mStation Car Jukebox

You can get 10 CDs' worth of music in MP3 format onto one CD and many car stereo manufacturers have started producing stereos that will recognise and play MP3s. At the moment, most people with car CD sound systems either have a CD stacker or they carry their CD collection around in their cars. Now there is a better way.

The mStation Car Jukebox is a ‘pullout' hard disk-based MP3 player. The drive in our review model is 40GB and the mStation has been tested and works with 10, 40, 60 or 80GB 3.5in EIDE/Ultra DMA hard disks. The package contains the Jukebox, CD to MP3 conversion software, cabled controller, PC docking system, car docking station, infrared remote control, FM modulator, cables, mounting brackets, carry case and an instruction manual.

Features of the Jukebox include various play modes (such as repeat, randomise, etc.), digital antishock mechanism, built-in equaliser, cabled remote control and infrared remote. The 40GB drive installed in our review model can handle over 9000 CD quality songs.

Most standard pullout car stereos are caddy-based and ship with one docking station (for the car); this device ships with two docking stations, one for your PC and one for your car. You need them because the hard drive is in the unit itself, so you must attach it to your PC to download the MP3 files onto the hard drive and then remove it and fit it into your car. The PC docking station caddy fits in a standard 5.25in bay in your PC and hooks up to an IDE connection, and installation is simple. Car installation is a little more complicated, although all necessities are provided.

The car caddy can be installed almost anywhere on your vehicle (I fitted the review model under the dashboard of my Kingswood) as the wired remote control display console boasts a lead cable of several metres. Playback is possible both on your PC and in your car, although your car needs to have an existing stereo system for this device to work.

Two connection options are available when attaching the system to your car. The preferred method uses supplied cabling to attach the mStation to your in-car stereo AUX input. If you have a lesser stereo system (like mine) then you need to attach the supplied FM modulator, which uses the built-in FM tuner in your car to access the signal from the mStation. Quality of playback will vary with the quality of your car's existing sound system.

In brief: mStation Car Jukebox.

The mStation Car Jukebox is one of the neatest ways to keep, store, transport and enjoy your MP3s.

Price: $880.

Distributor: Kaz Electronics.

Phone: (02) 6259 8699.

URL: www.kazelectronics.com.au.

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Spiro Hionis

PC World

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