Friday, October 7, 2011

New car stereo finally brings me to the 21st century

The RNS-315 VW stereo/navigation
unit - my new pride and joy.
Like most people (my age, I believe), I do most of my music listening in the car.  I remember when cars first started having CD players, and later on, when I discovered the joys of CD music burning.  I could put in 6 of my favorite mix CDs, about 20 songs each, for a total of 120 songs!  Plus, put them on random play, and it would just go on and on.

My previous car, I had a little adapter for an iPod, and in it most of my music library.  Nonetheless, I couldn't control the iPod via radio, and it was a bit hazardous to my health to control music playback while driving, so it ended up being playlists or auto-playlists.  Not so fun, and I never really liked using iTunes, specially on Windows computers, which I prefer.

Finally, when I got my new car, I discovered that it not only comes with an iPod dongle standard (too bad I don't have an iPod anymore) but it also has a SD card slot for MP3 playback.  I believe it can read cards up to 16GB, but right now, using a measly 4GB card, I'm having so much fun, I don't think I could fill up a 16GB card.  I can put a folder with just random mixes in them, and separate folders if I want to have the full album experience.  Song title and artist information is displayed, I can shuffle within a folder or across the entire disk, go forward, backwards, it's glorious.  It even has a single CD slot loading drive and Sirius XM, if you like satellite radio.  The clincher is the ability to connect to my phone via Bluetooth, so I can stream Pandora, Tunein Radio, or any other audio source from my phone.  In a single word: unbelievable.  In a few: welcome to the 21st century.  If only it could display album art, I would be a happy camper.  I know that aftermarket units can do that, but honestly, I have been using stock stereos for a while now, so I don't think I'm going to change now.  Adding a sub-woofer, on the other hand, is tempting enough that I might just do that next year...

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