View Full Version : Nakamichi CD-500 Head Unit

12-15-2004, 07:16 AM
I had waited a long while for this head unit to make it to market and yet it seemed to never make it. For a VW owner who wants a good SQ head unit, it appeared on paper to be a near perfect match ( those purplish blue lights on a VW dash are difficult to color match ). Now, it appears it MAY be shipping and while almost too late to do me any good, it's not too late YET.

Has anyone seen this unit at any of the shows, etc? Am very curious to know more about it and if Nak got this one right. Thx. Am attaching two links :

The first is a UK site showing it being available and showing the colors to be slightly less than desirable:


The second is a US site and is now showing the product as available and the color scheme looking near perfect:


Any help is appreciated. Thx

12-15-2004, 12:36 PM
In the first image, I believe it is just the flash from the camera causing the color to look washed out.

Nakamichi has always had some incredible SQ, but has suffered from build quality issues in the past. From what I've heard about the CD-400, that seems to be a non-issue now.

12-15-2004, 01:19 PM
Thx for the reply and info... from what I have seen it seems the majority of CD-400 owners have been happy with the build quality, skipping issues, etc. Nak simply isn't making things " well known" and I have no Nak dealers in my area. It may still be a day late for them with regard to my system but I'll hold on for a couple more days until info begins to leak out on it. Some VW owner like me who desires a close dash match is bound to perk up and find one for sale :)

I did manage to dig up this rather obscure site with alittl emore information on dash colors.. my guess is Nak specifically marketed this HU for certain cars based upon the lighting schemes available, VW perhaps being one of them. Is a hard blue to match!


12-15-2004, 02:30 PM
Sweeeet looking unit; it may look good in my Passat someday. :up2somet: Why no detachable face though? That issue alone could keep my from buying one. The Denonfords are the same way; is it something that only high-end units share? Does SQ get negatively affected by a detachable face somehow?

12-15-2004, 02:41 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but the second link that you have posted with the HU is not an actual image of the HU, it is simply a computer graphic image... :(

In the two actual units I have seen of the links posted it appears to be quite blue, not bluish/purple at all...

12-15-2004, 04:42 PM
I'll have to look at the actual images closer... I *think* they are actual photos but not of the highest quality as i can see lots of digital artifacting ( for those who arent inot digital pics, it's sort of like photocopying a small faxed image and enlarging it.. get all kinds of jagged adges ).

The UK site photo is very blue, but the image appears to be severely overblown in terms of highlights... the onlinecarstereo.com appears to be nearly identical to Passat purple-blue ( estimated 75% blue, 25% purple maybe? ), and the last site also, on my monitor, has the similar Passat blue/purple mix to it. Of course, there is nothing to say that the photographs are very accurate color wise and until someone actually sees one and listens to it, there is no way to tell!

On detachable faces... no answer for that. it's not a concern for me, but who knows why they didn't do it. Many manufacturers have also gone to motorized drop down faces with the cd slot being behind the front. In general, give me a simple slot. No motor sto break and no inconvenience for me. But am certain there will be many who think the opposite.

I tlacks MANY of the features found on say the Alpine 9835 and the Pioneer Premier line.. most noteworthy being the missing eq section ( a 3 band adjustment is NOT very adjustable ). No Sat Radio link built in, etc I am guessing Nak will say they put all their $$ into SQ and that wont be seen until it's heard :) For me, besides SQ, the big selling point is the VW dash lighting... not yet sure that is enough to get me away from either the 860MP or the 9835. Just need to find somebody who has actually seen it !!!!!!!

12-15-2004, 04:47 PM
I love my CD-45z which was replaced by the 400, never had any quality issues, very simple and sounds great...

12-15-2004, 05:04 PM
I just spoke with Onlinecarstereo.com and they said it is on backorder, and the wait is 4 to 8 weeks... thus far no other internet seller that I can find is carrying the unit.. soooooooooo it appears Nak remains in the To Be Delievered ranks! I don't think I can wait that long so it's pretty iffy at best now but remain very curious about the unit :))

12-15-2004, 05:21 PM
I just spoke with Onlinecarstereo.com and they said it is on backorder, and the wait is 4 to 8 weeks... thus far no other internet seller that I can find is carrying the unit.. soooooooooo it appears Nak remains in the To Be Delievered ranks! I don't think I can wait that long so it's pretty iffy at best now but remain very curious about the unit :))

Maybe they would know if the color shcemes on the HU would be suited to your VW?:idea: If so, that woiuld be sweet. Also, I would hate to see ya burn $4xx on something sub-par of your expecations

12-15-2004, 06:10 PM
I'll see what gets turned up over next couple days.. lots of knowledgeable people on here and hopefully somebody will be " in the know ". I put off my car stereo upgrade since this past Spring when my cd player died, waiting primarily for the CD500.. during that time I learned a lot, still learning alot and still compromising within my budget.

Pros ( potential ) of CD500:

Dash color matching
SQ ( could be really good but is unknown )
Simplicity of design

Cons ( versus Pio Premier 860MP and or Alpine 9835 )

No Sirius or XM interface ( means an additional receiver mounted somewhere and additional cost )
HU cost about $80 more minimum
No parametric eq
NOT available for purchase!

The last con is a big one... if delayed again, I simply cannot wait and assuming it does appear later and turns oout to be the cat's meow, then I can sell whatever I buy now for a loss and upgrade like a gazillion others do :) But unless I get info suggesting the unit truly will be arriving SOON, waiting longer is no longer an option! If you only knew how BAD Charlotte NC radio is ( and Ive been listening to radio only since last Spring, you would realize where I am lol Man am I ever tired of Elton John! )
But, hopefully, good info will arrive and maybe it will arrive much sooner than Online said today !!

