Hot on the heels of its freshly updated lines of CD car audio receivers and mechless decks, Sony has just unveiled an iPod/iPhone integration kit for those who want to keep their car's stock head unit in place. More accurately, the Digital Link Sound System is a collection of car audio technology that has been bundled for easy purchase and optimized to work together.
There are actually two Digital Link Sound System packages available. The first is the XDP-MU110, which comes in three parts: the DSP master unit, an iPhone cradle, and a remote controller.
The DSP installs in-line between your stock receiver and the vehicle's speakers and adds such features as Digital Time Alignment and a Digital EQ that can be adjusted for large, medium, or small vehicles, as well as high and low pass filters for its speaker level outputs and three sets of preamp RCA outputs (one of which is a dedicated subwoofer output). Most people will likely be using those speaker level outputs, which supply 17 watts RMS (45 watts max) to up to four channels.
Of course, in this case, the DSP's primary function is to receive audio data from the iPod Touch or iPhone cradled in the suction-cup dock that can be installed on the vehicle's dashboard or windshield. This cradle essentially takes any audio that the iOS device outputs (music, Internet radio apps, navigation, videos, and so on) and feeds it to the DSP. The system doesn't offer any in-receiver control of the iPod or iPhone, so you'll still need to interact with the device's touch screen. However, Sony has included volume and seek buttons on the cradle itself. There's also an on/off button that lets you choose between listening to the iPhone or your car's standard suite of audio sources.
For those who want to add a little extra kick to their car audio experience at the same time, Sony will also be offering the XDP-PK1000 package, which includes everything the XDP-MU110 package does plus a 12-inch subwoofer with Sony's new Dimpled Woofer Cone and a Class D powered amplifier. That amp feeds the sub between 330 and 600 watts RMS (depending on the user's selected impedance) with a maximum output of 1,100 watts.
The XDP-PK1000 combo of DSP, iPhone cradle, amp and subwoofer, and remote will retail for $799 when it goes on sale in September. Those who want to save a few bucks and skip the subwoofer and amp combo will be able to pick up the XDP-MU110 for $399 when it hits 12-volt retailers in November.