Video: Parrot Bluetooth® car kits
Ken Nail has written about car audio for Crutchfield since 2003, after four years as Crutchfield Sales Advisor, and 10 years as a music teacher. He's an avid music listener, whose favorites are classical and film music. When not chained to a desk, Ken spends most of his time training for triathlons and marathons, and likes getting outside for backpacking, downhill skiing, and bicycle touring. He attended West Virginia University, where he received a Master's Degree in Music Performance and a Bachelor's Degree in History.
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Ralph Graves is one of Crutchfield's blog editors, and part of the company's social media team. He writes about home audio/video gear, specializing in Apple-related and wireless technologies. Ralph holds a master's degree in music composition, and his works have been released on various labels. He's served as product manager for an independent classical and world music label, produced several recordings, and worked extensively in public broadcasting. Since 1984 he's hosted a weekly classical music program on WTJU, and is also active as a blogger and podcaster.
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Crutchfield experts Ken and Ralph discuss Parrot Bluetooth car kits. Parrot kits make it easy to add wireless connectivity to any car and on any budget. From simple hands-free calling, to playing music from your iPod or MP3 player on your car stereo, Parrot makes it possible.
Ken: Hi, I'm Ken.
Ralph: And I'm Ralph.
Ken: Now we're here today at the Crutchfield studios to talk about Parrot Bluetooth® car kits. Ralph, when you hear the name parrot, what do you think of, besides pirates.
Ralph: Well, working at Crutchfield the first word that comes to my mind is Bluetooth. And that's because Parrot is a leader in Bluetooth technology.
Ken: Yeah they make kits for a variety of applications. They go all the way from basic speaker phone kits to more elaborate setups that'll add Bluetooth and audio capabilities into your car stereo.
Ralph: Right. Let's start with the basics, the Parrot MINIKIT Slim. Now this is a simple portable speaker phone kit. It is self-contained, so you can carry it just about anyplace.
Ken: As you can see, it's small, portable, it's got a little clip here so you can hook it on to the visor of your car or you can even just set it on the counter if you're working in the kitchen and want to go hands-free. You said it's self-contained, and it's got a battery built in. You can charge it up with the USB cable or you can charge it up with the car charger kit. It also has a speaker, a microphone that's omnidirectional with noise cancellation. It controls easy, a couple buttons and a jog dial.
Ralph: Right. Now it also accesses the phone list inside your mobile phone and it has voice recognition, which means that you can just say the name that you want to dial and it happens.
Ken: Now let's move on to a couple of units that offer a lot more. We've got the MKi9100 and the MKi9200. Now, these have a few differences. We'll go into that a little later.
Ralph: Right. The main thing to remember right now is that these are both fully integrated car kits. They have a brain that wires directly into your car stereo.
Ken: Now before you start worrying about wiring something into your stereo, we carry harnesses for many vehicles that make this virtually a plug-and-play operation.
Ralph: Right. And speaking of that, all of these devices plug into this brain. Now the nice thing about hard-wiring is that it gives this system much more functionality than just the portable device that basically just handles phone calls.
Ken: Talking about the phone setup, like the MINIKIT, this has voice recognition so you can dial numbers in your phone book just by speaking the name. It also lets you browse your phone book via text-to-speech. It'll call out the names and you select it.
Ralph: Which is nice when you're driving.
Ken: Absolutely. Now if you want to see what you're doing, it's got a color display here, makes it easy to see your incoming calls.
Ralph: It also has this dual mic array with built-in noise reduction so your callers can hear you much more clearly.
Ken: Now speaking of being heard, since it's wired into your car stereo, when you receive a call it will automatically mute your car stereo. With this, we were talking about adding music into your system too. These systems support audio streaming through Bluetooth compatible devices.
Ralph: Right, so if you have a Smartphone or something like that. But also you can, through a wired connection, play just about anything. It's got an auxiliary input; it has USB input for thumb drives and MP3 players, and it also has the proprietary pin connector for iPods.
Ken: iPod not included. I'll want that back.
Ralph: Okay. Let's get through this first. And the nice thing about this is this connector lets you remotely control the iPod through the Parrot system.
Ken: Control through this system is done with this handy little remote. You can stick that on the dash of your car, or there's even a strap here so you can hook it to the steering wheel.
Ken: The remote has a series of buttons and a dial. To enter your menus just press in on the dial and then you just turn the knob. We'll go to iPod. Once we're in there, we can just turn until we get down to our play list, and I'm gonna look for one of my favorite play lists. Once I'm there, I can choose the song I like and press it. With the 9200 you get album information plus even cover art. When you're done, just press the button to exit. Now we'd mentioned there were some differences between these two models. The MKi9100 comes with this smaller 3-line display.
Ralph: Right. And the MKi9200 gives you a 5-line display. Now it also has an SD card slot so you can load up to 32 GB of music onto an SD card and just pop it right in.
Ken: You can have your whole music library with you all the time.
Ken: If you want to find out more these and other Parrot products, go to crutchfield.com/parrot.
Ralph: Or you can call one of our expert advisors at 1-800-555-9408.