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Recommendations for totally portable sound/music


JamesR
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The original radio in my '65 T-Bird (which I'm doing a gentle refurbish on) seems to work fine. I reconnected the antenna and the reception seems ok, so I'd like to keep it as is. I did replace the totally bad front speaker, and I also put in and connected a rear speaker (OEM) in the correct place since the guys at the T-Bird forum told me that my car originally came with a rear speaker, even though it's AM only (??)

 

I thought about using one of those RediRad units that allows you to pretty easily input auxiliary sound through the antenna connection, but then one of the guys at the T-Bird forum said, "Why don't you just get a boom box? They're cheap and you're likely to get better sound through it than with a RediRad through the original AM radio for not much more money."

 

Seems like I fine solution to me since I can put the unit in my trunk and lock it for security, AND I can transfer that type of unit from car to car (meaning I don't duplicate money or installation effort. I have three old AM only or radio delete cars.) Do any of you do that for music and FM in your old cars? What portable sound units do you like (make and model)? I don't like loud blasty music, so I'd prefer not spending more for units oriented towards that capability. I guess my requirements are it needs a CD player and a 12 volt adapter (I presume the cigarette lighter in my '65 - which works - will be compatible with that.) Beyond that, I'm open to suggestions.

 

I could've just gone to  Walmart and bought something, but I thought I'd check with y'all first.

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)
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  • JamesR changed the title to Recommendations for totally portable sound/music

I like a hidden Clarion with remote and Bluetooth. Had one inside the glove box of my Corvair. Have hands free in all my cars just is easier with an FM radio. Also have about 500 nicely indexed albums on my cell phone.

If have a FM radio, cigarette lighter, and a place to put a non-permanent mag mount on the dash, I find one of these with voltmeter is nice. On-off switch is good if cigarette lighter is always live.

 

Have been doing such for a very long time.

 

ps there are FM to AM converters available just less than in '70s.

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In my youth I was an audiophile I suppose. I would buy/upgrade my car stereo at least once a year. Alpine was a favorite brand. I would not flinch to spend $600+ on a car stereo in 1982 dollars. BUT, now I really could care less for music in my car. I would not mind having it but its not a priority. I suppose my hearing isnt as good as it used to be and that may be part of it. Or the fact that I dont listen to any music produced after 1980. I have a stock am/fm with factory 8 track in my 77 car and didnt even bother hooking them up. I have been wanting to get one of the hidden audio products that look like a good idea. That small blue tooth looks pretty neat as well, but I dont have music on my phone. I dont need music enough to warrant buying a boom box to carry in the car.

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When I was growing up, a 45 player in a car was the best you could do. Did have one of the first portable stereo reel-reel decks but was always more of a technophile than an audiophile. SOA then was the 2001 version of Also Sprach Zarathustra through a Shure V-15 mk II and an AR system (15 cps organ note. ps cps is mechanical, hz is electronic). Am nearing a decade of streaming bluetooth & handsfree but rarely play music but sometimes binge on a theme. Is good to have particularly since is really cheap these days.

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On 12/31/2020 at 12:26 PM, zepher said:

Plus one for buying a decent bluetooth speaker and using your phone.

If you're reluctant to use your cellphone for playing music, you can also invest in an iPod.  You can store an incredible amount of music on some of the iPods that are on the market now, and an iPod will hook up to a bluetooth speaker the same way a cellphone does.

 

I grudgingly admit to watching some of the silly automotive-themed reality TV shows on Motor Trend, and I'm always stunned to see the amount of work put into modifying the interior and trunk areas of some of the cars that are being resto-modded.  Thousands of dollars spent on these incredible sound systems and their speakers - many hours put into squeezing speakers/woofers into tiny spaces so that sound can blast out of every crevice big enough to mount a speaker.  It just seems nutty & ridiculous to me.

 

Music was very important to me when I was young, but much less so as I'm now in my late '60s.  And, when I do listen to music, I don't listen at high volume, ESPECIALLY when I'm driving a vehicle.  An iPod or cellphone paired with a bluetooth speaker is perfect for my needs.  I would not even remotely consider anything else for a prized antique car.

