Our Blog

As wife and employee of the business owner, I have decided to start a blog. We hope to, one, educate the consumer on what is new and innovative. Two, share our experience as owners of a business. Three, share some of our custom installs. We welcome comments, but please keep them tasteful and please remember my gentle, female disposition and that I don't claim to be a 12 volt genius.

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2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Radio & Speaker Upgrade

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IMG_5182We recently had the opportunity of upgrading the radio and factory speakers in a brand new 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.  The owner loves Jeeps and has brought one to us in the past.  He quickly came to us after purchasing this new one because of the very poor quality sound from the audio design in the new Jeeps.  I will include pictures and description of all that we did and most likely will update as the install or other customers come in with different elements.

The customer’s number one complaint was the sound quality.  He specifically stated it sounded terribly, far worse than his 2013.  He also stated he had been studying the Jeep forums with many similar complaints and informed me it had been reported the space in the sound bar was said to be shallow and there were tweeters as well in the sound bar which was a new feature.  I quickly realized I had no idea what to charge for  labor because I didn’t know what we were getting into since this would be our first speaker replacement in that year vehicle.  So far, we had only added subwoofers to the factory audio system.

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Factory sound bar

I advised the customer I would not charge anything extra for the labor as long as he was not in a hurry and we would have the full day in case that’s what it took.  This ended up being a pretty normal install for one that required building templates.  We’ll show you below.

The customer saw we sold Apple Car Play radios and decided he wanted the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX upgrade as well and wanted to add in a back up camera.

The Speaker Replacement – Since the customer heard the sound bar speakers were shallow we let him hear the Audison APK165 6.5” components.  He actually preferred them over our JL Audio speakers which have always been most popular.  I knew the Audisons, which are Italian and therefore are made to fit shallow European speaker spaces, would fit. They are our go to for BMW and Mercedes with odd space issues.  Fortunately, they are really great sounding speakers too.

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Audison speakers

We rolled around the idea of adding subwoofer, amps, etc., but neither of us were convinced he would need either of those since he was satisfied with the audio from his 2013 Jeep.  Our store does a lot of audio upgrades in Jeep Unlimiteds and 9 times out of 10 include a full audio upgrade with subwoofer and amplifier and sometimes a new radio but he was hesitant.  I advised him to change the radio and speakers, he might love it but if not he can always come back for a subwoofer.  Just so you know, he contacted us a day or two later and loves the speakers but after riding around topless decided a subwoofer was called for.

In the removal of the factory speakers we found what is typical.  We think Jeep had good intentions but as is often with factory designs there was simply poor design.  First, the front “tweeters” which are 3.5” are in the dash, facing straight up.  They are not capable of bouncing off the windshield which is perfectly straight and vertical.  There is no way the imaging can be redirected toward the driver.  The sound bar also has the same 6.5” mid drivers and 3.5” “tweeters”.  You’ll see in our picture, the magnet on the 3.5” speaker is almost as big as the mid drivers.  That should tell you something about how week the mid drivers are.  There is no pretty, or fancy or design strength in these speakers.  They are typical and they are in an atypical designed vehicle.  Personally, why would you ever put tweeters above your head?  Do you have tweeters right above your head at home?  I didn’t think so.  It’s just not the greatest of ideas, usually.  They just aren’t necessary.  We really don’t like them in rear doors either so when a BMW with rear door tweeters comes in, we save the customer money and advise them to not replace them.

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Factory speakers

This customer wanted to keep the tweeters as long as it didn’t take away from the front imaging.  Honestly, in this vehicle it didn’t because the front tweeters are facing straight up.  It they were the old tombstone style tweeter it would have probably caused audio canceling of the tweeters or it would have sounded far too bright, but not in the oddly designed audio system in the new Jeep.  We decided to leave them because we didn’t know if he would come back and want to amplify them and we figured it would be best then to replace them with new tweeters.

We have included pictures of the factory speakers still in their factory location and the new speakers with the template built for the front tweeters and in the sound bar.  Although our 1” tweeters are far smaller I can assure you they sound far bigger.

