Adding Accessories (aux in, iPod/iPhone, Bluetooth) to the Jaguar X-Type, S-Type and 2004-2009 XJ

This page most recently updated on October 1, 2010.

So you want to add an accessory to your Jaguar stereo system? Maybe you'd like to plug in your iPod or iPhone, or another smartphone or MP3 player. Or you were hoping you could connect one of these devices wirelessly, through a Bluetooth interface. It's possible, but there are going to be some hurdles, and some compromises.

Fiber-Optic D2B Ring

The Jaguar Audio Connectivity Module (ACM)

Bluetooth Alternatives

Parrot CK3200

Jaguar Bluetooth Option

Bluetooth Stereo Receivers

Aftermarket Head Units

The Bottom Line

Fiber-Optic D2B Ring

Here's the fundamental problem: the factory stereo in these vehicles uses fiber-optic connections between the head unit and amplifier, as well as any factory-supplied accessories such as the CD changer or the original telephone unit. There is no line-in connection on the head unit, and any control or switching of the various components of the system is all done through the fiber optic system.

At this writing, there are two types of fiber-optic network used in the Jaguar stereos:

Domestic Digital Bus (D2B)


Media Oriented System Transport (MOST).

D2B is the older of the two. It was used in the Jaguar X-Type, S-Type and the 2004-2009 XJ models. It was also used in certain Mercedes models of the same era, mostly up to 2004. Newer models from both Jaguar and Mercedes, as well as a number of other manufacturers, typically use a MOST network for the stereo.

D2B and MOST are both ring topologies, requiring each component in the network to be connected to the next in succession, until a complete loop is created for the data path. This allows both audio signals and component commands to traverse the same network and communicate with any component on the network, as needed. So a CD changer might possibly be sending an audio signal to the head unit over the fiber optic ring at the same time that the head unit is sending a slightly different (boosted/attenuated or equalized) audio signal to the amplifier. A telephone unit might also be connected to the same network, with the ability to send commands to the head unit to mute/pause the audio and switch to the telephone signal when a call comes in, or to receive a command that is initiated from the head unit to dial a number and place a call. So besides the advantages of clear, noise-free digital audio, every component on the network can be controlled and audio can be passed over the same fiber optic network. There is no need for separate wiring for each component that might be added to the system.

Which is all just fine, until we want to add a device that was not designed for this fiber-optic network. Like various iThings. Or smartphones. Or something other than a stack of CDs.

The Jaguar Audio Connectivity Module (ACM)

Because the factory head units do not have any kind of auxiliary input or line-in connection, there needs to be some kind of converter to go from a typical analog electrical signal to the digital, fiber-optic signal of the D2B network. In computer networks, such a function - effectively converting from one type of network to another - is handled by a device called a gateway.

Dension Corporation makes just such a device, marketed as the Gateway 500. It supplies an iPod/iPhone cable, a pair of RCA jacks that function as an auxiliary/line-in connection, and a USB jack to play music directly from a USB stick or hard drive. There are two versions of the Gateway 500 - one for MOST-equipped vehicles, and one for D2B vehicles. Because MOST is the more commonly used network, Dension's literature and web site seem to take it for granted that when someone is buying a Gateway 500, they're buying the MOST version.

Fortunately, Jaguar resells the D2B version of the Gateway 500 as the Jaguar Audio Connectivity Module (ACM), complete with vehicle-specific installation instructions, wiring harnesses and fiber-optic cables for the Jaguar X-Type and S-Type. Though it is not explicitly covered in the instructions, I know that Jaguar XJ owners have installed the ACM in their cars, too.

I've already written about the Jaguar ACM and what I've learned about it. You can read more about that here.

The bottom line is that the ACM allows you to hook up other audio devices to an otherwise closed system. Now - finally! - you can hook up a Bluetooth device to your car stereo.

Bluetooth Alternatives

I tried a few Bluetooth solutions in my car after installing my ACM. One didn't work at all - see the Dension BTA1500 discussion on my ACM page; one gave me only part of the functionality that I was looking for - discussed below. I considered a few other solutions, and describe them below.

But I finally settled on a Motorola T605 Bluetooth kit. I've gone into detail about the installation process and user experience here.

Parrot CK3000

I had also looked into using the Parrot CK3000, which does allow for BOTH phone and music audio through the car speakers, but it does this by disconnecting the speaker outputs from the amplifier and reconnecting them to its own built-in amplifier. I saw a number of drawbacks to this method:

1) It complicates installation because it would require connection to both the head unit AND to the amplifier mounted in the back of the car. (That separate amplifier is part of the premium stereo in the X-Type. My understanding of the standard stereo is that they don't have a separate amplifier, which would make this connection considerably easier.)

2) Parrot claims a maximum power-handling capacity for this speaker-switching configuration of 25 watts per channel. Considering that the premium stereo puts out 320 watts in total, this configuration is not well-suited to the premium stereo.

3) The Parrot speaker-switching configuration can handle four channels of audio. But the premium stereo in my car has more than that, due to the subwoofer configuration. In other words, the subs will not be muted during phone calls.

4) The head unit will not respond to a mute signal from any Bluetooth or aftermarket phone device. This is apparently a designed-in configuration of this fiber-optic-controlled stereo system, as I discovered during my Motorola T605 installation. (See my comments in the power cable section, here.)

