Need help with connecting Ipod to Car stereo?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by henree64, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. henree64

    henree64 Guest

    I just made a few trips to Circuit City, and Best Buy. Here are some
    interesting gizmos.
    A) Circuit City has an Pioneer Ipod adapter made specifically for
    Pioneer in dash cd players. Any Opinions on this unit?
    B) Best Buy has an Ipod FM transmitter that plays Ipod tunes over the
    airwaves. You have to find the right frequency.
    C) Kenwood and Pioneer make in dash cd players that are supposed to be
    Ipod Ready. Anyone know what "Ipod Ready" mean? Taking a look at some
    of the demo units, the faceplates show no imputs that I can see that
    allows the Ipod to be hooked up to.

    I hate the idea of playing music over the air using fm frequencies.
    Mainly because my car stereo is old and my fm/am radio music is in
    mono. What is the best route to go, in order to listen to music in my
    car with the Ipod?
    henree64, Sep 13, 2005
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  2. henree64

    Barbarossa Guest

    "Speed costs money; how fast do you want to go?"
    [Old Saying]

    Almost every car audio company has SOMETHING that will play an
    iPod. I had a 6,200 mile road trip coming up and did not want to
    be without my tunes somewhere out between Indianapolis and
    Amarillo. So ...

    iPod ready means that there is usually an extra cost adapter
    that plugs into the BACK of the deck where you would normally
    connect your external CD changer. Some adapters allow both to be
    connected. The adapter then has a cable with an iPod dock
    connecter at the end so the iPod may be placed/hidden almost
    anywhere. The iPod is then controlled using the deck, not the
    iPod. Very convenient, really.

    Having an older Alpine deck in my other van, I first tried
    another Alpine with an iPod adapter in my trip van. Boy, what a
    disaster - not the iPod, but the Alpine. It had some new kind of
    control that replaced the push buttons with a 'GlideTouch' ® bar.
    That thing was awful; most of them come factory defective. I sent
    it back for a refund. I expect those Alpine models to be quickly


    I have a big Pioneer in the old Toyota, as Toyotas and Nissans
    almost all have a "Double-DIN" mounting area (i.e., the hole is
    two radios high, with a bracket mount allowing for an extra large
    deck, or an extra equalizer, or whatever.) I considered a Pioneer
    deck with their adapter until I read a review of the user
    interface that allowed only eight (8) characters. Oh well ...

    Interestingly, just the other day I say that SOME of the
    newest Pioneer decks will play CD-Rs that have AAC - i.e., .m4a
    files, not just .mp3 or windows stuff. This is a great advantage
    as about half of my stuff (165 GB worth) has been ripped into the
    newer iTunes AAC format. It means that even if you did not own an
    iPod, you could burn a CD-R with 10 albums full of .mp3/.m4a
    tunes and play them. Some of the latest decks like the one below
    are also DVD players and can play a DVD-R with, oh, 50 albums
    worth of music. An example: "Lord of the Rings" (the AudioBook)
    unabridged is 56 CDs long; ripped, it will fit onto one (1) DVD-R.


    I finally decided to bite the bullet and go with the Clarion
    VRX-755VD DVD/MP3 receiver with 7 Inch LCD monitor. I do not
    believe that this deck has the ability to play the AAC format on
    CDs/DVDs yet. Maybe soon. With the screen tucked away this has a
    very clean and simple interface. The iPod connection is a
    dedicated cable ($50 extra) that links the iPod directly to the
    deck and keeps it charged.


    Although the list price is daunting, nobody pays retail. If
    you check out each company's web site for info and then Google
    the model numbers of the decks you prefer you will find that you
    can get a lot of them for about half of retail; some with no sale
    tax or shipping depending on where you live.

    Curiously, the cheapest stores seem to be in Brooklyn, and
    ship out of New Jersey.

    The VRX-755VD currently goes for less than $800 and probably
    has the best interface available, but is just too expensive for
    most people, However, there are many decks for around $200 to
    $300 that will play an iPod quite well but they all need their
    own adapter. You get what you pay for.

