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Old    Brian Bedell (brian_b)      Join Date: Dec 2009       05-18-2011, 8:29 AM Reply   
My question is how to connect my HTC Thunderbolt (Android & Verizon) to my boat stereo system (Alpine IDA-x100m & WS420) in order to achieve the best sound quality, and a related question is what source would have the best quality to start with (ipod, pandora from phone, siriusxm from phone).

I believe my main options are via the 3.5mm on my phone direct to the 420, or I could use this to the deck, but I don't see the difference/benefit: http://www.alpine-usa.com/product/view/kce-236b/

Or I could use bluetooth naturally.

I have not found a cable/wire yet that will connect my phone to the USB on my deck yet, but I assume one is out there.

Regards source quality, I assume Ipod would be best of course, but then curious as to peoples experience regarding sites like pandora, vs. sirius (free trial for now).

Thanks everyone.
Old    Andrew Pilkinton (AndrewP)      Join Date: Jul 2010       05-18-2011, 9:25 AM Reply   
3.5mm mini jack gives terrible quality, probably the same through that alpine adapter. If you want pandora the best quality I have found is bluetooth but I dont think that radio has it. Best option is iPod. There is no USB cable to my knowledge that will play Pandora. Some companies are releasing radios starting this year that will play Pandora through the USB but I believe they are throught the iPhone only. Sirius might be a good option for you too as it gives decent sound quality. I think Pandora will eventually be the better option but not for your radio. http://ceoutlook.com/pandora-radios-expected-at-ces/
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       05-18-2011, 9:26 AM Reply   
the best you will get wirelessly with pandora is 128kps (upgrading to pandora one you can get 192kps, but only on a computer, not on a phone AFAIK). You can obviously push a less lossy bitrate if you are playing stuff that's been saved on the phone. Have no idea what rate xm transmits at over the internet, but can say for sure that pandora at 128kps will sound better than xm via satellite.

The headphone jack will probably sound marginally better than bluetooth. I'd say 4/5 people on my boat can't tell the difference between something that's playing off of my phone via bluetooth or something that's coming in the AUX jack (whether via an isimple IS76 to the WS420 or just a plain old 3.5mm patch cable the deck). Stuff played off of a usb thumb drive on the deck through its USB input does sound marginally better. Most probably can't tell the difference.

My experience is all with ipods / iphones, so your mileage may vary somewhat.
Old    Andrew Pilkinton (AndrewP)      Join Date: Jul 2010       05-18-2011, 9:27 AM Reply   
http://ceoutlook.com/pandora-afterma...m-not-so-much/
Old    Timmy! (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-18-2011, 9:42 AM Reply   
I personally think that satellite radio's "quality" is below that of an mp3 device plugged in via a headphone jack. The good news with the WS420 is that you get a signal boost which is better than just plugging it straight into the deck IMO.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       05-18-2011, 9:49 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmyb View Post
I personally think that satellite radio's "quality" is below that of an mp3 device plugged in via a headphone jack. The good news with the WS420 is that you get a signal boost which is better than just plugging it straight into the deck IMO.
I think it really depends on what generation of ws420 you have. The old ones had an adjustable gain on the AUX inputs. The new ones do not. I've got a new one (purchased 12/09) and I have to say that the signal comes in much weaker than using the same 3.5mm input on my deck (to get the same volume it's about 5 "clicks" on the volume scale out of 50 to get the ws420 volume up to the same volume on my deck).
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       05-18-2011, 9:51 AM Reply   
I'd really like to see someone try one of these to add bluetooth.... http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...im/diymacom-20
Old     (UNvisible)      Join Date: May 2010       05-18-2011, 9:51 AM Reply   
use your standard wall charging USB cord, plug into the head unit, mount the phone as a hard drive... i have the same head unit, and a HTC EVO..
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       05-18-2011, 9:52 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by UNvisible View Post
use your standard wall charging USB cord, plug into the head unit, mount the phone as a hard drive... i have the same head unit, and a HTC EVO..
but it won't play pandora that way, will it?
Old     (UNvisible)      Join Date: May 2010       05-18-2011, 10:04 AM Reply   
no, it wont, sorry
Old    D (tx_foilhead)      Join Date: Apr 2009       05-18-2011, 10:26 AM Reply   
If you could find a cable like the iPac that uses the signal from the bottom of the phone it will sound better. Then you could route that to the Aux input on the ws420 and play Pandora or Sattilite directly from the phone.

