Four Ways to Play your MP3 through your Car Stereo
If you’re like many of us, you’ve invested a lot of time and money in creating a
great collection of songs on your MP3 player, and you want to be able to enjoy
them wherever you are. Sure it’s great to hear your music when you’re walking,
riding a bike, or out jogging, but what about when you’re in your car? Listening to
music while traveling seems to be a natural combination, but how can you listen
to your songs using your car stereo? Here are some options:
AUX input on stereo itself
If you’re lucky enough to have a relatively new car, your stereo probably has an
AUX input on its face. All you need to do is connect a 1/8″ (5mm) stereo cable
from the headphone jack on your MP3 to the AUX input jack on your stereo.
Select AUX as your input on the stereo itself and you’re in business. The cables
only cost about $5 and are available almost anywhere electronics are sold.
The only downside to this set up is you need to be sure your MP3 is well charged
and have your charger close by as your stereo won’t charge your MP3 while it’s
Don’t have a new car with an AUX input? You’ve still got some options.
This is probably the most cost-effective option you can find. A cassette adapter
looks like an old cassette tape except it has a small 1/8″ inch wire coming out
of it that you plug into the headphone jack of your MP3 player. Simply insert the
cassette adapter into your car’s cassette player and your digital music will be
played through your stereo.
The obvious problem with this solution is that not many cars have cassette
players in them any more.
Wireless transmitter (FM transmitter)
This tiny transmitter device plugs directly into the headphone output of your MP3
then transmits the music as FM radio waves that can be picked up by your car
stereo. You set the transmitter to a particular FM frequency (station) that isn’t
being used by a radio station then tune your stereo to the same station and you
can listen to your songs through the stereo.
Unfortunately this option has a couple of issues associated with it. Both the
transmitter and MP3 are being powered by the MP3 so it will quickly run out of
battery power (although some newer transmitters do include a charger option
that can actually charge both your MP3 and the transmitter.) Also if you’re
travelling any distance, a radio station along your route could use the FM
frequency you have selected, so you may need to adjust the tuning on your
transmitter and radio.
A wired adapter that connects directly to your car stereo provides the best
possible sound quality. Just as the name implies the adapter is wired right into
your car stereo (usually on the back of the unit), and a 1/8″wire is run out front
to a convenient location. You simply plug the wire into your MP3, and it plays
directly through the stereo unit with the added advantages that you can often
control your MP3 (volume, song selection) through your stereo and the adapters
will often charge your MP3 while it plays.
The disadvantage is these wired adapters usually require professional
If you need to find a user manual or get product support for your MP3 player or
your car stereo system, visit the OwnerIQ Library.