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  • FM Modulator / New Head Unit?

    How should I get audio working?

    a) PC speakers (don't like the idea of this as it will be messy)

    b) Get a new (cheap) head unit with aux input (seen them around $70). Yes, I know it's hardly audiophile but my ears aren't that hi-fidelity either!

    c) Get an FM modulator - are these really that awful? I used a 12 disk changer that played through FM for a long long time and was quite impressed. The big worry is that as soon as I turned it on it obliterated all radio signals, on a CarPC I may not have access to turn it on/off so this may not be workable. If I went this route any recomendations on products? I could also reuse this with an MP3 player or CD player so it's quite appealing.

    Any comments / suggestions welcome, just note I do not want to spend much right now and I don't believe I have sensitive enough ears to justify really expensive audio even if I had the $$$ to spend.

    Chris.

  • #2
    It would help if you mention what head unit you have now. There may be some kind of work around for it.
    So far:
    M10000 Nehemiah, 1Gb RAM, Opus 90w PS, Buffalo Tech WLI2-USB2-G54, 160 Gb HDD, GlobalSat BU-353 GPS, iGuidance, Zippy EL-610, Panasonic CW8123B Slim Slot CDRW/DVD, 10" Lilliput, Sony XA-300, Sony CDX-MP30 Head, OBD-II

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    • #3
      get a HU. FM modulators are just awful. I'm not an audiofile and i tried the FM modulator and hated it. I got a new HE and loved it
      '98 Explorer Sport
      http://mp3car.zcentric.com (down atm)
      AMD 800mhz 192megs RAM 60gig hard drive 9 inch widescreen VGA
      80% done

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tom2112
        It would help if you mention what head unit you have now. There may be some kind of work around for it.
        Okay, the head unit is a Sony EXCD-31, I was going to pull it and have a look behind but it seems to screw in rather than the spring pegs I have been used too. I did a quick seach but haven't turned anything up yet, any tips welcome.

        Chris.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by hijinks21
          get a HU. FM modulators are just awful. I'm not an audiofile and i tried the FM modulator and hated it. I got a new HE and loved it
          point point case. Unless you're riding with blown speakers or only midrange speakers an FM modulator will be audibly degraded.
          car computer rev 5: 8" lilliput and usual suspects

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ukchris
            Okay, the head unit is a Sony EXCD-31, I was going to pull it and have a look behind but it seems to screw in rather than the spring pegs I have been used too. I did a quick seach but haven't turned anything up yet, any tips welcome.

            Chris.
            You're in luck. You may not need a new head unit. I have a Sony head unit too. Mine didn't have AUX inputs, but it did have a proprietary Sony CD Changer port. So I went and bought a Sony XA-300 on ebay for $41.

            The Sony XA-300 plugs into the CD Changer port on your Sony head unit and gives you all kinds of extra ports to hook up to. It has RCA ins, it has a USB in, and it has two more (maybe it was three - not sure) Sony CD Changer ports.

            The guy I bought my XA-300 off of had several up for auction, and also sells them on his website. Most on ebay were brand new, in box. One was not. The ones that I saw went for $30-50. The ones on his site sell for $70+, which is still better than $100+ at Crutchfield. The ebay seller was buyessex and their website is www buyessex com.
            So far:
            M10000 Nehemiah, 1Gb RAM, Opus 90w PS, Buffalo Tech WLI2-USB2-G54, 160 Gb HDD, GlobalSat BU-353 GPS, iGuidance, Zippy EL-610, Panasonic CW8123B Slim Slot CDRW/DVD, 10" Lilliput, Sony XA-300, Sony CDX-MP30 Head, OBD-II

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            • #7
              Thanks for that Tom, I've been looking on eBay, there are a couple in the $50-$70 range as you indicated. I suppsoe I have to consider now if it is worthwhile adding on to this fairly old head unit or replacing it, assuming this box will fit by EXCD-31.

