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Audi Technology - what am I missing?

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Sugs, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. Sugs
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    Sugs New Member

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    OK stupid question time from a newbie.

    I've recently purchased an S3 which is due in 2 weeks hopefully. I needed one fairly quick so, with the dealers help, chose a car that was already built and as near to the spec I wanted as possible.

    When it came to SatNav/Hi Fi my theory went;

    1. I'm loathed to handover £1500+ for Sat Nav when I don't/won't use it much and I can buy a Tom Tom for much less.
    2. My main source of music these days is my beloved iPod so go for a basic system + Bose and an iPod integration kit.

    Going the above route gave me more pennies to spend on bits I did want and widened my choice for colours etc. However, I couldn't find one with a factory iPod kit so chose a ConcertII+ with Bose, with the intention of adding the iPod later.

    Now I realise what a wonderful thing hindsight is. It seems the iPod integration on the basic Concert (or even Symphony) even with the factory cradle is awful with little control or information available via the OEM set up. Aftermarket kits are little better.

    I now see that the ONLY decent iPod integration is achieved (please correct me if I'm wrong) with the RNS-E unit and Music Interface which provides a charging dock and all the control and information from the iPod delivered with the head unit. Seems a cheap route given that the units can be bought alone for £600ish.

    So now for the stupid questions:

    1. Given that I've now realised my mistake I'm looking to rectify and fit an RNS-E after delivery. In the latest brochure Audi quote £1650 for the SatNav (presumably RNS-E?) and £250 for the Music Interface, or £1495 for the Technology Pack which includes SatNav and Music Interface. Why the difference in price??

    2. Can I simply buy an RNS-E and swap? I have Bose. I also see another thread ( http://www.audi-sport.net/vb/showth...ting-symphony-II-antenna-system-use-with-RNSe) taking about the need to fiddle with antennae to get the swap to work properly. Would I need to perform this mod too?

    3. I believe Audi updated the RNS-E last year (better graphics, SDHC support?). Has anyone any recommendations of someone who could supply and fit the latest unit?

    4. There seems to be an awful lot of used RNS-E units around on fleabay and with aftermarket suppliers. Why? Who gets rid of an RNS-E or are they all stolen?

    Thanks guys. This forum is proving a mine of useful info for me and I'm very grateful.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2010
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  2. Brett Butler
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    Brett Butler Member

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    I had the same problem as you, and it is a nitemare tbh finding a good solution.

    I had a symphony, with the basic ipod glove compartment docking, and it was ok, but true not very good on what you can pick and choose from the main track selection re ipod, though you could use the multi wheel to change tracks and lists.

    The problem with Sat Nav for me was I wanted a multi CD player and with Sat Nav if you are using the sat nav as route finding, you cannot play a CD, I find that stupid, but with the New SAT NAV it has 2 SD slots that you can use to play mp3 files, upto 32 gig cards the only problem here is the way you transfer your songs to the SD cards I find it a pain, and pointless if you already use an Ipod.

    So I have now upgraded to the latest RNS-E and added a Multi CD player to the glove box, (where Ipod was) but in some ways I am regretting that, as I wish there was a way to just plug in ipod etc.
    There is some alpine ipod system that works with the RNS-E not sure where it is mounted but that is another £450-00 ish not fitted.

    AS for the RNS-E Plus MM1 (latest) it is very good there is an Ariel mounted under the dash, (clocks are removed to mount it), even shows a small route window where all the computer info is on the main clock console, but so far for me 2 main problems, NO SPEED CAMERA DATA Base, and it is still DVD based and supposedly someone is suppose to be making it work by rebuilding a DVD, but still I am not sure if they can add voice to it to say speed camera alert. 2nd Post codes are not used completely, IE it is TN22 0 used then you have to find the rest of the address, where as now days Sat Navs use the full Post Code and then just go to that point. The System is very complexed and has so many functions overall especially related to the phone system but you need something to talk to the phone cradle or blue tooth etc, but the possibilities are endless.

    To gain full use of the Sat Nav you need blue tooth that part works really well and so does the voice recognition.

    I still think it is a grossly over priced system that I would not mind paying for if it did everything.

