Car Audio Junkies, Get In Here


El Jefe

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I'm looking to buy a new stereo for my car, and I'm trying to decide what features I want, and the most important of those is pandora compatibility.
It appears as if stereos come have different combinations of the following inputs:
cd
usb
sd
aux
bluetooth

cd isn't necessary really at all
sd would be nice, but not really necessary either
usb... would the pandora be able to interface with a car stereo via usb? I understand, this is mainly for iPod input...
aux, probably want this as a fale-safe backup
bluetooth, I believe this feature is mainly for hands-free calling, but if bluetooth music streaming is possible from the pandora, that would probably be my method of choice

I'm mainly wondering about the usb and bluetooth.
anyone wanna drop some knowledge?
I'm kind of a noob at a/v stuff
 

greendots

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Aux is the simplest and cheapest option. Its the best imo.

USB would be if pandora could be read as a mass storage device (I am not sure it can yet.) Then you could use your radio to control song selection and it could display song data depending on the stereo.

I don't know much about bluetooth interacting with stereos. Just remember the extra battery consumption.
 

Game_over

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greendots said:
Aux is the simplest and cheapest option. Its the best imo.

USB would be if pandora could be read as a mass storage device (I am not sure it can yet.) Then you could use your radio to control song selection and it could display song data depending on the stereo.

I don't know much about bluetooth interacting with stereos. Just remember the extra battery consumption.

Pandora's USB mini B port allows it to be read as a mass storage device. so that would work.
 
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gruso

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AV is the most solid option. It will just work, and will offer the best sound quality. The most common kind is the 3.5mm jack at the front, good for quick connection from the Pandora's headphone socket, but adds clutter to the dash area. Some also have dual RCA inputs at the rear. Better sound quality, and out of sight. But you do need to commit a Pandora AV cable to the depths of your dash. (That's what I'm doing).

If you're looking at Bluetooth, make sure it has A2DP support. I'd like to go down this path, but I don't want to upgrade my stereo yet. Word is it has lower audio quality than a wired connection, but that's probably not a big issue in a car. The only other hesitation I have with BT that it's another thing that can go wrong. The last place I need nerdrage is on the highway.

USB is an interesting one. Obviously stereos with USB are set up to read external storage, but will they read Pandora's SD cards I wonder? Maybe, but I wouldn't throw down any cash before finding out.

A stereo with built in SD reader sounds ok. It doesn't give you Pandora integration, but it does mean you can whip out whatever you're listening to and put it in the Pandora when you leave the car. You need never stop listening to your Catherine Cookson audio books.

FM transmitters: Don't bother. That's all.
 

MonkeyChops

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I'm having trouble fnding a link (using my phone) for it but I'm 99.999% sure the pandora will be detectable as a mass storage device. As for bt. I'm sure it would depend on how the sterio communicated with the pandora, but if it simply paired with the pandora as bt headphones, there should be no problem.

*edit: opps, too slow. damn fat thumbs and tiny keyboard.
 
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WhiteBat

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It's also possible via wifi, but i dont know of any wifi headunits. Also can bt transfer music losslessly? I don't think it has enough bandwidth/whatever. As for mp3 etc. yes i think that will work.
 

tsh

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My stereo has usb to access mass storage, and almost non-existant library management. It's clearly designed to work with a library of maybe 10 albums, not 15Gb of music. It's also very slow to index and page through the whole disk. No playlist/genre/bookmark function, no ability to play podcasts or manage audiobooks. True it's a bit old, but be careful if you go this route.

Built in BT/handsfree is really good - mine doesn't allow more than 4 preset numbers, and can't cope with the idea that more than one registered phone might be in the car in an intelligent way, but that isn't a problem. BT-audio sometimes struggles because it gets presented to the head unit as if it was an old cd jukebox. again, download the manual beore you buy.
 

GizmoTheGreen

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i'd say the best bet is a dedicated aux in for the pandora, but you'd need an extra AV cable (besides the one for yout tv set).

if you can live with a little less audio quality, go with AD2P bluetooth.
 

MrPoletski

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I bet you could easily fix that.

