You might recall that a few years ago I posted a mockup of a stereo that looked like Blaster, the popular cassette-playing Autobot (or Audiobot as I like to call him). It’s something that I always kind of wanted in real life, so I’ve kept an eye out for existing stereos that I could enlist for such a project.
Then a few months back I found an RCA stereo that could do the job. It had a midsection that extruded out just like Blaster’s yellow tape deck. The speakers were also ideal too (I’d flip them upside down if needed). So I placed an order for the stereo, and even ordered some Autobot stickers from Reprolabels. The plan was to meticulously disassemble and paint the stereo.
Alas my order was pushed back to June (even if I choose express shipping!), and all other reputable stores don’t have this in stock. I’ve decided to throw in the towel and cancel my order, clearly this 5 year old stereo model is no longer being made (attempts to contact RCA fell short too).
I thought it would be a fun surprise for the blog, instead I will just share the mockup and my aborted plans. I will continue to keep an eye out for a stereo system that will fit the bill, and I will also attempt to do more IRL projects going forward.
UPDATE: A couple of helpful folks on Twitter pointed me to a reputable retailer and I ordered one, will get it in a week…so things are a go now! (Here is the link – Canadian customers only)
UPDATE 2: Derailed again. The product is out of stock.
This is an idea that crossed my mind a long time ago when I was lugging around a faceplate for my car stereo: I often wanted a stereo in my home that I can attach my faceplate to for everyday use. The main reason was that I really liked a lot of functionality my car deck had*. Also I felt the faceplate could be put to better use when not in the car.
Besides making the faceplate more versatile, I felt such a device had a strong ‘cool’ factor. Car stereo decks are very ‘showy’ in appearance, with their colorful displays (that often employed a music visualizer), and illuminated knobs/buttons. So the thought of enlisting the faceplate for a stereo on my desk or bookshelf was very appealing.
The design above is pretty modest (the faceplate is from a Spy Hunter design from way back), and takes a few familiar cues from cars, like a push-button ignition acting as a power button. Note: this design forgoes a CD player.
There is a lot of potential for devices in the home that can be home to a car faceplate. How about an attachment to the front of a PC tower (like a DVD drive)? Or an alarm clock? Obviously this is nothing new for those who use iOS device docks, or for SiriusXM customers who regularly move their satellite radio module from the car to a stereo in the house and back. As far as car stereo faceplates go, this is uncharted territory**.
Note: Currently this couldn’t be done in a universal fashion, because of all the different makes and models out there. One possibility are these docks being packaged with their respective faceplates in a bundle.
*I’m probably the only person on the planet who is annoyed by this, but why can’t home stereos have some of the neat functionality car stereos do? I’m talking about being able to auto-seek for radio stations with the push of a button, or adjusting audio distribution between all the speakers — stuff like that. Car stereos seem to do a lot more in a smaller, more intuitive package.
**Not counting the in-store displays for car stereos!