Connecting Aha Radio to your Car Stereo

You've probably noticed that an awful lot of the recent blog posts have been talking about using Aha with an integrated car stereo (like the Pioneer AVIC models), but we also know that not everyone is going to have the option to upgrade stereos just to use Aha.  That's why I'm dusting off a blog post from early last year that provides the down low scoop on how to hook up to just about any current stereo system. ------------------- Now that you have all this great Aha Radio content playing on  your iPhone you probably want to know the best way to get it playing through your existing car stereo.  Depending on how old your car and/or car stereo is there can be a lot of things to consider.  Here are the most common options:
  • Cassette adapter - these first became popular with portable CD players and got even bigger when the iPod took off.  It may seem that these are almost extinct, but odds are that if your car stereo has a tapedeck this is probably going to be the easiest and most affordable option.  If, like me, you hate the wire hanging out of your tape slot, move on to option two.
  • FM Transmitter - once cars started shifting the default to CD (instead of cassette) the easiest option for most was a device that transmits your portable device audio through an unused FM frequency, and then you simply tune your car stereo to that same frequency.  Depending on the available frequencies in your area, and where your car antenna is located, the results can be mixed, but the look is often the cleanest option.  Some of them even charge your device in the process.
  • Auxiliary Input (basic) - there are two types of AUX options, but I'll start with the one that's been around longer.  First available almost exclusively in after-market stereos, these options are now popping up more and more in factory stereos too.  Either with an adapter that plugs into the back of your head unit, or in many cases a simple headphone jack somewhere on the front of the stereo (or even on the dash), just plug a 3.5mm dual male stereo cable into your headphone jack and the AUX jack, and you are connected.  Audio quality is great, but you won't be able to control the device with your stereo controls.
  • Auxiliary Input (USB) - the latest and greatest of the bunch, but not without it's pitfalls.  Your stereo has full iPod integration and connects to your iPhone via USB/iPod cable.  You'll typically be able to manage the iPod function directly on your stereo and may even get details about what is playing.  If you are using an iPhone app that produces audio (like Aha Radio) the iPod function will automatically mute when needed.  You may still have your iPod details display on your stereo, but the audio will be all Aha Radio.  Depending on the car stereo you may or may not be able to make iPod choices directly on the device.
You should be able to combine a bluetooth headset with any of these options, but keep in mind that the bluetooth only works for the phone...not for recording or listing to Aha Radio content. Ryan

Posted in Car Audio, General, Tips & Tricks