Harman Kardon's Drive + Play is more than just an iPod adapter — it's a complete digital music control system for your car. In fact, the Drive + Play handles the iPod so well that it was given an Innovations Award at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show.

Consider the system's backlit LCD display, which mounts up high on the dash for easy visibility while driving. And since it matches the display on your iPod — with the same menu style and general layout — you already know how easy it is to jump between songs and artists.

But the Drive + Play system is all about control, and its Text Commander Controller handles file navigation with ease and elegance. Shaped like an oversized mushroom, this remote mount command center works just like the click wheel on your iPod — just press the outer buttons to play, pause, fast-forward, or reverse, and twist the knob to scroll through the menus. Install it on your center console for a handy, easy-to-reach controller.

While your iPod is connected to the system, you'll be able to control every aspect of playback — from track selection to playlists. And best of all, the Drive + Play will charge your iPod battery while it's in use.

The central "brain" unit can be mounted out of the way in the glove box or under a seat, and a built-in wireless FM transmitter lets you play the iPod through your vehicle's FM radio. If your stereo has an auxiliary input, you can connect the Drive + Play's audio output to it for the best possible sound performance. The Drive + Play also offers a pass-through auxiliary input for connecting an additional component to your stereo system.

Product Highlights:

  • iPod connection system for factory and aftermarket car stereos
  • includes backlit, dash-mountable display
  • includes remote-mount control knob with five-button navigation
  • connection plug compatible with all dockable iPods (system uses the connection cable that came with your iPod)
  • system connects to any factory or aftermarket stereo via the internal wireless FM transmitter or auxiliary input connection
  • "brain" unit features AUX-IN pass-through for connecting another component to your system
  • 3-meter installation cables for display and controller included
  • universal mounting hardware included
  • controls all iPod functions from the remote controller
  • customize iPod menus on the fly
  • 12V power adapter included
  • charges iPod while connected
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Harman Kardon Drive + Play™ Reviews

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Harman Kardon Drive + Play™

Written By Jay, Northridge, CA on Tuesday, January 15, 2008

After completing a "permanent install", I'm very happy and impressed with this product. The direct connect auxilliary input sound quality is excellent and the iPod control works perfectly. The built-in FM transmitter is useless, however. I did not try the FM modulator adapter that was included at no charge.

It's too bad that this $60 device is no longer available.

Would work great... if it worked.

Written By Benjamin, Baltimore, MD on Friday, November 23, 2007

Installed this on my Mazdaspeed 3 and it looked great, almost stock. Turned it on and immediately noticed sound was only coming out of the left side. I started driving and the iPod began to randomly disconnecting.

Crutchfield came through though and I will be getting a replacement. Hopefully that will work, because I like the interface and it seems like it would work well.

Quick Install and Sounds Good

Written By Andrew, Minocqua, WI on Thursday, October 18, 2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Recently installed the Drive+Play in my 05 Ford Expedition with the wired FM mod. Install took about 1 hour to my factory installed stereo. The wired FM mod was a breeze. Overall sounds good and thte controller works well. Happy so far with this product.

Not so great

Written By clarissa, harlingen,tx on Sunday, October 07, 2007

Since I first purchased the product i've had trouble with it. First time I had to take it back 4X. Bought another one that one worked for a good 6 mo. then broke and now i have to return it again. too many problems with this product.

Poor I-pod Interface Cable

Written By Bob, Chesterton, IN on Sunday, July 29, 2007

Overall the Drive + Play system works great and I use the aux input in my trucks factory stereo. People who I have shown it to are also impressed. However, after only 3 months of use, the i-pod interface cable has failed and I am waiting for a new one. These cables tend to be very expensive ($25 to $30 including shipping) and I find that very frustrating.

Worked great for a year then froze up!

Written By Matthew, Edwardsville, IL on Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I purchased the Drive and Play a little over a year ago. It worked great for about 9 months until the cable that connects to the iPod went bad. I replaced that and was back up and running. Just recently, however, the whole unit has froze up. All I see on my display is "Please wait..." I was really please while this product worked. I am just very frustrated that I have to replace it after a year.

Very cool product, but read this if you have an iPod Photo

Written By James, Michigan on Thursday, May 17, 2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I know this drive and play unit has been replaced by a newer, fancier and much more expensive model, so I say GRAB ONE WHILE THEY HAVE SOME LEFT!

That being said, I have one warning that will apply only to some iPod owners. If you have an iPod Photo (the very last and best of the generation 4 iPods, replaced by the iPod Video gen. 5), you will have a special problem, in that the drive and play will not, by my experience, turn off your iPod. I have a way around this situation, and though it is less than ideal, I love the Drive & Play so much that I dont mind dealing with it.

When any iPod is connected to and powered by a Drive & Play, the iPod controls themselves are not usable - which is fine, you dont need them. The problem I have is that in order to turn my iPod off, I have to disconnect all power to the Drive& Play. This is easily accomplished by powering the D&P through the included cigarette-lighter power cable, as long as your lighter socket powers off with your car (or radio). So in my case, I have to keep the iPod where I can get to it (under the passenger seat works for me), and before I leave my vehicle, I switch off power to my lighter socket (I have one already wired-up under the passeger seat, through a relay from the turn-on lead from my HU). Once powered off, the D&P releases control of the iPod and I can manually turn it off. This problem might be corrected by going to a retro driver on the iPod, but Im not willing to mess with the iPods software.

