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      02-14-2008, 02:06 PM   #1
eclipsisNA
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My recommendation for a USB flash drive/iPod replacement

Jason/mods, please don't move this to the Audio section. Being most people don't view that forum, I thought this would help the good amount of people that are getting the iPod adapter.

I started another topic a while back asking about what a good choice for a USB flash would be. After a ton of research, I settled on the Corsair Flash Voyager 8GB. I've had the unit for about three weeks now and can give a brief synopsis of its overall quality.



It's encased in sturdy and firm rubber padding. Tests have shown that you can run it over and it'll remain in pristine quality. This is unlike many earlier USB flash drives that were in normal plastic housings that could break without much harassment.

The unit I bought in particular is the 8GB version, which holds roughly 1,300 songs in 320kbps quality. A main factor in considering a flash drive is it's read speed, and the Flash Voyager is the fastest unit on the market (outside of its more expensive brother the Flash Voyager GT). It's average read speed is 38 mb/s, which is a great deal faster than other drives that average around 8 mb/s. Even if you're sending FLAC quality songs through your amp, there won't be any lag time in requesting the song and it appearing through the speakers.

The MAJOR plus in running a USB flash drive instead of your iPhone/iPod as the host of your MP3s is that iPhones/iPods process the audio signal and they do it in analog only. Flash drives on the other hand don't do any of the processing at all. They hand that task over to the unit installed in your car which in turn does it digitally, thus giving a more pristine representation of the original MP3/WAV's quality.

The Voyager comes with a USB extension cable that allows you to clear the height restriction in our tiny armrests. Overall I think this is the ideal piece of hardware to use with the iPod adapter that many of us will be getting. If anyone's interested, Newegg has a good deal on it:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820233037
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      02-14-2008, 02:29 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xcellere View Post
iPhones/iPods process the audio signal and they do it in analog only.
Questions:

1. Are you saying the iPod will not output a digital signal dricetly to the head unit in the car? Are you sure about this?

2. If you don't get the iPod option, is there a USB port that comes standard with the car that you can plug this into? Will it be recognized by the audio system in the car?

3. I thought the main advantage of getting the iPod option was the ability to browse through your collections with the car's interface. This clearly would not allow for that, right?
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      02-14-2008, 02:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Questions:

1. Are you saying the iPod will not output a digital signal dricetly to the head unit in the car? Are you sure about this?

2. If you don't get the iPod option, is there a USB port that comes standard with the car that you can plug this into? Will it be recognized by the audio system in the car?

3. I thought the main advantage of getting the iPod option was the ability to browse through your collections with the car's interface. This clearly would not allow for that, right?
I can't answer on the digital v analog issue, but I'm pretty sure the LCD display will show the USB drive's contents in a folder tree format. So you should be able to browse your drive just fine as long as you organize it properly in folders. I think it even can read the playlists.
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      02-14-2008, 02:47 PM   #4
eclipsisNA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Questions:

1. Are you saying the iPod will not output a digital signal dricetly to the head unit in the car? Are you sure about this?

2. If you don't get the iPod option, is there a USB port that comes standard with the car that you can plug this into? Will it be recognized by the audio system in the car?

3. I thought the main advantage of getting the iPod option was the ability to browse through your collections with the car's interface. This clearly would not allow for that, right?
Hey Lucid,

1. Yes, I'm sure about that. iPhones/iPods do an internal digital to analog conversion and subsequent audio/video degradation occurs once the sound hits your speakers.

2. The iPod Adapter itself is simply a USB port. So no, without the iPod Adapter you won't have a USB port to plug this device into. And yes, iDrive will recognize this flash drive just fine as I've tested it in the 08 M5 and it works with no lag time whatsoever.

3. Actually USB flash drives do allow for browsing your content library through the iDrive interface. iPods and USB flash drives merely store the ID3 tags linked to your songs, so it's up to the iDrive system to sort, organize, and display your library.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by eclipsisNA; 02-14-2008 at 04:56 PM.
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      02-14-2008, 02:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Questions:

1. Are you saying the iPod will not output a digital signal dricetly to the head unit in the car? Are you sure about this?

2. If you don't get the iPod option, is there a USB port that comes standard with the car that you can plug this into? Will it be recognized by the audio system in the car?

3. I thought the main advantage of getting the iPod option was the ability to browse through your collections with the car's interface. This clearly would not allow for that, right?
1. He's correct, it is only analog line out.

2. No; you have to get the 6FL option (iPod/USB adapter)

3. If the data in the USB is correctly tagged and organized you will see pretty much the same display organization as an iPod playlist scheme.
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      02-14-2008, 02:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Questions:

1. Are you saying the iPod will not output a digital signal dricetly to the head unit in the car? Are you sure about this?
Most is already answered. Just one note: You can hook an iPod up via USB only and hence the data is transferred digitally IF 1) you're not playing DRM protected songs AND 2) the iPod is formatted in a PC file system (IIRC).


Best regards, south
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      02-14-2008, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southlight View Post
Most is already answered. Just one note: You can hook an iPod up via USB only and hence the data is transferred digitally IF 1) you're not playing DRM protected songs AND 2) the iPod is formatted in a PC file system (IIRC).

Best regards, south
In other words, your iPod will no longer be an iPod, just a portable HDD.
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      02-14-2008, 03:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
In other words, your iPod will no longer be an iPod, just a portable HDD.
If I understand it correctly it will still be an iPod, but iTunes (which transfers the data) must be run on a Windows system. Right?


