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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,
Got a question for you.

I'm wanting to upgrade the existing head unit (HU) in my 02 Yukon XL (double DIN).
There are two things that are paramount to me; Sound quality, and music storage space.
The one I'm having the hardest time finding an answer for is the storage space issue. The average iPod thing doesn't have enough storage for tunes, and to get one large enough to store a "decent" amount of tunes is beginning to get fairly pricey. So here's what I'm thinking....

Is it possible to hook a typical USB external harddrive made for home to the USB input of a typical modern HU?
{Yea, I know the whole voltage issue, but I can take care of that}

The type of unit I'm looking for is a double DIN DVD player. I don't really need the DVD part, but figured it'd be fun to play with. Not sure if that has an effect on anything, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
I'm mainly skeptical if the average HU can read the file structure of the harddrive.

Any words of wisdom regarding the project would be very welcome. :T

Bob
 

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How much storage space are you in need of? iPod classic's are 180gb I cant even fathom why anyone could possibly use more than that unless you want to store and play videos?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have a lot more tunes than 180gb.......
I was hoping to get a 2TB drive in there, which would be a duplicate drive as the one I use in my audio room.

Bob

EDIT: Oh.....plus, I'm looking for better quality than mp3, which requires more space anyway.
Otherwise I'd just compress the daylights out of it, and be done. haha
But I do enjoy my quality tunes.
 

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Hey Bob...

You may want to check out this unit: Pioneer AVH-P3300BT 5.8-Inch DVD AV Bluetooth Receiver with iPod/iPhone Control

I wanted basically the same thing as you want... good sound quality and the ability to use portable storage for my vast collection of music.

I have this unit in my 07 Ford Sport Trac and I am very pleased with it. Of course sound quality in a vehicle is affected greatly by the amplification and speakers as well. While this unit does power my rear speakers and it sounds okay, it does not sound near as good as my fronts that include Massive CK6 Stage 5 components in an active crossover setup powered by a JL Audio HD900/5. So I cannot contribute the sound quality to merely the headunit, yet it does its part.

For storage you would not need a separate hard drive. This particular unit has a slot on the front that accepts an SD card and another slot that accepts a USB connection, where you could us a USB flash drive. I use an 8GB SD card and it inserts completely into the front of unit where it is out of view. You can see it, but it does not stick out past the front of the unit like a USB flash dongle would.

Think about how much you can store on an $8 SD card. A typical 4 minute song is generally around 40MB uncompressed. You could get over 200 songs on 8GB. If you compressed them using WMA Lossless, which this headunit can decode, you could get about 280 songs on it. If you use MP3 then you could get over 1,000 songs on it. Jump up to the $15 16GB SD card and you could get over 400 songs uncompressed, over 500 using WMA Lossless, over 2,000 using MP3. Double all of that with a $30 32GB SD card... and again with a $60 64GB card. My wife uses a $13 8GB USB flash drive in her car in the factory USB location (the 16GB unit is $18). It is very small and does not stick out far, but in her vehicle the USB slot is recessed into the dash anyway, but even on my Pioneer unit it would not stick out far... still yet, the SD card does not stick out at all and cost less. I don't know how many songs you are looking to put on storage for your car, but you can certainly get a LOT of music in a very small footprint these days.
 

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Wow, more than 180gb of music even uncompressed thats thousands and thousands of songs (I have 6000 songs on my iPod 80gb classic and its not even full yet).
Its possible that you could use a USB hard drive that has an external power supply but I do know that each and every time you powered it on or removed and plugged it into the head unit it would have to search all the folders for music before it could be used and that would not be a fast process.
 

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Yikes... 2TB???

That is over 50,000 songs uncompressed?

I use WMA lossless for my favorite music, which I could put about 68,000 on 2TB, but I don't think I have ever even heard that many different songs in my 50 years, much less own that many.

I have a hard time differentiating between MP3 ans Lossless as it is... and in a vehicle, I certainly would never be able to tell the difference with all the road noise that is impossible to silence. I still use Lossless simply because I don't have that much to store and I already have it decoded that way on my home computer.

BUT... you could hook up a separate hard drive with the Pioneer unit I suggested if you wanted to.
 

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Wow, more than 180gb of music even uncompressed thats thousands and thousands of songs (I have 6000 songs on my iPod 80gb classic and its not even full yet).
Its possible that you could use a USB hard drive that has an external power supply but I do know that each and every time you powered it on or removed and plugged it into the head unit it would have to search all the folders for music before it could be used and that would not be a fast process.
Yep... just thought about that myself after hitting the submit button on my last post. It takes a little time to read my 8GB SD card the more I copy to it.

