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Bavarian Soundwerks' Mobile Electronics Forum
Have all your A/V and electronics questions answered here. Ipods, A/V, Radar Detectors Oh My!
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:11 PM   #1
shingo43
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Vancouver BC
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My Ride: 04 325ci
Grom or SoundPlicity please help me decide

hello guys
I just bought a 2004 325ci and new to the forum.
I found my business cdplayer does not support mp3 cds and it does not have bluetooth. I'd like to upgrade to something that has both functionality. So basically I want something that can call/answer via bluetooth, play mp3 via usb or ipod(or both) and can be controlled by the steering wheel.
I did my own research and found there are two units suit my needs.
1.BMW Mini 98-06 GROM USB Bluetooth Android iPod adapter - behind the radio(GROM-USB2P-BMWS) 138.99+49.99=190
http://www.gromaudio.com/store/usb_a...the_radio.html

2.SoundPlicity Control III BMW iPhone / Android / iPod / SiriusXM / Bluetooth Integration Kit $269.99
http://www.bavsound.com/product/711/...n-Control-III/

can anyone please confirm,
1, are both units have exactly the same functionalities?
2, which one have better sound quality?
3, Is SoundPlicity worth the extra $80?
4, Are there any other options besides above two?

Sorry if it was asked before but I didn't find any answers, thanks in advance_a_
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:11 PM   #2
TnT817
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I'd say grom. The soundplicity is just a rebranded dice. Most have had lots of issues with the dice mediabridge.
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Old 10-23-2013, 01:44 PM   #3
Micah D. Cranman
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The SoundPlicity is actually made for us by Audiovox, to our specs. Is it the same as the MediaBridge in terms of the functionality? Yes.

Now, regarding quality and performance, it's true that for some time DICE products suffered from quality control issues, and some units had problems. However, there have been some recent changes in manufacturing practices which have dramatically improved the reliability of these products.

Here's what's changed:

DICE was brought under the Audiovox label, and manufacturing moved from small-batch runs here in the U.S. to much larger manufacturing facilities in China.

Now, that may sound like it would cause quality to go down, but just the opposite has happened. Reason being, in the U.S., because manufacturing was designed to flexible and build on demand rather than produce large runs, DICE had their facility set up so that they could use a simple test bench run by a single person. This checked a couple of parameters to make sure the unit was "within spec" and a quick check against a BMW head unit set up on a bench.

However, this wasn't comprehensive. It was human run QC, and subject to human error and subjectivity. Not every unit was run through every possible test and sometimes units which were close were given a go when they shouldn't have been.

Now units are made in large batches in a strictly quality controlled electronics manufacturing facility and a new computer controlled test bench which runs each unit through comprehensive tests and confirms 100% performance before approving these units for shipping.

The end result is that we've seen a BIG drop in defective units and reliability and performance has gone up quite a bit. They're not perfect, but they're a whole different breed of device now.

The problem, however, is that when you buy a "DICE" or "Audiovox" MediaBridge online from a random vendor, you have essentially no idea when the unit was purchased and under what quality control conditions it was made, or the firmware it's running.

With our Control III, you know you're getting the latest, and you know you're getting our legendary customer service and support.

....

Now, regarding the GROM piece, there are few features it lacks vs. the Control III:

1. It doesn't do an "official" handshake with the iPhone / iPod you're using because it doesn't have an Apple chip inside. It's not part of the "Made for iPod / iPhone" program and that means it's possible that at some point in the future with a software update it might not work.

2. One of the COOLEST features of the Control III is the activation of Siri via the steering wheel controls. Press the talking head button, Siri is activated, and you can make and take calls, open apps, get directions, etc. This is a big deal when you're driving.

The choice is yours, but we think, well, we're the right choice.

http://www.bavariansoundwerks.com/pr...n-Control-III/
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iPod Integration | Plug & Play Speakers | Subwoofer Solutions | Satellite Radio | HD Radio | Bluetooth
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:33 AM   #4
blarf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah D. Cranman View Post
With our Control III, you know you're getting the latest, and you know you're getting our legendary customer service and support.
Legendary customer service or not, the product is ****. After using it for 40 minutes, I'm not looking forward to ripping everything out. The big advantage of the Soundplicity III over the 1 or 2 is the bluetooth support. Unfortunately, the bluetooth support is half baked at best. At half the price, maybe that's OK. At $300? Pass. Playing audio over bluetooth means:

There's static at the start of a stream so short bits like nearly anything Siri says or the first few seconds of music are nearly unintelligible. Once the static subsides the audio becomes muddled but mostly free of distortion.