Radio Upgrade – The customer loved the idea of adding Apple Car Play to his Jeep.  He chose the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX pictured here.  With his phone plugged in Apple Car Play appears on the screen and you get the full Apple experience with typical apps that benefit the driver such as PHONE, MESSAGES, MUSIC, SPOTIFY, PANDORA, MAPS, PODCASTS and others.  The list of apps you can use will grow with time. We really LOVE this radio.  The Apple Car Play feature regardless of radio brand makes for an awesome audio and practical experience and therefore makes updating the radio worthwhile.

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Pioneer AVH-4100NEX

We also installed a back up camera that is specific to the Jeep’s factory spare tire on the back.  We have used this same camera mount for after market rims and not had a problem fitting to anything so far.  This is a far better choice than drilling a hole through the bumper which completely ruins a drill bit or two and makes the camera more vulnerable to damage.  In this tire location the camera is more protected and also at a better angle since it’s the tire that makes the rear view difficult to see in the first place.

All in all, the customer agreed that a subwoofer is really needed to make this upgrade complete.  However, replacing just the speakers might be enough for you.

 

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Back up camera

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Camera close up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Car Play & Android Auto 2015

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Just last summer I was saying to myself, “Self, the next big thing will be using your phone on an aftermarket radio without needing HDMI, a bunch of hideous cables and parts, that will be based solely on the phone’s firmware alone whether it be IOS or some weird candy Android comes out with.”  Late last fall, it happened with Apple Car Play.   Android quickly caught up and released their product in Spring of 2015.  Then we got busier than ever before and I am finally finding a moment to write this blog.  [more like a few hours in between customers] In short, I will format this blog entry in two parts instead of writing two blogs.  First part will be about Apple Car Play and Android Auto and the second part will be about the radios that use them so well, specifically Pioneer and Kenwood.

WHAT IS APPLE CAR PLAY & ANDROID AUTO?  To explain in words I feel most of us regular folk can understand Apple Car Play and Android Auto are products developed by Apple and Android respectfully.  They designed their products and then licensed them to Pioneer and Kenwood. They will allow you to use your phone’s navigation, music, messaging and phone apps just as you would with the phone in hand, all from the screen itself.  In the past, Pioneer and Kenwood attempted to compensate with HDMI inputs, long and obtrusive cables and parts, and then you could get video and mirroring of sorts but control itself was not necessarily part of the product.

CONTROL is the key to enjoyment and, in my opinion, safe driving.  Before you couldn’t easily look at your screen, see your phone’s navigation app, “tell” it where to take you.  Instead, you could choose a setting on your radio, wait for it to change, make sure your phone is in the landscape position instead of portrait, then for the ONE app that could be controlled which was navigation, use your finger to type in your route.  However, everything else was done from the phone.  Now, with your iPhone 5s or newer or your Android with 5.0 Lollipop or newer you can simply plug in your phone and the Apple/Android product takes over.

IMG_4331To the left you see the Apple Car Play example.  You see the apps available which are PHONE, MUSIC, MAPS, MESSAGES, PODCASTS and if you use it, SPOTIFY.  The other are navigational choices for taking you back to the source you are currently listening to and to get you back to the either Kenwood or Pioneer main menu screen.  In the bottom left corner you see a round, white dot.  This is SIRI in all her glory.  She is also navigational with a quick one tap to get you back to the main Apple menu or press and hold and you will hear Siri ask you what you want to do.  From there, you can say, “Call mom”, “Where’s the closest gas station”, “Send a message to Chris”.  The beauty of this AVIC-8000NEX_CarPlay_Homeis that it’s not using your Bluetooth to do this.  It is using Apple’s Siri.  So again you’re not relying on Pioneer or Kenwood to have great Bluetooth, which they do, but you are relying on Siri the product to hear you, respond and navigate for you as if you were using the phone directly.  She will even respond to “What is zero divided by zero?” if you ask.

 

AVH-4100NEX_AndroidAutoOverview_123014For Android Auto, it looks very much and is designed to behave like the Google Information center that displays cards with reminders, game scores etc., but will also show missed calls, text alerts and such.  You will be using Google maps instead of Apple Maps which is the only one that will work on the Apple Car Play.  Google Music and Spotify are the default music apps that will currently work but Android will expand to more and will do so much quicker than Apple most likely. You will also have full phone control and messaging control.  Please see the pictures to the left.