I run directly from an iPod of iPhone and just added the satellite radio last week to the phone. On the iPhone the signal is sent out as AAC (apple loss less I think) and it changes depending on your connection. It sounds much better than Pandora to me with headphones, but it's a bit thin on the boat stereo. I do record most things as .wav files and keep them on a big iPod Classic so most things sound different. I like the satellite because I'm terrible at making playlists and have never got the Pandora dialed in enough for it to play what I want. The stream has also been more reliable than anything else I have tried to stream to my phone.
Old    Ian Ashton (ian_ashton)      Join Date: Jul 2008       05-18-2011, 10:42 AM Reply   
For what its worth, using an iPhone 4 with my Kenwood 440u and a standard iPhone plug into the USB allows me to play Pandora - I can't control tracks through the headunit or remotes though, I have to change channels and songs on the iPhone. It also doesn't display the song title on the headunit or remote, but the audio definitely works.
Old    Timmy! (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-18-2011, 11:03 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawndoggy View Post
I think it really depends on what generation of ws420 you have. The old ones had an adjustable gain on the AUX inputs. The new ones do not. I've got a new one (purchased 12/09) and I have to say that the signal comes in much weaker than using the same 3.5mm input on my deck (to get the same volume it's about 5 "clicks" on the volume scale out of 50 to get the ws420 volume up to the same volume on my deck).
Really? I would have thought it would be louder. Maybe the input jack doesn't get the boost but the rca cables do?
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-18-2011, 11:06 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawndoggy View Post
I'd really like to see someone try one of these to add bluetooth.... http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...im/diymacom-20
Recently I upgrade my cell phone to the waterproof, shockproof, Casio Commando Droid. To keep it waterproof the plugs & gaskets need to stay in good shape. So rather than opening them all the time, I bought the AC cradle. And I've been looking for a bluetooth connection adapter for connecting it to the stock stereo in my Avalanche & the system in the boat. Parrot makes one I've considered. I see this one compared to a Belkin BT adapter. Time to get on it & pick one up.
Old    Brian Bedell (brian_b)      Join Date: Dec 2009       05-18-2011, 11:08 AM Reply   
Thanks everyone thus far.

Regards the iphone and the "signal from the bottom," my android does not have that on the bottom like our ipod, or i suppose an iphone has (don't have an iphone), it just has the mini jack on the side; used for charging and connect to PC. But the cable for that has a male usb, and my alpine also has a male usb.
Old    Derek (camassanger)      Join Date: Oct 2009       05-18-2011, 11:17 AM Reply   
I have an iPhone 4 and connect to my H/U via USB pigtail. Best quality sound comes from the ipod/music files without a doubt. I can play Pandora and run it thru the USB to the deck, but there is a very noticeable degradation in sound quality, probably due to the lower bitrate. My deck allows control from the iPhone or the H/U (I prefer to control via iPhone).

