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Car Stereo and iPod? Anyone Done it?

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10 replies to this topic

#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Mike Darksyde

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Posted March 19 2004 - 03:40 AM

Have you hooked up your iPod to your car stereo, using thier FM transmitter, or some other method? If so how was it? Do you like it, does the FM transmitter work? Sound good? Pain in the ass? I think I want to do this, but would like some opinions on it.

#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Denton


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Posted March 19 2004 - 05:50 AM

I have connected a Creative Jukebox to a car stereo with very good results. But there are some important differences. The IPOD is limited to 192 CBR files as its best fidelity setting (as I understand it). I don't find that satisfactory. (My Jukebox carries only high-bit VBR's created with LAME; sound quality of 320 CBR files but smaller in size.) I also connected the Jukebox using its line out jack to a line in on the head unit. I wouldn't expect any "transmitter" to work as well.

My suggestion is that you try before you buy if at all possible. Posted Image
"Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye." Bill Hicks

#3 of 11 OFFLINE   DipulP



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Posted March 26 2004 - 01:50 PM

Hey, I have an ipod, and first let me state that it has played any mp3 i have sent it, up to and including 320 CBR mp3's. I also have it hooked into my car, the way I did it was, I ran a set of RCA's from the input on my receiver, to the dash. The RCA's were converted to a 1/8 stereo plug, which interfaces with the ipod. This is good becuase I now have an input to the headunit, which almost any device can interface with. The sound quality is perfect, becuase its not modulated or transmitted through FM. I wouldn't recommend the FM if you're very concerned with quality. As long as your headunit has an input on it, it should be fairly straight forward to hook the ipod up.

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Greg_R



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Posted March 29 2004 - 11:56 AM

I too use an iPod in my vehicle (and yes it plays any VBR file). I drive the aux inputs of my head unit with the iPod... this is preferred over the FM modulator (where you loose sound quality).

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Arthur Legardo

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Posted March 29 2004 - 01:16 PM

I used to have my 3G iPod hooked up to my Alpine HU in my previous vehicle. Alpine doesn't have RCA inputs per say, but you can buy a cable, adapter or "break out" box that will allow you to connect any source to the HU. Depending on the neatness of install that you desire you can have it from very simple to somewhat complicated (stealth installation). Check out iPodLounge.com for some installation tips and photos.

Alpine recently announced during the recent CES that they've struck a deal with Apple to allow their iPods to be connected and controlled by certain Alpine 2004 HUs. I've seen a picture of this and it's a "break out" box that connects to the bottom connector of the iPod. When they said "certain Alpine HUs" I'm assuming they meant some, if not all, of their Ai-Net HUs.

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Christian Behrens

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Posted April 18 2004 - 07:46 AM

Man, that iPod integration looks very tempting. But since that's still some time off, I'll be replacing my stock radio with an older JVC CD receiver I still have, which has a front input for direct connection of other sources, like the iPod, so I can retire my tape adapter. -Christian
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Benjamin Franklin)

#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Angelo.M



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Posted May 05 2004 - 06:54 AM

YMMV. Posted Image

#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Angelo.M



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Posted May 05 2004 - 06:55 AM

Not true.

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   MarkHastings


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Posted May 05 2004 - 09:48 AM

Wow, I was just going to post a question like this. I have a Creative Jukebox which has a line out. I bought a car stereo that also has a line input (i.e. mini plug). It's not as great sounding as my CD player, but considering I can store 10,000 songs on it, I'll take that over carrying tons of CD's and the constant swapping out while I drive. I am now considering an iPod, but I hear they only have ear phone outs. 2 questions: 1.) Are the earphone outs (on the 40GB model) proprietary to the apple earbuds or are they the normal mini plug connection? 2.) What are your thoughts about using a headphone jack as opposed to a normal level line out? I am afraid of having to constantly worry about volume levels.
In case you don't know, they can't make those transmitters too powerful (due to FCC guidelines), so they aren't always perfect. Before I had the stereo (with the line input) installed, I had a similar product for my Jukebox. It was rated one of the better transmitters, but I HATED it. My commute takes me on a major highway and I found a LOT of interference with 18 wheelers. Also, I travel through many valleys which also seemed to affect it. My radio never did that, so it was definitely an issue with the weak signal of the transmitter.

#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Arthur Legardo

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Posted May 05 2004 - 01:08 PM

It's always best to use the line out rather than the headphone out...well that's what most people prefer (myself included) simply because the signal is much cleaner than through the headphones. Depending on your vehicle you may find mods for your stock car stereo, check the net. I know for my car, a 2004 Mazda 3 there are three points on the factory CD player that you can solder in a line in cable! Therefore, no need for an FM transmitter or modulator or any other expensive alternative.

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   VinceS



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Posted June 13 2004 - 07:15 AM

For an interesting read on the audio quality capabilities of an iPod check out Stereophile's review from late last year. You'll basically get out what you put in and if you even want to go AIFF for no loss from the original cd you can.

Stereophile iPod review

Check out these two links out how to best get a line out as you will get better quality from it than the headphone jack.

Hack a Belkin auto charger to get a line out

The Sik Imp

Then of course there is the Denison IceLink - gets you a nice cradle as well as a multitude of output options - from RCAs and a power connector to integration with some OEM car stereos through the cd changer port.

Icelink 1.1 from Denison

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