I have had one customer who was a fantastic guinea pig.  We installed the Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX radio in his truck.  He wanted built in navigation and he wanted to be able to use the Android Auto and Apple Car Play.  His work provided one phone and his personal phone was the other.  He used it for about a week and said all worked great, the Android was fussy getting it to work at first, which is sometimes the case with Android but once working it always worked.  He in the end preferred Android’s product to Apple’s.  He said it flowed better and he likes Google maps better as well.

In my vehicle, I have the Kenwood Excelon DDX9902S.   I happen to love it.  LOVE IT.  I can’t say I wouldn’t like the Android Auto better but I don’t have an Android.  When I did have Androids, they annoyed me.  Whatever, Chevy, Ford, right?  Point is, now, finally after such a long time, you can simply plug in your phone, see the most needed and used apps that are currently allowed while driving, use it practically handsfree, have a really beautiful display as well and it works just like your phone.  It’s incredible.

Oh, one more thing.  Apple announced during the summer that the next Apple Car Play release will allow you to use it WITHOUT plugging in your phone.  WHAATT??  There were no specifics when that would happen, only hinted to some time in 2016 but I have no idea how well it will work,  if it will move from app to app as quickly and seamlessly or not and I certainly don’t have a clue if this will be more expensive.

PIONEER OR KENWOOD?  Specifically I am going to compare only two radios.  The Pioneer AVH-4100NEX and the Kenwood Excelon DDX9902S.  Here’s why.  Currently, Kenwood only has one radio that has Apple Car Play and Android Auto.  Actually, Kenwood has one and Kenwood Excelon has one but we only carry the Excelon because you get a bit better sound features and a 2 year warranty for only $50 more.  Worth it.

Pioneer has 5, FIVE units with Apple Car Play and three of those have Android Auto.  So pay attention if you really aren’t sure which Pioneer radio you want to get.  They are not all equal when it comes to Android Auto.  Pioneer has the AVIC-5100NEX, AVIC-6100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX and the AVIC-8100NEX.  These are all units with built in navigation and Apple Car Play but only the 7100NEX and 8100NEX have Android Auto.  From what I heard at Pioneer training that is because Android requires a specific type of screen to use Android Auto properly and for Pioneer they only included that screen in their top two navigation units.  There are other differences with those 4 navigation radios but they are unrelated to this blog.

I did say 5 didn’t I?  The fifth is the AVH-4100NEX which is Pioneer’s top DVD receiver without navigation.  This is the Pioneer radio that is most like Kenwood’s DDX9902S and that is why it is used in this apples to apples comparison.  Here is how they are similar.  They both have:

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN PIONEER AND KENWOOD

AM/FM/CD/DVD/USB/HD radio/HDMI Input/Bluetooth streaming and hands free calling.

Apple Car Play and Android Auto

7” touchscreen

3 preouts and 4 volt

FLAC playback

Dual Zone Audio/Video [if you run video from the radio back to a rear screen you don’t have to watch or listen to the same thing]

iPod/iPhone control

Color Customization

Rear Aux Input

SiriusXM Ready

iDataLink Maestro Compatible

Back up Camera ready

Siri Eyes Free

MirrorLink Compatible

Pandora control for iPhone/Android

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PIONEER AND KENWOOD

Kenwood DDX9702S has a 1 year warranty but the Kenwood Excelon DDX9902S has a 2 year warranty.  The Pioneer has a 1 year warranty.

Pioneer has a fully detachable face, not Kenwood.  However, this is a bad idea.  How many times do you drop your phone?  Dropping this screen will bring bigger heartache.  Don’t use it. Get an alarm if you’re really worried.

Pioneer has an easier “get to the menu” interface.  From the main menu you can get to just about anything.  You don’t have to press MENU, Sub Menu, Scroll down, choose another option and then another.  That would be Kenwood.  Kenwood has a layered menu that cannot easily be navigated whereas Pioneer literally from any audio source, you tap one thing and you’re there.  No guess work.  That’s a plus when driving 65 mph.

