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Bluetooth® Music Browsing for Classic Cars

Pictured above: Interior of a 1958 Corvette

Most modern in-car stereo systems and cell phones feature Bluetooth® hands-free technology. Most people already know what Bluetooth® is and why it’s so popular. But for those of you who don’t know, Bluetooth® enables devices to communicate wirelessly to other devices. It gets its name from 10th century Danish king named Harald Bluetooth who united warring Scandinavian factions. Essentially, Bluetooth® technology is designed to unite electronic devices with a common communication medium. Bluetooth® can allow your cell phone to transmit audio through your car’s stereo – using a built-in microphone inside your car’s cabin and transmitting the sound from the phone call through your car’s speakers. 

Bluetooth® adds the convenience and safety of hands-free phone calls. While most modern cell phones have speaker phone capability, most states have laws against holding – or even touching – a cell phone while driving. This makes Bluetooth® Hands-Free a no brainer.

Bluetooth® can stream music from your phone to your car radio, connect your remote to your television or even transmit sound from your home stereo system to wireless speakers. The most modern Bluetooth® systems can even wirelessly stream video and even browse the internet from your in-car touch-screen system. But what about that old push-button radio in your classic car?  

There aren’t very many manufacturers making Bluetooth® radios for classic cars. Of the ones that do, most are very basic and will just simply stream the audio from your phone to your radio. Basically, when you connect your phone to your radio, you will need to select music to play on your phone, and the sound will stream through your car’s speakers. Think of it as using your car audio system as simple speakers for your phone. 

Not all Bluetooth® radios are created equally. The most basic Bluetooth® radios will simply allow using your car’s radio as a speaker for your device, while more advanced radios will be able to control your phone’s music player by allowing you to skip forward and backwards or pause your music through the car’s radio. Better Bluetooth® radios will be able to browse through file folders to view media files stored on your device. This all depends on the type of Bluetooth® protocol built into your mobile device and car stereo. 

There are many different Bluetooth® profiles – some are designed for wireless remotes and computer hardware, and others are designed for media streaming. There are three basic Bluetooth® profiles that are used for audio streaming:


A2DP stands for Advanced Audio Distribution Profile and is a Bluetooth® protocol that allows devices (such as mobile phones) to stream high-quality audio wirelessly. Examples include a home stereo connected to Bluetooth® speakers or a cell phone that streams through your car stereo. 


AVRCP stands for Audio/Video Remote Control Profile and is a Bluetooth® profile that allows devices to control audio and video media playback on remote devices. When used with A2DP devices, you will be able to skip audio tracks as well as pause and play while streaming music. You may also be able to browse the file system on your device and scroll through the folders using the controls on your car stereo. AVRCP also allows your mobile device to send metadata (track names and artist information) to your car stereo. 


HFP stands for Hands Free Protocol and is a Bluetooth® profile that allows two-way communication between a Bluetooth® enabled phone and a speaker or HPA-enabled radio. Most modern cell phones support HFP. 

Pictured above: RetroSound® Wonder Bar® Radio in a 1958 Corvette

Most Bluetooth® enabled push-button radios designed for classic cars will use the A2DP Bluetooth® profile allowing your mobile device to connect and use your car’s audio system as it’s speakers. 

RetroSound® radios use a version of AVRCP to allow Bluetooth® Music Browsing in your classic car, giving you complete control over the music on your mobile device through the controls on your car’s stereo. AVRCP is the next level in Bluetooth® technology. With Bluetooth® Music Browsing, you can browse through the files on your mobile device to select the music you wish you play. It gives you much more control over the music on your phone or mobile device. It also enables RetroSound® radios to display song/artist/album information on your radio’s screen. RetroSound® offers wireless Bluetooth® Music Browsing as well as Hands-Free calling in all of their current Bluetooth® radios. 

RetroSound® radios with Bluetooth® music Browsing include: 

RetroSound® is constantly adding new features and updating current radios. Technology is constantly changing, and RetroSound®’s Retro Radios™ are evolving with it. 

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