Archive for November, 2010

My Favorite Silverado Feature

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Well, my fun with the Silverado is over. I turned it back to my North Texas Chevy Dealer a few hours ago, and I am missing it. I wanted to wait to write about my favorite feature until after I turned it in to see what I missed it most.

Love those Silverados!

Want to guess what it was?

Yep, it was the iPhone integration and XM Radio. I got back into my car after dropping off the Silverado and found myself wanting to tune to the 90s on 9, or Blue Collar Radio.

No such luck.

With the iPhone integration and iPod port, I could listen to all of my music that I normally carry with me and tune to it through the truck’s radio interface. No poking around the touch screen for me! And when a call came in, I could focus on the road, hit one button on the steering wheel, and solve whatever crisis the world had presented to me via the miracle of the Ma-Bell handheld transceiver.

Callers on the other end could tell I was in a car, but they said the audio was crisp, and it was not a challenge to hear or understand me at all. I truly do miss that feature, and even though my current vehicle has something similar, it is not set up for bluetooth, OR the iPhone integration. It makes me a very sad panda.

Thank you very much to the North Texas Chevy Dealers for letting me tool around in one of your trucks for a month!

One Final Silverado Accessory

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

As my time with this fantastic vehicle is coming to a close, I thought of another thing that I would upgrade on my Silverado. I was listening to one of my new favorite albums, Be My Thrill by The Weepies, and one particular song was causing the speaker’s bottom end to distort the top end (meaning the bass was so strong, it was causing the higher pitched vocals to vibrate). The song is Empty Your Hands and the stock speakers just can’t handle the chorus.

Basic speaker

Before I go any further, I should explain. I’m not just a run of the mill music listener. I didn’t major in music in college, but I did learn more than one instrument, spent six years of my primary education in band, and took a music theory class. Certain harmonies in certain situations give me goose bumps, but you can’t really feel the music unless it fills the space you are in.

If you ask the wife, she says (ok yells), “IT’S TOO LOUD! Turn it down!!” I, on the other hand, have it at a volume in which the space is filled with the music. It doesn’t hurt my ears, but I can hear all the tops, all the bottoms, and every middle tone quite clearly. Just means you have to turn it up a little bit.

That said, I have had a few situations where the stock speakers just won’t perform. Keep in mind, many entry-level stock speakers in any vehicle  are going to have this issue for me, and I would always opt to get a better speaker than the basic one. With the fantastic audio options that the sound system offers (XM, Bluetooth, iPod integration, Auxiliary audio jack, 36 available presets, CD), you need something additional to make the sound really jump.

This weekend is RACE WEEKEND! I’ll do a final Silverado post after that last lap is run.

From “Heard It” to “PLAYIN’ It!”

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

One of my favorite features of the Chevy Silverado is the integration with the iPhone/iPod. The Bluetooth integration makes for safer driving with both hands on the wheel, and the audio is surprisingly good. Sure. the caller on the other end can tell you are in the car, and I wouldn’t use it for a conference call unless I was playing the Mute-On, Mute-Off game, but for one on one calls it is perfect.

But take that integration one step further and plug it into the integrated iPod jack. Now you can play back any kind of audio that you would normally listen to with your earbuds over the car! You can do this two ways. You can control the device directly through the radio and play music loaded on the device, or you can plug it into the auxiliary audio jack (takes a normal 1/8″ audio plug) and listen to Pandora or other programs that generate audio.

I’ve been playing with this feature almost every time I get in the truck, but I wanted to take it a step further.

iTunes with Truck from Branden Williams on Vimeo.

I decided to go from identifying a song to, buying and downloading that song, to finally listening to the song in the truck. I drove to one of the many Starbucks by my house and used Shazam to tag and identify the song that was playing in the store. Shazam identified it, and gave me an option to buy it on iTunes. $0.99 and three minutes later, we were listening to it in the truck! No more writing it down on a napkin and forgetting to buy it when you get home.

Instant gratification to the max!