Car Radios

Just wondering which cars have the best stock radio? In this day and age its getting harder to replace radios in cars but car review dont really focus on the quality of sound or how good the reception is for dxing.

Might be getting a new car in 6 months or so. For me I would like to buy a new or near new Hyundai i30 or Kia because of warranties and online reviews. But I would like Dab so really can only buy a Lancer or a Focus. Those addon dab look clunky at best and can impact on analog reception too. I sort of want to avoid. How hard is it to replace an i30 stereo?

Besides my question this thread can be in general about car stereos. In my current car a getz I have prolinear Dab radio and replace the speakers with response jaycar speakers. Dab is buggy but works. No bluetooth. Sound is reasonable, though stations on dab can sound average.

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My parents have the 2015 Subaru Forester that they bought in June last year, replacing the 2001 Holden Astra. Their car radio has RDS, including RadioText (eg. displaying the song that is currently playing), which I believe is standard on most cars these days. They don’t have DAB+ though, not even as optional.

As for its DX performance, I’ve picked up FM stations from Tamworth & Narrabri (Mt Dowe) quite clearly at an elevated spot just north of Campbelltown in favourable conditions. For example, I’ve managed to get 96.7 ABC Classic FM from Mt Dowe quite clearly without any adjacent-channel interference from Nova 96.9. I can also get Coast FM 96.3 from Gosford without any interference from The Edge 96.1 at around the same area.
DX performance on AM is pretty good too, although not as good as on the older Forester models (my older brother has the 2002 model), but is way better than on the Astra.

As for its presets organisation, they don’t have separate FM1/FM2 menus & instead has just the single FM menu where you can store up to 12 stations, whilst AM can store up to 6 stations.

@Laoma as it happens I’m picking up a new Focus Sport this week. DAB was one of the considerations so I also looked at the Lancer. Bear in mind you’ve got to get the Focus Sport (not the base model) to get DAB. But I highly recommend you test drive the Focus - it’s light years better to drive than the i30 or Kia (both good cars). I know the i30 and Kia have better warranty’s but the Focus is seriously a better car IMO. I’ll let you know how the DAB works around Brisbane. As for DX’ing (FM) my old 2008 Focus is pretty good in this department too. Can easily pick up Breeze FM, Rebel FM and Mix FM (Sunshine Coast) like “local” stations all over Brisbane metro. My mate has an i30 and it’s ok but not as good again. (BTW I’m not on commission for Ford, LOL)

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Great Brian. Yeah worried on the warranty with Ford but I hear they fixed the gearbox. Plus the space saver tyre sucks a bit. I got a flat the other day and was on holidays. Happy the getz had the full size tyre.

@Laoma. Yes they got rid of the dual clutch auto with this model and it’s a conventional 6 speed auto - very smooth. I’ve had no trouble with my old 2008 Focus which I’ve had since new and 148,000km. No troubles at all except for minor electrical problem with the boot release. The brakes go a little bit quicker than some (at about 70,000km) and the new pads and rotors are a little bit expensive but apart from that not a problem.
Also, even with the old dual clutch model they extended the warranty to 7 years on the transmission - but yes they weren’t pleasant to drive in traffic.

Thanks brian let me know how it goes and what the sound quality is like.

Will do. I’m already planning which pre-sets I’ll store for the DAB. I’ll also let you know how the DX’ing is on FM and how the AM sounds. Cheers

Reading from your posts over the years, I’m guessing the following DAB+ stations that will be on your new car radio presets would be MMM Classic Rock Digital, More Digital, Smooth & Double J. :wink:

There are audio manufactures (such as Alpine) that make aftermarket head units that suit a particular vehicle, so that you retain use of the audio steering wheel controls as well as Air Con/Heating display/controls, as these are often integrated into the radio display.

However, they don’t come cheap… In the case of the VE Commodore (which is what I have), it was going to cost at least $1,300 for the base Alpine model ($1,800 for top of the range model).

@TV-Expert yes you’re so right LOL. Will also throw in the Pure Gold stations too.
I’m just working on the order :slightly_smiling:
Triple M Classic Rock
Triple M Brisbane - maybe
More Digital
Pure Gold 80s
Pure Gold 90s
Double J
4KQ Digital
Magic Brisbane (still hating it at the moment though)
The Range - maybe.
97.3 - just to check occasionally that it’s still bad :slightly_smiling:

Having 4KQ and and Magic in stereo in the car will be a plus.

Another option to getting a DAB+ radio installed in your car is, if you have Bluetooth audio or even an Auxilary in socket, you could use your mobile to stream those digital stations (assuming you have enough of a data allowance in your telco’s plan). You could then expand the choices to non Brisbane stations that stream or Internet only stations too.

i installed the JVC KD0DB56 with addon bluetooth module in my yaris.

all i did was use the standard wiring harness you can buy that takes the OEM to a standard plug, than the standard plug to the specific stereo plug. no soldering needed. i needed to make a small change for my bluetooth module (just involved attaching 2 wires which i just used insulating tape and attached to where they needed to go)

i brought a small pocket as the unit i put in was single DIN and the stock was double.

probally the hardest bit was running the cables for the antenna and the bluetooth module but it was not hard and i learnt so much.

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With respect to the question of how good a radio is for DXing: I generally find that the newer type car radio antennas are not very good for AM reception as compared to the more traditional type antenna. One of the biggest questions to ask is what the selectivity is like with the FM part of the radio - ie how well can it differentiate two adjacent stations especially if one is local and the other is distant. This can vary greatly between radios.

My 1998 Toyota Starlet still has its original radio/cassette player ,no CD player.:blush:I’m not going to replace it yet,the radio still works well ,I can listen to Breeze FM ,my first choice in the car,I have a cassette with an AV cord that I,bought from Dick Smith,fits into cassette player so I can plug my iPhone in and listen to my tunes if there’s nothing on the radio

My mother used to have a Starlet, FM radio reception was pretty good, probably also helped by the retractable metal aerial that could be recessed in the top of the drivers side A-pillar (as opposed to the in-glass or shark fin set up of today’s cars).

Mine has that same aerial too,as long as I have it fully extended it has great radio reception

I find with my car if I get within 5km as crow flies to the big tv towers in Sydney it impacts my am reception ie bad interference. I wonder if it is because of my home made aerial.

Is that a dipole from a pair of rabbit ears you’ve got on your car there?!

If so, why did you do?
Did the old one break, or bad reception from the old one?

I’ve never tried AM near Artarmon, or near any major TV tower, I guess there’s too much radiation there for AM to handle?

Possibly due to unshielded or incorrect impedance cable from antenna to radio.

Yeah the old one broke (snapped off). Screwed a rabbit ears in seems to do the job. . On the issue of the bad AM reception around the TV towers , TV, cynic is probably somewhat right with my “homemade aerial”. Been a while since I drove another car around gore hill so be interesting to hear other people’s feedback. AM does suffer more interference these days though compared to say 20 years ago. Since I have DAB its ok, and once I lose DAB in parts of Sydney I find the homemade aerial does an adequate job for AM/FM radio.

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