Car Stereo Chick is getting ready for CES 2015

Car Stereo Chick is going to CES 2015

Christmas is over and the new year is here – CES 2015 is next.

When Christmas is over and the new year is here that can only mean one thing for Car Stereo Chick.  The shop is booked with plenty of work and the consumer electronics show is only days away.  It’s time to get ready for CES 2015!  I’ll only be there for two days so I’ve narrowed down which brands I’ll be focusing on and what information I will be seeking.

Alpine CES 2015

Alpine will be my 1st stop during CES 2015.  Alpine will be revealing several new applications for their 9” truck and SUV AVN system including – get ready for it –  Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra and JEEP WRANGLER.  I own a 2013 Jeep Wrangler and we do a lot of Jeep Wrangler audio systems in our shop so I’m pretty excited about this one; it should be a very hot model.

Alpine X009-GM
Alpine X009-GM installed in a GMC Yukon

Alpine has definitely branched out from their competitors by focusing in on these niche customers.  It makes a lot of sense; these are the types of customers that drop thousands of dollars into customizing their vehicles with upgraded tires, wheels, exhaust, lift kits, etc.  Why not build a stereo specifically for these customers?

Alpine has done just that designing a line of 9″ touch screen navigation stereos that seamlessly integrate with existing factory features such as SiriusXM, Bluetooth, Rear Seat Entertainment, and Onstar.  The Alpine X-009 series even integrates vehicle information such as tire pressure monitoring and the ability to read and reset vehicle error codes (through iDatalink Maestro integration modules).

Alpine X009-GM
Alpine X009-GM – Using the HDMI input you could watch movies from your iPad – not while driving of course.

All the Alpine X-009 models feature a 9″ touch screen, Navigation, Bluetooth, DVD, HDMI input and each model comes with some serious bragging rights.  Who else on the block really has a stereo this big and this cool?  I can’t wait to see Alpine’s X009 for the Jeep Wrangler at CES 2015.

Pioneer CES 2015 – when will we see Android Auto?

It’s not often, something really big and exciting comes along in the car audio industry, but I have to say Apple CarPlay has been one of those big things.  I’m happy I’ve been able to learn about it, adopt it and promote it.

Pioneer CarPlay update is finaly here
Pioneer CarPlay on AppRadio 4

Now that Apple CarPlay is out, I am eagerly anticipating Android’s answer to CarPlay.  And I’m hoping Pioneer has some answers for me at CES 2015 on when we can expect to see Android Auto integrated with a Pioneer head unit.

I’m pretty sure Pioneer will be the 1st to feature Android Auto aftermarket and I have lots of questions for Pioneer regarding this.  Will there be a software update for existing models (like Apple CarPlay)?  Will there be a model that features both CarPlay and Android Auto (unlike what we’ve seen from car manufacturers)?  When will we see a product like this hit the market?  I hope to find answers during CES 2015.

JL Audio CES 2015 – party at the Palm’s Casino

JL Audio won’t actually be at the convention center this year and I can’t say that I blame them.  Booth space at the convention center comes at a premium price.  I’m sure they’ll actually be able to present more (and more effectively) outside the convention center.  And with the extra money they’re saving being off the convention floor, I’m sure they’ll also be able to spoil their guests a bit more.

While attending CES 2015, I hope to see two new amplifier models which JL Audio recently announced.  They are incredibly compact, efficient and water proof.

New Amplifiers from JL Audio CES 2015
New Amplifiers from JL Audio CES 2015

These two new amplifiers from JL Audio, the HX280/4 and HX300/1, are offered in both Black and White (Car/Power Sport or Marine).  The HX280/4 is a 4 channel amp producing 50 watts x 4 RMS at 4 ohms.  The HX300/1 is a mono producing 300 watts x 1 at 2 ohms.  Both models have received IPX6 water resistant ratings and feature impressive power handling specs delivered in a tiny, compact package.

JL Audio HX280/4 and HX300/1
JL Audio HX280/4 and HX300/1

Impressive size, impressive ratings and impressive price – only $229.95.  I ordered a couple a few weeks ago and I am still waiting for their arrival.  I hope to see a sample of these new JL Audio amplifiers while attending CES 2015.

Other cool stuff while at CES 2015

I will definitely venture over to Kenwood’s booth and Sony’s booth as well and I will post about any other cool car audio related gadgets I find while at CES 2015.  Check back next weekend to learn about all the latest and greatest in car stereo from CES 2015.

Car Stereo Chick is going to CES 2015
Car Stereo Chick is going to CES 2015

Pioneer AppRadio 4 vs Alpine iLX-007

Alpine iLX-007 installed in dash

Pioneer AppRadio 4 vs Alpine iLX-007

I’m pretty psyched about both of these two new models from Pioneer and Alpine.  It’s about time Pioneer ramped up their audio section in their AppRadio.  It’s nice to see they’ve finally included higher fidelity features into the new AppRadio 4 such as three 4 volt RCA preouts and a 13 band EQ.  I never understood the logic, “Well if they want apps on their radio, they obviously don’t care about system expansion or sound quality.”  The additional sound quality features and user friendly interface are a welcome change to the AppRadio series.

Pioneer App Radio 4 model SPH-DA120
Pioneer App Radio 4 model SPH-DA120

I can’t wait to test out the new iLX-007.  I think the last really exciting thing Alpine did was figure out a way to interface Pandora radio into their car stereos (Side note – the digital output on their INE-W957HD is pretty cool too, but not a lot of people take advantage of that feature or even know it exists).  Check out Alpine’s new CarPlay deck, looks pretty slick, right?

Alpine iLX-007 installed in dash
Alpine iLX-007 installed in dash

I’m writing this post now, because I anticipate both Pioneer’s AppRadio 4 and Alpine’s iLX-007 will become hot sellers during the upcoming holiday season.  Consumers are going want to know, which is the better CarPlay deck?  The AppRadio 4 of the iLX-007?

