Smarten me up on add-on CD server for auto's

My wife and I use our pickup to travel some with a 5th wheel camper. The radio is a basic AM-FM. Looked at replacing it with one that would fit into the same dash opening. The local electronics guru said we would probably be better off $$ wise to buy a CD server.

As they describe it, the CD server-player needs a 12 volt plug in connection and then plays and transmits your CD’s to the FM radio already in place. The guru said it would probably fit under the seat of the pickup and be out of the way.

What’s the Straight Dope? Is that how these things work? What’s the cost for one of these devices? Any recommendations on brands to look at? Brands to avoid?


I’d be nervous about mounting one of those under a seat. The housing on some of them are pretty flimsy, one bump with a boot and it’ll probably knock the door off.
But yeah, that’s how they work, cost will very, check Best Buy.

How fancy do you want to get?

For well under $100, you can pick up a portable CD player and an FM transmitter. Performance will be iffy - depending on the areas you travel through, you may find yourself frequently changing the transmitter frequency to avoid local stations. You will have the very same problem with a remote CD changer under the seat.

Next up the line would be to replace the in-dash receiver with something that has an audio input. These days, it will be promoted as a connection for an iPod, but as long as it’s an 1/8" jack, audio is audio, and you can feed it with an iPod, or a portable CD player. Portable players these days can be had for as little as $20.

Take a look at to see what’s available to fit your truck. If you’re at all handy with tools, car audio is pretty easy to work with, and Crutchfield gives very good instructions.

IMHO, CD jukeboxes have gone the way of the 78. As gotpasswords stated, a good option would be to replace the in dash receiver with a newer one with an 1/8" audio input. If you are handy at all, you can do it yourself. Buy an ipod to plug into it. I really dislike the FM transmitter adapters for the ipod, there always seems to be problems with interference.