The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Streaming gains even more momentum. Korean carmaker Hyundai will abandon in-dash CD players and titan CD seller Naxos will launch a high-definition streaming service. | January 24, 2015

No doubt about it.

Streaming seems the sound wave of the future.

That’s what the news about sales and trends points to, anyway.

Streaming through such services at Spotify or various app stores and retailers like looks to be the inevitable next step from CDs, just as CDs followed tapes and tapes followed LPs and vinyl (78, 45 and 33-1/3 RPM)-– even though vinyl is making something of a comeback among audiophiles because of its superior, less harsh sound quality.

But consider some new developments coming out of Asia, which seems to be setting the trend for the dissemination of Western classical music more than Western culture or Western industry is doing in Europe and the United States.

Korean carmaker Hyundai will get rid of CD payers in its next year’s models. Instead the music connections will run through Bluetooth electronics that link up solely to MP3 players and iPods. (Below is a photo of the new dashboard taken at a recent industry show.)

Hyundai new car audio system

Here is a link to a story that has more technical details plus a defense of KEEPING in-dash CD players – below is Japanese carmaker Honda’s more traditional in-dash CD player and changer — and the virtue of listening to one entire CD:

Honda in-dash CD player and changer

Then consider the fact that Naxos – the Hong Kong-based budget CD label that now dominates the CD industry – is about to launch a high-definition streaming service.

Naxos Records logo

Penderecki Wit Naxos

Here is some background about the company, based in Singapore, that will service Naxos’ streaming site:

The Ear has very mixed feelings about this news. He listens to all sorts of formats in the car — radio, CDs and iPods.

What about you?

Would you buy a new car without an in-dash CD player, a car that relies only on wireless and streaming technology?

And how dissatisfied are you with the sound quality of CDs versus streaming or other formats?

The Ear wants to hear.



  1. I just purchased a 2014 Hyundai last May and was surprised to find only one slot for a CD. I was used to the six slots in my previous car. I don’t do the iPod thing so have always loved having a variety of CDs in my car. I would be stymied by the plan to have zero CD slots in the next model!


    Comment by Betty Risteen Hasselkus — January 24, 2015 @ 11:19 am

  2. The additional problem with bluetooth is that the fidelity is not very good–not close to a CD. I am sure that it will be possible to buy a car in 2017 with a CD player.


    Comment by Harry — January 24, 2015 @ 9:21 am

  3. Absolutely not. I live outside Madison; any time I drive in, I have time to listen to a relatively long work. At my age, my next car will probably be my last; I was planning to replace my current car in 2017, but I’ll do so next year if there’s a chance I can’t get a Subaru with a CD player. I don’t listen to the radio, I have a huge collection of CDs, many of them music not well-known and perhaps not widely liked, and I listen to many lecture series on CD. My kids gave me an iPod, and checking out the variety of music and performances of any given work available for purchase and download demonstrated how limited the choices are. Nor do I care to spend my declining years downloading my CDs onto my computer and then uploading to an iPod or other digital device.


    Comment by slfiore — January 24, 2015 @ 7:54 am

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