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How to Listen to iTunes Music in Your MINI with Boost Radio (no nav)

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How to Listen to iTunes Music in Your MINI with Boost Radio (no nav)

  #1  
Old 12-20-2012, 10:10 PM
theSamuel
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How to Listen to iTunes Music in Your MINI with Boost Radio (no nav)

The MINI has many ways to play music from iTunes in your car. I will be talking about the pros and cons of each method, and how to do each one.

1. iPod/iPhone Y-Cable
This method requires and iPod or iPhone (if you have an iPhone 5, you need an adapter as of today). The authentic cable costs around $60 from a dealer, but I got mine for $35 on eBay brand new. A knockoff will cost around $20 (amazon), and they sound almost identical.
Pros:
Allows for control from steering wheel.
Track title shown on display.
Browse music from display.
Other sound sources such as directions from navigation apps are pumped through the iPod Connection.
Cons:
Very poor sound quality (sounds muffled and distorted).
Expensive cable.
Complicated (requires plugging in 3 different cables).
Only works on some iPods/iPhones.
Can't change song or view library from iPod/iPhone (shows accessory connected instead of the list of songs on the device.
Turning up the volume causes buzzing and distortion.
Have to plug in every time.
Charging is slow (if it even works on your model).

2. Aux Connection
The simplest way of hooking up any device. Only requires a 3.5mm cable (I recommend a thick-tangle free cable that costs at least $10 from a reputable brand in order to block against cellular interference from your phone)
Pros:
Cost effective.
Compatible with almost all devices.
Sounds pretty good.
Can control song from device.
Pros:
Cannot control song from the steering wheel or display.
Cannot view song from the display.
Sound quality is still not great.
Have to plug in device every time.
No charging whatsoever.

3. USB Flash Drive (recommended)
This method only requires a USB flash drive that can hold all of your music. Make sure you partition the drive as Master Boot Record and format it as FAT. Then simply drag all of the desired songs from iTunes onto the drive. If you want playlists on the drive, use a utility called iTunesExport by Eric Daugherty to copy your playlists onto the drive. When you plug your drive in to the car for the first time, it will begin playing music, but will not show the artists and albums for a few minutes while is caches all of the song information.

Pros:
Only requires a USB flash drive.
Cost effective.
Can change song from steering wheel.
Can see library from display.
BEST sound quality possible (up to CD quality if your music collection is high def).
No wires/nothing to plug in.
Resumes playing when you get back into the car.
Cons:
Must manually load music onto the USB every time you want to add songs.
Can't use iPhone directions at the same time over the speakers.
USB interface is glitchy at times (sometimes doesn't load).
First time you plug in USB after updating the songs takes a while to get started.

Tip:
Make sure your VOL-AUX level (found on the main screen and can be set by pressing one of the buttons under it) is set to 2 or 3 to prevent distortion.
Make sure your S-VOL (set by clicking the musical note button and scrolling all the way to the right) is set to 1-3 to prevent distortion.

Overall, I recommend using the USB method, because it allows you to simply get into your car and start playing music, without fiddling with cables and such. Your music stays in your car, like a CD. The quality is superior, and you can change the song from the steering wheel.
 
  #2  
Old 12-20-2012, 10:32 PM
InVisib0L
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Nice write up. Thanks for the tips about setting the volume levels. I had them set all the way at the highest level and noticed some distortion.
 
  #3  
Old 12-21-2012, 06:54 AM
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Firefly911
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I've been using a USB for my music.....I like it alot. I have had a few issues but I'm sure they are mostly user error.
 
  #4  
Old 12-21-2012, 07:27 AM
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pmsummer
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Originally Posted by theSamuel View Post
The MINI has many ways to play music from iTunes in your car. I will be talking about the pros and cons of each method, and how to do each one.

1. iPod/iPhone Y-Cable
This method requires and iPod or iPhone (if you have an iPhone 5, you need an adapter as of today). The authentic cable costs around $60 from a dealer, but I got mine for $35 on eBay brand new. A knockoff will cost around $20 (amazon), and they sound almost identical.
Pros:
Allows for control from steering wheel.
Track title shown on display.
Browse music from display.
Other sound sources such as directions from navigation apps are pumped through the iPod Connection.
Cons:
Very poor sound quality (sounds muffled and distorted).
Expensive cable.
Complicated (requires plugging in 3 different cables).
Only works on some iPods/iPhones.
Can't change song or view library from iPod/iPhone (shows accessory connected instead of the list of songs on the device.
Turning up the volume causes buzzing and distortion.
Have to plug in every time.
Charging is slow (if it even works on your model).
Not three different cables, but rather one cable with three connections (your description would mean that a normal cable is TWO cables).

