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Recommendations on Car Stereos?

I own a 2003 Honda Pilot, bought for cheap from my parents until I can start affording more modern cars. The car stereo is a standard cassette with CD player, and no inputs or bluetooth to connect my phone.

Seeing how cheap car stereos with that functionality are these days, I was interested in getting one. Apparently they're a cinch to install as well, assuming there's no compatibility issues or anything I need to take notice of.

Having a modern day GPS would be nice too, though I don't know if they're as accurate as the Google Maps app. If they aren't, then I would just use my phone to get around anywhere like I already do.

In any event, what are some affordable (i.e. cheap) recommendations? Do I have to account for anything specific like size, cables, etc? I've seen a couple of videos and it looks simple enough to remove and connect a new stereo, I just worry about compatibility.

Posts

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    edited May 2017
    Don't bother with a car navigation system, use your cellphone's map app instead. The car navigation systems all use old, non-touch based interfaces, and they all suck compared to any Android or iPhone map interface, plus you pay a hefty premium for them too, so not worth it. In case you run into poor cell phone service area, get an off line mapping app like NavMii for your phone.

    The big thing you really want for your car radio is bluetooth connectivity to your phone, for both calls and music, with a microphone hookup, usually wired up next to the driver side visor.

    Other nice to have features are:

    * SD card slot for music, in case you don't have a micro SD card slot for your phone (I'm looking at you Apple) or just want a bunch of music for your car.
    * Steering wheel control compatibility, making it easier for you to change volume/channels/songs. This is really a godsend, once you get used to it.
    * Video monitor capability with inputs for a backup camera and traffic camera. The backup camera is particularly useful.
    * XM/Sirius satellite radio, mainly for people who drive a lot, particularly if you want to listen to sports/news, since you constantly go in/out of radio stations and internet service gets spotty, both common occurrences if you drive in rural areas a lot, while satellite radio tends to remain pretty good all the time.

    hsu on
    iTNdmYl.png
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    An SD card slot for music sounds neat, I wouldn't mind having that. Don't want to subscribe to satellite radio, and 99% of the time I'm listening to podcasts anyway.

    I would love to have a back camera that shows me how close I am to hitting something, but wouldn't that require installing a camera behind my car as well? I imagine something like that would be too costly for me. What I primarily want is to just be able to connect my iPhone to the stereo.

    Again, I just worry about compatibility. If it's easy enough to do on my own, I would prefer setting it up versus paying extra to have someone do it for me.

  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    I think best buy does installs pretty cheap if you buy from them. Installs are not difficult exactly, but they can be a bit of a pain sometimes. You may need a wiring kit to match the stereo to the car, and maybe a dash adapter to make it fit into the console space.

    Shadowfire
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Do you really need Bluetooth added to your car? Or could you simply have them add an auxiliary port?

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    Go with bluetooth over aux. Lots of phones have bad power isolation between the charging lanes and the 3.5 mm jack and you can end up with interference noise if you are playing music while charging. Also, if you have an iphone or another phone without a built in jack it's less of a pain to play music. That and bluetooth is just convenient. It's nice that my phone connects automatically and I can switch tracks with the buttons on the stereo without having to unlock the phone.

    Professor SnugglesworthShadowfire
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    That's fair, actually. And Bluetooth aux adapters are cheap.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    Most stereos with Bluetooth will have aux anyhow. Mine does anyway and it's not super fancy or anything.

  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    Oh, you're also gonna want someone to install it for you if it has a mic for hands free calls. The mic is usually routed behind the facade paneling around your windshield.

  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    I guess I can stop by Best Buy next chance I get and get some estimates on installation. Apparently it's cheaper if you buy the stereo from their store?

  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    Probably.

  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    Hopefully I can get a lower price by subtracting the things I don't want or need, like GPS or satellite radio (unless that stuff's included by default).

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    If you don't care about the wires being run externally, they sell Bluetooth adapters that plug into an aux port. The Mic for the phone is a wire that runs around to a place near the wheel, and everything sticks out, but it's a cheap solution. I think the one in my Saab was like thirty bucks, and it sounds totally fine.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • LD50LD50 Registered User regular
    They might price match.

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Best Buy will price match as long as it's a real retailer. So if you have a price on Amazon, it's easy to match. If it's some random reseller on Amazon, nah.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
    a5ehren
  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    The car stereo itself is easy to wire up with an adapter kit. It'll take you about an hour to replace a radio, most of it spent taking apart the dash panels in a way that doesn't scratch them up. The more painful part is wiring up the microphone, as that's several more dash panels, some of which typically hide an airbag behind them, which requires extra care.

    As for bluetooth stereo vs bluetooth aux input, get a stereo with built in bluetooth. The interface works much, much better that way, as the radio designers built it with bluetooth in mind, rather than with bluetooth as an afterthought, so all the controls integrate better.

    iTNdmYl.png
    Donovan Puppyfucker
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    Stopped at Best Buy the other day, spoke to someone on what I wanted/didn't need from a car stereo, settled on this: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/jvc-built-in-bluetooth-apple-ipod-and-satellite-radio-ready-in-dash-receiver-with-remote-black/4768801.p?skuId=4768801

    Got a really good deal at $130 total, installation included. I have to wait a week for the kit to arrive, and have installation scheduled for the 27th, but at a $100 savings it's worth the wait.

    ShadowfireDonovan Puppyfucker
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