Car DAB Radios

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This topic contains 58 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Tippon 8 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #14104

    Bob Williams
    Participant
    @bullstuff2

    My son has asked me for something as a Chrimbo pressie, which has bamboozled me. It is many years since I last fitted a car stereo, since they had cassettes in fact. He asked his mum while I was out, for: –

    ” Double DIN DAB radio with USB or Jack port for smartphone, and ISO cable to plug into the rear of his stereo. ”

    I think I understand most of what it means, apart from the ‘double DIN’ part. Does that refer to the size of the dash aperture that the stereo fits into? I have been looking at these radios* on lots of different websites and the price differences between just a Double DIN radio and one with a CD player, do not seem large, so I’m wondering if it might be better to buy the system with a CD. That should mean that he will not need the ISO cable, I imagine, which will almost wipe out the price difference. My lad has always liked his (horrible 80’s) music: at one point he was working full time whilst doing DJ gigs in evenings and weekends.

    I have no idea about car stereos nowadays.

    *’radios’ is too small a word for them now.

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

Viewing 20 replies - 1 through 20 (of 58 total)
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  • #14107

    The Duke
    Moderator
    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,421

    He won’t want a cd player. Kids don’t use cds. I personally have never had a cd disk in either of my last two cars, dating back to 2007.

    I know my kids first question when they got a car, is how to I get my phone connected. The phone is the new car entertainment  system.

    Not sure what a Double  din* is myself. But these days your best using somthing like amazon (or better Ali express), search for car model/stereo and you’ll get systems that fit in the space required and come with the correct trim

    I know if I wanted to swap mine out, it would be a massive faf, given the ‘stereo area’ is also filled with other other buttons, and there is a semi hidden cd slot. Fron day one I’ve use a cd slot mounted phone holder. As the slot is in the exact position where you’d  want a screen. I was too mean to cough up the £700+ for the Sat nav upgrade. Many cos I’m mean, but also cos I now there isn’t a single car on the market that does a Sat nav that is as good as Google maps on android. So I’d knew Id never use it.

    Now my next car, top of the list is android auto/apple car play, as it’s basically an extention of your phone, mirrored on the screen. (it does more but that’s all I’d be bothered about).

     

    *update, yes it means double hight unit.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by The Duke.
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    #14111

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,195

    No one is further from being an expert than I am so please take this as an initial primer for a conversation…

    I understand that may people no longer want CD players but have either music on a USB stick/key or on a player of some sort. My old car has a CD player, which I have never used, my wife’s four/five year old car has a CD player which I believe she has used; my one year old car has a USB port and possibly other options. It certainly has Bluetooth but I use that for the mobile. (I believe that there is a way to connected the mobile to my Satnav to get real time traffic information but it took me 20 minutes last time, plus reading the manual so I have not repeated that too often. As disabled daughter cannot stand the noise of the Satnav guidance that is not a popular option.)

    In the end I suspect that it come down to personal choices, and only you, the family or the son in question can fill in those blanks.

    Does the ISO cable refer to the way that the radio connects to the inbuilt speakers in the car? That is some form of standard plug and socket set up, but I am outside my comfort zone by a country mile now.

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    #14114

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 1,541

    Double DIN is apparently just a size spec. Just out of interest I took a look at these players – in the worst case you could be paying north of £700! Looks like a return to the old hifi tech rip-offs which were the butt of so many comedy skits.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by Ed P.
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    #14116

    The Duke
    Moderator
    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,421

    I was looking at these earlier this month for a skoda octavia 2006 model (iirc mk2), and they was around £150-300 on Ali express, for a decent one running android 6.0.

    If you let us know the model and year bob, we’ll be able to source you some choices. But remeber the footy is on tonight, so I’ll be dark for a few hours. If we get beat, dark alot longer lol.

    Also bob you say radio is not the right term for them anymore. They are now called infotainment systems. That’s not one of my made up names it’s ligit. (the spelling may not be.) not infotainment. Some refer to the systems as Enfotainment too. They are interchangeable terms it seems.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by The Duke.
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    #14119

    PlaneMan
    Moderator
    @planeman
    Forumite Points: 928

    My car has a CD slot and a USB socket. Never used the CD apart from to check it worked before I bought the car.

