Sunday, 27 February 2011

Parrot MKi9200 Bluetooth Kit Review

Looking for a bluetooth handsfree system? Want an Ipod interface for your car but your car doesn't have the ability to connect one?
The Parrot MKi9200 is more than likely the product for you.
Easily installed to at least 80% of cars on the road at the moment. Where to start. Well lets start with whats in the kit and any extras you may need.
The Kit itself comprises of: the Main Control unit, Main wiring harness, Dual Microphone, Remote control, Steering wheel strap for remote, Visual Display and Auxillary interface harness. Fixtures, fittings and documentation.

Generally on most vehicles you will need a S.O.T. lead (Sound On Top), these are specific to the vehicle.
When buying the S.O.T. lead ask yourself 4 questions before you buy:
1. What Make and Model is my car? E.G. BMW, 1 Series
2. What is the year of manufacture of my car? E.G. 2006
3. What audio system is in my car? E.G. Business Professional
4. Does my vehicle have Harman Kardon or Bose upgrade? E.G. HK Logic7

Believe it or not you NEED to know the answers to these questions.
If your car audio system is Harman Kardon or Bose you are going to have problems installing this kit from the word go. You will understand why if you continue reading.

About the Kit, the MKi9200 is a Bluetooth handsfree kit primarily, with 4 auxillary forms of music input.
The 4 inputs are:
1. Dedicated Ipod/Iphone interface - This also charges the Ipod/Iphone.
2. 3.5mm Headphone jack - Allowing regular music phone or generic MP3 player connectivity.
3. Standard USB - Allowing connection of a flash drive.
4. SD Card - Secure digital memory card connection (8GB max)

The phonekit works exactly the same as the Parrot CK3100LCD, pairing of the kit to the phone is very simple in most cases. Go to connectivity menu on your phone, go to bluetooth, makes sure bluetooth is switched on.
Next search or add a new device, your phone will now search for the Parrot kit. After a few seconds the kit should appear in the device list and will show up as Parrot MKi9200.
Select Parrot MKi9200, it will then ask for a pair code, 0000, (That's 4 zero's!). The phone may ask if you want to automatically connect to this device all the time, select yes. Now whenever you enter the car your phone will always pair.
The only phone I have come across lately that doesn't ask to automatically connect is the Iphone. It does still connect automatically though.

A full user guide can be found here Parrot-mki9200_user-guide_en.pdf courtesy of

Most phones will sync the phonebook automatically including the Iphone and HTC Desire (Provided the Kit is loaded with the very latest Parrot Firmware).
Some phones don't which means you have to send the contacts to the kit via bluetooth, if you can select all contacts and send via bluetooth do so the kit will accept mutliple bluetooth contacts.
If you can't select all then unfortunately you will need to send the contacts individually, time consuming so do the important ones first!

Basically people blame the kit for this, but it's actually the phone manufacturers fault as they haven't used the standard V-card protocol that everyone else uses.

The remote control is simple to use, spindle volume control/menu manager/Enter button in the middle, green/red answer/end buttons, Fast forward and reverse buttons and a Play/pause button.

The Display is approximately 7cm by 7cm and is Hi Res full colour. The Display also contains the SD card slot on the side. All the functions of the phone kit are displayed here. Caller ID, menus and all the auxillary functions are controlled from this display too. Including the Ipod play functions.
When in Ipod/USB/SD card music, the ID tags will be displayed, including Album, Artist, Track, provided this info is recorded with the tracks. The whole system is very intuitive.
All Ipod functions are as expected, select from playlist, album, artist, track, podcast or audio book. If you are using a music device on the kit of any kind. The phonekit will overide all other functions allowing you to take your call with all music muted. When the call ends it returns to the music.

The Kit itself has a built in 4 x 20 watt amplifier, the kit takes over the speaker system in the car as it does with the phone call, for all the audio functions. Now this is why people with Harman Kardon or Bose are going to have a problem.
Modern HK or Bose uses MOST (Media Orientated Systems Transport) or Fibre Optic to you and me. This is why your problem exists, you can't put a high powered amplified signal into a power amplifier. At least not without causing damage. The only way you will be able to use the Ipod/Memory card ports is change the output from the MKi9200 into a Pre-amp MOST signal.
Now there is an interface just become available that allows you to connect the kit via the Fibre Optic MOST system, thus giving a clean amplified signal to the speakers. The interface converts the Line out pre-amp stage of the Parrot kit into a MOST signal.
Right just so we are on the same page, this interface is NOT cheap, it will cost you somewhere between £220 to £250 to buy retail.
Some people will say you can use the pre-amp to the aux-in on the Radio, yes you can, however because its not a full signal and pre-amp, it will be quiet. (Not very loud!!) which some people may find acceptable but a majority won't! I've been there, got the tee-shirt. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't accept it either.
The other one is to use the phone input on the Radio, E.G. Volkswagen. Yep thats fine if you want a dual mono signal, its not even stereo!
So in summary, if you have HK or Bose theres really only one way to go, the MOST interface, if you want good quality sound, that won't damage the HK or Bose system in the car.

The only other thing you will see visually is the twin microphone. The twin mic allows extra pickup for calls and greater voice clarity thus making it easier for the caller to be heard.

Please take note, if your Parrot MKi9200 does not show 'Goodbye' on the Parrot display when switching off, it is NOT installed correctly. It means your ignition and permanent live feeds are around the wrong way. This will cause problems with pairing. Not at the time but later, especially if you find your have to re-pair the phone to the kit on a regular basis. The kit will only allow 8 phones in the connect memory. Once it is full you won't be able to pair any more phones to it. 2 ways to solve it, delete all previous pairings from your phone and the kit or have the lives swapped around.

Would I buy one? Yes if Ipod functionality was a solution I am looking for and wanted to keep my original car radio.
Is the MKi9200 User friendly? Yes very much so, you certainly don't need a degree to operate it. However reading the manual always helps.
How much does the MKi9200 cost? It varies online so I can't give an accurate price. However a Parrot dealer would probably charge between £249.99 and £299.99. If it's cheaper than that, then don't expect the installation to be that good.

My opinion of this kit, very very good. I haven't found a phone yet that won't pair to it in one way or another.

11th Feb 2014

For many of the Volvo models from 2007 onwards, if you have high power or premium sound and your amp is located under the drivers seat (UK Models). You can buy an amplifier bypass lead. Even though the system is MOST you can still get the MKi9000, MKi9100 and MKi9200 to work with these cars without any problems at all.

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