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Old 08-26-2009, 12:37 AM   #1
steve.325i
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USA-Spec PA12-BMW beats Dice Silverline

I had a Dice Silverline installed for eight months. I worked through many of the issues others on this form have experienced until one day it just wouldn't connect to the head unit anymore.

I gave up!!!

Four months ago I bought the USA-Spec PA12-BMW and I am extremely happy with its performance, features, & reliability.

I'm a newbie to youtube so ridicule me if you want, but I have posted a two part demo of the USA-Spec operation in my 2003 325i.




Last edited by steve.325i; 08-26-2009 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:02 AM   #2
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Thanks for posting these useful videos! Your comments echo EXACTLY what I was told yesterday by Jaime at Beach Autosound in Huntington Beach. Basically he said he'd sell me the DICE if I insisted, but that we'd both be happier if I went with the USA-Spec.

My only concern is if my 2001 stock HU will integrate as seemlessly as with your 2003. I've heard things become much easier when dealing with 2002+. The packaging I looked at for the PA12-BMW showed specs for a PA11-BMW; not sure what to make of that.

My goal is to use the existing system, and to control the iPhone without having to use the phone's screen.


BTW nice song library.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:47 AM   #3
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On steve's recommendation awhile back, I have the USA-Spec in my 01 M3 with stock headunit and HK package. Works perfectly and I haven't had any problems with it. There are two different models based on what type of HU you have, but if I remember correctly, crutchfield stocks both and if you input your car model, they will tell you which one is right. Look for any crutchfield coupons floating around on the internet too; I found a 20% off one when I bought mine!
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:34 AM   #4
steve.325i
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Originally Posted by misterlau View Post
On steve's recommendation awhile back, I have the USA-Spec in my 01 M3 with stock headunit and HK package. Works perfectly and I haven't had any problems with it. There are two different models based on what type of HU you have, but if I remember correctly, crutchfield stocks both and if you input your car model, they will tell you which one is right. Look for any crutchfield coupons floating around on the internet too; I found a 20% off one when I bought mine!
Thank you for confirming that it works with a pre-2003 HU - I wasn't sure.

I'm happy to hear you had an easy install.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:43 AM   #5
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I have iphone and Dice Silverline Pro. took me a while to figure out which dip switches to enable and once I got everything set up it has been working perfectly. I understand your complaint about the DICE not working the way it should, I have read many many many posts about it, but right now mine is working perfectly and when it does work perfectly the setup is 100x better than this set up you are demonstrating. What happens if you have more than 3 playlists or whatever? I have about 50 playlists (my favorite albums) and when I'm in a playlist I prefer the track title to come up before the artist name scrolls, this seems redundant to show the artist first every time. also it takes you a VERY long time for the text to start scrolling. also I am able to select tracks from both the steering wheel, radio face, or the iphone itself without changing modes and without being locked out or losing text ever. I dont see any advantage of this unit over a DICE silverline pro if they are both functioning as intended, in fact this seems way worse and there arent enough people out there using it to prove that it wont run into the same reliability issues that the DICE does over time. The market is saturated with DICE owners and you only hear about the people with problems, not the people that it is working perfectly for.
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Old 08-26-2009, 12:01 PM   #6
steve.325i
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I have iphone and Dice Silverline Pro. took me a while to figure out which dip switches to enable and once I got everything set up it has been working perfectly. I understand your complaint about the DICE not working the way it should, I have read many many many posts about it, but right now mine is working perfectly and when it does work perfectly the setup is 100x better than this set up you are demonstrating. What happens if you have more than 3 playlists or whatever? I have about 50 playlists (my favorite albums) and when I'm in a playlist I prefer the track title to come up before the artist name scrolls, this seems redundant to show the artist first every time. also it takes you a VERY long time for the text to start scrolling. also I am able to select tracks from both the steering wheel, radio face, or the iphone itself without changing modes and without being locked out or losing text ever. I dont see any advantage of this unit over a DICE silverline pro if they are both functioning as intended, in fact this seems way worse and there arent enough people out there using it to prove that it wont run into the same reliability issues that the DICE does over time. The market is saturated with DICE owners and you only hear about the people with problems, not the people that it is working perfectly for.
I agree about Dice having a greater market share & therefore more negative experiences. Its one of the reasons that I used it for four months before posting my opinions. Hopefully talking about it will make more people aware of USA-Spec & shift the numbers. Time will tell.

Re: the number of playlist. If you navigate 50 playlists on a Dice you must be talented. The thing is a nightmare to use if you go over 6 or 7.