Other than that, the unit works well. Its much safer to have the screen up where you can keep your eyes on the road. Get one while you can!

Works great with wired FM modulator

Written By Joe, Gilbertsville PA on Saturday, May 05, 2007

Purchased this item without the wired FM modulator and was not satisfied with the performance of the unit.
The transmitter was very weak, I believed it would work well due to the signal strength from my experiance with a Sirus radio I have. The Sirus transmitter is good from one end of my home to the other 75 feet and 1 floor. I then purchased the FM wired modulator and it is great sounding now. The volume does not match the FM radio stations but you can not have everything.

I think many people who rate products on the Crutchfield's sight are high end users who do not use factory radio's and speakers. The highend users are looking for perfection at any price where I was looking for the $150 solution not $750 solution. Sure if you have line level inputs then that is the way to go but must factory radio's will not have them. I am completely satisfied with Cruchfield and the HK unit.

Does what it says

Written By cnsf, Westchester, NY on Thursday, April 05, 2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Overall, I'm fairly satisfied with the product. My two main gripes: 1) The sound quality using the wired FM modulator is adequate, but I do get a general hum in the background (my stereo doesn't have an aux input) 2) the display is fine, but it doesn't show the album of the song and there clearly is space for it. It's something that it quite frustrating. The scrolling of long song names also gets truncated if the name is too long...and it doesn't scroll, it's more like a "page forward" of the song name.

A few unintuitive points are that it doesn't have a "Shuffle Songs" option and navigating to play a song and skipping to get to the first random song is clunky. Also, to play podcasts, you need to find Podcasts in Genres; clunky.

There is a newer color version for three times the price. My suggestion is to stick with this as it gets the job done.

Works as advertised

Written By Mike, Winter Haven, FL on Friday, March 30, 2007

I don't know what everyone else is doing with theirs that makes it "not work". My 30GB iPOD Video is hooked to it through my AUX in on my Alpine 9815. It sounds as good as a CD. Mine does all of the functions from the HK Drive + Play that I can do with the iPOD in my hand (not while hooked to the HK, of course). It will advance and re-play a song, ff and rew through a song playing, and I can negotiate any menu feature while the song is playing. I have seven play lists with about 300 songs in each. I can zip right through any of them as fast as I can with the iPOD disconnected from it. This thing is AWESOME! I never have to look at the control knob and the display is on the dash where I can still see the road.

Harman Kardon Drive + Play™

Written By Linda, Arlington Heights, IL on Thursday, March 22, 2007

I had done an enormous amount of shopping around before settling on the Drive+Play only to be disappointed in the sound and support. I went with the wired FM option (only because I had no AUX input). I already have an XM MyFi installed that way and it sounds great so was looking forward to the same with the Drive+Play.

After installation there was constant static when playing anything. I tried every pre-set FM station Harman had setup as well as a variety of custom settings and nothing helped. It did not seem to matter where in town I was, the static was terrible. What sound that did manage to come through the static was very flat.

I called Harman/Kardan for support ideas and their only suggestion was to try the wireless FM transmission setup. I'm sorry . . . I thought the whole point of the direct wired setup was to improve the quality.

Nice interface controls is about the best I can say for the unit.

convenient but bad reception

Written By Raphy, Philadelphia, PA on Sunday, March 11, 2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've had my drive + play for about 2 weeks now and while installation was quick and the interface is very friendly and easy to use, the reception with the wired FM modulator is quite poor. Especially in heavy traffic, there is often a large amount of static. This product would be perfect if you could directly connect it to the AUX input, but my factory radio doesn't have that option.

But most of the time, I don't pay attention to the light static and depending on the song and location, I'm not even be able to here it at all.

Decent, but could be so much better

Written By Brendan, Seattle, WA on Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've been using a Drive+Play for over a year and half now. It's been a decent solution for iPod integration, but I think HK could have done a better job and I'm sure they will once there are competing products.

My major problem is with the iPod interface cable. I've already replaced it once and now the second one is failing as well despite being very careful not to bend or otherwise damage it. Considering it's intended for use with a portable device that is connected and disconnected all the time, it's not nearly durable enough. At $20+ for replacements, I'm not pleased.

The other issue I have is with the sound quality. I always plug into the headphone jack on the iPod rather than using the outpud on the Drive+Play. The sound quality is night and day different between the two and the headphone jack doesn't suffer from the annoying noise you get when a cellular phone is in proximity of the device.

Must Have for all iPods!

Written By Brandon, Bentonville, AR on Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have installed this unit in my 97 Mitsubishi Montero Sport. It was extremely easy to install and I am NOT technically inclined. I plan on buying another one of these units for my wife's car as well.

Harman Kardon Drive + Play with FM modulator

Written By Ken, Santa Cruz, CA on Thursday, January 25, 2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Intalled in 2004 Toyota Prius about a month ago. Installation was not that easy but was able to and looks nice. (placed the contol knob to the left of steering wheel) The default FM frequency has static and the custom frequency less, often resets to defult frequency when car is turned off. Sometimes the unit will freeze and requires turning on and off. Overall good for the price and not aware of a better alternative. Cructhfield price was good.