    I used Hazzy Dayzs ( http://www.vwcruise.com/10.html ) not cheap but did it for me at my house, and I did get some discount, they seemed to know what they were doing. I am tempted still to look into a proper mounted Ipod solution as long as I can keep the multi CDplayer.

    it is a straight swap, but for it all to work you need a computer plugged into the ECU (if that is the right term) to tell it it is there
    Good luck with it, but what ever you do it is expensive :(
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  3. pu6486
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    pu6486 New Member

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    Sugs,

    I too shunned the prospect of spending upwards of £1600 for an integral satnav when a tomtom is a tenth of that price. I went for the £120 ipod interface which connects to my (concert + bose) radio. Whilst I think this setup is a complete fleece for the money (aren't most extras?), I wonder if £1600 plus whatever the cost for the RNSE-e/ipod interface is really worth it? Guess it depends upon how long you wish to keep it for and the amount of use it'll get.

    At present when you plug the ipod in it is displayed as (up to) 6 CDs, with the first 5 CDs being playlists you've defined and the sixth being a random shuffle of all songs on you ipod. There is a limit of up to 99 songs per playlist. Names are not displayed on your radio, instead it just says "Track 01" etc. As I understand it, in order to get full functionality you need a setup that is fully "MMI" (MulitMedia Interface). I only guess that this wasn't designed for the concert radio due to cost-savings. My mate has a BMW and their ipod integration, with a radio like concert (i.e. non-sat nav), cost ~£200 and you get full control - so it can be done if Audi could be arsed.

    A.1 - don't know. Guess it's some marketing brainwave?
    A.2 - I've not done it but there are loads of people who have and it's supposed to be a cinch
    A.3 - I understand that to be the case too. I know http://www.vwcruise.com/ (Hazzy Dayz) fits them, but it looks as though you'll have to up you budget to > £2k (how many ipods could you buy for that!?)
    A.4- I remember reading that these units are legit. Though you have to wonder where they come from; why would people want to get rid of them?
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  4. Sugs
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    Sugs New Member

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    That's my point really. I didn't think it was worth it to tick the box on the order (£1600) but a decent Tom Tom + bad iPod interface (c£500) vs RNS-E + good iPod interface (c£800) seems much more convincing.
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  5. pu6486
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    pu6486 New Member

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    Concur. The £800 option would, obviously, comprise of a second-hand RNS-e (Ebay?) and the ipod interface. Although I've not tried this, I've read many posts on this forum where people have used successfully fitted e-bay units., so it's not as though you're trying it for the first time. Good luck mate!
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  6. Ash187
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    Ash187 Audi Retrofitter

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    I have been thinking about this as well, I bought my A3 2 weeks ago and im getting tired of listening to CDs that only have 20 songs on each. I have the symphony 2 unit with Bose and want to connect my ipod to it but i am fussy about sound quality so the ipod adapter for it is not a choice i would go for.
    I want to have a unit that can play the ipod and fully control it whilst charging it. Also to be able to use the ipod via the stereo but keep the ipod functionalities like choosing songs from playlists/artists/albums... I used to have this function on my old Kenwood DVD system in my last car.

    I have thought about the RNS-e so i can get full ipod playback and also get the track names on the DIS and be able to play the ipod using the actual playlists and menus like the ipod displays. I would need to use the Alpine KCE 425i shown below from Hazzydays you tube link but i just cannot justify spending £500-600 on the RNS-e and then a further £450 for the alpine kit... and this is before i add the bluetooth kit so that i can actually use hands free phone function with the RNS-e which will cost a further £350.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6_3TdsZEEU

    So i am thinking about installing an aftermarket DVD system that can play ipod and bluetooth, as well as DVD's and also have the option to install a rear view camera. All in for under £800
    I dont need the Sat nav option as i already have Tomtom running off my phone which is better than the OEM Audi unit. but if i wanted i could also add that into the aftermarket system bringing the total cost still under £1000.

