What is an FM Modulated CD Changer?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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An FM modulated CD changer, sometimes called an add-on CD changer, works with existing factory car radios to provide multi-disc CD functionality. The factory radio need not have CD capability to use this device; instead, the changer comes with its own controls.

With an FM modulated CD changer, a chosen FM frequency is used to play CDs. The radio is tuned to the designated frequency, and the supplied hard-wired remote display is used to turn on and control the CD changer. The hard-wired LCD unit displays song information and a wireless remote card provides convenience.

Adding multi-disc functionality to a car, truck or van is extremely convenient. An FM modulated CD changer can hold between six and 12 compact discs, depending on the model. The discs can stay loaded in the changer in a special magazine, keeping them clean, safe from damage, and most important, readily available. Considering a single CD can hold up to 10 hours of MP3 tunes, a loaded magazine will mean miles of driving without repeated songs.

There are many circumstances in which an FM modulated CD changer is preferred for the sole reason that it doesn’t require replacing factory equipment. One might add one to a leased car, then remove it when the lease expires. Some people simply prefer to leave their vehicles in stock condition, and others don’t want the expense or hassle of changing out the in-dash unit for something newer with more functionality.


Aside from convenience, a CD changer is also safer. Loading CDs one at a time can mean searching for discs and fiddling with the deck while trying to keep eyes on the road. With an changer, up to 60 hours or more of pure digital music is available with the press of a button.

FM modulated CD changers are available online and from many car audio retailers. The unit is normally installed under a seat, inside a side-panel, or under a trunk panel. For those that want to install the unit themselves, instructions are available online. Others can choose to have it professionally installed.


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