QUESTION: iPod-ready decks - more cumbersome to use...? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 74 Old 12-31-2006, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey folks.

I've just bought a JVC car stereo head unit. One of my criteria was to have a unit that was mp3 player/iPod friendly, as I'd like to start banishing CDs etc from my car.

This unit is "iPod ready" and a connection can be installed so the iPod is controlled via the car stereo unit. But now I'm wondering about people's experience using these types of controls for their iPod/Mp3 players. I haven't tried mine yet (has yet to be installed in my car, which is why I'm asking now)...but it occurs to me it could be more cumbersome to find tunes via the car stereo interface. I know that folders and play lists can, I believe, be accessed via the car unit controls. But I wonder about how easy this access will be, and you loose the nice, easy tactile interface of the iPod itself once it's hooked up to the car stereo (at least my instructions say the iPod's controls are de-activated once it's hooked to the car stereo).

So can anyone talk about their experience in this regard?

I note that some car stereos have what appears to be a small (analog?) input for MP3 players/iPods on their front. Mine, I believe, will be a fully digital hook up. But I wonder if there is a difference in how one controls the iPod and which may be preferable.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 74 Old 12-31-2006, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone?
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post #3 of 74 Old 12-31-2006, 11:14 PM
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I have a Kenwood with both a USB and IPOD interfaces. The radio's control is different and not as intuitive nor as flexible as the IPOD or my Samsung MP3 player. I doubt that the JVC is much different as they were not designed for this purpose. It is still nice to be able to use the data from a jump drive or the IPOD instead of dealing with CDs. I actually like the USB port best because you can make assorments of various genres cheap and small. I made the wife an assortment of Christmas music on a 1gig USB drive that I got for $10.

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post #4 of 74 Old 01-01-2007, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply Icaillo.

To anyone else: Is there any particularly friendly iPod-ready car head units stereos? I want to figure out if I'll be keeping this one. Thanks.
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post #5 of 74 Old 01-01-2007, 06:47 PM
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I have a Pioneer dehp6800mp and the ipod controls were the best that I've found. New models should be hitting stores within the next couple months so we may see more doing better ipod controls.
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post #6 of 74 Old 01-03-2007, 12:09 PM
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some pioneer units have what they call the "Rotary Commander" which will kinda mimic the iPod's ClickWheel. alpine also has a good iPod navigation although i'm not sure if it's only for their video units...
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post #7 of 74 Old 01-05-2007, 06:23 PM
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I have a jvc with an ipod controller, and it sounds great, but it is very cumbersome to navigate, and it only displays 8 characters. I did find one shortcut however-It will remember whatever list your ipod was playing, and will automatically play that. So if you want to hear an album or a playlist, just start the album on the ipod BEFORE you plug it in. I bought mine because it includes a front aux-in jack,(as a plan b if I wasn't happy with the interface) but I decided to stick with the ipod connector so I can keep it out of sight. If you leave your ipod hanging from the dash it WILL disappear- guaranteed. MUCH safer to have the ipod in the glove box and the wiring hidden. You are aware that "ipod ready" requires a JVC ipod adapter. About $50 very simple to hook up. I ran mine to the glove box.

BTW there is no such thing as a digital connection to the ipod. The dock's pinout includes connectors for analog lineout, and that's what gets fed to your stereo, but it is a high quality clean connection., and I believe it's a much cleaner signal than going through the headphone jack.
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post #8 of 74 Old 01-06-2007, 07:54 AM
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Stay away from the Kenwood IPOD interface adapter. The interface is terrible.

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post #9 of 74 Old 01-11-2007, 06:44 PM
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Rich,

Which JVC did you get? Each model seems to have a different panel layout with different controls. I have the KD-G320... got it packaged with the ipod adapter at Circuit City for a great price, so I figured, why not?

The KD-G320 has a round navigation control to the left of the volume knob. It;s really a four-way clicker... left - up - right - down. With the ipod attached, you must control it via the radio, the ipod itself is locked. Click up to get into Menu. Then click right to go through Playlist, Artists, Albums, Songs, etc. Click down to select. Cick right come more to cycle through choices, down to select. When you get to a song, click down to play. Or, you can set "song random" or "album random" by pressing the mode button (far right on the panel) then preset 6. I usually use song random, and then while playing just click right to skip to next song.

