Some of you might soon notice your local car hifi dealers advertising a new MP3, WMA, WAV Changer from Kenwood called the Music Keg. It is based on the Jukebox from a company called Phatnoise. It's quite spendy at $750 but it finally hit most of the requirements that I have wanted in a compressed/uncompressed changer for the car.
1. Easy access- I don't want to carry heavy decks with HD's in them to hook up to my computer. the Music Keg has a USB Cradle that attaches to your computer. This cradle holds the DMS cartridges which are available in 10,20 and 30GB version(uses standard Laptop 2.5 drives).
2. Management- The Phatnoise Music Manager allows you to organize your music files into multiple playlists, ad ID3 tags for MP3's and other features. You then sync these lists to your DMS carts.
3. Car Player- The cool part is the "changer" that accepts these DMS carts. You can load it in the trunk or wherever you have room. It accepts 1 DMS cart at a time. What Phatnoise has done that makes it different from other MP3 players is allow Stock OEM decks to access the changer like a standard CD Changer. The unit simply has to support CD Text and a Changer in most cases. Kenwood has of course added all the necessary links to it's decks but with a little work and possible some adapters you should be able to adapt the system for most decks.
4. Sound quality- some people shy away from using MP3's but I figure if it's in your car you already have engine and road noise spoiling the dream of perfect sound. If it still bothers some people then the can simply create bit for bit copies of their music in WAV format. A 10GB cart will yield approx 2500 mp3s or probably around 250 WAVS. Unlike CD Changers there is no delay from going from track 1 to track 2500...it's all damn near instantaneous.
I won't have mine for a while but I LOVE the potential of this system. Quick and easy access and mounds of music make this an ideal system. I plan to create 10 "virtual discs" which around 250 songs per genre as needed. Since you can organize the lists the way you want on the computer at home...taking it to the car should be familiar. Check on the links below for more info.
Kenwood Music Keghttp://www.kenwoodusa.com/excelon/excelonKeg.jsp
Unofficial Phatnose Forumhttp://www.go-racecar.com/uphatphorum/index.php?