I just upgraded stereo in my Toyota with a JVC bluetooth unit. Gives me not only bluetooth hands-free phone, but bluetooth stereo to listen to my music from my phone without wires. My son can bluetooth connect his kindle to it, too.
And, I found one with SatNav and bluetooth that is form-fitted for the wife’s Rav4. One of the more expensive units even has Android. Think about diagnosing your car right on the radio through a Torque app!
@keith, the aftermarket will always be there to serve the public need. The manufactuter’s tried at one point to legislate them out of business, but they banded together, formed SEMA, and now enjoy legal protection to make and sell aftermarket parts. This is America, babe!!! Home of Innovation!
The aftermarket cannot force the manufacturers to make cars a certain way, either. But, there is always a solution to whatever the car makers come up with. I’ve had very good success finding very good alternatives to expensive dealer parts for just about every car and truck I’ve ever worked on. Including radio solutions to all these newer cars.
I once tried to use home made CDs but they gave me similar problems. Hard to insert; would not play; and even more difficult to remove. I discovered the problem to be the use of adhesive lables on the CD. They were just thick enough to mess things up. If you intend to continue to make home CDs, go with the type that allows printing the information directly on the CD.
Hopefully your car can control the device from the dash.
I recently realized my CD/DVD audio changer can play MP3’s so I moved my iTunes collection to one disc(DVD-ROM). Its wonderful having full control at my finger tips on the steering wheel and the radio itself.
Fiddling with an iPhone for music while driving was akin to texting and driving.
I would never get an aftermarket stereo if steering wheel controls exist.
@andrewRA, aftermarket radios exist that tie into steering wheel controls and rear seat zone systems. I had installed a 2 zone system that allowed the kids to listen to one thing on headphones in the back seat while the wife and I listened to CDs in the front. This was the setup from the factory, but the original radio crapped out. The Kenwood replacement just needed a module that ties the radio to the factory steering wheel controls and rear seat controls. It even sounds better. And a lot cheaper that a replacement at the dealer.
@BustedKnuckles–I remember back in the late 1940s through the mid 1950s where many people would buy a new car and then have an aftermarket radio installed. Our neighbors bought several new Chevrolets in that time period and then had an aftermarket radio installed at Firestone. The radio was an exact fit in the dashboard. The 1957 and 1958 Studebaker Scotsman model could not be had with a radio from the dealer. You had to go aftermarket if you wanted a radio.
@Triedag, I managed to get through college in the early 90s installing radios. They started putting out those wire harness adapters about that time, and made installs worlds easier. I could wire the radio up to the harness adapter on the bench, and then the install was plug-n-play. I still do weekend installs for friends, and even the newer form-fitting units all have aftermarket solutions that look good and work better than the factory units. One of the strangest was a 2000 Escort where the radio was integrated into the dash with the climate controls. There is an adapter that allowed for any 1-din radio to be installed, and included the climate controls. Cool stuff.
Fiddling with an iPhone for music while driving was akin to texting and driving.
iPods are controlled through the head unit, you do not have to fiddle with them while driving. It my two vehicles with aftermarket head units, the iPod is hidden under the dash. On my new car, the iPod in inside the center console and controlled by the buttons on my steering wheel.
If you plug the iPod into the aux port, then you do have to mess with the iPod, but I always preset it to shuffle and don’t touch it again.
I do agree with your statement though, but you don’t need to fiddle with it. Some of the new radios with touch screen controls are just as bad.
Speaking of aftermarket radio’s my first bought car ever(age 30) did not include a head unit and it was brand new. A 2004 Subaru STI. I never even installed one as the car was a blast and liked the engine sound.
I was lucky before and got hand me down cars from family members.
Macs are fine if you stay in the “Mac world”. If you don’t you can have problems. Thank the French (i think, correct me if I’m wrong) for “pressuring” Apple into making an Windows ITunes version . That’s the strategy I would use for a car. Down load files from your Mac onto the microsoft version then pray it works in your car. I moved over to Apple years ago while teaching. Because of that, this is the extent of my computer knowledge. All questions go to my son who works for Microsoft.
@BustedKnuckles - how much did your bluetooth unit costs for your camry ?