If you are in a family or relationship where one person has an iPhone and the other has an Android, then Kenwood is a better choice.  With either radio you will need the required usb to lightning and usb to MHL cable to be able to use either Apple or Android feature.  However, Kenwood has developed their radio to make it seemless.  If I’m using my iPhone and the next user is using an Android they simply plug their phone in to the correct cable and it will work.  The Kenwood unit automatically recognizes what type of phone is being used.  For Pioneer, you have to go into the settings menu, Smartphone Setup, choose 2 different options and then you can use your phone with the radio.  It’s not difficult but it is an extra thing to do and if you’re like me and always in a hurry to leave this will be annoying tearing out of the driveway first thing in the morning.  So keep that in mind.

Screen Tilt is simpler with the Pioneer.  By simply pressing the CD/DVD eject button a menu appears on the screen at the bottom.  It asks you to choose from left to right, CD, SD CARD, SCREEN DETATCH, TILT IN, TILT OUT.  That easy.  However, with Kenwood from the main menu, choose SETTINGS, DISPLAY, scroll down, choose TILT, choose which tilt setting and then you’re done; all while driving 65mph.  This is not a deal breaker but something to consider if you find your radio will be the victim of glare often.

IN CLOSING  Both Apple Car Play and Android Auto are great products.  The Android users will need more patience in the initial set up.  You have to download an app; with some phones, change a setting, then pair the phone’s Bluetooth with the radio, plug the phone up to the SPECIFIC CABLE YOU GOT WITH THE PHONE or one just like it, then most likely either turn the phone off and on and maybe even the vehicle.  It’s a bit of a dance.  After that, as long as you don’t unpair the phone or get a new phone you won’t have to do that again.

With iPhone users, plug the phone in, unlock it and you’re done.  It’s completely ready to use the first time with ONE EXCEPTION.  If you have an iPhone 5s or newer and Apple Car Play doesn’t work AND you are using an APPLE product for the usb to lightning cable and not a $3 cable bought online or at the gas station, then check your SIRI settings.  Go to SETTINGS, GENERAL, 3 lines down is SIRI.  Make sure that girl is on.  Remember, Apple Car Play does not use Bluetooth to talk to the radio, it uses SIRI.  If she is not on, Apple Car Play will not work.

FYI, typically Pioneer releases their new touchscreen products early Spring while Kenwood releases theirs around May or June.  It all depends on how big of a product it is and how fast and desperate they are to release.

That’s all for now.  I hope this helped you with your decision and more than anything I hope you buy one, from us.

2014 Chevy and GMC Truck with Bose Center Dash Speaker Rattle

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Picture 1Picture 2  Photo 3 photo 3

This is for a select few people.  If you have a 2014 and newer Chevy or GMC truck or SUV with Bose that has a center channel speaker located in the center of the dash you may be experiencing a very annoying rattle.  If you are, here’s a fix.

We found with our own customer upon inspection the speaker itself was mounted down with only 2 screws and it’s sitting on plastic.  Rattle is inevitable.

First, how do you get to it?  To prevent scratching your dash you should use a plastic pry tool as shown in our picture.  Carefully, pry the grill off using the tool to get under the edges of the grill.

You’ll see the speaker mounted in there with most likely 2 screws.  Remove the two screws and remove the speaker, unplug it.

After unplugging it you will need to add some kind of foam gasket you can find at any hardware store, thinner the better and put the gasket around the underneath the speaker surface where it sits on the plastic.  (Shown in last picture from under speaker)

Then just reinstall the speaker as you found it but adding more screws instead of just the two that were there if that was in fact one of the problems.  Ours may have been a fluke but we doubt the gasket issue is a fluke.

That should fix your rattle.  From beginning to end this took us about 1 hour.  Good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarion Marine Factory Speakers

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photo 1Do you have a Mastercraft boat or any other boat with factory Clarion speakers?  Is it 3 years old or older?  You’ve noticed lately they don’t seem to sound as loud as they once did or you know one is bad and the others are fine.  Wellll…..the truth is most likely they are all bad and you don’t really notice because you usually listen with the engine running.  Those babies are most likely toast.  Shredded wheat is more like it.

