Thursday, November 29, 2012

Well, Why Not?

In a discussion on Facebook with Alan and PDB (not that I'm name-dropping, even though I am), we got on the subject of car stereos (after a discussion of why the fancy extras weren't worth it, since they get obsoleted so quickly).

In this day and age of MP3 players, iPhones, and such, it seems like the car stereo is pretty much a relic of the past. I commented that all I was looking for was an AM/FM radio and an AUX port - I can keep enough music and podcasts in a $50 iPod to last me halfway across the country. Alan commented that all you really needed was the AUX port and an amp connected to speakers, and darn it if he wasn't onto something.

Cassette players - which were just coming into common use when I was growing up - have come and gone. CD players, while now the default, are certainly seeing their last days - you can buy a portable CD player for chump change and it holds a lot less than a comparably priced bargain-brand MP3 player. The days of the CD are numbered.

Wouldn't it be great to have a package available from your car that offered a docking station, an amplifier, and half a dozen or so really good speakers?

That is all.


bluesun said...

I love the usb port on my stereo; I've got one of those tiny little flash drives in it with 8 gb of music at my fingertips. That's enough for a pretty good roadtrip, I'll just say.

Teke said...

The wifes new Government Motors has a USB port in the dash compartment. Pretty handy. Not sure why her model didn't have the SD card. What I found odd was that some of the nav units use an SD card and some a DVD. Of course hers uses the old DVD that is out of date exactly 12 months ago.

What really annoyed me is that to get traffic you have to use XM traffic even though I can get broadcast traffic on any portable GPS for FREE!!!!

But the touch screen is cool.

Chasing Freedom said...

Personally, I'd like to see the return of a tactile radio. Touch screens are fine and dandy but I miss being able to manipulate all the radio features by touch.

I do agree, a simple radio with the focus shifted to docking & good speakers would be a desirable alternative to the current standard features.

DOuglas2 said...

In looking at aftermarket head-end units lately for replacing the cassette-deck in the car I use for the cross-country journeys, I've noticed that the popular ones include:
bluetooth-linking with phone including display of caller-id and address book
(not to mention cable-less link to the music stored on the phone),
port to input your trailer-hooking cam,
integration with the buttons already on many steering-wheels for volume, combination track-advance or station seek, and answering/making phone call,
Playback of any recognizable video or audio data file stored in the root directory of any 12cm-diameter laser-readable disk you choose to stick in the slot.

I rather like the idea of the disk for the music collection, as even 650MB of MP3 on a CD-R is a lot for a journey, and I'd get much less upset if that was lost/stolen/damaged than if someone stole my "personal electronic device".

Mopar said...

Sorry, I still hearts my radio, especially with the built in Sirius. Love that on long trips, though I still listen to the local FM station during my 15-20 minute morning commute. I've got the AUX input but that's a PITA. I bet they make some sorta little bluetooth dongle I could plug into it though. Hmmmm.

Old NFO said...

Regardless of what we get, it will be obsolete before we ever get it installed... sigh

Tango said...

For $60 I installed an AM/FM modulator (hooks into the antenna line) with USB charging. I have Aux and USB ports next to my shifter, hidden in one of the coin cubbies. Ideally just get a USB port that plugs into a cigarette lighter and make sure the head unit has bluetooth.

They're dirt cheap now and once bluetooth is on, you never have to change to anything else. All phones and tablets have bluetooth anyhow.

Dave H said...

I bought a Bluetooth hands-free speakerphone with a built in FM modulator, and I use my smrtphne's music player on trips.

It doesn't hook into the radio's antenna, it just radiates. (Poorly.) It's just as well, because you need to be a burly surgeon to get the dash off of my Subaru.

Geodkyt said...

Radio is, I think, essential. Too much comes across AM and FM (news wise) to skip it. Satellite radio is nice if you spend an hour or more in the car on a regular basis.

For "user selected music", however, I think the AUX IN port is all that's needed -- even if you are MP3-phobic, you can hook a portable CD player to your stereo with a $2 cable.

I've already decided that I will end up replacing the (not bad) stereo unit in my 2003 Hyundai with something that has AM/FM HD, channel scan, and an AUX IN -- extra features like Bluetooth, USB in the stereo, and satellite capability are nice, but only if they come on a stereo that has the features I want at a reasonable (to me) price. For example, for me, having about 10 FM pre-programed stations and a couple of AM pre-programs is important, because I drive to the same handful of areas repeatedly. (And an AUX IN port would free up one slot I currently keep set for my MP3 player to transmit to my car's FM antenna. . . )

Observant readers will note my "preferred" radio is basically what is considered bargain basement these days. . . {grin}

Love tactile controls, but don't miss "real" analog radio controls a bit.

I think SPEAKERS are more important to my enjoyment than a top end receiver -- when I'm alone and on the interstate in little traffic for extended periods, I like to play it LOUD. Not real bassy, just loud. (Aural Darwinism? {snicker})

Hunter said...

Maybe I should update. My '72 Impala had a factory eight-track player. The original docking station.

Anonymous said...

So my Craig Powerplay Cassette deck and custom (plywood-unpainted)cabinets with Jenson coaxial speakers, 6x9s taking up most of the back seat in my F10 Datsun are a bit dated???

Damn it...

Apple has ruined everthin!!!!

Gunnutmegger said...

Since I have to rent cars regularly, I use something similar to this:

Load up some USB drives with music, put that device into the lighter plug and you have all the music you can fit onto a USB stick in any car you drive as long as it has a FM radio.

fast richard said...

The AM/FM radio in the 18-wheeler I am currently driving has no CD slot. It has two SD card slots, a USB port, and an AUX input. Since I mostly listen to podcasts and audiobooks while driving, occasionally switching to music from an MP3 player, it works quite well for me.

Cargosquid said...

Keep the disc player! Books on tape!

I want a stereo with "all of the above."

Of course, I don't HAVE any digital music...everyone knows that's just a fad.

PhilaBOR said...


My new car has am/fm with Bluetooth. I never use the Aux port. When I get in the car, whatever I was listening to last on my iphone starts playing over the car system. And it has hands-free phone.

I listen to about 25% radio and 75% podcasts, so I still want the radio.