By on January 2, 2016

Image courtesy of kenwood.eu

According to automotive experts, the in-dash CD player’s days may be numbered in new cars. Also, water is wet, and orange juice made from oranges.

The Telegraph reports that roughly one-third of new cars sold in the UK by the end of the decade will have a CD player, with many of those physical media players being optional extras.

About 3 out of 4 new cars come with some sort of USB connectivity as standard, according to the newspaper, which means there are many people who are opting for a USB connector AND CD player in their car today. Wait, why?

According to Bloomberg News, 24 percent of cars sold last year in the U.S. didn’t have a CD player and nearly 50 percent of new cars sold here in 2021 won’t have the option to spin its own discs.

Nearly a year ago, The Atlantic declared the CD was dead and that digital music sales isn’t much further behind. Considering that most people nowadays stream music, it’s hard to conceive why automakers will hold onto CD players for at least 5 more years — but I’m wrong a lot.

Would you want a CD player in your new car?

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179 Comments on “Report: By 2020, One-third of New Cars Will Have CD Players; Why?...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    The only thing I stream is pee and I have shelf loads of classical CDs most of which are unavailable from any digital service I’m aware of.

    Maybe my kind is legion!

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      You should rip those shelf loads of CDs to a microSD card smaller than your pinky nail and stick it in your phone. Then you’ll have all of them with you all of the time, including in your car, no CD player required.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        I should exercise more, too. And I don’t even need to buy a smartphone to do that.

        • 0 avatar
          DeeDub

          Point taken. But I find completing one-time tasks much more satisfying than daily ones.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I started doing the transfer/compaction thing and all my rock music is now digital but I’m not going to even attempt that with my classical collection.

            For one thing, it’s immensely satisfying to fiddle with and reminisce over this DG or that Philips box set, the old Amsterdam Concertgebouw performances I transferred from cassette, the various different performers of the same favorite works I hunted for..etc. I’m not going to reduce all that labor, memory and expense to a tiny USB drive shaped like a penguin.

      • 0 avatar
        palincss

        Right. And when you borrow an audiobook on CD from the library, you should spend an hour and a half ripping it onto a microSD card so that you can discover after a half hour of play that you absolutely can’t stand the narrator’s voice or the way he consistently mispronounces “Patuxent” as “Patunxet”?

    • 0 avatar
      strafer

      I have lots of old CDs too, but converted all of them to 320k MP3 files.
      Easily done even with the free MS Media center.
      And all of them fit in one 32 GB USB stick with plenty of space for more.

      • 0 avatar
        Drew8MR

        Sure it’s easy with that small of a collection, but try it when you have in the neighborhood of 30k lp’s,singles,cd’s and reel to reel tapes.

        • 0 avatar
          DeeDub

          So what you’re saying is that it’s easy for 99.999% of the population.

        • 0 avatar
          Waftable Torque

          You can always do what I did with my collection of classical music recordings on open reel tapes: throw them away. Every single one.

          I’m on month 2 of my free Apple Music trial, and I must admit that letting someone else file and rip the original recordings is better than doing it yourself.

          Even at 43 million songs, they don’t have most of my pre-existing HK-pop and J-pop songs for my esoteric tastes, so I doubt I’ll renew.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I’ve got some Akina Nakamori if you want it.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            That made me google Nakamori whom I’d never heard of. Watched a YouTube of “Shipwreck” and was astonished to hear a J-pop singer who didn’t sound like one of the Fruity Oaty Bar voices.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            @RideHeight: I wholeheartedly recommend this one:

            https://www.you tube.com/watch?v=rjyPwGYNK2w

          • 0 avatar
            Waftable Torque

            NoGoYo, my tastes are esoteric and eclectic, but mostly 80’s and 90’s J-pop. Le Couple/Emi Fujita, Oda Kazumasa, Kiroro, TRF, Globe, Yuma Nakamura, Yukie Nishimura, D&D, etc.

            They match my taste for English pop music, where the songs I like are the ones that never end up on anyone’s Greatest Hits compilation.

            I’ll look up Nakamori-san to see what she has to offer, thanks.

            BTW, the Japanese HMV site is where you want to go to sample all the J-pop albums, albeit in horrific sound quality. Akina’s new CD “Fixer” released 3 days ago is on there. This is my favorite album:

            http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/artist_Le-Couple-%E3%83%AB-%E3%82%AF%E3%83%97%E3%83%AB_000000000041458/item_Hide-And-Seek_203956

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Torque, try one of my favorite stations if you’re looking to stream the classics:

            http://tunein.com/radio/70s-90s-J-pop-Stream-s143618/

      • 0 avatar

        Being an audiophile and a computer network engineer, I’ve ripped my thousand or so CD’s to FLAC. FLAC is lossless and a faithful representation of the original content but requires a ton of storage space. MP3 is not lossless. Actually it’s imperfect in the extreme.

        MP3 is a compressed format. Compression means loss. The loss brings forward a lack of ambiance and a whole host of undesirable artifacts. The negatives include loss of deep bass, swirlies, phase shifts, loss of musical content during the encode and the addition of digital noise during decode… I could go on ad nauseam but I won’t. If you’re interested in how MP3s work and why they’re not an audiophiles friend there’s an excellent article here:

        https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr12/articles/lost-in-translation.htm

        Car audio improves exponentially every year or two. By 2020 I’d expect car audio to rival some of the high end home audio systems and a CD or will still be the audiophile preferred medium.

        I might suggest another reason for CDs in future cars. With everything connected to a main computer bus they might be the most reliable way for manufacturers to update firmware in any of the dozen or more computers connected to that bus.

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          I have only heard 2 or 3 factory car stereos that sounded better than a $99 bookshelf radio from Target. Most sound like canned ass. I suspect many luxury cars do have honest-to-goodness “premium” stereos, but what car the average person can afford is going to have an audio system so bad that you couldn’t tell the difference between FLAC and 128kbps MP3’s.

          From my experience in the world of middle-class car ownership, VW has great sounding factory systems which usually just need more power to make them shine. My 2011 Accord had some no-name speakers that sounded good enough to never need replacing (Kevlar cones even!) and that car ROCKED once I bypassed the factory amp with my own and put a real sub in the trunk.

          Unfortunately, the aftermarket is dying because finding a true double DIN factory radio that can easily be replaced with something better is nigh impossible. Speakers are easy, but when the radio is junk and can’t be updated, the battle is lost before it started.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Once when I was in the Navy we found a large lost food can and started to open it out of some morbid curiosity. I suspect it was once chicken, but canned ass was the most popular name for it. The sound wasn’t especially remarkable, just a little extra pop and a mild whoosh.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how fine of a system you have in a car, it is still in a car. Which is about the worst possible place to listen to music, from the high background noise levels to generally wretched speaker placement. In that environment, the difference in sound quality between a CD and decent bit-rate MP3 is minimal. I have fairly golden ears, and I can just barely tell the difference on a really good system in a really quiet car.

            But as to why a CD/DVD player in the car? Why not? They cost all of a couple bucks a player wholesale these days. Though admittedly I rarely use them in my cars anymore, as I ripped all 1500 of my CDs to mp3 ages ago, and generally just buy music in mp3 format anyway. But the CD player in the car is great for when I pick up a cheap used CD when out and about. Get to listen to it on the way home! Also was useful on my Euro Delivery trip last summer when BMW stuck the temp Euro NAV maps in the USB port, so I had to burn a bunch of music to DVD to have tunes. No streaming at US phone in Europe mobile data rates!

        • 0 avatar

          Man, I remember how grandfathers of modern CD and FLAC partisans complained about 44.1 s/s quality lacking compared to the vynil records that they replaced. Good times, good times.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            A friend of mine designed a killer phono preamp, the Arion which is getting rave reviews. I had the pleasure of hearing it on his system (which used Magnepans). It was stunning how good it sounded. Vocals were a revelation. When I think back on the best-sounding reproduced music I’ve heard, it is almost always from an LP, not a digital source.