    My phone charges fine from the USB but won’t play any music, apparently it’s to new for the car so I might dig out a 2012 vintage Android phone and try it, just for the sake of it.

    It’s no big deal as I have a flash drive in there and that works great. Steering wheel controls are a bonus.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by PlaneMan.

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    #14122

    Bob Williams
    Participant
    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 1,649

    Many thanks gentlemen, I now understand Double DIN (cheers, Ed!). My “lad” will be 50 next summer and in some ways he is much farther behind the Tech curve than myself, he has little interest in computing apart from what it can do for his interests. He is Caretaker for a local Grammar Academy Group of several schools, has a lappy that the school was throwing out and an ancient desktop that I built for him years ago. His only interest in computers, is FB for family and mates, of which he has hundreds all over the place, buying and selling his Stationary engines, and using ebay to buy parts for them. Apart from that, he also uses his PC’s to organise Engine Shows, design and print brochures, posters, tickets and leaflets for the Shows. In many ways his head in firmly in the 19th century, but I never met anyone who could fix as much different electrical and mechanical machinery, as my son. His hero (apart from me I hope) was always Fred Dibnah, which tells you a lot! He has a massive CD collection, although I am gradually bringing him around to the realisation that even a 2GB USB drive can hold hundreds and hundreds of tracks. I used to take him up to my garage with me at weekends, which gave him a lot of mechanical knowledge and he has always serviced his own vehicles. Currently he and his mate are restoring a Classic Bedford flatbed: when finished it will go to the Shows with Stationary Engines strapped to its bed.

    So he isn’t a kid, Steve, he has two of his own at 19 and 21 years old! He does play CD’s, if that’s what he wants I let him get on with it. But he will always be my lad and we have always been close. He and our daughter think the world of each other, different to when they used to fight as kids! We’re lucky I think, we are solid as a family.

    I will not go back to a CD player now, I have USB drives with different music on them and I love that ability to play random tracks. SWMBO and I have just bought ourselves a new Pioneer HFi for the lounge. It will go with my old record deck and I can finally store all my vinyl properly, on the NAS and the external. It is WiFi and Bluetooth, so I can stream with it and it has an optical port which I can use to play through the TV, via the Humax box.

    It’s all comimg together…now I just need to sort out the rats nest of cables.

    EDIT: nothing my lad enjoys more, than ripping out his car stereo and renewing it. He was an electrician once, but the caretaking pays more and gives shorter hours. He drives a Vauxhall van, even welded a steel bulkhead behind the seats so that his engines don’t come through into the front.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by Bob Williams.

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

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    #14125

    The Duke
    Moderator
    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,421

    I just assume it was one of the G children bob. Shouldn’t assume.

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    #14126

    Ed P
    Participant
    @edps
    Forumite Points: 1,541

    This is the skit I had in mind.

    ‘Buying a ‘gramophone”

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    #14131

    blacklion1725
    Participant
    @blacklion1725
    Forumite Points: 527

    Timing is good here as I have just bought one. Yep the double DIN is just the physical size. I’ve always ignored DAB for the car but having a courtesy car recently (after pranging mine on a bollard in a car park) I was very impressed with the DAB for (a) choice (b) signal compared to MW on the drive to my mum’s and (c) quality on talk channels.

    Having done a bit of research (haven’t fitted mine yet) – a few things to bear in mind are:

    •  quite likely you will need a new aerial. My new unit has separate antena connections for AM/FM and for DAB
    • New aerial if needed can be a full monty replacement (probably need a bigger hole drilled in your roof), a magnetic external antenna – or a windscreen “film” aerial (example) which is what I am going to try
    • probable you’ll need a wiring harness to suit your particula car (Halfords or ebay).

    I’ll let you know how it goes, have the stereo but not the aerial yet. Incidentally if you need to fill a double-DIN slot and find a suitable single-DIN unit there are nice adapters available that give you an extra cut-away storage space in the lower half of a double-DIN cavity with the single-DIN head-unit in the upper half.

    As Steve says the CD slot is pretty redundant, all my music is on a nano-USB and there is also aux-in and bluetooth. I’ve gone for this one which replaces a similar (Pioneer) non-DAB and hopefully will use the same wiring harness/adapter, the existing aerial for AM/FM and the windscreen antenna for DAB. HEre’s hoping….

