Funky Car Audio


I was in Akihabara a couple of weeks ago and I saw these funky car stereos.

For you audiophiles there's this Panasonic model with a tube.  Of course having a tube you've got to show it off so it's prominently displayed behind a glass window right in the center.

Panasonic CQ-TX5500D

It's also got those oh-so-cool-old-skool analog VU meters.  As you can see it plays MP3s too.  Isn't that kind of an oxymoron?  You get a tube stereo for that special *audiophile* sound and then play crappy sounding MP3s on it?

Then there is this Sony model:

Sony WZ-7700MDX

It looks like it belongs in the batmobile or an Audi TT.  It's got both CD and MD players built in and you can set the color of the display.

There was this Clarion:

Clarion Addzest DMZ725LP

It's got this funky visualization display doing various designs to your music.  Kind of like Sonique or Winamp.  In fact maybe someone should make a skin out of this.

All of those stereos above are double height.  There don't seem to be many cars in America that take double height stereos.  On reason might be that car stereos get stolen quite a bit in America depending on the area.  I've had my car stereo stolen 5 times.  Yes, that's 5 times!

The first time was the same day I bought my first car stereo. I got a pullout so I could pull it out when I parked the car.  I installed it myself then that night I went to Westwood and parked behind the Federal Building.  After I got maybe 100 feet from the car I remembered I had forgotten to pull out the stereo but I thought to myself "nah, it'll be fine".  Come back a couple of hours later, car window shattered, stereo gone.

The next time was two months after that.  I got a new stereo to replace it.  Pulled it out every time I parked it in public but not every time I parked it in my apartment parking garage.  One time...gone.

After that I didn't have money to get a new one so I just had a cheap boom box in the car.  One day I come out and the window is shattered again and the boom box is gone.  The police went over the car and claimed that clearly they had tried to steal the car, the steering column was jacked up, but for whatever reason the just settled for the boom box.

After that my whole car was stolen.  I got to back about a week later.  Minus wheels, seats, oh yea, and stereo.  Actually the only thing I was sad to lose was about 36 mix tapes from the previous 10 years of my life.  I don't think I've listened to most of those songs since then.  They were all on vinyl and it was too much work to remake the mixes.

I also had an open air Suzuki Samurai once.  The stereo that came with it was like a cheap, AM only $10 stereo.  I didn't worry about it but after about 3 months someone stole it too.

So, I'm guessing that since having a double height stereo would pretty much make it a non pull out stereo they don't sell them much in the states.

That said there is this single height model from Clarion:

Clarion Addzest DXZ925

Which once opened has about the same display space as a double height model.  There's even this flash demo of it opening.

PS:Don't ask me if you can import these, I don't know.  I do know that Japanese radio uses different frequencies than American so you could not use the radio outside Japan.

Attack of the Quickies