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Harman Kardon Drive+Play 2

Use your iPod® with any car stereo

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  • Harman Kardon Drive+Play 2

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Item #: 108DP2US
 

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Our take on the Harman Kardon Drive+Play 2

by Robert Ferency-Viars

Harman Kardon's Drive + Play 2 (DP2) offers easy integration of your iPod with any car stereo. Just connect your music player to the DP2, then use the DP2's wireless controller and full-color display to access your music, while the DP2 pipes the music into your car stereo.

Easy-to-see display looks similar to your iPod's
The display unit features a 3-1/2", high-resolution, full-color screen, so it's easy to select playlists and songs. A light sensor adjusts the brightness automatically, so the display stays legible during the day, but won't be too bright at night.

You can search for songs by artist, folder, or title. Search through your entire music library quickly with the DP2's Alphabet Search feature; use it to jump to any letter of the alphabet, then search within the songs or artists that begin with that letter.

Wireless control knob mounts almost anywhere
The DP2's control knob works similarly to an iPod's click wheel, so it's a cinch to use. Twist the knob to scroll through the menus, and press the buttons to play, pause, fast-forward, or reverse. Since it's wireless, you can mount the control knob in any convenient spot without worrying about having to hide a cable.

Hooking it up — all of the connections go to one place
The cigarette lighter power adapter houses all connections for the display, your iPod, and the output line to your radio, so everything routes to one place. A built-in FM transmitter delivers the audio to your car's stereo system if your radio doesn't have an auxiliary input. If you prefer a more permanent setup, you can hardwire the power connections and hide the Media Hub behind the dash or in the console. To help make hardwiring easier, the cigarette lighter plug snaps off to reveal a connection for an included wiring harness.

Music by genre
The DP2 keeps track of the songs you listen to and organizes the music by genre, creating its own playlists called "channels." You can further customize the channel content by telling the DP2 to include more or less of particular genres of music.

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Highlights:

  • control system for using your iPod with any car stereo
System Components
  • full-color, dash-mountable display with customizable graphics and automatic brightness adjustment
  • remote-mount, wireless control knob with 5-button navigation
  • Media Hub houses connections for display, iPod, line-out to the stereo, a plug for an optional expansion module, and removable 12-volt power adapter
System Features
  • controls all iPod functions from the wireless remote controller
  • real-time song searching and playback
  • alphabet search for fast playlist navigation
  • charges iPod while connected
  • includes harness for hardwiring power and ground connections
  • connects to any factory or aftermarket stereo via the internal wireless FM transmitter, wired FM modulator, or auxiliary input connection
  • connects to all dockable iPods (system uses the connection cable that came with your iPod)
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Display panel with attached swivel base
  • Control knob
  • CR2032 Lithium battery
  • Cigarette lighter hub
  • 40" Power cord with attached cigarette lighter adapter
  • 21" Hardwired power harness
  • FM modulator with 11" antenna cable on one end (male Motorola terminal) and a 41" audio cable on the other end (3.5mm mono miniplug)
  • 8.25' Audio patch cable with 3.5mm stereo mini plug on each end
  • 8.25' Display cable with proprietary hub connector on one end and a 12-pin DIN plug on the other end
  • 40" iPod cable with dock connector on one end and a proprietary hub connector on the other end
  • iPod-USB adapter
  • 2 Mounting plates (one for display/one for control knob)
  • 10 Self-tapping screws (length=3/4")
  • Six 5.5" Cable ties
  • 3mm Allen wrench
  • 1.5mm Allen wrench
  • 2 Adhesive mounting pads
  • 2 Alcohol cleaning pads
  • Quick-Start Guide
  • Warranty/On-line registration card

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 open the box, verify contents, 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.

Features
Dimensions

Features

Overview: The Harman/Kardon Drive + Play 2 Mobile Media Manager 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 cigarette lighter hub, a wireless controller knob, and a full-color display.

Cigarette Lighter Hub: The cigarette lighter hub is the brain of the system. It provides power to the iPod and display, receives commands from the wireless controller knob, sends control signals to the iPod, sends data to the display, and contains a wireless FM modulator. There are three jacks on the hub: one for the display cable, one for the iPod cable, and a 3.5mm audio output jack. You can power the hub by directly plugging it into a cigarette lighter/12-volt power outlet in your vehicle, or by using the cigarette lighter extension cable, or by directly hardwiring the hub using the supplied 3-wire harness. The audio output jack can be used with the supplied wired FM modulator or to send audio signals to your car stereo's aux input.

FM Modulator: The unit's FM modulator can be operated wired or wirelessly. The output can be set to any frequency from 88.1 to 107.9 MHz. You can set up to 10 frequencies as presets to allow you to quickly change the modulation frequencies.