Our experience in boat audio is these Clarion speakers have a shelf life of about 2-3 years.  Yes, we know they will make sound a little longer than that but it’s amazing what your ears and brain will adapt to.  As you see from the pictures the surround basically peals apart.  The speakers will still work through this until they just don’t anymore but while they are disintegrating the sound is becoming weaker.

The three pictures included are of the factory Clarion speakers.  One before it’s removed, one with the grill only removed so photo 2you can see the shredded wheat and then the last is a picture of the entire speaker removed.  The third picture is our theory as to why these speakers go bad so quickly especially in the way it goes bad.  The upholstery isn’t removed.  Basically, you see a criss cross cut and the speaker is just put in the space.  We believe this excess vinyl is suffocating the speaker.  We therefore, remove the excess before installing others.

The solution is to replace your speakers with good quality speakers.  Ones that are known for not pealing would be good.  We have recommendations; in fact our favorites are JL Audio.  They make theirs in 6.5”, 7.7” and if you’re feeling really ear hungry, 8.8”.   We also recommend a few other things as well.

1. Always add tower speakers if your budget provides and of course if you have a tower.  2. Once you change out those speakers and/or add tower speakers, amplify them.  The difference is HUGE.  3. If you do have tower speakers added and you photo 3don’t have a switch, add a volume control knob just for those babies.  We like JL Audio’s HD-RLC.  It’s originally for subwoofer control but in a boat you can control your tower speakers separate from the cabin speakers.  Why?  Well, you’ve just stopped to pick up your rider and you want to communicate with them or you’re in a cove and can’t hear each other talk but still want music to play.  You can simply adjust the volume on the tower speakers separately from the cabin speakers.  This is really a good idea if your cabin speakers are not amplified…trust us it’s a totally different audio level when you have tower speakers.

We felt the need for this blog because we are often surrounded by these Clarion speakers and we often feel as though our customer feel as though we are trying to up sale them.  We’re not; we’re just being honest and letting you in on an industry secret.

Kenwood Excelon DNN990HD

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DNN990HD

 

 

 

 

 

 

So do you want to know which new unit is ahead of the rest? Kenwood’s DNN990HD is the winner.

I personally prefer an itemized list but I’ll save that for the things that aren’t so typical in a navigation radio. It has all the basics such as 6.95” WVGA touchscreen monitor, 3 preouts, 1 AV in and 1 AV out, ready for SiriusXM, iPod, back up camera and of course, AM/FM/CD/DVD/HD Radio. The itemized list will include the new, the innovative and the typical with a sprinkle of “oh, nice”.

So, here goes:

*2 Rear USB

 *Dual Zone AV Control (so you don’t have to listen to the same Kiddie video your kids are watching in the back seat)

 *Car Portal for iDatalink – think you can’t replace your Ford Sync radio without having to spend way too much to replace Sync, Satellite  Radio,  Steering wheel controls, factory Bluetooth, etc? Kenwood exclusively has this feature to adapt to the factory features instead of
replacing them.
*Garmin Navigation
*Live Traffic updates
*Parrot Bluetooth for handsfree calling and audio streaming
*Route Collector
*WiFi Enabled
*What? WiFi enabled?

Kenwood’s DNN990HD is WiFi enabled. Meaning, with a hotspot on your phone or one that is in your car you will have full internet service on your new radio. You can receive all your Facebook, Twitter, Email and Google calendar updates live. You’ll have a full internet browser and you can control and communicate with all this with an excellent voice control feature. I was just playing around with You Tube this weekend and it understood both my husband and me perfectly without repeating continuously until it did understand us or we give up.

I previously listed Route Collector as a new feature. This is also specific to the brand and unit. Route Collector is basically the Wizard of the DNN990HD. You don’t really see it but its hands are in quite a bit. It is an online account set up that will make your mapping, music storage, photo collection and social networking easier.

