About a month or two ago I had VW’s official iPod adaptor installed in my ‘06 Jetta. It wires the first 5 playlists to the buttons for CD 1-5. And yes, I just get a track number and elapsed time indicator. No other info. Nearly all Audible content purchased via iTMS will randomly hiccup during playback.
It really kills me that so few OEM radios can come with a simple jack on the front. Multi-CD, Satellite, etc but line input? Heck no! That would add $1 to the system cost!
I fear the lack of a line input on all major brands is a deliberate marketing choice! :(
If they give you thet jack, you have little reason to by any other option from them, like said the multi CD charger, the satellite receiver or the crappy iPod integration… it would be so easy for you to connect a portable device and they would not make any buck from it! :/
Several low tech unknown Chinese brands do have line in jacks though. Of course, their head units look like crap and you cannot possible have that in your car when on the other hand you’ve bought an iPod partly for its crisp design!
Or you can put a Mac Mini in your car (véridique !).
Check out Alpine’s models. I put one in my car last January, and it works great with my iPod. Full control from the dash, with the iPod out of sight. I can view Playlists, Artists, Albums, almost everything except the “Star Ratings".
Other limitation is that it will only show the first 256 items in any list, so if you have more than 256 artists, you can only see the first batch. The solution is to create playlists of the artists by the alphabetical order.
I have an Alpine Deck in my car with iPod integration. It’s actually the second one I’ve had. The first one, which I found to be rather crappy because of the way it made you browse things, was still way better than anything you describe here. The current offerings work great - and I am always connecting my full 40G iPod.
Granted, there are limitations. It doesn’t support grouping compilations into the Compilations meta-artist, but neither does my iPod, so it may not be an alpine issue. I can browse by artist, playlist, album or genre. Shuffle works fine. I think the button choices are a little odd, but that’s ok. And it charges.
Give it a shot - it’s by far the best thing I’ve seen for cars so far.
I also bought an Alpine (9847 and 57 respectively). The 47’s ipod integration was good, with full features, but it was slow in scrolling. With the new model, the interface has been updated, with a higher-res screen, and it works like a charm. I have over 5000 songs on my ipod, and it’s easy and intuitive to find any of them while driving.
I have the USA Spec iPod interface in my Tacoma and I love it. There could be improvements but all in all, it’s the best value for the $$ for listening to an iPod in a vehicle. Plus you don’t need to buy a new deck, works with the factory one.
I’ve got a couple of questions for you guys who are satisfied with their iPod integration. I’d be really interested about your feedback on this:
Have you tried listening to podcasts?
Can you browse through your podcasts?
Can you see which ones you have already listened to and which ones are new?
What about Daimler (Mercedes)? ‘07 is supposed to have iPod integration. How good is it?
I have a Dension iceLink in 01 Jetta. There’s a feature in it to disable to the Dension UI that pops up on the iPod and use the standard iPod UI. I find it infinitely more useable in that state.
Obviously you have never used the Scion interface (I have one in my ‘06 tC). Interestingly enough, it is made by Pioneer. It is perfect, except when the menu times out or you try to go “up” one from the currently playing song, it takes you to the top level (Playlists, Artists, Tracks, Albums, etc). Other than this it is fine - I haven’t run into any issues as far as too many artists or playlists or anything.
It docks in the center console and charges nicely. And you even have an EXTRA aux in to go with it.
I would like to add my own experience of the Pioneer iPod adaptor.
They recently brought out an updated version of the adaptor (basically a cd changer interface on one side, including pass through to your regular stacker, a power input to charge the iPod from 12v and the (hardwired) iPod dock connector).
There are of course limitations to the unit, it can only show 8 characters of the song title (but you can scroll in a way) and you cannot control the ipod directly through the ipod interface when it is plugged in, only from the head unit.
However, the audio quality is as good as it can be, as it takes the proper line out (headphone socket is crap in comparison) and once you learn how to use the quite strange controls from the headunit, it works quite well.
There are two suggestions to make it easier to use the pioneer unit - playlists are your friend! and also, before you get in the car, select the album, artist, shuffle or other that you want to play when you are in the car, and start it playing on the ipod yourself, THEN plug it into the pioneer adaptor - that way you avoid painful initial selection from the head unit, and it continues to just play whatever was playing.
Unlike the original article, I have not returned my pioneer unit, have been using it for four months or so (but i did get it on sale!).
Another possible option is the latest Tom Tom GPS unit, which has iPod in, and line out to your stereo, you can then use the Tom Tom touch screen to access the iPod menus. Haven’t used it, but the idea seems sound.
