Dension ice-Link for iPod mini-review | iLounge News

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Dension ice-Link for iPod mini-review

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Monday, November 17, 2003
News Categories: iPod Accessories

“The Dension Ice-Link for iPod sets out to link your ipod to your car head unit, providing control over the iPod either from the steering wheel buttons/stalk or the head unit itself, and, of course, the iPOD sound plays through the vehicles speakers.

The unit consists of a silver metallic box, slighlty larger than a box of matches, a cable to connect into your head units CD changer socket and an encapsulated PCB that connects the silver convertor box to the iPod and provides iPod charging. [click ‘Read more’]

To function the unit has to perform 2 tasks: convert the iPod’s analogue sound to a digital format that will be recognised as a CD and convert the button presses at the head unit/stalk into pulses that the iPod will recognise and act upon.

My unit is fitted to a Renault with a OEM head unit incorprating SatNav. It took approximately 15 minutes to fit and does everything it claims.

Using the unit gives the user control over Next track, Previous track, volume, FF and FR. When the radio is selected the iPod turns off and when it is selected again, by selecting CD, it turns on and resumes from the last play position. Turning the vehicle off also turns the iPod off.

Overall the unit performs very well with no discernable impact on sound quality and makes driving and iPoding a breeze. Build quality is excellent and customer service has been great. At around 90 it may seem expensive but when compared to the 60 for a straightforward RCA input unit it is good value considering the extra functionality.”

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Comments

1

Wow, I was intrested until I saw the price.

Posted by Chupacabra on November 17, 2003 at 7:42 AM (PDT)

2

It’s unfortunate that it requires cables into both the headphone jack and dock connector (for juice). I can only assume that the dock connector does _not_ allow remote control of the ipod. It would seem an oversight by Apple to have not included that capability in the dock connector.

Posted by Joel on November 17, 2003 at 10:33 AM (PDT)

3

You need to see what the future holds - say no more!

Posted by Ashley Scott on November 17, 2003 at 10:52 AM (PDT)

4

it doesn’t require cables into the dock connector, it requires cables into the old G2/G1 firewire port. While you could use your firewire-to-30pin cable that came with your ipod, it would only provide juice, not a line out or ability to control playback.
Instead, it looks like the ice link uses the iPod remote line for control of volume and playback and for audio. So, you could use the connection without powering your iPod if desired.

Perhaps a newer model is forthcoming that will use the dock wire to do all of the above functions.  But without an iTunes-like library management system included in the adapter, I don’t think it’s possible to manipulate and play the iPod library through the dock connection. For now, this seems like a good solution if you would like to use car controls for your iPod. (especially if you have steering wheel controls or if you don’t have a dashboard mount for your ‘pod)

The Belkin auto kit provides charge for the iPod and a single cord into it, but leaves you with the necessity of controling the music via the ipod controls, which could be dangerous. At the least, don’t try to make yourself an OTG playlist while navigating traffic.

Posted by Wunderdave on November 17, 2003 at 11:52 AM (PDT)

5

I already have mine, I ordered it from [url=http://www.ihavetohave.it]http://www.ihavetohave.it[/url]

It is absolutely fantastic, it’s what I always wanted since I bought my first 5GB iPod. I paid the extra to have Carphone Warehouse install it as I didn’t want to mess around with the car-stereo in my VW Golf.

I can’t rave about this thing enough smile

Si.

Posted by Sighmansea on November 17, 2003 at 1:01 PM (PDT)

6

here’s a problem i see…future compatibility.  They have different versions for the 3rd Gen and 2nd Gen ipods.

A kit that just adds aux capability is compatible with *any* device with a line out.  I have a 2nd gen but will probably get the newest version a year from now (4th gen by then?)  With this product, I’d have to get a new system with each ipod upgrade.

Right?

Posted by Huggies on November 17, 2003 at 1:52 PM (PDT)

7

The problem I can see with the Ice-Link is that the sound you get is through the Phono-Out meaning that if you have a sub-woofer and you play your music LOUD, you will hear distortion at a much lower volume than if it was Line-Out.

Phono-out is for head-phones.

