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#1
bacus

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I've been after a device to transmit stereo audio from my phone to a cars entertainment system for some time. I toyed with the idea of a replacement head unit but decided against it since I often drive other cars in the family and pool/hire cars with work. Then I found a product by satechi which is portable and does just what I wanted, but the website is always out of stock. ;)

Recently, after checking and failing to find stock again, I had a search around for other products and found this... the Venturi Mini. It does everything the Satechi does and more as well as being a UK product, so no import worries about getting lost or paying duty/VAT. I especially like the song tags and who's calling displayed by RDS on the radio. Cool !!! :wub:

Before anybody asks, no, I don't work for them. It justs seems to be the ideal product for me in my situation, so... I ordered one. I got a quick reply saying that because it was a new product, it hadn't been released yet, was due to ship mid-October and that I would be amongst the first to get one. They hadn't charged my credit card and wouldn't do so until it ships, and if I wanted to cancel I could. I've decided to wait for it, so if any of you want to know what it's like, I'll post a mini review when I get it. In the mean time, check the MyVenturi site for more info. You can download a video and the user manual if you like.

Cheers

Lee

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#2
robtuex

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Hi,
this does look good. Did you receive it ? Is it any good ?
(in any case thanks for the link)

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#3
bacus

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Hi,
this does look good. Did you receive it ? Is it any good ?
(in any case thanks for the link)

No, I haven't got it yet.

When I spoke to them after placing the order, they advised that it would be released in a couple of weeks and that they wouldn't charge my card until it was shipped. After a few weeks, I heard back again that there had been a manufacturing delay and that they estimated delivery would be around the end of November. Again they assured me that they wouldn't charge my card, and that I'd be one of the first to receive the unit.

I'm a bit disappointed that the website didn't say 'coming soon' but give me the option to purchase in advance, rather than let me purchase then tell me it's delayed, but to their credit they have kept to their word about not charging my card.

I'm going to keep the order open, and when it comes I'll let you guys know what I think.

Cheers

Lee

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#4
lastnikita

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Hi everyone, my first post here coz I've been waiting for such a product for months, and I find that one to be better than I could imagine :(
Well... more expansive too, but it looks like it's worthing it.


Please tell us as soon as you can try it, I can't wait to order :D

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#5
zone

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Hi everyone, my first post here coz I've been waiting for such a product for months, and I find that one to be better than I could imagine :(
Well... more expansive too, but it looks like it's worthing it.
Please tell us as soon as you can try it, I can't wait to order :D


My mate just got one of these today (hes had an order for a while too) its AWESOME. Ive been waitin to see how it sounds -just tried it in his car thjsi evening and I just soo want one!. Ive got wired iPod adaptor currently but controling music from your mobile over bluetooth is very cool and siounds way better. I've just ordered online Ill post back when I get it! :D)

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#6
lastnikita

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its AWESOME

Cool :(
Just tought at another possibility, for those with non-integrated autoradio with an AUX input.
Get a 30$ A2DP receiver with mic' and bring a RCA->Jack cable from the back of the autoradio to any convenient place :D

Then you've got a cheaper alternative which can also be used anywhere else, say on a normal stereo.
The only drawback is that it's not powered via cigarette-lighter (and it hasn't got an USB-out for charging).
You can easily replace both those functions with a 10$ USB-hub plugged in cigarette-lighter.
Which will even charge your ppc & your GPS at the same time :D

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#7
zone

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Cool :(
Just tought at another possibility, for those with non-integrated autoradio with an AUX input.
Get a 30$ A2DP receiver with mic' and bring a RCA->Jack cable from the back of the autoradio to any convenient place :D

Then you've got a cheaper alternative which can also be used anywhere else, say on a normal stereo.
The only drawback is that it's not powered via cigarette-lighter (and it hasn't got an USB-out for charging).
You can easily replace both those functions with a 10$ USB-hub plugged in cigarette-lighter.
Which will even charge your ppc & your GPS at the same time :D



I guess you can patch it togather cheaper with a bit of soldering but would you get the remote control over playback of music on the phone that the venturi gives? I'm also pretty fed up of the cables I've got hanging out of the glovebox that never quite seem to work right. The Venturi Mini seems a neater option! :D

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#8
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It does look nice!

Does it work well with Windows Mobile devices (phonebook download for example)?