I also agree that the text does not appear as quick as with the Dice when changing songs. But as I qualified, if you are one of the many people inflicted with stuck text on the Dice, the USA-Spec works.

Last note, for the last few months I had the Dice in my car it did work reasonable well, then one day ----------------- nothing!
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:18 AM   #7
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I'm still super happy with my dension icelink... i got it years ago and the one that i have charges ur pod, plays it, allows for head unit and steering wheel control, but also allows you to play with the ipod itself.. from what i've heard, they've disabled ipod controls for safety which would annoy me.
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:19 PM   #8
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The newer USA SPEC PA12-BMW comes with new cable that fully charges all new iPods, and has these newer features:

- Dual Mode - Select Playlist or direct mode right from your radio (Old way was called Hybrid mode)
- Charges all iPods - Including new 3G iPhone, Nano and Touch

How can I tell if I received the NEW model? Can't install it yet.

EDIT:
The newer charging cable has a blue/yellow stripe sticker on one end.

Last edited by dudelove; 12-16-2009 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:50 PM   #9
steve.325i
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Originally Posted by dudelove View Post
The newer USA SPEC PA12-BMW comes with new cable that fully charges all new iPods, and has these newer features:

- Dual Mode - Select Playlist or direct mode right from your radio (Old way was called Hybrid mode)
- Charges all iPods - Including new 3G iPhone, Nano and Touch

How can I tell if I received the NEW model? Can't install it yet.
As far as I understand it, if you have the PA12-BMW then it is the new version. They changed the number from PA11 when they rev'ed it to support text on the HU.

My PA12-BMW has a date code of 2008.10.28 and has the 5v0 charging and selecting CD-6 enables control via the iPod BUT disables text.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/album.p...pictureid=8589
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:20 AM   #10
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Steve do you know if I can utilize the splicing method you posted to connect to the DICE head unit harness (not the trunk harness)? Also does this product allow you to utilize the steering wheel controls? Is there a dip switch configuration that will allow you to control directly from the ipod as well as the head unit (and hopefully steering wheel)? Or do you have to adjust the dip switches depending on where you want to control from?

Sorry for all the questions but you seem to know this product pretty well and I'm lookinf for a replacement for my non-functioning DICE, not having my ipod is making me nuts.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:59 AM   #11
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THANK YOU!!

I might just go and sell my dice that i bought a couple of months ago. I hate the fact that that i can't put on "repeat all" on the playlist.
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Old 08-26-2009, 12:01 PM   #12
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Go with GROM Audio... Dice has been advertised on this forum like crazy, and Grom is gaining customers through word of mouth by people who bought them and are extreemly happy..

I'm one of those customers, gromaudio.com.. you wont be disappointed. Also Grom Audio does software updates almost everymonth. The minor issues i had when i bought it were all fixed with a simple software update.
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Old 08-26-2009, 12:17 PM   #13
steve.325i
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Go with GROM Audio... Dice has been advertised on this forum like crazy, and Grom is gaining customers through word of mouth by people who bought them and are extreemly happy..

I'm one of those customers, gromaudio.com.. you wont be disappointed. Also Grom Audio does software updates almost everymonth. The minor issues i had when i bought it were all fixed with a simple software update.
One of the guys @ bavsound told me not to touch the GROM unit. That's cool that you can upgrade teh firmware.
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Old 07-16-2011, 09:13 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by kal44 View Post
Go with GROM Audio... Dice has been advertised on this forum like crazy, and Grom is gaining customers through word of mouth by people who bought them and are extreemly happy..

I'm one of those customers, gromaudio.com.. you wont be disappointed. Also Grom Audio does software updates almost everymonth. The minor issues i had when i bought it were all fixed with a simple software update.
Any thoughts on installation of the Grom unit? The site offers both dash and trunk options for wiring. The bluetooth dongle sounds pretty amazing. Do you have this piece? Any idea if it plays well with the iPhone 4? Also, are you still enjoying the unit?
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Old 08-26-2009, 12:07 PM   #15
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Looks like a pretty good device. I don't like that you are limited to only 4 playlists or that there is no play by album/artist mode. The only issue that I've had with my DICE is that annoying whine/interference that comes through in the speakers. If they could fix that it would be perfect, at least IMO.

does it have an aux input as well?
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Old 08-26-2009, 12:29 PM   #16
steve.325i
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Looks like a pretty good device. I don't like that you are limited to only 4 playlists or that there is no play by album/artist mode. The only issue that I've had with my DICE is that annoying whine/interference that comes through in the speakers. If they could fix that it would be perfect, at least IMO.

does it have an aux input as well?
Oh, I didn't talk about that in my video because I don't use it but yes it has an aux in - not a 1/8" like the Dice, it has two RCA plugs like on the back of a stereo.