Great product, only a couple things

Written By Jesse, Chicago, il on Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Installation was easy. I love the seperate display.
I would recommend this product, I think it works pretty well when you use the FM modulator that comes with it.

One problem is the controller. It is a little bulky, depending on which base you use (it comes with 3
different angled bases)
Also, when traveling to work I come across about a block or two of very light static. The music overpowers the static, but it is there. I am not sure if I would come across this everywhere, but since it is on route to my job I noticed it.

The pros definately out weigh the cons.


Written By Robert, Plymouth, MA on Friday, January 05, 2007

Put this in the wife's 2004 Tahoe using the wired FM modulator and it is slick. Mounted the brain of the unit in the center console and tied into the wiring harness that was in there. I mounted the spin dial on the console and the display unit in one of my extra cubby holes. First couple day I had it hooked up with the cigarette adapter and I did not like that is stayed on after I shut off the truck and after an hour would default back to the 1st song on my ipod. Now that I have hard wired it into the truck the sound is still great, the functionality is superb and it turns on and off with the truck. In my car I have a kenwood stereo with sirius satellite and a ipod cable hooked up to the Aux/cd changer port on my sirius antenna unit. Yes, it does sound great but getting to my songs using the head unit is nowhere near as easy as using this Drive + Play. In my experience if you have an external antenna (not built into the window) you will have much better luck with any FM transmission. My camry has built in antenna and prior to purchasing the ipod cable the FM wireless modulators that I experimented with (monster, belkin, etc.) did not sound nearly as good as they did in the Tahoe with the external antenna. For the price of this unit it is a no brainer!

Great Product

Written By Andive68, Maryland on Thursday, January 04, 2007

This product is Excellent. I installed it in my wife's 1999 4Runner with no problem (a few hours). I used the Aux input of her Blaupunkt radio (had to buy 2 adapters). Sounds great, works well and most importantly my wife is happy :-)
I installed the ipod controller in the glove box and was happy that it connected to her 2nd generation iPod Nano. My only gripe is the weak plastic base plates that attach to the otherwise sturdy, metal 5 button controller. I had one break on me, this is the only reason why I am taking a star away. Other than that, excellend quality product especiallyfor the price.

Best Aftermarket ipod hookup

Written By gberkin, NJ on Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I installed this into my 2003 GMC Yukon. I was using the Belkin system that plugs into my cig lighter. This thing was bulky, ugly, and I had major radio interference.

Buy the Harmon Kardon system now! I installed it in less than 2 hours and it looks and functions amazing! No static at all. This is your best option for a car stereo without the appropriate inputs.

Do it!

Harman Kardon Drive + Play™

Written By Sam, Youngstown, OH on Saturday, December 23, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I purchased this product because I had a Pioneer MP5500 head unit and I did not want to buy another head unit to use my ipod and I liked the idea of having a seperate screen and the control knob in the Drive and Play. I wanted good sound quality so I connected it directly to my head unit. Installation was easy, I bought a new car (02 Cavalier) and had to install the Pioneer head unit along with the new Drive and Play. This was the first time I've ever seen or done anything with car audio, the install sheets Crutchfield sent were extremely helpful. My only complaints about the unit is that when you change artists the music skips for about 15 seconds and then it plays. My other complaint is that while playing music I can't go back through album to artists, the unit takes me all the way to the start screen where you can select music, settings, etc. Like the others have said you have to give all your songs an album name in order to play and you can't use the updated itunes version. All in all I really like the Drive and Play and am very glad I purchased it.

Love it, but...

Written By Frank, Chicago on Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is a great way to listen to your iPod in the car. Very smooth menus and the jog dial is really nice.
Make sure you hook it up with the included wired FM modulator. I tried it wireless at first and it wasnt any better then others I'd tried.
If you have a stock radio, odds are you will need to purchase antenna adapters for the wired FM modulator. I didnt realize this ahead of time and was a little dissapointed when I had my dash out ready to install but realized it wasnt gonna happen that day.
Anyway, great product at a good price...just make sure you check that antenna.

Terrible implementation of a great concept

Written By Chris, Milwaukee, WI on Monday, November 27, 2006

The concept is brilliant. The execution is terrible. Unit response time is much too slow. Sometimes skipping fwd/back several tracks takes 15 or 20 seconds. The unit crashed a few times, reverting back to the first song on the iPod. Scrolling through a long list of artists/tracks/playlists/etc is painful-- the control unit scroller isnt pressure sensitive, meaning it might as well be a set of up/down buttons. If you scroll-and-hold, the interface scrolls through 4 or 5 screens, and then suddenly jumps down 50 or more screens at a time (thats 200 lines at a time! I tested it). That means that in order to get to an item in the middle that got skipped, you have to scroll-click back up 100 or more times, one click at a time; click-and-hold, and you risk jumping back too far the other way. Its quite frustrating. Also, from the main menu, after choosing "Artists" there is no "All" item like on the iPod-- only the album names. This means if you have one artist with several or more albums, you need to know which album a particular track is on in order to select it. And lastly, if you turn off the car, when you come back, the unit will remember & continue the last song you were playing, but clicking "menu" to go back to the playlist reverts back to the main menu-- not the previously playing playlist; so you need to go back through the torturous menu to find where you left off.