              I don't think it is an especially remarkable head unit, it's is quite servicable but really does not stand out. The alternative I would contemplate is to get a new unit altogether. Besy Buy are doing free installation on any head units $99 and up, that becomes a quite attractive offer as I'd quickly get to $70 or $80 with shipping and then still have to fiddle about hooking it all up.

              So I guess my dilema is to add such a unit or get a cheap head unit with an aux input, they start at around $70, the brand is "DUAL", obviously not SONY but who knows... lots of good no-name electronics around these days!

              Is it powered from the unit or another supply by the way?

              Thanks again,

              Chris.

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              • #8
                beware with best buy "free installation". They give you free installation but charge an arm and a leg for connectors/adapters/HU kits.
                If you buy the HU from Crutchfield, all the above are free and they give you detail step by step DIY or IIY (install it yourself ). There are many good HU in the $100-$200 range that can play both MP3 and WMA.
                2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
                89 Supra Turbo P3 [email protected]/Abit BE6 II, Alpine M-BUS Car2PC.
                Y2K Accord Dell GX150
                RoadRunner is the best FE PERIOD
                EmoRebellion is a SCAMMER

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                • #9
                  Dude, it is well worth the investment to get a Head Unit that has Aux-Input. Trust me, you can definately hear the difference. How can I explain it in a way that makes sense. How about this. Listening to MP3's from your computer through an AUX-IN enabled Head Unit is like listening to, well, regular music, that you'd normally hear from your CD player. Listening to MP3's coming over an FM-Modulator is like listening to music in MONO. The sound is kinda muted, not as powerful, not as much THUMP to it.
                  ------------------------------------------------
                  Car: 2000 Grand Am GT
                  PC: Pentium III 900mhz 40GB 256mb RAM
                  Software: Winamp 5.-3 on WinXP
                  Stats: 22 second boot, 6300+ MP3's in playlist
                  Head Unit: Blaupunkdt Casablanca

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SirCyRo
                    Dude, it is well worth the investment to get a Head Unit that has Aux-Input. Trust me, you can definately hear the difference. How can I explain it in a way that makes sense. How about this. Listening to MP3's from your computer through an AUX-IN enabled Head Unit is like listening to, well, regular music, that you'd normally hear from your CD player. Listening to MP3's coming over an FM-Modulator is like listening to music in MONO. The sound is kinda muted, not as powerful, not as much THUMP to it.

                    Thanks, sounds like I need to go have a look-see at the store!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ukchris
                      Is it powered from the unit or another supply by the way?

                      Thanks again,

                      Chris.
                      No problem, Chris. The XA-300 is powered thru the CD Changer port on the head unit, so the only wires you'd have to/from it would be a USB cable from the PC and the changer cable to the head unit (both included, I think). The XA-300 isn't very big, and would easily fit in a glove box or under a seat.

                      As for the cost/gain I think you're on the right track with a new head unit. If you can get a decent one for $100-150 range that has AUX ins, then you're better off with a new one. In my situation, I really like my head unit, so I wanted to keep it. It's not the greatest, and I've had it for a couple years, but I like it. The $41 for the changer/AUX ins was steal for me. The alternatives I looked at were all over $350, and I didn't want to spend the money - at least not on the head unit - save some for the carPC!
                      So far:
                      M10000 Nehemiah, 1Gb RAM, Opus 90w PS, Buffalo Tech WLI2-USB2-G54, 160 Gb HDD, GlobalSat BU-353 GPS, iGuidance, Zippy EL-610, Panasonic CW8123B Slim Slot CDRW/DVD, 10" Lilliput, Sony XA-300, Sony CDX-MP30 Head, OBD-II

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with the new HU method. I had an FM mod on mine. Started losing volume and getting fuzziness with the "extreme" sounds - like the windows start-up sound. Also heard the engine whine. With my new Pioneer HU, the system sounds like I have a CD in the player. Well worth the $280 from a local small business.

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