I would try to obtain the USB cord for your phone and connect it to your H/U via USB - this is likely to produce the best results (for all forms of data transfer). Bluetooth should work well too if you have that possibility

Last resort would be the headphone jack (IMO)
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       05-18-2011, 11:44 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmyb View Post
Really? I would have thought it would be louder. Maybe the input jack doesn't get the boost but the rca cables do?
the ws420 does increase the output voltage to 5v. For whatever reason, the input gain on the AUX is set pretty conservatively low (at least on my unit). I've tried three different inputs (IS76 (powered cable from bottom of ipod/iphone), headphone jack from ipod/iphone, and line out from portable XM radio). All three inputs "played low."
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       05-18-2011, 11:48 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill_airjunky View Post
Recently I upgrade my cell phone to the waterproof, shockproof, Casio Commando Droid. To keep it waterproof the plugs & gaskets need to stay in good shape. So rather than opening them all the time, I bought the AC cradle. And I've been looking for a bluetooth connection adapter for connecting it to the stock stereo in my Avalanche & the system in the boat. Parrot makes one I've considered. I see this one compared to a Belkin BT adapter. Time to get on it & pick one up.
Please report back how it works. The Amazon reviews look pretty darn good. Really like that it's got a rechargable li-ion battery onboard, so it should take electrical interference out of the equation. Would be really sweet plugged into the back of the ws420 where you can't even see it.

Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-18-2011, 12:06 PM Reply   
I'm wondering if a device like the Belkin Aircast BT adapter would be more convenient...... only because you don't have to remove the BT adapter to recharge it. Plus there is phone power on it too.

But your thinking that plugging it in to the DC system might introduce some noise in the system?
Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       05-18-2011, 12:28 PM Reply   
I was told by a local audio dealer that a headphone jack will still out perform any bluetooth as it is a direct connect. Same as networking, a hardwired device will always perform better then a wireless signal.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       05-18-2011, 12:46 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcrider View Post
I was told by a local audio dealer that a headphone jack will still out perform any bluetooth as it is a direct connect. Same as networking, a hardwired device will always perform better then a wireless signal.
May be true theoretically. Its close enough that most people can't tell a difference. I can tell a slight difference but the convenience of bt makes a miniscule difference in SQ a reasonable trade off.
Old    Timmy! (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-18-2011, 1:42 PM Reply   
Think this cable would be better than the audio jack?
http://www.amazon.com/HTC-Cable-ADR6...uct/B003Z6Q1DG
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-18-2011, 1:52 PM Reply   
Thats Micro USB to Composite video.
Old    Timmy! (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-18-2011, 2:00 PM Reply   
Has left and right audio + composite video (which you wouldn't use). Was just wondering if that would be a stronger audio signal than the audio out jack like it is on an iPod/iPhone.
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-18-2011, 2:10 PM Reply   
True... I was thinking component.

Might work on a Droid. Do Iphones have microUSB ports?
My Casio Droid does, but I'd rather not be opening it & keep it waterproof.
Old    Timmy! (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-18-2011, 2:18 PM Reply   
iPhone/iPod has a proprietary connector on the bottom that has a usb on the other end of it and they make all sorts of cables for it. Droids have a micro usb on them and a 3.5mm headphone jack. If Droid supported Media Transfer Protocol (MTP), he could just connect the usb cable to his device and hook it to the Alpine but from what I can see, it doesn't look like Droid supports MTP.
Old    Tyler Smith (smitty1258)      Join Date: Jun 2009       05-19-2011, 6:24 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcrider View Post
I was told by a local audio dealer that a headphone jack will still out perform any bluetooth as it is a direct connect. Same as networking, a hardwired device will always perform better then a wireless signal.

but isnt 3.5mm "analog" and Bluetooth "digital" I would think it would be the other way around
Old    Ian Ashton (ian_ashton)      Join Date: Jul 2008       05-19-2011, 8:02 AM Reply   
The Bluetooth audio streaming in my car sounds absolutely terrible compared to the 3.5mm plug or the dock connector. Not sure if its a characteristic of Bluetooth, or just the radio in my car.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       05-19-2011, 12:34 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by ian_ashton View Post
The Bluetooth audio streaming in my car sounds absolutely terrible compared to the 3.5mm plug or the dock connector. Not sure if its a characteristic of Bluetooth, or just the radio in my car.
I've run two different pioneer headunits and one Sony and they both sound very good. Tried a scosche Honda factory integration kit and it sounded like total arse. So yeah at least in my experience the radio can make a difference.

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