4/21/2011

DIY project - car audio

This really isn't a "DIY" project so much as a creative solution to a problem. The Miata's antenna is broken and the car still has the OEM Bose stereo (complete with cassette player) so it doesn't play mp3s or have a hard drive or SD slot. So with no radio all I could do to have tunes in the car is CDs (I don't have a portable cassette carrier). I didn't want to have a large cache of CDs in the car. We've had a satellite radio in the Xterra for years so I've gotten used to commercial free music. Although the previous owner wired for satellite radio I didn't want to buy satellite radio hardware because that limits me to only being able to listen in the car. I also want to be able to listen to it at my new job. So I added the inexpensive online subscription to our existing account which allows for listening online and through a phone app. I bought a FM transmitter/charger for my Google Nexus S Android smartphone. This enables me to listen to satellite radio in my car using my phone. And if I get tired of listening to satellite radio I can listen to my entire music collection via the Amazon cloud player app which enables me to listen to my digital music collection stored in Amazon cloud storage. Now I have access to endless music wherever and whenever I want. See the pics for my car setup. I've found a few drawbacks- 1. there is a digital hiss coming through the speakers that can be heard when the music is soft. It's probably due to no clear FM tuning because the antenna is missing. 2. The low placement of the phone on the center console makes me have to look down if or when I have to make adjustments or using the navigation. I need a dashboard mount like the ones used for GPS units. 3. The location of the plug and the size of the FM transmitter makes shifting into fifth gear a little challenging. I found orienting the transmitter vertically solves the problem (see pics). It also makes seeing the transmitter's display easier for the driver. A clever trick inside the creative solution! Maybe I should rock out old school and bust out my tapes to see how the cassette player sounds.