Have a little app present two mp3's to the stereo on it's mass storage interface. Then run a little app so that when song A is playing, song B gets replaced by another song. Maybe random, maybe playlist, whatever. Set the car stereo to just repeat all.

you might want to do it with more than 2 songs though, for the buffer (otherwise skipping forwards lots might bork it).

But even better than all of this would be a way to intercept the play control signals on the car stereo and run a little car-controls controlled jukebox applet on pandora.
 
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WhiteBat

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you know it would be easier to just bypass the headunit altogether and send music straight to the amp.
There are wifi and bt amp receivers as well as usb, rca, 3.5mm minijack etc. and maybe you can just put a navigation unit in place of the head unit?
just a thought
 

Pleng

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GizmoTheGreen said:
i'd say the best bet is a dedicated aux in for the pandora, but you'd need an extra AV cable (besides the one for yout tv set).

Or you could use a 3.5mm - Dual Phono Y cable and run it from the Panda's headphone output. Sure, it's still another cable - but it's gonna be cheaper than a dedicated Pandora AV cable.
 
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kloplop321

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the USB on your car stereo wants to look for media on a flash drive, so the pandora through the OTG port should act like one, but you might have to do some config on that. Honestly I would go through the Audio cord and let the Pandora handle the processing if you even want to have it on, otherwise you can use the SD card directly.
 

beanoman

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Unless something prevents this, having a cradle for the Pandora on the dash and a connection from the Pandora headphone jack to an aux input is the best solution. Not to mention a USB GPS stick and map software. Any solution that makes the actual car stereo handle song indexing, selection, playback etc seems dumb if you have the Pandora sitting there. As far as bluetooth, you're sitting in a car, and a cheap cable sounds better anyways.
 

gruso

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beanoman said:
Unless something prevents this, having a cradle for the Pandora on the dash and a connection from the Pandora headphone jack to an aux input is the best solution. Not to mention a USB GPS stick and map software. Any solution that makes the actual car stereo handle song indexing, selection, playback etc seems dumb if you have the Pandora sitting there. As far as bluetooth, you're sitting in a car, and a cheap cable sounds better anyways.
Nothing preventing it. :) I'm working on this very thing. I have to make the cradle myself, so that aspect of it is going to be a bit crap. I'm aiming to set it up so that you can just slot the Pandora in when you get in the car, like you would with a bought one.

The cradle will provide 5V power (from a cig lighter USB adaptor) and will feed audio from the Pandora's Ext port into an FM modulator, which feeds the audio in via the antenna socket. (It's an old car and an old stereo, not worth upgrading). Audio will be marginally less quality than a direct AV connection, but better than any wireless option I think. All cabling will be totally concealed.

I've got a bluetooth GPS unit ready to go too. Hopefully Navit will run straight from the Angstrom repository.

I'm a little concerned about how clean/stable the power supply from the USB adaptor is going to be. I can use the mini USB or the regular DC port. I'll have to seek MWeston's advice here.
 
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Polossatik

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Gruso said:
I'm a little concerned about how clean/stable the power supply from the USB adaptor is going to be. I can use the mini USB or the regular DC port. I'll have to seek MWeston's advice here.

If you're concerned about that use a 7805 stabalisor to make your own PS.
Dead solid stuff. and cheap.
 
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GizmoTheGreen

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with the 7805 anything from 9v to 16v should work as input voltage, given you cool it with a heatsink.
so you could make a small pocket charger if you really want xD

2-3 9v batteries in parallel ^^

or use the cigg 12v plug in your car!
 

pelrun

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Car USB adaptors are far superior to the 7805 solution, as they're pretty much all switchmode devices (use less power, and get less hot). Additionally, designing a car power supply is trickier than you expect, because the '12v' supply is quite noisy - *especially* during ignition. Therefore proper smoothing is an important consideration.

I tend to have my usb adaptor unplugged when I turn on the ignition, just to make sure - although I've forgotten occasionally with no ill effects.
 

gruso

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That's good to know. I bought a decent quality adaptor too, not a $3 ebay job as I've done in the past.

I'm using a socket extender with on/off switch, so I can dodge the whole ignition issue.

powerplug.jpg
 
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