Another option is a cigarette lighter adaptor from Belkin which gives you a feeder of the line out from the dock connector, which you can then plug into your head unit if it has an auxillary connector (or tape adaptor). This solution is cheap, charges your ipod, very portable, and it uses line out rather than the headphone jack.
In my experience, I have tried two FM adaptors (iTrip and Belkin) and both worked awfully - very hard to set the radio station on the iTrip, but worst of all, in a big city (Sydney) there are two many real FM stations to interfere, you can never find a clear channel that lasts more than a few kilometres.
Hope these comments help!
See my link if you want to get instructions for installing a head unit in a 2003 subaru forester/imprezza!
I have a Harmon/Kardon unit and it’s by far the best offering I’ve seen. It runs over FM or line in (so great sound quality), charges while the car runs, pauses the ipod when the car stops, and has most of the ipod’s interface, displayed through a separate screen and controlled via a dash-mounted click wheel wannabe. Highly recommended.
Just looked at a Toyota Prius & Honda Civic Hybrid today, both had headphone AUX inputs on the dash for the iPod use. so if you don’t mind using the ipod for your interface while driving, these aux inputs are pretty cool.
That is strange. My parents bought a Prius last year and there is definitely no such thing as an AUX or Line IN jack input on the dashboard. Is this new on this year’s Priuses?
(Matt: there are no Scions in Europe… and obviously there was none at Apple Expo… so I got no chance to look at one indeed)
I’ll add my $0.02 about the Pioneer iPod control.
I bought a Pioneer head unit and the CDIB100II iPod interface back in February when my last radio was stolen.
One of the great features is that you can also pass through to other interface adapters, such as the aux input adapter.
I agree that the iPod control from Pioneer is crappy, although it does charge the iPod well and does sound good.
But the control capability is pretty lousy. Only about two weeks ago did I figure out that it’s possible to switch the shuffle feature on and off from the Pioneer radio. I also discovered that it’s possible to switch the Up/Down control on the head unit to Playlist, Genre, Artist, and Album.
But you then have to scroll through every possibility, so if you have 500 artists on your 60 GB iPod, it’s tough to get past the B’s or the W’s.
What I don’t understand is why none of the regular face buttons on the Pioneer work with the iPod control. There’s a TON of buttons, including the PAUSE button, that don’t do squat once you switch to controlling the iPod. I don’t get it.
The ‘06 Range Rover Sport has an Aux-In and a dedicated 12v connector.
I just installed a Panasonic stereo with ipod integration and I love it. Nearly full-speed scrolling through artists/playlists/albums/songs and full two-line display of title and artist or artist and album.
I have an older Audi (2001) and decided that I was tired of keeping my ipod in the car and managing it and the cruddy CD Changer based integration.
For $125 on ebay I picked up a 20GB PhatBox and never looked back. In this mode you replace your CD Changer with the PhatBox and insert the 20GB cartridge on which your music is loaded.
The 6 CD’s become different modes. Playlist, Artist, Genre, Album, Options and one other I forget.
How do you browse music? Via a spoken interface that tells you what is going on. Yes, its not perfect and a bit hokey sounding at times but two things make it fantastic for me.
1) The track #’s MEAN SOMETHING. Based on the context your are in the track numbers are numbering that item. So, in Album mode you get to see that you are on Track 13. Is it iPod like? No not at all, more CD like actually. Functional? You betcha, particularly when trying to zoom through a lot of tracks.
2) The voice interface is actually very intuitive. Holding the button down takes you out of ‘item mode’ and into ‘letter mode’ where you can zoom through ‘A’ and ‘B’ and ‘C’ and stop at ‘D’, all announced over the speakers.
With the IBM voices its quite nice and if your really anal you can teach it the syntax hints it needs to properly pronounce the names and album titles.
So, its no ipod, its not perfect but for me, after 4+ years of bogus iPod integrations, works exceptionally well. Give it a look.
Of course, if we ever get a good iPod interface I’ll probably jump back over but this to me is a great comfortable medium that I never remove from the car, never fails me and is very easy to manage.
A followup to the question from above:
You’d asked about experiences with podcasting with these solutions. That’s really all I listen to in the car. BUT I must confess I make a playlist after updating the podcasts. I figure out the 6-10 podcasts I might want to listen to for my commute, drag them into the top playlist, and sync. The reason I do this is that I don’t want to do any more iPod navigation than is necessary once I start driving. Keeping things down to a list of likely candidates means the most I would do is a track skip or two. I acknowledge that it takes a few minutes to setup each time, but I find the safety tradeoff worth it. I’d rather finagle the iPod at home than in my car.