Using the Y-cable (both a BMW/MINI and an aftermarket one), I have to say that the sound quality using both my iPhone 4 and 4S has been faithful to the compression rate I use (128 kbps), and much better than the sound quality of Sirius sat radio. Even internet radio @ 4G sounds almost as good as a quality FM signal. The signal coming out of the 30-pin connector is MUCH cleaner than the signal coming out of the iPhone/iPod headphone jack (because it bypasses the device's headphone amp).

If you are getting muffled/distorted sound with an iPhone and a Y-Cable, you may have a problem elsewhere upstream.

Nice post, otherwise. Thanks!
 
  #5  
Old 12-21-2012, 07:56 AM
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JoanieB
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This seems like a good place to mention that if you are trying to play Pandora from your iPhone using the Y cable, what I found is that you need to start your Pandora FIRST and have it running before you click your phone into the cable. If you do this, you can control it from your steering wheel. If you start your Pandora AFTER you plug in your phone, the steering wheel control won't work.
The USB works great, and I don't get distortion from it.
 
  #6  
Old 01-13-2013, 03:17 PM
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Peep
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Question -- if i only have the AUx port -- is there anyway to add a usb port? and if not, then just use the aux port but will I be able to control the volume at least?
 
  #7  
Old 01-13-2013, 06:53 PM
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rich8363
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Does anyone know if there is a max size flash drive the unit will handle?
I have a 2011 Cooper S with the HK system.
 
  #8  
Old 01-10-2014, 02:10 PM
Euson
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Thank you for the write up. As someone who hates cables, I am going the USB route.
One thing I would love to do is be able to somehow remote into my thumb drive and remotely update it from my garage. Im wondering if something like this is a possibility:
wifi thumbdrive wifi thumbdrive

I would have to update it within a 4 hour window I think... but I wanted to hear your thoughts.
 
  #9  
Old 01-11-2014, 08:48 AM
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AZdsrt
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Originally Posted by rich8363 View Post
Does anyone know if there is a max size flash drive the unit will handle?
I have a 2011 Cooper S with the HK system.
Ah, the USB port, one of my favorite subjects. Last summer the wife and I did a cross country drive in our '12 MCS with HK radio. I had a plenty of time futzin with a 16GB flash drive. It is quirky to say the least and the manual is not much help. In answer to your question, am pretty sure you can put a 32GB drive in there as it works OK when I connect my phone with 32GB of storage. Is much handier to just connect a flash drive. A couple of observations. The sampling rate of 128 bit seems to be sweet spot, 256 bit is iffy. It will play just about any audio file type out there. The random function will only work within a given folder. If you want all music to be available randomly, then skip the folders and put all files in the root directory. When you first connect the flash drive, it will scan all the files and puts them into categories. For example, when you select genre (ie jazz, artist, etc), you'll see the 'mostly' correct names. I have no idea how it does that..
 
  #10  
Old 01-11-2014, 10:38 AM
Euson
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Originally Posted by rich8363 View Post
Does anyone know if there is a max size flash drive the unit will handle?
I have a 2011 Cooper S with the HK system.
For at least my Mini (2010 R56s) You have to have the thumbdrive formatted FAT32. Fat32 rules say the drive can not be over 32gigs. Also make sure none of your individual files are larger then 2 gigs.
 
  #11  
Old 01-11-2014, 10:41 AM
Euson
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Originally Posted by Euson View Post
I would have to update it within a 4 hour window I think... but I wanted to hear your thoughts.
I originally said this thinking it would power off because of battery life that the drive provides, but I don't know if that's the case.
Last time I left my car with my thumbdrive plugged in I saw that power was still going to my thumb drive. This might be a solution for a wireless music set up.
 