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    #14134

    Bob Williams
    Participant
    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 1,649

    Many years since I saw that sketch, still funny though.

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

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    #14140

    Bob Williams
    Participant
    @bullstuff2
    Forumite Points: 1,649

    Just spoke to my lad again. Apparently his present stereo is an old CD/radio and the cables will not fit a new head unit, so converter cables are needed from the Vauxhall leads to the new unit’s Multiplug. There is also a box bracket which goes behind the dash to support the new unit. Apparently there are two different sizes, dependent upon model: one is smaller. Son is checking that out on his Combo van, but beware of that if you need a box bracket, BL. Aerials we know about, going to see which one but please let me know how you go with yours.

    “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”
    ― Philip K. Dick, legendary SF writer.

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    #14144

    blacklion1725
    Participant
    @blacklion1725
    Forumite Points: 527

    Thanks Bob – I won’t need a support bracket – this one, the one it replaces and the original Skoda OEM are supported by 4 torx screws behind the trim. The Pioneer DAB is physically the same size as the outgoing Pioneer non-DAB and the back connections look the same aside from the extra DAB antenna connection (one of the reasons along with cost I picked the Pioneer). The hands free mic (wired behind the side trim and fixed above the mirror) from the non-DAB can stay hopefully.

    If the windscreen DAB aerial is no good (reviews of these seem generally positive)I’ll probably go the whole hog and get a proper one fitted (by someone who is more confident about drilling a hole in their car roof than me!).

    Planning to fit the stereo tomorrow, and the DAB aerial tomorrow or Friday depending on what time it turns up.

    BTW many of the Android systems that advertise as “DAB” are actually internet Radios which are only “digital” when they are online (via your phone or an in-car internet system). Not DAB at all really.

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    #14145

    The Duke
    Moderator
    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,421

    Yes BL when I was looking at radios for my BiL skoda, the “smart android” units, mostly said Dab supported, but when I read closer, you actually needed a second, relatively cheap module, and a compatible Arial.

    My car has dab/FM and signals to both are terrible, ever Vx car VC have given me, for services / insurance work /etc, viva, corsa, astra and Zafira*, all sure red the same weak signal as standard, and the fault they said they knew about in 2015,where if you charge your phone, it degrades the radio signal is still in 2017 (new model designs), and the issue where you charge via USB, and listen to your phone via aux in, you get a ground loop feed back through the car speakers, that squeals louder the faster your rpms rise, is also present*¹. It will be along time before I get another Vx.

    *i loved the old Zafira, a great family car, never lined the new, current, model. As it now has a bonet and looks bigger in general. That wad until Vx gave me a top of the line, full leather electric 180 bhp version, it was huge inside, (took it on a trip run, after all mine is a small coupé). Tho 180phb and 350+lb/ft was way to much for its chassis, a 130 deisel is what I’d go for personally.

    *¹ a simple £6 ground loop filter of amazon was all it needed to fix, it would be a 5pence resister for vx to solder in behind the dash! Though my BiL must have better high end ears than me, as he can’t listen to my radio, he saus there is still a high pitch tone. Though he is the only one that insists this. Maybe my years in the RM have taken the edge of my ears, but then again I think he may have the hearing of a dog. Given he is the only one to have this issue. But given I know it’s flawed from the factory, and the filer I have in place “fixes” the high frequency squeal, I believe him that some is still there. Thou as the wife kids and I can’t hear it, it’s fixed enough for me. BiL uses his headphones and phone when he borrows my car. Which he loves Btw except the radio. And his average mpg when I get it back shows he likes it a bit to much. Good job it’s a lease……. I wouldn’t want to be the guy to buy the car I’d leased before!

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    #14147

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,195

    Is DAB car radio better than it was?

    I understood a while back that it only existed in ‘pools of reception’ with dark, mushy or however else it goes, areas in between. A bit like mobile coverage was, and in may areas still is these days, (at home for example).

    The thought of changing out any of the present radios does not inspire me to touch them. With remote control buttons all over the place and power and USB sockets to also connect, I think I will leave well alone. Perhaps I am just getting too old and worn to take on such exercises. Fixing a petrol garden vacuum is taxing my capabilities at the moment, I have re-fixed the manifold screw, but now the darned thing has lost its carburettor priming capability. It is a lovely(?) messy job with a few years worth of mess stuck about the guts.