Best regards, south
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      02-14-2008, 04:31 PM   #9
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Will you notice a difference in sound quality on already lossy files? I wonder. The other question is which piece of electronics has the better DAC -- the iPod or the BMW head unit?

Either way, I'll be using the iPhone I already have for the double-duty.
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      02-14-2008, 04:36 PM   #10
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Hmmm I did not realise the iPod signal was analogue when using the iPod cable. Makes complete sense though...That is unacceptable. Flash drive for me!
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      02-14-2008, 04:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keto View Post
Will you notice a difference in sound quality on already lossy files? I wonder. The other question is which piece of electronics has the better DAC -- the iPod or the BMW head unit?

Either way, I'll be using the iPhone I already have for the double-duty.
Yes, the difference is noticeable. The BMW head unit doesn't do DAC, that's the iPod's job. The transfer from the USB flash drive to the BMW head unit is completely digital with no loss in quality.

This is how my setup is going to work:

1. The Flash Voyager in my center console to provide music.
2. iPhone in my pocket for BMW Assist bluetooth. This way I don't have to plug in and unplug the iPhone every time I get in and out of the car.

I don't see a reason to use the iPhone for double duty when it's a hassle and the Flash Voyager is only $50 shipped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by southlight View Post
If I understand it correctly it will still be an iPod, but iTunes (which transfers the data) must be run on a Windows system. Right?


Best regards, south
Correct, because flash drives use FAT32 as their File Allocation Table, and FAT32 is native to Windows.

Last edited by eclipsisNA; 02-14-2008 at 05:59 PM.
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      02-14-2008, 05:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xcellere View Post
Correct, because flash drives use FAT32 as their File Allocation Table, and FAT32 is native to Windows.
Thanks for the confirmation. This is a nice option (of plugging) with iTunes Plus library getting bigger.


Best regards, south
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      02-14-2008, 05:28 PM   #13
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I use the exact same flash memory, but the 16gb version. Works superb! I would really recommend this to all Bimmer guys who has the USB adapter.

Haven't figured out on how to use the "playlist" though... Haven't even tried yet so.. :P I guess the .m3u files has to be in the root of the flash drive?
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      02-14-2008, 05:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Champagne View Post
Haven't figured out on how to use the "playlist" though... Haven't even tried yet so.. :P I guess the .m3u files has to be in the root of the flash drive?
Stick your USB drive into a port, start windows media player, goto settings (tools->options->burn->data discs->add a list of all burned files in this format) and change the default playlist type to .m3u (click OK), click on "library", select "create playlist" on the menu on the left, then just browse the folders on your USB drive and drag files into the "Drag items here" pane on windows media player. When you've finished click on "save playlist". The playlist will be saved to <user name>/Music/Playlists. Go there, find the playlist (make sure it has been saved as a .m3u file) you have created and copy it to the root directory of your USB drive. Done.

Thanks to GeriFix for the above insight.
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      02-14-2008, 06:08 PM   #15
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Thanks for the tip about the FD Excellere. I would definitely get a 16GB when I get my car. It'll probably go down by then (price).
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      02-14-2008, 07:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xcellere View Post
I don't see a reason to use the iPhone for double duty when it's a hassle and the Flash Voyager is only $50 shipped.
No choice if you purchase songs from the iTunes music store.
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      02-14-2008, 07:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apw2607 View Post
No choice if you purchase songs from the iTunes music store.
I never use iTunes. Why? Every song they offer is 128kbps. I'd rather use Amazon, mp3sparks.com, or buy a used (and CHEAP) CD in very good condition off of Amazon that has the track I want. I've done that many times. My philosophy is 256/320kbps or nothing at all.
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      02-14-2008, 07:30 PM   #18
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Horses for courses my friend. Giving folks the choice makes most sense ...
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      02-14-2008, 07:48 PM   #19
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Horses for courses my friend. Giving folks the choice makes most sense ...
Exactly. Whatever floats people's boats.
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      02-14-2008, 08:17 PM   #20
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Will a USB powered portable disk drive work with the BMW USB port. I'm speaking of a drive similiar to the Western Digital Passport. Like the one found here:

http://www.westerndigital.com/global...e=frnt&lang=en
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      02-14-2008, 08:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skierman64 View Post
Will a USB powered portable disk drive work with the BMW USB port. I'm speaking of a drive similiar to the Western Digital Passport. Like the one found here:

http://www.westerndigital.com/global...e=frnt&lang=en
No it won't.
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      02-14-2008, 08:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xcellere View Post
Hey Lucid,

1. Yes, I'm sure about that. iPhones/iPods do an internal digital to analog conversion and subsequent audio/video degradation occurs once the sound hits your speakers.

2. The iPod Adapter itself is simply a USB port. So no, without the iPod Adapter you won't have a USB port to plug this device into. And yes, iDrive will recognize this flash drive just fine as I've tested it in the 08 M5 and it works with no lag time whatsoever.

3. Actually USB flash drives do allow for browsing your content library through the iDrive interface. iPods and USB flash drives merely store the ID3 tags linked to your songs, so it's up to the iDrive system to sort, organize, and display your library.

Hope this helps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
1. He's correct, it is only analog line out.

2. No; you have to get the 6FL option (iPod/USB adapter)

3. If the data in the USB is correctly tagged and organized you will see pretty much the same display organization as an iPod playlist scheme.
Thanks guys. This is really helpful.
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