Monday, August 24, 2009

Adding MP3 input to a 2004 Jetta

My 2004 Jetta GLI VR6 must have been one of the last automobiles to be manufactured with a "pre-Internet" car stereo. Not only does the factory CD stereo system lack an MP3 player input jack, it actually boasts a built-in cassette deck. (Given that sales of prerecorded cassettes began their decline in the late 1980s, it's a bit of a head-scratcher why VW hadn't spotted that trend more than 15 years later. In 2001, cassettes accounted for just 4 percent of all music sold.)

At any rate, the lack of an MP3 player input jack means the owner must resort to a low-fidelity cassette adapter -- or even worse, a scratchy FM transmitter -- in order to listen to digital music files while driving. That's what I was doing until I came across this cool gadget: The Blitzsafe auxiliary audio input interface.

This clever device fools the factory CD player by masquerading as a trunk-mounted CD changer. Once you've hooked the unit up to the CD changer interface in the trunk, you simply run an audio cable into the cabin and plug in your MP3 player. (In my case, a Palm Treo 700p running Pocket Tunes software.) Now select the CD changer source on the stereo, and your digital tunes are piped in loud and clear. Highly recommended.