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THE DICEMEN
DICE iPOD integration kit and HD DICE HD radio receiver

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Oct 8, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

By Roy Nakano DICE iPod Integration Kit Once upon a time, I had a hard time understanding the virtues of using an iPod in a vehicle. Why would I want to listen to an audio device with sound quality inferior to that of a CD, fiddle with controls that are even tinier than the ones in the car, and have to view the information on a screen measuring about one inch by two inches? That was then. I subsequently tried it and was hooked. More specifically, I bought one to use with the DICE (as in Digital In Car Entertainment) iPod Integration Kit and was hooked. The DICE device makes it all so easy. We hook up the iPod Integration Kit to our Prius project car (experienced installation assistance recommended), plug in an iPod, changed the audio mode to CD Changer (in some cases, SAT mode), and iPod program information shows up on the vehicle's audio information screen under "CD changer." The sound quality through the DICE iPod interface is excellent. Even with our project car's amplified Bazooka subwoofer-equipped audio system, the sound is clean, extended, and virtually the equal of the system's sound in CD mode. As an added bonus, the DICE iPOD Integration Kit also works with your iPhone, if you happen to be one of the pioneering owners of the trick new wireless telephone. With the ability to hear the favorite selections of your entire CD collection, not to mention your existing iTune/MP3 catalog, it becomes abundantly clear that this mode of playback is an essential part of one's automotive audio repertoire. The DICE iPod Integration Kit works with selected models from BMW, Mini Cooper, Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Honda, and Acura. If your vehicle does not have iPod integration, the DICE unit can add an abundance of joy to your commutes.

HD DICE HD Radio Receiver DICE also makes the HD DICE, a unit that can turn your audio system to an HD Radio player as well as an iPod player. The HD DICE package includes an HD Radio tuner, an HD Radio antenna that mounts on the inside of your vehicle's windshield, and vehicle-specific cables. Like the iPod Integration Kit, HD DICE integrates with the controls and displays of a number of vehicles, including our Prius project car. As with the iPod Integration Kit, experienced installation assistance is recommended. However, the DICE Electronics website has some detailed instructions available for specific models. Be sure to take a look at the instructions to see if it looks like something you can handle on your own. Unfortunately, there are some idiosyncracies about HD Radio that keep us from enjoying total satisfaction with the medium. For one, HD Radio signals - at least in mobile applications - are subject to some of the same multipath and adjacent channel aberrations encountered by non-high definition radio. When it's working optimally, the sound quality is stellar, and clearly a step up from non-HD radio. Unfortunately, the interference problems are a tad too frequent for my enjoyment. The aberrations should subside as the technology improves, but HD Radio has another problem. Much of the programming is a carbon copy of commercial terrestrial radio - commercials and all. In other words, you'll hear much of the same programming garbage that one already hears on radio - albeit in high definition. This too may change for the better over time. As it stands, however, it's garbage in and garbage out. For the time being, I'll stick with satellite radio. A good satellite unit suffers less of the multipath and adjacent channel problems of HD radio in mobile applications. Satellite radio signals don't do as well in tunnels and parking lots, but newer units have made vast improvements in this area. Moreover, the programming on satellite radio is a quantum improvement over terrestrial radio - HD or otherwise. On the other hand, the HD DICE is typically only $50 more than the iPod Integration Kit (depending on your car), so for the price of two dinners at Todai's, you might consider the HD DICE as a cost-effective introduction to the new medium of HD Radio. As an added bonus, a cable to hook up your iPod is an available option on the HD DICE. In addition, you can opt for an auxiliary connecting cable that will allow you to hard wire a DVD player, MP3 player or aftermarket satellite radio receiver through the HD DICE receiver. All-in-all, you may decide the whole HD DICE package is worth the extra money you'll have to pay over the iPod Integration Kit alone.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT Two thumbs up for the DICE iPod Integration Kit. One thumb up for the HD DICE, but at the price of two dinners more than the Integration Kit, the HD DICE is an admittedly cost-effective way to access HD Radio - notwithstanding the medium's idiosyncracies. For more information about DICE products and whether your vehicle works with these units, go to diceelectronics.com.

SPECIFICATIONS DICE iPod Car Integration Kit from $159 (vehicle dependent)

  • Controls from radio, steering wheel and iPod
  • CD-quality audio (depends on MP3 bitrate)
  • Browse music by song, playlist, album and chapter
  • Features an AUX input to allow connection of aftermarket satellite radio, non Apple MP3 players and more
  • Keeps iPod charged
  • Comes standard with a "docking cable"
  • Optional cradle with video out available
  • Works with iPhone and most newer iPods (go to DICE site for specifics)

W: 2.65", H: 1", L: 3.75", black plastic, 2 mounting holes, 3 connectors, 2 dip switches, vehicle specific (fits certain Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Honda, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mazda, Mini Cooper, Scion, Toyota and Volkswagen models. Coming soon: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, and Pontiac) . HD DICE HD Radio receiver from $199 (vehicle dependent) Includes:

  • Digital AM/FM HD Radio receiver
  • HD multicast compatible
  • Hard-wired interface for optimum audio quality
  • The interface connects to vehicles external device (SAT/CDC) port
  • HD glass mount AM/FM antenna
  • iPod connection port, optional cable required
  • Auxiliary input for additional audio playback devices
  • Integrated controls from radio and steering wheel
  • TEXT on OEM radio display

Works with certain BMW, Mini Cooper, Toyota, Lexus, Scion, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Honda, and Acura models (go to DICE site for specifics). MANUFACTURER: DICE ELECTRONICS, LLC Corporate office location: 297 Kingsbury, Suite D, Box 4470, Stateline, NV 89449 (No walk-ins) Sales office location: 3720 Industry Avenue #108 Lakewood, CA 90712 Hours: Monday-Friday 9 AM - 5 PM (PT) Telephone:1-888-DICE-999 (1-888-342-3999) Email: [email protected]

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