so no comment on that. I also have not tried streaming music over the Bluetooth connection, but when I turn it to Bluetooth mode it plays all of my phone sounds over the car speakers, so Iím confident that the feature works. I just canít comment on the sound quality.

BOTTOM LINE:
Overall, I would give the unit a 6 or 7/10. Itís not perfect, but Iím happy with what I got. Installation was fairly simple. Bluetooth works fine. Iím a little disappointed in a couple of the details with how it handles music. But the only thing I really wanted was the ability to play music from a USB drive so I didnít have to carry around CDs and I now have that. Plus Iíve found myself turning my music down a lot so I can hear the intoxicating rumble of that sweet inline six. :woot:

If any of my issues are correctable and/or due to my own ignorance, please let me know and I will correct my usage and my review accordingly.

alhayek 07-01-2011 04:23 PM

Great review ! I am considering the MediaBridge MB1500 (I think its the same as the one you have). How much did you get the mediabridge for ?

spiderz17 07-05-2011 01:38 AM

http://www.europeanautosource.com/pr...oducts_id=3543

I got mine here for $275 with Bluetooth and no Sirius.

Fergburger 08-17-2011 09:30 PM

I'm waiting for my Mediabridge 1500BT to arrive (the joys of ebay) and am really looking forward to having bluetooth. I'm running the cd changer connection so we'll see what the sound quality is like...

Speaking of, you mentioned call quality but what about the music? any complaints?

spiderz17 08-19-2011 07:05 AM

I listen to music off of a flash drive. Songs were all ripped from CDs into WMA format at 128 kbps. I can't tell a difference between the sound quality of that and a cd. So I'm completely happy with the music quality.

One other thing I've noticed that I'm not thrilled about is the fact that the Bluetooth connection with my phone usually doesn't happen automatically. Most times, I have yo go into the phone's BT settings and tell it to connect. Also, sometimes the BT connection drops. My phone is still sending the call via BT but it's not coming through. I'm using a Motorola Atrix. It's possible that these are phone issues, but I doubt it.

In addition to the issues I have with the media bridge, the display on my head unit is going out. So I'm just gonna take the plunge and get a dynavin for Xmas.

gfishbein 08-19-2011 07:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spiderz17 (Post 13498610)
I listen to music off of a flash drive. Songs were all ripped from CDs into WMA format at 128 kbps. I can't tell a difference between the sound quality of that and a cd. So I'm completely happy with the music quality.

One other thing I've noticed that I'm not thrilled about is the fact that the Bluetooth connection with my phone usually doesn't happen automatically. Most times, I have yo go into the phone's BT settings and tell it to connect. Also, sometimes the BT connection drops. My phone is still sending the call via BT but it's not coming through. I'm using a Motorola Atrix. It's possible that these are phone issues, but I doubt it.

In addition to the issues I have with the media bridge, the display on my head unit is going out. So I'm just gonna take the plunge and get a dynavin for Xmas.


been using the mediabridge for about 3 months now w/ bluetooth.

has been rock solid, connects with phone every single time, call quality is excellent.. just wish i could initiate the calls from the head unit as opposed to the phone.

also i use the sirius module and it works great as well.

two thumbs up!

:thumbup::thumbup:

Eric Giles 08-19-2011 10:28 AM

I purchased the Mediabridge with Bluetooth when cartoys.com had it for $199 during the July 4th weekend, and added the Sirius satellite tuner module. Overall, I am very pleased with the setup. It's not perfect, but considering the amount of optional music sources it lets you add to the stock head unit I really cannot complain at all. My main use is with the Sirius satellite radio, and the sound quality is pretty good overall. My only gripe is that for some reason my head unit ('01 325i) will not store any satellite radio station presets. I've followed the directions (hit RND, press the 1-6 buttons for where you want to store the preset, then hit RND again) but it just does not work. I have the latest firmware update and have sent a message to Dice but have yet to hear a reply. It is annoying having to hit the up track button on the steering wheel to get from the '90's on 9 station to Alternative Nation on channel 36-that is a lot of button presses!

As far as the Bluetooth functionality, I am pretty impressed with it also. My phone (Samsung Galaxy ICH-500) pairs almost immediately every time and works very well with the Mediabridge. Callers do say that when I am talking to them it sounds like I am in a barrel, but I blame that more on the supplied microphone that comes with the Dice. I would guess that a higher quality microphone would make a difference.

I have streamed music from my phone using Bluetooth, and although it works, the sound takes on what I would call a 'spatial' effect-and it is very exaggerated. I have the stock HK system, and the only way to reduce this effect is to turn off the HK button. For this reason, I do not use the Bluetooth audio streaming-it affects the sound quality too much for my tastes.

I know that the Dice units can have their faults, but for the $235 I paid (including the Sirius tuner) I couldn't be more pleased. Luckily mine is functioning pretty well, and maybe the failure to set the presets on satellite radio is due to my older head unit. Hopefully I will get that figured out as it is the most annoying fault for me.

only AWD 08-22-2011 07:55 AM

issues with media bridge
 
i just installed my media bridge and cannot get my phone to pair, it wont find the dice unit, also 5 seconds into every song some british broad announces the name of the song, so far after following the directions i cannot get this fixed pretty annoying:censor:

Arty 08-22-2011 09:11 AM

With new updates being made available all the time, I strongly suggest updating your firmware to the latest version before submitting a report to DICE.

tom @ eas 08-22-2011 12:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arty (Post 13507478)
with new updates being made available all the time, i strongly suggest updating your firmware to the latest version before submitting a report to dice.