The JVC units only display 8 characters, and mine uses large-segment lcd, which is not very readable, IMO. The Pioneers now have 16 characters. Some of the high end units have dot matrix or OEL displays which would look better I think (but I haven't seen any).

With the aux input on the front of the unit, the head unit is really just a set of speakers, so all you get is the music... no display, and you must control it from the ipod. Some people seem to prefer this.

With the adapter, using the 30 pin plug, you control the ipod from the radio (or the radio's remote if it has one -- mine does, but I never use it). You get the display. What you DON'T get is access to the ipod's other menu items like settings for sound check, eq, etc. I'm not sure if these setting even get passed to the radio at all... I tried setting sound check to prevent wide swings in violume between songs from different albums, but it did not seem to work. I also tried setting the ipod eq to "rock", but I couldn't hear any difference from flat eq.

The MP3/WMA disc player is nice too.... like having a bunc of small ipods. Interface works pretty much the same... click right on the nav button to cycle through folders, down to enter a folder, right (or left) to cycle through the contents, down to select. Sounds pretty much the same as the ipod, which is expected 'cause it's similar encoding. If you name your folders beginning with "01", "02", etc, you can access them directly using the presets. It's supposed to suport 8 levels of of folders, but I haven't tried it yet.

Some people say the sound quality of the ipod isn't great, but it sounds good to me. Definitely better than FM radio, even with a good signal.

What I wish I had is bluetooth through the radio. There are a few of these available... Parrot (better known in Europe), Pioneer and Sony each have one, JVC just announced one this year. Most major players have bluetooth add ons for some of their units (Alpine,Pioneer,Panasonic), but I'd prefer builtin. The Panasonic is incoming calls only . They are all pretty expensive... but so are the unis\ s with the builtins. Now I use a Motorola visor clip unit, which works OK, but I have to mute the radio myself.

Oh well, guess I droned on long enough.... time to watch "The Office"...

RS
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post #10 of 74 Old 01-13-2007, 05:05 PM
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The Alpine iDA-X001 looks promising:

http://transportation.engadget.com/2...ced-and-dated/
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post #11 of 74 Old 01-15-2007, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetFreak View Post

The Alpine iDA-X001 looks promising:

the alpine does look nice, but i hoped they have used more space for the screen. it looks like it can barely display 8 characters...
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post #12 of 74 Old 01-30-2007, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffStickney View Post


BTW there is no such thing as a digital connection to the ipod. The dock's pinout includes connectors for analog lineout, and that's what gets fed to your stereo, but it is a high quality clean connection., and I believe it's a much cleaner signal than going through the headphone jack.

This is for sure? No digital output? That doesn't bode too well if you're going to use any signal processing(xover, delay, EQ-DSP) that the head unit may have.

I've been looking at this myself, but the above is certainly not encouraging.
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post #13 of 74 Old 02-06-2007, 02:34 PM
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I have the Alpine 9857. I had the 9835 (which was awesome), but sold it to get the 9857 (which has the newer, better Ipod controls). While the Alpine Ipod interface is outstanding, all of their decks have gone to **** since they started puting them in Best Buy. The 9857 is the flagship receiver (without going to F1 Status, DVD, flipscreen). They dumped the 5 volt pre-outs and used 2 volt. Cut the on-board amp by about 35% and ditched the internal xover. I swear to everything holy that I will never buy another Alpine product again if they can't bring the quality back up to par. VERY disappointed. I will be selling this unit very soon and getting one from Eclipse after owning no less than 8 Alpines over the years.

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post #14 of 74 Old 02-06-2007, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

This is for sure? No digital output? That doesn't bode too well if you're going to use any signal processing(xover, delay, EQ-DSP) that the head unit may have.

I've been looking at this myself, but the above is certainly not encouraging.

