Audio auto news

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NaviGONE: Portable GPS system theft reportedly up 700%

02/04/2009   [Original: Ecommerce Journal via Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Audio, Gadgets, Lifestyle, Carsumer Advocacy

More and more people are adding electronic gadgetry to their car's arsenal after their initial purchase, which often makes sense since it almost always costs less to add audio equipment or GPS navigation from an aftermarket company than it does to spec if from the factory.

Sadly, recent statistics prove that you'd better be careful with that shiny new piece of technology. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 24,700 portable navigation systems were swiped in 2008, representing a whopping 700% increase over 2006. While the number in thefts has rocketed skyward, the number of units sold have likewise gone supernova, leading us to wonder if the actual percentage of thefts over units in service has changed appreciably overall.

Apple's iPod is also attractive to thieves, who stole 17,000 of the little music players in '08. Perhaps the rise in iPod thefts helps explain why half as many car stereos (14,000) were stolen last year than in 2006, although we are willing to bet that automakers' continued move away from standard-sized, non-integrated head units is also a major factor.

Our common sense advice? Add-on nav systems and iPods are portable for a reason... remove them from your car when you leave it parked. Disaster averted.

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CES 2009: Sony Xplods with new automotive units

01/09/2009   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Audio, Gadgets, CES, Ford

Sony is expanding its Xplod car stereo lineup with eight new models, including the company's first double-din unit in several years.

The most feature-filled of the new models is Sony's MEX-BT5700U model (in photo above) with a front USB port for music players including iPhone and iPod. Its Bluetooth connection can also transfer phonebook info from a phone to its display and allows access to phone functions through the head unit. And when using Bluetooth to play music from a media device, the Sony unit displays song name, artist, etc. Sony says the MEX-BT5700U is their top of the line head unit and expects it to go on sale this June for about $300. Follow the jump for info on all seven of Sony's other models announced this week at CES as well as the official Sony press release.

Gallery: CES 2009: Sony Xplods with new automotive units

Continue reading CES 2009: Sony Xplods with new automotive units

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Chevrolet Volt to get Sci-Fi soundtrack

10/30/2008   [Original: Inside Line via Autoblog]
Category: Audio, Hybrids/Alternative, Green, Tech, Chevrolet, Humor

One of the concerns about today's electric and hybrid vehicles is that they don't make the same noises as internal-combustion-propelled conveyances. It seems customers have come to expect a certain sound when a vehicle starts or is put into motion, and electric motors just can't compare to ICEs. GM has decided to add a soundtrack to its upcoming Chevy Volt to remedy that situation. Rather than plugging in the melodic symphony of the ZR1's LS9, however, they think the car deserves something a bit more space-age to go along with its high-tech hardware, and apparently there are some Trekkies at GM HQ. While we doubt they'll actually license the sound effects from the the Kirk and Spock franchise, E-Flex vehicle line executive, Frank Weber thinks the Volt should make sounds similar to when "you hear the doors close, or use the transporter," on the USS Enterprise. So it's official. The Prius' place in the geek hierarchy has been eclipsed by the Volt.

AutoblogChevrolet Volt to get Sci-Fi soundtrack originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2008 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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B&O put the Bang in Mercedes AMG

08/14/2008   [Original: Bang & Olufsen via Autoblog]
Category: Audio, Mercedes Benz, AMG

Typically when "music" is mentioned in the same sentence as AMG, it's in relation to the deep burble emanating from the exhaust pipes. But with all that Teutonic, sound-deadened cabin comfort, customers of the Mercedes tuning division have come to expect an equally impressive performance from inside the cabin. To that end, AMG has signed a new deal with the Danish audio gurus at Bang & Olufsen to provide their high-end automotive sound systems for these high-powered Mercedes models.

The deal is the third such agreement brokered by B&O, whose systems already appear in Audis and Aston Martins, spearheading a market proliferation that surely influenced the decision-makers in Affalterbach. Both AMG and Bang & Olufsen were clearly elated by the deal, and you can feel the sheer unbridled joy in the statement from AMG chairman Volker Mornhinweg: "Mercedes-AMG represents high performance and exclusivity. The same is true of Bang & Olufsen's in-car sound systems. Jointly, we are therefore able to meet Mercedes-AMG customers' expectations to sound systems." Contain yourself, Volk. Follow the jump to read the rest of the press release.

Continue reading B&O put the Bang in Mercedes AMG

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Scooter-geek's dream ride: Yamaha Vino scooter, fully farkled

05/09/2008   [Original: Thought Lab via Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Audio, Gadgets, Green, Tech, Toys, Motorcycles

Though it's usually the adventure touring crowd that excels at turning their motorcycles into rolling technology test-beds, we've recently run across a Yamaha Vino scooter that has been fully farkled. Featuring an on-board computer based around a VIA mini ITX form factor motherboard that's cleverly been hidden under the stock Vino's seat, this rolling geek-mobile packs in WiFi, Bluetooth, USB, GPS, FM radio, a TV tuner and a front-mounted camera in its diminutive frame. With the full-spec computer, pretty much anything should be possible right from the road using this scooter. While this is certainly a cool project, we have a few questions regarding its durability. How long will the acrylic plate that makes the structure for the computer hold up? Perhaps most importantly, how long will the scooter's battery be able to power all this technology? In the name of science, of course, we graciously offer our services for a road trip on the machine to find the answer to these all-important questions. Thanks for the tip, jared!