        • 0 avatar

          Whiskey River is bang on. I’m a bit of an audio enthusiast myself. If I could afford them, I’d have Martin Logan loudspeakers and conrad-johnson electronics, but I can’t so I make do with big bang for the buck stuff.

          The B&W, B&O, and Meridian branded systems that I’ve heard in Jaguar Land Rover and Audi products are outstanding, with great resolution. I don’t think I’d be doing my readers justice if I only tested those systems with MP3s.

          All things being equal, I’d rate car audio sources by quality in the following descending order: Good FM > CDs > Satellite > MP3.

          Of course, all things being equal, crappy audio is better than no music at all. I can recall a $35 non-auto-reverse cassette deck in the glove box and cheap speakers on the back deck I put in our ’68 Valiant so we could have sounds on a trip to New York. Roll right through the night, indeed.

          • 0 avatar

            My first real car audio system was a Pioneer Supertuner III with a pair of Mindblower 6×9 speakers in the rear deck of a ’66 Falcon. After the installation the rear window started leaking when it rained and could not be stopped unless you turned off the stereo. It shook the back window that hard.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Denver

            Good FM > CDs

            This makes no sense since most FM stations are getting their music from CD’s – a reproduction can never be better than the original source material.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            Roll right through the night? Feats don’t fail me now… ;)

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Sad truth is the bulk of music I listen to is on MP3s. I think a lot of music is mastered to sound OK in MP3 form. I am a bit of an audiophile but I got out of it once my MP3 collection began to explode.

          My weakness is photography… I am a serial pixel peeper.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            When I got into photography I was obsessed with pixel peeping. I’ve since gotten over it and taken better pictures as a result. My new thing is available light only photography, no flash.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Denver

          In a noisy environment like an automobile and especially if you are more than 18 years old, you are never going to hear frequencies above 16kHz anyway, so an encoder that filters them out is not going to have any effect on your perception. The whole point of encoders is to apply them to actual music and make the compressed MUSIC be indistinguishable from the uncompressed to average listeners. There is no doubt that you can rig up some special effects that will reveal “flaws” in the encoders but normal music doesn’t contain these special effects. In any case, if you think you can hear compression artifacts at 128k, rip at 192 or 256 for use in your car.

          If you are going to throw your CD’s in the trash, make an archival copy using FLAC so you know that you are keeping 100% of what you bought but for use in a car MP3’s (even @ 128k) are more than good enough for most people. The CD format was determined at the dawn of the digital music age and are totally uncompressed which is a really stupid way of storing data. They are the digital equivalent of shipping inner tubes fully inflated.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            Exactly. Even in the high end cars you won’t hear the difference. Your home system, sure. That’s not the topic off debate though.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            My hearing dies at 15khz anyway. I tested it with my Sennheisers and a very expensive signal generator at a lab I once worked at. I hope I’m not missing a whole lot above that threshold.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            Back in 1980 when the CD standard was being developed by Philips and Sony, the computing power needed to do real-time decompression was way out of reach of any practical consumer device. So, yes, it’s “stupid”, but standards have a way of outliving the technological constraints present when they were defined and “perspective” that doesn’t take this into account is hindsight with one eye fully closed.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          whiskey river, you nailed it. Typical downloads sound poor to anybody with a critical ear. Actually, even a modestly critical ear. We had some people over for Christmas and for us who stayed up late I plugged in my phone to the home system. Listening to Pink Floyd from Spotify (even set to “extreme”) was not very enjoyable to say the least. I have not tried FLAC files yet because I don’t have the storage space. We’ve traded convenience for sound quality. My new car did not come with a CD player – I sure wish it did.

          WR- I had a Pioneer Supertuner II as my first real car head unit. When Nakamichi came out with car audio I bought a TD-700 and A/D/S speakers. While all this talk about a car being a rough place to reproduce quality music is true, the idea that you cant tell the difference is nonsense. As for not hearing the frequencies above 15Khz for us older-than-25 crowd is true, the rolloff is not a brickwall so it still makes a difference. That was part of the failure of early CDs. D/A converters were big bucks so a single multiplexed D/A converter was used for both channels. The early players used a brick wall filter to block out the junk harmonics generated by what turned out to be a too-low sampling rate. That brick wall filter most certainly affected the sound quality. Then came 4 times oversampling to push those junk harmonics well beyond to point of relevance. Score one for the sampling theorem. So yeah, good vinyl played on a top notch turntable ate those early CDs for lunch. Even today….

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            I found an interesting website for testing hearing. Can’t vouch for its accuracy, but it’s interesting to experiment with.

            So far, with my cheap Chinese headphones, I can hear 12k, but nothing above. I’ll try it with analog input in my car. If I can code the output into wma lossless (I have the codec), I’ll see what the car usb interface can do.

            http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2009/03/can-you-hear-this-hearing-test/

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Interesting quick test in my car equipped with Bose Acoustic Wave system. Aux input I could only hear 12kHz as the highest. With bluetooth, I could hear as high as 15kHz. The weird thing was that some sort of distortion was introduced at 14k and went away at 15kHz. At 18kHz I couldn’t hear the tone, but a lower frequency distortion similar to what I got at 14kHz was present.

        • 0 avatar
          andrewa

          As an audiophile and network engineer you will know that CD’s are compressed and full of losses and noise as well (just not quite as much as mp3’s though). My quad II with the American KT66’s still works well with my Electro Voice and Sledgehamer speakers though. I wonder when source FLAC recordings will be made available from the music producers?

        • 0 avatar
          jjklongisland

          I completely agree. I have tried ripping music to a host of different file types and non could equal the original CD in my truck. My F150 is fully dynamatted and has a decent setup using Helix speakers, Kenwood amp and deck, and JL sub. It is set up for a wide range of my music tastes. When streaming from my cellphone I hate the sound. Compressed files are slightly better but CD quality is the best. Long live the compact disc…

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Are using an analog input to your truck stereo? I haven’t yet heard a smartphone that has a decent D/A converter, but you can often get decent sound through bluetooth if the head unit is good.

        • 0 avatar
          wumpus

          Problems:

          MP3 artifacts depend on the compression. At sufficiently high quality level (really at levels only used because the player doesn’t support FLAC, i.e. around 300kb/s), serious musicians can’t hear the difference. In a car, forgettaboutit. Microcenter sells 128G USBsticks for $30. With FLAC compression thats something like 400 cds, so buy a player that plays FLAC from USB sticks already.

          Car audio has been pretty silly since day 1. Nowadays the whole thing is called “infotainment” and is market-segmented to sell cars (and inflate prices). Expect a big fight to replace the silly thing with an android GPS/Music/”infotainment” deal at market prices.

          The silliest thing is the idea that audio quality matters in a car. Maybe in a quiet Tesla, but the noise floor in a gas powered car is going to be worse than the audio noise produced by the “radio”.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Yeah, if you really care about audio quality in your car, you’re wearing headphones.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            “Car audio has been pretty silly since day 1.”

            Silly? since day 1? You sound like one o’ them whippersnappers that never drove cross country in a car with just an AM radio, and junk stations fading in and out, hour after hour. Them dad-gum miles get lonely! You must be thinkin’ of those short commutes from home to Starbucks to your cushy desk job designin’ gidgets, er, widgets. For those who run long hauls for bizniz or pleasure, you gotta have car audio, by cracky.

        • 0 avatar
          olivebranch2006

          Certified in Cisco flavors of Voice, Route/Switch, Wireless, and Data Center. Some HP, Meraki, Linux, Windows Server etc. What’s your poison?