They connect via the Ipod docking port. Why is this going to matter in your case? It is just the signal into the headunit. DSP, EQ etc will still be usable. Maybe I am misunderstanding. Plus, if one were that picky about the signalgoing in, they would use the CD, not an Ipod.

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post #15 of 74 Old 02-06-2007, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scallica View Post

Stay away from the Kenwood IPOD interface adapter. The interface is terrible.

Seems Kenwood has come out with some new interfaces for the IPOD. Looks promising, would really like to take these for a test drive.

http://kenwoodusa.com/products/ListC...2&k2=61&k3=220

I have their KCA iP500, and I hate it.The sound is good,but it is sooo slow and cumbersome to use. Especially since I have a lot of music loaded up.
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post #16 of 74 Old 02-06-2007, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammondc View Post

They connect via the Ipod docking port. Why is this going to matter in your case? It is just the signal into the headunit. DSP, EQ etc will still be usable. Maybe I am misunderstanding. Plus, if one were that picky about the signalgoing in, they would use the CD, not an Ipod.

I asked a Pioneer rep about this and he confirmed it's an analog signal. Pioneer has head units with IPod capabilities. My use with the IPod would be with having it loaded with music that has been converted to the Apple lossless audio codec in an attempt to maintain signal quality.

Having the original digital signal when using DSP, crossovers, etc is always more desirable than using an analog signal, but heck, we're talking about a car, so it's not really that big a deal I suppose.
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post #17 of 74 Old 02-06-2007, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slapshot View Post

Seems Kenwood has come out with some new interfaces for the IPOD. Looks promising, would really like to take these for a test drive.

http://kenwoodusa.com/products/ListC...2&k2=61&k3=220

I have their KCA iP500, and I hate it.The sound is good,but it is sooo slow and cumbersome to use. Especially since I have a lot of music loaded up.

Somewhat similar to the Pioneer equipment, a box interfaces between the IPod and the head unit and the IPod can be controlled through the head unit..
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post #18 of 74 Old 02-14-2007, 07:30 AM
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I'm a little late on this...

Much like the guy a few posts before me, I have the Alpine CDA-9857 with the iPod adapter (422i).

The controls are easy to use but I would definitely make some changes if I could.

A) If you have a lot of different artists on your iPod it can take forever to scroll to an artist in the middle of the alphabet. (Millencolin, Mudvayne, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, etc). The scrolling is nowhere near as fast as it is when using the iPod's controls.

B) There's no "back" (menu) button. What this means is: If you know a song you want to hear, but you're not sure which CD it's on, you can't back out of your first choice, and pick a different one. (Yes. I'm completely aware of the fact that you could click, "all songs", but there are just times when a back button would be nice.

I think those are my only two gripes.

Overall I'd absolutely purchase this combination again. I only listen to the iPod when I'm in the car (never a cd, never the radio, never the XM, etc.)
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post #19 of 74 Old 02-18-2007, 08:34 PM
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I've been reading about all these in-dash units with MP3 ports, but here is a cool gadget that will allow you to mount the MP3 port anywhere you want.

Cool MP3 Audio Cable - Dash Mountable
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post #20 of 74 Old 02-23-2007, 04:41 AM
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Do any of these decks (with and lcd screen) allow you to view movies from an ipod video? What I'm looking for is something to mimic the iPod screen on the lcd.

Ideally, I'd like to keep the ipod hidden and use an interface like the Harman Kardon Drive + Play while the ipod screen is displayed on the head unit, videos included.
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post #21 of 74 Old 02-24-2007, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bag302 View Post

Do any of these decks (with and lcd screen) allow you to view movies from an ipod video? What I'm looking for is something to mimic the iPod screen on the lcd.

Ideally, I'd like to keep the ipod hidden and use an interface like the Harman Kardon Drive + Play while the ipod screen is displayed on the head unit, videos included.

I'm using a Clarion VRX755VD dvd deck with an ipod. the touchscreen interface controls the ipod functions well but slow when scrolling through a long list of artists / songs. I thought I read somewhere that the latest Clarion dvd decks could display ipod video on it's screen. not absolutely sure but it's worth a look.

