View Full Version : Best (most reliable, highly compatible and user-friendly) USB Head Unit?

08-14-2009, 06:35 PM
I just found these forums and I'm hoping you guys can help me out with my search for a reliable and user-friendly USB head unit. I've been pretty frustrated in my search so far. I have a Western Digital Passport 250GB external hard drive, and that's what I really want to use to connect to my head unit.

Well, thankfully I was smart enough to bring it into the stores and plug it in to the HUs they had on display to test them out before buying them. I quickly realized how buggy most of these things are. The Sonys and Kenwoods wouldn't even read the thing, and only the highest-priced Pioneer and Apline would. And even those that would read it, the delay was pretty bad (a solid minute or two). Also they only seemed to be able to go to about 100-150 of the folders I have (I have about 30 GB worth of songs, about 6000 in 500 folders). Not to mention that the interfaces weren't very friendly at all - it didn't look like there was any easier way to search for songs than to skip through all 500 folders manually.

One that I found that I actually liked was the JVC KD-HDR50. It read my HD very quickly and seek/skip time was as fast as if it were a CD. Also it had a nice feature that lets you use the volume knob to scan quickly through folders and files without actually loading them (i.e. not stopping playback for your current track) until you find the one you want. Only caveat with this unit is that it looks like the folders stop at about 255. That's a lot better than 100, so now I'm wondering if I'm being way too picky if I don't get this one because of that. It's got about everything else I want.

So I was wondering, 1.) if anyone has this JVC KD-HDR50 unit - how do you like it and do you know what the actual limit on files/folders is, and 2.) are there any other units out there that I don't know about that fit what I'm looking for (works well with external HDD - not flash/thumb drives but actual HDD like Western Digital Passport, higher capacity allowed, easy usability and good features for scanning through folders/files)?

Thanks for any recommendations you give!

08-14-2009, 07:09 PM
all of em have near the same limits when it comes to bus-powered hdds, and the same performance as you have seen. i have had 2 different jvc hus in the last few years and i had no real complaints or problems with either.

one way to help the situation is to choose another hdd brand. i have a LaCie drive that is bus-powered but it also has another connection strictly for a second usb power source. with a usb cig adapter it works great for the hus on the market that can't supply enough power to drive the unit, which is the case in most of them.

08-15-2009, 02:13 PM
Thanks for your reply. I guess that's a good point about the external power. I'm pretty sure I can get a cable for that for my WD Passport, but now my question is, if it'll make it work for a lot of HUs that I thought it wouldn't work with earlier - which one is the best in terms of read time, allowing the most number of songs/folders to be read, and usability?

Thanks again!

08-15-2009, 02:57 PM
no easy answer. you will have to research (find the manuals online and read them all and reviews as well) before you buy to see what the specific limits are of any hu.

08-19-2009, 12:12 AM
I have sold 7 of these units this week so far: http://base.google.com/base/a/5767663/D916223247155570654
All customers have been thrilled and extremely pleased with price; and have used iPods with them flawlessly! Good unit for the money!