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I'm still considering getting a used gen1 volt and saving a ton of money instead of getting a tesla model 3.

I was shocked to learn that teslas don't let you play audio through USB from your phone, only via bluetooth, since bluetooth audio quality isn't as good as USB quality.

Can gen 1 volts play audio from your phone via a plugged in USB cord, or is it only via bluetooth? And has anyone tested to see if you can hear the difference in sound quality?
 

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In a car environment, it is doubtful you can truly tell the difference between USB/AUX and Bluetooth. I have done A/B tests in the Volt and couldn't tell the difference myself using the BTC450 bluetooth on Amazon.

Gen 1 can play audio directly from any iOS device via USB. Anything else you will need to use AUX port. Gen 1 Bluetooth do NOT support stereo streaming, mono voice calls only.
 

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Yes, you can play music via USB.

But this thread sums up nicely why I have and would never do it that way:
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?12881-Solution-found-playing-music-from-iPhone-iPod-touch-when-plugged-in-via-USB
(Controlling your device through the Volt's controls is just way too clunky.)

I've personally never noticed any degraded audio quality via Bluetooth. But I'm not huge audiophile either.

Gen 1 Bluetooth do NOT support stereo streaming, mono voice calls only.
That's not true for 2013 and later models which have "MyLink" stereos. I think some late-2012's might have MyLink as well, but I'm not certain.
 

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Not all first generation Volts allow you to play audio through USB. For 2011 and I believe 2012 you need to use the AUX jack. Then just use the controls on your phone. That will work just fine. AFAIK wired connections are invariably better than wireless and I don't believe Bluetooth changes this. It may, however, be more convenient.
 

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I'm still considering getting a used gen1 volt and saving a ton of money instead of getting a tesla model 3.

I was shocked to learn that teslas don't let you play audio through USB from your phone, only via bluetooth, since bluetooth audio quality isn't as good as USB quality.

Can gen 1 volts play audio from your phone via a plugged in USB cord, or is it only via bluetooth? And has anyone tested to see if you can hear the difference in sound quality?
In a 2014 you can do both. I really do not notice any difference though. Some people claim to be able to tell the difference. Maybe they can or maybe it is the power of suggestion.

2014 Volt Premium - "Gas? We don't need no stinkin' gas"
 

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Bluetooth sounds good. With the aux cable or USB cord it does sound better. But I hate using the USB because it sends the Volt into a long indexing routine to snag the song titles and artists - and that part is buggy. So in my G1 I use Bluetooth for convenience and my daughter uses the aux cable for the simplicity of not having to pair and select Bluetooth audio sources.

Another note, tech aux cable always works. Bluetooth is buggy. When you first start the car, count to 30 or 40 seconds before trying to play a Bluetooth audio source. Any attempts to hurry puts you into a sequence of turning off Bluetooth on the phone, turning it back on, trying audio, power cycling the bolt infotainment system, repeating. If at first audio doesn't flow, on a newer iPhone, swipe up from the bottom, swipe left if you aren't already on the audio controller, tap the triangle button, then select the iPhone speakers for the audio out, then select the volt an audio should start flowing. But I find it easier to back out, turn around, then fiddle then change audio source to Bluetooth - patience always works.
 

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My 2011 Volt plays mp3 files from the USB ports with a USB stick, and all other Volts and the Bolt do so also.
 

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Gen 1 Bluetooth do NOT support stereo streaming, mono voice calls only.
Are you suggesting this applies only to voice calls being in stereo? I know when I stream pandora via bluetooth on my '13 its definitely in stereo.

I've done audio through USB accidentally when plugging my android phone in to USB, which I didn't expect or like. Ended up having to remove all of the music files from my phone since it would automatically start playing every time I connected the phone.

Regarding bluetooth and at the very least Pandora yields reasonably expected audio quality. I don't really notice much loss in quality but then again I don't think Pandora reaches audiophile quality to begin with. Certainly no discernible hissing popping or artifacts over using the 3.5mm connection.
 

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Gen 1 can play audio directly from any iOS device via USB. Anything else you will need to use AUX port. Gen 1 Bluetooth do NOT support stereo streaming, mono voice calls only.
I think you are confused. The volt's Bluetooth does support stereo streaming of music, podcast, and audio from video. It's the cellular phone company that doesn't do stereo voice calls.
 

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Wow really? Gen 1 bluetooth makes your music play in MONO? To me that would sound like a HUGE difference.
I stream music every day in my volt, it is stereo. The previous post was wrong. It was referring to phone calls.
 

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First off, do we know yet what the Model 3 offers in terms of audio quality and interface? I mean, we're only looking at pre-production models now, and I couldn't find these specifics yet on the Tesla website.

Not that I'm trying to dissuade you from a Gen 1 Volt -- it's the best value going. But we are talking about years-old technology in terms of phone integration--with the Gen 2 Volt (and likely most newer cars) offering a more seamless experience.

With that said, know the limitations. In addition to the generational differences noted, Bluetooth streaming on Gen 1 has some issues--when running NAV (at least in a '13), you'll get an occasional "skip" or "dip" in audio at certain times (generally whenever calculating/recalculating/showing turns, etc.). It's due solely to the processor's slow performance while calculating NAV and simultaneously streaming Bluetooth. This does NOT occur when running through USB. However, it drives me crazy so I use USB almost exclusively.

Besides the skipping, I notice a marked improvement on USB audio quality--but only on actual high-quality (uncompressed) audio. Many music services compress their audio already to low-quality bitrate MP3s. Most would be hard-pressed to notice, but on dynamic music it is obvious. Honestly, it's not worth the trouble to "plug in" if the source material is already compressed/low-quality.

Also, plugging in the USB forces the unit to switch to the USB source whenever plugged in and immediately starts playing the first (usually same) song that is loaded into Apple Music (or whatever default music source). I am very tired of always hearing that same song... For whatever reason, the USB occasionally causes my iPhone to crash.

On the plus side, you can (mostly) navigate your stored music on the built-in screen so you don't have to mess with your phone when you use USB. My only issue is that it is a low resolution screen and only displays a part of music, which doesn't help much when scrolling through podcasts as they are usually episodes with the actual show number at the end (and therefore invisible on the menu).

I would STRONGLY recommend bringing your phone to a dealer and plugging it in to get a sense. Use the bluetooth, too.

Since this is a "dealbreaker" issue, definitely spend some time with it and decide if you can accept some of the limits. I think the '15 probably has the most "updated" of the "outdated" MyLink system, so start there if you can find one reasonably-priced.
 

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Thanks for that informative reply.

No one knows what the model 3 will have for audio support, but the model S can't play audio via USB from your phone, and model 3 probably won't have any features that model S lacks. Once elon musk decides something is "the future" he forces his customers to accept it, whether or not it's actually an improvement. I can easily imagine him thinking wireless is always automatically better than a connected USB cord, even though he's wrong.

I'll look for '14 or '15 gen1's when I'm ready to buy. The gen2's might have improved the controls a bit, but I really think they screwed up the exterior styling on the second generation volt. Looks like an anonymous rental car to me.
 

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Looks like an anonymous rental car to me.
I hear ya. I'm a big fan of "unique" vehicles and the Gen 2 Volt needs a bit more "work" to be truly special. Unfortunately, the "sport wheels" on the new one are outrageously overpriced and don't seem to add as much exterior distinction as the sport wheels on Gen 1 (just my opinion).

However, I really, really like the Gen 2 in Siren Red -- I didn't think I would until I saw one in person. I've never been a fan of red cars but it really works--kind of like the orange Bolt. If I get a ever get a Gen 2, that's the color.
 
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