Not having music in the car is like going to a party and not being able to drink. And since we're all listening to music off our digital music players or DMPs, it's important to have connectivity between our portables and car audio systems. I mean, who wants to listen to local FM while you're stuck in traffic?! Anyway, lately some people asked me for some simple solutions to getting iPod or other DMPs in the car without having to mess with the dash. If you've swapped as many source units as I have, then you know that after awhile the dash starts to look like it was in a wreck (without the rest of the car, yeah, looks ridiculous). Or if you have a vehicle you sometimes take to the track and you still want music playback at times, but not at the expense of added weight and a full system, then you want alternative solutions to getting in-car entertainment.
JL Audio CL-RLC
This product's been around for a little while now, but seems like no one was paying attention. The CL-RLC is an active preamp that truly amplifies the audio signal. The signal doesn't go through the control knob. Instead, the control knob sends microprocessor signals to the black box mounted in the rear of the car where the volume is digitally controlled to maximize fidelity and minimize the possibility of noise. Put it between your music source and your sub amp and you got sub control from the front of the vehicle. But the best part about the CL-RLC is that you can use it as an interface for your iPod or other DMP, or even your portable satellite radio devices. And it's as simple as connecting one end to your music player and the other to an amp. Forget about bulky removable audio systems that take time to install and remove every time, just connect your favorite portable music box, the RLC and one of the new wave of miniature amps together, add some lightweight speakers and you have music in your car with practically no weight at all.
The main reason you want a Bluetooth device is for hands-free calling. It's illegal in some states to dial, talk or text on your mobile phone while driving; and most states are looking at legislating against talking and driving (get a designated driver!). But you get a lot more than Bluetooth phone functionality with products like the eX-10. I like this for iPod connectivity as well. You get a 2.4" high-resolution TFT display, it's easy install into any vehicle (there's no installation required really; just plug it in) and you get Alpine's full speed connection for all iPod models with the dock connector. And the eX-10 is Bluetooth audio streaming ready. So if you have an A2DP capable phone you can send music to your speakers via this product. Another simple audio or iPod solution.
Kicker Solo Classic Sub Boxes
If space isn't a huge issue, but you don't want to devote most of your trunk to a subwoofer box, then one of the "reduced size" Kicker Solo Classic sub enclosure options are worth considering if you want big bass in a small space as you cruise or commute. The rugged factory-specified Kicker boxes are available as a dual-loaded system with 12" Solo Classic subwoofers, a hatch-style box with a single 12" Solo Classic, and a slim-profile box with a lone 10" Solo Classic (albeit made for pickup trucks). A sharp, carbon-fiber look lines the front of the solid-wood boxes, which are covered in plush gray carpeting and display an embroidered Kicker logo.
MSRP: The dual sub box (DS12C) is $799.95; the SS12C goes for $449.95 and the TS10C is $349.95.
Scosche AXIP Ipod Integration Solutions
HScosche was already making vehicle specific OE iPod integration products for GM, Lexus, Scion and Toyota, but they also started covering Mazda, Honda/Acura, Volkswagen, Audi and BMW vehicles this year. Scosche's new auxiliary iPod interfaces create an auxiliary input on a factory stereo for any iPod model while the Honda and Mazda products integrate full iPod controls at the factory radio. Plus you get full scrolling text, menu navigation options (including playlist, album and song title), seek up-down and volume control. With a stylish installer-friendly compact design and simple plug-n-play installation for any installer, Scosche's new iPod interfaces include a 30-pin iPod dock and charging cable, an additional universal 3.5mm audio input for non-iPod MP3 player, DVD player of video game system and all the necessary harnesses and detailed instructions.
MSRP: For specific vehicle makes/models and years covered visit www.scosche.com