Car Stereo for "i" devices

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by edwardfoster, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. edwardfoster macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2011
    My existing car stereo is not designed to work with "i" devices directly.
    Tried FM transmitter , but I can only control the playback via the iphone itself and the quality isn't that good.

    some of the stereo on the market is titled to with "work with ipod"

    are they going to work with iphone as well?
    as some of my friends said it will only work with "ipod" devices
    when they plug in ipad or iphone , it won't work.
    is that true?:(
  2. weisjt macrumors 6502a


    Dec 8, 2010
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
    it depends on the brand and model, i had a nice alpine and it would work with the iphone but it would not charge it. i would go with alpine or sony they both work with iphones.atleast the ones i have seen
  3. QuarterSwede, Apr 10, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011

    QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Most these days will work fine with the iPhone. I have a 4 year old Pioneer that works beautifully with mine (it just required a charge converter from the 3G on as Apple dropped FW charging). They'll probably throw up a "This Accessory is not Supported" dialog box but you can just dismiss it.

    My biggest suggestion is to go somewhere where you can test one out and plug in your iPhone. Some throw a splash screen up on the iPod app and won't allow you to control it from the iPhone. The better ones allow control either from the headunit or the iPhone itself.

    Another thing to consider is how you're going to connect it. Dock cables provide power and the best quality sound but Bluetooth is better for convience and phone use.

    Look for a headunit that has a MOSFET amp if you don't want an external amp. They generally have ~50W output and will put out plenty of sound for most people. Alpine and Pioneer are my favorite.

    A great place to filter out what you want (think Newegg) is Crutchfield. They're so good I'd recommend you buy from them as they'll give you free wiring harnesses and directions (at least they did last time I bought from them). They also have great support.
  4. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    I've had this same problem for years - and the few that did work - were cumbersome and mediocre at best.

    The other problem I have - is I purchase *expensive stereo here* only to get boned when iPhone 5, 6 an on will not be compatible. I honestly don't feel like ripping out a stereo in only a couple years.

    I'm actually considering buying a cheap home dock - then chop the speakers off and route it to the input of my headunit. At least this way, 2 years from now when it's no longer compatible with whatever is out - I can toss it for another cheap home dock...

    FM modulators now days are HORRID, not sure if the FCC clamped down on these or something, but even in the late 90s early 2000s - they worked worth a damn, now - yuck.

    If you find something that works nicely - please do share, I'd rather NOT hack a solution if I could buy one that works...
  5. weisjt macrumors 6502a


    Dec 8, 2010
    Southern Pines, North Carolina
    oh yeah i also have plugged my iphone charger usb cable directly into my alpine cdplayer and it worked to you just have to control it through the phone not the cd player which i tend to like better.
  6. glen e, Apr 10, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011

    glen e macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    Ft Lauderdale
    If you have an "aux in" on the radio and smartphone with bluetooth, , get a "blackberry stereo gateway" off auto-mutes when a call comes in too, do a search here
  7. Shockwave78 macrumors 65816


    Jul 10, 2010
    I have the pioneer x910bt and it is great with my iPhone! The iPod function is wonderful, plays video off iPods, streams Netflix(little trick to get that to work though)

    The x920 is able to stream pandora but not with the upgrade to me, the x930 just came out but it does not look like much of an upgrade over the 920.

    You could probably find a x910 for around $300 probably, I paid about $800 a couple years ago
  8. pukrnukr macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2010
    Go to bestbuy and play with some stereos if you want but do not buy there. Buy from amazon or somewhere on the internet. I'd stick with pioneer or alpine as some previous people stated. I'd personally go with pioneer for about $200 online you can pick one up with built in bluetooth, usb port, and aux in (the same one at best buy was $450). This way you can plug in the phone with the dock connector and it will charge and you can control the ipod through the ipod or stereo. You can change this preference through the press of one button. If you want to use pandora, lastfm, iheartradio, then select control via ipod/iphone and they will play through the dock connector with out messing with anything controlling it through the iphone.
    I said go with a stereo with built in bluetooth because no car stereo can play phone calls through the dock connector because of apples api's. I know this as I searched for a month before I hooked up my stereo and my buddy's last week. The ringtone will play through the dock but once you answer voice won't. Then all you have to do is turn your bluetooth on (easy if you have sbsettings) and phone calls will automatically route through bluetooth and the music will pause automatically when you have a call incoming, outgoing, and even go quiet for a second to hear your sms tone. Pioneer units that have bluetooth built in, will have a mic built in too so you can position that anywhere and you could leave phone in your cupholder.
    Once you sync you phone through bluetooth the first time, the phone and stereo will remember each other, so all you have to do is turn on bluetooth and not worry about selecting a device each time. When you have an incoming call you can use the stereo to answer or pick up the phone and one screen theres a button that says phone, click on it if you don't want everyone in the car to hear your conversation and you can just use the phone.
    As for the stereo hookup its the same as any other stereo if you have hooked one up before. If you haven't its not hard. Set aside a few hours on a nice day and save yourself the $100+ install fee everywhere else will charge you and just search the internet for the an install guide.

    **Anywhere I stated ipod I also meant iphone. Hope this helps.
  9. pukrnukr macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2010
    To add to the above... some people will say use the bluetooth for stereo too but then you can't charge and the sound quality is definitely not as good as through the dock connector. And definitely buy with bluetooth built in because a bluetooth adapter down the road will run you about $100 instead of an extra $25 built in. Some pioneers have the usb port in the back some in the front, get what you want. Some people like the how easy it is to plug in from the front thats the route my friend went but I got one with it in the back and have the wire run through my glovebox so I can hide it when not in use. And if the iphone 5 comes out with phone control through the dock connector most pioneer stereo's with usb can have firmware updates with a usb stick so it shouldn't be outdated right away. Most pioneers will let you even search your phone book, favorites, and all the call controls right from the unit if thats what you want or you can just use the phone. It will work either way so as your getting used to is you don't have to keep changing the settings.
  10. redhead42 macrumors newbie


    Mar 13, 2011
    I'd check out Crutchfield. I ordered a stereo from them last year and my husband and I installed it ourselves. Crutchfield's website can help you sort through stereos based on what will fit in your vehicle. They send instructions on removing the old stereo and installing the new one, plus wiring harnesses and faceplates as needed. They also have wonderful phone support, both for questions before buying and for help with installation.

    Specifically, I got a Kenwood KDC-BT645U (may be updated to 648U). It works with my ipod 2g and iphone 4 and old blackberry, and my husband's droid x. It's only advertised for ipods, but the iphone works fine.

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