The VR3 MP3 FM Modulator is an MP3 player that plugs into your cigarette lighter in your car and transmits the signal via FM. The VR3 has no internal memory, you are required to supply it with any USB flash drive. Buttons on the front allow you to skip forward back and pause the music. There is also an audio input for any other portable device you want plug in.
I have never had any good experiences with FM transmitters but other users on the net mentioned that this one actually did work, and work well. I was drawn to the simplicity of the VR3 FM Modulator which looked like a great way to get tunes into your car. So how well does it work? Keep reading below.
Inside the package is the unit itself, an extra fuse, and a cable for hooking up a CD player or other audio device. On the front of the unit are four buttons: forward, back, pause, and channel. The channel button will allow you to change the frequency which the transmitter uses, this will allow you to select the frequency with the least amount of interference.
On the side of the unit is a plug for the supplied input cable. What I thought was counterintuitive and annoying was the fact that the input on the side is a 3/32nd not a standard 1/8th phono jack. The supplied cable works just fine, but if you want to search for a non-standard 3/32nd adapter.
Testing the Player
Sometimes the placement and layout of the car electronics will have an effect on the performance of the FM transmitter. So to be fair, I tested the player in 4 different cars: 1998 Honda Accord, 2001 Saturn SL2, 2004 BMW X5, and a 1989 Dodge Caravan.
Performance & Sound Quality
The functionality of the player worked just as expected. The songs started to play right away as soon as I pressed play and tuned into the right station. The VR3 did have a little bit of problems with longer file names and it played VBR MP3s just the same. You can plug in pretty much any size flash drive and it will play it. But the problem lies when you turn off the car it sends you right back to the beginning of the list. So anything bigger then say a 256MB flash drive is impractical.
There was no difference in the way the each vehicle, they all preformed the same. In every test instance there was static, on every channel and in each vehicle. The crackling and static random and was anywhere from constant to every couple minuets depending on where I drove. There were times where there would be a good solid 4 minutes without static, which allowed me to evaluate the sound quality. Even without the static the sound was flat, without bass or highs.
I really wanted this thing to work, I really did; it looked to be a simple and elegant way to get music to your car audio system. I would use it on a daily basis if it did work. The fact is it doesn’t. You are better off spending that money on a cassette adapter to connect a player or $30 worth of gas to do donuts in the parking lot. I wasted $30 so you don’t have to.
I have already warned you but if you have to check it out for yourself you can pick it up here at Amazon, they usually have good prices on FM modulators