All in all, Kenwood thought of a lot and has delivered. It has beautiful graphics to go with their new model and it functions easier than I originally thought it would being it’s fully loaded. C.A.R. Audio & Security has this on display and in stock if you are curious.

Pioneer AVH-X4500BT/AVH-X1500DVD

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These 2 head units are the only Pioneer “DVD without Navigation” receivers we are carrying this year.  Pioneer has made a few upgrades to their AVH line for 2013 that deserve a little recognition.

First, the AVH line as a whole has far better improved screen quality and graphics.  When we first saw the literature for this in an email we assumed the better graphics and color were due to photo shopping.  However, to see it in person is to realize there was no airbrushing these models.

Second, the AVH line has an improved, updated and more user-friendly interface.  This was long overdue.  It is much easier transitioning from one menu or source to another.

Third, the AVH line as a whole, currently has full App Radio Mode for iPhone 4 and 4S.  We’ve been told it will be available for the iPhone 5 in a few months with an additional adapter from Pioneer; the CD-IV202AV.  The video component of the 5 changed and wasn’t compatible with the 2013 product line.  The adapter will fix that.  Even with an iPhone 4 or 4S you still need a specific harness to use App Radio Mode; the CD-IU201S.  Without these cables, App Radio Mode isn’t possible.

With the iPhone connected to the rear USB, (rear USB is another change for the non 7” AVH models), the user can enter App Radio Mode and control a list of Apps from the touchscreen unit itself and not need to rely on the iPhone.  At last check, there were 28 apps available for this, not counting the 30 or so European navigation apps that I assume most of you will not need.  The beauty of App Radio Mode is this unit stays current and relevant, no matter how long you’ve had it.  The list of compatible apps is continuously expanding and includes navigation, traffic, music, vehicle information displays and social media updates.

The AVH-X1500DVD is the entry level unit for the AVH line.  With it you will have a 6.1” (upgrade from 5.8”) WVGA touchscreen, 3-2volt preouts (upgrade from 2-2volt preouts), MIXTRAX (upgrade, read our blog from…) along with other features already mentioned.  Did I mention how great the screen looks?

The AVH-X4500BT is the middle of the road unit in the AVH line up for 2013.  It is the least expensive with a 7” WVGA touchscreen and it also includes Bluetooth hands free and Bluetooth Audio streaming.   Like the AVH-X1500DVD, it also has a rear USB.  It is also the first in the AVH line up to have the 3-4volt preouts instead of 2volt.

Both of these units are great choices if you desire touchscreen and App Radio.  They are well priced and so easy to look at.  Come see us at C.A.R. Audio & Security to play with them and see for yourself.

Mercedes-Benz Remote Start & GPS Tracking

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For those not in the know, most car audio shops like us, CAR Audio & Security, sell and install only one manufacturer of alarm and remote starts.  Of all the ones available DEI is probably the largest.  They manufacture Python, Clifford, Avital, Sidewinder, Automate and Viper.  We sell Viper and Avital in our store.  Now that the background is out of the way, I’d like to let you all know about DEI’s newest product; integrating remote start to a Mercedes Benz.

In the past this was very complicated and hard to come by.   So much of the Mercedes Benz, 2000 and newer is all computerized which does not allow the traditional remote starts to integrate.  Now there is a line of remote starts that can do this, beautifully.

All of the models are what we call, “add-on remote starts”, allowing the consumer to use their factory Mercedes remote to start the car.  By pressing lock three times the vehicle will start and if necessary pressing them again while the engine is running will shut down the engine.  All other functions of the factory remotes will remain the same.  It is a very seamless installation.

Currently, DEI is offering a bundle package as well.  You can purchase and install the remote start along with DEI’s award-winning SmartStart GPS tracking.  This is great for several reasons.  If the range of your factory remote isn’t long enough for your specific needs you will be able to use your iPhone or Android as your remote and have UNLIMITED range to start your engine, pop your power release trunk, lock and unlock your doors; all this using an app on your smart phone.  The GPS tracking feature gives you a list of possibilities including receiving alerts if the vehicle is speeding, moving at an unapproved time, memorize your parking location and walk you right to your vehicle after the concert and a few too many and the obvious, track your vehicle.

