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iPod as a standalone car stereo...

Discussion in 'Audio' started by Greg72, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I've been playing around with iTunes (Windows version) for a number of months now, and as much as I hate to admit it.....it's nice. I have even considered buying an iPod (those new Nano's look very sweet) because I think I've figured out a way to use it as a standalone headunit for my old K5 and Burb...

    The iPod has a headphone output, but it doesn't put out nearly enough voltage to be a decent input source to a power amp (even with it's volume completely cranked). However, I'll bet you that with a simple "line driver" component, I could boost the voltage into the 4-8V range. That would allow me to run a power amp and a couple of speakers and a subwoofer off an iPod with good sound quality and I wouldn't need to even BUY a conventional head unit!

    The Burb was the original AM 2-post radio in the dash, and I'm unwilling to cut the dash for anything newer. The iPod could be a really slick solution that I can take with me from vehicle to vehicle....maybe just do a slick little holder that is incorporated into the (unused) ashtray??? with a base for the wiring, charger and signal wires???

    Just thinking out loud, I guess....


    BozoWise....you must sell line drivers don't you? Any recommendations? :wink1:
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2005
  2. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    Does your head unit have a AUX. input ??
     
  3. cbbr

    cbbr 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    I've been using my MP3 player though one of those cassette things with the wire. It works fine in the Burb with the stock speakers, but would probably not sound good with a better system. Of course it cost like $3.
     
  4. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    You mean my 1972 AM RADIO???? No, it doesn't have an AUX input! :rolleyes:

    The whole point is that there IS no stereo, and I don't want to add a modern radio to an uncut 2-poster dash.....
     
  5. Z3PR

    Z3PR Banned

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    I can understand that. I just never have been one too stay with the stock radio. But I wouldn't cut the dash on a 72 either. But that doesn't mean a aftermarket coundn't be hidden somewhere.
     
  6. vtblazer

    vtblazer 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Could be but it sounds like he's looking for a 'multi' vehicle solution.

    What about XM radio? Couldn't that be installed as a 'multi' also?
     
  7. cwn anwyn

    cwn anwyn 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I use my Ipod with the Itrip. Just tune the radio in to the right frequency and go. I use it in all 3 vehicles, and I dont have to mess with any wires. You could still keep the stock radio.:D
     
  8. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Just to clarify.....

    I DON'T want to install a head unit ANYWHERE in the Burb....it's a complete waste of money if all I'm using it for is an AUX input and volume knob for an iPOD.

    That means no CD players, no cassette adapters, no FM modulators....



    The signal chain would be very simple:

    iPod -> Line Driver -> Power Amp -> Speakers



    I'm about 98% sure this will work the way I imagine. The only question would be about the sound quality, and whether the volume control on the iPod would be too "sensitive" .....

    I may just buy the parts and try it myself. That way I'll know for sure! :D
     
  9. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    Strange idea . How about those little powered speakers for portable radios . Just delete the speakers form the cases , install the amp in a small hobby enclosure ( radio shack , if you can find one still stocking radio stuff ) , and use the outputs that went to the speakers to a couple of RCA jacks on the hobby enclosure . Hook the RCA cable to the amp , and bingo , more input signal :D

    Picture this , then remove the amp , speakers , and use just the board , battery powered so you tap into the truck too . Ipod into it , RCA's out instead of running speakers !

    [​IMG]
     
  10. cwn anwyn

    cwn anwyn 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I wasnt talking about installing a new head unit. If your original radio is only AM the iTrip wont work. If you have an original AM/FM unit or can get one to swap in, then its just tuning the radio to FM 87.9(or what ever you set the iTrip to). Im assuming your radio is like this(but only AM).

    I dont see why wiring it directly wouldnt work. Its basically the same idea as the docking stations. I dont think the volume control would be to sensitive on it. It does distort if cranked all the way up while broadcasting from the iTrip. You have to keep it below 75-80% volume to avoid that. But I believe thats a quirk from the iTrip. Directly wiring it would probably cut that out.
     
  11. zcarczar

    zcarczar 1/2 ton status

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    Yes that would work, back when I DDed the blazer my head unit went out so I took a cheap CD player and got a 1/8" headphone to RCA adapter and ran a 12v switched power source for my amp and ran that as a CD player, it worked ok but it would probably work better with a line driver. In fact I was thinking of using my iRiver for the headunit in my samurai when I get it built since I have to have a stereo in my trail rig. :haha:
     
  12. tuffdogstudio

    tuffdogstudio 1/2 ton status

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    Hey Greg, will you possibly be sending the iPod signal to somesort of EQ? I mean if your taking the single channel from the iPod to an amp (I'm assuming, based on some of your pix, that the system might be elaborate regardless of the headunit) you'll probably want the signal split to multiple amps? If thats the case won't the EQ handle the pre-amplification for the signal before it gets to the power amp?