I imagine you might be able to approximate this with “Smart Playlists” based on a genre of Podcast with an update of the last n days.
I’ve heard good things about after-market car stereos and ipod support, mostly Alpine’s integration is supposed to be top notch.
I have to emphasize the point of the last post, to do no more iPod navigation than is absolutely necessary. I had the OmniFi DMP1, a 20gb mp3 player controlled through a aftermarket-sized faceplate. While it’s scroll speed was quick, sorting were easy, wireless syncing was awesome, that’s just too much music to be thinking about while driving.
While scrolling from Billie Holiday to the Burning Brides one afternoon a few months ago, I rear ended a brand spankin’ new BMW 6-series at 50 MPH, nearly totalling it and comming within $200 of blowing my insurance limits. I was focused on the screen and the artist names flying by, and not on the road. Luckily no-one was injured.
I know this will soudn old and jaded, but since then, I have developed a pair of rules for driving with such devices that I urge all to follow:
1) Select a playlist before leaving your driveway/parking spot.
2) Once the car is in motion, the only buttons allowed for the driver are ones you can use without thinking or looking. Basically, Prev/next track and volume.
As far as working with an iPod, I find most aftermarket decks these days off a line input, and then you get top sound quality with an iPod interface. And let’s face it… menus and buttons on your standard CD deck just aren’t as good for scrolling through so much music as fast. There’s a reason a scroll wheel was used. And unless the roads are much smoother in your city than mine, scrolling is tricky enough while driving with and iPod in hand without trying to work a wheel/knob on the dash with any precision. Personally I’d say your best bet is to get a CD Changer -> aux input adapter and run a input line into your glovebox. Best sound quality, best interface, and completely hidden from view.
That’s what I like to see, nice bit of objective comment, ‘crap’ this and ‘crap’ that. Well done.
I’ve had a Dension unit in my car for a few years now and it works fine. Guess what - I LOOK AT THE SCREEN ON THE IPOD to secect tracks etc. I don’t even use the buttons on the stereo to change tracks, I just use the scroll wheel on the iPod, as nature intended.
Maybe if you’d actually spent some time thinking about the solutions, rather than figuring out other ways to criticise Apple products you’d have produced something more useful.
Paul, thanks for your warm hearted comment :)
Read again and you’ll see I actually don’t criticise Apple products but the third party *integration* solutions.
As you state it yourself the best solutions are NON INTEGRATED solutions! You use the iPod natively and pump the audio into your head unit.
(I have to admit though the Dension paragraph wasn’t overly clear about the fact you could disable the integration. I have added that to the post.)
Now, tell me, how much did you pay for what boils down to a Dension branded “audio cable” ??
I have the Pioneer CDIB100II it was $50 and it works fine, you can control it from either the head unit or the iPod. I have a 2 year old head unit, I’ve looked at the new ones and they seem to do it alot better than the older ones. If your going to do a NEW article try getting updated info instead of back in 2005!!!
Most people who buy Audi TT’s buy them to DRIVE. If you’re that worried about cup holders (and Ipod integration), you’re not a DRIVER. Go look at a Camry.
Definitely CLM, I’m just a plain commuter wanting to take advantage of what would otherwise be wasted time by listening to some interesting podcasts instead of peak hours radio junk.
Do you mind if I try to make my commute somewhat comfortable? ;)
I’ve also got a panasonic head unit w/ipod interface, and it works *very* well. Scrolling is responsive; you can browse by playlist, artist, album, or song; two lines of text to display either artist and song or album and song, displaying at least 10 or 12 characters, which scrolls horizontally to show 20 characters or so; it’s also cheap ($50). I haven’t noticed any limitation as far as how many items in a list it can display, but I know it doesn’t restrict you to 256 songs in a playlist. It’s completely controlled from the head unit. Very good random controls, same available as on the pod itself. When you turn off the ignition you can disconnect the ipod and it starts playing right where it was left off.
My one minor beef with it is that the ipod interface doesn’t have a break in it; when I ran it into my glove compartment I had to make a hole big enough to fit the entire ipod plug through. If the cable from the box to the ipod could be unplugged I would have only had to make a hole big enough for the cable itself.
I highly recommend it to anyone who’s already looking to buy an aftermarket deck.
The Alpine “fullspeed” enabled after-market head units are excellent, giving full artist, playlist, song and album access, including scrolling through lists using a dial rather than buttons and a 6-point quick jump through the list in case you have several thousand items in a list. they come with a dock connector cable that plugs in the back of the machine.