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    #14148

    The Duke
    Moderator
    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,421

    I find dab better than FM, solely be a use I don’t like music, and talk sport doesn’t seem to exist on FM (I could be wrong on that).

    Richard, most 3rd party radio do away with a load of buttons. Car oems are slowly catching up to the fact that all the buttons are just add clutter and confusion. Actually it was this reason my BiL wanted to replace the 05 (probably dated back to 98) radio/dash/middle of tje octavia, as if you removed the radio nosing and it’s mass of buttons, it would transform the interior by 10 years. It’s just the centre console that dates it. He still hasn’t got round to it, been put of till after Xmas.

    As to reception, both FM and dab are very poor in my car. Though dab is the more stable of the two. And much easier to find a station given, you hit tune, and you get a list of station, as you would on a TV set. Does away with the traditional pre set. Though I still have my main stations and the kids station on presets. With 3 empty, we’ll they had Spanish ones plugged in, but I think they wad FM. So I doubt they reach N. Wales coast.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by The Duke.
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    #14152

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,195

    I have a problem with touch screens. I rushed out on a rescue mission, the newest car had battery trouble, (11 months old and 2.7 volts….) With AA assistance it started so I hot footed it to the Kia dealer who was very good. I tried to send a text while waiting via a my Moto G4 touch phone but without my screen prodder. The first gibberish message went off without warning. A second try took ages. It ‘sort of worked’ only when I licked the finger.

    The call selector screen for that in car mobile and the radio use the same screen method. At least there is a functional channel change button on the steering wheel. I nominate the stations I like, ignore the so called music dross, then flick up or down to find what I want.

    I was talking about steering wheel mounted buttons for things like volume and channel change. Loose them loose the infotainment stuff complete and probably scrape the car. Even the speed limiter, cruise, phone answer and disconnect are mounted there. The USB power and sound system connections are remote from the integral sound and navigation system in the bottom of the console.

    I suspect my touch problem is caused by age. I have rubbish finger prints on several fingers. They have either been burnt off on hot glass tubing, (up to just off red, at first they smelt a bit), or on other abrasive activities. I guess now they don’t bother. I use a wand for the phone – provided I have it with me. Perhaps some sort of rubber finger cover like money counters used to use, but made with the right rubber would work on the car. Perhaps it is just one of the wonders of advancing age.

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    #14153

    The Duke
    Moderator
    @sgb101
    Forumite Points: 1,421

    Fingerprints shouldn’t matter. All the screen does is register where the electronic input hot the screen. Your ‘prodder’ just conducts the electricity from your skin to the phone.

    Your issue will be your aim. When ever I get a new device, it takes a week or so for my muscle memory to zero in on the new size/different keyboard layout etc.

    Re cars, mine to has all the buttons I need on the wheel. Vol, channel select, cruse and limit control, plus horn. (I think that covers it). That means I don’t need the mess of buttons on the centre console.

    Though when you by a 3rd party head unit, you can use all these features with the new unit.

    One of the best cars out at the moment for UX design is the new pergeot 3008, it’s a work of art inside. They can’t build them quick enough, so atm the price is high. The only let down is the engine choice. Though I’ve not looked since it’s launched 6 months ago. I’d like a 140hp/340lb-ft deisel auto if it was me. Given the chassis, it doesn’t need to much power. (see the Zafira reference above 180bhp made me and the wife sea sick on our country lanes journt to the ozzy)

    Don’t bother looking at the top GT spec, the bang for buck is the mid tier GT line spec. A lovely car. Not my type of car at all, but I’d happily own one.

    It has a digital display, copied of audi, one of them called ‘digital cockpit’, where the pergeot beats the audi is in its minimalist, alloy turned toggle switch inspired switches. And fabric dash. Plus all the usual wheel mounted switches. It’s a fine bit of design.

    Unless it turns out they are a bad car, I can’t see it, I don’t even think many will come up second hand, as to ‘upgrade’ that interior to another car, you’ll be looking at spending a lot. So looking at it that way, it’s £25k price isn’t that high. You’d be looking at £40k to get a nicer interior. So why would anyone sell them at 3 years old.

