Alfa Romeo Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Not certain if this is the right place for this thread, but given that I found very little information/confirmation on the real world operation of the XCarLink Alfa kit when researching it 6 months ago, I thought this may be a useful review for anyone looking to buy it. I'm not associated with the company at all, just a happy end user.

So, it wasn't cheap, but it works really well. I got the bluetooth kit with it, and was nervous about how smooth the BT process would be, but it's great. For music, I have an old iPhone 2G permanently mounted at the end of the cable (in flight mode), and I used a 3GS and now a 4S as my actual phone in my pocket (via BT). Car has the Bose amp and speaker system by the way.

The cable runs into the blue CD Changer plug in the back of the head unit - cost me $50 to get someone to fit it and run the cable under the steering wheel, put the box near the Diag socket, then mic, BT and main cable all run up the side and onto the front dash next to the drivers door (mic above door). You could easily do this yourself once you figure out how to pull out the head unit using a makeshift wire/tweezer concept device. Bluetooth plugs into the link box, and the button on the little BT box answers calls (and swaps between the two phones if necessary). It automatically picks up my phone whenever I'm in or near the car so that part is seamless (big relief as my old Blueant was crap in this respect). Only issue here is talking on my phone as I'm walking up to the car and the audio transfers inside before I'm in it! Quickly fixed though with a couple of quick taps on the phone audio setting.

Once in the car, music fires up on the 2G, all good. Got up to 8 playlists available or can use manual song/album selection via phone screen, steering wheel controls also work well. Phone call comes in, BT switches audio to my 4s, rings through the speakers, press the BT button and talk via the little mic mounted up above the drivers door, the caller hangs up, switches automatically back to my music. Some people say my voice is sometimes a little bit 'underwatery', but most say they can hear me just fine.

One minor issue is that the volume needs to be high when talking on BT (typically 55-62), but music also needs a high volume level so no sudden major volume music after phone call (but does need a bit of adjustment down if you're not cranking the music like I do). Plenty of volume available for music if you need, but needs to be set much higher than the radio or CD used to be. And of course if you're listening to the radio, you have to swap to the 'changer' in order to hear the phone. I can listen to music on either phone too of course.

I can recommend this unit if you're wanting to use an iPod or iPhone with your older Alfa, and you don't mind paying the fairly high price for it. No more jumping/skipping CD's and good sound quality (although for the audio purist, when you're running the volumes around the 50+ mark, there is a touch of buzz in the background, but any quiet to moderate song level easily overcomes it). Much, much better than FM radio transmitter devices, plus it charges the device as it goes. You could of course use it with just one idevice no problem, either via the cable or via BT.

The fact that it works just as I hoped it would means I'm a very happy camper. :thumbs:

Cheers
TiggerK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
I agree - nice unit.

HOWEVER, it can be a bit flaky. The fact you have your 2G connected permanently will make a difference. I hook mine up daily and it can take a couple of goes at turning the headunit off and on again before the iPod functionality is picked up - but it's not as annoying as it sounds!!!

I downloaded and use the navfree app - this is AWESOME with the bluetooth functionality - it kicks in over the music with turn by turn directions - once directions have been provided, it switches back to music!!!

CUSTOM DOCK I really want to sort out a way of making a custom dock but *apparently* the charging docks have a separate line out and the apple 30 pin female section on the charging docks will not interact properly with the XCarlink male plug.