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post #22 of 74 Old 02-28-2007, 12:29 PM
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this will be a common feature among video units introduced this year. i know for sure that pioneer will have the CD-I200 interface.
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post #23 of 74 Old 03-26-2007, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffStickney View Post

BTW there is no such thing as a digital connection to the ipod. The dock's pinout includes connectors for analog lineout, and that's what gets fed to your stereo, but it is a high quality clean connection., and I believe it's a much cleaner signal than going through the headphone jack.

This used to be true, but the 5th generation (video) and up ipods are capable of outputting digital audio through the dock connector, including protected content. The new Alpine iDA-X001 uses this. If you read the description here: Alpine iDA-X001 under the "Amazing sound quality" heading you'll see that it gets the audio digitally (through USB) to the headunit, and runs it through 24 bit Burr-Brown DACs. It's also not just reading the file structure and decrypting it somehow because it does playback protected content (which has to be decrypted on an authorized device).

I think the Pioneer DEH-P6900UB works the same way as it's interface with the ipod is also through USB and not though the old serial control / analog dock connector line out.

I've played with the Pioneer in a Best Buy and it really is fast and as intuitive as the ipod. Only three lines of text sucks, as well as the monochrome display (why couldn't this be implemented on one of the nicer pioneers?) but the rotary commander knob is really nice.
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post #24 of 74 Old 03-26-2007, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armygreen11 View Post

This used to be true, but the 5th generation (video) and up ipods are capable of outputting digital audio through the dock connector, including protected content. The new Alpine iDA-X001 uses this. If you read the description here: Alpine iDA-X001 under the "Amazing sound quality" heading you'll see that it gets the audio digitally (through USB) to the headunit, and runs it through 24 bit Burr-Brown DACs. It's also not just reading the file structure and decrypting it somehow because it does playback protected content (which has to be decrypted on an authorized device).

I think the Pioneer DEH-P6900UB works the same way as it's interface with the ipod is also through USB and not though the old serial control / analog dock connector line out.

I've played with the Pioneer in a Best Buy and it really is fast and as intuitive as the ipod. Only three lines of text sucks, as well as the monochrome display (why couldn't this be implemented on one of the nicer pioneers?) but the rotary commander knob is really nice.

The Premier model, the DEH-P980BT has a color display. I'm getting a DEH-P880PRS installed today. I was going to go with the 980, but apparently Pioneer has discovered a problem with the Bluetooth portion of it. Granted, it lists at $570 so it's quite a bit more than the 6900...



Are you positive about the 5G IPods having digital out? I asked the Pioneer rep about that a few months ago and he said the IPod fed an analog signal to their head-units...?
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post #25 of 74 Old 03-26-2007, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

The Premier model, the DEH-P980BT has a color display. I'm getting a DEH-P880PRS installed today. I was going to go with the 980, but apparently Pioneer has discovered a problem with the Bluetooth portion of it. Granted, it lists at $570 so it's quite a bit more than the 6900...



Are you positive about the 5G IPods having digital out? I asked the Pioneer rep about that a few months ago and he said the IPod fed an analog signal to their head-units...?


Only the DEH-6900UB (or it's premier counterpart DEH-690UB) have the USB control (hence the *UB designation). They both use the CD-IU50 Cable to interface with the ipod (included with the premier model). If you look at the picture of the cable, it really is just a regular USB-ipod cable. The cable that is used with the 980 is the CD-I200 Cable and it plugs into the IP-Bus connector on the head-unit like any other IP-Bus device (changer, NAV, etc) and uses a serial control interface and analog audio.

I can't say how similar the two are as I haven't used the latter, but they claim that the CD-I200 is "...as quick and easy as manipulating the iPod itself. " Personally I think that we will be seeing many new devices using this USB control interface for the ipod in the next year or two. I'd like to see them eventually get to the point where you could load firmware drivers into your headunit to control other devices as well (Zune?)

