FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (Full Version)

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hoosier -> FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (6/5/2005 6:04:49 PM)

This is just a recommendation for those who, for any reason, might want to play a MP3 player, CD player, USB flash drive, or other audio output device through their car radio.

I tried out eight different FM modulators of the type that transmits an FM signal through the air to be received by your car radio. I was very disappointed with the results. Not a one of them was in any way usable at all. The signal went up and down, the background noise was unacceptable. They were all a disaster, and some cost up to $80 (luckily I bought them all with a return privlege).

Then I came across an FM modulator that plugs into your cigarette lighter and into which you attach a MP3 player (CD player or other audio output unit) via an audio cable (supplied). Or, as an option, you can also insert a USB flash drive directly into a USB port on the modulator. This product is called the "VR3 MP3 FM Modulator", made by Virtual Reality Sound Labs, and can be seen at    
I have been very satisfied with both voice and music played through this device via the audio cable. Music played from USB flash drives however seems to lack adequate bass. This device does stick out somewhat from the dash so you must make sure it will not interfere with your dash controls.

I bought this modulator at Costco for $26, including sales tax.

DJAce -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (6/21/2005 7:09:00 PM)

I just picked up this modulator also. I like that it has 7 frequency settings.
One thing I can not figure out is why the instructions say it will not support more than 512 MB USB drive. I have a 1GB USB that planned on loading up with music and hitting road. I am going to give it a try tomorrow with my 1GB USB drive loaded and see what happens.

The instructions also say that it will only support MP3 files encoded at 128Kbs or less. I have proved this wrong. I encode all my MP3 files at 192Kbs and the VR3 played them just fine.

hoosier -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (6/22/2005 9:12:49 PM)

The instruction sheet I have says it can play 64, 128 or 512 MB size flash memory  ---- but it does not say it cannot play larger flash memories. Maybe larger memory flash drives did not exist when the instructions were written?

Does your instruction sheet call the device a VFM1880?

DJAce -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (6/23/2005 12:03:45 AM)

My instruction sheet does say VFM1880.
Below are the questions I sent to RoadMasterUSA tech support and then their response.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2005 11:33 PM
To: registrations
Subject: Registration From


The manual for the VRFM7 states the unit will only support 64, 128, and
512 MB USB drives. But the interactive tour description on the website
says that the unit will support USB drives over 1GB. What's the
official spec?

Additionally, I have successfully played MP3 files on the unit that are
encoded at 192kbs without flaw. But the manual says it only supports MP3
files encoded at 128Kbs or less. What\'s the official spec?

Did I get the version that has the latest firmware upgrade?


-----Received Message-----
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 09:21:27 -0400
Thread-Topic: Registration From
TFrom: "Sharp Larry" <>
To: "registrations" <>
Subject: RE: Registration From

Thank you for contacting VR3 Technical Service.

The VRFM7 was designed to work with ANY USB Flash memory drive,
regardless of size. There are no OFFICIAL SPECIFICATIONS on memory size
or playback bitrate.

Our recommendation not to exceed 512 MB is based on practicality rather
than suitability.

When power is applied to the VRFM7, it always starts on 87.7 MHz and on
the first MP3 file on the USB drive. Even if your commute to work takes
45 minutes to an hour, you probably won't listen to more than 30 - 40

Why recommend huge USB memory drives that hold hundreds or even
thousands of songs, when each time the key is turned, the VRFM7 starts
at #1 again?

We felt it better to recommend smaller USB drive sizes. Customers might
have several smaller drives containing different songs on each. To hear
a different playlist each trip, just change USB drives.

The 128 KBs playback rate is also just a guideline to obtain good sound
quality and permit 30 - 40 songs on a 128 MB USB drive.

There are no new firmware updates for the VRFM7.

Thanks again, and good luck.


-----End Message-----

I think this my clears up all our questions now.
Pretty cool device for $30!

hoosier -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (6/23/2005 12:22:19 AM)

Good info. So with a USB flash drive, if you want to listen to an opera, an audio book or an audio interview, you would be taken back to the beginning every time you turn off the ignition. But, with an MP3 player, you can pickup from where you left off.

hoosier -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (6/23/2005 4:16:34 PM)

There was a brief favorable review today in the NY Times Online of the VR3 FM Modulator.

