Tech Article Title Author Date
Ipod Installation Carlos Rodriguez 2003

In March 2003 I asked around the Audi forum for advice on how to get a direct connection for my iPod to the Bose stereo in my S4 without the compromise of a tape adapter or FM transmitter.

Not to my surprise, I received plenty of responses with a lot of great information and advice.



While this installation guide was done for an iPod, bear in mind that it will work for any audio source that can accept a plug that will convert to two male RCA audio plugs.

There were two main ways of getting a direct connection, as far as I know.

1. Per Jeff Bipes' post (follow his link there to his web page), you can splice in a mini jack cable to the line-in wires from the cd changer to the head unit (if you have a cd changer -though why would you ever use it again?- He devised a way to switch between the inputs).

2. You can run a cable from the cd changer in back of the car to the front and plug in your MP3 player that way.

The advantage of choice 2 is that it is completely non-intrusive on your car: no cutting of anything! And it doesn't require any tools!

Either way, you will need this part:


You can get it at Autotoys.com. They have a TERRIBLE website from a usability point of view, but I found the part, ordered it, and it got here UPS ground in about 5 days or so. Around $75 with UPS ground shipping included. According to Jeff Bipes and others, this is a Blitzsafe cable, sort of a custom made thing by the company. Look it up on the forum search page if you are interested to learn more, but suffice it to say, this works.

Note that the website says it's currently not compatible with the 2002 A6 and any Allroad cars, and that it hasn't been tested with cars with the Symphony II radios. I haven't done any research to find adapters for these cars. Make sure the cable works for your car before you buy it!

Here is a picture of the adapter connector:

How does it work? It essentially tricks the head unit into thinking that there is a cd changer there, so when you push the CD changer button on your radio, it will actually listen in. You still need this even if you want to splice into the line-in wires into the head unit. Again, check out Jeff Bipes post on that.

Ok, so this is how I hooked it up. It was very simple to do.

1. Open up your tool chest cubby in the left side of your trunk. You will find this cable (with some foam wrapped around it)

Notice the little nib thing at 3 o'clock on it; That is some sort of catch, and you have to push it to slide the 13 pin adapter onto it. It doesn't seem like you have to push it to get it off.

2. Buy a m 1/8" minijack-to-RCA stereo converter cable. You need bare minimum seven feet, but this Monster Cable I bought ($25 from Soundtrack) is 10 feet long.

3. Plug in your cable into the adapter. The adapter cable RCAs are thin enough that I don't think they get too crimped when you shut the cubby door on them, as shown in the photo below.

As you can see, I am guiding the cable along the edge of the trunk, but under the carpet.

4. Yank your seat up!!! There are two catches that simply disengage when you pull on the seat. Go ahead, it won't hurt your car!


So, that's what kept me from sliding off the side of the road today!!


5. Looking from the cabin into the trunk (seats folded down), I have threaded the cable between the seat and the trunk. I am holding the carpet up.


6. Thread it through a bit, and then grab it from the other side and pull it through.


7. This is a "heel's view" of the cable coming out of the seat. Notice the light colored foam, the leather on top, and the felt below that is where your feet go. Make sure your cable is flat here, because it will get a bit crimped, though I think it won't be too bad. Hey, it's only a $25 cable. Also make sure that there isn't one of the wire supports laying on it, and also make sure that the cable isn't where the seat locks into the car (see the ESP shot; the black thing at the lower left is where the seat locks into the car).


8. Move your driver's seat forward all the way. I threaded the cable under the mat, inside the mat-locking post. This keeps the cable more or less in place. I then thread the cable up along the center, squeezing it between the chair and the center. It is really, really tight there.


9. And Voila!!


You can play with the amount of cable you want coming out of there. What I did was stuff any extra cable underneath the seat belt clip, between it and the center. When you or your passenger wants it, you can pull out as much as you need. See the photos below to see just how far I can pull it out.

See how the cord is completely stuffed between the seat and the center

 I have an iPod case and car charger from Xtrememac . They were very friendly and responsive to my emails, and have a lot of different colored cases. Since the iPod supposedly scuffs easily, a case is a must. It also helps for when it gets banged around. Note that I've found I get buzz in the sound at pitches proportional to the engine RPM if I listen to the iPod while charging it with the car charger.

When I bought my iPod, it was the Mac version at 5GB for $400. Now as you probably know, there are 10 and 20 GB versions, including pc-specific versions. The main difference between the mac and pc versions is that the pc version is formatted for fat32 while the mac version is formatted for HSF+. At the time I bought it there was no PC version available, so I used Ephpod to load the MP3s into the iPod. Ephpod is free. But in order to do this, if you have a Mac iPod, you need some sort of program that can write to Mac drives. Dataviz' MacOpener works well, but you have to pay $50. There is a free trial, linked from the Ephpod homepage. Or, you can reformat a mac iPod to fat32. According to the Apple Windows iPod support page, you can't reformat a PC iPod to HSF+. They have a great FAQ on this page.

New Windows-specific iPods come with a version of MusicMatch that will serve some of the same purposes as iTunes (though from what I hear, iTunes is still a much better music program). According to the Ephpod website, however, you can still use Ephpod on a Windows-formatted iPod. I haven't tried the new MusicMatch software, I haven't yet reformatted my iPod, and I obviously haven't tried Ephpod on a Windows iPod.

A word to the wise: Keep in mind that with the iPod, just because you turn off your car doesn't mean that the iPod turns off! The iPod has 10 hours of battery, so you can afford a few hours of it running like this, but leave it overnight and you'll drain the battery.

The iPod has been great on two 18 hour road trips I've done in the past 6 months. It is really great not having to change CDs, because that can be dangerous to do by yourself while driving.

The iPod sounds great in my Audi!