P

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#9
bacus

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Mine arrived today - Hooray !!! :(

First impressions - Nicely made. It's feels very solid. Hopefully get some time tomorrow to have a good play.

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#10
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Mine arrived today - Hooray !!! :D

First impressions - Nicely made. It's feels very solid. Hopefully get some time tomorrow to have a good play.


Have you tried your new toy yet! :D I'm interested to see how it sounds in use. I've got a wired Belkin FM transmitter and to be honest it's pants. :(
The Venturi Mini may be just what I'm looking for.

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#11
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Rats !

I just typed in a mini review. Hit the spell check and it said I needed a plugin, but in the process it wiped everything I typed. :(

I'll type it up again later (in notepad first). Sorry everyone.

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#12
spvc500

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Rats !

I just typed in a mini review. Hit the spell check and it said I needed a plugin, but in the process it wiped everything I typed. :)

I'll type it up again later (in notepad first). Sorry everyone.


You've had the Venturi a while now, is it any good ? I've got a wred Belkin FM transmitter and the sound quailty is quite poor with a lot of interference and you have to re-tune as you drive about. I really hoped that the Venturi Mini would be the solution I've been looking for.

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#13
bacus

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You've had the Venturi a while now, is it any good ? I've got a wred Belkin FM transmitter and the sound quailty is quite poor with a lot of interference and you have to re-tune as you drive about. I really hoped that the Venturi Mini would be the solution I've been looking for.

Sorry for not going back and doing this. It was close to Christmas when I took delivery of my new TV which rather led me astray, then I simply forgot ! :)

So, what's the Venturi mini like? It's smaller than I thought it would be and build quality feels good. The display, being OLED, is very clear to read, even in sunlight. It doesn't update as quick as I'd like when moving through the menus, but you really only do that during setup, so it's not a problem in day to day use. There's a light sensor on the front which automatically dims the unit at night too.

The lighter plug is fixed to the body by a ratchet with 7 positions so you can angle it to suit. I'd make sure you have some clearance though, as we tried it in my friends Mercedes 'C' class where the socket is recessed behind a flap in the centre console, and it didn't really fit without a push and then only at 90 degrees. There is a locking ring on the plug too which is designed to be screwed in when the Venturi is in the socket. What this does is push out the 4 metal side contacts on the plug to grip the socket better. It works, but I found that if you wind it in all the way, it 'slips' off the thread making it tricky to grip it again and unwind. If anybody buys one, I suggest you do this once with it in your hand so you can see how far it can go before slipping, as it's really difficult to re-engage once in the socket.

Tuning is available on 4 presets across the whole FM band in 100KHz steps. In use, I've mainly used the one frequency on my travels, but I think that's in part, down to the radio in the car. I say this because, when I tried it on the same frequency but in my wife's car, I got interference and needed to retune.

The 4 buttons on the front face are flush with the display. They each only light up if there's a function you can do in the mode you're in. Also, the bottom 2 are dual function and show a different symbol and colour based on music or phone mode. Neat!

If you have a car that powers the lighter socket off with the ignition, then if the Venturi is left plugged in, it will switch on and pair to the last phone automatically. If your socket is always on, you can either switch is off manually by pressing and holding the right-side button, or just leave it so that when the bluetooth connection goes out of range, it switches off after a delay.

I couldn't get the phone book download to work with my MDA Vario II (WM6) or my SPV M3100 (WM5). I tried SAP and adding the JetWare handsfree extension software, but it still doesn't work. I haven't tried any other phones but I know the Hermes and some other WM devices are notoriously bad at this (Microsoft's Bluetooth stack). I remember reading that some car's (Audi?) built in bluetooth doesn't work with my phones unless you trick it into thinking the device type is a phone instead of a pocket PC. I'll have a play with this when I get time. It's a registry tweak I think.

In use, I switch it on and it pairs fine. The wireless stereo icon on the phone doesn't appear though, unless I press the left 'audio' key (which highlights the play/stop buttons) then press play. If I happened to be running media player prior to this, it would now start playing which I might not want it to do, if I was going to use a different player. Again, I think this is down to the phone, as once I did get it to pair and immediately show the wireless stereo icon.