And yeah, if you read the description of the Alpine iDA-X001 in the link I posted above, it definately says that it gets the audio from the ipod digitally. USB is a digital data interface.
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post #26 of 74 Old 03-26-2007, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armygreen11 View Post

Only the DEH-6900UB (or it's premier counterpart DEH-690UB) have the USB control (hence the *UB designation). They both use the CD-IU50 Cable to interface with the ipod (included with the premier model). If you look at the picture of the cable, it really is just a regular USB-ipod cable. The cable that is used with the 980 is the CD-I200 Cable and it plugs into the IP-Bus connector on the head-unit like any other IP-Bus device (changer, NAV, etc) and uses a serial control interface and analog audio.

I can't say how similar the two are as I haven't used the latter, but they claim that the CD-I200 is "...as quick and easy as manipulating the iPod itself. " Personally I think that we will be seeing many new devices using this USB control interface for the ipod in the next year or two. I'd like to see them eventually get to the point where you could load firmware drivers into your headunit to control other devices as well (Zune?)

And yeah, if you read the description of the Alpine iDA-X001 in the link I posted above, it definately says that it gets the audio from the ipod digitally. USB is a digital data interface.

Yes, I bailed on the Pioneer install I had for this morning. After doing a little bit of research and talking with the store owner, who doesn't carry Alpine BTW, he readily admitted that the Alpine interface was the superior connection for use with an IPod.

Now the 690, and the upcoming 790, both appear to have the same connection as the Alpine unit, but I couldn't get a firm answer if that was in fact the case. I had considered those units, but neither one specs out in other areas as well as the 880 or 980, so it looks like Pioneer is not an option for me anymore.

I'm looking hard at the Alpine DVA-9861 as it has quite a few more functional aspects(DVD-A playback, etc) than the iDA-X001, and appears to have the same IPod connection and functionality as the iDA-X001 but I've made an inquiry to make sure. The iDA-X001 is due out in April BTW.

The Pioneer units have the "Made for IPod" logo as the Alpine units do, but the Alpine units also have a "Full Speed" logo, something that I don't see anywhere with the Pioneers. I'm not sure if that's an Alpine specific logo, or if it's a trademarked logo to be used universally

It's still unclear to me at this point in any of the Pioneers actually have the speed and functionality of the Alpine. Even though some of the Pioneers use a USB connection on the 690 and 790, it's not clear if they actually take the digital signal itself, or convert to analog first as it appears the add-on boxes do that are used by the 980 and 880.
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post #27 of 74 Old 03-26-2007, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Yes, I bailed on the Pioneer install I had for this morning. After doing a little bit of research and talking with the store owner, who doesn't carry Alpine BTW, he readily admitted that the Alpine interface was the superior connection for use with an IPod.

Now the 690, and the upcoming 790, both appear to have the same connection as the Alpine unit, but I couldn't get a firm answer if that was in fact the case. I had considered those units, but neither one specs out in other areas as well as the 880 or 980, so it looks like Pioneer is not an option for me anymore.

I'm looking hard at the Alpine DVA-9861 as it has quite a few more functional aspects(DVD-A playback, etc) than the iDA-X001, and appears to have the same IPod connection and functionality as the iDA-X001 but I've made an inquiry to make sure. The iDA-X001 is due out in April BTW.

The Pioneer units have the "Made for IPod" logo as the Alpine units do, but the Alpine units also have a "Full Speed" logo, something that I don't see anywhere with the Pioneers. I'm not sure if that's an Alpine specific logo, or if it's a trademarked logo to be used universally

It's still unclear to me at this point in any of the Pioneers actually have the speed and functionality of the Alpine. Even though some of the Pioneers use a USB connection on the 690 and 790, it's not clear if they actually take the digital signal itself, or convert to analog first as it appears the add-on boxes do that are used by the 980 and 880.

