One of the most common things people tell me that they want to do with their new phone is listen to music, especially in the car. The following is a guide to help you get that done. There are a few ways to get music to play through your car speakers, with a wide range in price and performance.
One of the best ways to play music in your vehicle is to use an auxiliary audio cable. Not only will these provide excellent audio, but they are also among the cheapest solutions if your car is already configured for their use. To find out if your stereo is compatible with this solution you have to locate a small round hole on the radio. This hole will look like the headphone jack on your phone* and will be usually be labeled either “Aux,” “Audio In” or “MP3”. If your car stereo has one of these ports you will be able to purchase an auxiliary audio cable, plug it into your car and your phone’s headphone jack, press your “Aux” button and start listening to music through your speakers. These cables provide a direct connection to the car stereo which is virtually uninterruptable, unlike some of the other solutions. If your car does not have an auxiliary in, you can have it added, but it does cost more than the following solutions.
*NOTE: Some phones have a smaller headphone jack, or one that isn’t round. I am referring to the 3.5mm jack that is found on most new phones and all mp3 players.
The next best solution is to use a Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth can be the cheapest solution for your audio streaming needs, as long as your car and phone are capable of this. Bluetooth devices all have something called profiles which allow them to interact with different devices with different functions. This is important because to stream audio through Bluetooth, both devices must be able to use the A2DP profile. If both your phone and radio can do this it is just a matter of putting both devices into pair mode, then starting an audio file on your phone. The only disadvantages to this method are that you will use more battery and it is possible to lose a bit of audio quality. To overcome the battery issue I recommend adding a car charger. With the diminished battery life of today’s smart phones this is almost more of a necessity than an accessory.
The most common solution is to use one of the many FM transmitters on the market. This solution is more costly than those above unless your car radio doesn’t have the capability. FM transmitters are simple to set up and only require that the radio in your car functions*. The only real drawback to these devices is that if you are in an area with a lot of radio traffic there can be bleed over, static, or other types of interference that makes the listening experience less than ideal. I only recommend this solution if you are unable to use one of the two above and do not want to modify your vehicle with a new radio or an FM Modificationthat will mimic an auxiliary input.
*NOTE: These may work even if your antenna is broken in half and duct-taped back together.