I got this item on Black Friday for nearly 50% off the MSRP, and I still ended up returning it. I opted instead for a basic iPod charger/audio interface cable, and a simple car mount. It was a ton cheaper, and I can control the iPod the way it was made to be controlled. If the Drive+Play accurately mi

Really nice with one problem

Written By Nick, Port Chester, NY on Thursday, November 23, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

There is not much to say this is an excellent item. It adds a nice look to your car and is very easy to use and install. I put mine in a 2000 Z28 and it was a breeze. Now for the one problem, audio quality. I am using the wired FM transmitter. Sound quality to me is good at best. I am comparing the quality to a wired transmitter I installed in my moms car for her XM Roady 2, that sounds great. The one thing to me is that it is not as powerful as the XM. When I turn my moms XM on even though her radio is set to 88.5 for transmission every station will experience static (except 88.5) With the Harman Kardon unit you could easily listen to the radio while the unit is on and not even know it. I still love the unit but I am a little disappointed. Crutchfiled service as always is amazing. Oh one other thing the Aux out is dumb. They give you an Auto Audio Sense option that doesn't work. It has to be selected every time you want to use it. I thought mine was broken but one call to harman told me that is the way it works. I have an XM SkiFi hooked up to it and it sounded better with the cassette.

Absolutely love this product ...

Written By Tim, Owings Mills, MD on Thursday, November 16, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This product is everything you've heard from others and more! I took advantage of the free FM modulator offer but ended up not using it because I couldn't losen the factory radio screws (don't ask). The system works nearly flawless in wireless mode as well and looks fantastic. I installed it in my Acura using only the adhesive disc to attach the display to my dash and the scroll wheel in the cupholder area. The electronic unit fits neatly and discreetly into the arm rest console. For those that love their iPod and want a unit to attach it to their factory stereo without much effort, this is what you want. Hands down.


Written By G-Dub, Novato CA on Friday, November 10, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great Product.
Had Kenwood interface before, but was unhappy that I could only scan one line at a time.

This works just like a normal ipod.

I have it installed to auxillary inputs and sound quality is great

Love it

Written By Carla, NY on Saturday, September 09, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I was using a wireless FM modulator for my iPod and hated how cumbersome it all was. I love this product.

My neighbor installed it in about an hour and I can now just leave my iPod in my vehicle (out of sight).

I have this installed in an '03 Mercury Mountaineer via the included hardwire FM connection. The sound quality isn't perfect (my stereo lacks an aux connection), but it's good and a great compromise to functionality.

It's also hardwired to the battery and charges the iPod at the same time.

Whenever I start my truck back up, it starts playing right where it left off - that's the nuts.

I recently upgraded to the newest version on my iPod and noticed it takes a little longer to load a playlist (maybe 5 sec), but once it's loaded, it plays without a hitch. I haven't experienced any skipping like some others have reported.

If you are looking for form and function - this is it...

Depends on installation type

Written By dbc, Leavenworth, WA on Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I have this installed in a 06 Subaru Outback with a wired FM modulator-only wired option for the factory stereo. I think the sound quality with this product depends on the type of installation and car if going with the wired FM. The other option with this unit is Aux In which would be the best sound quality, but was not an option with my stereo.

That said, I chose the wired FM installation, which Crutchfield said would offer the better sound. My install has an antenna switch mounted under the steering column which allows me to block out signals from the factory antenna. The Display unit fits nicely in the storage area at the top of the console, where the factory navigation system would go, if equipped, allowing me to close and hide the display, or open the storage cover and view it. Very nice for you Outback owners! The control knob fits and looks very nice with the interior finish by the shift lever.

When I listen to my unit through the wired FM modulator, the sound is poor, and I was initially very disappointed. One technician warned me of this, due to the in-window antenna which requires an amplified signal. I thought that the antenna switch would take care of it, but I thought wrong. However, when I run this using the built in wireless transmitter, the sound is quite good. My antenna switch helps in that if I have it off, there is no interference or ambience from other sources.

As others have stated, the control does not work exactly like the iPod. Depending on how you like to use your iPod, this may or may not bother you. For me, the biggest drawback is it not remembering your path so you have to start over every time you hit th

Almost perfect

Written By Bill_VA, Manassas, VA on Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought this after buying a new truck and hoping to be able to use my iPod in my truck like I did before using the USA Spec interface which made my iPod appear as if it were a CD changer.

So glad I found this. I mounted the display beside my rearview mirror (just enough cable to reach). For the most part I'm very pleased and impressed. The only negative in the whole product is it's inability to work with the latest versions of iPod software. I have a 4th gen 20gig clickwheel and it would skip and do odd things when changing songs/artists/playlists/etc through the menu. I called the HK tech support and was told to download the older iPod software and go from there. I did and it works well now, and much quicker between songs. I wasn't real wild about the fact that if the songs didn't have an Album assigned to it that it wouldn't play, and that it didn't give a choice to play "all" like the iPod menu does. But I don't pay much attention to the album data, so I selected all the songs in my iTunes library and choose "get info" and changed the album for all the songs to "All" (just type this in, or whatever you want to title the generic album as) and now when I select an artist, I get an All prompt like my iPod does. If you don't care about album info, this is a great fix.

The HK people also said they were working with Apple to get the skipping bug worked out in the newer versions of iPod software. We'll see.

