I hate car stereos. They refuse to have a standard line-in jack, so plugging in your MP3 player is a terrible hassle. I use a tape adapter and it boils my blood to hear tape hiss and rattling wheels. FM adapters are worse.

I'm shopping for a new car and figured I should make having a reasonable MP3 solution part of the choice. I don't want to buy an aftermarket head unit; I live in San Francisco, things get stolen. I found several trunk mounted hard drive players that integrate in various ways. Do you know of something better?

PhatNoise. 20 gig: ~$850
Goes through great lengths to emulate the CD changer protocol so you can control the MP3 collection from your head unit. They also make the Kenwood Music Keg, an RF system.
UI: head unit's CD changer. Interface: CD changer.
MuzicVault. 20 gig: $350
Hooks in via FM or patched into stereo.
UI: Palm Pilot (wacky!). Interface: FM or patch in.
Neo Car Jukebox. 20 gig: $300
Looks like the Fast Eddie edition.
UI: wired remote. Interface: FM or patch in.
Omnifi DMP-1: 20 gig: $600
Big feature is a wireless adapter ($70) which lets you load music on it when the car is in your garage. I have a feeling this doesn't work as well as you'd hope.
UI: wired remote. Installation: patch in, scanty details.
What's most important is the UI and the way it hooks into the stereo. The PhatNoise is unique in its emulation of the CD changer protocol, that seems like a significant advantage.
  2004-05-31 16:10 Z