Back in the day, I worked at a stereo store…that was when they all weren’t called “best buy”. For years, OE radios just sucked, and you tossed them, thinking they were the result of a bet “I bet you can’t build a radio for $5 ? I bet I can !! You’re ON”. My bosses did well with Jensen, Blaupunkt, and a host of amp makers. I was spoiled at an early age by real car sound and in the showroom klipsch horns fed by McIntosh amps. Source was either half speed master discs or reel to reel. Reel to reel was best, 8 inch per second, no hiss, full bandwidth…lovely.
Most car companies realized early on that “boom” was equated with good sound’. This lasted until probably the early 90’s, when a few “name” systems came out on high end cars. You could still beat them for 1/3 the price aftermarket, but then the DIN chassis began to disappear. Companies claimed anti theft, I lost a few Blaupunkt too, but the individual designs meant no easy upgrade. Base systems still Boom…Acura is a notable offender.
We suffered through cassette tapes…even metal with HX and Dolby C, they had limited bandwidth and wore out. The CD was a revelation, and forced car companies to do better.
Over time, this morphed into digital audio, due to the monumental screw up of the record industry making CD’s easy to copy. No one ever expected to own a CD burner…they were five figures in the beginning.
I’m happy with an Aux-in jack. My digital music is mostly mp3 set to max quality when I rip it. Provided there is a hard wire connection, be it iwhatever or aux in, sound is better than most cars can reproduce. I notice that while everyone loves bluetooth streaming, it isn’t as good A/B to a wire.
Sat radio I have due to my excessive seat time. Sound quality is between cassettes and a low bandwidth MP3. They could do better.
Streaming doesn’t work for me…between cell phone tower handoffs you get too many drops…I live in a hilly area.
Overall, I’m happy with the Harmon Kardon in my euro car, the Bose in my “murican” car, and meh with the Tech stereo in the Acura, but again the base Acura system is just unacceptable boom so I should be happy that the Tech system is meh.
Don’t even get me started on the kids listening to music with a laptop, or those crappy “bluetooth speakers”.
Source : http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/01/report-2020-one-third-new-cars-will-cd-players/