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View Full Version : Best HU for around $300?



DarrenE46
09-16-2004, 10:07 AM
Hev everyone, I a newb around these parts and I would like to get some opinions. I am looking to build a sq system in my 02 BMW 330ci, but Im trying to stay on a budget. I will most likely be running a 1000W Mono amp for my subs and a two channel 300W amp for my front components and use deck power for rear fill. I dont need a fancy, bling bling deck, I just want something that will put out good sound and be reliable. Clarion, Alpine, and Nakamichi were the main brands I was considering. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

crash813
09-16-2004, 11:19 AM
I would suggest first, just going to a store and playing with some decks. Leave the wallet at home so you don't get talked into anything on the spur of the moment. Get a feel for which deck designs you like and what features you like. Like anything, 'Best' is subjective.

I just recently was in the same boat as you.....but looking more around $400 - $500 range. I didn't want flashy. I was mainly interested in sound control as I'm not going to run any exteranl eq's. The main ones I considered where the Blaupunkt's skylines and Alpines. Unfortunately, I'm between model years of the Blau's. Most older ones didn't play MP3's and newer ones either weren't released or still $$$. Check out the Blaupunkt Bremen MP74!

Playing around in the store I ended up really liking the Pioneer DEH-P8600MP. It had twice the features of any Alpine for less $$$. Although I don't general consider Pioneer a higher line, they are definately a reputable brand. I just couldn't justify the extra $$$ for less features just to get the Alpine name. Although, if I would get one, the 9833 would probably be the one. As far as the others, I've spoke to several who didn't like the Clarion touch screen, and I don't think you can really touch anything Nakamichi for $300.

But in the end it's a personal decision you'll have to make. I don't think you can buy a 'bad' HU from any of these guys.


BTW - got the Pioneer for ~ $300 instead of the $400 or $500 I was planning. I love staying under budget.

DarrenE46
09-16-2004, 12:53 PM
I know Pioneer is a good brand, but I simply dont want the "bling bling" display they use. If they had a unit that was high quality and allowed for system control w/o the OEL display, I might be interested. Also, the Clarion I was looking at did not have the touch screen control, I was looking at the DXZ745 or DXZ845. As for the Nakamichi's, they are on eBay any day of the week for $295.00, here's the link:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=3293&item=5719732759&rd=1

m1122
09-16-2004, 12:56 PM
nak cd400.........

DFW40
09-16-2004, 03:38 PM
I have a 2001 325i and purchased the Alpine 9811 for under $300. It is a year or two old as far as the model goes but I have really enjoyed it and it looks nice with the rest of the dash.

crash813
09-16-2004, 04:07 PM
I would atleast get something that offers some expanded eq settings and time delays would be nice. I'd recommend the Alpine 9833 then or bumping up your budget a little and looking at the Eclipses.

I can't see paying $300 for that Nak when it gives you so little features to adjust the sound.

DarrenE46
09-16-2004, 04:11 PM
I would atleast get something that offers some expanded eq settings and time delays would be nice. I'd recommend the Alpine 9833 then or bumping up your budget a little and looking at the Eclipses.

I can't see paying $300 for that Nak when it gives you so little features to adjust the sound.

Even if using an external crossover?

DFW40
09-16-2004, 04:49 PM
I agree, you will wish you had especially if it is only $100 upgrade or so.
The expande settings can just help you adjust the sounds, on mine it is just bass and treble. The good things is that you can pick a frequency in the Bass range that you would like to boost of decrease. I like to mess with that crap, it is nice because if you would like a little extra or less upper bass for a certain song you can set your center freq to lets say 60hz and you can add or decrease. You can also set the frequency width on the bass.....so you can boost not only 60 hz but 20hz above and below the midpoint of 60hz.

JLCivic
09-16-2004, 06:51 PM
I love the RF 8250(made by Denon) and available from Sound Domain for $299. Other than that, I would buy an Eclipse.

DarrenE46
09-16-2004, 08:10 PM
I was looking at the RF 8250, but I dont know if it will mount in my car. That deck only mounts with an ISO-Side. Does anyone know if it will fit into my '02 330ci?

crash813
09-16-2004, 08:46 PM
The problem with the Denford is its also a straight head unit. If you're a dedicated audiophile who fully understands the components you're installing, the dynamics of imaging and so on........maybe, but even then, most would recommend at the very least, an external eq. Music changes from song to song, much less, format to format. If you don't have the ability to make changes, you'll have a great setup at best, only half the time.

I'd say the Alpine 9831 or 9833 at least, in your situation.

DarrenE46
09-16-2004, 09:12 PM
The problem with the Denford is its also a straight head unit. If you're a dedicated audiophile who fully understands the components you're installing, the dynamics of imaging and so on........maybe, but even then, most would recommend at the very least, an external eq. Music changes from song to song, much less, format to format. If you don't have the ability to make changes, you'll have a great setup at best, only half the time.

I'd say the Alpine 9831 or 9833 at least, in your situation.

Are you implying I would want to install this with an in-dash eq or an external x-over?

ShakinSupra
09-16-2004, 10:05 PM
I have a Nakamichi CD-45z HU, and it always sounds great. I have no external EQ, I just use the built in 3-band. If your not running an in-dash EQ, are you supposed to pull over and pop the trunk to tweak it a little every time the music changes? That's why I love the Nak, I just hit play and it sounds great. I would definitely suggest that Rockford or the Nak CD-400 (which I think replaced the CD-45z), or Eclipse if you want a few more adjustments.

crash813
09-16-2004, 11:00 PM
what I'm saying is if you're happy with just adjusting bass and treble, then go with the Denford or Nak. If you like tweaking, go with the Alpine. Just go play with them and see what you like.

LBX2G
09-16-2004, 11:08 PM
well i would say stay away form the Nakamichi head unit. THey are great for SQ but horrible becus of the reliabty issuses http://www.caraudioforum.com/vbb3/showthread.php?t=199478

read this review.....

Go with rockford or a dennon. I mean **** denon makes rockfords head unit. Or u could look in to the some old sony's or old Clarion, THere is one clarion that is a straight audiophile cd player. If u want more info just ask

DarrenE46
09-16-2004, 11:47 PM
well i would say stay away form the Nakamichi head unit. THey are great for SQ but horrible becus of the reliabty issuses http://www.caraudioforum.com/vbb3/showthread.php?t=199478

read this review.....

Go with rockford or a dennon. I mean **** denon makes rockfords head unit. Or u could look in to the some old sony's or old Clarion, THere is one clarion that is a straight audiophile cd player. If u want more info just ask

Whats the model of that Clarion you speak of?

LBX2G
09-17-2004, 12:08 AM
It is the DRX9675z

soccrstar
09-19-2004, 09:03 AM
hmm doesn't seem that these have mp3 capabilities. i had a kenwood mp625 and loved it, except for the fact that after playing it @ vol level 28 for 20min it'd overheat n start to disort n shutdown the bass.

i myself in the market of a HU as got rid of my accord but left the HU in there. was thinkin' of getting another kenwood but wan see what else is out there. change is good. which HU for 350 or less with mp3/wma capabilities do you people recommend? (liked the kenwood, i have had mp3 cd with wmas in it and plays them on the fly)

SirSyko
09-25-2004, 04:21 PM
Kenwood kdc-x979. $314 on ebay