    Problem is that it wouldn't look OEM and I would loose the DIS stereo functions, and the multifunction steering wheel would loose the voice calling option that i can get with the RNS-e with bluetooth.... Stuck on what to do :faint:
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2010
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  7. M88JCP
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    M88JCP Member

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    I must say that i agree with everyone here

    When i bought my car, it had the basic concert stereo with the bluetooth kit, I had the i-pod dock retrofitted and i think it's useless. Mine only seems to want to play half the songs on my i-pod sometimes it won't loads any playlists, or will find a couple and then change the allocated playlists half way through and the DIS only shows the track number ie track one, CD4. I then had the RNS-e system retrofitted and i love it, £300 off e-bay in mint condition (just wish it had silver knobs lol) however the i-pod dock still desn't work correctly. In the end i gave up and just use the SD card slots. Be interested to hear if anybody has fitted an aftermarket i-pod kit and let us all know how they get on with it.

    On the same subject can anybody tell me how much Audi do charge for an MMI retrofit, and does anybody know how i can activate the DVD film playback on my RNS-e :icon_thumright:

    Thanks everyone, apologies for butting in :no:
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  8. Ash187
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    Ash187 Audi Retrofitter

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    I have heard from other users that have installed the alpine kit on the RNS-e and have said its the best... top quality and perfect functionality + the song name comes up on the DIS... not just track 3



    Im not sure about Audi but Gareth at Hazzydayz does it here : http://www.vwcruise.com/41.html
    He is expensive but from what i hear he is good at it.
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  9. panamadi
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    panamadi Strider

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    One word for all you guys...
    DENSION
    I have the RNSe alreadyt fitted to my car but it equally works with the symphony (in any case RNSe units can be picked up for 400-500 quid).
    It plugs into the CD changer socket at the back of the headunit and the cradle fits onto the grab handle on the passenger side-very easy access if your hand's on the gear lever.
    If you have a MFSW you have full control of the tracks/pausing etc with the thumbwheel on the steering wheel-also pauses during phone calls (if BTooth connected) all because the headunit thinks an OEM CD changer is connected to it.
    As the ipod is docked into its bottom port and not the 3.5mm jack sound quality is superb!!
    I bought my unit for about £120 all in and haven't looked back.


    May be worth a try?:icon_thumright:
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  10. Lee_R
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    Lee_R Active Member

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    The Alpine kit is only £330 to buy, the Hazzy Days price includes fitting. Search "RNS alpine" on youtube and you will see a few videos of it in action. If I had an RNS, it would be the only choice for me because it actually works!
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  11. Ash187
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    Ash187 Audi Retrofitter

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    Yes but does the dension one show the track names either on the HU or the DIS?

    That video is posted above ^^
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  12. Ash187
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    Ash187 Audi Retrofitter

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  13. Sugs
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    Sugs New Member

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    Stupid/confused here again.

    Thanks all for your input.

    1. I thought the right route to head down was a latest RNS-E + adding the Audi Music I/F, both retrofitted. Are you all saying this either won't show track details or isn't retrofittable/available?

    2. I like the look of the Alpine unit but a quick Google revealed a supplier saying 'Please note: This kit will not work with the latest 3G RNS-E. The 3G system is only installed on 2010 models.' So what do 2010 RNS-E users do?

    3. Thanks for the advice on the Dension kit. I'd looked at the Dension Gateway 100 as an option for my Concert ii+ as various commentators say it'll display track names etc from the iPod on the DIS 'so long as you get radio station name in the DIS already'. This would satisfy me but there's just as many comments saying it's no better than the Audi iPod kit treating the iPod as a CD Changer and only displaying track numbers on 1st 5 playlists. I'd be keen to hear from anyone who's been down this route.

    4. I'm still unclear how much work is needed to swap the Convert for a RNS. Do I need to do a lot of antennae/VAG-COM work to get it to work properly?
    #13
  14. Brett Butler
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    Brett Butler Member

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    The Latest RNS-E does show track details and name of the song being played, it even shows it on the area between speedo and rev counter, as it does also show map routing, but that is MP3's played from SD cards. I might add as well it is only MP3s it plays and not other versions of itunes format, so you have to convert them to MP3s
    Are you telling me that the ALPINE KCE 425i iPOD KIT cannot be connected to the latest RNS-E?
    #14

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