I like how much better a cd sounds compared to a mp3 player, that’s just how I feel about it. then again I have Alpine’s best cd player from 5 years ago.
MP3 has too much compression. It wasn’t designed to be played in a good sound system. CD’s are far better then MP3 format songs. Especially when playing Classical or Jazz - you’ll really notice the difference.
MP3 format was originally introduced to save on space (disk or memory). But memory/diskspace is 100 times cheaper now then it was when the MP3 format was invented. And a lot smaller. You can take your entire CD collection and store it on one average hard-drive. Most can store it in memory.
No doubt CDs sound much better on just about every recoding. Just about everything worth measuring is potentially better with CD then mp3. But, most don’t have quiet enough cars and I feel that music in cars should be played at less then live performance levels for safety sake. Therefore, most of what I use a car environment for is casual and not critical listening. That and the convenience of storage of a gazillion songs as Mike alluded to makes Mp3 a no brainer for many. As available storage capacities increased exponentially, semi crappy format mp3 is still the medium of choice for cars IMO. It’s the way record companies want to distinguish almost free mp3 swapping they can’t stop with less then ideal sound, from buying higher quality music on CDs from them for big bucks. Quality for a price or convenience for free…
BigMark, I like CDs too, so most of the music I buy is on CD (I like vinyl too) but I use the iPod at 320bps for better sound quality. In a car with a factory system and going at just about any speed, CD does not have an advantage.
The little iPod shuffle is pretty cheap and can hold quite a bit of music, kind of wish I had gotten one of those instead of the nano. I was under the impression that if I hit a bump or any sudden maneuver might change the song, but I since found out that that feature can be turned off by the iTunes app in your computer.
That and the convenience of storage of a gazillion songs as Mike alluded to makes Mp3 a no brainer for many.
Actually what I was alluding to was that since memory is so cheap and small…you don’t have to COMPRESS the data any more. You can leave it uncompressed. Thus you won’t loose anything in the sound. But I agree…MP3 is fine for a car (casual listening). You want critical listening…then CD is a must - along with a good sound system that can take advantage of the CD sound.
And I agree that “available storage capacities have increased exponentially” making other formats that produce better sound, more appropriate. But, the world will stay with this relatively poor format because it’s the only way now Recording industries who are taking a big hit anyway, can still rationalize selling CDs. If better formats were the norm,even fewer would be buying CDs. Even CDs contain compress audio information compared to what was originally recorded. All commercially available music is compressed. It’s just to what degree the discussion centers around.
But, Ripping off and swapping music with CD quality sound might kill what is left of the recording industry, especially if they were standard in cars. What is improving is the playback systems that do an amazing job with what little data mp3 gives them. That will continue to improve. So, CDs is a must but only if you don’t have the software and the know how to record CD quality digitally on your computer. And really, it’s available to most now. Right now the play back in a car and other devices is restrictive but it need not be. It’s the influence of the recording industry IMO, that makes it so.
I don’t see it changing anytime soon. Even with Audacity, a simple music management software for FREE allows you to increase sound quality beyound standard mp3. The stuff is available and an adjustable reader could be installed in cars…but not in the near future.
Have an IPod Touch which delivers exceptional play back sound ( considering it’s mp3) Take a look at one. It’s an IPhone with out the phone and cheaper, much cheaper. It can be had with a surprising amount of memory too. You literally have to do an A-B comparison to tell the difference with a CD…over head phones and car stereo of course. On a good stereo at home in the house, more obvious. But play back of mp3 has really improved.
I don’t do DJ work, I only use it in the car and I keep it in the shuffle mode so that I don’t have to mess with it. But iPod has one huge annoying feature and that is it does not adjust for recordings that were made at different sound recording levels, so you have to keep messing with the volume control. Thats where a steering wheel button really helps.
Apple has never put a sound level recording in iTunes that actually works. You have to cut the music to Audacity or similar program, level the sound with it and then cut it to iTunes in either the iTunes format or MP3 format. Its a PITA to go through all those steps.
BTW. making mix CD’s with iTunes, you also have this problem.
@abhisheks77, it’s in my Supra, and shipping was free, since it was $165.
The 2 zone unit I put in the Explorer was a bit more expensive. $375.