I evidently need a "stodgy, fuddy-duddy" radio!

My wife and I recently found ourselves looking at that gift from the future (our future tax dollars) - the government stimulus check. We decided
to use part of it to upgrade our car stereo receiver. Currently, our car stereo supports only cassette tapes. We've tried using adapters and such, and are sick of starting a trip, only to realize we've forgotten whatever adapter we needed.
We found one that supports HD Radio, front USB port with MP3 playback, and a front audio input jack - all for under $130 shipped. We felt pretty good about the purchase, until I looked things over more thoroughly.
When I got it, though, I was very unimpressed with the controls on the stereo receiver. Currently, we have a GM factory install radio. It has slider controls on it that allow us to move the signal from front to back easily whenever we need to. (like when our toddlers are in the car with us, or someone in the back needs to sleep, etc.) There are also bass & treble slider controls right on the front of the unit. We are constantly having to minimize sound to the back speakers, then turn it back up when we drive with no one in back. There is no way I want to have to go into a menu for this.
The new unit requires you to go into a sub menu and select from different options to access these features. I've already wrecked my car once just from playing around with the tuner while I was driving, so I'm not too keen on swapping out a radio I can adjust by touch with one that essentially REQUIRES you to look at it to navigate menus. It just seems like an accident waiting to happen. If I want to get the HD radio, front USB & MP3, I'll be putting my family's safety at risk to do so. I'm not very comfortable with that, so I'm thinking of sending the radio back.
However, I've also noticed that NONE of the radios I see for sale online or in stores seem to have basic functionality like the factory installed one the car currently has. I want knobs and sliders on the front, so that even a blind person could control things. I don't want flashy displays or submenus I have to navigate.
I'm not the only one who feels this way about it, either:
http://home.wi.rr.com/saruman/rants/rants_car_stereos.html (note, there's some rather strong language on the site)
I also noticed that it wasn't going to be easy to install, like the last time I did this. The last car radio I installed was on a 1986 Plymouth Reliant. I unscrewed 4 lag bolts, then removed the old radio. I put the new radio inside a plastic adapter, hooked up the wires, inserted it, and put the 4 bolts back in. That was it, and it only took a couple of hours, tops.
At this point I am kind of disgusted and disheartened. I just want a simple radio that has real knobs and slider controls on the front, and has front USB and audio in, as well as HD Radio support. Does nothing like this exist anywhere?
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OhioGuy wrote:

Slider controls are a thing of the past. It is cheaper for the manufactures to install a chip and a switch. I rent new cars every few weeks and they are all like that. Check eBay, but it will have to be an old radio/cd from years ago.
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Dont know what your GM is, but might there be an optional radio for that model which would do what you want? Wrecking yard might be a good source.
Some cars are darn hard to retrofit aftermarket radios into. Just a thought.
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If his car is anything like my '05 Impala, the factory radio is a) shit b) has the same sorts of controls that he's complaining about and c) will not support HD Radio anyway.
I couldn't believe how awful the sound is from this radio, it's apparently targeted at sounding "cool" to those who like to listen to bad rap music and crank it all the way up to listen to the windows rattle. I have the bass turned down to near minimum (after more fiddling than it should take to figure out exactly where the bass control is) and there's still too much bass and not enough midrange or treble.
I did recently get a JVC head unit for the Ugly Truck which mostly meets his criteria for features (although it doesn't have a USB jack, it does have an auxiliary input) and it makes a world of difference. Unfortunately, while the volume is a proper knob and the seek/track controls are a fairly intuitive pair of arrowed buttons, the rest of the controls are pretty much as he describes. Best to try to do any necessary adjustments beyond volume and changing the station while parked.
Unfortunately, GM has integrated all sorts of stuff into late model radios (service reminder resets, and all of the "vehicle personalization" controls) so I'm not sure what would need to be done to successfully retrofit an aftermarket head unit without losing any functionality. I have not cared enough to pursue any of these options as mine is a company car that's going to be due to be turned in in a few months anyway, so I haven't done any real research. Since the OP did not mention any of these concerns, I am guessing that he has an older model car.
nate
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If his car is anything like my '05 Impala, the factory radio is a) shit b) has the same sorts of controls that he's complaining about and c) will not support HD Radio anyway.
I couldn't believe how awful the sound is from this radio, it's apparently targeted at sounding "cool" to those who like to listen to bad rap music and crank it all the way up to listen to the windows rattle. I have the bass turned down to near minimum (after more fiddling than it should take to figure out exactly where the bass control is) and there's still too much bass and not enough midrange or treble.
I did recently get a JVC head unit for the Ugly Truck which mostly meets his criteria for features (although it doesn't have a USB jack, it does have an auxiliary input) and it makes a world of difference. Unfortunately, while the volume is a proper knob and the seek/track controls are a fairly intuitive pair of arrowed buttons, the rest of the controls are pretty much as he describes. Best to try to do any necessary adjustments beyond volume and changing the station while parked.
Unfortunately, GM has integrated all sorts of stuff into late model radios (service reminder resets, and all of the "vehicle personalization" controls) so I'm not sure what would need to be done to successfully retrofit an aftermarket head unit without losing any functionality. I have not cared enough to pursue any of these options as mine is a company car that's going to be due to be turned in in a few months anyway, so I haven't done any real research. Since the OP did not mention any of these concerns, I am guessing that he has an older model car.
nate
Sometimes they just make things too damn complicated, dont they, Nate!
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sure do. I wouldn't mind the complexity if it sounded good, but it doesn't.
i'm still hoping my grandma remembers that I want her old Pilot tube amp if she ever tires of it (she's got two perfectly good old stereos; one Magnavox and one Pilot. Classical music on either sounds impressive; you're *supposed* to feel a punch in the chest when a cello hits a low note. Not like some of the newer stereos that cut off at 50 Hz or higher but have the bass boosted way up so the kids think they "thump.")
Damn, I just sounded like an old person, didn't I? I'm not really old. I don't even have kids. Honest.
Funny thing is, I just put the JVC head unit in the Ugly Truck because it had only a radio, no CD player or anything, and I am figuring I'll have to take it on a road trip sooner or later. Just wanted to have other listening options while driving through bible-thumper land. But it seems like such a waste to play a good head unit through crappy speakers, so.... (you see where this is going don't you?)
nate
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