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Blaupunkt RDS radio (LONG)
On the radios thread:
I just bought and installed a Blaupunkt Frankfurt RCM 104 radio and Blaupunkt CD
changer. I have the previously mentioned and apparently common "popping" when
going from Audi to aftermarket. I find this somewhat odd because the Audi Delta
was also Blaupunkt.
DISCLAIMER: This is a european radio, AM won't work. I am writing this because
maybe this style radio may become available in the US, or you may want to look
into one while vacationing here. I do not want to be a radio importer/exporter.
On to some nifty Blaupunkt/RDS features: Blaupunkt makes harnesses to make this
a plug and play install (almost) - some match right up. The control unit also
supplies power to the CD changer and requires a separate line from the battery.
The 0.5 mm^2 power wire the factory used just doesn't quite cut it. There is
also no ignition switched wire readily available in the console (well, there
This is from Blaupunkt's new "WAVE" series. There are older model "Frankfurt"
radios that do not have these features. I'll get the Audi content out early.
The displays on the radios have something called VARIOCOLOUR, Brightness, and
Angle. The variocolour feature is not your simple orange/green choice, or even
your four-way dark character/light character orange/green. It is adjustable in
small increments from green to orange to red, enabling you to get the correct
color match with your dash lights. The brightness of the display is adjustable
in 16 increments, with separately programmable levels for day and night, which
are also integrated into the car's light switch. Angle allows you to
electronically skew the display for clarity from a left/center/right
perspective. It changes the "tint" of the characters. The radio looks better
than my factory radio as far as integration into the console.
As a security feature it has a removable "Keycard" in place of a removable face
or memorized code. This is basically an electronic key the size of a credit
card. You get two of these and the radio will recognize the difference and auto
adjust to the correct card with volume, radio station, bass/treble etc. "Let's
see, memory seats, memory radio, ..." It also sticks out an orange tongue to
show thieves the card is removed. Pluses of the card: smaller than a face
plate, memory settings, obvious theft resistance. Minuses: you still have to
In Germany the traffic reports are broadcast every half-hour (Scott M. - you
still here, or are you back in those Staus on the border. The skiing in
Garmisch was great last week, and no border traffic) This radio can "tune in"
and record up to four messages before you get in the car, kind of like an alarm
clock. ...jump in the car, hit the play button, and check the traffic for the
last two hours...
The normal gamut of RDS (Radio Data System) features are available, plus some of
those for the future. One reason RDS is bigger in Europe than in the US is due
to the subsidized nature of radio. In the UK for instance there is BBC 1, BBC 2
etc. These "stations" are available nationwide, but the transmitters are lower
powered and more dispersed than in the US. In Germany I could listen to one
"station" for 600 miles, but on 8 - 10 different frequencies, RDS auto-hops
frequencies for me. This model also has Auto-text, which they are using as an
ongoing traffic/weather update, kind of like the thunder storm warnings across
the bottom of the TV in the midwest.
CD changer controls are also available, but I don't know if it would be
compatible with US version CD changers. It should, but they use slightly
different code letters which implies slight variations. The CD changer is a
little slow, but very simple. My Pioneer was quicker, but had a had a tendency
I can't legitimately comment on the tuner yet, due to antenna problems
(hopefully solved); but for you 200 sedan owners with the dual antennae there is
another version (the Barcelona 104) that has dual antennae inputs and built in
Nifty features are nice, but.....sound quality: This radio/CD combo is far
superior to the 5 year old factory Audi Delta (Duh!) and is also superior to the
Pioneer set-up I had before. One radio salesman was discouraging me from
Blaupunkt until he heard I wanted a higher-end model. He feels the lower end
stuff is pretty much crap, but the high end stuff is very good. The audio
magazines here agree (but there's always that nationalist factor, too). The
CD's sounded very good, especially the Smashing Pumpkins, I'll try some
classical stuff tomorrow - sorry none of Tchaikovsky's cannons.
If you're looking into upgrading a stereo and you have the opportunity to get
the new Blaupunkts I can (after one day's experience) recommend it. If you are
in Germany/Europe on vacation ask about buying tax-free as a tourist. It's not
just in the Duty-Free stores anymore.