MP3s on the Road: 3 Ways to Play your MP3s in your Car


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Let’s face it, by now who doesn’t own some sort of MP3 player? Whether it is an IPOD or a less popular MP3 player made by manufacturers such as Sony or Creative Labs, everyone that I know has an MP3 player (except for my grandmother, who still doesn’t know what an MP3 is anyway). Regardless of the brand, to be able to use any type of MP3 player, you must have MP3s to upload and listen to on your MP3 player.

That being the case, many people prefer purchasing single MP3s from sites like iTunes and Napster versus paying ten dollars or more to purchase an entire CD which only contains one or two songs that the individual likes. With all of the MP3s that people have amassed over the few years that they’ve been extremely popular, it now presents somewhat of a dilemma when they want to play the MP3s they’ve collected in their car audio system. For those who have a standard in-dash CD player or CD changer, the only solution is to burn the MP3s onto a recordable CD and play the CD in the car. This solution can be both costly and time consuming if you are constantly updating your MP3 collection as you have to continuously buy blank CDs and go through the CD burning process each time you want to play a new collection of MP3s in your car. Thankfully there are several products on the market these days to give MP3 owners more options when it comes to playing their MP3s in the car.

MP3 Car Adapter Kit: The most economical way to play your MP3s directly in your vehicle is to purchase a simple MP3 Car Adapter Kit. These kits are similar to the portable CD player kits that were popular before CD players became standard in automobiles. In fact, many of the MP3 Car Adapter Kits also allow you the ability to still hook up a portable CD player or any other type of portable music device. These kits are very simple to use as well. In most cases you simply connect the adapter to your car’s 12v power supply or cigarette lighter and in turn hook up your MP3 player to the adapter. After your MP3 player is hooked up to your adapter, you simply play your music as you normally would on your MP3 player, and the music is broadcasted through your car’s speakers.

CD Player w/ MP3 playback: Another option would be to purchase an in-dash CD player that has the capability to play MP3s that are copied to a recordable CD. This type of CD player allows you to copy your MP3s onto a recordable CD instead of having to “burn" them onto the CD. This offers a cost and time advantage as by simply copying the MP3s to a recordable CD, you are able to copy more MP3 files versus burning the MP3s onto the CD. When you burn the MP3s onto a CD, the burning process transform the music file from its MP3 format to a format that is recognizable by traditional CD players. You are able to copy more MP3 files, allowing you to save disk space and in turn save money by purchasing less recordable CDs.

Digital CD/MP3 Receiver: Now there is something even better for MP3 owners who want to take their MP3s on the road with them. Sony recently released the first car audio receiver unit with the capability to “drag-and-drop" your MP3s into the unit just like you would normally do with your IPOD or MP3 player. The Sony GigaPanel MEX-1GP is a car audio receiver that features a removable faceplate like most of the other receivers on the market today. However this faceplate also comes with a USB port and a 1GB flash memory drive that allows you store up to 500 MP3 song files. You simply use the USB cable that comes with the receiver to connect it to your PC and transfer the MP3 files just like you would with your IPOD or MP3 player. Once you’re done copying your MP3s to the receiver’s faceplate, you simple reattach the faceplate and proceed to listen to your MP3s in your car. The receiver also allows you to play regular CDs and CDs with MP3 files copied onto them as well. This revolutionary new product is sure to make an impact in the highly competitive car audio industry. I’ve already ordered one for my vehicle and I can’t wait to install it!

Dwayne Wright is an automotive enthusiast with over 20 years of experience in the automotive industry. If you decide to upgrade your car audio system with an aftermarket car audio receiver, visit his site at to find a car audio installer in your area to install your new receiver.


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