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View Full Version : what to look for when buying a new head unit?



bostonkid92
10-08-2012, 08:04 PM
im looking to buy a new head unit and i'm not sure what to look for. i currently have a 10+ year old sony xplod LOL i'd like to upgrade and I have a $100 gift card to Best Buy but I can add cash if needed. I know people bash Best Buy but I have the gift card so whatever.

basically, i've only used my sony so i'm not sure how the quality of other brands are. what specs should i make sure it has? i'd rather not have to upgrade it in the near future no matter what i end up doing with the rest of my setup so i'd like it to be compatible with whatever speakers i end up adding later on

also, i'd like it to be CEA-2006 compliant and be able to handle a complete setup.

anyone who can point me in the right direction even for just a brand to look for would be very helpful

butterMilk
10-09-2012, 01:02 AM
I think anything you buy would be better than what you are using.

What are you looking for, hi-volt pre outs, bluetooth, 2-din? Any of the "brand name" HU's are good. They just come with different options, and some will sound a lil different than others. Head into best buy and start listening to anything in your price range!

bostonkid92
10-09-2012, 01:54 AM
i'm not looking for Bluetooth or satellite radio or anything fancy. it's just some had more pre outs and some had higher volt pre outs than others, some had different rms ratings, some had better equalizers built in, etc. idk, it seems like i find one that's perfect but then it has something i don't want or is missing something i need.

butterMilk
10-09-2012, 04:55 AM
Well unless you are running speakers off the head unit, you wont need to worry about the rms rating of the HU.

If you are running your speakers off of a amp, then 4 volt pre outs are nice. Though 2 volt would get the job done. Pre outs for front,rear,sub.

Most cheeper HU's just have basic equalizers, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Maybe read around and find one that has good reviews, and one that is said to have good sound quality.

hispls
10-09-2012, 05:05 AM
IMO front USB is a nice plus. Typically around the same price point all the decent brands are about the same. Bring in a CD, iPod, USB stick, or whatever you usually use as source and test it out in a few head units and see which one you find easiest and most comfortable to use. IMHO ease of use and intuitive displays and menus are more important than BS stats and figures.

Smitty
10-09-2012, 05:09 AM
IMO front USB is a nice plus. Typically around the same price point all the decent brands are about the same. Bring in a CD, iPod, USB stick, or whatever you usually use as source and test it out in a few head units and see which one you find easiest and most comfortable to use. IMHO ease of use and intuitive displays and menus are more important than BS stats and figures.

which is why my last 3 decks were kenwood, currently the x995...so simple to operate & a nice clean display

TheUnderFighter
10-09-2012, 05:23 AM
which is why my last 3 decks were kenwood, currently the x995...so simple to operate & a nice clean display

I've got the 994 and love it.... unless the sun is shining, then I can't see anything.
But if I were you OP, I'd sell the gift card for $80 or $90 and use that money for a decent HU. They don't really make much of anything nice anymore, and the selection narrows even more when you're forced to shop at Best Buy. The Kenwood 994/995/996 series are nice. But they do have some other features like bluetooth, I'm not sure if you're against that. I found mine used in mint condition, LNIB, for $140. It comes with 3 sets of 4v preouts, BT, T/A, 5-band EQ. If you're willing to buy used, you could probably find one for a similar deal. There's plenty of other options out there as well :)