Certain songs will prevent the navigation buttons (prev/next track) from working.

If you enable scrolling for the song title it prevents the clock from displaying.

BT drops out occasionally, prevents the phone from pausing/stopping music occasionally.

Pairing is glitchy and tedious. I never once saw the radio display that the Soundplicity was discoverable (and yet after going through a few different incantations it was discoverable).

If you want AUX in, the $40 kit from BMW is the way to go. If you want a USB media player, save the $100 BSW premium and just get the Audiovox branded unit from Amazon (or buy one of the Audiovox/DICE units w/o bluetooth) or buy something more stable. If you want a BT dongle, the Soundbridge/Soundplicity ain't it. Now, maybe this could be fixed in firmware. But shouldn't paying the BSW premium mean that you're getting "the latest"? Now, before anyone thinks I just got a bum unit, check out the Amazon reviews for the Audiovox branded equivalent:

http://www.amazon.com/Audiovox-AMBR-...ews/B0078S8T8W

IMO this sums it up best:

Quote:
The poor sound quality and the way it verbally announces (loudly and obnoxiously) "PHONE LINKED" over-and-over-again when nothing's playing tells me this unit was originally designed to just connect to Bluetooth-enabled flip phones for calls.
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Last edited by blarf; 11-03-2013 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:48 PM   #5
Pinned
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah D. Cranman View Post
Now, regarding the GROM piece, there are few features it lacks vs. the Control III:

1. It doesn't do an "official" handshake with the iPhone / iPod you're using because it doesn't have an Apple chip inside. It's not part of the "Made for iPod / iPhone" program and that means it's possible that at some point in the future with a software update it might not work.

2. One of the COOLEST features of the Control III is the activation of Siri via the steering wheel controls. Press the talking head button, Siri is activated, and you can make and take calls, open apps, get directions, etc. This is a big deal when you're driving.

The choice is yours, but we think, well, we're the right choice.
1. Nonsense, if it's firmware updateable it will work as long as the developer updates the firmware. It's just as possible that the soundplicity would stop working with an update (and just as likely that the soundplicity wouldn't even work from the beginning).

2. Yeah, but that only works if you're in the bluetooth streaming mode. Which would have been cool, but that didn't work on my MediaBridge...
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Old 11-03-2013, 02:19 PM   #6
JS330
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I love my grom, had it since 2011 and have had zero issues as such
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I hope he isn't using Pirelli condoms..
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:24 AM   #7
orange260z
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I have the trunk version of the GROM but I am using it strictly for the USB capability - I already had a Parrot/Connects2 system for the BT.

For the money I paid ($85 lightly used, but landed in Canada) I am quite happy with my purchase. But I can't say that it's issue-free - I often need to turn the head unit on and off once to get the GROM to connect. The interface is so-so - it's annoying that within a folder, all files are numbered 1-100 over and over again. Although you can skip from album to album, one album may start at track number 43, the next at track 57, and some may start at 96 and end at 09. It would have been nice if it went folder>album>track, instead of just folder>track with markers to define the album start/finish.

From the research I did, I didn't seem that any of the plug-in solutions to add USB/iPod connectivity to the e46 were perfect and seamless.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:18 PM   #8
Mannydog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blarf View Post
Legendary customer service or not, the product is ****. After using it for 40 minutes, I'm not looking forward to ripping everything out. The big advantage of the Soundplicity III over the 1 or 2 is the bluetooth support. Unfortunately, the bluetooth support is half baked at best. At half the price, maybe that's OK. At $300? Pass. Playing audio over bluetooth means:

There's static at the start of a stream so short bits like nearly anything Siri says or the first few seconds of music are nearly unintelligible. Once the static subsides the audio becomes muddled but mostly free of distortion.

Certain songs will prevent the navigation buttons (prev/next track) from working.

If you enable scrolling for the song title it prevents the clock from displaying.

BT drops out occasionally, prevents the phone from pausing/stopping music occasionally.

Pairing is glitchy and tedious. I never once saw the radio display that the Soundplicity was discoverable (and yet after going through a few different incantations it was discoverable).
Just installed a Grom IPD3 + Bluetooth over the weekend and I have none of those problems. Sound is great either through Bluetooth or iPod/iPhone cable.
No issues, no static, no dropping out so far.

Connected to an iPhone 5 w/iOS 7.

Steering wheel controls work fine for volume and track advance. Only issue is no song info, but I don't know if that's my radio's fault or a glitch (I don't see song names from CDs, but do see them from some radio stations).

