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Blaupunkt Woodstock with DAB aerial splitter

Discussion in 'In-Car Entertainment' started by MJT71, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. MJT71
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    MJT71 New Member

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    I have a Concert (non-Bose) plus 6CD changer in my 99 A3 TDi Sport. I would like to get DAB so am thinking of replacing it for a Blaupunkt Woodstock DAB52 or 54.

    I know someone who has used a DAB FM antenna splitter in an oldish Mazda MX5 with a Blaupunkt Nashville and gets great reception so I am also thinking of using a DAB FM splitter with it to wire both DAB and FM to the existing external aerial.

    I am still unsure on the following:
    1) If I use the splitter do I still need an FM antenna amp?
    2) Is it worth holding out for a DAB54 over the 52? Can they both handle 1Gb SD cards?
    3) Do I need to bypass the rear amp? ( I plan to leave all the original speaker and wiring ) If so, what does this involve i.e. soldering?
    4) Sorry for my ignorance but, in AndyMac’s words, “swapping the perm live with the ignition on live” what does this mean I have to do?

    Any thoughts / help on the above would be greatly appreciated.
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  2. FactionOne
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    FactionOne Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I can't speak from experience about the 52, but the DAB54 is an excellent bit of kit. I bought one in 2004 for my '98 A3, and I've still got it now, it's hopped from car-to-car because I can't really find anything to trump it on features that are important to me.

    I've never used an FM/DAB splitter - I've used a glass-mount (basically *THIS* setup), and a roof-mount AM/FM/DAB combi aerial. The former worked just fine and delivered good reception in moderate and greater signal areas. The only problem was that it was an absolute ball-ache to fit to the A3; so much so that I gave up. I couldn't stick it on the windscreen as the wipers would clip it, didn't want to have slack-cable to the rear side-windows could still be opened, and it didn't look likely there'd be a flat enough patch away from the sweep of the rear wiper at the back - although I couldn't be certain, a larger problem for me at the rear window was the roof spoiler my A3 had.

    It was on the A3 I used a Blaupunkt branded AM/FM/DAB combi antenna, roof-mounted to completely replace the OEM AM/FM aerial and its base. Drawbacks here - it wasn't far off £100 for the antenna at the time, and pulling the headlining down to lay the cables is a bit daunting (and work that some just might not want to do). Advantages, performance was absolutely brilliant, and the car pretty much retained its factory looks (the angle of the mast was slightly different to OEM).

    From what I read, the FM/DAB splitters ARE NOT compatbile with amplified aerials - which would suggest they wouldn't work with the A3.

    Probably the best thing you can do is have a look at, or even speak to dabonwheels.co.uk - I've dealt with them a lot and they've never failed to impress me; they're extrememly knowledgeable, take a very much no-bull approach (clear product performance ratings etc), and have always bent over backwards in the customer service department. There's a pretty comprehensive range of aerials on their site, it's probably worth having a read through them.

    As regards your other queries - SD cards - beware, SD card compatibility is one thing that these head units are a bit quirky with; I've got a 1GB card that works fine in my DAB54, but I'm aware not all do. I used to work with a firm who dealt with Blaupunkt and I know they used to keep a compatbility list, but I doubt that's up to date any more. Probably the only thing to do is try...

    You don't have to bypass the rear amp - you can use the line-outs on the DAB52/54 to feed it, and the HU's internal amplifier for the fronts (as the OEM HU does). I can't remember off the top of my head for certain (will be checking soon as the DAB54 is going in my B5 in the not too distant), but I've a sneaky feeling that the pin-outs are all the same, therefore not requiring a harness adapter. That said, if my memory has failed me, I'm certain there's an adapter out there...

