November 25th, 2007

Audio Enthusiast


I had mentioned that my car stereo was going... and now it is gone. It no longer accepts any CDs. To be fair, it did take four long years (including being mailed here from Boston) and the radio and the auxiliary input still work (I can play the iPod for now) but the time has now come for me to get a new dashboard deck, which is a pain in the ass to install oneself in a Saturn. Obviously the new one would have to display CD text and play mp3 CDs as this one did, but I've also been looking at a few that are iPod ready, which would allow me to plug the iPod directly into the stereo and control it from the faceplate. This would not only provide better sound quality, but would be much more convenient (and infinitely safer).

Dan has posted to Charged by the System an account of the phenomenal ...and you will know us by the trail of dead show we saw last night (actually the night before last).
Altman (filmmaker)


If my woes about my mostly dead car stereo, I have also come to find that I am missing my copy of the John Williams/Stomu Yamash'ta score for Robert Altman's Images. I can't imagine where it might have gone, as I have not needed to take it off the shelf for quite some time (it certainly hasn't figured into any recent projects). There is a space in the shelf where it belongs, but I can't imagine any of my guests being too interested in Williams doing avant garde. This is disturbing to me because it is my most rare scores, one that I had to search far and wide to find.

Replacing the stereo is going to be a nightmare as the holidays are right around the corner. Once again, I'll have to do it myself, and prospect I do not relish (the dashboard of a Saturn is all one piece, making it difficult to maneuver once you've gotten it open just enough to get in there) but if I get another Sony, I should be able to use the same harness (I hope). While I can, for the moment, just use the iPod for music, it isn't as convenient, and often takes up too much attention to control.
Dude (The Big Lebowski)


As I've mentioned, my car stereo became mostly dead last night. The CD player died, forcing me to rely on the iPod for in-car music, which was unwieldy and frankly just didn't sound that good (mostly because the jack kept coming loose). Well, this will not stand. This aggression will not stand, man! I marched over to the store and surveyed my options, armed with a copy of Space Out to check the CD-Text options and an mp3 CD of The Fellowship of the Ring to confirm that the player handled all the funky characters. I ended up settling on a name I definitely trust, Pioneer, whose D-704 laserdisc player has been and remains a cornerstone of my home theater.

Well, there it is then. It plays mp3 CDs (WMA and AAC as well, but who cares?) and was iPod ready. There is a two line display for the id3 tag information and CD-Text (and it ironically shows more CD-Text fields than the Sony) and the remote control has the jog shuttle on it.

I wasn't looking for an iPod-ready stereo, but as soon as I started surveying my options that became a priority. I'm glad that I did; the iPod now can be jacked directly into the stereo, and is controlled from the head unit (the iPod cannot be controlled from the player anymore, and the screen displays the Pioneer logo, battery information and the time); the jog shuttle acts in a manner similar to the pad on the iPod, with the same search systems... with the exception of turning the knob, which always only controls the volume (except in the control menu screens). Playback through the iPod is gapless, and the iPod will charge while it's plugged in. I also attached the cord for the auxiliary input just to have it... in case I need it for... um... something.

Raz and I ended up installing it ourselves, which turned out to not be quite the chore that I thought it might be; we managed to do it fairly quickly. After we had done so, I made a rather startling discovery: the speakers in the car are not, in fact, blown, but that something within the Sony head unit was causing the overloading. What this basically means is that I can pretty much crank the stereo again.

I'm considering getting a big subwoofer so the next time one of those guidos drives by blasting hip-hop, I can counter it properly with Conan the Barbarian or Reign of Fire or Capricorn One or Blade 2 or something.

Saw Beowulf in 3-D tonight. More on that later.
  • Current Music
    Alan Silvestri: Beowulf
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