I’m pretty happy with my current car audio set-up, so I thought I’d share it. The goal here is simple: Add bluetooth for both music streaming and hands-free phone calls.
My car is a 2001 Lexus IS 300. The stock audio system came with a 6 disc CD changer, tape deck (!) and your standard am/fm receiver. As any good gadget junkie will admit, a plain old CD player will just not cut it. I’d been thinking about upgrading my set-up for a while but I just wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I finally figured it out a few months ago and pulled the trigger.
The first step was to replace the stock changer/receiver. I’ve always been a bit hesitant to do this because it would change the look and may affect future potential sale of my car (in a negative way). I’ve always felt this way when it comes to most after-market stuff for cars. I decided to pull the trigger anyway.
I went to a local car audio shop and had them install the most inexpensive receiver that was capable of streaming bluetooth, which was the Sony Xplod BlueTooth CD Receiver. I opted for the mic upgrade so my bluetooth calls would have a higher quality. The mic is hardly visible and sits just underneath the rear view mirror. After one hour for installation and a few hundred dollars later, I was all set up.
I needed a secure place for my phone, so I picked up the car dock for my HTC EVO. It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but it’s the best one available IMO, and keeps my phone safe and secure, in a visible and easily accessible location.
Now that I’d got all the hardware situated, it was time to figure out what software would be best for playing my music. I’d been testing out several android music apps and ultimately chose to use mSpot, which is one of the music-in-the-cloud options currently available. It’s a pretty straight-forward service: upload your music collection to the cloud, pay a monthly fee if you need additional space (I opted for the $4/month option), and access your music from any browser or phone.
So now I jump in my car, slap my phone into the dock, and I’m streaming my entire music collection from the cloud wherever I go. Lately, I’ve been hooked on using the “shuffle” option and seeing how quickly I can figure out which artist and song is playing.