iPod car stereo?

Eventually I’m going to have to buy a new car stereo. While there are CD changers available, the boot of an MGB is tiny enough; a changer back there would take up too much space. In addition, I have over 200 CDs and I’d like to be able to play any song on them any time.

I wonder if there is a stereo that accepts iPod input, similar to the way a personal CD player can be plugged into a cassette deck?

If so, who makes it?

If you want to plug the iPOD right in, you will need a car that comes with an adaptor. I think BMWs and Minis have them.

But I just use an adaptor where I plug the iPOD into my tape deck and use the lighter as an outlet.



Any stereo that accepts an audio unput jack on the front panel will work.

Other (maybe less elegant) options.

  • FM transmitter (I like the RoadTrip model…others like one made by Monster)
  • Cassette adaptor.

Also, something like this from Alpine might be what you’re looking for in a neat package.

This shows that at least Clarion, Kenwood, and Pioneer make some head units that are ipod-aware.

I have this adapter from Pioneer. It works with almost any Pioneer head unit fromt he last few years, to varying degrees of sophistication.

I enjoy it, and it was a great addition to my MP3-capbable Pioneer. However, it’s important to keep in mind the clunkiness of the interface. It really makes you appreciate the scroll wheel. It’s really hard to scroll through thousands of songs with a radio-style interface. Efficient genre tagging and playlist creation helps, but it’s still a bit frustrating at times.

I’ve found that it’s far better for playing pre-programmed playlists or general shuffle mode than for trying to go to one individual track after another. But, despite its imperfections, I love it and use it every day. Even if the interface is less than ideal, I love being able to access my entire music collection as my iPod stays stealthily hidden in my glove box.

As the earlier poster said, Kenwood and Alpine have the same basic thing.

The Alpine looks like just the ticket. Unfortunately, it would mean that I would have compromise on the ‘vintageness’ of the car.

Tmodules in the other link look interesting. They say that they are usable with any brand-compatible stereo. Is that primarily so that controls on the stereo can be used to control the iPod? I have a vintage radio from the '70s laying about. Can a module be used to connect the iPod to the stereo and power so that it can be played through it? (i.e., the iPod would still have to be controlled from the iPod; but it can be played through the old stereo.)

I believe so, as well as for showing artist/song info on the display of the head unit.

I’m not sure what you mean; unless your old stereo has an aux input, wouldn’t this have to be accomplished by an FM modulator/cassette adapter, like beagledave mentioned? With this solution you also still have to worry about the ipod’s power source.

Out of curiosity, what kind of car is it? I was peeking into a beautiful 70’s old Cadillac Fleetwood the other day; mounted under the dash was an Eclipse deck :slight_smile:

'66 MGB. It will have upgrades for modern use, but I’d like it to look as vintage as possible.

It seems to me that rigging a power source would be no problem (the car is being changed to negative earth, a very simple operation). Would an old stereo have ‘a couple of wires’ that can be spliced into for the iPod? That is, run the iPod audio output through the radio’s amplifier?

Vintage-looking is good; but I can still go with an ooh-look-at-the-flashy-lights unit if I have to.

Johnny Don’t forget that your B came from the factory as a postive earth (ground) car. Unless you change it over, a modern stereo is a problem. I think that there used to be a way to mount a neg ground unit in a positive ground car by isolating it, but there would seem to be a short circuit hazard there.
In any event I would think that if you had a stereo with a pre-amp input, you could splice the output cord from the I Pod into that. The stereo would not control the I Pod, but it would be easy.


Have you checked iPodLounge? They’ve got a good number of car adaptors and car kits listed. The Neo Car Audio iOn claims to be a solution that can connect directly to your OEM stereo, so you may want to try that.

You could also consider installing an mp3 CD player. I’ve driven from Riverside, CA to San Francisco without changing the disc.

Unless your looking for ‘cd quality’ sound the i-trip seems to be the way to go.
No cables or wires. Just plugs into the top of the i-pod. Tune you car deck into the correct station and your done.
It does use the batteries up a bit quicker though.

I was looking for an iPod hookup for my new RX-8, and I found Denison USA makes iPod integration kits for many types of cars.

Also, if you live near a big city, don’t even bother with the iTrip. I can’t find any suitable dead station in Chicago, try as I might. It was a complete waste of money for me.

I thought of getting an actual '60s AM/FM stereo. Would there be a way of routing an iPod through one?

The radio I have is from the 19702 or 1980s. It’s a GM 1400 according to the stamp on the case. Not period-correct, but with its log scale and mechanical push-buttons it’s somewhat close. Lots of wires.

On the right side is a pair of wires: light blue and tan. Another pair is green and white. Two other wires, not joined, are avocado green and grey. These wires go under a bracket and join the single wires coming out of the back: pink, orange, black brown and yellow. The pink wire goes into a copper coil about 30mm long and 10mm in diameter (including a white wrapping. There’s a red wire coming out the other end. All of these wires go into an en-bloc plug. Most of the wires come out of the other end of the plug and go into another en-bloc plug. The tan and brown wires go into what looks like a white ceramic ‘cube’ (actually, it’s not a ‘cube’ per se). It’s about 7mm square and about 15mm long. It’s wrapped in electrical tape. The back of the case features what looks like an unthreaded coax plug; and, nearer the centre, a pair of flat-head screws with ‘dual straight blade’ slots in them. (i.e., they’re not Phillips; but look like two straight blade slots set at a 90° angle.)

So does this sound as if there’s a pre-amp input?

That seems to require a modern input in the back.

It would be so cool to have an iPod play through a vintage stereo!

CD quality would be nice. OTOH, this is a noisy rag-top with a noisy engine.

I hated the FM transmitter. When I did get a glimmer of sound it wasn’t even as clear as FM radio. Plus in big citys you’re not likely to find a band that isn’t in use already. Obviouslly, ymmv.

I used to have the cassette adapter, but sadly my new car doesn’t have a tape player of any sort, so I’m kind of in the same boat as you. I’m looking at running it to the CD changer port on the back of the OEM stereo as mentioned in rjung’s post.

I do know that GM is putting stereos with a 1/8" stereo input jack right on the face of the unit in some 2006s. If I don’t get it sorted out by then, I’ll probably buy one of those. I suspect with the poularity of iPod and other similar portable players it won’t be long until more and more aftermarket stereos start coming with input jacks right on the front of the unit itself.

I have experience with FM transmitters. They suck. If you live out in rural Wyoming or some desolate place like that, then you can probably get decent reception, but if you live anywhere that might be described using the word “civilization,” you will probably find that there are no unused radio frequencies, and the best you can hope for is to try to drown out one of the weaker stations. There’s a major drop in audio quality, even to my non-audiophile ears.

Frankly, I recommend getting a radio that has an auxiliary input on the front panel. There aren’t too many of these, but they’re getting more common as MP3 players become more popular. (I don’t have an MP3 player of any kind, but I had an FM transmitter installed because my car’s radio has trouble reading CD-Rs, and I didn’t like any of the aftermarket radios I found. Sometimes I bring a portable CD player in the car and plug it in.)

That’s what I use to connect my PSP to the sound system. :slight_smile: Probably not what Johnny is looking for, but it’s darn handy, easy and cheap.