I decided to put together a feature comparison chart to best compare these two models.  This way, I’ll be ready to explain the pro’s and con’s of each when the busy shopping season arrives (Might sound silly, but seriously – the holiday season is right around the corner).

Compare the features and benefits of the Pioneer AppRadio 4 vs the Alpine iLX-007

Pioneer AppRadio 4
Alpine iLX-007
Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120
Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120
Alpine iLX-007 installed in dash
Alpine iLX-007 installed in dash
Screen Size6.2"7"
Customizable5 Display Colors, 112-Key Colors, 13-Background, Splash ScreenN/A
Audio Section
RCA Preouts3 pre outs (4V)3 preouts (2V)
EQ13 BandBasic 2 band, unless using Alpine Tune It App then 9 band EQ
CrossoverYes - HPF & LPF
Adjustable from 50 Hz- 200 Hz
Slope adjustment -6 dB/oct to -18 dB/oct.
Using Alpine Tune It App - HPF & LPF
Adjustable from 20 - 200 Hz
Slope adjustment 0 to -12 dB/oct.
Time AlignmentYesYes - through Alpine Tune It App only
Source & Expansion Options
BluetoothYesPhone Connection Required via USB to Lightning
USBDual Rear USB Ports1 Rear USB Port
Rear Aux inYesYes
Satellite RadioNo - N/ANo - N/A
HDMI inputYesNo
CD/DVDNo - MechlessNo - Mechless
AM/FM TunerYesYes
Reverse Camera InputYesYes
Phone App Integration
CarPlay CompatibleYes - iPhone 5 & upYes - iPhone 5 & up
AppRadio Mode for iPhone 4/4sYes - Requires CD-IU201SNo
AppRadio Mode for iPhone 5 & upYes - Requires CD-IH202, Apple Lightning to Digital AV Adapter & Apple Lightning to USB CableNo
AppRadio Mode for AndroidYes - Requires CD-AH200, compatible with select Android Devices.No

Car Stereo Chick checks out new Pioneer App radio and AVIC navigations for 2012 at CES

New Pioneer App Radio Revelead at CES 2012 interfaces with Android

The floors at CES today were filled with an incredible energy that I haven’t seen in years past.  The crowds were overwhelming, but full of excitement.  There was a vibrant energy and an eagerness that was palpable; you couldn’t help, but feel it.  As I arrived I found myself in the midst of the action and began riding that wave of eagerness and anticipation.  One of the vendors I couldn’t wait to visit was Pioneer.

Their AVIC navigation units have always been our most popular seller at our store, but as much as it appealed to customers, there was always something lacking that seemed to nag them.  “It’s a great unit”, they’d tell me, “but it could have been so much better.”  Still, they always found it better than the competitors offerings.

The new Pioneer AVIC-Z140BH

Earlier today I had a chance to speak with Harry from Pioneer.  He was kind enough to walk us through the new App radios and AVIC navigation units that Pioneer will be releasing in 2012.  He also took the time to listen to, and respond to, our very valid gripes with their innovative products.  Who knows? Maybe they’ll take notice of our suggestions?  We’ll have to wait until CES 2013 to find out.

As far as the AVIC units go, here’s a little teaser. I’ll have the full introduction posted up shortly. Enjoy!

Kenwood debuts Android interface for car audio at CES 2012

Long Awaited Android Kenwood Music Control App

For all you Android users out there, Kenwood has released the Kenwood Music Control App.  The Kenwood Music Control APP will allow Android users to connect their phone via USB to any Kenwood head unit with a USB port (see compatibility list here) and access the music stored on their phone through the stereo controls.

The free app, that can be downloaded from the Android Marketplace, allows any USB equipped Kenwood CD receiver to charge, control, and play Music stored on an Android device.  The USB connection will allow Android users far superior sound quality over the typical stereo headphone jack that most users have had to settle with when listening to their Android in their car.  Kenwood Music Link for Android will automatically manage all stored music and enable users to play, browse and search music by artist, album, playlist and even mood.  Yep, you read that right.  The Mood feature analyzes beats per minute, tempo and other variables to assist in creating 13 categories that listeners can choose from.  This feature is similar to iTunes Genius Playlist, but is a reportedly more sophisticated and intricate in its calculations.

The Kenwood Music Control App currently works with Android versions 2.2.X and 2.3.X

Kenwood has a whole new line of attractive models coming out soon that will nicely integrate the Android app.  Look out for the KDC-X796 which will be jam packed with features such as built in Bluetooth handsfree and A2DP audio streaming, USB and Auxiliary, Pandora link control for both iPhone and Android, 4 Volt Front, Rear and Subwoofer preouts, Built in HD Radio, variable illumination, SiriusXM ready and of course, it comes with the 2 year Kenwood Excelon Warranty….all for $220.  Expected release date is February 2012.

Packed with features like Bluetooth, Pandora Link, Android control for only $220

Also look out for their new line of Double Din navigation units like the DNX6990HD which promises to be faster than the disappointing and sluggish line of double din navigation units we saw from Kenwood in 2011.  The 2012 model Kenwood navigation systems still use Garmin for their mapping system, but they also come equipped with a 1 core processor which should hopefully eliminate that 5 second delay or the much hated screen freeze that Kenwood users seemed to receive after pressing any command on their screen.  Along with revved up processing speed, you will find a 5 Volt preamp, Built in HD Radio, Bluetooth, Pandora link for iPhone and Android, built in NAVTEQ traffic integration as well as an App mode.

Coming soon, DNX6990HD Navigation with app mode

Stay tuned for more innovations from CES 2012.

-Annie Amen