12-15-2004, 06:29 PM
johnj, your indecisiveness cracks me up- just get the Alpine or Premier, you are after a 'real knob' after all;)

12-15-2004, 07:18 PM

Laughing.. for once it is not indecisiveness though the many other times it no doubt was.... this is the darned head unit that started this mess lol i REALLY would love to keep my interior looking as close to factory as possible... truth be known I've always enjoyed the LOOK of my current head unit though the SQ is lacking to say the least.

I had stored the onlinecarstero.com link many months ago and last night saw it and before deleting clicked on it.. hmmmm looked like it was available... found the UK site which claims it IS available, and then found another annouoncement on Dec 11 saying it had shipped.

In the pics it truly looks like it would be a near perfect dash match, which is something for whatever reason I'm stuck on. I also like fact it has a real knob and no motorized front plate. It's simple :)

But, had I known it really wasn't available, this thread would not have been started. I have until last week in Dec at latest to order a head unit.. more than likely self imposed deadline will be next Tuesday or so, all depending upon when my sub enclosure arrives.

I still think this Nak may offer many Passat owners a near factory appearance and MUCH better SQ, even though for now it is totaly unproven. No matter what I buy, I'll be curious to see how it does. If it is just a CD400 + MP3 with blue lights, then it isnt worth the extra money.. it has to do something better, and it doe soffer alot of limitations the other hea dunits dont do.. lack of sat radio, lack of P EQ, etc could be an achilles heel. But, it does at the very least offer VW owners a clean factory look which is simple, and without lots of graphics that some of us hate ( which others will miss ). I hope it does well and sounds great, and that the MP3 part actually works even though from a SQ viewpoint it may be somewhat moot! Yeppers, I am curious about it, even if it is too late for me to buy! :nono:

12-15-2004, 07:55 PM
that new Nak is indeed purdy john....just wait a lil', throw a line driver on your stocker for the meanwhile and get installin'.....

12-15-2004, 09:01 PM
Oh nooooooooo lol I can't do nuttin til the sub enclosure gets here BUT I can't live any longer without either sat radio or a cd player :) I"m not giving up much, if anything, by going with what is already out there! IF the Nak were truly available it would be a diff game.. but it's been late now for well over ayear... not a good track record! Bite yer tongue! I've been rolling the windows down listening to the wind noise just becas=use I am sooo sick of hearing Elton John and company!

But, with return policies for DOA Alpine or Pio units being so tight when bought via internet, I need to have all my stuff here BEFORE I buy the HU... I have no way of testing it out and if it sits for 3 or 4 weeks and is DOA, then I'm SOL until i gets repaired rather than replaced!

Sooo, if the Nak doe a ppear suddenly, it's in the game :) Otherwise, I'll watch for it's news with curiosity and hope some other Passat owner gets a near perfect dash match :)

12-17-2004, 10:37 AM
For those interested, I received an email from Nakamichi saying, yes the CD500 IS shipping worldwide. The bad news is they do not yet have a US partnership, but they expect to have that secured by February ( could be yet another lengthy delay or not ). I have been given another contact and will provide the info as soon as I can tel if it pans out or not, and what the pricing is. Should be interesting, especially for VW owners who have desired a simple clean looking SQ head unit that somewhat matches the dash lighting. :)


12-17-2004, 11:35 AM
now thats good news, that unit looks alot nicer than the other Naks- just hope they as a company do a better job in placing restrictions on their dealers, to avoid the spreading
misinfo on their build quality that is caused by internet/ebay sales to date

12-17-2004, 03:32 PM
I spoke with them about build quality ( Nak distributor in Canada ) and they discussed one of their problem children from the past... am M series with 6 disc changer built in ), and they seemed very determined to get a tighter grip on the 500 series. yet, the 400 has been on ebay for a long while now and many online sites, and dealers are very hard to find. I was also quoted a retail price of $750 for the unit and all aspects of the American dollar dropping in value, that seems HIGH to me as it is not significantly different then the CD400 with exception of the blue lighting and MP3 playback ( CD400 retail is $499 , ebay well under $300 shipped ). They are going to need to get some good US partnerships again and like you said tighter control over what is being sold. I've heard great things about the CD400 and expect the CD500 will be as good. Just not sure it is in the right price market/pricing. $599 retail would have been a better price point!

12-17-2004, 06:35 PM
You might try posting your questions on this UK site. A few people have been discussing the CD500, which is available in the UK.


12-17-2004, 11:46 PM
Thx cdj.. I had briefly read that site but see now many new posts, some apparently not that flattering but it's really too early yet to draw conclusions ( could be bad installs, etc etc ). But, does again make me worry a bit about having to buy authorized via a Canadian firm... any problems and I'd be out of a HU for at least 3-6 weeks. Not sure Alpine is any better about repair times though... I'll keep reading and also will ask what the true differences are between the 400 and 500 besdies mp3 and the blue lighting. I did find out later tonight the $750 retail was in Canadian dollars. It's agreat looking unit for those of us who prefer clean lines, no graphics and hopefully just great SQ with simplicity. But it really has nothing for the tweakers and the unauthorized ebay prices on the 400 are really cheap for those who dont care for mp3 ( or who use an external player ) and also dont mind the green/amber lighting options! Now. need to find out what other differences there are !