To get all these features on your smart phone, a networking fee is required.  A one-year subscription is $69 and a three-year subscription is $179, giving you 5 months free; all less than $6 per month.  Please refer to the following to learn all about the GPS tracking SmartStart at http://www.viper.com/SmartStart/.

The following Mercedes Benz models are compatible with the remote start integration and/or SmartStart GPS bundle.  If you don’t want remote start but love the idea of GPS tracking that can be installed as a stand-alone module.  If you have any questions or are interested in either of these for your compatible Mercedes, please give CAR Audio & Security a call or come by.

C             2008-2013                            GLK        2010-2013

CL           2007-2013                           ML          2006-2013

CLS         2012-2013                            R             2006-2012

E              2010-2013                            S              2007-2013

G             2013                                         SLK         2012-2013

GL           2006-2012

New Pioneer CD Receivers for 2013 ~ DEH-X6500BT

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Two years ago the least expensive CD receiver offered from Pioneer was the DEH-7300BT and it did not include audio streaming.  This year, Pioneer is offering 2 CD receivers with Bluetooth and audio streaming for at least $50 less than the 7300BT.  We have chosen for now to only carry one of those 2 CD receivers with Bluetooth for one main reason; common sense.  The DEH-X6500BT is only $10 more than its little brother, DEH-X4500BT, and it offers 5 more additional features.

They both have AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA/USB/AUX and of course Bluetooth for hands free calling and audio streaming.  They both will also have wireless remote, Advanced Sound Retriever, control Pandora radio with an iPhone connected in the USB port and both are Smartphone compatible for Android music files.  The difference for the extra $10 again is common sense and this is what that looks like.

The DEH-X6500BT, who I nicknamed “Reno”, will also have 2 RCA pre outs instead of 1, wired remote input to integrate to your factory steering wheel audio controls, APP Mode for iPhone, Voice Activation for iPhone Bluetooth, MIXTRAX and 210,000 RGB Dual Zone Color Illumination.  This is the single din or half (sized) brother of the FH-X700BT, a.k.a. “Vegas”.  The nicknames are due to the very bright, brilliant and with your choosing, very flashy illumination options of these radios and of course the names correspond to their size.

MIXTRAX is a new feature Pioneer introduced last year.  It isn’t just for looks, although, depending on your eyes and I believe, youth, the appearance can be a benefit.  Visibly, the MIXTRAX setting will cause these lights to flash to the beat of the music and while it’s doing this you can already have it set to stay one color or scan through a series of colors.

MIXTRAX at its core is an sound entertainment feature.  This is technology Pioneer uses in their DJ products, which are REALLY cool and if you ever make it to CES in the real Vegas, you should check out the VJ booth.  MIXTRAX has a lot of different possibilities depending on the user.  You can go full tilt with this by setting up everything first on your PC or Mac.   With your PC you can customize playlists by using MIXTRAX with your iTunes or other music organizer to group songs together by mood, beats per minutes, etc.  Once you have arranged your playlists or folders download it to your iPod or USB flash drive and connect it to your FH-X700BT.  Once the music starts to play and you are in your MIXTRAX setting, the songs will play just like a DJ mix.  One song runs right into another with no pause between songs.  This is a great feature for home or the road.

In its simplest form, MIXTRAX on your Pioneer radio can just cause your music to be non-stop.  For this, no PC or Mac or App is necessary.  Just connect your iPod or USB flash drive to the Pioneer radio and choose the MIXTRAX setting.  In this simpler setting, its cooperation depends heavily on the type and quality of your music files.

There will be more advanced CD receivers coming out later this fall that will allow for all this and even more features such as HD Radio, Satellite Radio, 3 preouts and higher voltage, just to name a few.  However, if you are not adding multiple amplifiers and like me gave up on satellite radio a long time ago when Pandora was introduced, this radio is a great fit for a great price.  You can see both Reno and Vegas here at CAR Audio & Security in Wake Forest, Monday – Friday, 10am – 7pm.   You won’t even need VIP passes.

