Product Review (June 2006) - Virtual Reality Sound Labs
VRFM9 MP3/WMA Player & FM Modulator

Virtual Reality Sound Labs has introduced a series of mobile MP3 players with built-in FM modulators. This review includes the VRFM9, which allows music to be played using three different options. MP3 or WMA audio files can be stored on either an SD memory card or a USB flash drive plugged into the base of the unit. Alternatively, analog audio can also be connected into the side of the VRFM9 with any standard portable audio device such as an iPod. The audio is then transmitted on one of fifteen user-defined frequencies using the built-in FM modulator. The two row backlit LCD can display ID3 data (if available), including song title, artist, album and genre.

Operation
Only three buttons occupy the front of the unit for Track+/Volume+, Track-/Volume- and Play/Pause. Pressing and holding the Track+/Volume+ or Track-/Volume- button will increase or decrease the volume respectively. Pressing and holding down the Play/Pause button will change the mode from Play/Pause to Shuffle/Random mode. The unit has a six position ratcheted elbow that allows it to be adjusted for easy viewing and access. A pair of channel buttons on the top of the unit are used to change the transmitting frequency, which is shown on the LCD display and is saved upon removal of power. The unit will remember the last transmitting frequency upon removal of power.

The display has good information, but it's not the easiest to read while driving. Information displayed includes Track Time, FM Frequency, Filename, Normal/Shuffle Mode and Audio Source (SD, USB or Line). A transmitting icon with the assigned frequency is shown in the upper right corner. An SD card icon or USB icon is displayed when the corresponding memory is being used as an audio source.

Conclusion
The VRFM9 performed well for such an inexpensive product and offers a compact design with a good set of features. The built-in FM modulator works well as long as the user is not fighting a competing transmitter. We found that in Los Angeles it was difficult to find an available frequency that we could use without interruption. This resulted in occasional static. Audio quality was on par with any good FM station. Even though the audio comes from a digital source, modulating the audio on an FM band does to some degree limit frequency response and dynamic range. The package also includes a manual, extra 0.5 amp fuse and a 3-foot male-to-male 3.5mm audio cable for interfacing to portable audio players. All in all the VRFM9 delivers great performance for the dollar.

- Kevin Nakano




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Review at a glance


Virtual Reality Sound Labs - VRFM9 MP3 FM Modulator

Product Features

  • Transmit wirelessly through your Car Stereo System
  • Pre-Set 15 FM Station (87.7, 87.9, 88.1, 88.3, 88.5, 88.7, 88.9, 106.7, 106.9, 107.1, 107.3, 107.5, 107.7, 107.9)
  • Random/Shuffle Mode, Last Song Played, Last Song Memory & ID3.
  • Plug N’ Play™ your MP3‘s and WMAs, Wire-Free from your USB Flash Drive and SD Card
  • Audio Input Jack for Use with MP3, CD and DVD Players
  • Large, Easy to Read Digital LCD Display
  • Play, Stop, Volume and Track Selection Controls
  • Standard USB Port
  • 6 Position Flexible Joint for Ease of Use.
  • 3.5mm Stereo Input
  • 12 Volt Wire-Free Transmission
  • Includes

  • 3.5mm Audio Cable (3-foot)
  • Spare 0.5 Amp Fuse
  • Manual


  • Company Information
    Roadmaster USA Corp.
    41 James Way
    Eatontown, NJ 07724

    Phone: 732-542-8400
    Customer Service: 800-445-1797

    Website: http://www.roadmasterusa.com

    Model: VRFM9 - MP3 FM Modulator
    Source: Manufacture Supplied
    MSRP: $69.99

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