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View Full Version : How far have head units come?



Da64u
02-15-2014, 11:29 PM
I'm going to be building a system for the first time in 5 years and I'm looking at my old Alpine head unit. It retailed for $400 at the time, but I got it off of Ebay for $200 and now they are used in good condition for $60.

Besides for Bluetooth and such do you think they have came a far way with SQ?
The old head unit I speak of was an Alpine CDA-9857

michaellane
02-15-2014, 11:32 PM
I still like older stuff and normally run it. Although I saw a kenwood excelon that uses apps from ur phone to play music and stuff...aux and usb....3 pre outs 4 volts each....$130 with dash kit and harness lmao

SounDrive
02-15-2014, 11:39 PM
Old head units > new in terms of SQ, usually.. Feature-wise, they've added a few things but not a whole lot that's useful in the past 5 years.

Da64u
02-16-2014, 12:09 AM
After a brisk search I'm understanding that the Alpine CDA-9887 is one of the best SQ wise in recent times. Further reading appears the the 9886 provides all of the same components but not the extra features needed to benefit from the 9887's ability to work with a sound processor. A gently used 9887 goes for about $125 on Ebay,

Do you think Alpine still makes some of the best SQ oriented head units? I'd think that Pioneer is close in that race as well.

michaellane
02-16-2014, 01:41 AM
Supposedly the alpine is nice but everyone here runs the pioneer 880 or 80 or something like that

bbeljefe
02-16-2014, 02:09 AM
The difference between the 9886 and the 9887 is that the Audyssey processor is built into the 9887. I've not run the 9887 but I have run the 9886 with the Audyssey processor as well as a few other Imprint capable Alpine models and there is no difference in sound quality.

And frankly, the argument that old school gear has better sound quality than new is absurd. The problem with new gear and sound quality isn't the electronics, it's the source. For instance, people use pirated music on a flash drive and complain that it doesn't sound as good as their old school head unit. Well of course it doesn't... when you have a digital file that's been recorded at a slow bit rate, copied a million times and possibly manipulated by someone who doesn't have the equipment or gear to do it properly. But put a CD in and do a side by side comparison of apples to apples head units and you will not be able to tell a difference in SQ. And if you can, the later model will come out on top.

SounDrive
02-16-2014, 02:17 AM
The difference between the 9886 and the 9887 is that the Audyssey processor is built into the 9887. I've not run the 9887 but I have run the 9886 with the Audyssey processor as well as a few other Imprint capable Alpine models and there is no difference in sound quality.

And frankly, the argument that old school gear has better sound quality than new is absurd. The problem with new gear and sound quality isn't the electronics, it's the source. For instance, people use pirated music on a flash drive and complain that it doesn't sound as good as their old school head unit. Well of course it doesn't... when you have a digital file that's been recorded at a slow bit rate, copied a million times and possibly manipulated by someone who doesn't have the equipment or gear to do it properly. But put a CD in and do a side by side comparison of apples to apples head units and you will not be able to tell a difference in SQ. And if you can, the later model will come out on top.

You forget how subjective SQ is.

globalminds_ent
02-16-2014, 02:42 AM
The difference between the 9886 and the 9887 is that the Audyssey processor is built into the 9887. I've not run the 9887 but I have run the 9886 with the Audyssey processor as well as a few other Imprint capable Alpine models and there is no difference in sound quality.

And frankly, the argument that old school gear has better sound quality than new is absurd. The problem with new gear and sound quality isn't the electronics, it's the source. For instance, people use pirated music on a flash drive and complain that it doesn't sound as good as their old school head unit. Well of course it doesn't... when you have a digital file that's been recorded at a slow bit rate, copied a million times and possibly manipulated by someone who doesn't have the equipment or gear to do it properly. But put a CD in and do a side by side comparison of apples to apples head units and you will not be able to tell a difference in SQ. And if you can, the later model will come out on top.
a file is not tape, doesn't matter how many times a file is copied the sq will never change. And what do u mean recorded at a slow bit rate? Most songs are recorded at 24bit, when they are made into mp3s it gets cut down to 16bit, BUT even cda (cd audio) files are cut down to 16bit, difference being the files only get cut down to 44.1khz. (if recorded higher like 48khz for example)Mp3s, cut to 22khz and lower depending on how small the file is made into. Alota people use 128k mp3s losing alota high end content in the process. I think you meant to say converted, not recorded, all songs are recorded at atleast 44.1khz for the must part

bbeljefe
02-16-2014, 10:56 AM
You forget how subjective SQ is.

No, I get that. And it's a huge part of the arguments we see daily about this sub being SQ and that one being SPL. People will argue for three pages over two subs being different in SQ but they'll never once mention the kind of box needed to actually make either sub sound good. ;-)

bbeljefe
02-16-2014, 10:59 AM
a file is not tape, doesn't matter how many times a file is copied the sq will never change. And what do u mean recorded at a slow bit rate? Most songs are recorded at 24bit, when they are made into mp3s it gets cut down to 16bit, BUT even cda (cd audio) files are cut down to 16bit, difference being the files only get cut down to 44.1khz. (if recorded higher like 48khz for example)Mp3s, cut to 22khz and lower depending on how small the file is made into. Alota people use 128k mp3s losing alota high end content in the process. I think you meant to say converted, not recorded, all songs are recorded at atleast 44.1khz for the must part

It doesn't matter how many times a digital file is copied if there are no errors in the process.

CaptainMaximus
02-16-2014, 11:40 AM
I still use CD's because to me their quality (especially for high volumes) are much better than auxiliary and other inputs. IMO, and I run an alpine cde-102

hispls
02-16-2014, 11:47 AM
IMO about the only thing that the head units of 20 years ago have over the ones today is that they used to be built to last a decade. I can't remember the last one I had that lasted longer than about a year and a half without some kind of trouble. My advice, if you buy a new one, plan for it to be disposable. Otherwise the technology has really improved and come way down in price. Stick with the major head unit brands (Kenwood, Pioneer, Alpine) and find a higher end last-year's model on eBay or one of the online retailers. I've even had good luck with JVC and Jenson head units. Soundstream/power accuostik is junk and others of that tier brands should be avoided at all costs.