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Why are car stereos so flimsy?

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It's been a long time (as in more than a decade) since I looked seriously at car stereos, but I used to swear by Alpine because they were so tough. In fact, my son (who was 5 or 6 at the time) managed to shove 3 CDs into our last (single disc) Alpine stereo. Once they were removed, it was as good as new.

query: retro car stereo -speaker

I just want a new unit that can play the songs stored on my smartphone!
-Jimdoria (March 31, 2015, 11:11 AM)
--- End quote ---

I have an offer to make you, that could solve your problem, and at a much lower cost than you might have originally thought.

I have a brand new, still in the box, vintage car stereo with a cassette deck (purchased about 10 years ago, or slightly less), that I am looking to get rid of. You could use with a Bluetooth adapter.

It was purchased for a car that ended up totaled before my husband could get it installed, and since he doesn't drive any more, there is no chance that we will ever use it. I can't remember if he bought it for a Honda Civic or a Ford Escort. We chose this particular one because my husband is a destroy machine that can't be trusted with, it had to have a cassette player.

If the stereo is compatible with your car, I am willing to let you have it for the cost of shipping, or if you still live in my state, you could optionally just pick it up.

If it is something you would consider, let me know and I will dig it out of the closet and give you more info about it.

Thanks for the replies everybody! Yeah, wasn't looking especially for "buy this model" kind of advice. Just some perspective on why the build quality of these units seems to have suffered. Although as Curt's beautiful post shows, there ARE alternatives.

And I know this is a software forum, but I've never known DC users to be shy about offering their opinions on other topics as well, given the chance.  ;)

app103, I appreciate the offer, and that IS a cool gizmo. The current Pioneer unit in my car is radio / CD only though, so I'm afraid I can't take you up on it.

For those who are interested, CWuestefeld gets at an important point. A lot of the interaction with the unit is no longer ON the unit. I'm looking at stereos that feature the new Android Open Accessory protocol which essentially turns the head unit into a remote control / speaker system for an Android phone. You can use the controls on the head unit to pause, skip ahead, adjust volume, etc. but you can also do these things right on the phone. Good for when the flimsy plastic knob breaks off I guess?

I'm going to repeat Curt's query though, and do some digging. I still think a car stereo ought to look like you could accidentally bang your toolbox against it and still work the knobs.

Plus, the dual-knob volume+tuning design is one of the most elegant and intuitive UIs ever designed, and I'm tending to stick with it just on principle. So this is not quite software related, but it is User Experience related, which I think gets me a pass for posting it on DC.  :P

Well, there's always the generic reason....every manufacturer of everything on the planet is looking to cut corners. Every new generation of every product is more flimsy & more cheaply made than the last.

There are exceptions to that rule, but not nearly enough.


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