Something like this would be ideal but I want to fit it in the coin/credit card holder - currently I cannot think of a way of doing it because the xCarlink cable is pretty thick at the 30 pin adapter end: http://www.2point5.com/guides/_images/bmw/e46_install.pdf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
good write up and iff you want to improve the souns on the bose sysytem take the head unit out and cut the a2 booster wire,makes a hell of a differance
steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
yes iff you pull the unit out it should have a wiring diagram on the top,the wire you need to cut is the one on te a block which is the main and biggest connector block the diagram will say it is the booster wire,iff looking down at the back of the unit when you slide it out its the bottom right wire cut it and just tape the ends up,youll be amazed at the differance
steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
yes iff you pull the unit out it should have a wiring diagram on the top,the wire you need to cut is the one on te a block which is the main and biggest connector block the diagram will say it is the booster wire,iff looking down at the back of the unit when you slide it out its the bottom right wire cut it and just tape the ends up,youll be amazed at the differance
steve
C'mon Steve, appreciate your input, but you avoided my question. I'll need more details than 'you'll be amazed at the difference". Cutting big wires on the back of my lovely Alfa stereo is not something I'll do without knowing what it does, what sound difference there will be, and why Alfa/Bose haven't already done it. I've worked as an engineer in recording studios so my ears are OK, and it sounds pretty good to me already. If cutting a wire will make it sound so much better, why don't they do it at the factory?? No doubt they have good reason...... I suspect avoiding me blowing it up with too much volume is one of them?


Do you know if the xcarlink will work with a connect nav + that was factory fitted in my 55 GT?
Sorry Andy, only used it with my 147, best to check with the company themselves. If the connect nav uses bluetooth, I expect it will work, but not 100% sure.


Cheers
TiggerK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
well the differance being more volume and yes i suppose iff you drive it to hard it will blow,but i dont drive it that hard and its just that now youll get a desent start on the volume instead of cranking it upto 40 before you can even hear it,with the wire cut 20 is enough for me and you also get all the features back the loudness button will work and you get the grathic eq as well,give it a go iff your not happy with it just splice the wire back together,but youll be more than happy with the outcome
steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Ah thanks for the info steve, very tempting indeed..... Certainly doesn't need the loudness button or the EQ, it's a nice freq response already (which is why they disable it no doubt), I do already boost the bass up to +3/4 but leave the treble at 0, or maybe +1 for older stuff.

But the volume boost could be useful. Still not sure I want to cut the cable though, but as you say, it's easy to rejoin it back again. Thanks for the tip!

Cheers
TiggerK
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Hi
Hope you don't mind me reviving this old thread with a question!
Please can you confirm if the sub woofer works with your xcarlink?
I have fitted mine today and all speakers work except the sub woofer. Not sure how to get it going.
Thanks
Ken
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Hi
Hope you don't mind me reviving this old thread with a question!
Please can you confirm if the sub woofer works with your xcarlink?
I have fitted mine today and all speakers work except the sub woofer. Not sure how to get it going.
Thanks
Ken
Hi Ken,

yes, the sub with the Bose system certainly works in my car, but that's nothing to do with the XCarLink since the sub is part of the whole amp system and fitting a XCL shouldn't affect the sub. Unless perhaps you disconnected one of the cables from the back of the stereo head unit accidentally while fitting the unit? Although I'm not sure if one of the head unit outputs is specifically for a sub, I would suspect not with the Bose system, but could be for a different amp combo?

Or could be unrelated bad luck and the sub has failed somehow. I also note on my car that when I start up, the volume resets to 31 and the sub is OFF by default until I turn the volume up a few notches then the sub kicks in.

Good luck either way!!

On a different but XCarLink related note, ever since Apple have updated to iOS8 and iOS9 the answering button functionality no longer works in the car (on both the 5s and my new 6s). My phone rings through the stereo system, but now if I press the BT button to swap from the car 2G player to my phone I get a horrible digital brrrrrrr sound, it doesn't answer the phone, BT disconnects, and often won't re-connect until a full power down of the car electrics. I have found I can answer by swiping the phone and switching audio to XCarLink so that's better than nothing, but very annoying to have lost this useful feature. No problems with making calls though, just answering them.

Cheers
Tim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Thanks for this info!
I have done some more testing over the weekend and the subwoofer actually works with XCL if i connect using the USB but not when playing music over Bluetooth.
I wondered if this was to do with the USB connection being a line out but bluetooth isnt?
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top