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Sound Bite: Audi R8 V12 TDI LeMans

04/04/2008   [Original: Spiegel via German Car Blog via Autoblog]
Category: Audio, Green, Supercars, Audi

Click above for more high-res pics of the Audi R8 V12 TDI LeMans

Diesel engines may be more efficient than the gasoline-powered competition, but good old fashioned petrol power has always held a huge advantage when it comes to aural bliss. The engine audio emanating from the Audi R8 V12 TDI LeMans still struggles in comparison to the best gasoline offerings out there, but man does it sound cool. At idle the R8's oil burning, twin-turbo V12 sounds like a Super Duty on speed, but on acceleration the 500-hp powerplant comes alive. When the TDI R8 is cruising at high speeds, its recorded sound is a lot like a speeding jet. Hit the link below to hear the R8 V12 TDI LeMans for yourself. You may never be able to buy an Audi with this most impressive engine, but at least you can hear it.

Gallery: Audi R8 TDI Le Mans

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Pagani gets into hi-fi. We likey.

03/10/2008   [Original: Home Tone via Autoblog]
Category: Audio

We've grown used to seeing automakers with a reputation for designing beautiful cars branch out into other consumer products. Porsche is a fine example, and Ferrari is no stranger to peddling assorted branded wares. It looks like Pagani will be adding its name to this list with a new hi-fi home audio system. Built of carbon fiber and aluminum, the system's main control unit emulates the look of the sound system from its supercars. Drawing inspiration from the unique four-pipe exhaust system from the Zonda, the bass tubes lie at the bottom of twin 350 watt tower speakers situated aside the control unit and amplifier. Audiophiles are sure to appreciate dual vinyl turntables, one for both 33 and 45 rpm discs as well as a CD player.

Pricing likely falls squarely into the "if you have to ask" territory, so we'll just admire this awesome unit from afar. Those of you who can afford a Pagani automoile can now enjoy your musical tastes both from the drivers seat of your Zonda and from the comfort of your own living room. Thanks for the tip, Tom!

Gallery: Pagani Hi Fi Stereo

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ICE Touch: British customers get trick entertainment system in Lexus RX

02/29/2008   [Original: Carscoop via Autoblog]
Category: Audio, Gadgets, Tech, Crossovers/CUVs, Lexus, Toys, UK

We think Lexus has struck the right balance with the sweetest in-car entertainment system yet. Called ICE (In Car Entertainment), the pair of eight-inch widescreen WVGA monitors protrude out of the back of the two front seats and feature an integrated slot-loading DVD in each, plus RCA inputs, USB ports and SD card slots. The attractive mounting also provides shock protection so discs don't skip over rough pavement or - perish the thought - off road terrain. A disc loaded into one can even be played on both monitors so both kids rear-seat passengers can watch the same Spongebob disc and listen through the included infrared wireless headphones.

The ICE system replaces the ceiling-mounted drop-down screen on the current RX350 and RX400h crossovers. Unfortunately, the system costs the equivalent of an extra $4,300 on all trim levels, except the top-of-the-line SE-L that has them included. Even worse, the system is only available in the UK... at the moment. But we'd expect that sufficient demand for the pricey accessory would bring it Stateside faster than you can say "luxury crossover-utility vehicle".

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Microsoft ready to expand beyond Ford SYNC

02/21/2008   [Original: Freep via Autoblog]
Category: Audio, Gadgets, Hirings/Firings, Tech, Ford

It was just last month when we reported the announcement that Microsoft had taken Ford's SYNC to the next level. It was good news for Ford, and good news to consumers who apparently like the award-winning hands-free communication and entertainment system. Even with $395 price tag, SYNC was selling faster than Hanna Montana tickets at a middle school box office.

Ford isn't the only automaker using the Windows CE 6.0 based Microsoft Auto technology. Before Ford inked their deal, Microsoft had licensed the technology to the Italian automaker Fiat SpA. Now, as Ford's exclusive U.S. rights to the technology are set to end later this year, Microsoft is eager to bring other automakers on board. It shouldn't be a tough sell, as consumers are embracing technology-laden vehicles, and Ford's SYNC has proven to help sell cars.

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Bentley's new 1100-watt sound system, courtesy of Naim

02/21/2008   [Original: Bentley Motors via Autoblog]
Category: Audio, Gadgets, Tech, Bentley

Click above for a high-res photo gallery of the Naim Audio System

Dropping us yet another hint that ultra-luxury automobile buyers really do listen to Kanye West when their windows are rolled up, Bentley Motors has announced an exclusive partnership with British high-end audio manufacturer Naim to fit the world's most powerful in-car production amplifier to their full model lineup.

The bragging rights center around an 1100-watt amplifier driving up to 15 speakers (depending on the model). Cutting-edge technology on each system includes Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and Dynamic Equalization to offer passengers an 'as-live' in-car audio experience. To adapt the system to each particular Bentley model, Naim analyzed each car and then designed a unique speaker drive unit for it. According to Bentley, the painstaking measures taken to match the acoustics to the particular vehicle are so effective that even with rapper Kanye West belting out tunes at full system power, only a low level of sound can be heard from outside the car. Too bad the same thing can't be said for the Honda Civic that my teenage neighbor drives...

Gallery: Bentley Naim Audio System

Continue reading Bentley's new 1100-watt sound system, courtesy of Naim

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