Harman Kardon debuts Drive + Play 2 car integration kit | iLounge News

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Harman Kardon debuts Drive + Play 2 car integration kit

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Monday, January 8, 2007
News Categories: iPod Accessories

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Significantly updating its earlier Drive + Play Premium Car Integration Kit for iPods, Harman Kardon today announced Drive + Play 2, a color-screened, user-expandable update. The new model begins with the same elements found in Drive + Play—a car-mounted control knob, a separate display screen for iPod menu navigation, and a hub for connection to a car’s cigarette lighter port, your iPod, and the car’s audio system—but upgrades each for a more deluxe user experience.

Rather than running a wire from the hub to the unit’s control knob, Harman’s new knob—still featuring a twist mechanism and buttons for scrolling and selection—is wireless. New features accessible from the control knob include a one-touch “more like this” button that lets you call up more or fewer songs from the same artist, album, or genre, plus an automatic “Dynamic Channel creation” function that auto-sorts an iPod’s content into groupings that can be broadened or narrowed at the user’s discretion. The knob also includes incrementally faster scrolling, bolstered by voice-based letter announcement and voice menu prompting features, letting users hear the menu and/or letter of a song list they’re currently accessing.

A new 3.5” full-color screen is Drive + Play 2’s most conspicuous improvement. Now using an interface that looks more like a Microsoft Portable Media Center than the iPod’s, the unit displays menu options in light blue text on a dark blue background, with translucent highlights, green scroll bars and menu titles, and small icons. Harman notes that the system is additionally compatible with non-iPod portable media devices, and can be expanded with optional modules to include support for Bluetooth mobile phones, Sirius Satellite Radio playback, and future devices and functionality. The Bluetooth adapter will include an embedded microphone for hands-free cellular use, as well as the ability to stream music from an A2DP-supporting phone to the system.

According to Harman, “Drive + Play 2 is easily installed in any make and model automobile using an auxiliary line connection, hardwired FM connection or included wireless FM transmitter,” with the wireless FM transmitter and 3.5mm cable-based audio hub included in the core package. Hardwired connections will require additional installation expertise, but be aided by an included hard-wire harness capable of concealing the hub and cables. It will be priced at $400 - twice the cost of its predecessor - and is planned for Spring 2007 availability.

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Comments

1

man….all that coolness, and our only option is FM modulation?  you’re missing a good bit of higher and lower frequency range with FM, and it’s noticable if you’ve got a decent subwoofer and tweeters.

but…i guess the percentage of people who’ve got that don’t make it monetarily worth it to HK, even though i thought they were more “high end” and would cater to a customer wanting a direct line-in/aux option; or even if they made adapters for cd changer inputs.

*sigh*  cool product, though.

Posted by OnlyShawn on January 8, 2007 at 6:18 AM (PDT)

2

“According to Harman, “Drive + Play 2 is easily installed in any make and model automobile using an auxiliary line connection…”

Posted by Brian J. Geiger on January 8, 2007 at 7:10 AM (PDT)

3

DRAT….missed that one line.

well, I sheepishly admit my folly. smile

Posted by OnlyShawn on January 8, 2007 at 8:36 AM (PDT)

4

That looks awesome… interested in the wireless part. want to see how that will look. Price tag a bit steep though.

Posted by mrfeee1 on January 8, 2007 at 9:27 AM (PDT)

5

Yes, the Drive + Play has an aux line connection, just as the first version did.  I owned one of those and it was a mixed bag.  My major complaints with the first version were: 1) It was always on when the ignition was on, which meant if you were listening to another source like FM or CD,  your iPod hard drive was spinning away for no reason.  (I know you’re thinking, it was improperly installed ... but it wasn’t ... trust me).  2) It could not duplicate all of the sub menus like “All”.  Therefore if you want to play all of your Beatles songs, you would have to make a playlist on your desktop of all Beatles songs ... or listen to the songs from a single album, then return and select another album and listen to those songs and repeat this again and again.  A real hassle ... particularly with artists with numerous albums.  This was a HUGE negative for this user and was certainly contrary to HK’s ad copy which read: “... giving you all of the music-browsing capability of your iPod ...”.  From what I have read of this brief review, it appears HK may have addressed these issues as well as the scrolling search feature which needed attention.  I’ll be looking for this piece, but will do my homework before making the plunge again.

Posted by essbee on January 8, 2007 at 9:30 AM (PDT)

6

essbee….I know you’re saying it’s properly installed…but you could just have installed a relay that wouldn’t send power unless you wanted it on….(just an idea).  really interesting to hear from a user, though…thanks for the input. smile

Posted by OnlyShawn on January 8, 2007 at 10:59 AM (PDT)

7

You turn the old one off by holding the lower button down on the controller for 2 seconds.

Posted by Phil on January 8, 2007 at 11:01 AM (PDT)

8

Thanks OnlyShawn and Phil.  You are both correct and I utilized both of your ideas.  OnlyShawn, I used a simple high amperage toggle switch on the ignition lead.  Phil, yes ... pressing the ‘pause’ button did the trick, but I thought it was a hassle to turn something “off” whenever I got in the car ... prompting the above mentioned switch.  Unfortunately, most consumers would be uninterested in having to either one for a $200 product ... but looks like the $400 version buys you a few new features and solves my dislikes of version 1.

Posted by essbee on January 8, 2007 at 1:55 PM (PDT)

9

do anyone know if I can use the screen for the GPS system like Tom Tom.
If it can, I will definately buy it.
Thank you

Posted by Joe on February 19, 2007 at 6:29 PM (PDT)

10

does anyone know if this will have bluetooth capabilities?  I see from the picture above on the display it says phone?

Thanks
james

Posted by james on March 22, 2007 at 11:05 AM (PDT)

11

I saw one installed on a TRUCK tv show and they said it had bluetooth.

Posted by gu on April 5, 2007 at 1:18 PM (PDT)

12

need new ipod lead for drive+play looked cant find any can you help .drive+play works well just need new lead thanks.

Posted by ray66surf on December 11, 2008 at 4:21 AM (PDT)

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