+1

tikito77 08-27-2011 08:48 PM

I installed mine today, updated mediabridge's firmware.
Have to reset it every hr, my car just won't recognize it anymore, disconnect battery or cables and works again!!! Any ideas??

vids_blk323Ci 09-17-2011 10:25 PM

good review... looking into picking one up... after all these years :)

Also :pics:

Touringmannl 09-19-2011 03:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tikito77 (Post 13527910)
I installed mine today, updated mediabridge's firmware.
Have to reset it every hr, my car just won't recognize it anymore, disconnect battery or cables and works again!!! Any ideas??

Upgrade to firmware 4905, this fixed it for me.

kp89gt 09-27-2011 10:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eric Giles (Post 13499054)
My only gripe is that for some reason my head unit ('01 325i) will not store any satellite radio station presets. I've followed the directions (hit RND, press the 1-6 buttons for where you want to store the preset, then hit RND again) but it just does not work. I have the latest firmware update and have sent a message to Dice but have yet to hear a reply. It is annoying having to hit the up track button on the steering wheel to get from the '90's on 9 station to Alternative Nation on channel 36-that is a lot of button presses!
.

Did you ever resolve this? Mine is having the same issue. I think there is some combination of double pushes on the older units.

mainly 12-09-2011 01:57 AM

thanks for the review. im planning on getting this installed for my iphone adapter solution, but i have a few questions...

i dont have a cd changer(i have the harmon/kardon sound system and mode button) , ... but my VIN specs say i have a HUD for it or something... meaning its wired for it? maybe? so, will i still be able to use this unit even though my car didnt come with the cd changer?

and as well, as for the blue tooth function: my car does have the "talk " button on the steering wheel, but when i press it nothing happens. i asked my dealer and they said if you press the talk button and nothing happens , that mean you dont have bluetooth. so my question is, when using the bluetooth of the mediabridge, will the steering wheel "talk" button work to answer calls...? or is it completely useless, if i dont have factory bluetooth?

one more thing .. has anyone used the spec dock with this mediabridge? i really like neat way it stores your iphone in the ash tray.

ill be ordering this from an aftermarket installer and having them install it, as i have no skills in this area whatsoever.


thanks

anyone who has any ifo please chime in

spiderz17 12-09-2011 07:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mainly (Post 13876205)
i dont have a cd changer(i have the harmon/kardon sound system and mode button) , ... but my VIN specs say i have a HUD for it or something... meaning its wired for it? maybe? so, will i still be able to use this unit even though my car didnt come with the cd changer?

AFAIK, all the E46s were pre-wired for CD changers, regardless of whether you actually have a CD changer. So you can wire the DICE unit into the trunk through those connections. The reason I didn't do that is I read a few cases where people had interference issues with the wiring. Plus, I decided it'd be less of a PITA to try to cram everything into the dash area than to mess with removing the rear seats.


Quote:

Originally Posted by mainly (Post 13876205)
and as well, as for the blue tooth function: my car does have the "talk " button on the steering wheel, but when i press it nothing happens. i asked my dealer and they said if you press the talk button and nothing happens , that mean you dont have bluetooth. so my question is, when using the bluetooth of the mediabridge, will the steering wheel "talk" button work to answer calls...? or is it completely useless, if i dont have factory bluetooth?

I think this button will answer phone calls, but won't hang up. I'm not 100% sure to be honest with you. I never use it.


Quote:

Originally Posted by mainly (Post 13876205)
one more thing .. has anyone used the spec dock with this mediabridge? i really like neat way it stores your iphone in the ash tray.

Don't know anything about this.

Good luck!

mainly 12-09-2011 10:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spiderz17 (Post 13876493)
AFAIK, all the E46s were pre-wired for CD changers, regardless of whether you actually have a CD changer. So you can wire the DICE unit into the trunk through those connections. The reason I didn't do that is I read a few cases where people had interference issues with the wiring. Plus, I decided it'd be less of a PITA to try to cram everything into the dash area than to mess with removing the rear seats.




I think this button will answer phone calls, but won't hang up. I'm not 100% sure to be honest with you. I never use it.




Don't know anything about this.

Good luck!


hey thanks. the spec dock is a cool mount or docking station that is custom to fit in the e46 ashtray and it plugs into the dice module . and if you don't use the talk button what do you use to answer the phone?
and what are you using if anything to mount your phone/iPod?

a32guy 12-09-2011 10:27 AM

I don't think the talk button will work -- it has to be a command coming from the radio to the DICE. I use the up arrow to answer calls, and down to hang up (works from the head unit or steering wheel).

spiderz17 12-09-2011 03:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by a32guy (Post 13876934)
I don't think the talk button will work -- it has to be a command coming from the radio to the DICE. I use the up arrow to answer calls, and down to hang up (works from the head unit or steering wheel).

I'll have to try that. Honestly, I use the BT feature about twice a year. My phone just stays in my pocket and I just ignore it if it rings.

mainly 12-09-2011 03:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by a32guy (Post 13876934)
I don't think the talk button will work -- it has to be a command coming from the radio to the DICE. I use the up arrow to answer calls, and down to hang up (works from the head unit or steering wheel).

ok, well at least you can answer the phone using the steering wheel controls


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