The iDA-X001 is the only Alpine that has the USB interface at the moment. This is Alpine's third generation ipod interface. Their first was the KCA-420 which is just plain slow as crap and was an external box that plugged into the Ai-Net. A year or two ago they introduced the ipod "full-speed" interface that greatly improved the interface of the KCA-420 just by letting you navigate through your songs and artists much more quickly, and they also added a percentage search that let you "jump" into your list in 20% increments. Both of these still use the analog line out from the dock connector. (I'm not sure what the "high-speed" interface uses for control." The iDA-X001 only uses the ipod for storage and decryption, not for D to A conversion. It uses it's own 24bit Burr-Brown DACs for that. The sound quality (at least for lossless AAC from ipod) should be much better on the iDA-X001 than any other headunit right now. Also, the user input is much better than the previous Alpine's because they actually consulted with Apple on how people would want to use the thing. That's why the screen looks like the ipod's (it's actually the same size and resolution). It does album art and all that good stuff.

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post #28 of 74 Old 03-26-2007, 04:14 PM
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Okay, so at this point, the iDA-X001 is a one-of-a-kind in the marketplace, as far as you know? At least as far as an actual digital interface for the IPod?

As I understand it then, depending on what format you stored the data on the IPod, the iDA-X001 should be as good as it gets, meaning if it was stored as .wav files it will have the same audio quality as the CD itself.

That's why I started looking into this Ipod/head-unit thing is the first place, I basically want the IPod to act as a hard-drive storage device for the head-unit.

(There's one I don't understand about a lot of these car audio units, why the heck do they all seem to have the display on the far side(right side) of the unit? Were they designed for Japanese right-hand drive vehicles? I suppose I can understand it if the unit did not have remote capability, but with a remote I never even touch the front of my current Pioneer unit.)
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post #29 of 74 Old 03-26-2007, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Okay, so at this point, the iDA-X001 is a one-of-a-kind in the marketplace, as far as you know? At least as far as an actual digital interface for the IPod?

As I understand it then, depending on what format you stored the data on the IPod, the iDA-X001 should be as good as it gets, meaning if it was stored as .wav files it will have the same audio quality as the CD itself.

That's why I started looking into this Ipod/head-unit thing is the first place, I basically want the IPod to act as a hard-drive storage device for the head-unit.

(There's one I don't understand about a lot of these car audio units, why the heck do they all seem to have the display on the far side(right side) of the unit? Were they designed for Japanese right-hand drive vehicles? I suppose I can understand it if the unit did not have remote capability, but with a remote I never even touch the front of my current Pioneer unit.)


Well, I thought it was one of a kind, but like I was saying, the Pioneer 6900UB also accesses the ipod through strictly USB like the iDA, so as far as I can tell, it works in the same way. The differences are the super nice screen and audiophile components and control (and price tag) of the alpine.

As for storing your music like wav files for the best sound possible, that's what apple made apple lossless for. It's a compression format that makes the file size smaller while reproducing the source material exactly and it's a preset compression format already in itunes.

Can't help you with the right side screen thing though. My guess would be so that the knob winds up on the left of the screen so that your arm isn't in front of the screen while you're trying to do something.
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Originally Posted by armygreen11 View Post

Well, I thought it was one of a kind, but like I was saying, the Pioneer 6900UB also accesses the ipod through strictly USB like the iDA, so as far as I can tell, it works in the same way. The differences are the super nice screen and audiophile components and control (and price tag) of the alpine.

As for storing your music like wav files for the best sound possible, that's what apple made apple lossless for. It's a compression format that makes the file size smaller while reproducing the source material exactly and it's a preset compression format already in itunes.

Can't help you with the right side screen thing though. My guess would be so that the knob winds up on the left of the screen so that your arm isn't in front of the screen while you're trying to do something.

Yes, it looks like my plans for a new head-unit are put on hold, at least until the Alpine unit becomes available.

I've been thinking about using ALAC as the IPod doesn't work with FLAC, I've read that it's rather slow going when encoding though. Of course, once the bulk of the material is done it shouldn't be too bad.

I get why on the knob, but with a remote, who needs the knob, not a big deal, more of an annoyance, it seems like most all current units have that layout. It's one of the reasons I like my current unit and was looking hard at the 880 Pioneer, they have the classic knob at each side with a large display in the middle.

On the 690, I'm still waiting for confirmation that the USB feed is actually going to be processed digitally and not being sent to a ADC as it seems the rest of the Pionneer lineup does. You can add USB capability to the other Pioneers, but apparently it sends out an analog signal.
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