          And I agree FLAC should totally be readable by cars. MP3 is not a viable CD replacement.

          • 0 avatar
            wumpus

            @Lorenzo: I had “GT audio” [car spec: hopefully meaning handling high temperatures without stretching tapes] tapes in the 1980s [presumably at not too much of a markup]. While I might not have driven any car that didn’t come with at least an AM radio, I don’t consider myself a whippersnapper. I’ve just laughed at what Detroit (and similar locations worldwide) have saddled cars with audio.

            I think there even once was a vinyl-playing car audio (early 1960s?) – sounds like scratch/jump heaven. Not that my first car cd didn’t jump when hitting the wrong pot hole.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          (Assume as not worth repeating arguments that ABX tests among audiophiles consistently leave them unable to tell raw source or lossless apart from any vaguely modern encoding of VR0 MP3 or 256k AAC. It’s not worth it.)

          Audiophiles are fools if they prefer CDs to solid-state storage, even if they insist on FLAC or WAV/AIFF; CDs store only about 700mb of data and are subject to vibration and damage.

          A cheap, universally available 32gb MicroSD or US drive has none of those issues, and holds about fifty times as much music, even uncompressed.

          (Likewise, modern cars use USB for map and firmware updates.

          Why would you want to use a spinny-disk rather than USB mass storage?)

          The only notional advantage I can think a CD has is “you can buy a disk at a truck stop”, but with the internet and mobile computers (“phones”), that’s not much of a bonus either.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Ripping CDs is easy enough, try vinyl records.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s not that hard if you have a good home audio setup. All you need is a common audio cable like we used back in the day to connect a portable CD or tape player to a stereo receiver. Stereo miniature headphone plug on one end and RCA plugs on the other end. Connect to tape out on the receiver and the microphone jack on a computer then use Pure Vinyl, Vinyl Studio or Audacity to do the capture.

        There’s several devices on the market to do this if you don’t own a nice home audio setup but I wouldn’t put any of my treasured vinyl on them.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          I started doing this with my Dads old vinyl. I use Vinyl Studio and it couldn’t be easier. The USB turntable came with Audacity, but it seemed overly complicated once I experienced Vinyl Studios free download.

          I put on an album (after I clean it), run the software, do things on my computer (desktop) and then clean it up, adjust the track breaks,etc. Time is as long as the album plus corrections, which takes 15 minutes maybe. I use AIFF, which seems to be OK in terms of format vs space consumption.

          I’m not an all out audiophile, but I know what I like to hear.

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          I know how to do it it’s just very time consuming. Still it’s more work than ripping CDs which is just a few clicks of the mouse and go.

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          Still it takes more time and some effort to edit. Just not as simple as ripping CDs

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Download digital versions.

        Seriously, vinyl is BS.

        (Do you have untouched vinyl and a brand new needle or a $3k laser player?

        No?

        Then don’t rip that noisy thing over a phone cable to your cheap MB sound chip.

        Just don’t. It won’t be good.

        You’re wasting your time and getting noisy low-grade output.

        The only exception, I suppose, is something so rare or unusual you cannot find it pre-digitized, ideally from a real master rather than someone else’s scratchy record.)

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          I’ve already done about a third of my vinyl and am mostly satisfied with the results. I’m not looking for sonic perfection, I just want to hear some of my old music now and then, without paying more money.

    • 0 avatar
      sylas

      I prefer memorizing the tracks off my Columbia House CD collection and playing them back on kazoo when I am driving. I find it much more mentally engaging than simple listening, and it certainly shows my mental, oral, and sexual superiority to common folk who listen to what they like in amazing clarity at their convenience. Hurrah for eccentric superiority! We are triarii!

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      The snobbishness of horrors of lossey compression is entertaining. Even in the quietest car, the road noise is going to overwhelm any loss (from a reasonably well done compression). Not to mention, you should be paying attention to the road and not focused on the minute details of the music. If that’s what you’re looking for, get off the road and into your living room.

      • 0 avatar
        blppt

        @brn—BRAVO. Was waiting for somebody to point that out.

        Granted, today’s car stereos and car interiors are better than they ever have been, but short of a Maybach or Rolls, I doubt anybody would be able to consistently tell the difference between a 192kb LAME-encoded mp3 and a FLAC rip while driving. Even WITH a non-brickwalled music source like a good classical CD.

        IIRC, years ago they did a test with a LAME encoded CBR 192kb mp3 and the original CD, and nobody they tested could consistently pick out the CD. This was also not done in a moving car.

        Sure, if you make/get a bunch of rips with a crappy encoder, or even a substandard decoder in the car, you might hear something while driving.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Correct, brn. 256kbps AAC or 320kbps MP3 is good enough for almost any music. There are a few bizarre exceptions which need more. In my collection, the only thing where I can tell the difference is harpsichord music. And I certainly can’t tell the difference in the car.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          I’ve always found harpsichord and piano to suffer the most from *any* recording/reproduction method.

          Obviously a harpsichord produces a giant needle basket of high frequencies that get lopped off but the piano suffers more, and even in mid and low ranges.

          I guess nothing conveys the subtle, stacked acoustic components of each of their strings in action like being in a good acoustic hall with them.

          • 0 avatar

            Conjecture: God is not playing harpsichord music from MP3s.

            I’d make a bet on that if it were allowed in Heaven. More conjecture leads me to believe that betting is not allowed there.

        • 0 avatar
          hybridkiller

          As a former career sound engineer with close to 3 decades working in pro audio, I consider myself to be a fairly discerning listener. What constitutes a “good” sound system can be highly subjective, but for me personally most so-called “high end” consumer home systems are overpriced, over-hyped, and rarely produce anything even approaching accurate response – my home system consists of a pair of flat response near-field studio monitors with a good sub.
          All that said, there may indeed be a few people in this world who can hear the difference between 320Kbps MP3 audio and 16 bit 44.1 KHz CD audio in a blind listening test, but I have yet to meet one of them.

          By contrast, 128Kbps MP3 is heinously unlistenable and thoroughly useless.
          Bit rate is everything.

          • 0 avatar
            andrewa

            You are right, if my 40MHZ Hewlett Packard oscilloscope cannot see the difference I’m sure human ears cannot :D

      • 0 avatar
        Waftable Torque

        I was looking through WhiskeyRiver’s link, and I’m going to use it in a research project I’ve been doing on the side about the anti-science delusions of golden-ear audiophiles.

        I have no doubt there’s a difference between lossy and lossless audio codecs; the real question is the bitrate where it becomes inaudible; not just to 99% of the population, but inaudible, period. That article is typical audiophile pseudoscience and doesn’t even address the question in its title.

        • 0 avatar
          hybridkiller

          “I was looking through WhiskeyRiver’s link, and I’m going to use it in a research project I’ve been doing on the side about the anti-science delusions of golden-ear audiophiles.”

          Yeah, that article – despite being factually accurate – is a joke. All of the “hard data” is comparing CD audio to 128Kbps – obviously at that low (crap) bit rate there’s going to be a huge difference.

          • 0 avatar
            Lack Thereof

            Amen to everyone talking about bitrate here. I don’t know why anyone even bothers studying 128kbps MP3, it’s ancient and obviously garbage. Storage space is cheap now, there’s no need to restrict ourselves to that horrible bitrate.

            If you claim to hear the difference between a 320kbps MP3 and a CD, I’ll be impressed.

            If you claim to be able to hear that difference over 70db of freeway-cruising cabin noise, I’ll just flat out call you a liar.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            It is not just bit rate. The compression kills the dynamics of the music, period. Ever wonder why satellite radio sounds kind of flat? The signal is compressed to death. Is it less noticeable in a automobile environment? Yes it is. Can I tell the difference in a car environment? Absolutely. While it is laudable what a good .mp3 can do considering what that poor signal has been put through, the sonic deficiencies are plain to hear – no golden ear required. Just as the driving experience of a BMW differs from a Corolla.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            ” The compression kills the dynamics of the music, period”

            If you’re losing dynamic range, you’re doing “compression” wrong.

