I'm replacing an alpine 9805 with a CD load mechanism that's decided to die.
Granted I've gone through two mid 90's excelons and that alpine, I'm looking for a unit that can at least last as long as my 140k mile isuzu trooper.
No real company loyalty from me at the moment:
I'm looking at Eclipse, Premier, Excelon, Sony, JVC, etc.. but open to smaller companies IF and only IF it is supreme quality that's respected in the industry. I am looking for new from a dealer online or brick/morter with warranty support.
Build Quality and Reliability"
What I'm seeing in the market appears to be very very cheap. Plastic and flip covers that are waiting to brake, with proprietary bells and whistles and limited aux inputs. Typically 1 year or maybe 2 year warranties, and little support for after sale service. It's depressing.. So I've been learning up on "flagship" models.. If one can call them that.
If you're familiar with home audio.. The name Bryston comes to mind.. Built like a tank, super high end preamps, amps, etc... High end components and chassis and excellent power and sound quality, and a 20 year transferrable warranty that says "we make THE best built". Others you might recognize B&K, Krell, Anthem, Levinson, etc.. The best, without being flashy with extra stuff but does what it does extremely well. That's what I'm after in a head unit.. That kind of quality. No gimmicks to sell to the sheeple.. Solid hifi for someone that can afford it.
There's a huge hole in what the manufacturers are offering to fill.
I'm not opposed to having a USB stick input or other type of mp3/aac/wma file input that's relatively simple. Infact, I'd even forego the cd player altogether to rip down to a file format that could just plug into the head unit. I even saw the omnifi products just to find out they still require some head unit, and they're defunct for a couple years now. So input capability would be nice, except where it would come at a tradeoff to build and sound quality.
DACs and Preamp:
Like build quality, I'm looking for excellent processing, even if all it does is play a CD or MP3 or other. Don't care about DSP and gimmicks.. Just awesome two channel stereo.. Burr Brown and Wolfson are some names I'm recognizing being advertised by some units. ok. Good EQ or possibly time correction might be nice. Good preouts are essential.. Infact an onboard power amp is actually not desired or necessary.. Going to all external amps.
I'm after a head unit that WILL NOT BREAK.. Will not fry, will not shut down, will not jam, etc.
Any suggestions? Please remember.. features are nice but build and sound quality are first and second priority. Price, no object. Availability and dealer/manufacturer support crucial. "Good luck" huh? hehe