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Thread: The Car Stereo Thread

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    Member Mythos's Avatar
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    The Car Stereo Thread

    Ok, so any of you guys with the $5k turntables, the tube amps and the $2k cables have killer stereos in your vehicles?

    Tell us about them, what do you got?

  2. #2
    I don't have a killer stereo, but I have a decent one. The car is where I do most of my listening (which has me frustrated as I haven't been able to drive since April...)
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mythos View Post
    Ok, so any of you guys with the $5k turntables, the tube amps and the $2k cables have killer stereos in your vehicles?

    Tell us about them, what do you got?
    I bought a Chevy Impala last summer with the best factory stereo system that they offered. It sounds fantastic. My car is still my favorite place to listen to music.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    I had a $99 Pioneer stereo and an add-on subwoofer in my 1998 Subaru Forester which I loved -- interfaced with my phone via Bluetooth, played MP3 discs, gave me driving directions, made phone calls, sounded great.

    Two weeks ago I traded in that car for a 2020 Forester. I bought the Rockford Fosgate $594 stereo upgrade. It does all the same things, and sounds very very good... but it's not better than what I had.

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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    I have a Skoda with the built-in-stereo.
    Nothing to write home about, and less good sounding than desired.
    When driving fast there is simply a lot of music that sounds like shit or doesnt get through, due to car noise.

    But its only a few times a year that I drive long rides, so I can live with it.
    Probably much cheaper to use the mobile as source and some closed headphones.

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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    I'm not a $5K turntable guy so this is coming from the other side of the spectrum.

    Factory audio systems have gotten sufficienty good enough and so heavily integrated into everything else in cars' built-in features that I pretty much gave up on the idea of ever getting a custom one a long time ago. My main complaint is their increasing use of touchscreens. You can't do anything by feel anymore and have no choice but to take your eyes off the road. A secondary complaint is that there's no more CD player these days, but I can live with that.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    My 2020 has a CD player. And the touch controls are on the steering wheel, so no need to take your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel.

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    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    I'm not a $5K turntable guy so this is coming from the other side of the spectrum.

    Factory audio systems have gotten sufficienty good enough and so heavily integrated into everything else in cars' built-in features that I pretty much gave up on the idea of ever getting a custom one a long time ago. My main complaint is their increasing use of touchscreens. You can't do anything by feel anymore and have no choice but to take your eyes off the road. A secondary complaint is that there's no more CD player these days, but I can live with that.
    I remember the days when cars came stock with an AM radio, and single speaker mounted in the dash. Those days spanned well into the 80s.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    My 2020 has a CD player. And the touch controls are on the steering wheel, so no need to take your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel.
    Well, I can +/- track numbers or +/- the volume from the steering wheel at least.

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    Member LASERCD's Avatar
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    I don't have a killer stereo in my vehicle. I have a killer vehicle with a mediocre Bose stereo. I listen to sports talk radio and Howard Stern when I'm in the car. The car has a CD player but I think I've used it once or twice.

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    Member Lopez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    My 2020 has a CD player. And the touch controls are on the steering wheel, so no need to take your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel.
    She-who-must-be-obeyed and I bought a new 2019 Subaru Forester a couple months ago and the deciding factor, for me anyway, was that it has a CD player as standard equipment. All other comparable SUVs (2019s from Honda and Toyota) that we looked at have no CD player. Now if only the wife and I could agree on which CDs to play while we drive.
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    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Ever since I got unlimited data ( at no extra cost), I connect my phone via bluetooth and stream Youtube. Barely listen to CDs in the car now. The sound system isn't killer but it works for me. The only drawback is the damn YT commercials.

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    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    I connect the phone to Bluetooth in my old Pacifica, but it's missing something compared to CDs playing through the same system. My wife doesn't notice it but I definitely do. In the 00s we were leasing VW Passats and those factory systems were excellent. We will likely end up getting a couple new vehicles in the next year or so. I've got a list of vehicles I can get a CD player in or at least feed lossless files into.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

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    I like a decent-sounding car stereo, but I don't sit in a silent car and listen so I don't consider all the background noise of a moving car to be capable of being an optimal listening space. And I don't like being completely isolated from the outside world.

    So when I recently replaced the factory system in my 2015 Subaru Forester, I focused on adding missing features (notably Android Auto), upgrading Bluetooth reliability, and improving the sound quality to something equivalent to a decent bookshelf system. I ended up with a Sony XAV-AX5000 and Focal speakers (from their budget Auditor series). About $700US worth of hardware, and all goals were met. Even though it's a five-year old car, I expect to own it at leas another seven, so a worthwhile investment. (I would have spent more on the high-end system offered new when we bought the car, and it would have been obsolete by now.)

    I'm a big fan of Android Auto, btw.

    I had never used the CD player on the old system; the new one lacks one entirely. But it does support lossless (FLAC) audio, as does my phone, so there are no quality issues when using a USB connection. Not that I think it matters much over the engine and road and wind noise when compared to, say, 320mbps MP3 files via Bluetooth.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdclark View Post
    Not that I think it matters much over the engine and road and wind noise
    My car shuts down at stoplights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    I bought a Chevy Impala last summer with the best factory stereo system that they offered. It sounds fantastic. My car is still my favorite place to listen to music.
    BTW, my car is one of the few that still has a CD player.