When Dension make a Line-out Ice-Link, I’ll buy one immediately.

Posted by Sambo on November 17, 2003 at 3:26 PM (PDT)

8

before I heard about the ice link I was going to have a dock mounted in my 2002 BMW325CI in the rear ashtray get the blitzsafe rca kit and use the remote for my 40gb ipod to control while driving.  Why cant ice link use dock connector for line out and juce ans have a separate remote port cable for the steering wheel. I use my remote to change tracks when ipos is in the dock at home.

Posted by jj on November 17, 2003 at 4:37 PM (PDT)

9

Good point jj…there’s no reason why you can’t use a dock to get line out to the Ice-Link.

OK I’m placing my order.

Posted by Sambo on November 17, 2003 at 8:05 PM (PDT)

10

but if we use the dock line out will the steering wheel controls for volume and track work?

Posted by jjfiore on November 18, 2003 at 6:59 AM (PDT)

11

I’m dying for one. However, I have a 2002 BMW (which has DSP) so I’m out of luck. From their FAQ:

“DSP converter is available for additional charge to the price of ICE-Link. We will be adding this option to our online order soon.”

Hoping this option appears sooner rather than later!

Posted by Nicholas Howard in Los Angeles, CA on November 18, 2003 at 10:45 AM (PDT)

12

I emailed apple a few days ago to see if they would give me any information on the docking connector, I also specifically asked if the remote commands can be used through the dock connector. They told me about the non disclosure act etc, but they also said:
“Yes the remote commands are available through the bottom connector”
So it seams that it is possible for the Ice-Link to use just the docking connector, this would allow you to have line out quality audio.

Posted by Angus on November 18, 2003 at 12:54 PM (PDT)

13

Be aware that ice>Link:iPod includes circuitry to improve the sound quality of the headphone audio output making it comparable to that from the dock connector. Especially good news for owners of Classic iPods who are also supported on the Dension ice>Link:iPod platform.

Posted by Lee Harris on November 18, 2003 at 1:04 PM (PDT)

14

OK,

I have a question about this adapter. When this adapter is used and one increases the volume on the car headunit what volume is changed ? The iPods, the headunits or both ? I can see that it would be quite convinient to have fast forward and next/ previous track capability from my steering wheel controls but I don’t get the volume control.

-MarcW

Posted by MarcW on November 18, 2003 at 7:29 PM (PDT)

15

It’s the head unit volume that increases/decreases and mutes.

It operates the iPOD just as if it were a multichanger - pauses for traffic announcements, turns off with ignition or when radio is selected.

It’s great now. If they implement menu control too (here’s hoping) it’ll be a peach.

Posted by Ashley Scott on November 18, 2003 at 7:35 PM (PDT)

16

Just had mine installed in my Rover 75.  Works a real treat and I’m really pleased with it.  I can even use the steering wheel controls for volume and track changing.

Posted by Pob on November 21, 2003 at 12:49 PM (PDT)

17

I’ve heard that for people most concerned with the quest for sound (also usually not too concerned with cost), the ice-link seems to be the best option… not to mention the device-button convenience… I saw a BMW z4 forum where ipod users can control the ipod via their steering-wheel audio control buttons! see: http://www.z4um.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3429#3429

Request to ipodlounge admins:
1) Could this review, or an official one be posted in the main review section?  Or at least a link to it from the iTrip & Dr. Bott FM transmitter review?

2) If not, could a list of competing products be mentioned in the form of an editor’s addendum to the official reviews of these other car audio device?

I was interested in ipod audio in cars, and came to ipodlounge as the resource, but did not find out about the ice-link here. . . sometimes in reviews here, the information is not easily linked to that of other competing devices… only after i browsed away from ipodlounge did I discover the icelink.

It would be wonderful if an ipodlounge admin/editor had the ability to tag on some editor’s notes to the end of reviews, even bare lists of competing devices & links to various types of reviews within your own website.  . . Ideally this could become editorial policy or a guideline for reviewers.  Thanks smile

Posted by Santaduck on January 2, 2004 at 11:24 PM (PDT)

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