    There are also a lot of after market iPod adapter/connecters
    that will play your pod through an existing deck, but these also
    run about $200. You should check out the various links and
    reviews at any of the numerous iPod websites for more info.




    PS: do not leave your iPod in the car in New York City. The
    Parking Garage attendants will steal it.
    Barbarossa, Sep 13, 2005
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  3. There are many fancy-schmancy systems which seem to control the iPod
    directly - meaning, you can (theoretically) switch from song to song,
    artist to artist, album to album, etc., directly from the car stereo
    unit, and even see the name of the currently playing song, on the car
    stereo's display.

    I avoid these like the plague, for several reasons:

    - They are TOO SLOW.

    - Whenever you turn off the power to the car, this causes the car stereo
    to 'forget' where it was when it last searched the iPod, and so you have
    to start over from the beginning (i.e. the very start, or very end, of
    the long list of songs on the iPod). This is a problem - again, because
    searching is so damn slow.

    - It's not a digital connection between the iPod and the car stereo. I
    thought it was, but it's not.

    The only thing I use - I have an Alpine head unit - is a simple cable
    that connects the iPod's headphone output into the car stereo's aux
    input. All searching, switching of songs, and controlling of any kind is
    still done *on the iPod*. Sure, you have to look at the iPod to control
    it, but I'm used to that. And at least it's fast.

    And I'm not getting rid of this, until they come up with one of two

    - A car stereo with a hard drive built in. This would be something I
    could dump all the iPod's contents to. Therefore I could, after I've
    done that, leave the iPod at home, as all of the songs will have been
    copied to the car stereo's hard drive.

    - Or, failing that, a car stereo that can have an iPod *docked directly
    into it*. For example, you press a button and the faceplate on the car
    stereo folds back - you put the iPod into a slot - then close it up
    again. Thus the iPod becomes part of the car stereo itself.

    Surely these would not be as slow as the fancy control systems I just
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Sep 13, 2005
  4. henree64

    henree64 Guest

    Thanks guys for your advice. I will probably just get an in dash unit
    with a 1/8 mini plug.
    henree64, Sep 13, 2005
  5. henree64

    Barbarossa Guest

    "Seems? I know not seems!"
    I don¹t know what you have tried but the Clarion VRX-755VD
    works instantly, whit a very light touch.
    No, the iPod starts just where you left off, just as if you
    simply paused.
    It could be, if you have a badly designed user interface. With
    the Clarion, the interface looks very much like the iPod itself.
    Which brand of connection are you speaking about? The Clarion
    (and others) use an actual iPod docking connector.
    Well, that's certainly not digital, and you would have to
    mount or hold the iPod somewhere if you wished to use it, and
    then you would need some way of keeping the iPod charged. The
    Clarion VRX-755VD avoids all those problems.
    No faster than the Clarion's touch screen.
    OTOH, I've seen entire Mac Minis installed into cars along
    with mounted 7" touch screens. How much are you willing to invest?
    That would be nice, but the single-cable Clarion already does
    that, with the iPod hidden away in a bin, or drawer, or glove
    compartment. Worked like a charm on my 6,200 mile trip.
    Barbarossa, Sep 13, 2005
  6. henree64

    Barbarossa Guest

    Well, that¹s one way to go. Good luck in finding one of the
    perhaps TWO decks in existence that have a front mounted

    Of course, you¹ll still have to buy some sort of
    holder/charger for the iPod itself, so that's extra.
    Barbarossa, Sep 13, 2005
  7. No, the iPod starts just where you left off, just as if you
    simply paused.[/QUOTE]

    Maybe the currently playing song does, but if you do another search, it
    doesn't start off from where you are - it goes all the way back to the
    Interface? The only interface these things have is what's on the car
    Which does not pump out the audio digitally. It's no more digital than
    using the headphone jack.
    I put the iPod inside a cupholder. I can get at it just fine..
    I take it out of the car and charge it in my house (when it needs it).
    Not a big deal, really.
    I checked Clarion's website. I don't have that kind of cash. $1600?
    Don't I wish...
    I don't exactly have money to burn here.
    Do you work for Clarion or something?

