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Old 05-09-2011, 12:27 PM   #1
spiderz17
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 12
My Ride: E46 M3 SMG
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.

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.
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