  #12  
Old 01-11-2014, 12:29 PM
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Ive seem to have tried everything..but the usb/thumb drive seems to have the best sound quality as long as you have a good quality copy on the thumb drive. Im more for quality of sound then anything. But I will say HD radio is awesome on my 2013 MINI. I listen to that the most to be honest..
 
  #13  
Old 01-11-2014, 12:49 PM
KennyR
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I know this was originally a resurrected older thread, but would add one additional way which I prefer to use to listen to iTunes in my MINI: a simple plug-in Bluetooth adapter.


I have a couple, currently using one I purchased for under $15 at Menards. Pair the adapter with your iPhone (one time). Plug it into your 3.5mm MINI input, turn it on to automatically pair, and just play the music on your iPhone in aux mode via Bluetooth. No other cables needed, you can keep your iPhone in your pocket, and the adapter stays plugged in all of the time. Quality is fine for me, the same as with any Bluetooth connected speaker or earphones.


Like other aux input options, you can control volume. but can't change songs via the steering wheel buttons. I just change songs as needed on my iPhone. The adapter needs to be recharged every few weeks.
 
  #14  
Old 01-19-2014, 08:48 AM
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miguelcoka
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I'm going with the USB flash drive method as well. Using a 64GB drive. I dropped 29GB of music on it. I like that it also displays the album art.

By the way I'm using Mini Connected non hifi non HK system.
 
  #15  
Old 01-19-2014, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by theSamuel View Post
The MINI has many ways to play music from iTunes in your car. I will be talking about the pros and cons of each method, and how to do each one. 1. iPod/iPhone Y-Cable This method requires and iPod or iPhone (if you have an iPhone 5, you need an adapter as of today). The authentic cable costs around $60 from a dealer, but I got mine for $35 on eBay brand new. A knockoff will cost around $20 (amazon), and they sound almost identical. Pros: Allows for control from steering wheel. Track title shown on display. Browse music from display. Other sound sources such as directions from navigation apps are pumped through the iPod Connection. Cons: Very poor sound quality (sounds muffled and distorted). Expensive cable. Complicated (requires plugging in 3 different cables). Only works on some iPods/iPhones. Can't change song or view library from iPod/iPhone (shows accessory connected instead of the list of songs on the device. Turning up the volume causes buzzing and distortion. Have to plug in every time. Charging is slow (if it even works on your model). 2. Aux Connection The simplest way of hooking up any device. Only requires a 3.5mm cable (I recommend a thick-tangle free cable that costs at least $10 from a reputable brand in order to block against cellular interference from your phone) Pros: Cost effective. Compatible with almost all devices. Sounds pretty good. Can control song from device. Pros: Cannot control song from the steering wheel or display. Cannot view song from the display. Sound quality is still not great. Have to plug in device every time. No charging whatsoever. 3. USB Flash Drive (recommended) This method only requires a USB flash drive that can hold all of your music. Make sure you partition the drive as Master Boot Record and format it as FAT. Then simply drag all of the desired songs from iTunes onto the drive. If you want playlists on the drive, use a utility called iTunesExport by Eric Daugherty to copy your playlists onto the drive. When you plug your drive in to the car for the first time, it will begin playing music, but will not show the artists and albums for a few minutes while is caches all of the song information. Pros: Only requires a USB flash drive. Cost effective. Can change song from steering wheel. Can see library from display. BEST sound quality possible (up to CD quality if your music collection is high def). No wires/nothing to plug in. Resumes playing when you get back into the car. Cons: Must manually load music onto the USB every time you want to add songs. Can't use iPhone directions at the same time over the speakers. USB interface is glitchy at times (sometimes doesn't load). First time you plug in USB after updating the songs takes a while to get started. Tip: Make sure your VOL-AUX level (found on the main screen and can be set by pressing one of the buttons under it) is set to 2 or 3 to prevent distortion. Make sure your S-VOL (set by clicking the musical note button and scrolling all the way to the right) is set to 1-3 to prevent distortion. Overall, I recommend using the USB method, because it allows you to simply get into your car and start playing music, without fiddling with cables and such. Your music stays in your car, like a CD. The quality is superior, and you can change the song from the steering wheel.

I'm going with the USB flash drive method as well. Using a 64GB drive. I dropped 29GB of music on it. I like that it also displays the album art.

By the way I'm using Mini Connected non hifi non HK system.
 
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