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    Member Mythos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lopez View Post
    She-who-must-be-obeyed and I bought a new 2019 Subaru Forester a couple months ago and the deciding factor, for me anyway, was that it has a CD player as standard equipment. All other comparable SUVs (2019s from Honda and Toyota) that we looked at have no CD player. Now if only the wife and I could agree on which CDs to play while we drive.
    Maybe I should have made this the Subaru Forester thread, (lol), we bought our daughter a 2019 Forester Premium in July and the stock stereo sounds fine to her.

    I bought a 2019 Honda Passport in March, a Touring model, added the CD player for $500 (ouch), it has a 550w 10 channel / 10 speaker set up that sounds really good, but I'm upgrading to two pairs of Focal 165AS components soon...

    I just have way too many CD's and love burning custom CD's in iTunes to do without a CD player...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mythos View Post
    but I'm upgrading to two pairs of Focal 165AS components soon...

    I just have way too many CD's and love burning custom CD's in iTunes to do without a CD player...
    Where do you install the second pair of tweeters? You will like those Focals a lot, if my experience is any guide. I have the RSE-165 components, which are a little less expensive but similar in sound quality. They have, IMO, a more neutral, balanced sound than many other car speakers, and work really well for a variety of different music for extended periods. I don't even feel the need for a subwoofer, although there are some bass fundamentals (below the A string on a bass) these speakers can't reproduce cleanly). I'd miss them in my home system, but not in a moving car where there's too much other sub-bass competition.

    I remember driving around with a case that held 40 custom burned CDs; for years the CD player was the most important thing in the car, it seemed. Then, somehow, we reached the point where we bought our Subaru in 2014 and never used the CD player for anything except as a mounting point for a phone holder. A 30GB thumb drive full of hi-rez rips lives in the second USB port, while my phone carries another 80GB of music everywhere I go. It's a different world.
    Last edited by rdclark; 2 Weeks Ago at 09:35 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mythos View Post
    but I'm upgrading to two pairs of Focal 165AS components soon...

    I just have way too many CD's and love burning custom CD's in iTunes to do without a CD player...
    Where do you install the second pair of tweeters? You will like those Focals a lot, if my experience is any guide. I have the RSE-165 components, which are a little less expensive but similar in sound quality. They have, IMO, a more neutral, balanced sound than many other car speakers, and work really well for a variety of different music for extended periods.

    I remember driving around with a case that held 40 custom burned CDs; for years the CD player was the most important thing in the car, it seemed. Then, somehow, we reached the point where we bought our Subaru in 2014 and never used the CD player for anything except as a mounting point for a phone holder. A 30GB thumb drive full of hi-rez rips lives in the second USB port, while my phone carries another 80GB of music everywhere I go. It's a different world.

  20. #20
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mythos View Post
    Maybe I should have made this the Subaru Forester thread, (lol),
    Yes, we could talk about the driver's visibility, the head room, the sure-footedness... There's really nothing competitive on the market.

    Quote Originally Posted by rdclark
    Then, somehow, we reached the point where we bought our Subaru in 2014 and never used the CD player for anything except as a mounting point for a phone holder. A 30GB thumb drive full of hi-rez rips lives in the second USB port, while my phone carries another 80GB of music everywhere I go. It's a different world.
    They're not mutually-exclusive.

  21. #21
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    I have a Harmon Kardon 14-speaker system in my 2014 BMW that sounds pretty damn great. They also offer a Mark Levinson system at something like $5k extra, and I can only surmise that it most sound outrageously good.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    I can only surmise that it must sound outrageously good.
    Not necessarily.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rdclark View Post
    Where do you install the second pair of tweeters?
    The OEM speakers in the Passport (SUV) are laid out as follows:
    (2) Tweeters installed to cross-fire in the A Pillars
    (2) 6.5" drivers in the front doors
    (2) 6.5" drivers in the rear doors
    (2) Mid-range/Tweeters, front firing in the upper rear panels, behind the rear seats
    (1) Center Channel (center of dash)
    (1) Sub Woofer under rear deck, near spare tire

    The Focal Tweeters will replace the (4) existing Tweeters/Midranges and the Focal woofers will go in the four doors. I can turn the Center Channel down (independently) and also plan to leave the stock sub as it can be adjusted independently as well.

    My car is at the shop right now...

  24. #24
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Not necessarily.
    Well, yes I'm sure it does. Sorry - I was confused before - it is actually a B&W system (Mark Levinson is on Lexus). Anyway, I own B&W 602's in my home and they are phenomenal, phenomenal speakers. If the standard Harmon Kardon stereo is balls-out, then there is no way a $5k B&W upgrade is gonna suck. Not sure why you disagree but go listen for yourself if you wanna be proved wrong.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

  25. #25
    Pikachupacabra spellbound's Avatar
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    Nothing special. Would love to replace the cassette player in the car with a CD player, but all the ones I've seen have a whole bunch of features I would have to pay for and never use. For example, they all come with bluetooth now, but if I got a car CD player, it would be the only bluetooth device I'd have. What ever happened to keeping it simple? I just want it to play music to the speakers, same as it ever was.
    Can this be the swan song? The final elbow?

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