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highvolt
05-14-2009, 11:18 PM
I own a 1996 Acura Integra. I am planning to completely replace my car's sound system.

About 2 weeks ago I got a great deal on a pair of MTX two-way speakers for $37.
(MSRP 100, cheapest store on internet 60)

I have been scouring the internet in search of head units to purchase. I have very specific preferences.

I plan to buy a 4 channel amp for my front and rear speakers and a more powerful amp for a subwoofer. I plan on using component speakers in the front. I'll choose those, the amps, and the subwoofer once I have the head-unit picked out.


Because I plan on using amps, I don't care as much about the RMS wattage for the head unit's built-in amp.
I want USB and Auxiliary input.
An SD-reader and HD-radio tuner would be nice but makes the deck selection much more frustrating.


I want to build this system around sound quality. The speakers I purchased for the rear have 92 dB sensitivity. My front speakers I hope to have with an even higher rating.

Because I plan on using amplifiers, I need 3 sets of preamp lines. I want no less than 4v, but would like 5 or 6 volts if possible.

I don't care what brand the head unit is. My budget is anything less than $175. Prices can be compared from google product search and pricegrabber.com

Priority:


Sound Quality
Pre-amp voltage, USB, AUX input
HD Radio/SD reader
Bluetooth
Sound quality

Thank you! :D

EDIT: Here are a few decks I was considering

Clarion DXZ775USB (http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=19417)
Clarion DXZ785USB (http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=18795) (more expensive)
Planet Audio P255BA (http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=21089)
JVC KD-AHD59 (http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=21415)
Sony CDX-GT920U (http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=19794)
Lanzar VBD2500 (http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=21219)

More to come when I gather more links up from my bookmarks.

Dual XHD6425 (http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=18667)
Boss Audio 738BI (http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=20947)
Kenwood KDC-BT742U (http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=21335)

Decks not listed are welcome choices as well. I'm willing to buy some of the non-major brands I listed but I want to know if they are of good build and sound quality.

Hope the addition of links was helpful.

MBrock4u
05-15-2009, 04:58 AM
From what your budget states, that second clarion should be a good choice. Parametric eq and time alignment are inportant features to have in looking for a sq system.

highvolt
05-15-2009, 10:09 PM
Thank you for your recommendation. I like the clarion for the quality, but I am being really tempted by the Boss deck that I listed. It has all the features I want besides HD radio, but I know it isn't as highly regarded as say Clarion or Alpine.

Any opinions on Boss decks or their equipment in general?

If their deck will have horrible sq then I don't mind giving up features for Clarion's quality, but it is still very tempting- I've found sellers asking as low as $108 for the Boss deck, which gives me more money to spend on speakers, but that does me little good if the deck isn't good.

Thanks again for all input.

tee
05-16-2009, 12:15 AM
Your number one priority is sound quality and you're looking at Boss and Dual?

highvolt
05-16-2009, 12:55 AM
I know no one regards them highly, but every opinion I have ever heard about those brands have been from people who have never owned one.

I value sound quality, but the point of this thread is to receive input from people who have experience with both the "good" and "poor" quality brands.

If the SQ doesn't dramatically suffer, then I'm fine with purchasing a HU from a less well-known brand.

I appreciate both technical reasons for superiority and comparisons by owners, but if I were to just make the choice by brand loyalty I would have already settled on the Clarion deck.

I don't want to write off Boss just because it is not well-respected.

SRim23
05-16-2009, 01:08 AM
I know no one regards them highly, but every opinion I have ever heard about those brands have been from people who have never owned one.

I value sound quality, but the point of this thread is to receive input from people who have experience with both the "good" and "poor" quality brands.

If the SQ doesn't dramatically suffer, then I'm fine with purchasing a HU from a less well-known brand.

I appreciate both technical reasons for superiority and comparisons by owners, but if I were to just make the choice by brand loyalty I would have already settled on the Clarion deck.

I don't want to write off Boss just because it is not well-respected.

but heres the thing. how do you think those brands came to be "not well respected"? because generally speaking they are flea market junk...... if they were any good they wouldnt be bashed so much.

i see you mentioned planet audio. they used to make pretty decent amps and subs... but then they went into business with Boss and have gone down hill big time. its not a coincidence.

highvolt
05-16-2009, 01:46 AM
The main factor that is going to determine my decision is this:

If I were to use a Boss deck and a Clarion Deck in the same system, would the perceived SQ be that noticeable?

If I tested the voltage of the preamp lines with a multimeter, will it resemble the rated output?

I don't expect something like build quality to cause my deck to fall apart or start smoking out of nowhere. I really do care about SQ, but I want a remarkable difference, not something negligible.

I don't know anywhere that I can visit in person that stocks Boss decks so I can make the comparison myself.

I do know that Alpine/Eclipse/Pioneer/Clarion/Nakamichi are amazing. I'm just trying to be practical with my purchase.