Display: The Drive + Play 2's 3.5" full-color display shows the same information, in the same format, as your iPod's display. If your iPod displays album art, the art will be displayed on this unit. You can customize the display to any of five color "themes": blue, green, orange, red, or yellow. The display can also have a Day or Night mode, or it can be switched to Auto and change according to the time of day. The brightness can be adjusted from 1 to 16, and the backlight timer set to 10 seconds, 30 seconds, or Always On. The display can be mounted to your dash, using the supplied screws for the display base, or with the supplied adhesive pads. The display cable is over 8 feet long, giving you multiple mounting options.

Main Menu: The unit's main settings menu lets you customize the system to your tastes and lifestyle. The menu can be displayed in 3 languages: English, French, and Spanish. There are settings for the FM transmitter, Display, Audio, Control Knob Acceleration, Screensaver, and Firmware updates. The settings menu also includes a legal statement and an "About" section to describe the version of the system's applications.

Screensaver: The display has a screensaver mode that can be turned on or off. When activated, you can select a 1 minute, 5 minute, or 10 minute timeout. The screensaver is a "demo" of 11 slides about the unit's features. The slides can be set to change at 5 second, 10 second, or 20 second intervals. Once you press a button on the controller knob, the screensaver turns off.

Control Knob: The control knob mimics the functionality of your iPod's click wheel. It has a dial that turns 360° 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 control knob operates in the 2.4GHz frequency range, and is powered by a CR2032 battery (included).

Adjustable Knob Speed: In the settings menu, you can adjust the speed at which the iPod responds to the turn of the control knob. You can select fast, medium, or slow.

Letter Search: You can quickly search for your music using the unit's fast letter search feature. With the press of a button, you can activate the letter search feature, turn the controller knob until the first letter of the song title or artist name appears, then press the button again and search for your selection.

Playback Options: This unit gives you the following special playback options for your iPod:

  • Automatic Mix: The system creates music "channels" automatically, letting you refine the channel content during playback. As you listen to the mix, you can prioritize selection using the "More Like This" or "Less Like This" commands. You can also choose to "Play Something Else" to reprioritize selections to something different than the currently playing song.
  • "Keep Playing"/"Jump To" Options: This feature allows you to continue playing songs from the current artist or album without leaving the "Now Playing" screen. Selections include:
    • Keep Playing Artist: continues playing the current song, then plays the remaining songs by that artist in order.
    • Jump To Artist: stops playing the current song and begins playing all the songs of that artist in order.
    • Keep Playing Album: continues playing the current song, then begins to play the remaining songs on that album in order.
    • Jump To Album: stops playing the current song and begins playing all the songs on that album in order.

USB Adapter: The Drive + Play 2 comes with an adapter that allows you to connect and play USB flash drives loaded with music files, as well as USB-based portable music players. The adapter has a female iPod dock connector on one side and a female USB Type A connector on the other. USB flash drives and cables plug right in.

Optional Accessories: The Drive + Play 2 is Bluetooth compatible. With an optional Bluetooth cell phone kit you can add hands-free Bluetooth phone capability with complete phonebook and caller ID.

Dimensions

Dimensions: The components of the Drive + Play 2 have the following dimensions:

  • Display: Width=4.37", Height=2.827", Depth=0.815" (2.814" w/mount)
  • Control Knob: Diameter=2.121", Height=1.478"
  • Cigarette Lighter Hub: Width=2.23", Height=1.812", Depth=4.282"
 
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Harman Kardon Drive+Play 2 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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5 out of 5

Drive+Play 2

Written By Pete, Albuquerque, NM on Thursday, July 10, 2008
 
I bought the DP2 for my Ford Ranger. I had problems with alternator noise that I'm sure was
caused by crummy grounds. I haven't used the FM
modulator so I can't comment on that. I ripped into the wiring to fix the ground problems but decided to just go ahead and replace the 13 year old deck
with a new Alpine IDA-X100 with integrated iPod
controls (review to come).

I now have the DP2 in my '03 BMW 325i with the stock stereo. It works great and I couldn't be happier. I still need to fabricate a nice looking mount
for the display which will replace the two worthless
"storage cubbies" below the stock head unit.

I think the DP2 is perfect in the case where you don't want to replace the stock stereo. Otherwise,
you can pick up any number of head units with iPod control for less than the DP2.

Pros:
Nice big display.
Sounds good.
Painless installation if you have an auxiliary input. (no comment on FM modulator though).
Easy to operate while driving.

Cons:
Display scratches easily.
Jog wheel control eats batteries - keep some spares in your glovebox.
Sensitive to bad grounds and electrical noise.

