Sunday, March 18, 2012

GPS with MP3 players

Many auto GPS receivers come with an integrated MP3 player, allowing you to control musical selections in your car via the GPS. Some even work with Audible audio book (.aa) files, or come with XM Radio receivers. Typically, playback is paused when navigation directions are announced; some units even rewind a couple of seconds when the music starts back.

There are a number of things to consider when purchasing a GPS receiver with an MP3 player; speaker quality, whether or not you can import playlists, the amount of disk storage available for files (if the unit doesn’t use an SD/MMC card for storage), how intuitive menus are, etc. The variations are too great to delve into here. Our GPS reviews link to many user reviews, so dig deep and check them out, or find a message board for the unit you are interested in, and search or ask.

Using your car’s speakers

Some units, like the Garmin nuvi 660, have built-in FM transmitters, to send music, directions and even cell phone conversations through your car stereo speakers. Others, like the giant Garmin StreetPilot 7200 and 7500 models  – have the FM transmitter plus an audio line out.

A couple of caveats about the FM transmitters. — they may not work well in urban areas where the radio spectrum is packed with stations. Also, have you ever been driving down the highway when, all of a sudden, you hear an adjacent car’s iPod being ran through an FM transmitter? That can happen to cell phone conversation routed via FM to your stereo, too!

The technology for delivery of music to your car’s stereo continues to change. TomTom is introducing their Car Connect Kit, which makes a Bluetooth to stereo connection, instead of doing it with an FM transmitter.

File formats

Before we get to the list of GPS receivers with MP3 players, lets take a look at which file formats are supported in these units:

  • Garmin – MP3, AA
  • Magellan – MP3, WMA
  • Lowrance – Ogg Vorbis
  • TomTom – MP3 (the GO 510 and 910 also offer an optional iPod controller).

GPS receivers with MP3 players (links go to our auto GPS reviews)

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. Hello:
    We develop self-guided audio tours in western Canada. The tours include driving, walking and cycling tours of parks, highways, towns, cities, historic sites, and out door museums, etc.
    At present we put the information on a CD and the audio explanation is heard from a personal CD player (walkman) or the vehicle CD player. We also supply a driving map to follow while listening to the information. We want to take this concept to the next level and provide a GPS/MP3 player that will play the audio tracks as the driver approaches the points of interest. The unit could be used to provide tourist information to students on school bus tours, car rentals or individuals similar to what a “step-on” tour-guide would provide.
    We have all the GPS coordinates for each site being explained. Our audio tracks are professionally produced.
    We are looking for a unit that we can uploaded over the Internet. The units would be located at our supply outlets and we would want to be able to change the tour as required.
    The transmitter must be able to play the audio tracks through the vehicle radio using a build in transmitter. We do not want the user to require an extra piece of hardware in order to hear the audio through the vehicle radio.
    Please let us know if you have equipment to meet our needs.
    We would also be interested in supplying tourist information with coordinates for our region if your interested.
    We await your reply.
    Thank you
    W. Wayne Wohlberg
    ACE Audio – Talking Signs & FM Transmitters
    PH 306-956-3300 – Fax 306-956-0639
    Email: [email protected] – Web:
    TALKING SIGNS / FM Transmitters / Self-guided AUDIO Tours

  2. Consumer Reports On Mp3 Players

    � Consumer Consumer Reports (subscription) air travel updates cheap hotel rates c

  3. It sure is handy to have multiple functionalities in one auto GPS system, but is it necessary? From my point of view, the MP3 music is just taking unnecessary amount of space, which can be used for uploading additional maps.

  4. So, how well does the blue tooth to car stereo work?

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