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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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How bad is the entertainment unit

I'm strongly considering a Mazda6 Touring, I loved basically everything about it when I test drove one. But reading around online, and here, the entertainment system is apparently rubbish.

All I am interested in needing, is the ability for it to pair with my phone (Nexus5, though I'm sure I'll have some newer Android eventually) and play bluetooth audio (mostly podcasts, but sometimes music).

If I have no interest in iphone integration, usb, mp3s-on-usb-stick, or even pandora integration, how bad is it really ? Is it going to drive me crazy owning the car ? I basically use my phone for in-car audio exclusively, so its kind of important to me.

Other question - is there any noticable lag in the bluetooth streaming audio ? I own a Honda CRV, and for unknown reasons, the BT adds about 5s delay to audio streaming. Hit pause, wait 5s for audio to actually stop. Want to seek to find where you were up to in a multi-hour podcast ? Ha! Out of luck, wait 5s after every skip to see where it ends up.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 01:45 AM
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Bluetooth audio is not as bad as iPod audio, but there's some delay like you mention on your CRV. I don't think it's quite as bad as five seconds on ours. Maybe two seconds. Annoying when skipping through tracks looking for something you feel like listening to and you have to wait that time for each new track. Also annoying to roll down your window at a drive-through, hitting pause as you do, and having the music play a few more seconds.

When I FF or RW via Bluetooth, the unit pauses every time once I let off the button, so I have to hit play to get it going again.


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Last edited by josby; 11-10-2014 at 08:07 PM.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benavery View Post
If I have no interest in iphone integration, usb, mp3s-on-usb-stick, or even pandora integration, how bad is it really ? Is it going to drive me crazy owning the car ? I basically use my phone for in-car audio exclusively, so its kind of important to me.

Other question - is there any noticable lag in the bluetooth streaming audio ? I own a Honda CRV, and for unknown reasons, the BT adds about 5s delay to audio streaming. Hit pause, wait 5s for audio to actually stop. Want to seek to find where you were up to in a multi-hour podcast ? Ha! Out of luck, wait 5s after every skip to see where it ends up.
The infotainment shouldn't be a deal breaker if you love the car in every other way. That being said, I'm not you and you're not me, so hate the car for whatever reason you like

My infotainment works pretty darn well, to be honest. Could it work MUCH better? Of course. It works very well for a 2004 infotainment system, not a 2014 one.

Bluetooth audio streaming works perfectly for me except that if I want to shuffle my songs, the ONLY way that it lets me do this is if I begin playing songs then use the voice command "Shuffle All." If I receive a phone call while in this mode, I have to reset it. Other than that, it works perfectly. There's minor lag in song changes (maybe 2 seconds), and there's about a 30-45 second delay when first turning the car on before it connects to the phone.

Other than that, my Pandora works perfect whenever I need it, or my regular music or iTunes Radio works just as well, and everything else works just fine except the text messages (which I don't care about anyways).

I've stopped using TomTom's navigation for my primary means of travel, and merely use it as a backup in case my phone loses connection. TomTom's navigation is garbage.

Overall though, I'd never let it be a deal breaker for me if I loved the car otherwise.

Hope this helps

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byakuya View Post
The infotainment shouldn't be a deal breaker if you love the car in every other way. That being said, I'm not you and you're not me, so hate the car for whatever reason you like

My infotainment works pretty darn well, to be honest. Could it work MUCH better? Of course. It works very well for a 2004 infotainment system, not a 2014 one.

Bluetooth audio streaming works perfectly for me except that if I want to shuffle my songs, the ONLY way that it lets me do this is if I begin playing songs then use the voice command "Shuffle All." If I receive a phone call while in this mode, I have to reset it. Other than that, it works perfectly. There's minor lag in song changes (maybe 2 seconds), and there's about a 30-45 second delay when first turning the car on before it connects to the phone.

Other than that, my Pandora works perfect whenever I need it, or my regular music or iTunes Radio works just as well, and everything else works just fine except the text messages (which I don't care about anyways).

I've stopped using TomTom's navigation for my primary means of travel, and merely use it as a backup in case my phone loses connection. TomTom's navigation is garbage.

Overall though, I'd never let it be a deal breaker for me if I loved the car otherwise.

Hope this helps
As Byakuya said. The infotainment unit is just one aspect of the car where there are so many others. All depends of how important to you are every one of those aspects. For me the exterior and interior look, storage space, driving dynamics, fuel savings, price and safety features counterbalance the annoying infotainment unit. You'll get used to work around the issues soon enough and we are here to help. It is not perfect but it works. Another good aspect is that you can change the head unit if you like.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 11:03 AM
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Buy the car and rip the head unit out.