Full text of all items, not just “track 01″ or “Summerti” by “Ella Fitzg".
I haven’t tried podcasts yet, so can’t say if they are included, but their firmware can be upgraded, so hopefully will be if they can’t currently access them.
I am a happy podcast listener, with an xA. The trick is, spend some time playing with Smart Playlists. For instance, I have 4 different categories for podcasts: Tech, Long, Short, and Funny. The Tech podcast never has more than two songs on it – the Digg ( playcount=0 ) which is most recent, and the Twit (playcount=0) which is most recent. If I’ve listened to all TWITs, there’s only 1 song on the playlist. Since they are smart playlists, if there are two recent Diggs, I only see one – but when I listen to 1, the other automatically takes it’s place. So, I can scoll between different podcasts, I only see the ones that are unlistened to, and if I just want to play a playlist and not think about it I can.
I was also one of the unfortunate few who bought the overpriced Pioneer iPod solution. It is total crap. I think they did absolutely zero user testing with the thing. I unfortunately did not go through the rigamarole of returning it and ripping it out of my car.
Got this by email but I think it may be of general interest:
You are 100% correct, the current car solutions are attrocious (if spelled correctly). I have a 2000 Nissan sentra with an aftermarket head unit, at first I used the Griffen road trip unit because I could easily interface with my ipod due to its shape but the sound quality was terrible, worse than FM radio stations. Distorion from my cell and picked up other FM modulated devices in traffic. I recently bought a Harman Kardon ipod control unit from the Harman Audio store on ebay, this was easy to install, has a great screen, ipod like interface. The only thing I would want additionally is a wireless remote. Anyways check it out its better than any factory system I’ve ever seen and I like it better than the aftermarket head units too.
im acturally looking for an ipod solution or similar in my 2001 merc c class … i have audio 10 as the head unit … there’s so many different system to choose from … namely dension & icruse & harman kardon etc … but really im after qualty and ease of use … anyone can recommend which the best system to use … is the dension gateway any good or i should stick with one of those rds system and control the ipod thru the click wheel … many thanks … pls also email me for solution … thanks heaps
Nice reading all comments about third party developers effort to integrate iPod to their vehicles. As I understand noone have a real ipodish smooth solution that feels like Apple. I fortune to have a new BMW 2006 that is prepared for BMWs new iPod solution. Have anyone any exeperience from the new updated iPod interface that was released in July 2006? (check it out at www.ipodbmw.com).
Go get one of those FM modulators and use it for one week. At the end of that week that cable and trk02 display will look like the goose that lays the golden eggs.
I would just like to point out that while the new Pioneer Ipod interface may have some improvements it only works efficiently with one of the more expensive headunits (to get more track info etc)
No one has mentioned the Blitzsafe adapter. It interfaces the ipod via dock port. leaves your ipod controls in tact (it doesn’t control the ipod, only gives you the line-level audio of the dock connector) and charges the ipod.
I’m using the Dension plus on an old Blaupunkt radio which works realy nice, no track name display of course. Problem I experience is after I stop/start the car, the playlist starts back at track 1 (of 14536 tracks) and does not continue from where I’ve been. Any advice how to get the iPod or Dension continuing from the last track listened?
get a sony CDX-GT150… not too expensive… has front aux input, and if u have a head unit with rear aux inputs (red and white?) why not get a 3.5mm to stereo aux input. works. i used to use that to listen to my ipod on my home pioneer system that only had aux.
I got a Neo adapter from mp3yourcar.com and really have no complaints at all - personally I like it a lot more than the factory options available from most dealerships.
If you press function and go to function 3 (on most pioneer radios) you can change display to show first 8 charaters of the track name or artest and so on but still lame that you cant get full track infomation!
I have a new BMW330Ci Coupe special edition vehicle that is fully load and came standard with a 14 speaker, Harmon Kardon hi-fi with subwoofer (the sound is incredible; I’m a former professional musician).
I installed the iPod interface and am using the new 5G 80Gb iPod. The unit fits in the glove box.
When you connect the iPod, it disables the 6 stacker CD function but leaves the single CD radio slot still functional.
My iPod currently has over 8,000 songs on it and includes video, pictures, audiobooks and Podcasts (about 40Gb used).
The unit works very well with all functions being controlled through either the radio or steering wheel controls.
The biggest drawback is that you do not get to see the songs that are playing however, you do get to setup 5 of 6 playlists which must be named very strictly to function, ie, BMW - Classical, BMW - Easy Listening, BMW - Audiobooks, BMW - Podcasts, BMW - Pop (no BMW, no function). Notice that while the iPod can have numerous playlists only these will be recognized and work with the radio’s iPod interface.
