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Old 7th November 2019, 08:39 AM
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27litres 27litres is offline
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Default Grom AUDU3 FLAC player for RNS-D

Hi guys,

I've just bought and fitted a Grom AUDU3 unit to the S8, and I have to say I'm very impressed.

I wanted a CD replacement solution without replacing the factory RNS-D. I don't like lossy music formats (MP3, AAC, WMA etc) as under decent amplification they become flat and lifeless, lacking depth and clarity. So I wanted something that could play FLAC.
I also wanted Bluetooth.
The Grom is the only one of these units to play FLAC and having installed it, I would rate the sound quality from the unit as excellent - easily as good or better than a CD player, especially as there's no problems with track skipping.

All the solutions I initially looked at a few years back (Dension, Yatour, XCarLink, and Grom (at the time)) didn't play FLAC, so I figured keep the CD player, and find a Bluetooth solution. The only unit to offer the ability to switch between it and the CD player was XCarLink, so that's what I bought.

Then I discovered the PhatBox! This unit was truly ahead of its time (early 2000's). It is a largish unit which replaces the CD player in the boot, uses a small hard drive (60Gb max) and can play just about any music format you care to mention (including FLAC).
As my CD player didn't work, I abandoned any attempts to repair or replace that and started looking for a PhatBox instead!
Found one in New York, and had it sent over... to this day it is still sitting on a shelf above my desk, having never been fitted!
(Well, my daughter was born and I lost my spare time for a couple of years!)

I did write to XCarLink at one point and suggest that FLAC support was a good idea and had no licensing fees, but that fell on deaf ears...
After finding out that Grom units now play FLAC, I thought "bugger the XCarLink and PhatBox, I'll have one of these"!

https://gromaudio.com/store/all-aud.html
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Marty


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Current:
2001 Audi S8 - Brilliant Black with Black interior, C5 RS6 rims (whenever I actually put them on...), Solar Sunroof, Tinted side and rear glass, RNS-D, Grom, Bose, clunky old phone in arm rest!
2002 Audi S8 - Project
Replacement head coming arrived thanks to MJ
Silver with Black interior. All features as the '01, with the 'S' mode auto shifter. Dodgey rear tint (need to find a way to get rid of that).
Family:
2009 Volvo XC90 V8 R Design
- has a louder more obnoxious exhaust than the S8, sounds great! Love this thing - Q7 was double the price, and certainly not double the car!

Sold:
1997 Audi A4
- Hamilton's Club Sport, Achat Grey (will miss the old girl)

Last edited by 27litres; 7th November 2019 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 7th November 2019, 09:16 AM
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moltuae moltuae is offline
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Nice

How do you select the stored tracks? Presumably it emulates the CD changer?

I have an XCarLink unit but I use a phone/tablet to play FLAC files over Bluetooth, which works fairly well.
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The Audi Era: '97 A8 4.2 (Ming Blue) --> '96 A8 4.2 QS (Dark Green) --> '02 FE S8 (present)
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Old 7th November 2019, 10:29 AM
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27litres 27litres is offline
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I thought about that, but I'm not sure how good the sound quality is over A2DP?

Selecting tracks is similar to XCarlink. It plugs in to the CD plug and emulates the CD player. CD/Folder selection is right hand rotary knob, track selection is the left and right arrow buttons top left.

Still experimenting with it and where to run the Aux/USB lead to, but as far as I'm aware, the RNS-D will only recognise 6 CDs.
So that limits it to 6 folders on a USB stick. So far I've got 1 folder set up and for testing purposes I've put Muse Simulation Theory on it (great for base).
So I can set up another 5 folders on the stick.
I don't know about limitations on files in the folders. That's probably 99, but I don't know that for sure.

As for the base, the Bose amp has impressed me so far. I ran the volume to uncomfortable levels where I could feel the music in my chest, and it was crystal clear, totally distortion free. I'm happy with that!
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Cheers

Marty


____________________
Current:
2001 Audi S8 - Brilliant Black with Black interior, C5 RS6 rims (whenever I actually put them on...), Solar Sunroof, Tinted side and rear glass, RNS-D, Grom, Bose, clunky old phone in arm rest!
2002 Audi S8 - Project
Replacement head coming arrived thanks to MJ
Silver with Black interior. All features as the '01, with the 'S' mode auto shifter. Dodgey rear tint (need to find a way to get rid of that).
Family:
2009 Volvo XC90 V8 R Design
- has a louder more obnoxious exhaust than the S8, sounds great! Love this thing - Q7 was double the price, and certainly not double the car!

