updated 12:45 pm EDT, Wed August 27, 2008
Sony Xplod 630 430 330
Sony today revamped its Xplod car stereo head-end units with its first truly iPod-aware models. The GT630UI, GT430IP, GT330 and GT130 all have a USB connection that allows iPods and (for the GT630UI) iPhones to be controlled and charged through the stereo's own interface rather than the player itself. The same support also allows other MP3 players to be recognized through the digital link.
All three also mark the introduction of a scan technology dubbed ZAPPIN that Sony says will do for digital content what auto-scanning does for radios; using the option plays samples of each track in a given piece of the listener's library to give them a taste of songs and allow playing it by ear rather than text descriptions.
The GT630UI heads up the range at $160 and supports AAC, MP3 or WMA audio from any of its sources, including CD; it also has support for optional HD Radio or Sirius XM satellite radio tuners, multiple pre-amp outputs, and has a built-in audio engine to restore lost detail to compressed music. The GT430IP loses AAC support and the special audio engine to reach its $130 price level, while the GT330 at $100 drops to two preouts. The $80 GT130 has just one preout.
Every iPod-ready Xplod has an aux-in jack to support most minijack-sporting audio devices and will be available sometime in September.