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View Full Version : Head unit decision, which would you go with?



Screnzo
05-15-2007, 11:38 AM
Ok, I have a chance to upgrade my head unit to one of the following:

The alpine 7940 ($75.00)
Specs:
Cd S/N ratio of 95db, AI-NET controls, 4volt preouts, will most likely use my ERA-G320 EQ with it.
Pluses:
More tunability with the separate EQ, looks nicer aesthetically than the kenwood
Negs:
One volt less preout signal than the Kenwood, no sirius controls, no burr-brown processors, gives up 15db S/N seperation on the cd, doesn't like CD-R's very well.

The Kenwood KDC-X679 ($135.00)
Specs:
24 bit burr brown d/a converter, 110db S/N Seperation on the cd, 5 volt preout, Siruis/XM radio ready, System Q EX (a 3-band parametric equalizer and six preset tone curves), plays CD-Rs, and CD-RWs.
Pluses - Pretty much everything listed in the specs. On paper this unit looks like a winner, I'd be able to remove the Alpine EQ, one less thing to worry about in the signal chain.
Negatives - I don't really like the way this radio looks. That may change once I actually have it, all I've seen so far are pictures. Less tunability with the built in eq. Costs 55 more than the alpine. The wife will be jealous! :)

Ok, so I need opinions on which to go with and why, I imagine there are people here who have used one or the other. I've done some searching thru the forums and have gotten some good info on the kenwood, just never a comparison between these two units at these prices. Thanks!

Edit: Just judging from specs, I am leaning toward the Kenwood personally, but since both of these radios are no longer in production, I have nowhere to go to listen to them. So unless someone tells me the Kenwood sounds like crap is there any other reason not to go with it?

bloodhound50
05-15-2007, 12:18 PM
how much is ur max spending cost?
Anyways id go with the kendwood becuase it has more options and controls but the Alpine is probably a better HU, alpine and pioneer aer my top choices for HU and Alpine makes some great looking Hu's. The kendwood disadvantages will prolly be the looks and maybe some qaulity being slightly to unoticably less.

bloodhound50
05-15-2007, 12:19 PM
Btw. i use pioneer they aer great.

Screnzo
05-15-2007, 01:08 PM
Yeah, I was considering a Pioneer as well, but wow, 24bit burr/brown and 110db S/N ratio on the cd...man thats hard to beat.

KaPPaBaLL
05-15-2007, 02:46 PM
Yeah, I was considering a Pioneer as well, but wow, 24bit burr/brown and 110db S/N ratio on the cd...man thats hard to beat.

can you explain to me what 24bit burr/brn and 110db s/n ratio means?

Screnzo
05-15-2007, 03:19 PM
can you explain to me what 24bit burr/brn and 110db s/n ratio means?

Good questions, took me some research to find an answer that made sense. Here ya go.

Burr-Brown D/A A high-end D/A converter offering superior sound quality and performance. "Burr-Brown is the manufacturer's name" - From Car Audio Terms defined - Caraudio.com


Signal-to Noise Ratio A ratio which indicates how much audio signal there is in relation to noise, or a specified noise floor - From Car Audio Terms defined - Caraudio.com
(The higher the number the better is what I was always told. Should be a cleaner, louder playback basically)

thefunkybunch
05-15-2007, 11:42 PM
kenwood makes some very good sounding radios. they'll give a good clean pre-amp signal, and general functions (Aside from the xxv unit) are easy to get to and intuitive. the only downside that i don't like about kenwood is some of the functions are a pita to get to, and working them makes about as much sense as a monkey trying to screw a football... kenwood likes to make you push and hold buttons to access certain features (like crossovers and stuff).

i personally run an alpine 9855 and honestly don't care for it all that much... it leaves a bit for me to be desired. i like the fact that it has a 3way mode that allows me to do front high/mid and sub, rather than only front/rear/sub pre-outs, and gives me crossovers to accomodate that, as well as the time correction for my tweets independant of my mids for a little better soundstage. but in terms of SQ, i have quite a few gripes and *****es about the unit... not to say it sounds bad, just not quite what i'm looking for. once clarion's 9255 will do sirius, i'll own one. until then, i'll survive :)

oh the other thing, kenwood's time correction is a joke. i dont know if that alpine even offers it, but if you're looking for any sort of time correction, then i'd look elsewhere.

pickup1
05-15-2007, 11:49 PM
i'd have to go with the kenwood.more reliable too.

Screnzo
05-16-2007, 08:18 AM
i'd have to go with the kenwood.more reliable too.

Yeah, I probably will be, I just wish it wasn't so fugly lookin...I'm picky I guess, I like the old alpines, and the recent nakamichi decks...clean and simple. But I think I'm gonna pick it up once the paypal payment hits for the amps I just sold.

frzninvt
05-16-2007, 10:15 AM
Alot of those Kenwood specs are massaged somewhat, after owning an Alpine CDA-7940 and being dissappointed with the dim display and poor build quality. CD's kept getting stuck in it! I had been an Alpine owner for many years prior to the 7940. Had a 7930 and a 7914 prior to the 7940. Never had bad luck with an Alpine until the 7940, I see that they released a 7941 shortly after probably to correct the deficiencies in the 7940.

I decided to give Kenwood a try and bought the KDC-PS909 which was the top of line unit with supposed 8V outputs and capable of balanced output as well. While the specs were better on paper the sound was not near as good as the Alpine's at all. Lots of distortion if pushed into the higher volumes. Loved the deck's features and styling, hated the sound. I kept it though and it held it's value well up until I sold it.

Bottom line is don't buy on specs alone, they don't tell you squat about how the unit will sound in your automotive environment since measurements are often taken in a lab or test bench.

Screnzo
05-16-2007, 10:20 AM
Alot of those Kenwood specs are massaged somewhat, after owning an Alpine CDA-7940 and being dissappointed with the dim display and poor build quality. CD's kept getting stuck in it! I had been an Alpine owner for many years prior to the 7940. Had a 7930 and a 7914 prior to the 7940. Never had bad luck with an Alpine until the 7940, I see that they released a 7941 shortly after probably to correct the deficiencies in the 7940.

I decided to give Kenwood a try and bought the KDC-PS909 which was the top of line unit with supposed 8V outputs and capable of balanced output as well. While the specs were better on paper the sound was not near as good as the Alpine's at all. Lots of distortion if pushed into the higher volumes. Loved the deck's features and styling, hated the sound. I kept it though and it held it's value well up until I sold it.

Bottom line is don't buy on specs alone, they don't tell you squat about how the unit will sound in your automotive environment since measurements are often taken in a lab or test bench.

Thats ironic, as I have both the 7914 and the 7930 sitting in my closet now with a spare for each in not to far from mint condition. I was thinking about selling it all, but now my wife wants one of the 7930's. If I could coax a better pre-amp signal out of the 7914 I'd strongly consider using it. I guess a good line amp would work....

Thats the problem, I've not heard either, and really can't anymore. I may just save my cash and use it in another area of the system....

KaPPaBaLL
05-29-2007, 03:32 AM
Good questions, took me some research to find an answer that made sense. Here ya go.

Burr-Brown D/A A high-end D/A converter offering superior sound quality and performance. "Burr-Brown is the manufacturer's name" - From Car Audio Terms defined - Caraudio.com


Signal-to Noise Ratio A ratio which indicates how much audio signal there is in relation to noise, or a specified noise floor - From Car Audio Terms defined - Caraudio.com
(The higher the number the better is what I was always told. Should be a cleaner, louder playback basically)

what's the average signal to noise ratio? what's a good, average, and bad range?

Thanks for the response.