PhatNoise PhatBox: Initial Impressions

PhatNoiseIn preparation for an upcoming road trip, I purchased and installed at PhatNoise PhatBox in my 2004 Infiniti G35 Sedan. Initial impressions: holy crap, this thing is awesome! Why did I wait so long?!? Installation was extremely easy, just plug it into the satellite radio harness and it shows up as a CD changer, controlled directly from the factory head unit. To get it hooked-up and working in the car, total time was about 10 minutes (still need to screw it down though).

I know iPods are extremely popular; here’s why I think the PhatNoise blows the iPod away.

  • controlled by the factory head unit so controls are very easy to reach
  • no FM modulators or chargers or cassette adapters required
  • Voice Prompts – no need to try to read a little screen on an iPod or try to read scrolling text on your head unit. Audible searching by artist, album, genre, and playlist.
  • Direct line-in input to the headunit; no low-quality FM or tape sound degradation

I know, with the right cable and the right head unit, iPods can have some of these features. Also, the iPod is more portable and the initial price is lower. But as with most things, you get what you pay for. If you want to go jogging, get an iPod. To listen to music in your car, I highly recommend the PhatBox. The voice prompts and sound quality make all the difference. It even supports my lossless audio format of choice (FLAC) and it was very easy to sync my music library via USB. The only possible improvement for this otherwise excellent device would be WiFi auto-sync every night for podcasts.

I participated in the PhatNoise user forum for well over a year. Unfortunately, it was shut down. Never fear, there is a non-affiliated replacement already well-established: phathack.com. I had a question and it got answered in a matter of minutes.

It’s 2AM and I’m thinking about going back out to my car to play around with the PhatBox. It’s that cool. It’s TiVo-for-the-first-time cool.

Written by in: Automotive | Tags: | Last updated on: 2014-May-27 |

5 Comments »

  • KNH says:

    As a lowly end user of the PhatBox, not the installer, my impressions are slightly different. I really enjoy the hands-free capability. While it is nice to be able to use the hard buttons on the factory audio system, it’s difficult to remember what preset 2 is versus preset 3. Press the wrong one, and you are in a totally different menu. It’s pretty frustrating until those functions are memorized. Audio prompting also means scrolling through every single artist to find the right one. Also, if searching for a song, I pause too long on one, 5 seconds pass and I’m out of menu mode. And starting at the beginning. And annoyed.

    All of this being said, the PhatBox is GREAT when used by a passenger, not a driver who will quickly become too distracted. The system is too powerful to use when not focused on the task. But give me time to learn it, and I think I’ll fall completely in love with it. The audio prompts are very amusing too, using voice recognition that is not native so that ‘INXS’ becomes ‘inks.’

    TiVo-for-the-first-time cool? Not quite…but close.

  • Carlton Bale says:

    You’re right, there is no longer a Nissan/Infiniti version available for sale in the PhatNoise store. Maybe the newest cars have a different factory sound system that is incompatible and they decided to no longer offer the Infiniti/Nissan version. You have three options:
    1.) Call PhatNoise at 310-954-3650 and ask if they still sell the older version, which would definitely work with your car.
    2.) Create a saved search on Ebay for “PhatNoise Infiniti or Nissan”
    3.) Purchase a VW/Audi (or any other version) PhatBox or (or Kenwood MuiscKeg) and make a cable to convert it to an Infiniti PhatBox. All it takes is a cable and a free software download using the PhatNoise software to convert one version to another. Either go to the PhatHack.com forum to find out how to build or call PhatNoise to see if you can purchase a Nissan/Infiniti adapter cable.

  • DuWayne Pearson says:

    OK, now I’m really confused. For one you can’t find the Nissan/Infiniti Phatbox edition on the net and now you say that you have 2005 G35 Sedan with a Phatbox, what gives. I have a 2003 G35 Coupe and I found out that there was a compatible one for my car, but no luck in finding it. Please tell me that I can purchase a new (or old) Phatbox and use it in my car 🙂

  • jd says:

    I’ve never seen that. Cool

  • TW says:

    OMG! I have a ’03 VW beetle and absolutely love my Phatnoise Phatbox. It was super easy to install and I have been loving it for almost 5 years now. I have my whole music collection installed and update it several times a week. The controls are easy to use and easy to remember with time. I don’t run into a problem trying to drive and find tunes at the same time. Get one, you’ll love it too!

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