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Guest Message by DevFuse

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stereo upgrade - recommendations?

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14 replies to this topic

#1 J A Blazer

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:19 PM

My 2000 OBW has the standard head unit with tweeters, subwoofer, and single disc CD player. I want to upgrade to a head unit that controls an ipod and includes or accomodates XM satellite radio. Playing CDs is of no concern. Recommendations?

#2 nipper


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:22 PM

Wow, its safer to talk motor oil, politics or tires :).

Go to an electronics store and start there. Look feel touch play with the units to see what you like. then make a list and ask us again :)

for the record, i like pioneer and sony, and hate one knob does everything units.


#3 EVOthis


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 06:29 PM

most people i talk to bash sony when it comes to audio equiptment but i have and excellant sony head unit........There not to expensive and a decent brand.....

#4 Manarius


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 09:50 PM

I have a JVC HDRadio head unit in my car (50x4) and it produces some awesome sound. It does work with XM radio - it just needs an attachment.

The KD-HDR1 if you're interested.

#5 _Aramchek_


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 10:09 PM

Alpine or Clarion.

#6 nipper


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 10:14 PM

i have a pioneer unit. It directly controls the ipod, and has the option of sat radio, and does have an add on blutooth module for my cellular phone.

it has little buttons for pre sets, which i really like. i hate hunting for them. i also added a power amp, pioneer of course.


#7 PAezb


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Posted 14 April 2008 - 10:16 PM

No recommendations, but your research should begin here:




#8 eagleb


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Posted 15 April 2008 - 01:27 PM

+1 Alpine

Just need an adapter cable and your head unit is an ipod control unit.
I have an older (2004) Alpine head unit and I needed an ipod interface to control the ipod through my head unit, but the new ones are plug and play. No interface needed.

And it'll make your speakers sound amazing.

#9 86HatchShelby


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Posted 15 April 2008 - 01:44 PM

personally i just bought a Kenwood
works great in my 86 hatch
set up with house speakers:banana:
has an ipod plugin in the face

#10 charm


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Posted 15 April 2008 - 02:45 PM

I've been researching the same question for the same car. I feel like there is too much real estate on the dash for a single DIN head unit so I've limited my search to those of the double DIN variety. I was very close to plunking down $800 for indash navigation when I realised I was about to spend $800 for radio!

That led me to a Pioneer that just came out. I think the model number is FPH 800BT (or something like that). No buttons, no flashy stuff, mostly black. It's main feature is a knob in the middle that works a lot like that of an ipod. It comes standard with the ipod cable as well as bluetooth. Here in WA, hands free will be the law starting in July so this is a big feature for me. MSRP is $350 for the Pioneer Premier version and $330 for the standard version. There are subtle differences but the extra year of warranty makes the extra $20 worth it.

I have owned all of the above mentioned brands and as well as others and have really never had a bad car stereo. Just find the features that you like and you'll be fine. Make sure to play with the unit in the store before you buy one!

#11 J A Blazer

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 03:14 PM

Looks like a great suggestion! FYI, the model is Pioneer FH-800BT.

#12 montana105


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Posted 15 April 2008 - 07:45 PM

To be honest the only bad units I've found is the cheap junk sold at the box auto stores or the cheap sound shops,there is a price point for every sucker,I've actually had better luck with some stuff out of the pawn shop and junk yard,like has been said think about what you want see if it will fit or adapt then choose,good luck-I prefer JVC,Pioneer or Clarion but have no problems with Sony or Alpine,just get the correct adapters and such.

#13 3eyedwagon


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Posted 15 April 2008 - 07:56 PM

If you are looking for Ipod, and Bluetooth interface capabilities; make sure the internal hardware, and software are made by Parrot. They make THE BEST Bluetooth stuff on the market, and their internals are found in all high-end Bluetooth capable players.

I would however suggest you steer clear of actual Parrot brand in car decks. I have one I bought, and installed in my Roadmaster. The Bluetooth, and Ipod interface are some of the best I've seen, but the rest of the deck is junk. The rare times I try to play a CD, or MP3 CD, things go horribly wrong.

My biggest suggestion would be to stay with the top brands (IE: Alpine, JVC, Panasonic, Pioneer, Kenwood, Sony, etc.), and buy an upper escellion piece. Pretty much all of the companies have both really horrible stuff (grey line crap manufactured to be sold at Wally World), and really top notch stuff that sells only in reputable local shops.

Just find something you like the controls of, because that's what you are going to deal with the most. But be sure it is a good brand, and if it's $119 bucks installed at Best Buy: it probably isn't going to last as long as a slightly different model that cost alot more!

#14 Rooster2


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Posted 16 April 2008 - 12:10 AM

It has been a few years since I talked with Crutchfield Customer Service. The guy I talked with had an amazing knowledge of what he recommended and why, and what unit would fit what car with what speakers. Sure, Crutchfield is in the biz to sell car stereo, but I felt the advise I received was very helpful. I took his advise and bought equipment that I thought was great, at a reasonable price. His advise was really straight advise, not hard sell. Good guys at Crutchfield.

#15 charm


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Posted 16 April 2008 - 01:46 PM

Do buy from Crutchfield, but don't start your shopping there. You MUST handle the unit to find out if the controls work for you. What sounds good on paper may feel terrible when it's in your dash and what sounds terrible on paper may feel perfect in your dash. Go to the big box electronics stores, or, better still, your car audio shop.

Personally, I prefer to buy from my local shop. I do my homework and know what Crutchfield and others sell the same unit for and I haggle to get that price.

Having said that, Crutchfield is a great source of knowledge and I do not discount it as an amazing resource.

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