    ...which could also be useful on the other issue - swapping the permantent and ignition live lines... Basically with a car radio you've got a permanent live, which as the name suggests, is always fed from the battery, meaning your radio/EQ presets etc. stay in the radio's memory; the ignition live is (again as the name suggests) only hot when the ignition is on (or until the key is removed following ignition-off); this is what controls the HU's ability to turn itself on and off as you do the key. It's common for the position of these required by aftermarket radios to be the opposite of that on the car's wiring loom. It's not a complicated task to switch them around (perhaps just cut-in and stick some spade connectors (or similar) in the lines so you can swap and swap back as you like); but as mentioned, a harness adapter might be helpful here as often they've already got connectors on the lines so you can swap them, or if not and you have to modifiy it yourself, you're not actually hacking at the car's wiring in any way.

    All the best,

    Rob.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2010
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  3. MJT71
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    MJT71 New Member

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    Thanks for help Rob, really useful. I think the 54 looks best. I have also found out the 52 only goes up to 512Mb SD.
    Appreciate you taking the time to reply.

    I think the only thing I need to clear up now is about the amplified aerial. I'm not sure I have understood correctly but I thought the Audi aerial was amplified by the Audi HU, so by using another HU you need to add an amp between the aerial and new HU. So if I use a splitter and new HU, as long as no amp is there the splitter should be OK. But will the HU work without aerial amplification? Doesn't the splitter incorporate this?
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  4. FactionOne
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    FactionOne Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Here's the thing, the DAB54 is a s**t hot bit of kit. It's not the sexiest looking HU on the market, and it's got a couple of quirks, but overall it's fantastically well specified. LW/MW/FM/DAB tuners (FM is Sharx dual tuner affair to help keep clean signal), playback of CD/MP3 from CD or SD, recording of DAB to SD, buffer recording available so you needn't miss the beginning of something you decide to record, decent input/output options, decent eq options for the enthusiast/tinkerer (including the possibility of using a calibration mic in the car so the HU will learn the car's acoustics and balance EQ accordingly), it's fairly tidy looking (if not super sleek) and has a variable colour display so you can match nicely to your dash. Six years after I bought it, nearly seven, and I don't think there's another head unit on the market that would tempt me away just now.

    OK so the standard Audi aerial is amplified; the amplifier is built into the base of the antenna, and powered by the head unit. Ordinarily when you fit an aftermarket HU, you need to use something like *THIS* which takes power from a pin (be it dedicated antenna power or perhaps an amp remote etc) on the HU and shoves it up the coax to line-power the amplifier in the antenna. If you don't use one, you get sod all radio reception.

    My understanding is that the splitter takes power from the HU to operate itself, and either couldn't (because there's not enough to drive both) phatom-power the amplifier, or just doesn't have the electronics inside to shove 12V up the coax. I'd imagine it's more likely the latter becuase there are electrical complications relating to amplifying and phantom powering a line which carries a digital signal that don't apply to an analogue waveform (as would be for AM/FM).

    It might be worth emailing AutoLeads or whoever else makes them to check of course (and to be honest I might because a splitter would be quicker than fitting another glass-mount to my B5), but I for one am not holding my breath...

    All the best,

    Rob.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2010
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  5. MJT71
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    MJT71 New Member

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    I think I understand now, the aerial has an amplifier but is powered remotely.
    Found this on your dabonwheels site:

    Will NOT work with amplified aerials such as Beesting, built in the Glass etc.
    Performance unpredictable.
    Feedback indicates poor results with rear mounted and sloping (>20 deg from vertical) aerials.


    Doesn't sound good for me! I wanted to minimise effort and cost but looks like I will have to re-think.
    Thanks again for all the help
    Mark
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  6. MJT71
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    MJT71 New Member

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    I am now thinking external mount aerial (the Kinetic DEGA-4001 gets 5/6 on dabonwheels.com) but would have same issues as Rob mounting on A3.

    Looking at my A3 - is high up on front windscreen, passenger side, just in from shaded edge an option?

    Alternatively I try internal windscreen mount but none get great reports.

    Any thoughts?
    Thanks
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