The VRFM9, shown here, plays...
The VRFM9, shown here, plays MP3 files directly either from SD/MM cards, a USB flash drive, or an external device connected to its aux port. This top-of-the-line unit also displays song-name readout and has a plethora of other features to boot.
How Do They Work?
Actually, it couldn't be simpler. You plug your iPod or other MP3 device from the unit's headphone jack into the receiving jack on the transmitter unit using the supplied cable. you then plug the transmitter unit into the cigarette lighter, turn your FM radio on, and dial up one of the frequencies the transmitter will broadcast to and adjust the volume, tone, and balance to your liking. That's all there is to it.
How's it Sound?
As mentioned earlier, the sound quality of MP3 files depends on a lot of variables including the sample rate, the encoder, and the actual type of audio itself, among other things. There's also another set of variables that are introduced here since we're actually "broadcasting" a signal from the transmitter to the Corvette's FM radio. If you live in an area with a lot of high-tension electrical lines or in a densely-populated urban area, you're likely to experience some distortion or interference that users who are out in the wide-open spaces won't get. This can be compensated to a large degree, however, by selecting another radio frequency the transmitter can send to until you find the one that's best suited to your geographical and urban location.
The ambient noise of your Corvette will also have an effect on the sound quality of your FM-broadcasted MP3s. If you're running a midyear with side pipes, believe me, you're not going to notice any problem with the sound quality, since you're probably going to have your volume turned up just to make out what song is playing in the first place. Ditto for other Corvettes, including C5s sporting Borlas, Billy Boats, Corsas, SLPs, or any other aggressive-sounding exhausts. with these "macho" sounding Corvettes, the MP3 audio imperfections that may be present quickly become non-issues.
How much music is a lot, you ask? Well, here's an example: I have an iPod with a 30 gigabyte hard drive in it, and it will hold 7,500 songs. Do the math-if the average album has, let's say, 15 songs on it, this puppy will hold 500 full-length albums. And it fits in your shirt pocket, the battery lasts about 30 hours between charges, and it's way cool. What's not to love?
Eerybody seems to have jumped on the MP3 bandwagon, and Roadmaster USA is one of the manufacturers producing devices to make MP3s easier to listen to in your Corvette or other vehicle. The company has four models in different price ranges that provide different capabilities. Shown at the begining of this article are the four VRFM modulators that I had the opportunity to spend some hands-on time with.
At the top is a 4GB USB flash...
At the top is a 4GB USB flash drive, with a 2-gigabyte secure digital card below to the left and a 2-gigabyte multimedia card to the right. The SC and MMC cards are smaller than postage stamps, yet hold hundreds of songs each; the 4-gigabyte flash drive holds double the songs.
In general, the VRFM modulators plug into your Corvette's cigarette lighter to play your favorite MP3, WMA, iPod, CD, or MP3 player music through your car's radio. The VRFM can transmit this high-quality music from an SD (secure digital) card, MMC (multimedia card), USB (universal serial bus) or audio input device, including MP3 players, USB memory key, and CD and DVD players. It can even play any MP3 and WMA music saved on an SD card or USB Memory.
If you are interested in adding MP3 capilility to your Corvette, take a closer look at each of Roadmaster's FM modulator models.
| DIFFICULTY INDEX ::: || N |
|ANYONE'S PROJECT | no tools required || N |
|BEGINNER | basic tools || NN |
|EXPERIENCED | special tools || NNN |
|ACCOMPLISHED | special tools and outside help || NNNN |
|PROFESSIONALS ONLY | send this work out || NNNNN |