    Basing this on my home stereo system, the turntable needs pre amplification before it goes to an amp because the signal is to weak to connect it directly to an amp.

    Was just thinking some sort of EQ back by the amps might provide the signal boost your looking for?

    I'll try connecting my iPod directly to one of my amps and see what the signal does, at least you'll know one way or another if the signal is too weak (I'm assuming you're correct about that, but might as well check)

    Also, if I may suggest you not get the Nano, and go for the full size 40-60 gig unit... if your like me once you start with iTunes you'll want all your music digitsed and portable... between my wife and I we have around 1,000 CDs and roughly 200 vinyl albums... I have most of the CDs and am working on getting the vinyl thats not on CD digitised. The Nano just cant store that much, also the 60 gigger can hold photos (wish I had that one) which is nice.
     
  13. FreedomIsntFree

    FreedomIsntFree 1/2 ton status

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    Just a thought on voltage. The bottom of the ipod has the pin style connection.

    If you were able to frankenstein some cord into RCA to plug into the amp, you might not need the line driver. I'm not sure if it would work. But I do think that the bottom connector of the iPod puts out more volts.

    I had an ipod and ran in through the cassette adapter. However it was also plummed through a 12v plug. A connector went from the ipod out of a 12v/cigarette lighter plug. On that plug there was a 1/8" plug for a FM transmitter, line out or cassette adapter.

    I know that when I was running it off the connector from the bottom, volume was MUCH better than just running the 1/8" stereo plug from headphone jack.

    Just my .02 cents.
     
  14. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    One of the difficulties for me is that I didn't want to rip my collection down into a compressed format. I wanted the original copies to be lossless. I started out doing them as .WAVs and learned that you can't get album art if you do that, since the album art is embedded in the music file itself and .WAVs were never setup for that.

    SO, I went back a second time and re-ripped everything as "Apple Lossless", which is fine except for the fact that each song is between 30MB and 35MB!!! :yikes:

    So now I've got a collection of 6000 songs which takes 160GB of space...no matter what I buy, I can't fit the whole collection on an iPod. Honestly, I don't really care about being able to do that anyway...I was just hoping to save a few playlists since in a car, I would typically carry a handful of CDs and only have access to maybe 100 songs.

    By some quick calcs, here what I could store on the iPods using my existing Apple Lossless encoding:

    Nano 2GB = 57 Songs
    Nano 4GB = 114 Songs
    iPod 20GB = 571 Songs
    iPod 60GB = 1714 Songs

    A 4GB Nano would be fine for what I was after, but since it's new I may not have the aftermarket support for some of the cradles and adapters yet...

    OR

    I was told I can create a separate iTunes library of my entire database using some sort of compressed format, and then load the iPod from that...that way I'd get more songs to fit. Apparently, iTunes doesn't convert "on the fly" from Lossless to a compressed format when moving the songs across to the iPod. (Though I heard that there little "Shuffle" product WILL do that) Hmmmmm????

    :thinking:
     
  15. surpip

    surpip 1 ton status

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    off topic
    my i pod is a pita to use the little "navigation" button in the midle any tricks to using this?
    thanks
    hi-jack off :D
     
  16. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Don't ask me, I don't even OWN an iPod yet.


    From what I've seen, it's going to be a challenge to use the Apple interface when driving in a bouncy truck. I wonder if there's a way to "tap in" to the main functions (track forward, track backward, volume up, volume down) from the interface connector???

    That way I could add some steering wheel controls.....that would be VERY 1972!!!! :haha:
     
  17. surpip

    surpip 1 ton status

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    dont want to cut a hole in the dash but will add funky futureistic controls to steering wheel for that authentic 1972 look :D :haha:
     
  18. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    [FogHorn Leghorn] I say....I say....that was a joke, boy [/FogHorn Leghorn]


    Nope, if I did a set of standalone controls, I'd probably do something like incorporate them into the existing AM radio preset buttons.... that's more my style (Lots of work and trouble for something nobody can even see!!!) :D
     
  19. surpip

    surpip 1 ton status

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    ya i was jokin to
    scarcastic is me
     
  20. tuffdogstudio

    tuffdogstudio 1/2 ton status

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    I cannot vouch for this, but could be along the lines of what you seek:
    http://www.theistore.com/ijet.html
     

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