Digital Sound

I’ve been pondering whether to try and hack into the Viggen’s sound system so that I can listen to music via an iPod (that I’m yet to buy). I can remember many years ago buying my first car that had a radio in it and scrimping and saving to buy a cassette player. Then a CD player. The Viggen has an in-dash cassette player and a six-disc CD changer in the boot and I’m still not happy. I guess we all want the next big thing. I rarely bother with my CD changer and there could well be a nest of spiders in my tape deck right now and I wouldn’t know. It’s hard to believe they still inserted these in cars of this calibre until just a few years ago.

I’ve picked up on a project called Trollpod where a guy’s trying to integrate the iPod’s control functionality into a Saab. There’s a few manufacturers that include integrated iPod functions as a factory fitting. GM on the other hand, offer an aux-in plug with new models that allows the connection of any iPod or MP3 player, which I think is the smarter play.

The iPod functionality might be cool, but not everyone’s got, nor wants, an iPod and I think choice is pretty important. If you’re looking for an aftermarket iPod hookup though, Carl’s Trollpod might be the answer (when he gets it to market).

I also picked up the story on a guy who has hacked into his 1st gen 9-3 and got his digital music player running off the telephone input. I’m not sure how complex it is to set up, but the sound quality is supposed to be quite good. I’ve heard of others that have hacked into the CD input as well with similar results.

Fortunately, if you’re a 9-3 SS or Combi or Convertible owner (new gen convertibles only) there is a kit available, produced by Saab, that will enable you to hook up a proper line-in connection, just like the new factory set up. Elkparts are selling the kit for US$67.13 and it comes with everything you need. Instructions are downloadable from their site.

aux-in.jpg

If only they made one of these for the 1st gen 9-3. Life would be whole lot simpler. Until they come up with something simpler for the Viggen than a hack, I guess I’ll keep shuffling the CD’s around once a month.

P.S: I guess if you can iPod a pair of shoes, you can iPod anything……

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7 Comments

  1. http://www.dension.com/main.htm

    This is company from my country (Hungary) producing high quality special audio accessories for cars, including Saab.

    Australian dealer is:
    The Car Kit Company

    Unfortunately, they have only FM solution for older models to connect iPod. For the 9-3SS they have similar (if not better) solution that mentioned in the article.

  2. Hey Swade.

    I have a very low-tech solution in my 900 GLE..I just connect my iPod via a cassette adaptor. It works a charm !…although, the ole Alpine tape player in my 900 is getting long in the tooth and the back speakers are starting to crack up…so the audio in my 900 isn’t that great anyway.

    Great website by the way and congrats on your appointment to the post of Chairman here in Tassie 🙂

    Cheers.

    Damien

  3. Hello Swade,

    Figured I’d post an update on the Trollpod project. Things are now closer than ever with the hardware prototype now being adapted into its actual production chassis. Acceptance testing in the 2004-2005 9-5 without NAV has paased with flying colors. The software guy will have the specs at the end of the week which means that it should all be coming together in final prototype form in the next couple of weeks. When this happens, the first batch of parts will be ordered for a pilot run of beta prototypes. July seems likely for some preliminary sales! I will also mention that at this time, I am seeing what feasability there is to integrate Aux-In into my device as an expansion card to remove the complexity of having two seperate devices for those who want the flexibility of having both iPod functionality as well as the ability to connect other devices.

    Cheers!
    Carl

  4. Hi Swade

    I have the same problem as you with my 99 9-3. AND i use the phone-function with a orig. phone-kit. So i cannt use the phone-in for the ipod. I solved these problem with an itrip (http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/itrip/) and an car-holder (http://www.arktis.de/shopware.dll/cVIEW,20013/cSHOW,detail/cID,21443/cALIAS,/). it is not the best solution, but it works…..
    another + for this solution is: you can use the itrip and your ipod everywhere. In another car, in your house and so on…

    cheers from austrian
    the mozart-chocolade balls exterminating jochen

  5. Hi Swade: Two things about the mini plug aux input on the convertible – 1) you need an auto adapter like the Belkin Auto kit (see link) to combine the power and output in one location and 2) setting the aux input on the stereo can drive you nuts – every time you shut off the car (or even the stereo), you have to start over thru the entire menu selection process. Still, its great having the direct, clear sound input, and being able to use the wheel volume control.
    Looking forward to having fully integrated iPod and bluetooth phone controls in my next Saab

  6. Swade,

    I think that there may be hope for you because you have the trunk mount six disc changer. My brother wired his girlfriends Ipod into her Jetta thanks to the trunk mounted six disc. He spliced a wire into the one running from the CD changer that would allow her to not only listen to her music but also charge the Ipod. At the splice he installed a toggle switch (she had a DIN cointray below the head unit where he could hide the toggle) that would swap between the CD changer and the Ipod as the audio source, so no stereo funtionality was lost. Also, because the cord was wired directly into the headunit, it was more crisp than a cassette adapter or FM transmitter. He said it only required a small hole for the toggle and wasnt noticeable when removed.

    Unfortunately, I dont know exaclty how he did it, but it might be worth looking into, especially if you had an Audiophile friend or wiring kind of guy.

    P.S. For his 9-2x, however, he just went out and bought an aftermarket head unit. =P

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