    Besides, my car stereo is an Alpine. I've got to go with what fits it.
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Sep 13, 2005
  8. Any Alpine deck has the AI-Net connector, and you can get an adaptor
    that will connect it to the iPod's headphone jack.
    Any cupholder will hold the iPod, and it already *comes* with a charger.
    There's no ironclad rule that says you have to charge it in the car...

    But then again, this wouldn't fill Clarion's coffers, would it?
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Sep 13, 2005
  9. Addendum: I should have checked more. I had no idea how elaborate this
    Clarion thing was. It does look like it has a nice interface (I
    apologize for my snappy tone earlier) but as I said, this is way out of
    my price range for the moment.

    But thanks for the heads-up.

    I still should ask, though: Is there any reason why this thing should be
    any faster than what I used to have (the Alpine KCA-420i)? You're still
    dealing with an extra interface box in between the head unit and the
    iPod. By definition, that's going to introduce some slowdown....
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Sep 13, 2005

  10. I have a Dension IceLink PLus in my 2004 Honda Accord. Very keen, works
    great. My only complaint: it does not display the track/album name on
    the LCD screen in audio mode.

    Very nice unit, bought at Best Buy, and installed that weekend.

    Scott Ellsworth, Sep 13, 2005
  11. Huh - my Dension does not do this, as long as I leave the iPod plugged
    in to the adapter. When I get back in, I start up again with song 45,
    or whatever.

    Scott Ellsworth, Sep 13, 2005
  12. henree64

    Barbarossa Guest

    You're referring to:

    As to price, as I said, NOBODY should pay retail. This deck
    can be found at several places for less than $800 - not cheap,
    but this is an actual DVD player with a screen. There are others
    for less of course, much less.

    If you are more interested in playing your own CD-Rs, I think
    the Double-DIN Pioneers are worth looking into, but they won't
    fit into most American cars.


    The big Pioneer FH-P4200MP retails for $420 but four places
    online have it available for $260 - $300. Now THAT'S a good deal
    for something of that quality, features, power.

    Note that Pioneer also has 1.5-DIN units for Ford and Chrysler.
    The Clarion connects directly with a single cable - no box. I
    did not find any slowdown or delay in its use with my iPod.
    Barbarossa, Sep 13, 2005
  13. I don't need a DVD player...just something that controls the iPod *and
    is not slow as molasses*.
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Sep 13, 2005
  14. What about when you do a search?

    At any rate, I was referring to the Alpine (KCA-420i).

    As for the Dension: It isn't compatible with my car stereo. I tried it
    once, and it didn't work. (I was using a Kenwood stereo at the time, and
    it was incompatible. I doubt it'd work with Alpine either....)
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Sep 13, 2005
  15. henree64

    Barbarossa Guest

    If you mean something like the:

    Alpine Ai-Net Auxiliary Input Converter



    it's still another $20 - $25, and you still need a
    minijack-to-RCA connector, and a charger. Believe me, one can't
    always be assured of being able to recharge at one's convenience.
    Barbarossa, Sep 13, 2005
  16. henree64

    Barbarossa Guest

    Keeper of the Purple Twilight:

    The Clarion cable cost half what the Alpine (or Pioneer)
    connector boxes do, keeps the iPod charged, and allows the iPod
    to be hidden.
    Barbarossa, Sep 13, 2005
  17. Addendum: I checked Dension's website. The iceLink won't work with my
    car AT ALL. I told it what kind of car I had, and it said "We do not
    have a unit that is compatible with your vehicle".

    I'm confused as to why they would say this, given that it's the *car
    stereo* that this iceLink would be connecting to, but's saving
    me from having to buy the thing, I suppose.
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Sep 13, 2005
  18. The Alpine controller (KCA-420i) only costs a hundred bucks.
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Sep 14, 2005
  19. henree64

    Barbarossa Guest

    Barbarossa, Sep 14, 2005
  20. You have a KCA-420i? With an Alpine head unit? How can you not notice
    how slow it is?
    Keeper of the Purple Twilight, Sep 14, 2005
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