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Old 02-10-2012, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Houston
471 posts, read 1,455,857 times
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The last year or so, whenever I visit Best Buy's car audio department, I have 1) almost always been the only customer there 2) there is almost never a salesperson there and 3) the number of blank spaces on the demo board, where the demo head units are mounted, has been increasing at a high rate.

Recently by chance one of the installers happened to arrive to check on something on the computer and I asked him about the above. I got some unexpected answers:

For #1 and #3, he said in his opinion this is mostly because so many new cars come with audio systems so deeply integrated into the car's computer system it is nearly impossible to replace it with an aftermarket unit, not to mention that many aftermarket units will not even physically fit (though he said adaptor kits are still available for a lot of cars).

For #2, he said now car audio sales duties were handled by employees from several other nearby departments. But I guess it's hard to fault this plan, if sales are that slow, why bother with a dedicated staff.

And on an unrelated(??) note, maybe it's my imagination but I hardly ever hear people turning up their car stereos to high levels anymore out on the street. I don't mean the people with dual Cerwin-Vega 12" subwoofers with 400W amps, I mean non-audiophile music fans cranking up their Gorillaz or Dropkick Murphy albums on whatever system that happens to be present. Has the iPod "culture" or whatever it's called trained people the only way to listen to music is with headphones and as a byproduct, they don't feel it is right to listen loud in the open? I've noticed this same situation with home audio i.e. many people are getting rid of their home component systems - too bad, since you can hook up an iPod or most other MP3 players to most home systems with a $5 adaptor.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Earth
4,235 posts, read 22,434,202 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lije Baley View Post

For #1 and #3, he said in his opinion this is mostly because so many new cars come with audio systems so deeply integrated into the car's computer system it is nearly impossible to replace it with an aftermarket unit, not to mention that many aftermarket units will not even physically fit (though he said adaptor kits are still available for a lot of cars).
Interesting. I could believe that....especially since now some new car stereos you can change the settings from the steering wheel....while nothing new (they had this as far back as 1989) I think it's more common now.

I don't know if it's just me but I think today some of the car stereos offered in new cars are semi decent. In the old days all of the factory stereos sounded like crap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lije Baley View Post
And on an unrelated(??) note, maybe it's my imagination but I hardly ever hear people turning up their car stereos to high levels anymore out on the street. I don't mean the people with dual Cerwin-Vega 12" subwoofers with 400W amps, I mean non-audiophile music fans cranking up their Gorillaz or Dropkick Murphy albums on whatever system that happens to be present.
I still see them from time to time but not as often. I think in the early to mid 90's when a big car stereo with lots of bass was a fad, those who couldn't afford one "tried" to be cool by blaring their 6X9's as loud as they could go, even if it meant they were on the edge of distortion.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:02 PM
 
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i have a friend that works in a stereo store, and they see plenty of new cars getting aftermarket units.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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I'm 30 and will never put an aftermarket system in any of my cars. I installed stuff in my previous 3 vehicles but now look back and think what a waste.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
6,925 posts, read 8,632,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PokerMunkee View Post
I'm 30 and will never put an aftermarket system in any of my cars. I installed stuff in my previous 3 vehicles but now look back and think what a waste.

I think that would depend on the vehicle.
The audio system in my 66 Tbird was stock, and in fact the radio didn't work.
I shelled out nearly a thousand bucks (and did the installation myself) for a very good system, which is far better than the stock systems in today's vehicles. and it is like being in a concert hall when listening to the music now.
And by the way, at 73 I'm not afraid to get involved in projects like this.
It keeps the brain ticking.
Bob.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Birmingham
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I think three main reason's:

1. Best Buy has been known to F people's S up, so I think most people go to the dedicated audio stores.

2. They carry a limited range of models.

3. For me, the car stereo "boom" was the early to mid 90's. Everybody was doing it. Then the focus seemed to switch to performance and imports or away from minitrucks with boom sytems to jacked up Z-71s and modified turbodiesels. Everybody still had a system, but no one seemed to be going overboard so an Astro or an S-10 with a snug top full of 12s just wasn't cool anymore.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Houston
471 posts, read 1,455,857 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbohm View Post
i have a friend that works in a stereo store, and they see plenty of new cars getting aftermarket units.
I admit my "survey" only consisted of that Best Buy, and another one where I didn't speak to anyone, so the opinions I posted aren't exactly scientifically rigorous.

***********************************************
This is pretty off-topic but hey, it's my thread!

Anyone know why there are so few, if any (I haven't checked for several years) companies that sell head units that will directly drop into a GM car i.e. with no mounting adaptor kit needed whatsoever, equipped with a Delco/Delphi unit?

You'd think with all the literally millions of older cars out there with those types of units, Pioneer/Kenwood/etc would want to make some $$ off of them. I know Pioneer and JVC used to sell these a few years ago but even then, they only offered a couple models at most IIRC. The present DIN mount aftermarket units have very limited real estate vs. the Delcos and the better DIN models cram so many buttons on the faceplate - TINY buttons - that for me anyway many of them are a nightmare to use while driving.
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Birmingham
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I had one of those GM fit Pioneer's in my old Pontiac. I used it for a while, but moved on to a DIN unit with an adapter because I wanted to upgrade. Those cars were just too small of a market for the brands to pay too much attention to. IIRC there was one other brand I could have gone with and between the both of them about 5 models. I guess they didn't sell well enough to warrant any more investment.
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Houston
471 posts, read 1,455,857 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourian View Post
Those cars were just too small of a market for the brands to pay too much attention to.
Not to belabor the point and obviously something kept the brands from selling them, but with only a tiny handful of exceptions* those big Delcos were first installed starting around 1985 in pretty much every General Motors vehicle until say the mid 2000s. That's a LOT of radios!! And a lot of cars with failing radios that need to be replaced.

O.K. I'm done whining.

* for example, the '86 Buick Riviera with its CRT-based touch screen radio/HVAC system. I got to drive one these for a whole two hours back then - fun stuff (but man, that rear end styling ).
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Houston
471 posts, read 1,455,857 times
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Next Big Development In Car Audio: more and more head units available without CD playback capability. What will luddites like myself do when they buy a CD from their local music store and want to hear it while driving home?! And yes, I own an MP3 player, so I am not that old skool.........
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