 

And, if you haven't heard the sound from one of these bluetooth speakers, you're in for a surprise.  No, it doesn't sound like a multi-thousand dollar sound system with 15 speakers, but, they have plenty of volume and bass and you can set the speaker anywhere.  Anything from Glen Miller to Howling Wolf to Johnny Cash sounds pretty darn good from a bluetooth speaker.

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I had sort of a transition over the years I was traveling a lot for work. I went from favorite stations to CD's of movie sound tracks. Then I switched to instrumentals, actively seeking out CD's with original scores and no voice. Then, due to another aspect of work, I got an 8 CD set to learn Mandarin Chinese. I got half way through that and just turned the radio off.

 

Once in a while I will turn it on to news or a talk show. But it is just like TV. A few seconds and the phrase "after this","when we return", or the like comes on. I push the button and nothing comes after. My peaceful thoughts are enough.

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Used to transit the Florida <> Texas or NOLA run quite often & WLAC (Nashville) could be heard for most of the way after The Big Ape faded. Was mostly to help stay awake.

 

"Thousands of dollars spent on these incredible sound systems " every time I feel one shake my car I think "gotta buy more hearing aid stock..."

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27 minutes ago, padgett said:

every time I feel one shake my car I think "gotta buy more hearing aid stock..."

 

Either the whole world is going to have to get a lot louder or there will be a huge demand for hearing aids or other medical hearing loss procedures.

You don't even need one of those incredibly loud car stereos to damage your ears.  Most ear buds will do the same amount of damage if the volume is high enough.

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I agonized over this for years. My Chevy only has AM radio, which unfortunately works perfectly, thus making me feel bad about ripping it out. The car is completely original, so I don't want to replace it with anything that would look out of place. I thought about finding an original AM/FM/cassette unit that would have been optional for my car, but that would still have no CD or MP3 capability, and I know that once I tear into it, I'd want to change the speakers too, and might need to run new wires and maybe do something else while I'm at it, and that's a slippery slope I don't really wish to embark on with a totally unmolested car. Then I thought about setting up some modern digital system hidden in the glovebox, but I know nothing about these and never got around to researching it. So eventually I just started to do what I used to do as a teenager - I just bring along an old boombox and some tapes. It's the correct era for the car and gives me a sense of nostalgia. If I had a pre-war car, I'd probably put a Victrola in the back seat. Most of the time I'd rather just listen to the engine, anyway. I have all the modern conveniences I need in my modern car. 

Edited by Big Beat (see edit history)
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30 minutes ago, Big Beat said:

Most of the time I'd rather just listen to the engine, anyway.

 

Quiet engines are good. Loud ones are good. The music is just for those crawling on the planet's face.

 

Lost in time, and lost in space.

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Have found that the only real improvement needed for aunchient (since 1924) AM radios is re-coring the speakers with mylar. Sound can be very good just major limitation was the Am radio source. Fidelity was drastically limited by permitted bandwidth. FM cured that and sound improved dramatically. OEM FM appeared in the early 60's and FM > AM converters were common but had the same AM bandwidth limitation.

 

One issue is that automobile speakers were quire inefficient and factory radios powerful, more so than most aftermarket Radios.

 

In my opinion one of the best was an underdash FM/multiplex/8 track with its own amplifiers and switch to change the speakers from the radio to itself. I forget the manufacturer, Channel Master maybe ? Have one somewhere...

FM8-track.jpg

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I had something like this at one time.

Genuine spring reverb for your car.
Bumpy roads tended to make you want to turn off the reverb until you got to smoother roads again.  😀

 

See the source image

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On 12/30/2020 at 4:02 PM, Car-Nicopia said:

When I’m in a car with no radio, I use my iPhone with a JBL Flip 3 Bluetooth Speaker. It’s small, sounds great and has really good battery life.

image.thumb.jpeg.fab3e6e95d08f00e0bf7a137346be9bf.jpeg

 

I do exactly the same, with exactly the same speaker.  Great, isn't it?  I just put the speaker next to the seat or on the floor while driving, and control it from my phone.  None of my cars have working radios, and I just bring it with me to each car for drives.  Can use it for several hours between charges, simple to recharge. 

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