Caution: This item works only with 4th generation IPODs and higher

Written By Matt, Warwick, RI on Sunday, August 06, 2006

purchased this item and owned a 3rd generation Ipod and when connected, and when you change songs, it skips for the first 10 secnds of each song. It also will no remember where you left off in any menu if you go back. I had to purchase a whole new Ipod and it works perfect now. I talkd to the company and they said they designed this with 4th gen and higher models. Not sure why they didnt point this out. Other than that it works perfect! I think the big drawback is having to disconnect your Ipod each time you leave your car because it doesnt power the Ipod down automatically!

Harman Kardon Drive + Play™

Written By sadler, SC on Monday, July 10, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great unit and the best I was able to find. Highly recommended. I was leaning towards a Dice unit for my '99 BMW M3, but decide the HK was a better option due to getting multiple lines on the screen vs. a single scrolling line on the factory radio with the Dice.

The main thing I have to add to the other reviews is to expand on the fact that if you have a 4th generation iPod, and you get the sound stuttering/and or long pauses when jumping from song to song, reinstalling the original iPod software completely fixed the problem for me. I had updated my Ipod software over the years several times, and this apparently was the problem. The original software is called the "2004-11-15 iPod updater". My CD is lost, so I had to scrounge for this old version. I have a Mac and finally found the Mac version, but it turns out, it is incompatible with the newest Macs (Macbook Pro), so I had to use my old PC along with the PC version of the 2004-11-15 update (google'd it) to restore the original software onto my 20G 4th gen IPod.

The change back to the original software not only eliminated the stuttering, but cut the time going from a song on one album to a song on a different album by at least a factor of four, as fast now as jumping within an album, making the Drive and Play overall plenty fast and easy to use for me. I'm feeding the sound in through a cassette adapter for now, but have ordered an aux-in adapter for my head unit. Therefore, I can't comment yet on the sound quality since the cassette input is inherently a low quality input.

Good but not great

Written By navypilot, jacksonville, fl on Monday, July 10, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Ok, so I like this thing but it does have a good amount of shortcomings. I've had it for about a month now and given it the once over in my toyota matrix. I've got an Eclipse CD3000 head, PPI 1400w amp and 4 Eclipse 6 1/2" 3 way speakers (soon to add a Pioneer shallow mount 12" sub). So now that that's out of the way, I got it with the FM modulator which works OK. There's intermitant static which you get used to but it can be annoying. The biggest shortfalls are 2 things. 1st, you can't rate the songs, which I like to do. 2nd, the basic ipod functions aren't available. if you don't have a song album, the song doesn't show up. You can't choose the "ALL" function when listening to an artist so you have to listen to 1 album at a time!!! It doesn't offer the convienent extras ie. the time remaining, pics of the album, etc. My biggest gripe is that if you want to shuffle songs and listen you have to set up a playlist because you can't do the suffle all function in the Genre category. It's a good quality system but it can drive you crazy if you don't take time to set it up and have patience. It'd be a sweet upgrade for the next version.


Written By Rob, Salt Lake City Utah on Monday, July 03, 2006

Ive had the harman/kardon system in my car for about 2 days. It is the greatest thing my car has ever experienced. There was one problem. There is a high pitched ringing sound coming from the speakers after the system was installed. I have not found a conclusion but it is almost unnoticable. You have to strain to hear it. But its hard to notice when your music is loud like mine. If you like soft music dont buy this system, if your a loud kind of person this is the solution to all your CD problems.

Harman Kardon Drive + Play™

Written By Mike, Greenfield, MA on Thursday, May 25, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have had this installed for almost 2 months now, and not only do i love it, but so do all my passnegers. The audio quality is only limited by the quality of the files you have on your iPod, so theres no worry of degraded sound quality if you are using the aux inputs. I have mainly been using the wired fm modulator, and it is probably as good as it can get until i make the switch to the aux input on my new stereo. the only thing that i have noticed that is strange is that if you are browsing by artist, and only some of the songs have albums assigned to them, only the ones that have albums will be displayed as it asks for the album name first, without a everything else option. Not a big deal, just have to categorize all or none of your songs with album names. they all show up when browsing by song name, so this is not a big issue. i was a little skeptical on the price at first, but it has proven itself very much worth it.

Best Way to Connect Your IPOD To Your Car Stereo

Written By Brad, La Mirada, CA on Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I was able to install the Harman Kardon Drive + Play
iPod® control system myself in about 3 hours. It was connected to my sons Toyota Matrix Factory stereo with the free wired FM modulator. It sounds excellent and works just like the iPod control. My son loves the heads up display and it looks like it came with the car as original equipment. We had previously hooked up his iPod through a equally expensive wireless FM modulator but the sound was less than perfect. I would highly recommend this unit to the serious iPod users who want only the best.

Better than most

Written By Andrew, Herndon, VA on Friday, May 19, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have had it installed in my truck for 3 weeks now. The display came with a plethora of mounting options, which made it easy to pick exactly where I wanted it in the truck for best visibility. The mounting system for both the controller and the display makes mounting simple and effective. It emulates the control of the iPod pretty close to accurate, the only exception being, with an iPod you can press "play" at any level and play an entire artist and all their albums, or play at a genre level. The harmon will only let you play at the song level. It will then sort the whole "folder" you are in, but if you want to mix an entire Artists' collection then you'll need a playlist.
The only other problem I had is if you have a monster-sized playlist (say, every song on a 60GB iPod) the player crashes trying to load it. If you then reboot it (by holding play to poweroff, then power back on), the iPod gets hung and you have to reboot it. It will then play the list you selected no problem. Big playlists of a few thousand songs play ok.
I like it enough i'm going to buy another for my car. WAY better than the 1st gen Alpine 420i iPod controller and the sound Quality is 100s of times better than the iTrip when you use the RCA adapter directly into the head unit.