2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

shortcoming

Written By Wing, houston,tx on Tuesday, May 13, 2008
 
OK. first the good.
1)nice screen, color and better menu
2)small parts (compare to the big module in Car+play 1)

the bad.)
1)works with ipod gen 5.5, not gen 6.
with gen 6, music/menu works but the image of album cover is messed up.
(so it's not a broken system, since gen 5 album cover works.)
2)how to change volumn?
I guess has to go back to the stereo control.
3)what's with the hiss from FM module? I use the same moudule as in the
car+play 1 and it give statics....(same for the FM module comes with car+play2)..it's especially anoying when listen to more quiet music that doesn't have a lot of thing going on.
4)if I have to buy a extra module to wire this to the cd-changer control...then what's the point of buting this? just for the screen?
5)the ipod cable is too short....it's not as long as the screen cable.
6)can anyone tell me where to download firmware?
even non-official version?
Harmon web site is a mess and I think they are killing this product, so no info is displayed. (it's giving way to the GPS I think)
7)what extra wiring is the best for connect to cd-changer for acura?
5 out of 6 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Slightly disappointed

Written By rob, Northern CA on Tuesday, January 22, 2008
 
This is a great looking and functional item, beautiful screen, easy to use and install, many different ways to hook it up. Works like a charm with the ipod. All the cables, screws,ties and what you need to hook it up in the box. Turn it on, great screen, easy to set up interface, and so on, very nice. Once I turned on the music though what a $400. disappointment. I would not recommend using the antenna feed wire or the radio input which is what I had available. I'm thinking of buying a new stereo unit now so I can plug it into the auxiliary input. What I was trying to avoid in the first place.
13 out of 13 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Harman Kardon Drive+Play 2

Written By Brad, La Mirada, CA on Sunday, January 20, 2008
 
This was a upgrade from the previous Harman Kardon Drive unit that we installed a year ago in my son's Toyota Matrix. My son and I were able to complete the installation in about 2 hours. The improved color graphics display with much more options looks fantastic and the wireless controller can be installed anywhere you want and it works great. Once again Harman Kardon has designed one of the best looking easy to use Ipod car interface systems and it also has a USB adapter so you can download songs to your USB flash drive and easily connect to the system without your Ipod.
8 out of 8 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

Great concept, but...

Written By Jeff, Hood River, OR on Monday, August 13, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Like others, I used the DP1 and was anxious to get the DP2 after dealing with quirks of the DP1. Unfortunatetly this new version has its own set of problems which coupled with the high price makes it a huge disapointment. I agree totally with the other reviewers who mentioned the loud FM noise. This unit sounds as though it is using the over-the-air FM broadcast instead of the wired. It sounds like one of those $29 plug-and-go that sound horrible. When I called HK the tech said in fact it IS using the wireless xmission and insisted that the DP1 did as well. (I know that the DP1, despite its shortcomings, did tranmsit very cleanly.) I was appaled that HK would do this but it seems to the most reasonble explantion for the noise that I'm getting. I was also very dispointed with the unit's need to reboot every time I started the car. This process takes about 15 seconds during which time you hear loud static and buzzing because of the FM modulator problem. After reboot, often the PLAY control would require several hits before the song would play. Also, since the unit reboots, it loses the song/album you were playing and you have to start over. Bluetooth, although advertised, is not available and no expected realease date. Overall, a very disapointing product from HK, especially when one considers what the unit could have been. I would say wait for HK to get this thing fixed or go with plan B. When you find plan B let me know.
57 out of 61 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

USB Support is poor and noisy

Written By wayne, Colorado on Friday, July 13, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I was looking forward to this unit having owned the original Drive and Play. I purchased the Drive and Play 2 wanting to utilize the USB capabilities. It only supports Fat32 and there is a high frequency clicking/noise that occurs when using a USB thumb drive. This noise did not occur with the IPOD. Also, the USB system information for accessing the USB drive's information does not work. The pause function with any USB drive does not work. The thing is over priced, under performing and you are better off with the original drive and play.

On a good note, it recognized and played music perfectly from a 320G usb 2.0 drive enclosure. Although the pause function did not work, like with an USB thumb drive
22 out of 23 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Harman Kardon Drive+Play 2

Written By tombee, Encinitas, CA on Thursday, July 12, 2007
 
I finally got my hands on the long-awaited Drive/Play2.
Ive been using the Drive/Play 1 for almost a year and it worked good. There were a lot of short-comings, but in general it worked well.
The DP2 seemed to fix most of these shortcomings.

The things I like about the DP2 are:
The display on the DP2 is fantastic. It looks just like your ipod screen. Most song/artist/album titles fit in the screen space. Album art looks good.

The full rotation navigation wheel is a big improvement. There is a soft-click as it goes thru the menu items, so you can easily stop where you want.

When viewing albums and/or artists, you can quickly browse by letter, which if you have a large collection getting down to Pearl Jam without the letter browsing was a pain. Now its very simple.

