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View Full Version : how do headunits affect sound quality?



hdj20
04-26-2008, 02:28 PM
im just curious but people are always recommending expensice head units that have the same features as less expensive ones. like i know certain head units have special features like mp3 playback and aux input but what i want to know what exactly affects the sound quality?

hdj20
04-26-2008, 03:29 PM
bump??

mapolley07
04-26-2008, 03:35 PM
head units are the first processing your music sees.....how accurately the head unit reads and processes your music affects how everything else reproduces your music.

think about your amp: ****** input from the head unit=****** output from the amp

mapolley07
04-26-2008, 03:36 PM
also, a cheap head unit may have all the same features as an expensive head unit, but they likely will not perform as well as the better unit

hdj20
04-26-2008, 03:41 PM
also, a cheap head unit may have all the same features as an expensive head unit, but they likely will not perform as well as the better unit

so what head units would have good performance?

lilmaniac2
04-26-2008, 03:41 PM
Eclipse, Kenwood, and Alpine to name a few

hdj20
04-26-2008, 03:42 PM
Eclipse, Kenwood, and Alpine to name a few

alright what about fusion or pioneer?

Kai Winters
04-26-2008, 05:21 PM
More expensive head units and cheap head units do not have the same features other than cd playback, power supply, am/fm radio, etc.
Beyond that is what makes the more expensive hu better.

Extras not found on "inexpensive"...cheap head units:
Better quality materials used to build the hu. Lasts longer, controls do not wear out nearly as fast, etc.
Maybe not a more powerful internal amplifier but generally one using better materials and construction methods giving a cleaner more powerful sound for the same wattage. For those that use the internal amp that is.
Higher quality materials also mean lower distortion and higher signal to noise ratios. Equates to more and better sound for the buck. Buy a $69 1000 watt amp at Wally World and compare it to a major brand amp of 1/4 the power and you will see what I mean.

Ability to expand: Cheap er inexpensive hu's either have one pre-out for a one or two channel amp and no more.

Additional inputs: As mentioned better hu's have inputs for usb drives, mp3 players and ipods, as well as playing mp3 and wma formatted songs. Cheap units don't.

Tunability: better hu's have far more adjustment features allowing for a much better tuned system to the car's environment...varied equalizers, time adjustments, etc.

Signal processing: again better hu's have much much better signal processing systems. Whether they be Burr Brown, etc. They produce much better quality signals which produce much better sound quality...this can be heightened or detracted by the speakers and/or amps used but better quality signal processing is a key factor in good sound.

There are many more factors but are enough to get the picture.
Asking about which brands have better performance is like asking which ice cream flavor is better. We all have our favorites and are VERY loyal to them. Or we have had bad experiences with a unit or two, and crappy support from the manufacturer, and will never have a good thing to say about them again.
Your best bet is to search around the forum for head unit reviews. Additionally go to the brands web sites and start reading and comparing specs. Also go to online stores such as Crutchfield, etc. and read up on the brands and models they sell. The better online stores also have reviews of the brands they sell by buyers. They are pretty good to get impressions on how people feel about the stuff they buy and use. Not to mention threads on this forum.

In a nut shell you always get what you pay for. You will never get a $500 quality head unit for $69 brand new. That does not mean you won't get a great hu for $200 that meets and exceeds your needs. That is the important thing you need to assess before you buy. What are your needs today and in the future...meaning next couple of years lol. That is the work you have to do in order to make a wise purchase maximizing the bang for your buck.

hdj20
04-26-2008, 05:23 PM
More expensive head units and cheap head units do not have the same features other than cd playback, power supply, am/fm radio, etc.
Beyond that is what makes the more expensive hu better.

Extras not found on "inexpensive"...cheap head units:
Better quality materials used to build the hu. Lasts longer, controls do not wear out nearly as fast, etc.
Maybe not a more powerful internal amplifier but generally one using better materials and construction methods giving a cleaner more powerful sound for the same wattage. For those that use the internal amp that is.
Higher quality materials also mean lower distortion and higher signal to noise ratios. Equates to more and better sound for the buck. Buy a $69 1000 watt amp at Wally World and compare it to a major brand amp of 1/4 the power and you will see what I mean.

Ability to expand: Cheap er inexpensive hu's either have one pre-out for a one or two channel amp and no more.

Additional inputs: As mentioned better hu's have inputs for usb drives, mp3 players and ipods, as well as playing mp3 and wma formatted songs. Cheap units don't.

Tunability: better hu's have far more adjustment features allowing for a much better tuned system to the car's environment...varied equalizers, time adjustments, etc.

Signal processing: again better hu's have much much better signal processing systems. Whether they be Burr Brown, etc. They produce much better quality signals which produce much better sound quality...this can be heightened or detracted by the speakers and/or amps used but better quality signal processing is a key factor in good sound.

There are many more factors but are enough to get the picture.
Asking about which brands have better performance is like asking which ice cream flavor is better. We all have our favorites and are VERY loyal to them. Or we have had bad experiences with a unit or two, and crappy support from the manufacturer, and will never have a good thing to say about them again.
Your best bet is to search around the forum for head unit reviews. Additionally go to the brands web sites and start reading and comparing specs. Also go to online stores such as Crutchfield, etc. and read up on the brands and models they sell. The better online stores also have reviews of the brands they sell by buyers. They are pretty good to get impressions on how people feel about the stuff they buy and use. Not to mention threads on this forum.

In a nut shell you always get what you pay for. You will never get a $500 quality head unit for $69 brand new. That does not mean you won't get a great hu for $200 that meets and exceeds your needs. That is the important thing you need to assess before you buy. What are your needs today and in the future...meaning next couple of years lol. That is the work you have to do in order to make a wise purchase maximizing the bang for your buck.

thats exactly what i was looking for. thanks.

blackbonnie
04-26-2008, 05:35 PM
still got my eclipse 5100, great quality 315 shipped