Audio quality is fine for my needs. With music, yes, I can tell it's not a CD playing, but the quality is far better than my previous AudiaX FM transmitter which used to over-deviate causing it to 'clip' high frequencies. I mainly use it for listening to podcasts for which you'd be hard pressed to tell what source the sound was coming from. For telephone calls, the audio is what you'd expect from a cell phone and I'm told that I sound fine from the other end too. Incidentally, If you're listening to audio and a call comes in, it softly cuts the volume, pauses the track (if using media player) and allows you to take the call. When finished, it resumes playing. If you're using an audio player it can't control, it still mutes the sound, but can't pause it, so you will miss a bit of your music.

Another really cool feature with the Venturi is the RDS text display on your radio. Well, it would be cool if the display on my main car's stereo wasn't broken!!! :D The device identifies itself as 'Venturi' when powered up. It shows 'Play' when playing a track and the number of the caller when the phone rings. It's supposed to show the name too, but since I can't get the phonebook to download, I'll just have to take their word for it.

I haven't mentioned the 3.5mm audio in and out jacks, or the USB socket (provides power for charging other devices). This is because I have no need and therefore haven't tried them. There's no reason to suspect they wouldn't work though.

So, do I think it's worth it and would I buy it again? Yes to both. Despite its problems with my Windows Mobile phones, it does what I want. Also, being someone who regularly drives different cars, it's portability comes in very handy. So, definitely a thumbs up from me!

Lee

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#14
spvc500

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Top man Bacus. Thanks for taking the time to review the Venturi Mini. You've answered pretty much all my questions. Now where's my piggy bank !

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#15
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Glad you found it helpful, and thanks for prompting me to write it. :)

If you do get one, let us know what you think.

Cheers

Lee

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#16
zone

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Glad you found it helpful, and thanks for prompting me to write it. :)

If you do get one, let us know what you think.

Cheers

Lee


Hi Bacus great review and I wholeheartedly agree as a proud owner myself of some weeks now. :D Interestingly its one of those devices that you quickly learn to rely on. I just leave it plugged in all the time and my PocketPC becomes connected to my car as I get in ready for incoming calls, music etc. Just assign a preset on the radio and thats it.

As you say shame about windows mobile lack of support for the phonebook download feature, I cant get it to work with my pocketpc either. However I did find a think I workaround (edited as original post is not working 100%) if I can verify I will repost.


I noticed this review on The Register which kind of agrees with us on the usefulness:
http://www.reghardwa...music_streamer/

Edited by zone, 05 March 2008 - 12:05 PM.

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#17
bacus

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Interesting workaround - very clever !

Glad you're pleased with your's too. I'm surprised these aren't more popular, or perhaps they are and people just don't post when things are working. I couldn't do without mine now. I'm using it (for audio) almost every time I get into the car. In fact, today I actually used it to receive a phone call !!! - I'd almost forgotten it could do that :)

I'll have a read of that other review later. Thanks for posting it.

Cheers

Lee

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#18
zone

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Interesting workaround - very clever !

Glad you're pleased with your's too. I'm surprised these aren't more popular, or perhaps they are and people just don't post when things are working. I couldn't do without mine now. I'm using it (for audio) almost every time I get into the car. In fact, today I actually used it to receive a phone call !!! - I'd almost forgotten it could do that :D

I'll have a read of that other review later. Thanks for posting it.

Cheers

Lee


Yes I find it strange these arent more popular but I guess they're also quite new. Initally I also thought the Venturi Mini was a bit pricey but once you played with it I do think that its money well spent, its actually brilliant value for what you get.

To be honest while I've often installed the many decent multimedia players about in my PPC I still didn't regularly use my mobile for music. HOwver once you can get a good sounding output it makes it a completely new experince and tbh I find it quite strange now going back to a 'standard' mp3 player. Using the mobile is so much more convenient and the media player interface is far superior to any of my MP3 players.. (I must admit a secret lust for the iPod touch but no A2DP? no comment!) THe other advantage is my memory or lack of it- I (just about) always remember to carry my mobile with me, wheras other things only come with me if attached or stapled about my person!

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#19
lmanisc

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Sorry for not going back and doing this. It was close to Christmas when I took delivery of my new TV which rather led me astray, then I simply forgot ! :D

So, what's the Venturi mini like? It's smaller than I thought it would be and build quality feels good. The display, being OLED, is very clear to read, even in sunlight. It doesn't update as quick as I'd like when moving through the menus, but you really only do that during setup, so it's not a problem in day to day use. There's a light sensor on the front which automatically dims the unit at night too.