The 6th playlist is reserved and plays ALL audio and music files on the iPod. The radio’s functions to repeat, choose randomly, change playlist, all work with the iPod.
I disable the radio EQ and use the iPod to control everything otherwise, I’ve noticed a slight conflict that can result in harmonic distortion.
i end up installed the iconnect2 FM device on my 2001 M-B c200k … it was frustrate when i been told that the dension gateway 500 and the dice unit will work … but once the panel pull out … its the wrong adaptors all together … listen to the FM hard wired installation … its not too bad except there’s some sound distortion when the music is very rich … (need t oadjust the bass balance and equaliser to fix the problem) … so far im happy except i can’t change song on my steering wheel and need to turn the ipod off when i get out of the car …
Just grab an FM transmitter, it will save you a world of pain.
I think the problem w/ most ipod interfaces are that they disable the click wheel function. The interfaces are sending a serial signal to the ipod eliminating this function. Eliminate this annoying signal and enjoy ipod the way it should be used. Look up the connector pinouts online. Buy a Breakout/Extender PCB and make the connections you want.
I tried a few FM transmitters including the iTrip and thought they were crap. I eventually came across the Audia-X which works excellently. However it does have a lot of wires and probably needs the cigar lighter to power it rather than the battery. I always plug mine in.
I am now looking for a more sophisticated option, if one is out there, to use with my 03 Audi TT with a Bose/Chorus RC. The main reason is the wires problem with the Audia-X. Anyone have any ideas?
did anyone try interfacing the ipod video to a car yet .. would you be able to see the video on the lcd screen
A cassette adapter will good one to connect any pods with car players
I just got my iPod video integrated with my RX8 navigational screen. The screen is now able to play the DVD , GPS, and now my iPod Videos ..
Ipods are just mp3 players, why don’t the car manufacturers just offer built in mp3 players with some really nice features, say voice control or controls mounted in the steering wheel. All you need is a simple little memory stick that you plug into the memory slot on the built in player. Just say no to Ipod!
Well, from what i have seen (sorry i didnt get to read all the other 45 comments) Looks like we have gone back to the 90’s with the IPods. By this i mean (for those of us that remember) attaching our Portable CD players to a cassette and putting the cassette into the car stereo player. in effect we emulated the tape but were streaming the CD music through the cassette heads. Gotta love improving technology only to implement old work arounds. How hard is it to put a 30MB decoder into a Car Stereo and then slap a 10MB interface card system to show much like the IPOD’s already have. Welcome to the limitations of the car industry. Brag we have the goods but arent willing to fork out the dough to put it in correctly and “Get er Done” right the first time. Instead they throw it out (like Microsoft) to see who bites and if enough fish bite, then they will improve but until the fish bite dont expect anything more than cardboard tasting food. Best to just build your own and market it as a after-market stereo.
The BMW integration has improved every year. For 2009, it’s quite incredible actually. I hope you will update your post and review the integrations again this year?
Well… I sure wish BMW would let me test a car with the latest version of the system for a week-end ;)
How I wish I could earn enough to buy a BMW, and also that the iPod car integration in that was superb (else, it would be a tad less impressive ;) ). I have bought a few iPod car integration units, all of them have been rather pathetic. So I have given up. Thanks for being so candid.
Derick~U-2-Me,online learning marketplace.
It is true alot of headunits out there have poor ipod intergration capabilities..with a few exceptions…though it is getting better
I pot ready in my Bmer with harmon kardon speakers, It sure dosen’t get any better than that :)
Love it! Yeah, it was a clumsy set up at best. I was like screw this, I’m going to plug a jar proof cd player into my cigarette lighter. Oh, but wait, now cars dont even have those anymore… well, actually not all… but what a hunk o junk idea. Glad things have smoothed out tho.
Love your post, and pix!! Thanks, new subber here.
This is a nice review of using iPod with cars. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.
Do you guys have any idea how much would it cost for the ipod integration for and AUDI s3 2000. Thanks!
My friend picked up a ‘11 A4 this summer (barely used with 9K miles on it). I didn’t have any pod casts to test out, but we stuck a iphone in and it worked pretty nice except for the incoming call. I think it needs to do the hands free phone part over bluetooth and we didn’t bother with that since were just taking it around the block for a spin… Again we were more interested in DRIVING his 2.0T and getting an over view of the new features than really digging in to specific features.
My new Subaru 2012 Outback has iPod control. Except it is impossible to understand. I am continually stuck in one artists songs. Very frustrating.
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