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Old Fri, Jun-03-2011, 08:51:34 PM   #1
go-timbers
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Default DICE RAGE - review of DUO-100-BMW (long)

About mid-week last week I received the DICE Silverline DUO in the mail from a retailer my wife found online: http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_...O-100-BMW.html

My car: 2003 BMW M3 with HK audio sans navigation

I've done at least a dozen car audio installs of all types over the last 20 years, doing everything from multi-thousand dollar full system builds to enclosures and false floors, head units, simple alternator noise elimination and everything in between. In short, I know what I'm doing.

On to the install. Very easy. There just aren't not a lot of ways to screw this up. Noobs can do this, no problem. The most difficult part was locating the 3 and 6 pin connectors. They were hidden so thoroughly behind the factory amp I thought I didn't have them. Once I found those, I carefully ran the cabling up to the front of the car and behind the glove box, paying close attention to keep it away from anything that may cause interference. The running of the cable was easy, but I won't lie: it took a while. Rushing here can lead to broken interior pieces or the mysterious buzzing/hissing/alternator whine if you just throw the cable any old place and hope for the best. I chose the slow and steady route.

Once everything was in place I fired up my system and the DICE unit instantly detected. Nice! And that's where the good ends, unfortunately.

Once audio started playing I was shocked at the difference between the sound level of my iPod and the sound level of the CD player and radio. It sounded like the gain was turned up all the way on the iPod or the DICE. And sure enough it was. On the DICE. I found the adjustment, pressing the 3 button on my head unit and slowy notching down the gain for the DICE with the left arrow button on the HU. Even at the absolute minimum, the distortion level and sound quality was HORRIBLE. It sounded like really, really awful FM radio reception played through an amp with the gain turned up all the way.

So I took my iPod off the adapter and checked the Firmware: 1.3, the version recommended by the DICE docs. Next I made sure I had no EQ or other settings enabled in my iPod. Hooked it back up, still trash. Garbage. I grabbed my wife's iPod and hooked it up. Horrible. More distortion. WTF is going on? I checked the forums and found a lot of talk about electronic interference and a varying buzzing that increased with the RPMs of the car, classic alternator whine or other electronic interference. But that's not what I had. Turning the car on made no difference whatsoever.

One support person (Tom?) kept suggesting people suffering from this problem should buy the unit that installs in the dash. I wasn't convinced.

Wanting to exhaust every conceivable solution, I upgraded the DICE firmware, which made no difference at all.

And finally, completely sure that my cable route was clean but determined to find out where this noise was coming from, I undid the cable route and chose one that would be certain to contain no interference from anything at all electronic. My driveway:



Guess what? This didn't fix it either.

Between researching forums and methodically trying one alteration at a time, I spent the better part of my Memorial day weekend fiddling with this adapter. I ended up sending it back, and now I'm torn about what to do. Exchange? Go with another product? Was it just a bad unit? Can everyone claiming "perfect" sound quality in the ~ 50% of the posts happy with DICE all really have that bad of an ear?

So I'm open to suggestions. We've got store credit right now and I can elect to get another DUO-100-BMW or I may just drive the whole thing into the ground, scrap the stock HU idea and just go all aftermarket. I've seen a lot of bad reviews of these DICE units. If anyone's experience anything like this and has rectified it, please, let's hear it.
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Old Sat, Jun-04-2011, 03:23:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: DICE RAGE - review of DUO-100-BMW (long)

Crap I just got my Duo in the mail too... Good thing I got it from Walmart.com for cheap and I can always take it back to the store.
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Old Sun, Jun-05-2011, 10:00:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: DICE RAGE - review of DUO-100-BMW (long)

I just installed mine and I agree that it sounds like crap and like the ipod gain is way too loud. After playing with the ipod eq settings, I found that putting it in the treble boost mode made it sound the closes to normal. And then I adjusted the HU bass to compensate for it. Now it sounds great!
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Old Mon, Jun-06-2011, 03:43:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: DICE RAGE - review of DUO-100-BMW (long)

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Originally Posted by calvinf1 View Post
Crap I just got my Duo in the mail too... Good thing I got it from Walmart.com for cheap and I can always take it back to the store.
My wife found it on Walmart too but when we went to buy it was out of stock, so we went with this vendor. I've been impressed with them; the RMA was very easy and they actually have already shipped me a replacement unit. Hopefully this one will be better.

I have a feeling that it won't be, but I'll certainly try. I'll update the thread once I get this new one installed.
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Old Tue, Jun-07-2011, 02:58:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: DICE RAGE - review of DUO-100-BMW (long)

I received the replacement unit yesterday and installed it. I queued up an identical album to what I had in the CD player and turned up the volume. I toggled between modes and listened carefully. Actually the carefully part wasn't necessary. It's painfully obvious which source was which. This unit was slightly less distorted than the previous one - perhaps by virtue of me not updating the firmware? - but it's still unacceptable. The sound quality is very, very poor.

I'm absolutely shocked that people are fine with paying $125+ for these things. There shouldn't be any reason a device like this is substantially less clear than CD audio, and it definitely is. Again the problem is the gain. The default level is way, way too loud and the minimum setting isn't low enough to eliminate distortion and dead-air hiss.

If you can't tell the difference between cassette tape and a clean digital audio source and you have $125+ to waste, DICE would be a good fit for you. As it stands now I would not recommend this product to anyone.
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Old Fri, Jun-10-2011, 07:15:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: DICE RAGE - review of DUO-100-BMW (long)

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Originally Posted by go-timbers View Post
I received the replacement unit yesterday and installed it. I queued up an identical album to what I had in the CD player and turned up the volume. I toggled between modes and listened carefully. Actually the carefully part wasn't necessary. It's painfully obvious which source was which. This unit was slightly less distorted than the previous one - perhaps by virtue of me not updating the firmware? - but it's still unacceptable. The sound quality is very, very poor.

I'm absolutely shocked that people are fine with paying $125+ for these things. There shouldn't be any reason a device like this is substantially less clear than CD audio, and it definitely is. Again the problem is the gain. The default level is way, way too loud and the minimum setting isn't low enough to eliminate distortion and dead-air hiss.

If you can't tell the difference between cassette tape and a clean digital audio source and you have $125+ to waste, DICE would be a good fit for you. As it stands now I would not recommend this product to anyone.
Did you try playing with the EQ settings on the iPod, I find it that its a lot better under "treble boost"
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Old Tue, Feb-21-2012, 09:18:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: DICE RAGE - review of DUO-100-BMW (long)

I've been having the same issue. Although playing with the EQ helps it still sounds horrible. Anyone else have a fix?
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Discussing DICE RAGE - review of DUO-100-BMW (long) in the Audio/In Car Entertainment (I.C.E.) Forum - Place to discuss sights and sounds. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)