Turn your car into a speakerphone with this device.

Hands-free Music Receiver Car Kit Review 3When I was a teenager, I remember taking a road trip with my brother and being able to connect our Sony Discman to the car’s stereo using an adapter that worked through the tape deck. This was less than desirable because every bump in the road caused the CD to skip, but the nice thing was that we were able to listen to our digital music through an analog stereo. Today, I find myself using a variety of different adapters in my vehicle so that I can both listen to music and have my iPhones functionality carried through into the car itself. For the most part, I use an FM transmitter that connects via Bluetooth to my phone so that I can stream music through my car’s speakers. This works well, but I’ve found that one large function of my phone is lost – making phone calls. Since my phone connects to the FM Transmitter through Bluetooth, of course, it thinks that I want to use my car’s speakers when I receive phone calls. Unfortunately, people on the other end of the phone can’t hear me. So, I’m left fumbling around at the most inopportune moments in order to answer important phone calls. Recently, I was given the opportunity to test out a device that allows the call function to be used  easily through my car’s speakers – Paratek Hands-free Music Receiver Car Kit.

Hands-free Music Receiver Car Kit Review 4Paratek’s Hands-free Music Receiver Car Kit is designed to allow its users to make and receive phone calls with any smartphone and play music through any Bluetooth enabled music player. The device is shaped like a knob that is slightly larger than a quarter’s circumference. It has a multi-function button that can be used to answer phone calls and a 3M self-adhesive backing for mounting in your car. The kit also has a long-range microphone built-in so that you can easily be heard while in your car.

Installation of the device was very simple. It comes with a cord that is dual-purpose. It plugs into your car’s power outlet (cigarette lighter) and into your Aux port. Fortunately, for me, my car has a hidden power outlet and Aux port inside the storage compartment between my two front seats. So, I was able to route my cables there. I placed the mounting plate near my actual stereo control panel so that when the knob was attached to it, I would be speaking towards it with little effort in orienting my head towards it. Connecting to it via Bluetooth was no problem at all and even after long periods of time of disconnection, my phone still recognized the device and would automatically reconnect.

Hands-free Music Receiver Car Kit Review 5After the installation was complete, I started testing out its main functions – streaming music and speakerphone operation. The first thing I noticed was the ‘alternator whine’ that many people experience when plugging a device into both a power outlet and an Aux jack at the same time. The noise is ultimately caused by improper grounding in your car’s cigarette lighter ports and there is no easy solution to this problem. There are some third-party adapters that can be purchased to make this sound less noticeable, but nothing that is fool proof.

Once I got past the alternator whine, I played music flawlessly though the system and then made a phone call. I’m happy to say that the caller heard me just fine and I was able to hear them just fine. Because this device utilizes the Aux jack, you don’t have to worry about your signal diminishing as you move in and out of certain areas like you do with an FM transmitter.And, I will say that the alternator whine was not noticeable when I was talking on the phone.

Overall, I was very pleased with the Hands-free Music Receiver Car Kit by Paratek. I see it being a very handy accessory for my car especially on longer trips when I need to make business calls. The alternator whine is enough of an annoyance for me to continue using my FM Transmitter for music streaming on a regular basis, but I will definitely keep the Paratek kit when I know I’m going to need to make phone calls.