New Pioneer CD Receivers for 2013 ~ DEH-X3500UI

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As of right now, Pioneer has released 7 new CD receivers for 2013; and there will be more to come later this fall.   CAR Audio & Security carries most of those and the DEH-X3500UI is one of them.   For our Pioneer line-up, it is the least expensive CD receiver with a USB input and a wired remote input to integrate to your factory steering wheel controls for audio.

This radio is much like 2012’s DEH-3500UB except for a few updates.  It still has AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA/USB/AUX.  It now has 2 pre outs instead of 1 and also includes Advanced Sound Retriever, Pandora radio control for iPhone and MIXTRAX.  If you’re not sure what that means, you have more sound quality features and more possibilities with your iPhone.  Also, like all Pioneer CD Receivers, it includes a wireless remote.

This receiver is definitely brighter and more brilliant in its illumination settings.  Be careful using MIXTRAX with blue or red illumination; someone may mistake you for an emergency vehicle.

The DEH-X3500UI is a great entry level radio.  It will please most customers who don’t want Bluetooth or satellite radio but simply want more updated features than their factory radio or just need to replace their old one.

NEW FOR 2013 – Pioneer FH-X700BT

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Pioneer definitely had an itch to scratch because they have already released the first half of their CD Receiver line up.  They are like department stores with their Holiday decorations; they come out earlier every year.

First up this year is a radio I like to call, “Vegas”.  I say that because it’s big and has a lot of bright lights.  This is a double din sized, CD receiver that can be mild to flashy depending on your mood.  It comes with AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA/WAV/USB/ AUX, Bluetooth for calling and audio streaming, 2 volt and 2 pre outs.

This most closely resembles the previous FH-P8000BT with a few updates.  It has a fully illuminated Front USB and Aux input, Voice Activated iPhone support, Pandora Ready for iPhone, Android Music Support via USB, Dual Zone illumination with 210,000 RGB color possibilities, detachable face security, App Mode and let’s not forget what the “X” is for; MIXTRAX.

If you haven’t bought a new radio in a while this is what some of that means.  With an iPhone you will be able to speak to “Vegas” and tell it who to call.  Also, with an iPhone you will be able to control Pandora Radio from the radio itself.  Android Music Support is possible with the Pioneer App that corresponds allowing you to control music files on your Android from “Vegas”.  The Dual Zone illumination means the display itself can be one color and the buttons another.  With the MIXTRAX setting, “Vegas” comes to life.

MIXTRAX is a new feature Pioneer introduced last year.  It isn’t just for looks, although, depending on your eyes and I believe, youth, the appearance is sometimes a benefit.  Visibly, the MIXTRAX setting will cause these lights to flash to the beat of the music and while it’s doing this you can already have it set to stay one color or scan through a series of colors; hence, the nickname, “Vegas”.

MIXTRAX at its core is a sound feature.  This is technology Pioneer uses in their DJ products, which are REALLY cool.  MIXTRAX has a lot of different possibilities depending on the user.  You can go full tilt with this by setting up everything first on your PC or Mac.   With your PC you can customize playlists by using MIXTRAX with your iTunes or other music organizer to group songs together by mood, beats per minutes, etc.  Once you have arranged your playlists or folders download it to your iPod or USB flash drive and connect it to your FH-X700BT.  Once the music starts to play and you are in your MIXTRAX setting, the songs will play just like a DJ mix.  One song runs right into another with no pause between songs.  This is a great feature for home or the road.

In its simplest form, MIXTRAX on your Pioneer radio can just cause your music to be non-stop.  For this, no PC or Mac or App is necessary.  Just connect your iPod or USB flash drive to the Pioneer radio and choose the MIXTRAX setting.  In this simpler setting though your type and quality of music file will affect how MIXTRAX functions.

The FH-X700BT is a double din sized version of other single din CD receivers Pioneer is releasing this year.  The larger size offers a little bit larger price but nowhere near its past price point.  Like all other technology, it gets less expensive as time goes by.  Pioneer retails this radio for $179.99.  Come see us at CAR Audio & Security, see “Vegas” yourself and I’m sure a better price can be met.

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