Need advice on replacing a car stereo

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MacGeek7, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. MacGeek7 macrumors 6502a

    MacGeek7

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    #1
    I have a 2002 Chevy Cavalier that came with a CD player built-in but I'm tired of burning CDs all the time when I have a working iPod with my entire iTunes library and playlists on it. I've looked at car stereo units at Wal-Mart and the like for the DIY but none of those stereos are compatible.

    I was wondering if there's any way I can hook a direct line into my car without a new stereo or if there's a stereo that you would recommend.

    Thanks!
     
  2. KD7IWP macrumors 6502a

    KD7IWP

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Location:
    American living in Canada
    #2
    I bought a Pioneer DEH-p590Ib because it plays AAC files from iTunes (I have no MP3's.) It doesn't do protected AAC's though. Then I could put a few hundred iTunes songs on a disc. It also came with an adapter to plug in my iPod. However, I am very disappointed with its iPod controls. They are intuitive, but not thought out that well. (for example, turning the dial does not accelerate as you move down a list, like the scroll wheel on your iPod does. So it takes ages to scroll through a list. It also doesn't let you control the iPod with its own controls. So I usually pick a playlist on the iPod before plugging it in.) Overall I am happy with the stereo though since it looks nice and has a lot of features

    Also, I paid $140 on eBay for it.
     
  3. mahashel macrumors 6502

    mahashel

    Joined:
    May 5, 2005
    Location:
    "the lab"
    #3
    I have the existing sound system replaced in every car I buy.
    I spend quite a bit of time in my car (commuting), so I consider it a pretty good investment since I enjoy it on a daily basis.
    As for "not burning CD's anymore", I know where you're coming from. I've yet to encounter a deck that interfaces all that well with the iPod (for less than $600 anyway), so I still burn mp3 CDs.
    Perhaps not the solution you're looking for, but at 10 hours of music per disk, I can organize my library pretty well. I use CDRWs and recycle-burn about 5 disks a week, taking heavily-played music out of the car and replacing it with tracks I've not heard in a while. Most times, a whole catalog of even a prolific artist will fit on a single disk. (I'm using 192kbps mp3s)
    So to try and steer this trainwreck of a post back on-topic, I guess I'm curious if you'd consider giving up audio CDs in favor of data CDs rather than going down the "iPod car audio interface" road. My system isn't necessarily better, but it is another option. An option that has a ton of existing gear to choose from since most decks support mp3/wma/aac nowadays.
    Just my 2 cents. :)
     
  4. MacGeek7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacGeek7

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    #4
    Yeah, I tried burning MP3 CDs because that would be so much better than the 80 minute audio CDs I'm currently burning but my CD player can't play MP3 CDs...so the way I see it is if I'm gonna spend money on getting another stereo in my car then it might as well have iPod/Line-in capabilities
     
  5. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2001
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #5
    If you're looking for your head unit at Wal-Mart, you're probably cost-sensitive, and you're probably going to be disappointed at how not DIY-friendly this is going to be. You can't expect to just buy a stereo off the shelf and pop it in your dash. In general you'll need a wiring harness and a dash kit to adapt it to your car.

    A quick Google search for the 02 Cavalier in particular not only didn't turn up a DIY kit (though there's got to be one out there), but also suggested you'd need a mechanic's manual to tell you how to remove the dash to get at the head anyway.

    If you can come up with the money, you'll probably be much better off going to someplace that does installs like Circuit City or Best Buy, picking a stereo you like there, checking to make sure they can install it in your car and then paying them to do it. If you're really hard up for cash, you might try explaining and asking them if they can at least help hook you up with the right kit.

    If you let somebody else do the installation, make sure they understand you'll be wanting to plug the iPod into it. Some head units with an aux input have the jack on the end of a cable and intend it to be mounted on the dash somewhere. If you don't tell the installer you intend to use the jack, some of them might leave it tied up at the back of the unit or just lop it off completely.
     
  6. LumbermanSVO macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    #6
    Any reputable stereo shop should be able to help you out. If your current stereo has cd changer controlls then there may be an iPod/AUX input adapter available.

    If you buy a new stereo stick with the name brands and do NOT buy it at Wal-Mart. The major brand sell units with less features for nearly the same price, Wal-Mart also does not do installs. Any good local shop will warranty their own install and be much more willing to work with you if the equipment fails and you bought it from them.

    If you do the install your self DO NOT cut the factory harness, go buy a harness from your local shop, they are only $10-30. You will also need a dash kit and antenna adapter.

    I spent a few years installing at reputable shops, just like with your computer, you get what you pay for.
     
  7. MacGeek7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacGeek7

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    #7
    I've installed a Wal-Mart kit in a friend's Rav4 with relative ease and it has been working just fine so I was hoping there was a way to do that with my car...but it looks like I'll have to do some saving and make a trip to my local Best Buy...after I purchase the 2nd generation iPhone
     
  8. windowsblowsass macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2004
    Location:
    pa
    #8
    the cd plaers at wal-mart are fine their exactly the same as any other model of that cd layer sold elsewhere. their dash kits etc. are normally scosh pretty much the industry standard. id look up what it takes to remove and replace your stereo online, if its a difficult job id recommend having someone do it for you but if tis relatively simple do it yourself. also check crutchfield.com r sonicelectronix.com
     
  9. nickster9224 macrumors 6502a

    nickster9224

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    35 Miles From Chicago, Illinois
    #9
    Go on Crutchfield.com select your car year make model. all guided gives what will fit your car. then once you order you can print a full manual w/ pics. also i would go wit the alpine IDA-X001, best ipod integration hands down. My dad has it in his car, its great.
     
  10. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #10
    Or you could just get one of those FM frequency things for your 'Pod. I know the sound quality isn't that great, but if you're shopping for stereo components at Wal-Mart, I'm guessing your no audiophile.

    It's better than nothing, and it requires no installation time. Plus it's pretty cheap.
     
  11. MacGeek7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacGeek7

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    #11
    Yeah, I'm not an audiophile, at least not yet, but I want as little noise in the signal as possible, ie: the hiss from a cassette adapter and the static from an FM transmitter.
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #12
    Fair enough. I just wanted to make sure you had considered all your options...
     
  13. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2001
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #13
    Good. Don't aspire to becoming one. The joke is that an audiophile is somebody who listens to stereo equipment instead of listening to music. It's a huge "emperor's new clothes" culture that will suck away all your money on snake oil products that produce no detectable results. You'll snobbishly tell your friends (and yourself) that your ears are so super-duper sensitive as to detect audio impurities no mortal man possibly could so as to rationalize your insane expenditures, while your friends nod and smile in polite mock appreciation because they don't want to insult you by calling you a fool for paying a thousand bucks for a wire.

    That said, opting out of the FM transmitter is a fine choice. Depending on your region you may not even be able to find a frequency that's unused everywhere you drive, to say nothing of road trips. I am not a fan of them.
     

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