The lighter plug is fixed to the body by a ratchet with 7 positions so you can angle it to suit. I'd make sure you have some clearance though, as we tried it in my friends Mercedes 'C' class where the socket is recessed behind a flap in the centre console, and it didn't really fit without a push and then only at 90 degrees. There is a locking ring on the plug too which is designed to be screwed in when the Venturi is in the socket. What this does is push out the 4 metal side contacts on the plug to grip the socket better. It works, but I found that if you wind it in all the way, it 'slips' off the thread making it tricky to grip it again and unwind. If anybody buys one, I suggest you do this once with it in your hand so you can see how far it can go before slipping, as it's really difficult to re-engage once in the socket.

Tuning is available on 4 presets across the whole FM band in 100KHz steps. In use, I've mainly used the one frequency on my travels, but I think that's in part, down to the radio in the car. I say this because, when I tried it on the same frequency but in my wife's car, I got interference and needed to retune.

The 4 buttons on the front face are flush with the display. They each only light up if there's a function you can do in the mode you're in. Also, the bottom 2 are dual function and show a different symbol and colour based on music or phone mode. Neat!

If you have a car that powers the lighter socket off with the ignition, then if the Venturi is left plugged in, it will switch on and pair to the last phone automatically. If your socket is always on, you can either switch is off manually by pressing and holding the right-side button, or just leave it so that when the bluetooth connection goes out of range, it switches off after a delay.

I couldn't get the phone book download to work with my MDA Vario II (WM6) or my SPV M3100 (WM5). I tried SAP and adding the JetWare handsfree extension software, but it still doesn't work. I haven't tried any other phones but I know the Hermes and some other WM devices are notoriously bad at this (Microsoft's Bluetooth stack). I remember reading that some car's (Audi?) built in bluetooth doesn't work with my phones unless you trick it into thinking the device type is a phone instead of a pocket PC. I'll have a play with this when I get time. It's a registry tweak I think.

In use, I switch it on and it pairs fine. The wireless stereo icon on the phone doesn't appear though, unless I press the left 'audio' key (which highlights the play/stop buttons) then press play. If I happened to be running media player prior to this, it would now start playing which I might not want it to do, if I was going to use a different player. Again, I think this is down to the phone, as once I did get it to pair and immediately show the wireless stereo icon.

Audio quality is fine for my needs. With music, yes, I can tell it's not a CD playing, but the quality is far better than my previous AudiaX FM transmitter which used to over-deviate causing it to 'clip' high frequencies. I mainly use it for listening to podcasts for which you'd be hard pressed to tell what source the sound was coming from. For telephone calls, the audio is what you'd expect from a cell phone and I'm told that I sound fine from the other end too. Incidentally, If you're listening to audio and a call comes in, it softly cuts the volume, pauses the track (if using media player) and allows you to take the call. When finished, it resumes playing. If you're using an audio player it can't control, it still mutes the sound, but can't pause it, so you will miss a bit of your music.

Another really cool feature with the Venturi is the RDS text display on your radio. Well, it would be cool if the display on my main car's stereo wasn't broken!!! :( The device identifies itself as 'Venturi' when powered up. It shows 'Play' when playing a track and the number of the caller when the phone rings. It's supposed to show the name too, but since I can't get the phonebook to download, I'll just have to take their word for it.

I haven't mentioned the 3.5mm audio in and out jacks, or the USB socket (provides power for charging other devices). This is because I have no need and therefore haven't tried them. There's no reason to suspect they wouldn't work though.

So, do I think it's worth it and would I buy it again? Yes to both. Despite its problems with my Windows Mobile phones, it does what I want. Also, being someone who regularly drives different cars, it's portability comes in very handy. So, definitely a thumbs up from me!

Lee



Can you pair a bluetooth phone AND a bluetooth MP3 player to this at the same time? or does the MP3 player have to be wired?

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#20
bacus

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Can you pair a bluetooth phone AND a bluetooth MP3 player to this at the same time? or does the MP3 player have to be wired?

You can pair multiple devices, but only be 'docked' to one at a time.

So, I guess what you're asking is, if you are connected to your MP3 player can you use it to take a call, and the answer as far as I can see is no. If you plug the MP3 playing in to the jack and dock with the phone, then both would work. The MP3 output would be muted (but not stopped) while you were on the call and resume after the call.

Hope this helps.

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