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      09-22-2013, 03:29 AM   #1
thetaobear
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Thumbs up The Y Cable iPod Sound Quality Mystery

Hi Everybody,

For good sound quality with the iPod controls:
Y-Cable BMW part # 61 12 0 440 812
AND
W-Cable BMW part # 61 12 2 167 663
OPTIONAL
CableJive dockXtender Premium Dock Extender Cable for iPhone, iPod, iPad (2 foot black)
= Extender is connected to the Y Cable, which is connected to the W cable, which is connected to the cig. charger, USB interface, and AUX.

My bottom-line was to
1. control the iPod from my steering wheel
2. good sound quality
3. iPod goodness (iOS7 radio, easy to manage playlists)
4. charge my phone
5. have the cable extend out so I can use my iPod while driving (don't text and drive, folks)

Background:
2009 135i
I have the non-HK audio system (USA- so it is the BMW professional)
iPod (4th gen) and iPhone 4S

Verbose:
So I've been SO perplexed about the Y cable with my iPhone. The sound quality is terrible- compared to using a USB stick.

This is because the Y cable uses the AUX (analog input I believe). The USB stick outputs a direct digital signal to the audio system. I went to the dealer to get iPod interface adapter installed (65110439429) but dealers all refused because
1. doesn't make economical sense
2. hassle
3. you won't be able to use your AUX/USB interface with the installation supposedly

So here are my findings for my car.

Test 1: USB
+ great sound quality (or at least whatever your sound system should output)
- annoying to sync- you have to convert everything to MP3, etc.
- flexibility problems

Test 2: Y Cable with the USB interface and AUX
- poor sound quality (sometimes bass is missing, etc.)
- static is present: not always, but some/most times (refer to FAQ number 3 and 10)
- flat flat flat
+ iPod, etc. goodies

Test 3: Y Cable with my cigarette charger and AUX
+ great sound quality (or at least whatever your sound system should output)
+ iPod, etc. goodies
- can't control the iPod (since it isn't connected to the USB interface)

So... I was very perplexed that using that Y cable with the USB interface- the sound quality isn't good; but with the cig. charger, sound was great. What I am guessing is that
1. the USB interface doesn't power the amp of the iPhone enough, but the cig. charger does OR
2. the USB interface causes interference and static to the audio output

So I went to the BMW dealer and asked for the W cable (since this was advertised on the website). This is because the W cable contains connectors to the USB interface, cigarette charger, and AUX. I gave it a try since it will alleviate the problems 1 and 2 above. On the other side of the cable/converter/whatever... it contains USB and AUX female ports (don't ask me WHY they would do such a thing). This is the reason you also NEED the Y cable.

Test 4: iPod to Y to W to car
+ great sound quality (no more hissing and puffing)
+ charges phone MUCH better (now the battery bar actually goes up with intense iOS7 radio use)
+ control the iPod
+ iPod goodies

I am happy. Again, this is for my car- and I know there are a lot of confused posts/owners/threads out there about the iPod sound quality.

Last edited by thetaobear; 09-22-2013 at 03:36 AM.
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      09-23-2013, 09:07 PM   #2
P1et
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Strange. My wife's 135i came with the Y cable and it sounds really good. Then again, she has the HK system but I doubt it makes _that_ much of a difference.
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      09-24-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
jbrown
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I am having similar issues. With my new iPod nano, I had some luck for a few weeks where it was connected through the USB device (not the auxilery) where I had connected the iPod to my 2011 128i with 2 independent cables: 1) to the USB audio interface, and 2) through the Aux in. With this connection the IPod was able to be controlled by the BMW audio system.

However, the iPod was unplugged in order to add more songs, and now it does not synch the way it used to. When the USB and autdio out connections are established it will no longer synch through the USB port and the 128I audio will not recognize the iPod. Thus, the only way to play the iPod is through the auxilery/audio output.

Why is this so inconsistent, and is the only way in which to consistently establish a connection from the iPod nano to the 128I's audio is through the BMW factory Y or W cable?

I would appreciate anyone's feedback.
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      10-17-2013, 02:34 PM   #4
crbalch
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Alright so as I understand it (sorry a bit confusing), you are saying:

a) Y Cable audio is bad (I agree)
b) You are using the iphone to the Y cable to the W cable, and are able to control everything, but more importantly the sound quality is good?

I currently use a USB stick for my music since the quality is great, but I would love to not have to bring it inside and update it each time I want to hear a new song or album I got. But on the other hand, the Y cable audio is miserable.

So I can get good quality and keep the functionality of the controls by going Y cable to W cable?

Thanks!
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      12-23-2013, 08:22 PM   #5
Braudham
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Hey crbalch,

Were you able to replicate this in your vehicle? I'm looking for a alternative to the Y cable myself.
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      12-25-2013, 03:23 AM   #6
thetaobear
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Hi crbalch,

sorry for the late reply.

b) You are using the iphone to the Y cable to the W cable, and are able to control everything, but more importantly the sound quality is good?

That is correct. I think it has to do with the Y cable not being able to transfer the analog sound to the amplifier sufficiently (might be due to power issues). That is why (I think) the sound quality is inconsistent with just the Y cable. With both the W and Y, I had no problems, especially with the iPhone 4s. However, recently, I got the iPhone 5s and used the adapter,
http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD...30-pin-adapter

Sound quality is still good, but when the screen is on, I hear low volumes of static.
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