Piston Slap: Single DIN + Multiple Options = Serious Improvement for Cheap?
March 8th, 2019 8:14 AM Share
Ted writes:In your suggested fixes to a 200,000-mile BMW, you mentioned better aftermarket radios. That got me interested! I’m buying a 1989 Porsche 944 turbo with about 10 problems and the radio ain’t one. (The price? 6,500 Canuckian pesos!)As I fix it up for my own long-term use, however, I want to understand the options and the pros and cons of replacing the “meh” Kenwood unit that one of the nine (!) previous owners put in there.Can you do a kind of buyer’s guide for aftermarket radios with Bluetooth capabilities and/or smartphone integration? Currently I use Waze on my phone, which is clipped to the air vents with a small Kenu phone mount, and an aux cable. It works fine; I’d like to have fewer cables and better power to the phone, but this is a frivolous and fun upgrade for me. Maybe a low-cost option and an “all the features” option would be two options for most.
Thanks as ever for the fun column, it’s one of my preferred ways to decompress.Sajeev answers:I don’t do buyer’s guides in the expected SEO style, instead doling out thoughts with non-affiliate linked URLs when needed.Hopefully the photo of my 1989 Continental proves my editorial independence regarding classic car smartphone integration: the outdated, 1st gen iPad Mini and Kenwood Excelon came together swimmingly in the glorified Taurus Continental’s snazzy, plastic-fantastic interior. So here’s what I recommend for a Porsche 944*, or any older vehicle with a 1-DIN receiver and a budget (design aesthetic?) intolerant of flip-out touchscreen stereos.The brand doesn’t matter, until it does: I adore most Alpine, Kenwood and Pioneer receivers, and own an example of each. Most brands have several models possessing Android Open Accessory attributes and Apple iPod/iPhone integration, so you’ll have several options. ( Apple Carplay or Android Auto requires upgrading to a 1-DIN with a motorized screen or cutting your dash for a 2-DIN receiver, sorry!)So get the cheapest one on eBay?Or the cheapest offering from a big-name manufacturer?Consider both as Option #1 in this “buyers guide.”Consider buying the highest quality receiver in your budget: Assuming that phone is also streaming audio, Option #2 is a receiver built to compensate for compressed audio. Shop around and you’ll get lucky: I bought that Excelon, manufacturer refurbished, for $30 over the base model’s retail price. It meets the need with two “hideable” USB ports (one in the glove box, one in the ashtray), and most importantly a blizzard of signal processing and equalization options. Those last two bits ensure you get the most from your phone.And while my Continental is stupid quiet (rubber insulation is even glued to the roof and all trunk sheetmetal!) with a rattle-free chassis, most older vehicles lack modern NVH engineering (even new) so get the audio processing bits in a nicer receiver to compensate. I could go down the wormhole of tuning for maximum sound quality via your preferred app, but let’s keep it high level.RTFM: read the owner’s manual online before buying! Once a stereo catches your eye, ensure you’ll use the damn thing. If you question the interface with you and/or your phone, look elsewhere. Get Creative with the Install: the perk of pricer options are those extra USB ports, allowing phone integration via glovebox, ashtray, console, etc. instead of an unsightly cable shooting out of the receiver. In your case, run the USB cable (and phone charging cable) down the console, drill a hole in the storage nook so it rests inside the armrest.Even if the armrest storage is too shallow for your phone, this ensures the cable is out of the way. The phone can live by your forearm when needed. My proposal nets you:
- Fewer (visible) cables for a cleaner interior
- Console-mounted USB charging like a new car (no AUX cable)
- Receiver control of phone applications (more for Android?)
- Better sound quality for any music, especially streaming audio
#1Din #AndroidAuto #AndroidOpenAccessory #CarStereo #CarPlay #ClassicCarSmartphoneIntegration #IpodIntegration #SmartphoneIntegration #StealthInstall #UsbCharging
Published March 8th, 2019 8:14 AM
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