MBrock4u
05-16-2009, 05:46 AM
If your really after sound quality, and I know your on a buget, you head unit is all important. It is your command central which everything else feeds off of. You will not regret spending the extra money for a quality head unit!! When I started putting the peices togeather for a good sound quality system. a good deck is where I started my focus at. Granted you may not want to spend as much as I did on my deck ( Kenwood Excelon KDC-X990) but the ability to tweek and control how your system sounds, is a wonder thing to have. I have never regreted it because I have a solid foundation to build on. Try to keep that in mind when choosing your deck.

highvolt
05-16-2009, 02:10 PM
I'm going to go with that Clarion deck. I'm about to buy it now. I should have no regrets. I'll write a review of it when I get it.

DB-Audio
05-16-2009, 02:12 PM
why not get the roadmaster vr3 its got a usb input with ipod read out sd card slot and aux input

AlterEgo99
05-18-2009, 09:03 AM
What's your maximum "budget" number? That would give us a good idea as to how much wiggle room you have to work with in order to get some good recommendations.

My setup was purchased with "sound quality" my major factor as well. I didn't need a ground shaking system and I wasn't going to be entering any competitions. I was able to get everything I was looking for for under $2K. Mind you, wiring and customized parts for the vehicle always cost some bucks. Not to mention what you save by doing it yourself.

Here's my setup:

2008 Chevrolet Silverado X-Cab LTZ 4WD 5.3 Liter with Bose and OnStar

Head Unit - Alpine CDA-9887
Front Speakers - Polk Audio db6501 6 1/2" Component System
Rear Speakers - Polk Audio db5251 5 1/4" Component System
Rear Subwoofer - Custom Enclosure under rear bench seat - 2 10" Polk Audio MM2104 Subwoofers wired in parallel
Amplifier for Front and Rear Speakers - Alpine PDX 4.100
Amplifier for Subwoofers - Alpine PDX 1.600

Using 12 AWG StreetWires Ultra Cable for speaker wire.
Using (3) StreetWires Zero Noise 5 Stereo Patch Cables (6.5 Foot).
Using 4 AWG JL Audio MetaWire for amp power and ground.

Also, when I first started getting into this a couple of years ago, I purchased a lot of my stuff at the time from Crutchfield. Good support and all, but VERY pricey. They sell most everything for full retail. Since then, I have been able to locate some very respectable sellers on eBay where I can get equipment for 50% to 75% off retail. And yes, my system has morphed into what is is today based on where I started. Car audio can be "addicting", no matter if you are running 1 amp, a set of speakers and a single sub or you have some of the monster systems listed on these boards. It's fun, but it can get expensive!

nineball
05-18-2009, 09:30 AM
Also, when I first started getting into this a couple of years ago, I purchased a lot of my stuff at the time from Crutchfield. Good support and all, but VERY pricey. They sell most everything for full retail. Since then, I have been able to locate some very respectable sellers on eBay where I can get equipment for 50% to 75% off retail. And yes, my system has morphed into what is is today based on where I started. Car audio can be "addicting", no matter if you are running 1 amp, a set of speakers and a single sub or you have some of the monster systems listed on these boards. It's fun, but it can get expensive!

you will be back. i actually did the opposite and never bought from crutchfield. their prices were always higher than anyone else and i was looking for the cheapest price possible. however, as you said, if there was ever a problem it was weeks if not months before anything was resolved if it even got resolved with the cutrate sellers.

i just ordered my 993 from them a few weeks back. i found it as low as ~$250 shipped and crutchfield was at $300. granted they include shipping and give you a free mounting kit (which i have no need for nor can i sell) but for $50 less i would have normally gone elsewhere. i did find a $20 off code and used that which brought my total down to $280.

one of my amps developed a problem apparently the day i installed the hu. at the time i was certain that it was the new hu causing the problem and i called crutchfield to talk to them. i had already tested everything short of replacing the amp so the questions they asked were easy enough to answer. after about 4 mins the guy shipped me a new one, emailed me a ups lable for the old one and said install it when you can, the sooner the better then send us the old one. have a nice day.

that is customer service and why i will most likely give crutchfield any future business i have. they may cost a little more upfront but they handle problems the way they should be handled. to this day I have not found an ebay seller who will first ship you an exchange and pay for return shipping on the item you bought from them.

AlterEgo99
05-18-2009, 09:51 AM
I haven't left them (Crutchfield) for good, trust me. You are correct in that I had an issue with my first 9887 and they sent me a new one no problem. I am sure that the reason one can pay full retail for something like an Alpine PDX 1.600 is due to their support. They must build that into their pricing structure.

I have saved money on some components going through eBay and have not yet had a bad experience ( fingers crossed :p: ). Plus, as I have purchased from Crutchfield I do sometimes call them for support and they are very helpful.

SicAudio
05-18-2009, 10:20 AM
too bad you bought a new deck already, the Pioneer 510ub/5100 ub decks are wicked and have all the features as well that you wanted. and both can be had under 200 shipped :)