Sold:
1997 Audi A4
- Hamilton's Club Sport, Achat Grey (will miss the old girl)
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Old 7th November 2019, 12:05 PM
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notorious notorious is offline
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Just a thought:

After upgrading from RNS-D to RNS-E I immediately noticed significant uplift in sound quality. Perhaps due to better pre-amplifier in RNS-E (the car has had Bose option with an external amplifier). I listened to same set of MP3 files to compare.
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Old 7th November 2019, 12:38 PM
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The_Laird The_Laird is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 27litres View Post

Then I discovered the PhatBox! This unit was truly ahead of its time (early 2000's). It is a largish unit which replaces the CD player in the boot, uses a small hard drive (60Gb max) and can play just about any music format you care to mention (including FLAC).
As my CD player didn't work, I abandoned any attempts to repair or replace that and started looking for a PhatBox instead!
Found one in New York, and had it sent over... to this day it is still sitting on a shelf above my desk, having never been fitted!
(Well, my daughter was born and I lost my spare time for a couple of years!)
Ha ha! Iíve got a PhatBox, too, sitting on my garage shelf. I bought it to fit when I retired (along with a host of other car jobs), but we bought a house that needs a lot of work, so itíll be on the shelf a while longer.
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2002 Final Edition S8. Ebony black with Silver Grey leather and myrtle wood trim.
Current mods: solar sun roof, 20mm rear spacers, 15 mm on front, red brembo callipers, 6k headlights, rear view camera, engine remap, alloy dash dial rings, alloy navi rings, tt/phaeton pedal upgrade, (and custom matching foot rest) dension ipod interface & parrot hands free kit (both fully hidden), av input, tv in motion switched thro' PF switch in blanking plug right of steering column, Audi 'quattro' sill covers, repositioned centre console switches, radio clock, .
Planned mods: auto-dimming rear view mirror, dash cam (as steamship's), fit the ski hatch, refit philips drl's (or maybe not).
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Old 7th November 2019, 05:05 PM
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steamship steamship is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Laird View Post
Ha ha! Iíve got a PhatBox, too, sitting on my garage shelf.
Ditto. Bought mine from Scott five years ago, and still sitting in it's box.
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2001 A8 D2 FL 3.7 Q - LPG Conversion, Engine: AKC, Gearbox:FBB, Colour:LY5X Aqua Blue pearl effect, Interior:WJ light beige/dark beige valcona leather with burr walnut inserts

My DIY jobs - Replaced alarm horn, Replaced Coolant Temp sensor, Updated RNS-D firmware, Installed Reversing Camera and Digital TV, Dashcam Installation, Retrofitted Rear Blinds, Auto-Dimming Rear View Mirror, Chrome Boot Struts

Sold! 2008 S8 D3 5.2 V10 - Engine: BSM, Gearbox:KLW, Colour:LY7F Suzuka Grey Pearl Effect, Interior:Black/Black with Silver/Black valcona leather with carbon atlas inserts, Bang & Olufsen, Heated windscreen, Soft-close doors, TV, DAB, AMI, Quad Zone, Auto Boot, Auto dim Mirrors, Keyless entry, PDC with rearview camera, AFS II Headlights

My DIY jobs - Fan Jet Windscreen Washers, Retrofitted Electric Side Blinds
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Old 8th November 2019, 03:39 AM
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27litres 27litres is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steamship View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Laird View Post
Ha ha! Iíve got a PhatBox, too, sitting on my garage shelf.
Ditto. Bought mine from Scott five years ago, and still sitting in it's box.
They seem quite popular!

Now that the Grom does FLAC, the PhatBox is pretty much obsolete for me.

Anybody interested in it? I forget what I have - it's two boxes worth of stuff. Has a HDD IIRC, and I think the 60GB was a hack - standard they were 20 or 40 when new or something.
As I understand it, it swaps straight into the CD changer location with little or no bracket mods, and may have a fitment issue with the boot side trim cover when the HDD is fitted (It fits into a housing, which slots in the side like a Nintendo cartridge). I think the fix is to vertically mount the PhatBox, which involves altering the bracket with the TV tuner etc on it, where fitted. I dont think it's all that difficult to do.

Otherwise I might take it to "Day of the Volkswagen" later this month and see if anyone there is interested.
__________________
Cheers

Marty


____________________
Current:
2001 Audi S8 - Brilliant Black with Black interior, C5 RS6 rims (whenever I actually put them on...), Solar Sunroof, Tinted side and rear glass, RNS-D, Grom, Bose, clunky old phone in arm rest!
2002 Audi S8 - Project
Replacement head coming arrived thanks to MJ
Silver with Black interior. All features as the '01, with the 'S' mode auto shifter. Dodgey rear tint (need to find a way to get rid of that).
Family:
2009 Volvo XC90 V8 R Design
- has a louder more obnoxious exhaust than the S8, sounds great! Love this thing - Q7 was double the price, and certainly not double the car!

Sold:
1997 Audi A4
- Hamilton's Club Sport, Achat Grey (will miss the old girl)
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