I never had any doubt that readers of this blog have the coolest systems, but the magnitude of the flood of homemade speakers, desktop systems, headphones, and all sorts of groovy turntables totally knocked me out. There's some sweet gear here, so click to the slideshow and check out the systems. Thanks to all who sent JPEGs -- I heard from well over 100 readers, so I can't show everyone's gear.
LAS VEGAS--At the 2012 SEMA Show, Pioneer announced all-new lines of CD and DVD/multimedia receivers. The changes for this new generation are sweeping, encompassing nearly every product Pioneer makes; subtle, consisting mostly of moderate upgrades; and significant.
Starting with the 6.1-inch AVH-X1500DVD ($300), MixTrax compatibility comes to Pioneer's line of DVD/multimedia receivers. MixTrax, Pioneer's automated DJ and playlist software, analyzes your music library and creates custom mixes that play back while you drive. Compatibility with those mixes and control over how they're played is now baked into every Pioneer receiver with an "X&… Read more
LAS VEGAS--Scosche has been manufacturing car stereo dashboard mounting kits, wire harnesses, and installation accessories for so many years, but it has never offered a car stereo receiver of its own...until now.
At the 2012 SEMA Show, Scosche showed off the SCDBTA60 Car Stereo Receiver. This unit features an internal four-channel amplifier that outputs a maximum of 40 watts per channel and three preamp outputs for adding external amps. It's got a CD player and an SD card slot, and can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth (HFP and A2DP), USB, or an auxiliary input. By itself, it'… Read more
The lovely Mrs. Cheapskate has a smartphone, but her minivan lacks a stereo input jack. Thus, there's no easy way for her to listen to her playlists, podcasts, Pandora stations, and the like.
A new breed of FM transmitters promises to solve that problem. Like this one: Today only, 1SaleADay has the Livio LVC02A Bluetooth Internet Radio Car Kit for $29.99, plus $4.99 for shipping. It's new, not refurbished, and it sells elsewhere (like on Amazon) for at least $76.
Update: Sadly, but unsurprisingly, this is now sold out.
Update No. 2: Back in stock!
The … Read more
I went to the New York International Auto Show with just one thing on my mind: car audio. Like many New Yorkers, I don't own a car, so this was my chance to sample a wide range of premium car audio systems in everything from Smart cars to Rolls-Royces. For the most part, generic car audio or famous name-brand systems like Bose and Mark Levinson sounded thick and muddy. Not one was up to the standards of a decent home hi-fi system. They played loud and had lots of bass, but even the most expensive car systems at the … Read more
The fact that the operator of this car stereo has to wear protective ear-wear and keep the driver's door of his 1989 Nissan Pickup Truck open to fully demo the system should be your first warning sign that the outcome of the YouTube video below will be either disastrous or hilarious.
The sound-off competition starts about the way you'd expect: with a whole lot of shaking. Then, at around the 20-second mark, the bass (which is already overwhelming the camera's puny microphone) proves to be too much for the Nissan's 23-year-old glass windshield and...well, just … Read more
The InCharge Auto BT is a simple device, both in form factor and function. Essentially, it features a 12-volt power connection on one end of a 4-foot cable and a male analog auxiliary audio connection on the other. You may be asking, "If one end of the cable connects to power and the other end connects to the car, where does my phone connect?" The answer is: wirelessly. That "BT" at the end of InCharge Auto BT doesn't stand for Brian Tong. It's short for Bluetooth and this unit uses Bluetooth HFP and A2DP/AVRCP to wirelessly receive audio from your handset to be output to your car's speakers via the aforementioned auxiliary audio connection. … Read more
For me a great hi-fi doesn't necessarily have to be the best-sounding one.
It's more about a sound that draws me in. One CD or LP leads to the next, and I don't want to stop to eat, read, go to bed, or watch TV. A great hi-fi is one that lets the music cut loose. Even cheap gear might have what it takes to get my juices flowing. Take the Velodyne vPulse in-ear headphones; they make too much bass and are far from the most refined headphones in my collection, but I keep using them. I … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Pioneer's smartphone-centric AppRadio impressed us when it launched last year, but we had our complaints. We wanted more apps, better hardware, and Android support.
At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, that's exactly what we got with the announcement of Pioneer's AppRadio 2.
The most interesting new trick in this second-generation hardware's bag is Pioneer's announcement of support for Android devices, specifically those that are equipped with either a Mobile High Definition Link (MHL) or Micro-HDMI connection. This is an interesting twist, as I assumed that Pioneer would be taking the wireless Bluetooth Serial Port … Read more
I know a little about under-dash record players from the late 1960s, but I was totally clueless about 1950s car turntables, until I heard writer Paul Collins talking about them on WNYC's "Soundcheck" radio show a few weeks ago. I chatted with Collins to learn more about these groovy hi-fis.
Columbia Records developed the proprietary Highway Hi-Fi format: a thick 7-inch, 16 2/3rpm record that had up to one hour playing time per side. Chrysler executives jumped on the idea, and offered the turntable as an option in their 1956 models, and were hoping one out … Read more