            256K AAC or 320K mp3 (or VR0) will NOT lose any dynamic range.

            Satellite radio is equivalent to web streaming, and the problem is exactly bit rate.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Is satellite radio even 128 kbps? It sometimes sounds like it might be 96 kbps.

            Either way, it’s unlistenable as anything more than very quiet background music. And I’m not that picky. 192 kbps MP3 encoded with LAME is perfectly acceptable to me.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        It has nothing to do with snobbishness. What audiophiles understand is that when you remove the crap between you and the music, the emotional impact goes up dramatically. Yes, some people are incredibly picayune and focus too much on the details. Recently I was listening to the remastered White Album fed from a lossless rip played through the Focals in my Tacoma, Lennon ripped my heart out while singing “Julia”. That makes it all worth it, in my book.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          Bunkie: “What audiophiles understand is that when you remove the crap between you and the music, the emotional impact goes up dramatically.”

          When I was younger, I spent a lot of time caring about the quality of my music. I did and still do believe that the lack of sound is as important as the sound itself. However, your statement above is why I refused to call myself an audiophile. A friend of mine summed it up best “just because there isn’t a difference, doesn’t mean you can’t hear one”. Far too many audiophiles fall into that category.

          Keep in mind that I never said there wasn’t a difference. I said that when you’re going down the road (and paying attention to the road), you won’t be able to tell the difference between a well executed compressed file and an uncompressed file. I would even argue that a well executed 128Kbps (some are poorly executed) file is good enough for most. In my own testing with headphones, it became just about impossible to accurately (objectively) tell the difference at around 200Kbps (quality variable bit-rate, which can peak at about 320Kbps). Again, using headphones, not driving a car.

          Someone here mentioned satellite radio and I completely agree there. The quality is disappointingly poor.

        • 0 avatar
          hybridkiller

          “It is not just bit rate. The compression kills the dynamics of the music, period.”

          You’re confusing data compression with dynamic range compression of the audio itself – not at all the same thing. High-quality MP3 is truncating bits at the bottom end of the dynamic range where you will never hear it in the vast majority of recorded music – especially pop, rock, and pretty much anything involving amplified instruments (which is what most people are listening to most of the time).

          You’re kidding yourself if you really believe that you can easily (if at all) distinguish 320Kbps MP3 from CD in a blind test, but since this is the internet where anyone can claim anything then I guess we’ll never know…

          If you want to get really nit-picky, 16 bit 44.1 KHz CD audio isn’t all that great to begin with, particularly with regard to high frequency acuity (24 bit 96 KHz has been the bare minimum standard for studio tracking and mastering for a long time now). But again, it’s more than adequate for 90% of recorded music that people are actually listening to.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Well, I can tell the difference and so did everybody in the room when I did a back to back test two days ago. I don’t deny that with most factory car stereos it is not a big deal but in the home it sure is. And I agree that CDs are not all that great but the market did not support the much better CD formats that died. Which tells me the average CD was fine for the average listener. MP3 snip out portions of the music that are allegedly of no significance but apparently there is significance to those who care to listen. If somebody could not tell the difference between a 320 bitrate download (which is what I have with spotify) and a CD on a halfway decent stereo they are tone deaf.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            golden2husky, now you’re bringing tone into it? Are you of the belief that mp3 encoding changes the tone?

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            If “everyone can tell the difference”, husky, it’s because your samples are at different loundesses or from different sources, or your compression is *very badly* set up.

            Because there are dozens – hundreds? – of dedicated audiophile blind tests out there that – with identical loudness and the same sources, using modern encoders at modern high bitrates – leave *nobody* able to do better than guesswork.

            If everyone in the room can tell, your test is broken, is the only thing I can assume.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I had at one point a collection of close to a thousand classical CDs.

      Then I ripped them to Apple Lossless (lossless AAC) and set up an elaborate tagging system to capture all the information you’d find in the liner notes.

      Then I converted the Apple Lossless files to 256kbps AAC for use in phones, thumb drives, etc.

      Then I stupidly lugged the CDs with me through four moves, reluctant to do the right thing.

      Then I finally got rid of the CDs. I own about 10 CDs now, mostly because I haven’t gotten around to ripping and converting them yet.

      I can’t imagine why I’d want a CD player in my car. All I need is a line-level input. All three of my cars have CD players in them, and I’ve never put a CD in any of them. (The 1995 Acura has a cassette player as well, for special bonus obsolescence.).

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I will join your legion… the Legion of Perkins.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    I use ’em.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Wait, why?”

    The elderly.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Damn skippy. The time and energy once spent on chasing music at a connoisseur level and with staying current on related tech is now spent waiting on the doctor to finally freakin’ show up (though YOU always get there 20 minutes early for the appt).

  • avatar
    rdclark

    I don’t stream content in the cars — no smart phone, no data plan — but still don’t use CDs any more. My CDs are all ripped to my computer, and filling 16GB thumb drives with music is trivially easy and cheap.

    I consider multiple USB ports and a usable playback interface to be essential features in a new car. The CD slot in my Subaru is used as a place to hang a mount for my iPad Mini.

  • avatar

    Yes. So I can play the cd’s I recorded on my dedicated cd recorder (no PC). That feels more real. I wonder if I belong to a dying breed. Just bought myself a phone preamp so I can enjoy playing records also.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Adding a CD player costs an automaker next to nothing. Some people want them, while providing one does not detract from the ownership experience from those who won’t use them, so why not?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      They take up space behind the instrument panel, but yeah, I forget that mine is there. I’d gladly trade it for more passenger USB ports or, even better, HDMI input so I could beam my phone screen onto the vehicles panel.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “I’d gladly trade it for more passenger USB ports or, even better, HDMI input so I could beam my phone screen onto the vehicles panel.”

        Wow… just wow.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        mcs: check out NAVTOOL. They have add on equipment to mirror your phone onto your car’s display. Mind you it is a mirror image -any adjustments require you to use your phone, but anything you see on your phone is on your car’s display. That means waze, google maps, TV, you name it!

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Thanks! I’ll definitely check it out.

          Edit: they don’t have it for the newer versions of my car. I’ve been tempted to add a screen to the lower part of the console. Drive it with an old cell phone mounted to the back with my current phones hot spot as the data connection.

    • 0 avatar
      Audiofyl

      Adding a sensor to automatically turn on lights by dark/dusk and one to automatically turn bright lights off when oncoming lights are sensed is even less trivial of an expense however it seems the majority of vehicles on the road today have neither.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    I think it was ten years that ago I had a 20GB Phatnoise in my A4 rather than a 6 CD changer. Today in my Golf I use my phone and a bluetooth connection to stream music to the car along with navigation. I think my Golf has a CD player in the glove box along with SD card slots should the need ever arise.

  • avatar
    strafer

    How about no stereo in the base model?
    Probably not possible today, but I prefer to add my own head unit/speakers.

    • 0 avatar
      Drew8MR

      And I’d just prefer no stereo at all, but radio delete is a frustratingly rare option.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        I’m with you guys but it seems everyone EVERYONE is moving away from DIN… I’m not sure of the motivation?

        What’s in it for the car companies to lock out the aftermarket?

        I drive a car with a factory GPS. A $99 smartphone is better than the $750 that it costs to upgrade the factory GPS to last years maps…. I guess someone has to get paid at Mercedes.

        The only cars that use DIN are the China India no star NCAP rejects.