I ended up with the radio mount version FWIW.

I paid $146 for the unit (including the iPod/iPhone connector and Bluetooth dongle/mic).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah D. Cranman View Post
Now, regarding the GROM piece, there are few features it lacks vs. the Control III:

1. It doesn't do an "official" handshake with the iPhone / iPod you're using because it doesn't have an Apple chip inside. It's not part of the "Made for iPod / iPhone" program and that means it's possible that at some point in the future with a software update it might not work.
Are you talking about the chip that's part of the Lightning connector?
If so, that's kind of a specious argument, since A) that doesn't come into play if you're using Bluetooth, B) If you use the Grom iPod/iPhone connector, its a 30 pin, so you need an Apple adapter anyway, which will have a proper chip in it if its a legit connector.
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:55 PM   #9
TnT817
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Wanted to chime back in since I have had my grom BT3 for a little over a month now. I have really no issues streaming music or calls. No static or the such either. Only issue I have is every once in a while, maybe once a week, I have to make my iphone forget the grom in the bluetooth settings and reconnect it. I'm running the latest ios 7.03. I have heard that some people with factory BT in their cars are having the same sort of issue with their iphones so I'm going to guess its apple's fault not Grom's. Other than that I love the device. Would be kind of nice to have the siri activate button, but not worth more than double in my opinion.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:38 PM   #10
bmax
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I would suggest not to use Soundplicity because they just changed name from Dice/Mediabridge. Their quality are really bad and will cause your sound problem soon or later. My two cents.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:50 PM   #11
kegm3
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I just installed the Soundplicity III from BavSound in my '04 M3 and I'm very happy with their service and the features all worked as described. Install was straight forward and their web videos were helpful. BT phone call audio needs adjusting but sound through the universal USB and Aux cables are very good, streaming Bluetooth audio good. All steering wheel controls and Siri work as described. I'll have to give a 6 month update, but so far I am pleased and wished I had done this sooner!
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:20 AM   #12
bmax
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Originally Posted by kegm3 View Post
I just installed the Soundplicity III from BavSound in my '04 M3 and I'm very happy with their service and the features all worked as described. Install was straight forward and their web videos were helpful. BT phone call audio needs adjusting but sound through the universal USB and Aux cables are very good, streaming Bluetooth audio good. All steering wheel controls and Siri work as described. I'll have to give a 6 month update, but so far I am pleased and wished I had done this sooner!
Mine was also great till one year later right after its warranty expired. I hope yours will be good forever or will go bad within the warranty period. Good luck!
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:07 AM   #13
Tutankhamon
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To those with the control III, do you need to switch over to bluetooth input on radio to make a call? or when you're receiving a call and you're listening to radio? Also are phone numbers displayed on the radio?

Regarding bluetooth music streaming, can I flip to next track from steering wheel?

Finally, how quickly does the phone pair with the car once you turn the car on?
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:08 AM   #14
Rick.Van
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I installed a Soundplicity III and Level I Driver upgrade two days ago. Other than some navigational issues with my legacy iphone (likely my faulty due to inexperience), all of the functionality is as advertised. My phone does not have Siri, and I do not care for the compression of Sirius satellite service, do I have not used those and cannot comment. But Bluetooth works robustly, the USB port links with and charges my phone, and the Aux mini stereo input works. Telephone calls in and out work as advertised. I live in a "hands free cell town" and this solution is a great improvement over visor mounted Bluetooth. More to the point, the music now is from a deep library and the sound quality is superior (articulate, airy, better sound stage and image, PRAT). The new treble tweeters are a little "fresh and edgy" but we expect this in a robust driver - it needs to be played in for 15 - 20 hours. I only wish they made the ghost sub still for my 2001....but it is out of stock. No regrets and customer service is responsive.
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:11 AM   #15
Rick.Van
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Sorry Tutankhamon - missed your post. No phone calls can go through usb/iphone link, incoming numbers are visible on the radio display, not sure about outgoing numbers.

With Bluetooth you control the music from the phone (except volume) - no physical connection.

Bluetooth pairs faster that my $80 visor mounted gadget from Costco - 20 seconds maybe?
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:27 PM   #16
bayos04
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So that means you have to be on the Bluetooth input or the USB input to make or receive a phone call. As in, if you are listening to normal radio it won't automatically switch. This seems to be the case with all devices the go in place of the cd changer (I have found 4). And this is why I will be installing an aftermarket deck. There is no good solution other than the factory Bluetooth module but it is around $1200 (from my research)


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