View Full Version : New head unit suggestions for a newbie, please!

10-26-2012, 11:16 AM
The factory radio in my 2003 Caravan has died, so now I'm looking to replace it. I'm not planning on adding any amps, subs, or anything like that. My only thought is maybe replacing the 6 factory speakers at some point. While browsing around, looking at the hundreds of units available these days, I'm so confused about which one to get. The features nowadays are overwhelming. Here are the features that I'd like to have.

- USB for iPod playback.
- Bluetooth.
- Sirius with the ability to pause/rewind, etc.
- Possible HD radio, although I've never heard it, so I don't know if quality is that much better.
- Ability to match display color to my van's current dash lighting.
- 2 or 3 line display, to make iPod and Sirius navigation a bit less confusing.

There's so many units these days, Clarion, Kenwood, Pioneer, Sony. I've read some things about glare on a lot of units, and not being able to read the display. I'd appreciate your feedback, since I'm assuming a lot of you have much experience with this stuff. I've been out of the aftermarket radio game for many years.

10-26-2012, 05:23 PM

10-27-2012, 10:32 AM
Kenwood Excelon KDC-X895 CD receiver at Crutchfield.com (http://www.crutchfield.com/S-wXW8CSPlzSk/p_113KDCX895/Kenwood-Excelon-KDC-X895.html)

10-27-2012, 11:32 AM
Thanks for the response. I was talking to someone last night who also recommended the Clarion CZ720. Does anyone have experience with this unit? I'm trying to stay near $200.

10-27-2012, 12:06 PM
Thanks for the response. I was talking to someone last night who also recommended the Clarion CZ720. Does anyone have experience with this unit?

Mine is pretty close to the clarion price wise. The clarion cz720 does look like a great hu.
I'd sell you my 895. I am thinking of trying that pioneer 80prs

10-27-2012, 12:11 PM
That Kenwood doesn't work with the newer Sirius adapter that lets you pause and rewind. I think only the newer units (496, 896, and 996) work with the Sirius adapter, SXV200V1. But thanks for the offer.

10-27-2012, 12:45 PM
Yeah i didn't comment on that part because i didn't know that Sirius could pause and rewind. all I use is my 160gb ipod.

Give that clarion a chance. i've never heard a bad thing about clarion.

10-27-2012, 01:18 PM
Op you don't want HD radio if you live in a semi rural area. The signal cuts in and out and switches back and forth to regular radio. When it does this the song skips and it is really annoying. HD signal has around a 20 mile radious.

10-27-2012, 01:26 PM
I'm about 5 miles outside of Philadelphia.

10-27-2012, 01:34 PM
I'm about 5 miles outside of Philadelphia.

It depends on how far away from the source you are... 5 miles outside Philly should get you some decient signal.

10-28-2012, 02:42 AM
I've never heard HD radio. Is it really worth just looking at units that offer it?

10-28-2012, 05:41 AM
I live in vancouver bc, and i would think that there would be lots of HD radio stations, but there isn't. Although there is one radio station that is HD, must be far away cuz it cuts in and out, but when it cuts to HD I notice a big difference, HD sounds way better. Honestly tho, how often will you actually listen to the radio.

10-28-2012, 06:31 AM
i have a excelon x996.I use sirius and my ipod 99.9% of the time. I never listen to the radio but when I did It was actually worse than the stock one, I think because of the hd thing. (I live about 30 miles from Erie) The Hu has about evrything you would want feature wise, and will do all the things you listed. I'll list what I dont like about it..

1- the glare
2-The sound has cut out on me 3 times. everything looks and funtions on the hu as it should, but no sound out of the rca's or the speaker outputs. the only way to remedy this is unplug the wiring harness from the hu for about 30 seconds. then everything is back to normal. but its a pain in the asz.
3 I'm also having a hell of a time with alt noise.

10-28-2012, 12:02 PM
I've been reading a lot of things about the glare problem on the Kenwood units. Is there a way to disable the HD function of the radio if it starts cutting in and out. Almost all of the newer units that have the Bluetooth and Sirius/XM functionality which allows you to pause and rewind, also have HD built into them. There's only a few that do not, a Dual unti, a few Clarions, Sony, and Kenwood. Here's my search showing what Crutchfield has available, Car Selector (http://www.crutchfield.com/g_300/Car-Receivers.html?tp=5684&nvpair=AG_Size%7cFFSingle-DIN&nvpair=AG_General_Features%7cFFSatellite_Radio_(Si riusXM)&nvpair=AG_General_Features%7cFFBypass_iPod_DAC&nvpair=AG_General_Features%7cFFVariable_Display_Co lor&nvpair=FFBluetooth_Hands_Free_Calling%7cYes).