Thoughts on car stereos

The time has come around again for me to think about a new stereo for my truck. My current head unit, a Kenwood mp2032, is still working fine, so I kind of hate to get rid of it.. The reason I’m entertaining the idea is because the drive on my phatnoise phatbox mp3 player finally died. For those unfamiliar, the phatbox is the OEM version of the Kenwood music keg a hard drive based mp3 storage solution from the late 90’s. It was a nice system for it’s time and integrated with Kenwood head units well. It’s inherent shortcoming was the use of mechanical hard drives as well as a proprietary file system that would only allow drives sold by phatnoise to work.

Now that my drive has died, I’m stuck listening to the radio and CDs. The MP2032 can play mp3 CDs, but I find the 10 or so album capacity of a CD really isn’t enough variety and I don’t like toting around and constantly switching a pile of CDs. After browsing Crutchfield for a while, I’m thinking there are two likely candidates for mass media storage – a head unit with either a usb port or iPod controls. I think the usb option is more my speed.. My iPhone doesn’t hold much music so I’d have to get a new pod if i went that route. A 32G flash drive costs about $50 at the moment and should hold most of my music collection. Still not sure if I’d want the usb port on the back or front of the receiver though. There are pluses and minuses to both. I think I’m going to stick with Kenwood. I’ve been using their stuff since Pioneer quit adding features to their 1.5 DIN GM fit head units. The KDC-X693 and KDC-MP438U are the two main units I’m considering at this point, although I’m still debating getting a similar unit with the bluetooth hands free calling system built in.

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