    Well I suppose the lease market sales at 3 and 4 years will have a load on the market. Either way I reckon they will hold their price well. Even if it is a pergeot. Not known for holding price. But the 3008 and 5008 anrt your dads pergeot of old.

    I’d still rather  have something with a bit more oomph, and as I can’t afford an audi RS6, (£70k and up) I’ll probably be opting for the poor man’s version, the Octavia vrs (£27k or £20k if you don’t mind an ex demo)  It’s only down on power by about 400hp on the audi 😥😕

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    #14155

    blacklion1725
    Participant
    @blacklion1725
    Forumite Points: 527

    My recent dab experience was in a new-ish fiesta and reception on DAB was very impressive. This was an OEM stereo with a roof DAB aerial. Driving to my Mum’s (south coast) there was an occasional drop out (1 or 2 seconds silence) but preferable to the minutes of interference noise I get on analogue. Up to Cambridge and back was immaculate.

    I installed the new unit today minus the dab aerial which aint here yet. It was a doddle – as I had hoped just 3 cables to swap over like-for-like. Hoping the aerial install is as easy – cable route looks OK down the trim and across the back of the glove box.

    Interesting about the USB issues – always use my ciggie lighter for charging as I have a nano-usb permanently sat in the USB slot on the unit. Don’t use aux in as I am one of the lucky ones with no bluetooth problems. I did notice when I was looking at DAB adapters (for existing non-DAB stereos) that they all recommended using aux-in for best results – which makes sense.

    Might have a go at the aerial tonight after work but common sense says wait till daylight tomorrow.

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    #14157

    Richard
    Participant
    @sawboman
    Forumite Points: 1,195

    Fingerprints shouldn’t matter. All the screen does is register where the electronic input hot the screen. Your ‘prodder’ just conducts the electricity from your skin to the phone. Your issue will be your aim. When ever I get a new device, it takes a week or so for my muscle memory to zero in on the new size/different keyboard layout etc. Re cars, mine to has all the buttons I need on the wheel. Vol, channel select, cruse and limit control, plus horn. (I think that covers it). 

    Steve, even I can see which bit is the touch (insensitive) screen, especially in the car which has more real estate at which to aim; neither device’s screens often register anything right or wrong too much of the time.

    The Tech bit found on line: Modern tablets use capacitive touchscreens that rely on the electrical conductivity of human skin to complete the circuit. Non-conductive surfaces, such as an old-style stylus or a gloved finger, cannot trigger the touch pad. Capacitive styluses are designed to be conductive. Several different types of capacitive stylus are available, and it is even possible to make one at home using instructions found online. End quote from Ebay

    Wetting the finger tip does help it to select a target, certainly recent hand washing helped allowed the phone screen to work. I suspect that the doubtful skin on my finger tip is currently far from helpful, I have heard of similar troubles from others, any finger print damage is only a side effect.

    Google’s speech to text input, when practical, is better than the annoying screen. Buttons, while more expensive to make were far more reliable, style alone is rarely great. Still the phone has survived a few encounters with the walls and floor, so perhaps it is not all bad. Today’s message that it ‘did not make voice calls’ was unexpected and also straight out wrong! It did and does. Suitable, or not so suitable, (too large for many people) finger stalls are currently out of stock

    Mind you the Moto4G Play cannot even find any updates so is still stuck on 6.0 though that might be down to Nothing Anywhere also known as EE, I might try another Tesco SIM for a day or so.

    Now I am off to see why the garden vacuum does not suck (petrol) I could introduce it to the phone perhaps for hints on sucking?

     

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    #14158

    blacklion1725
    Participant
    @blacklion1725
    Forumite Points: 527

    Well it is done and early impressions (drive round the block) are very good. The windscreen aerial was a little fiddly (getting the A-Pillar off mainly) but after that a doddle. I’m only using the stock speakers in my car (the unit can support a full boom-boom surround set up) but very noticeable improvement….proof in the pudding will be on runs out of town of course.

    Hopefully claw back at least half the cost ebaying the old unit – early days but so far pleased with the upgrade. Not sure how well the adhesive film aerial will cope with cold/heat but we’ll see.

    Funny I never bother with DAB indoors – internet radio all the way – but I’m a convert in the car.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by blacklion1725.
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