Mulling the Mechless Media Machine

Sections: Car Audio

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A Pyle mechless head unit

Look ma, no CD slot! (Photo courtesy Pyle Audio.)

Confession time: When it comes to infotainment, all I want is an easy way to play my tunes with good sound quality, and maybe the ability to talk on my phone through the radio via Bluetooth. Spending six long years commuting with only a factory AM/FM stereo unit makes me appreciate the simple pleasures in life, I guess. So when it comes to car audio upgrades I want to make, a mechless head unit is at the top of the list.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “mechless” refers to a head unit’s lack of mechanization. There are no moving parts unless you count the buttons or a volume knob. This also means there is no CD/DVD player. But on the upside, most mechless head units offer at least three ways to plug in enormous chunks of your music library in diminutive packages: SD cards, USB devices, or via the AUX input.

It’s only a matter of time before this type of head unit is found in more cars as an OEM option. Chevrolet’s Spark already offers a mechless AM/FM unit with multiple digital media plug-ins and Bluetooth connectivity in the form of its MyLink infotainment system, for example.

I’ve been thinking pretty hard about upgrading my daily driver’s factory AM/FM radio with a low-key mechless unit like this one from Pyle. It’s technically intended as a marine-use head unit, but is suitable for car use as well. And hey, its matte black face and greenish-yellow lighting will match up well with my truck’s interior. That matters more to me than having a ton of cutting-edge features– though I admit I wish it had the ability to connect to my phone via Bluetooth. But for under $50 no matter where I shop for it, I’m willing to overlook the lack of that feature.

What about you? Have you considered ditching the ubiquitous CD player in favor of a streamlined, simplified mechless head unit?

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  • Alberto Lugo

    I like those features, But I really need also Bluetooth, HD Radio and Data. And also need a Volume knob, and radio stations buttons. This is because the unit has to be easy to use on the road.