Q: How can I play my CDs in my new car, which does not have a CD slot? It only has a USB connection and Bluetooth, so I can't even use a portable CD player with an auxiliary cable. I have hundreds of CDs, and I don't want to spend hours and hours at my computer transferring them to my phone.
A: This is something more of us likely will be dealing with in the future. As CD sales decline (down 15 percent last year), CD players are following the path of the in-dash cassette tape player and fading into automotive history. Last year, 17 percent of the cars sold in North America lacked CD players, a number that is expected to climb to 24 percent this year and will reach 46 percent by 2021, according to the research firm IHS Automotive.
There are workarounds. In fact, you can do it with a portable CD player, but you'll also need a Bluetooth transmitter. Still, it is a less than ideal solution because it involves multiple parts and wires. You also might lose Bluetooth phone functionality if your car can't pair more than one device simultaneously.
If you decide to go this route, get a portable CD player that has a car power adapter. Turn the CD player volume up almost to the max, then connect a USB-powered Bluetooth transmitter to the headphone output. GoGroove (gogroove.com) makes a $25 transmitter called the BlueSENSE TRM that will do the job. Connect the transmitter to the car's USB output for power, and it will convert the CD player output to Bluetooth, which you can then pair to your car's audio system.
A better way would be to convert the CDs to MP3s and put them on a flash drive, which you can simply plug into your car's USB port. That doesn't have to involve "hours and hours" of sitting at a computer. There are CD players that convert CD music to MP3s and transfer it directly to a flash drive.
The Teac CD-P650-B (teac.com) is a good CD player that will do this for you easily. Buy it and a 64GB flash drive to get started. Plug in the CD player, put the flash drive in the USB port and turn on the player. Put in a CD and start the transfer process by pushing a button. The CD player can do the transferring in the background as you go about your daily tasks. At 2X speed, it will take about 30 to 35 minutes to completely transfer a disc to the flash drive. Start with your favorite CDs and work your way down through your collection, transferring a few per day. Before you know it, you will have a complete archive of your CD collection.
Once you are done with a day's transferring, connect the flash drive to your computer and copy the files there so you have an archive. It will only take a minute or so. That way, if something happens to the flash drive, you can just plug another flash drive into the computer and copy the songs over again. You can create duplicates to use in other vehicles, or you can easily put them on your phone, too.
And look on the bright side: Once you get the transferring done, you will always have your music available for future use.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.