        I do like how in some places the very cheap Nissan Versas and the like have cheap paper cones and are prewired for audio and the dealer drops in the cheapest brand name deck they can find. Hey, its consumer choice.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          My FR-S has a double DIN radio. For a factory unit in a $25k car, it actually sounds pretty decent when the TRD exhaust isn’t droning and the road noise isn’t penetrating the cabin. If I decide to keep the car long term, I’ll probably put a Car Play unit in it, though, for the navigation.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Integration.

          “Just put in a DIN hole and some speaker wires” means it’s a PITA to integrate stereo control to the system.

          99% of customers, as far as I can tell, never want to have to replace their head unit at all, ever, period.

          (Having done so on many cars, I’m perfectly happy to never touch the integrated system in my Volvo, for instance.)

          The aftermarket for audio simply isn’t relevant to most consumers.

          (I do think that the best upgrade for most cars that aren’t Super Luxo Good Stereo PreUpgraded is to just pull the factory speakers and put in real ones.

          The amp and DAC in the head unit is almost certainly perfectly good, unless you need more power to rattle the windows.

          And that market tends to value volume more than audio fidelity.)

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      GM at least uses the stereo for the legally-required door & seatbelt warning chimes, so it cannot be deleted. I’m sure other manufacturers do as well.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I’d consider it a bonus if a stereo upgrade could get rid of those annoying chimes. I had to cut the sound device out of the instrument panel circuit board to kill that nuisance on my Mazda.

    • 0 avatar

      Given that all cars are required to come with backup cameras by 2018, I’d say that the aftermarket stereo is basically dead. That space is going to be taken up with a monitor and any audio functions will be integrated and nonstandard.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I for one certainly use it. I occasionally buy albums, burn them on my computer and keep the physical disk to use in the car. Cost is the same to buy album vs digital.

    Also I listen to books on CD during road trips. I get them from the public library which has a selection in the tens of thousands.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Actually, many times it’s cheaper to buy the physical disk. The funniest thing is Amazon will give you the mp3 instantly with the CD purchase. I have a pile of unopened CDs.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I ripped all my CDs a couple years ago and sold them all. But I still buy digital music. Just don’t understand why I would want a streaming service. I listen to literally ONE radio station on XM, which is easier than worrying about data overages from constant streaming.

    How long before we are all totally dependent on the cloud and streaming, and easy pickings for our secret overlords to just flip the switch and return us to the dark ages..

  • avatar
    Fred

    I stream and play mp3s from my phone. Still I like my CDs, when I get an urge to hear an album, it’s easier to grab the CD then to fumble around trying to find the album on my phone.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Mostly Toyota and Lexus. They were the last to make CD players standard and Lexus was the very last place you could get a cassette player on 4 wheels.

  • avatar
    sproc

    There’s another use for it that hasn’t been mentioned: The best smartphone holding bracket I’ve ever owned mounts very securely in a CD slot without damaging the player. I love it, and it travels everywhere with me. Much, much better than any suction or adhesive mount I’ve ever tried.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I had my car for about 5 months before I even realized it had a CD player hidden away in the glove box, which kind of shows how much I use CDs.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Some people care about sound quality, but most have no idea what they’re missing.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Some people care about sound quality”

      They’ll grow out of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      There are enough issues with recording and playback without making it worse with lossy compression.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Point one: most popular music today is so badly recorded that kids wouldn’t and couldn’t tell the difference between a CD track or a download of it anyway. It’s funny that the ambient and lounge artists I listen to are so much more OCD about the production quality of their music that will only be heard by thousands, than these top 40 folks who will be heard by tens of millions.

      Point two: it’s already been proven that a large part of our population can’t tell the difference between CD and 320k MP3. (and let’s not go into equipment discussion, lest I talk about the many headphones I have owned over the years) I know my 44 year old ears can’t. My only gripe with MP3s is not that they aren’t lossless but that they aren’t gapless. Pink Floyd (or many classical works for that matter) from my ipod is less enjoyable when there’s that fraction of a second of silence between songs when it was originally conceived to be a flawless transition.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Rip to AAC. Gapless playback is no problem. I had to solve this before I could move away from CD.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        If the gap between Pink Floyd songs is what bothers you most on mp3’s, well that speaks volumes regarding Point two. Pink Floyd was very fussy about studio recording quality. Some of their albums were produced by Alan Parsons – another sound quality fanatic and it shows in the recordings. Something that is critically missing in most of today’s music. So, point one is correct.

      • 0 avatar
        jdowmiller

        This. I cant stand gaps where there shouldn’t be.
        My ’07 Volvo has a six-disc and an AUX. I use the six-disc almost exclusively. The sound quality through the AUX is atrocious. Also, it’s fun and nostalgic to pick out six CDs from my collection and go load them. Man, if I had a changer – IN THE DASH, no less?? – back in high school I wouldve been ecstatic.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        The top 40 people are OCD about production.

        But not production for audiophile quality – production for “gets played on the radio”, which means “sounds louder”, which means dynamic compression.

        It’s a deliberate choice by the studios and producers (even if some of them would rather not have to play the Loudness War game, they’re forced to).

        As golden says, they’re not doing prog-rock; but the problem isn’t laziness or ignorance, it’s a deliberate choice to drive sales based on perceived quality: “louder is better” at a glance, like “brighter is better” in the TV showroom, which is why all the sets are in “showroom mode” running at far higher brightness and saturation than they do in your living room.

  • avatar
    kmoney

    Personally I would want one. The problem with the AUX inputs, at least in higher-end cars, is that the audio system is usually good enough that you can actually hear how much quality is lost in MP3 conversion.

    We have an LX 570 with the ML reference and you basically need to play real CDs or burn CDs from lossless flac files unless you want the audio to sound like mud. The USB aux-in doesn’t support flac (for obvious reasons), so if you want to go CD-less you’re essentially limited to ripping to MP3 and putting on a USB, or using the analogue aux in, which also isn’t very good no matter what you’re putting into it.

    I’ve no experience with other systems, but I’ve never heard or seen one that supports flac, Apple lossless, or even .wav. Even those that support the ‘digital’ ipod out are probably still using the Ipod’s DAC and taking the processed signal and not the raw signal out (I don’t know of any car company that actually pays Apple’s licensing fee for digital-out).

    It’s a niggling point, but if you’re going to pay up for the sound system in the car, then why just feed it crap signals and not enjoy it?

    • 0 avatar
      Drew8MR

      As someone with a stereo that cost more than all the cars in my household combined, I’m going to go ahead and say VO/320 is more than adequate in the horrifically awful listening environment of an automobile. You will never overcome the limitations of 12v DC,design size limits for electronics, inadequate speaker size and placement and ambient noise anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Why is 12 volts a limitation on the signal processing portion of audio, the topic of this discussion? Regarding amplification, that problem has long been solved…

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      My USB in supports WMA 9 lossless. Even better, I have an EV so I don’t have ICE and transmission noises getting in the way.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      “I’ve no experience with other systems, but I’ve never heard or seen one that supports flac, Apple lossless, or even .wav.”

      The otherwise craptastic Microsoft system in the Fiat 500 supports .wav, even at 48 kHz. I wouldn’t be surprised if other, better systems did as well, it’s essentially the same encoding format as CD audio.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I have a LS 460 with the ML reference system. I also have an iPod classic that’s known for having one of the best DACs Apple’s ever put in an audio product. Things sound great through the analog input from the iPod classic. But of course there’s no chance I can tell the difference between Apple Lossless and 256kpbs AAC unless the car is still and off. There’s no reason to worry about lossless in a car.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      I’ve never personally experienced a smart phone that has a decent D/A converter. Don’t blame MP3s if you’re feeding your AUX inputs from something like that.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    My phone is capable of hifi flac output. (lg g4) roughly 4x cd quality. I simply need dvda or bluray audio disc capable player or a car audio that is simply a pass through with an amplifier, but i can buy a phone out amp if necessary. Also need am/fm of course. Radio is for more than just music.

