Friday, December 4, 2009

Installing Bluetooth audio in my car with a Motorola s705 Pt.2

After about two weeks of life with the Bluetooth audio system in my car, I'd say it has reached about %80 of its design expectations, and with a little tweaking, might be made perfect.

The #1 gripe: When the Motorola S705 is powered on (after I've started the car), the phone audio connects, immediately disconnects, then reconnects. In the process, the AVRCP protocol for remote-controlling the media player on the phone is lost. This means that I have to take the phone out of my pocket, load up the media player, then hit play. I know, it sounds like a really minor complaint, but the system would be a whole lot more enjoyable if I could just press a button on the dash and not fumble with the phone at all.

In order to fix this problem, I've installed the latest Cyanogen ROM. I've noticed a few threads that discuss A2DP and AVRCP reliability problems with android in general:

Both issues have been closed, but one person commented that he/she is still having problems with 4.2.1 after the issue was closed.

Today, I installed I hopped in the car and was disappointed to see the same problem (loss of AVRCP after a botched connection). I hooked up the phone to my computer and ran ADB logcat to see if I could get more info about the error. After 30 power-off/power-on cycles, the Bluetooth connection was always established perfectly with AVRCP. Geez! Obviously, I don't know if it's really fixed or not.

I decided that I will sync the phone with my music collection via USB. Originally, I thought it would be cool to do it wirelessly and automatically, but it turned out to be very easy to just plug it in and sync with MediaMonkey. The program chooses a random selection from my music collection and fills the phone's SD card up to capacity. I sync about once per week.

The automatic power-on and power-off circuitry to control the Motorola S705 works perfectly.

Also, the audio quality is good, but not quite as great as I originally thought. It's true that bass and treble are not attenuated, but there are noticeable compression artifacts in the sound that are not present in the source MP3. Cymbals sound kind of fuzzy, scratchy-- like the sound is coming from under water. It's not bad, but it's probably not quite as good as a 128-bit MP3. It's still fine enough for listening in the car where road noise is present.

More later...

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