Here's the part you are not going to like though. I am 99% positive that you loose a playlist button when you select that option through the switches on the USA-Spec module.
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Old 08-26-2009, 03:05 PM   #17
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Oh, I didn't talk about that in my video because I don't use it but yes it has an aux in - not a 1/8" like the Dice, it has two RCA plugs like on the back of a stereo.

Here's the part you are not going to like though. I am 99% positive that you loose a playlist button when you select that option through the switches on the USA-Spec module.
I have the USA spec as well and I love it. The instructions say that if you use the AUX you lose the direct mode which is to control the ipod from the device. I upgraded my radio and run a seperate AUX just in case I might be using a different device such as a blackberry or some other DAP.

I've had the GROM unit. This was the radio connection. Mine didn't have the USB connection. GROM has excellent customer service, but I kept on having problems with mine. The audio kept on getting garbled or it would just plain lose connection and I would have to take out the radio to disconnect and reconnect...pain. I returned mine 6 times before I finally got a refund.

I've been using the USA spec for a couple of months now and had no problems at all. I've read in other threads that the OEM BMW ipod adapter is a bastardized version of the USA spec.

My only issue with USA spec is that I wished it was a radio connection instead of the cd changer connection in the trunk. It was a pain the run the cables under the carpet. I don't know about anyone else, but I had to remove my seats to run the cable (I don't have fold down seats). At the end it was worth it. I installed the unit underneath the center console. The instructions say to install the device where it can be accessible. I did have to modify the coin holder to make everything fit so if you go this route, be warned, it's not rocket science but it's not a walk in the park either. If I were to do it over again, I would have just installed everything in the trunk and left my ipod in there. I never use the ipod itself, the radio controls are pretty good and the install could have taken about 10 min.

I have no experience with DICE so I can't comment on it. The USA spec works and very well. Seems pretty bulletproof to me. I bought mine at pacificstereo.com for $120.
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Old 08-26-2009, 03:14 PM   #18
steve.325i
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If I were to do it over again, I would have just installed everything in the trunk and left my ipod in there. I never use the ipod itself, the radio controls are pretty good and the install could have taken about 10 min.
I have said the same thing myself. If I hadn't have installed the Dice in the rear ashtray compartment already, I would have just stuck the USA-Spec in the trunk. I have no need to access it. It's always on.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:07 AM   #19
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I have the USA spec as well and I love it. The instructions say that if you use the AUX you lose the direct mode which is to control the ipod from the device. I upgraded my radio and run a seperate AUX just in case I might be using a different device such as a blackberry or some other DAP.

I've had the GROM unit. This was the radio connection. Mine didn't have the USB connection. GROM has excellent customer service, but I kept on having problems with mine. The audio kept on getting garbled or it would just plain lose connection and I would have to take out the radio to disconnect and reconnect...pain. I returned mine 6 times before I finally got a refund.

I've been using the USA spec for a couple of months now and had no problems at all. I've read in other threads that the OEM BMW ipod adapter is a bastardized version of the USA spec.

My only issue with USA spec is that I wished it was a radio connection instead of the cd changer connection in the trunk. It was a pain the run the cables under the carpet. I don't know about anyone else, but I had to remove my seats to run the cable (I don't have fold down seats). At the end it was worth it. I installed the unit underneath the center console. The instructions say to install the device where it can be accessible. I did have to modify the coin holder to make everything fit so if you go this route, be warned, it's not rocket science but it's not a walk in the park either. If I were to do it over again, I would have just installed everything in the trunk and left my ipod in there. I never use the ipod itself, the radio controls are pretty good and the install could have taken about 10 min.

I have no experience with DICE so I can't comment on it. The USA spec works and very well. Seems pretty bulletproof to me. I bought mine at pacificstereo.com for $120.
Yes, the BMW iPod is lame. I bought that thing and didn't realize the USA Spec interface existed. I switched over to the USA Spec and love it. I guess I'll have to take the loss and put the BMW iPod on eBay for whatever I can get for it.

I utilize my USA Spec iPod with a Sirius satellite in the aux on the #6 button. I have no complaints.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:18 AM   #20
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Yes, the BMW iPod is lame....I switched over to the USA Spec and love it. I guess I'll have to take the loss and put the BMW iPod on eBay for whatever I can get for it.
.
Don't worry some noob BMW purist will pay good money for that POS.
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