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An inexpensive MP3 solution for your NSX

10 September 2002
I found the VR3 MP3 FM Modulator for under $25 at my local Costco yesterday. It plugs into your cigarette lighter, and accepts and plays any USB drive containing MP3s through your FM radio. There is also a mini-stereo jack for hooking up your iPod, walkman, etc.

There are some limitations of course, and the sound quality is so-so, but for a cheap MP3 player it's not bad. Here are some more reviews on it:


Walmart may also carry it, but it's a little more.

I thought this might be a good alternative for the NSX owners who don't have MP3 capability, and don't want to shell out $$$ for a more expensive solution.
That is really cool. Looks like it might not clear the shifter on an NSX though.
so... uh... can anyone confirm if it does indeed clear the shifter? :biggrin:
khappucino said:
so... uh... can anyone confirm if it does indeed clear the shifter? :biggrin:
Even if it does clear, I suspect that the sound quality is not always up to par...

I have the OEM cassette player and so I've tried several different solutions to get CD or MP3 sound to work on my NSX... here are my impressions...

I tried the iROCK FM transmitter with my iRiver MP3 player and it sounded somewhat staticky....
I bought the SONY DCC-E34CP Portable CD Player Car Adapter Kit and tried it with a generic portable CD-player... the sound was somewhat flat and sounded worse than just playing tapes in the player...
I also tried the SONY DCC-E34CP Portable CD Player Car Adapter Kit with my iRiver MP3 player and this gave decent sound which sounded as good or better than playing tapes in the deck

I've considered buying the Alpine OEM system...I think I can get it $700-$800 installed... but the price seems too high.. considering I will not have MP3 capability...

So for now, I feel my best option is just the SONY adapter with the MP3 player... and I can hope for a better solution in the future...
After reading Kelvin's post on this I went to Costco and got one. It was about $24. I figured, heck, if it doesn't work out, just return it to Costco.

I already had the iROCK FM transmitter, but that gets staticky(sp?) and requires its own batteries. That was a waste of $30.

First, I have not tried it on the NSX. I will try it on there tonight and see if it clears the shifter. I put it in my Integra and it fits fine (though I had to turn it a little clockwise to clear the edge of the center console - not a big deal). Here are my impressions:
1. Works well as a low cost solution. Under $25 - can't beat that. Gives you the USB option and the wired option. You can use the USB port to charge or power other low power consumption USB devices (like PDA, etc). Accepts a portable flash drive - make your MP3 list as big as you want (though a large list might not be the best idea - no track memory feature).
2. Sound quality is good, not great. Some songs sound like they are playing in a tunnel (that could just be the quality of the MP3 file itself), but the unit has a volume up/down option and if you spend a few seconds with it, you can "tune" the units volume to work reasonably well with your audio set up.
3. The unit resets itself if power is removed (read: turn the car off) from the cig lighter socket (as is the case in every Honda I've ever owned), so when you power it back up, the unit starts back at the beginning of the MP3 list and you have to choose the radio freq. again. A little annoying, but it only takes a few secconds to forward back to where you were. If you have a car with a constantly powered socket, then just hit the stop button before turning your car off and the unit will start playing where you left off (since it remains powered).
4. What I wish it had: Track indicator (at least numerical), memory to go back to where you left off and a random play option. Otherwise for $24, I'm pretty happy.

I'll post again after testing it in the NSX. I'll let you know if it clears the shifter. My guess is that the unit itself will clear the shifter and the variable that might make it not fit is the length of the flash drive you plug in to it.
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Update. Tested this unit in the NSX.
Fit: The unit itself fits the cig lighter fine and it does clear the shifter. All you have to do is turn the unit counterclockwise 45 degrees so that the USB port is facing the passenger compartment and the unit buttons are facing the driver. This actually works well b/c the driver gets a better view of the buttons.
Sound: Sounds like I described in my previous post. Good, not great, but for $25, no major complaints.
USB drive size: I used a 256MB drive and fit about 60 songs on it. Larger drives will work. The documentation says 512MB will work. I don't know if drives larger than that will work - they should - I can't think of why they wouldn't.
Loading files: You have to load the files "loose". No folders. This means the music will play in the order you placed them in on the drive.
Other power off items: In addition to what I mentioned in my first post, after the power goes off you have to reset the frequency (and volume if you changed the unit volume) when you power on again.
Will I keep it?: Yes. I'll keep it. Its useful since its basically a mini music changer that can go from one car to another.
Other thoughts: Why couldn't I think of something like this? D@mn! I need to invent something cool so I don't spend all day browsing prime at work. :smile:
mickeylex said:
after the power goes off you have to reset the frequency (and volume if you changed the unit volume) when you power on again.

I also picked one up today, sound quailty is not bad, much better than I had expected.

Big thanks to original thread starter and mickeylex.

When power goest off, I actually did not had to reset the frequency when start up again, it remain the same frequency.

Is it ok to leave the unit plugged in the whole time even when the car is shut off?

Too bad it will rain next few days, I can't wait to drive it.
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well i was considering the direct wire fm modulator solution,
but it seems that this cheap pragmatic solution may fare better,
my previous years with a 18" sub in my crx :biggrin: have
probably deafened my ear to minute timbre so i'll check this out,
at least its somewhat stylish looking :biggrin:
Thanks for the update, Nalesh! You "rock" (no pun intended :D)

nsxsupra said:
Is it ok to leave the unit plugged in the whole time even when the car is shut off?
Yeah, I don't see why not. Except I would store it out of sight, especially if you're going to be away from the car for a while. Don't want any more temptation for thieves, as if the NSX doesn't get enough attention already..
These things sold out at my Costco in two days. I went there on Tuesday and got mine. Went back yesterday (Thursday) for some microfiber towels, stopped by the VR3 modulator display and they were out of stock. On Tuesday they had (what looked like) 60-80 of them and by Thursday they were all gone.
Wowsers. :eek: Considering you are in the heart of the silicon valley, I guess it shouldn't come as a shock.

I went to the Costco by me (near Sun City), and there were still plenty on the shelf. :D