Harman Kardon Drive & Play

Written By JOSEPH, Monroe NY on Sunday, April 23, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I gave the Harman Kardon Drive & Play Ipod control system 3 stars. It does what's advertised...the features that work are the remote management of an Ipod, the LCD display is great, and the little "knob" controller is easy to use. The wired FM modulator is a big disappointment. The sound is no better than any of the wireless modulators I've tried. That contradicts what the Crutchfield advisor told me. Also, the pre-paid install card only covered half the "professional" installation fee.

Good but not great

Written By Anubis, NJ on Monday, April 10, 2006

The major problem I have with this unit is that if I select a song it skips for about 30 seconds before playing the song all the time. When I called Harmon/kardon they told me it was an issue with the new updates for my ipod and they told me that I would have to reinstall my original software to maybe fix the problem. other than that the FM direct connect is ok but is still giving out some noticeable static especially with the high range sounds. Not really worth it if you want the best quality, but good for conveniance.

Does the job for iPod in the car

Written By Mike, Austin, TX on Friday, March 31, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Overall, the Drive+Play (D+P) is a good solution to play your iPod in the car. The install was very easy. I personally gave up FM-related intgration solutions long ago because of the bad sound quality. Line inputs are the way to go without question. You can get a receiver with AUX input for $80 so cost is not an issue to get good sound quality. The heads-up display is great. I like to listen to new music when I'm in the car and it's convenient to easily see the name of the song and band. The operation of the D+P is fine, once you accept that it's not an iPod. Scrolling is a bit chunky but it doesn't take long for you to get the feel of it (kind of like using a DVD player and knowing when to hit the Play button to stop fast forwarding at the right time). My only significant complaint is that the D+P does not remember the menu path I took to get to my currently playing songs. On iPod, suppose you browse to some song (e.g. Music->Album->Van Halen->Eruption) and start playing the song. If you turn off the iPod, when you turn it back on, you're still at the same menu location. The D+P powers on playing the last song but it's at the top of the menu structure. If I want to get back to the Van Halen album, I have to navigate from the top again. Even without powering down, if I return to the top level menu, the D+P doesn't remember the last menu path like iPod. If I want to get back I have to scroll through the complete list of menus every time. This has turned out to be quite a pain for the way I use the iPod. Having said all this, I like the D+P overall. If it handled the menus better, I'd rate it a 5+.

Like everyone says.....this is the BEST !

Written By Ralfy G, Philly Burbs, PA on Monday, February 06, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Well, I installed this on my 2001 Harley-Davidson Ultra Touring motorcycle.

I've been toying with all the other junk controllers out there and I took a chance on this one... Man, was I happy. The install was a breeze and the unit works great.

I did have the same odd occurance happen to me that a previous poster had....the guy with the 2001 Altima... I was listening to the unit with the bike turned off and the voltage must have dipped below 12 volts... the unit woulnd't turn on... it would power up then shut right down...

I checked out all my connections...good. checked the fuses....also good.. I started up the bike and the unit just popped on. I guess the unit senses voltage drops and kicks off for reasons I do not know. I also used a toggle switch to keep the unit off when I start the bike. It was easy for me as I have an accessory switch on my dash.

But the unit is great. With regards to the unit scrolling slowly..... I went into my utunes and created some "back doors" to access the music with the drive and play..I have over 15gigs stored.. It works great. It looks really cool on my cycle, too!

My advise if you are reading this and toying with the idea of buying it......This is all I can say;;


Great product; best out there today

Written By Eddie, Boston, MA on Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What other reviewers have said already is accurate, and I don't need to repeat it. Basically put, this is the best ipod interface available on the market today. Yes, it can be improved, but that will always be true.

A note that may be of interest to readers: the unit may not remain turned on when you turn off the engine. This will happen if you vehicle voltage ever dips below 11.5v.

H&K was in contact with me, and they expect a revision to come in the near (quarter-timeframe) future that will be more tolerant of voltage sags. Or you could jerry-rig some installation hack that would provide a buffer if the voltage dips down.

My car (Altima SE-R 2005) suffers from this, about 5 minutes after I turn the engine off (but sometimes sooner).

A fine piece of electronica - with a few drawbacks

Written By Randy, Canoga Park CA on Monday, November 28, 2005

My main complaints echo those of previous posters - interface is slow, and browsing songs is painful in the extremis. First the browsing/scanning - it does allow one to adjust the 'jump' to skip anywhere from 5-25% of the list being browsed when the control is 'twisted'. However, with a 9000-song collection on my iPod, that will jump me 450 songs when set to the lowest 5% - and if my song happens to be number 225 in that segment, I have to s-lo-w-l-y twist the browse ring one twist per song, 225 times to get to my target. Practically unusable when searching for a particular song. Also I have a still-unresolved problem concerning my third-gen iPod (the ones with the round backlit buttons below the display): when I use this particular model, I get a swishy/digital hash noise in the audio background, along with hearing when the hard drive in the iPod is accessed and when the buffer is full. I get no such noise if I connect the iPod's line out signal directly to the (in my case) FM modulator input. My other two iPods (Photo and vidoe, both 60 gigs) sound fabulous through the Drive+Play.

