The Red Fox FT44 MP3 Wireless FM Modulator is the latest model on sale for playing MP3 or WMA music in your car using radio transmission to your car radio. My older FM modulator was getting cranky and with the new model with new features on sale, I decided to get a new MP3 wireless FM modulator.
The new upgraded version looks great. On the cover it says the Red Fox FT44 model is able to support up to 16GB USB drive and able to play over 1000++ songs. In addition, it can also play songs by folder selection. That sounds really great, because the current one that I have cannot switch songs by folder and the random jump button is very difficult to enable. However if using SD or MMC card, it can only support up to 2GB. I guess they still didn’t support SDHC cards. USB thumb drives are still cheaper than SD/MMC cards anyway so it is not such a big deal for not able to play from SDHC cards.
So after checking the demo model on display, I decided to buy the cheaper model that can support MP3 files only. After all I don’t really rip my music into the Microsoft WMA file version. Besides, the MP3 file is more compact than WMA for the same quality of bit rate.
First thing after purchasing was to test it out in my car. Unplugging my old Red Fox MP3 player and plugging in the newer FT44 model into the cigarette socket with the pendrive in place, all I need to get it working was to tune it to my current radio channel frequency and it was good to go!
This time the display on the MP3 Wireless FM Modulator was much clearer and bigger, so I don’t have to squint my eyes and try to figure out what was being played. And this time the buttons are more responsive and I am able to select the desired function. The remote control was also much better designed, but due to my bad luck, it was not working. Oh, well, a quick walk back to ALL IT Digital Mall from the car park and I got a replacement for the faulty remote control. I guess the defect rate for digital computer device is just as high as ever (about 5-10%), but fortunately it wasn’t a major issue here.
Back to the car, I retested the Red Fox FT44 MP3 Wireless FM Modulator and with the remote working was rather pleased at the way it functioned. The remote control buttons was rubberized probably using silicon rubber, it was easy to press unlike the previous remote which was rather stiff and have to press very hard. The function comes on easily and would go according to your selection without jumping about to another setting too quickly. Testing out the folder selection feature, I was able to switch from folder to folder which means that I don’t have to wait for the full cycle listening from head to tail. If I want I could just listen within the folder or even search out the album that I want to listen. Really nifty.
Quality and Capacity
And the sound quality? I felt it was better than the previous version and the sound appears to be louder. I guess the signal from this new Red Fox MP3 player is more powerful. Hmm, I wonder if the increase radio wave power would be more hazardous to health…
Since I was only using a 2GB thumb drive I can’t confirm if it could play all the way to 1000++ songs as claimed on the package. I’m using a bit rate of 160kbps so that averages out to about 5MB per song. I get about 360 songs in my 2GB USB drive, so for a 16GB filled to the full that would come up to about 2880 songs! I wonder if it could play that many songs. Since I don’t have a 16GB thumb drive to spare I guess I won’t be able to test that out.
And the price? I scoured the whole digital mall and saw various pricing. At Aoneplus, it was going for about RM49 for non-member. In USJ Digital Mall I saw it was going for about RM43. I guess the ALL IT in Digital Mall Section 14 PJ has the best price at RM37 plus it comes with a free LCD screen cleaner kit. So you know where to get it and get it quick before the stock runs out! Of course you can wait it out till the price drop. Like my old one which I bought for about RM45 (I think) two years ago, it is now about RM24. If you are in no hurry you can wait two years time for the price to drop! Haha!
Order of song list
Since people always ask this question in the comments: the order of the MP3 songs is the order that you dump into the thumb drive. ie. FIFO, First In First Out; ordered according to folders first, then files within the folders. It is NOT ordered alphabetically NOR by date.
If you delete a file or folder, any next file or folder dumped in will fill in that gap first. This harps back to the good old days of Applesoft DOS and MS-DOS where files are ordered according to sequential list when displayed. Deleting a record will leave a gap in the record, adding a file will fill in that gap. It is still being used in current file management system, however the file listing when displayed will not show. If cannot understand this concept, just remember this, FIFO. MP3 files/folders in first will be played first and so on and so forth.
Comment on issues encountered by people
I’ve never encountered many of the problems face by the people in the comments. Perhaps it is my luck or perhaps it is due to the car model that they are driving. My brother-in-law had very poor quality of music when he was using it in the Perodua MyVi car. It was so bad he didn’t use it at all. When he changed his vehicle to a Perodua Avanza, the MP3 FM Modulator worked like a charm. Most likely the quality of the radio player that was fitted into the car that is causing the problem. The car radio that has poor reception capability would probably have problem receiving the signal emitted by the MP3 FM Modulator.
So I guess different car (or most likely the radio player model in the car) will have different effect on the MP3 player.
Socket issues – some people encounter difficulty from their socket where the power couldn’t get to the MP3 player. Most likely the socket connection is deep inside, or they didn’t push in the MP3 player deep enough, so no connection, no power. At first try to shove in as deep as it can to get it connected. No need to be gentle here, as there is some side clip that would give resistance, so push a little harder to get it connected.
Some cars give an irritating whir sound whenever you rev the engine. Whenever you rev the engine, the engine is also charging power back into your car batteries, so likely some amount of power surging is also feedback into the cigarette socket and car radio. There is nothing much you can do here as your car is like that.
Using external MP3 devices like Ipod, Creative, or Philips GoGear
Yes, yes, you can use an external MP3 player device. Use the provided cable to plug in from your MP3 player into the MP3 FM Modulator player. You will need to push the volume of your external device all the way to max. And somehow the sound quality is poorer than if you use a thumbdrive or SD/MMC Card plug in directly to the MP3 FM Modulator. So don’t expect good quality music from this method.