How to use your iPad as a car stereo (WITHOUT A HEAD UNIT!)
This guide will focus on a few different ways to use your iPad as a stand alone car stereo.
In my T-Bird, I am using the iPad as my only audio source. This is a great way to keep your system simple and save space if you don't have room for a car stereo head unit, or if you prefer not to run one.
This can be setup by using a Belkin 3.5 Audio + Charge cable, with an Apple USB-C to Lighting Cable and Belkin USB-C 36 watt Car Charger for fast charging with audio out. A 3.5mm to RCA cable can connect to a volume controller or directly to an amplifier that supports a dash mountable volume knob. Below are some examples.
The diagram below shows the iPad connecting to the Belkin cable, then to an AudioControl Overdrive (two channel volume controller) which has two RCA pre-outs to connect to your car amplifier/s. The AudioControl ACR-1 Dash Control is required to adjust volume from your dashboard.
If you are planning a small system, the JL Audio XD700/5 amplifier has the ability to accept two channels of audio in (from the Belkin cable) and supply signal for all five channels of output by setting the input switch to "two channel". With the HD-RLC volume knob, you are able to control the output of all five channels.
For high end systems with multiple amplifiers, you may choose to use a Digital Signal Processor as your volume controller. Most DSP units feature six to eight channels of output (RCA outs) and more features such as an Equalizer, Digital Crossovers, Time Delay, Balance, Fader and Subwoofer level control. Audison Bit Ten D and AudioControl audio processors shown below.
AudioControl also manufactures a line of quality audio processors. The D-6.1200 Is a six channel amplifier with a built in audio processor. Volume can be controlled from the dash via the ACR-3 Dash Control and audio can be streamed directly to the D-6.1200 with the AC-BT24 accessory. NOTE! that the iPad will not automatically pair to the AC-BT24, you must pair from settings.