Finally a solution that works

Written By pete, Detroit, Michigan on Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Dont waste your time with other products that try to implement ipods into head units with their adapters! I spent so much time researching and trying them out - You get the head unit to display the first few characters of a track, or you have to reach up to the dash and hit the "next track" button 25 times to get to an artist starting with the letter M on your ipod....the Drive+Play solves everything.
Basically it does what nobody else does - you find it easy to use your iPod, right? Well, it puts the same type of menu system up in a larger screen in your car (mounted wherever you would like since theres no controls on it), and then you can locate the Drive + Play wherever you want - next to your seat, on the door panel, on the ceiling, whatever. You could just leave your ipod hooked up under the seat forever - you never need to look at it. Just as long as you can keep your eyes on the road, and glance over at the drive+play screen if needed, without having to look down at an ipod with a cable coming out of it, fumbling around with the ipod scroll wheel, etc is a relief!! I bought this the day it came out, and havent regretted it at all. I *did* have a bit of a problem with the scroll wheel..its like it has something sticky inside of it whenever i scroll all the way to the left...its been like that since i took it out of the box and never went away after it was used for a while. A real nice feature is that it has an AUX in - so you can plug a portable satellite radio into it, and it even senses when audio is coming into it and switches from ipod mode to AUX input mode. I rarely write these reviews, but so many other companies are in the dark with ipod addons!!

Harman Kardon Drive + Play™

Written By Stephen, Central NJ on Tuesday, November 15, 2005

This is simply the besyt Ipod car option if you do not have an ipod ready radio. You will not regret this purchase.
The only negative is the automatic startup when the ignition is turned on and one of the above posters found a way around it.

Almost perfect and the best I've used.

Written By Normalizer, Nashville, TN on Friday, November 11, 2005

My ride is an 02 MINI Cooper S with stock headunit and a Blitzsafe aux input module. I've used my Ipod with several FM modulators, cassette adapters, etc and finally got the Blitzsafe so I could just plug directly from the headphone jack into the soundsystem. Belkin makes a nice car charger for the Ipod that has an amplified audio out but I keep destroying them by running the seats over the wires.... and it doesnt look clean.

I installed the H&K system last weekend and LOVE it. I've not yet found the ideal locations for the controller and display, but the functionality of the system is fantastic. As others have said, it can be a little slow but not so much as to be a problem. My main gripes are also minor; the screen isn't color and podcasts aren't accessible via playlist like on the Ipod. The only way I've found to to them is to go to through genres, then pick podcasts - but they are listed by a name OTHER than the podcast name, so it can be confusing to find the right one if you subscribe to many. To ease this I am pruning out the GENRE names in itunes so that there are fewer to go through to get to the right one.

Other than those two little nags, the system is the best solution for integrating an ipod to a car audio system that I have found yet. Sound quality is superb, it charges your ipod and allows it to be stowed away, and the controls are very intuititve. Experiment with mounting locations before doing a permanent install, route the cables discreetly/safely, and it's a no-brainer accessory for any Ipod owner.

Harman Kardon Drive + Play™

Written By Gary, Chicago, IL on Friday, November 04, 2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

After research I found this the best and safest ipod controller. The display is a little slow, you can't select an artist and play all songs if there is multiple albums but must select an album and then when you get to the song list may start playing. The display housing I think could be made smaller so the display fits in tighter places and won't standout as much. For now the best out there. Cheap insurance.

Finally a unit that works!

Written By kleinspiano@sbcglobal.net, Milwaukee, WI on Sunday, October 30, 2005

As others have said, I too have tried literally every other Ipod interface on the market for the car including the Pioneer CD-IB100 with my Pioneer Avic N2. The Harman Kardon hands down made all others look like a joke. I was able to mount the screen at perfect eye level and the controller was installed right by the column shifter in a 2003 Pontiac Vibe.

I decided to hard wire the unit into the car which took about one hour so the interface could be turned on and off with the ignition. I also decided to add a single pole switch giving me the option to keep the unit off when the car was started, otherwise it boots up as soon as the ignition is turned on and will automatically start playing music.

Once installed, it took about 1-day of use to get the hang of the controller. I decided to set the backlight to fade out at 10sec for night driving, also was able from the main setup screen to remove the FM Settings since we would never use this feature. You will be wonderfully surprised at how easy it is to use, install and modify. Stop looking for now, this item out performs all of the other head units, such as the Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood adapters, just read there reviews!

Best iPod Interface by far

Written By Peter, Boston on Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Exactly what has been said so far is true. My only complaint so far is that the Auto Aux does not work for me. I have it hooked up to a XM Commander and it just doesn't work. I have to do it manually.

Harman Kardon Drive + Play™

Written By Stephen, Centerfield, KY on Sunday, October 23, 2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

It took me less than an hour for a very clean permanent installation in my Cooper. I would recommend going with the permanent power wiring since the lighter power connection surprisingly did not pause the iPod when I turned off the car. The mounting bases are very flexible and both the display and control show only about an inch of their wires after installation making them practically invisible. Considering how generous H/K was with the length of the display, control and iPod cables, the very short length of the hard wired power connection was a bit disappointing. It would also have been nice if the backlighting had the option to be driven by the dash lighting dimmer as on many head units these days. In all the package was very complete; including almost everything necessary for a professional installation.