Its got upgradeable firmware, which leads into its
shortcomings:
There is a screensaver function, but only shows 5-10 harman promo slides. Hopefully theyll get this to where you can do a slide show from one of you ipod photo folders.

Even though the screen space is pretty large, some song/album/artist titles dont fit, itd be great if they could scroll every 10 seconds or so.

Itd also be nice to be able to see the album art full screen and to rate songs just like on the ipod.

The last shortcoming is potentially the biggest. With the DP1, I used the wired FM modulator and didnt have any problems. With the DP2, using the included wired FM modulator, there is signal interference throughout the FM band. I ended up going with a add-on power FM modulator which seems to have done the trick. Bummer that I had to go to this step.

Overall, Im very please
12 out of 12 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Not worth the money.

Written By Ronald, Parker, CO on Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
After reading the reviews for this product, I was pretty excited about it when it finally arrived. However, after using it for two weeks, it just didn't work the way I thought it would for something that costs $400.

PROS: The screen on this things is amazing. It looks just like an iPod with awesome clarity, and the wireless control knob worked just as well. The hub is much smaller than the first version, so installation was easy and everything was pretty compact.

CONS: My unit rebooted itself many times on its own...it seemed to only do this when it was hot outside, or if the display unit was in the sun (I mounted it on top of my dash). It was pretty hot in CO at this time, so it happened pretty often and got annoying, so I just unplugged it until it got cooler. Also, my unit didn't seem to charge my iPod at all even after leaving it plugged in for several hours while at work. I used the direct FM adapter connected to my Pioneer head unit, since I didn't have an AUX input or mini jack. There was just as much static connecting it this way as using an FM transmitter. Pretty disappointing.

I decided to return the unit. While this is a pretty negative review, you have to consider the possibility that my unit may have been defective. I still think the Drive+Play2 is a wonderful concept in controlling your iPod and would possibly consider it again once the price drops about $200. I just don't believe that it is worth $400, and with all the problems I had with it, it should have been a bit more robust, especially from a name like Harman Kardon.
17 out of 17 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Harman Kardon Drive+Play 2

Written By Roshan, Chicago, IL on Thursday, July 05, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The product was definately worth the wait. I did have a little sticker shock especially after realizing after my purchase that direct connection was not an option with my factory stereo/navigation. Instead, I opted to have the unit professionally installed via wired FM transmitter. However, I have already started to rant and rave about the product with friends and colleagues. One of the primary reasons I purchased this unit is because I have a flip open console in my car. When I'm away from my car, I can close it to hide away the screen. In addition, the hub and all wiring is hidden away.
4 out of 6 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Drive + Play 2

Written By Nutterbutter789, Colorado on Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Very well made product. The Screen has high resolution and is color unlike the previos model. A great universal option because it has a built in wireless FM Transmitter and has an option to connect to aux. and antenna ports on the car stereo. Sound quality is excellent and the small sleek controller is easy to use while on the road. Great Product.
5 out of 10 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Worth it.... if you light your cigars w/$100 bills

Written By Greg, Atlanta, GA on Thursday, June 28, 2007
 
This is a great unit for controlling your iPod; with near-perfection in the user-interface. It controls the iPod just as youd expect. Unfortunately, there are more shortcomings than I thought there would be for $400, which I want to highlight for everyone:

* Swivel base doesnt hold it the display in one place, especially when the orientation is switched so the base is above the screen.

* If you leave your car for several hours, it doesnt remember to start playing music when you get back into the car (it does, however, restart playback automatically if you leave car for < 2 hours).

* The highly touted "automatic mix" doesnt seem to work properly and there is no documentation on how it works - only 4 stations are listed on mine and i have around 3k songs. No clue whats going on here.

* There is a warning sticker on the display when you open the box: "this unit is designed to charge your iPod battery even when the car is OFF. Dont leave your iPod connected for more than 24 hrs, otherwise your car battery may experience drainage." (I chose to twist the yellow and red wires together to a switched source of power to get around this.)

* Can't view album art full screen - its just a postage-stamp size image.

* Can't set the photos on your iPod as the screen saver or view your photos at all for that matter (there is no slideshow option on the menu).

* Can't control volume with it.

* Cant rate songs with it.

* No clock on the display (probably only a gripe for me because my Honda S2000 only has a clock on the radio, which is hidden behind a panel)
12 out of 14 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

harman kardon dp2

Written By cyrus, swan lake, ny on Friday, June 15, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Excellent product, works great in my 2005 Chevy Trailblazer with the Bose Stereo System. Excellent sound quality. Needed additional GM Antena adapters to hard wire FM transmittor. Can't wait for the Bluetooth Cell Phone Kit. Well worth the wait and price.
28 out of 42 people found this helpful
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