I did that but I bought a Sport, so I didn't pay for the more-expensive head unit either. And since I wanted a MT anyway, it was an easy choice.

The Pioneer 4000-NEX + Alpine amp + speaker upgrades in the rear doors and dash (none needed in the front doors) + a small Kenwood sub under the front passenger seat has turned the car into a monster when it comes to audio. None of it, other than the head unit, are visible either so the vehicle isn't a thief magnet. The soundstage and fidelity are ridiculously impressive for an investment right around $1,000, easily rivaling my home system that cost a LOT more. I have my entire music collection in FLAC format on a 120GB SSD tucked up under the glovebox, instantly accessible on demand. Yes, the replacement head does stream Pandora and anything Bluetooth if you want it to, but I almost-never do since I have my entire collection with me at all times.

The only thing you'll never equal in a car .vs. your house is the dynamic range, simply because the noise floor is much higher in a moving vehicle.

BTW you won't be able to do this with the 2016, so if you want this option buy now before the new model shows up!

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 02:32 PM
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The infotainment works perfect for what I use it for which is basically Pandora streaming or playing from SD card through Bluetooth.. I also have zero issues making and taking phone calls

The only real issue is playing music through iPod or USB sticks which is basically old school technology anyway.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 03:21 PM
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Pandora.. works great as long as native android doesn't kill it from running in the background.. then it just takes a little longer to restart the next time.
USB.... useless unless you like hearing the same song out of 200 and the same shuffle order every single time it plays.
radio.. works just fine + HD for bonus points *shrug*.
It's not what it could have been, but it functions just fine.. and better yet, the voice controls work! That's better than I can say for some other cars

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2014, 11:18 PM
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Interesting to see other opinions here...

I hate the system. 90% of my usage is for playing mp3's. The native iPod/iPhone integration is unusable. Same with USB. The default bluetooth configuration is poor as well - bluetooth doesn't support shuffle, so I have to use a crap app that shuffles in memory on my iPhone (which leads to other compatibility issues on the iPhone that aren't Mazda's fault). When the app works, it's ok. I've also noticed the car is susceptible to interference with bluetooth, which just shouldn't be possible. And yet, when I have another bluetooth enabled device on me (watch), the car will commonly not find my phone. Sometimes it stops while playing. If I have the opportunity (red light), I have to shut the car off and start up again to force it to re-pair correctly. I see other things people have seen as well. If the car was more average, I would have traded it by now. As it stands, the "car" part is amazing.

In a $30k car in 2014, I expect this to work much better. My main concern is that Mazda has no incentive to fix it. They have a new system in the 2016, which is where they will direct people now.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-2014, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donatolla View Post
Interesting to see other opinions here...

I hate the system. 90% of my usage is for playing mp3's. The native iPod/iPhone integration is unusable. Same with USB. The default bluetooth configuration is poor as well - bluetooth doesn't support shuffle, so I have to use a crap app that shuffles in memory on my iPhone (which leads to other compatibility issues on the iPhone that aren't Mazda's fault). When the app works, it's ok. I've also noticed the car is susceptible to interference with bluetooth, which just shouldn't be possible. And yet, when I have another bluetooth enabled device on me (watch), the car will commonly not find my phone. Sometimes it stops while playing. If I have the opportunity (red light), I have to shut the car off and start up again to force it to re-pair correctly. I see other things people have seen as well. If the car was more average, I would have traded it by now. As it stands, the "car" part is amazing.

In a $30k car in 2014, I expect this to work much better. My main concern is that Mazda has no incentive to fix it. They have a new system in the 2016, which is where they will direct people now.
Sorry to hear about all your problems :\

The system does suck, but there are a couple little ways to try and get around the major issues. My shuffle doesn't work, but once I start playing, if I use the Voice command "Shuffle All" it will shuffle every song in the current playlist. Works 100% of the time. The shuffle goes away after a phone call, but it's simple enough to re-enable it.

Perhaps your car is having trouble because the phone is blutooth connecting to multiple devices simultaneously. I wouldn't say it's the phone's fault or the watch, because the system should be able to handle this, I'm just suggesting it might be the reason for the issues.

And interference when playing blutooth audio? Like you said, that makes no sense whatsoever. I'd again say it probably has something to do with multiple devices fighting for blutooth control over your phone.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-13-2014, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byakuya View Post
The system does suck, but there are a couple little ways to try and get around the major issues. My shuffle doesn't work, but once I start playing, if I use the Voice command "Shuffle All" it will shuffle every song in the current playlist. Works 100% of the time. The shuffle goes away after a phone call, but it's simple enough to re-enable it.
Does the shuffle all voice command actually offer randomization, or is it a pre-set deviation like the button for USB play?

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