You might be better off getting several smaller SD cards and grouping your music for faster access... unless you got a good 60 miles or an hour to drive before you want to start listening to one of 50,000 songs. I am totally guessing at that, but as Tony suggest, it ain't gonna be quick at all. :bigsmile:
 

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I would think that even a 1tb drive full of music could take 5 to 10 min to search before it would be ready to use. USB is not very fast.
I use a Sansa Fuze in my van for music and it accepts a micro SD card as well on top of the built in 8gb. Ive got a total of 24gb and it takes it 3 min to search the folders before I can use it after I have added new music to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow, you guys are cool. :bigsmile: Thank you thank you, thank you!

With all the research, thinking, and daydreaming of this project, I never thought about load times.
Yea, that's a game changer right there.

The last thing I wanted was to have a hand full of memory cards/sticks to dig through looking for a specific playlist, or genre. But it looks like that might just be the best bet.
I guess I'll go ahead and install a unit and use the cards.

Sonny, I love that Pioneer. With all the digging I've done on headunits, I keep coming back to the Pioneers. They seem to be the only ones that have all the bells and whistles I want. The biggest of which is EQ ability.

I think on my way home from work today, I'll stop by the local electronics store and push some buttons to get a feel for the UI.

Long time, no talk to Sonny. Good to 'see' you again!

Ok....I'll let ya know what I end up with, and how the HDD turns out. Of course, you KNOW that day one I'll be running a temporary extension cord to my truck and see how long it takes to load 2TB. ha ha ha
I'll let ya know. ;)

Bob
 

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Have you considered are car-puter? If you really want the ability for all those songs, that could work.

Also, so far as search-time for the USB, if you have the cash, then a solid-state drive would be super quick... very expensive. Also, (as I'm sure you know) large flash-style drives would do the trick as well, no "spin-up" time when searching for songs.

Have you made any progress on this?
 

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Also, I have a Pioneer AVIC F700-BT in my car currently, have had it for almost 3 years now, it has the Ipod integration cord (obviously) but that cord also doubles as a USB input (used to set custom splash-screen graphic, music/video, etc) It also has the SD (as mentioned above) that doesn't force the card to stick out half-way.
One word of caution, despite being an advanced MECP certified tech, I (stupid I know) was hot-swapping the RCAs on the rear of the HU, ended up frying what is called a "PICO Fuse" (look on avic911 forums for more info) and had to dissasemble the whole unit, find the blown fuse, then solder-over the connections (the PICO fuse is about ... 0.25cm x 0.25cm in dimensions, and a pain in the butt to fix! I then had to re-flash the system (decided to update then whole thing and add traffic camera position/warning, etc)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the reply!
I bought a Pioneer 4300 DVD head unit. I've had too many comments about long load times for large HDDs, that I figure I'll just get by with SD card and thumbdrives. if all goes well, I'll install it tomorrow.

Good words about the hotswapping thing. I've been guilty of that in my home system......many times :sarcastic:

Bob
 

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Well, if you need any quick-help or anything, keep that AVIC911 forum in mind, and I am MECP certified if there's anything easy to ask over this forum. Would love to see some pics!
 

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Hey Bob, this is in response to your pm just so others can see it/reply/contribute wisdom/correction. :D

There are only a few things I would consider when hooking up your new HU.

If you're wondering what harnesses/adapters you'll need, call this number (Crutchfield) and ask them about these things :

1. Steering wheel buttons control adapter (probably the PAC SWI-PS)
2. Wiring harness (if you're not hard-wirring in your HU) - simple gm-to-pioneer avh4300
3. GM-specific factory amplifier harness to maintain your factory subwoofer's output.

Are you installing a backup camera or thinking about it?

For overall simplicity, when I don't have the master-specs available, I've used this service when I'm away from the shop. - http://www.crutchfield.com/p_700MASTER/Crutchfield-MasterSheet.html - It costs a little, helps a lot.

Honestly, I would consider (in the future, especially if you get aftermarket speakers of any sort) to get a 4-channel amp for your fronts/rears and get a dedicated subwoofer/amp (unless you go with a 5-channel). After market HU's do some good, but aftermarket amplifiers do a world of good. :T

You're doing a tricky thing combining factory/aftermarket. Easier to do when keeping a factory HU in my opinion but not impossible by any means.
 
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