    Cd died because it hasnt improved the quality one bit and still pricey. There are tons of people willing to pay for true hifi quality that cd cant offer. Much hifi digital audio is simply upsampled cd and hence is “fake” so buying it on disc ensures a quality product.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I keep 5 million+ songs on youtube so there’s no need for a thumb stick. There may be only 50,000 songs I like, but I’ve no idea what I want to hear, ahead of time. One song leads to another and some I haven’t heard or thought of in 40+ years.

    I’ll hear a random riff on the radio, and have to hear a song from a no-name, 1972 or something. I’m not looking for insane levels of sound quality, but the car or truck is no place to pump 17 speakers, 3,000 watts and processor 7 channels. That’s what home systems are for. Along with hearing damage..

  • avatar

    #1 Use Windows Media player to rip every single CD in its entirety to your PC.

    #2 Buy a 32GB SD Card (or 64).

    #3 Transfer all music to SD card.

    Option: Transfer all music to a USB flash drive for a backup.

    #4 Never use CDs again.

    Because of the steadily decreasing price and steadily increasing capacity of SD cards, it makes sense to simply buy new cards in larger capacities and redownload the entire library when necessary.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    I won’t own a vehicle without a CD player. Plug & play is the only way. I just bought a 2016 Fusion, and you can bet your unowhat I wouldn’t have purchased it if it didn’t have a CD player.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    When I want to really listen to music I play my records through an old Marantz receiver’s headphone jack using my Sennheiser HD 598 cans.Car is too noisy to appreciate good music.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      This. Headphones for me and earbuds for workouts. Otherwise I’m a nuisance to bystanders. With earbuds I don’t have to reassure others about volume levels that leak from standard headphones.

      I’m 61, why would I need to worry about my hearing? The fact that I still have any should get me on a science show.

  • avatar

    People still buy cars with manual transmissions too. It’s the same thing.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I just leased a 2016 Chevy Cruze and it has a CD player, USB port and XM. I have an old 80GB iPod I use solely for music and that works well for me. Many times, I’ll go to Half Price Books or some other source of cheap CD’s, rip them and put them on iTunes. Even $6.00 for a CD is cheaper than 6 songs on iTunes. I’ve acquired some vinyl(outside of my parents collection, which is nothing great) and use Vinyl Studio to convert it, but I’ll probably stick to CD’s once that’s done.

    XM I’ll be done with once the free trial is up. I just don’t spend enough time in the car to justify it, but when I drove a lot, it was worth it to me. Every once in a while I’ll put a CD in, but it’s so easy just to leave that iPod attached and shuffle the songs. I also listen (and contribute) to 2 NPR stations in my area, one of which plays music 95% of the time (WYEP).

    Give me music and I’ll drive nearly anywhere, any time. I don’t care about the format. Automakers can leave CD players in as long as they want.

  • avatar

    Why? My dad and stepmom, for starters. Both listen to music on CDs when they turn off the bro-country station(s). I’ve also given CDs to my relatives for their birthdays and Christmas gifts in the past because it’s what they prefer. I may be the only one on both sides of my family to have left physical media behind (give or take a couple of books).

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I could care less if my next car (whatever that will be???) lacked a CD player. I haven’t used mine at all.

    I wouldn’t mind it if manufacturers went as far as discontinuing AM/FM radio. I guess I’m kind of jaded because it’s getting increasingly difficult to find a smooth jazz, classic rock or a even a good country station–they’re all turning into pop/hip-hop stations all over the country since there’s a wider net advertisers can cast. AM/FM is no use to me, and besides, I don’t like having my music interrupted by ten-minute ad breaks.

    That said, I always have my $40 Sandisk with about 25 GB of music via MicroSD, just for my car, as I like to keep my phone off.

  • avatar
    Dave W

    For the same reason that you could get cars with cassette players until at least 2005. I know several people who drive long distance, and all listen to books on CD. I can go to the library and get hours and hours of audio books that I can listen to and return without having to download and delete. At one time Cracker Barrel was doing quite well with long distance drivers by loaning cassettes/CDs at one location to be returned to the next store you visited.

    I know the passionate music listener has mostly abandoned hard copies but in the world of spoken media the CD is king.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Yep. Grandma’s 2014 Kia Soul (w/nav) did not come with a CD player, so I had to introduce her to the world of USB sticks and Bluetooth streaming. My 2015 Golf SportWagen (also w/nav) has a CD player, but they stuck it in the glove box, along with the brains of the infotainment system.

    Of course CDs generally have better fidelity than songs downloaded via other modern media (like iTunes), but most people won’t notice or care. And automakers aren’t about to cater to a minority of audiophiles.

  • avatar
    [email protected]

    I’m not really attached to CDs but until something comes along that is 100% as reliable then I’ll stick to them. I’ve haven’t met a BlueTooth system yet that doesn’t randomly drop dead for no apparent reason and you have to do a co-ordinated dance of device search to get everything back in sync again. The USB connection on my wife’s Fit recognized her iPhone but just spat an error at my Android. And finding what you wanted to play, which was in a format that it would play, on the single line display was a distracted driving accident waiting to happen.

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    Yeah, streaming services are great, if you’re always in an area where there’s decent cell coverage, and if you’re willing to listen to whatever crap songs they decide to put into the mix.

    I’ll stick with MP3’s on a flash drive, and the occasional oddball truck stop impulse buy CD.

  • avatar

    Back in the day, I worked at a stereo store…that was when they all weren’t called “best buy”. For years, OE radios just sucked, and you tossed them, thinking they were the result of a bet “I bet you can’t build a radio for $5 ? I bet I can !! You’re ON”. My bosses did well with Jensen, Blaupunkt, and a host of amp makers. I was spoiled at an early age by real car sound and in the showroom klipsch horns fed by McIntosh amps. Source was either half speed master discs or reel to reel. Reel to reel was best, 8 inch per second, no hiss, full bandwidth…lovely.

    Most car companies realized early on that “boom” was equated with good sound’. This lasted until probably the early 90’s, when a few “name” systems came out on high end cars. You could still beat them for 1/3 the price aftermarket, but then the DIN chassis began to disappear. Companies claimed anti theft, I lost a few Blaupunkt too, but the individual designs meant no easy upgrade. Base systems still Boom…Acura is a notable offender.

    We suffered through cassette tapes…even metal with HX and Dolby C, they had limited bandwidth and wore out. The CD was a revelation, and forced car companies to do better.

    Over time, this morphed into digital audio, due to the monumental screw up of the record industry making CD’s easy to copy. No one ever expected to own a CD burner…they were five figures in the beginning.

    I’m happy with an Aux-in jack. My digital music is mostly mp3 set to max quality when I rip it. Provided there is a hard wire connection, be it iwhatever or aux in, sound is better than most cars can reproduce. I notice that while everyone loves bluetooth streaming, it isn’t as good A/B to a wire.

    Sat radio I have due to my excessive seat time. Sound quality is between cassettes and a low bandwidth MP3. They could do better.

    Streaming doesn’t work for me…between cell phone tower handoffs you get too many drops…I live in a hilly area.

    Overall, I’m happy with the Harmon Kardon in my euro car, the Bose in my “murican” car, and meh with the Tech stereo in the Acura, but again the base Acura system is just unacceptable boom so I should be happy that the Tech system is meh.

    Don’t even get me started on the kids listening to music with a laptop, or those crappy “bluetooth speakers”.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I was born in the nineties. Even I remember the era where the first thing you did was chuck your factory head unit and speakers.

      • 0 avatar
        kmoney

        I was reminiscing about this the other day with a friend. It seems that this is somewhat of a dead trend now. I don’t know if it’s because so many manufactures have ditched the single/double din layout and made it harder to integrate aftermarket head units, or just because the quality of factory stereos has gone up so much in recent years comparatively.