I do have to express a slight disappointment with the speed of the display. Although the controls (such as next/previous track, play/pause) respond quickly, scrolling through lists is quite a bit more difficult than on the iPod. Whereas the actual scroll speed is comparable to that of the iPod, the display makes fairly large jumps to keep up. I often find myself passing up an artist, backing up and passing them in the other direction and slowly zeroing in on the final selection. I don't want to make this out as worse than it is, just don't expect that lightning fast iPod navigation.

I'd have to agree that this is the best car installation option so far. The benefits of the high mounted display and readily accessible controls are hard to exaggerate. I now enjoy my iPod in the car like I never did before.

Best iPod car adaptor on the market period!

Written By Michael, Covington, GA on Friday, October 21, 2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I just installed this unit in my 2000 Dodge Dakota and it is the best iPod car adaptor I have ever bought. Now, I have been thru every kind of iPod car product possible. You name it and I've tried it. But this thing is just beautiful.

I have the control knob mounted right on my console right next to where I keep my hand most of the time. The knob works just like the click wheel on the iPod. The screen looks beautiful and is very easy to read even without the extra large font turned on. And the unit is fast. I have 500+ songs on my iPod and I have no trouble searching thru my iPod for a song. Just hold the knob to the right or left and you can see the song list jumping and you just stop when you get close to your song. But it scrolls fast unlike some of the factory iPod adaptors from Alpine and Kenwood.

There is a whole lot more I can say about this product but don't have time. Just go buy it and try it for yourself. You absolutely will not be disappointed. It is the best iPod product on the market!

Harmon Kardon Drive + Play

Written By David, Collegeville, PA on Thursday, October 20, 2005

Just received this unit and installed it right away. I am very impressed at how easy the install was. I am even more impressed at the ease of use. The control wheel does a great job of coping the ipod. I am also impressed at how quickly I can get around the menus and the speed at which you can move through the different list(not as fast as the ipod itself but definitly a step in the right direction). A step ahead of the alpine connection I was using with their head unit. Sound quality is fine using the aux input on my head unit.

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Hide away brain
  • Display panel with attached 10' cable
  • Control knob with attached 9.75' cable
  • 6.5' Power cord with attached cigarette lighter adapter
  • 18" Hardwired power harness
  • 5' Line output cable (stereo mini on one end and stereo RCA on the other)
  • 10' iPod cable with dock connector
  • Display base (installed)
  • 30 Degree control knob base (installed)
  • 0 Degree control knob base
  • 60 Degree control knob base
  • 2 Mounting plates (one for display/one for control knob)
  • Ten 3/4" Mounting screws
  • Six 5.5" Cable ties
  • 3mm Allen wrench
  • 1.5mm Allen wrench
  • 2 Adhesive mounting pads
  • 2 Alcohol cleaning pads
  • Owner's manual
  • Warranty/On-line registration card

Product Research



Overview: The Drive+Play iPod control system allows you to integrate a dock connector equipped iPod with any car stereo. Any iPod with a dock connector can be controlled by the system. The system includes a hide away brain, a controller knob, and a display.

Brain: The brain can be mounted nearly anywhere in the car, it doesn't need to be accessible so it can be under a seat, in the glove compartment, in the console, etc. An FM modulator is built into the brain that can be used wirelessly, or it can be wired to the tuner using an adapter plugged into the 3.5mm antenna output jack. The FM transmission can be set to any frequency from 88.1 to 107.9 MHz. The brain has a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack line output for connection to your radio's auxiliary input. There is also 3.5mm stereo mini-jack line input for connecting an additional source.

Display: The display panel shows the same information, in the same way, as your iPod's display, only bigger. The display measures 2.6" diagonally and is backlit in blue. There are three threaded inserts on the back for mounting the display base, and the base has a ball and socket joint so the display can be mounted at a wide variety of angles. All the iPod controls are on the control knob, so the display panel doesn't have to be within reach.

Control Knob: The control knob mimics the functionality of your iPod's click wheel, it has a dial that turns both clockwise and counterclockwise and five buttons in the same positions as the menu, forward, backward, play/pause, and select buttons on the iPod. The idea behind the design is that you'll be able to reach for the control knob and make changes without taking your eyes off the road. The control knob also gives you complete control over the iPod (just like the controls on the iPod). The knob's ring is backlit in blue so it's easily found in the dark.



  • Width: 6.018"
  • Height: 1.295"
  • Depth: 3.406"


  • Width: 3.721"
  • Height: 2.425"
  • Panel Depth: 0.951"
  • Mounted Depth: 2.117" (varies slightly with mounting angle)

Control Knob:

  • Diameter: 1.959"
  • Height (w/0° base): 1.519"
  • Height (w/30° base): 2.379"
  • Height (w/60° base): 2.544"


Compatibility: The Drive+Play is compatible with iPods having the dock connector and the following software versions: G3 v2.2 (buttons above the click wheel), mini v1.1 (all minis), G4 v3.0 (click wheel), Photo v1.0 (color screen), and G5 v1.0 (color screen). As new iPods are introduced this list may expand.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.