I'm not saying that the Parrot devices can't be made to work in these cars, but I'm not comfortable with it. Considering the added complication of installation, the higher cost, and the power-handling limitation, the relatively inexpensive Motorola product seems to be the better alternative.

Jaguar Bluetooth Option

This is actually the best phone-only solution to work with the factory head unit, but it's still not a complete solution - it doesn't support stereo music playback through the Bluetooth interface. So far as I can determine, two parts are necessary:

Bluetooth Module C2N 3689
PSE Module C2C 25674

There's some conflicting information about whether the PSE module is really necessary. I'll update this section as I get more information.

Bluetooth Stereo Receivers

A music-only Bluetooth interface can be provided with a Bluetooth stereo receiver. I'm not referring to a completely new head unit with integrated Bluetooth - more on that below - but rather, about an accessory that receives a stereo Bluetooth audio signal and has line-out connections for the ACM.

I was briefly using an Anycomm BAR-10 (discontinued, but possibly available on Amazon or E-bay) adapter through the ACM. The sound was clear, but there was a subtle "processor" noise - it sounded like a high-pitched version of an old telephone modem, for those of you old enough to remember your AOL dial-in procedure! The simple 12v adapter that came with the BAR-10 did not provide any kind of noise isolation; this processor noise was not present when I used the BAR-10 on my home stereo with its included AC power supply.

An alternative for the car might be to use a Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver. This device is for home stereos, and it requires AC power. However, the output from its included AC adapter is 5v, so it should be fairly easy to adapt this to use in the car. All you need is either a 12v to 5v phone charger, or some other 5v power source. Interestingly, 5v is one of the power signals in any typical USB wiring harness, and the ACM has a USB connection! It seems that it would be fairly easy to make an adapter to connect a USB terminal on one end to an appropriately-sized barrel-connector on the other, to power the Belkin receiver from the ACM's USB connection. (Many external/portable computer hard drives get their power this way.) I haven't followed through with this project, but it sure seems feasible.

One potential problem that I see may relate to the limitation of some phones to connect to multiple Bluetooth devices at the same time. If you had both the Jaguar Bluetooth and phone modules and a stereo Bluetooth receiver in your car, there's a possibility that your phone may not be able to pair with them both and be able to seamlessly switch from phone mode to music mode as needed. From what I've read, some contemporary smartphones can handle this, but you won't know about your particular phone and Bluetooth receiver of choice until you try it.

This could be tested fairly easily by someone that already has a Jaguar Bluetooth module and an ACM installed. Buy the Belkin part for your home stereo, and run an A/C extension cord out to your car. Plug the Belkin part into the ACM, then try pairing your phone to both Bluetooth devices. If it works, then fabricating a 5v power adapter for the car will be trivial. Even if it doesn't work in the car, you can always use the Belkin part at home. Please let me know if you pursue this route, regardless of your success.

One other minor drawback with both the Anycomm and Belkin Bluetooth devices is that they offer no track control or pausing capability like the Motorola T605 does. (The Parrot devices would be the same in this regard.) So you would have to handle your music player or phone to control these functions, as opposed to pressing a button on the dash. I am not aware of any Bluetooth stereo receivers that have a dash-mounted remote control that will provide these functions.

Aftermarket Head Units

Now we're getting into some big bucks, and possibly a very complicated installation.

First of all, getting something to fit, and to "fit in" is no trivial task. Finding a faceplate to fit around a new head unit and integrate with the existing console surround is easy enough, but there are other issues. I've read about mounting depth problems that limit the size of the head units that you can use. But my biggest issue with the aftermarket head-unit approach is that none of them will ever look like they match the rest of the interior. Overly bright LEDs and LCD backlighting, dancing equalizer light shows, and tiny buttons are distracting and are exactly the opposite of the driver-friendly ergonomics of most factory user interfaces.

Speaking of user interfaces, integration with the steering wheel controls will also be an issue. I know that I've seen some companies claiming to have a partial solution, but I'm not aware of any that deliver on complete integration with all of the steering wheel controls. Still, that's a pretty minor issue.

If you have the Jaguar premium sound system, you're going to be replacing your amplifier, and running line-level audio wiring from your new head unit back to your new amplifier. You can probably re-use your existing speaker wiring. Either way, this is no minor project.

On the other hand, today's state of the art head units provide features that our ten year old head unit designs can't touch. Modern head units can be had with integrated Bluetooth, USB, iPhone/iPod connectivity, Sirius/XM satellite radio, HD radio, DVD video playback - you name it! It's all a question of how much you want to spend.

I would expect the price range of this upgrade to start at around $400 if you do the work yourself, but it could easily go up to $1000 or more.

The Bottom Line

My own personal take on this issue is that I like the factory's premium stereo, so two incremental upgrades (ACM and an aftermarket Bluetooth device) are perfect for me.

I'm still intrigued by the idea of getting BOTH the Jaguar Bluetooth module and a stereo Bluetooth receiver like the Belkin part. In theory, that should result in the optimal integration with the factory head unit, steering wheel controls, and the overall, driving-centric ergonomics that factory solutions seem to be best at. If/when I can score the Jaguar parts, used and at a good price, I may make this switch.

But if I had the standard stereo or if I wanted the absolute, most high-end stereo I could have in my X-Type, I would probably shell out some serious cash to replace the head unit, amplifier, wiring harnesses and anything else in the stereo system.

To each their own....

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