The reviewer erred in saying that "In a nice twist, though, the player holds its position when the power is off, so it can resume at the same point", when referring to its use with a USB device.

Preston -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (6/27/2005 11:26:48 PM)

2 seconds from ordering one of these and then "stumbled" across this thread.
On the power off, starting back @ track 1 issue, what about cars that keep power to the cig lighter even when the engine is off.  Does this keep the player hot?  Anyone tried this?
Let me know if so, could be a reason to not purchase.

hoosier -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (6/28/2005 9:23:58 PM)

In both my cars the cig lighter turns off with the ignition.

But, surely the VR3 modulator will stay on so long as the cig lighter provides power. You would need to remember to push the play/stop button on the modulator or the program being played will keep on playing. The play/stop button does return you to the same place in the program.

crni -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (7/3/2005 11:59:00 PM)

I bought this thing about 2 weeks ago and I love it!

I have some mp3s encoded with 256Kbs and the sound was a bit scratchy when played through this. I did not experiment whether the bitrate was to blame or maybe it's just the wireless issue.

Either way, still a great device. Another great thing about it is, that you don't really need to store the mp3s in the root directory (as per manual). I use my 1Gb USB drive where I store a bunch of other things and I just made a "Music" directory on it and stashed all my mp3s in there.  The track order is determined by  how you sort the files in the directory with your computer software (windows explorer). You can have mp3s in multiple directories and it will find them all. I do not know if there are any limitations with the names of the directories (character types, number of characters), but I did have an mp3 file in a directory 2 levels from the root, where my email attachements get stored and the device picked it up with no problems.

cheapsaket -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (7/6/2005 11:34:41 AM)

  Some of you mentioned that you got this at costco. Which costco?


emperor -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (7/7/2005 4:04:33 PM)

i also have seen such devices around, i think we should review it ASAP

crni -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (7/11/2005 10:18:28 AM)

I got mine at WalMart. I saw it in the SkyMall catalogue when I was on a plane and then I looked for a store where I could pick it up ASAP, because I was too anxious to wait for the mail delivery. I checked CircuitCity and Bestbuy, then did a search on Froogle and came up with WalMart. Maybe some other stores carry it now, too.

I have also made a mistake in my previous post. The track order is strange, it's not alphabetical and I can't really determine it. It seems like it's chronological - the first file you put on the flash memory will be the first one played. That kinda sucks.

emmeye -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (7/17/2005 9:50:57 AM)

I bought mine at Walmart too - in the auto audio section. It works great. 
1. 7 frequencies to choose from. Works on all frequencies.
2. Reads mp3 files from folders and sub folders.
3. Remembers the position and starts from the same place where stopped as long as the power is available to the lighter socket. My truck retains power to the lighter sockets even when I turn off the ignition.
4. Remembers the position and starts right where you left if you stop and start the device.
5. Once you have pulled your flash memory out of the device and put it back in, the device alwaystarts from the first song.
6. Shuffling the songs is possible only if your (CD, mp3) player has the feature. With the flash memory stick, shuffling is not an option.[:(]
I am excited with this device since I do not have to carry around CDs in my truck any more![sm=10.gif]

newsetup -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (7/21/2005 8:55:53 PM)

Thinking about buying one for the iPod Mini.
Question: has anyone plugged in the USB cable as audio cable to the VR3 at the same time?  Does it play the iPod music as well as charge the iPod?

emperor -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (7/25/2005 5:39:58 AM)

emmeye can you please point which device have you bought so we can review some of them?

hoosier -> RE: FM Modulator for the Car that Actually Works! (7/25/2005 11:17:05 AM)

Emperor, I'm not sure I understand your question. I assume we are all still talking about the same unit ---- seen at :    

I'm still enjoying the every day use I give mine. In my 2002 Mazda Protege I need to reset the best channel each time I reuse the car (cig lighter turns off with the ignition), but in my 2005 Cavalier the channel does not require resetting (cig lighter does not turn off with the ignition).

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