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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 playing. Don’t have a new car with an AUX input? You’ve still got some options. Cassette adapter 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. Direct connection 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 installation. 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.
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