        When I was growing up every kid who got a car wanted an aftermarket stereo. The ‘sweet setup’ seemed to be one or two 10 or 12′ woofers — usually in a homemade box — driven by a single 2-channel and an aftermarket head unit (or motorized screen if you had big money). No Dynamat, proper baffling/bracing/enclosures, crap installs, and everything rattling and reverberating as they drove by.

        Now I can’t actually remember the last time I saw an aftermarket deck in a car that wasn’t at an aftermarket booth/car show. Most companies product offerings are also tiny compared to what they once were.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      That and all the audio and phone controls on the steering wheel. The days when you could just swap head units is long gone for most cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Most of the big brands of aftermarket audio offer head units that can be controlled with the factory steering wheel or rear seat controls used on many of the bigger automaker’s cars. Heck there are systems that will allow you to retain the factory rear seat dvd player, Sync ect.

        Because many of the OE radios are connected to the CAN bus for speed, manual position sensor and steering wheel controls the aftermarket companies have leveraged that CAN connection to integrate the ability to look at codes and live data from the power train.

        As far as the radios integrated into the same panel that has HVAC and other things there are kits for that. Some are high quality and you can’t really tell the difference from the factory panel.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      Ah, somebody knows good sound…. anyone scuffing at the notion of listening to reel-to-reel tape in 2016 should set foot in an old recording studio and listen to what 15ips analog open reel tape sounds like. It’s the best recording media ever. And Klipschorns! A 70-year-old speaker design that remains amongst the richest you’ll ever hear, and can fill a large room with high volume from ridculously low-powered amps. But yeah, in the car I’ll settle for well-ripped digital files on my iPhone and streamed music. My car came from the factory with a 6-disc changer I rarely use.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Klispchorns…amazing the volume they could put out with a modest amount of power.

        • 0 avatar
          Drew8MR

          Have you guys ever owned a pair though? They are fantastic if you have the perfect room. Not so much otherwise. You’d be surprised how few homes or apartments have 2 good corners. I always found La Scalas to be a bit more practical.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            No they were too big and Klipsch Heresy’s were not accurate enough…but I used to go to a bar in Syracuse back in the day called Club 37 for rock night and the dance floor was ringed with Klipschorns….maybe I can’t hear over 15Khz anymore…now I remember why!

          • 0 avatar
            la834

            I never owned them, although a friend of my dad’s had a pair that sounded pretty amazing. It was always my dad’s dream speaker, and his living room had well-suited corners for it, but their cost was prohibitive. I find at least some rooms can accomodate Klipschorns and certainly La Scalas which are basically the non-corner version; the speakers that drive me crazy with placement issues are Magnepans that usually need to be out a few feet from the back wall, and still only sound good if you’re in the sweet spot, but if ever there were speakers worth completely rearranging your furniture for, these are it.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Bluetooth can sound a lot better than an AUX input if the head unit has a better DAC than the music player; and it usually does.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    If you rub some brain cells together, you’d arrive at the conclusion – old people.

    There are plenty of 60+ seniors out there who still have new car purchases left on the lifespans who will go to the grave never having played music from either their phones or from USB media.

  • avatar
    TeslaS

    Easy. If you transport children AND you don’t want them to watch stupid cartoons and rather have then listen to an audiobook – you need two switchable sources (one for them and one for you). Either two USB ports (rare) or USB + BT phone or USB + CD/DVD MP3.

    There are 5 seats in the car. And yet it is assumed everyone listens to the same thing.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I have a bunch of CDs, and sometimes I still like to play them. Thus I’m glad my car still has a CD player.

    No, I don’t want the job of ripping hundreds of CDs just to have the privilege of still listening to what I want, when I want.

    We also listed to audio books borrowed from the public library. Easily done with a CD player. PITA without one.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Ripping the CDs makes “listening to what I want, when I want” far, far easier. Instead of having to make sure the right CD is in the right place (upstairs, downstairs, car, along with you on vacation, etc.) you can carry one media player (which can be your smartphone if you have enough storage) in your pocket and always have all of it. You also get unlimited backups. Instead of one big shelf of CDs that would be melted in a house fire or that could be destroyed by a broken player, I have copies on two separate computers and two external hard drives (one of which is in my garage and one in a safe deposit box).

  • avatar
    taxman100

    My cassette player in my Corolla has been broken for more than 10 years. I listen to AM radio for the most part, but other than current events, I could live without a radio.

    I have a Cd player/USB port in our 2011 minivan. We do save music to the van’s hard drive for the kids, but other than that, we never use them.

    I’d take a car with just AM/FM so that makes me a throwback, I guess.

  • avatar
    Igoaround940

    I wouldn’t mind CD players in new cars so long as they were MP-3 compatible. Streaming music costs money whereas downloading music and creating MP-3 playlists is less expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      IAhawkeye

      Only if you already own the music. I use Spotify(and have for nearly 4 years now) and it only costs $10/month(only $5 if your a student like me) that’s less then the cost of 10 songs on iTunes, or less then the cost of a single album-pretty much wherever your looking to buy it from. As much new music or music I don’t already own I listen to, it’s a no brainer to use Spotify.

  • avatar
    Noble713

    I don’t use CDs, but I will probably keep a DVD player in the car. Hip-hop DVD mixes are a great way to hypnotize young and impressionable Japanese females. Even though most of that music is crap, they like it.

    Eventually I will buy a Fiio X5 and stuff 2x 128GB microSD cards in it. Run it to the head unit with an AUX cable. My MP3 collection is around 145GB, so my 120GB iPod Classic was full long ago. Not using iTunes makes management of it a pain on Linux. I do need a better solution for streaming electronic music podcasts/mixes from Youtube though…

  • avatar
    jansob

    One big vote for “I find myself fiddling around too much with my iPhone/iPod to find the perfect album”. If I bring a few CDs, I just pop one in and enjoy.

  • avatar

    I haven’t made the popular transition from “appreciating” music to “consuming” it. I don’t have an iTunes account, nor do I have any mp3s stored on my HTC M8. I watch bands live or hear them on BBC 6, then I go and buy their CD.

    I listen to it at home through my Cyrus. If I’m heading off on a journey I’ll choose six discs for my changer, and if I run out or want a change I’ll listen to the radio, maybe learn something new.

    More isn’t better. Having all your music instantly accessible in your car offers a massive degree of redundancy if nothing else. I can usually wait until I get home and sit in my listening chair with a good Scotch before I listen to what I want.

    The MP3 sound quality issue IS relevant and irks me no end. Those who claim to not notice the difference between 192kbps MP3 and lossless are clearly not listening to the right music. It’s the difference between a round of applause and white noise, a cymbal and a hiss. And you DO hear those differences over road noise. It’s the ambiance and subtle bass notes that get lost in the chaos of tyre rumble and wind rush.

    That said, most billboard releases seem to be produced to sound “good” through the worst possible playback devices. That’s how kids consume their music these days.

  • avatar
    jammyjo

    Think the answer is why not? Drives are cheap, don’t take up as much real estate as before, and the format and usability may suit some people.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I’ve found that 320kb/s mp3’s are an ‘acceptable’ substitute for the CD format – that said, I’m 60, and the tinnitus I suffer tends to overwhelm subtle compression artifacts. I *do* notice significant distortion of cymbals and other high frequencies at 128kb/s and below.

    A slightly off-topic rant: My last 3 cars with XM/Sirius satellite radio head units have suffered from miserable FM radio sound quality (standard FM, not HD) – I sometimes believe that some sort of “arrangement” has been reached between OEM’s and Sirius/XM that makes their rather p!$$-poor audio quality inherently superior to the stock FM radio (but noticeably worse than a 320k mp3).

