Car stereos with iPod integration

Some fool jacked the security faceplate from my Pioneer head unit over Xmas, and seeing as how a replacement costs almost the same as a brand-new freaking head unit, I thought I’d start from square one.

So today, in celebration of the most federal income tax I’ve paid evar, I got myself an iPod. I have iPod, and I want to travel.

Has anyone out there bought an after-market head-unit that has built-in iPod integration? If so, what kind did you get, and does the interface suck?

[url=http://www.quartertothree.com/game-talk/showthread.php?t=23264&highlight=ipod]
This thread didn’t quite give me the answer I was looking for. I’m deadset against using an FM transmitter, because my dad’s XM tuner transmits in FM, and it sucks for travelling. You end up having to retune the FM transmitter every hour that you drive, or you get noise as you move into the range of various local radio stations that want to override your selected FM transmitter frequency.

For the love of crap, don’t get the Alpine. Worst. Interface. Ever. Scrolling is a single line at a time, painfully slowly. I can barely use mine. Also, the engineers who designed the interface decided that there was no chance you would ever select the wrong menu, so rather than including some kind of key to, you know, exit a menu, you just have to sit there and wait. It’s infurating. I could go on and on, I have one, and I hate it.

Seconded. I don’t know if the others are any better, but they couldn’t possibly be worse. It’s better than the FM transmitter, but just barely.

Gav

… which leaves me at square one. Where should I go to find out what my other options are?

Replace your head unit with a cheap CD/tape player combo, then get the cassette tape attachment for your ipod. It sounds great.

I bought a cheap Aiwa car radio that had a line in jack. Sure the ipod isn’t directly integrated, but it worked really well.

Yeah that would be even better yet.

I went to my local car stereo specialist place and they hooked me up with an Alpine unit that also does XM radio. It’s the Alpine CDA-9820XM.

I have been perfectly happy with it. When they installed the unit they just ran an audio cable under the dash. I got a Monster Cable car dock thing for the iPod and the whole thing works great. I’ve had no complaints. Here is a pic of my setup:

Alpine also makes a fancier model that lets you control the iPod directly from the head unit so you can tuck the iPod itself somewhere out of sight, but I prefer to steer the iPod directly. I’ve yet to see a head unit that allows for iPod navigation that’s anything like as quick and useful as using the iPod itself.

That looks flash, Gary. What kind of holder is keeping the ipod in place? Is it a large suction cup? All the mounts I’ve seen are ugly, bulky things. I like the presentation of your mount and would like to learn more.

I got it from Monster Cable. It was sold as an iPod protector and belt clip, but it also came with a little holder for the belt clip that sticks onto the dash. You peel off the little label and behind it there’s a spongey sticky tab that sticks right on. I thought at first that it was going to fall off after a while, but I’ve been clipping my iPod on and off of that thing for a while now and it’s still stuck fast. I would recommend it.

I’ve since discarded the iPod case itself as I upgraded to a 5G iPod that didn’t fit it as well. The case in the pic is a zCover, but the belt clip fits into the original Monster dash-thing just fine.

I got it from Monster Cable. It was sold as an iPod protector and belt clip, but it also came with a little hook-slot thing for the belt clip that sticks onto the dash. You peel off the little label and behind it there’s a spongey sticky tab that sticks right on. I thought at first that it was going to fall off after a while, but I’ve been clipping my iPod on and off of that thing for a while now and it’s still stuck fast. I would recommend it.

I’ve since discarded the iPod case itself as I upgraded to a 5G iPod that didn’t fit it as well. The case in the pic is a zCover, but the belt clip fits into the original Monster dash-thing just fine.

My wife hardwired it into a built in aux port on her radio- ill ask her where she got the directions to do it.

Now that is a wife:)

No kidding :) that rocks.

For the ultimate in (overpriced) car iPod/cell phone/GPS/etc. holders, check out ProClips…

I went bananas and bought a 4 channel amp that powers my speakers and wired my ipod directly into that via mini-jack to RCA. Probably more work than most people would want to invest, but it sounds great.

I would not have thought of using the belt clip as part of the holding mechanism. That’s a great tip.

I found the monster clip holder on amazon for $13.00. I’ve already got a zCover for it thanks to that other iPod accessory thread, so I think this might actually work. Thanks so much.

It also depends on where you live. In my area, they’re awful, because the airwaves are just jam packed.

The best discussion of your problem that I’ve found is in the iPod Lounge forum thread on this topic. There is a lot of shared wisdom there. Also, you should google to see if your car has a fan site forum where you can check out specific solutions. For example, I just bought a Mazda3 5S (which is just awesome, btw) and there’s a community around it, with its on iPod-integration thread here.

I did this too, it’s great. FM transmitters seem to be hit and miss. My iTrip sucked, but my wife loves her Transpod.

Won’t help Roger because he’s buying a whole new unit, but others should check to see if a custom solution is available for your car. For instance, I just installed the Audio Link product that’s referred to on the Mazda 3 forum that Jim linked in my Mazda 6.

$110, but it integrates the iPod directly into the factory head unit with crystal-clear sound. (Dramatically clearer than the FM iTrip I was using before.) And I can use the steering wheel controls to change tracks, etc. It even charges the iPod, and pauses playback when I turn off the stereo. Nice.

For Roger, I’d suggest just picking up a good CD head unit that has an AUX input jack.