    My memory of the Pioneer SuperTuner head unit that I installed in 3 different cars back in the 70’s had it sounding as good, or better than the units in my last 3 cars (Hyundai Elantra, Chevy Malibu, Chevy Volt).

    Since I almost always listen to public radio (hate commercials), or mp3’s via USB, it’s just a niggling complaint, but a class-action suit would be an interesting development.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve not noticed that. I think what you may be hearing – or not – is the wide variety of signal processing that FM stations use. I’ve local college stations that do CD quality and NYC metro flamethrowers that sound like overemphasized crap. I am using an old school hitachi four gang tuner, fully analog…there is a lot of difference in what is put out there.

      Other commenters have noted much of what is out there is mixed for earbuds….

      HD radio could fix this, but it’s a cluster—-on a few levels. There isn’t a standalone home receiver for years. Sony made one, if you can find them they are over $400 on ebay. You can get this in a car, but I found HD radio pretty much useless in my hilly area 40 miles from the transmitters….analog was fine, but the lower power HD signals were useless more than 15 miles out of the city. Still, the only place you find this is in new car radios and some high end tuners….but other than me, who has the sterwo hooked up to an antenna….I’m old.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I got an HD unit for my car several years ago and despite my distance from the transmitters and hilly terrain I find the reception excellent in all most all areas and I can go pretty far out of town and still get a good HD signal. There are a couple of exceptions. There is are two areas where I drive semi-regularly where it will drop out for 2-3 seconds at a time for a couple of times in a fairly short distance. In the one area I can’t figure it out as it has always had crappy reception though the geography says it should be OK. The analog reception in that area is more static than actual signal so the drop outs are still an improvement.

        I do not understand why the lack of HD home equipment I would think it would be worthwhile to offer at least 1 or 2 models in your line up.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    I have a CD player, but all of my non-radio (read: non-NPR) listening comes from an aux jack plugged into the cassette player. Cue the sound of millions of audophiles crying out in terror then being suddenly silenced.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    Cassettes sound just fine. It’s easy to make them right off of the sound of youtube videos as well.

  • avatar
    Fred

    You ask, why have both USB and a CD player. I am one of those guys and lets throw in a third technology, bluetooth. First, I still buy CDs and want to play them in my car. Although it’s not as convient with the single disc player as it was with a multi-disk. I also have a USB flash drive with my favorites stored on it. Bluetooth for streaming music and internet radio channels. Not only that but I just got a 128 GB sd card which allows me to fit all of music (yea I know it’s compressed) on my phone. So really I could live without USB, especially since it’s unpowered in my car.

    These discussions about audiophile recordings vs compressed are not exclusive arguments. They each have their place and I’m one of those who uses both depending on the circumstances.

  • avatar
    IAhawkeye

    Back in 2010 when I got my Silverado I replaced the radio to one that could play my phone(iPod at the time) on via USB, and haven’t gone back since. The radio I put in didn’t have a CD player which I did admittedly miss at first. But ever since I started using Spotify premium I couldn’t ever imagine going back. I download all my Spotify music on my phone, and then if I’m the road and have the itch to listen to something I don’t already have downloaded, I just stream it.

    I know(or I should say I’ve been told, I can’t tell the difference) the quality is worse then a CD.. but I don’t notice and it doesn’t hurt my enjoyment of the music.

    I will say now with my Jeep I can tell the quality is way worse using the Aux In port since there isn’t a USB port, though it could just be that the whole system is just awful. It’s the first thing I’ll be upgrading once it’s warm out again.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Your phone has a poor DAC. With a USB connection, the head unit does the conversion.

      How can smartphones be capable of so much, but incompetent at such a basic thing? There are small MP3 players that have perfectly acceptable D/A conversion.

  • avatar
    AtomB

    3 of my 4 vehicles have factory cassette decks. I swap between a tape-shaped mp3 adaptor and a copy of ‘Gish’ that i just found while cleaning out the Garage.

  • avatar

    I am not sure but I think my 2014 car has CD player, have to check tomorrow. I have lot of SACDs, DVAs and FLACs. It would be nice if they supported DSD, FLAC, APE and etc.

    In my previous 2002 car I not only had CD player byt even cassette player and believe it or not but I used both. It did not have though USB slot or Bluetooth streaming.

  • avatar
    SnarkyRichard

    The best sounding factory equipped car stereo system I’ve had in a car was called System Ten (by Fujitsu) in my 1992 Toyota Celica GTS . With 5 speakers per side it made listening to classic rock on the radio like hearing it the very first time with the separation in frequencies to different speakers . But the radio , cassette , and CD player had separate amps and the FM was superb , the cassette player was loud , but the CD audio was laughably feeble in comparison . Nowadays my hearing isn’t what it used to be and a 14 dollar iKross FM modulator with my computer music library on an SD card is good enough . I listen to sports talk on the radio mostly anyway . I’ve had my Tacoma for nine years and I doubt that I used the CD player more than 10 times .

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    My favorite system I’ve had in a car was the Monsoon branded one in my 04 Jetta Wagon. After I added the iPod adapter by USA Spec, it was even better. The Fender branded one in the new VW sounds pretty good in my very limited experience. I was always impressed by the ELS systems in the Acuras

    I upgraded the speakers in my Mazda 5 recently to Pioneer 4 ways. I thought it would be overkill with the factory tweeters, but not true. I too remember swapping decks and speakers in cars, the last being my 01 Focus. But with the Mazda, I just wanted slightly better sound. I should have done it a long time ago, even with the factory system, it’s much,much better.

    The Mazda’s AUX jack is awful sounding though, even after cleaning it out and using a better adapter cord. I can’t really justify the time or cost of upgrading it now. The 6 disc in dash rarely gets used, but the sound is much better with it. I listen to mostly NPR talk, but even that’s improved with the new speakers.

    I’m glad others find XM/Sirius to be very flat sounding and tinny.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I stream music, but I also own 100s of CDs. For me wanting my car to keep a CD slot is out of pure laziness. Yes I can rip all my CDs to 512kbps MP3 (and have for several), but it’s much easier to stick a CD in the slot. I’m also generally not a skipper, I like to listen to an entire album (you can’t just listen to one Dream Theater song, you need to hear the entire album!). Before I go on a trip I’ll usually grab a stack of CDs to listen to on the way.

    However my bigger passion than music is stand-up comedy and for that streaming is 100% sufficient. Even the lowest quality streams are plenty good for stand-up.

  • avatar
    Chan

    How am I supposed to “stream” music all day long without incurring data surcharges? I need to at least be in physical possession of the music files so that I can Bluetooth it all day long. That takes time; for albums where I like most songs, a CD player is still convenient. For artists where I only care for individual songs, I keep them on my phone.

    That said, my wife’s newest car has no CD player and I’m fine with that.

  • avatar
    slance66

    CD player is a must have for me. MP3 sucks as a music format really, and streaming isn’t viable in a moving vehicle. I don’t even stream music at home. In my new car I can connect my phone via bluetooth (sound quality is poor) or via USB, but I generally don’t. My daughter loves that however.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    There are two kinds of people: There are those that understand there are other people who don’t give a flip about the same stuff that they do, and there are people who don’t. You can stick a bunch of labels on people for belonging to the second group. None of them are positive.

  • avatar
    turf3

    You know, not everyone has oodles of time to sit in Mom’s basement and fiddle with computers to convert perfectly good CDs to other formats. Here is an incomplete list of the things I would rather be doing than converting CDs to other formats just to avoid the slot in the dashboard:

    – having sex
    – reading
    – meditating
    – playing music
    – sleeping
    – working (you know, at my job, where I bring home noney)
    – exercising
    – thinking about having sex
    – praying
    – cleaning the toilet
    – wishing I were having sex
    – etc.


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