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    Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    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.

    Input capability:
    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.

    Longevity:
    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







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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    Maybe a McIntosh MX-5000 or MX-4000. Those are considered some of the best pure SQ units possible, and they don't have detachable or flip-down faces so you shouldn't have to worry about moving parts. I think retail is about $3000. The MX-4000 is the older version, and I've read it had slightly better SQ.

    The Denon DCT-1, very recently discontinued, is another that comes to mind. They are not sold in the US, but Scott Buwalda recently found the last 15 for sale and imported 8 of them, and is going to import a few more soon for people on ECA. I think he was charging a bit less than $2500 apiece, with the retail around $3000. Also does not have a detachable or flip-down face and comes in black or silver.

    The P9 or Alpine F-1 are also great, but that's more for when you want DSP.

    Edit - I just caught the part about manufacturer support. You may want to stay away from the JDM Denon if you're concerned about support on a discontinued unit. I'm guessing either of those units are rock solid, though.




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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    Thanks.. These are very interesting.. I've been told about the Denon's but finding a source for them is tough. Thanks for the tip. Yeah I saw the Mac, and actually there's a dealer search there.. So gives me a lot to think about.

    Sofar:
    Denon (if I can get my hands on a new one)
    Alpine (flagships with tons of features and I'll assume fairly good SoundQ and BuildQ)
    McIntosh (Probably really good SQ and BQ and not toooo many features but limited dealer availability)

    Backing off into the sub $1000 range for giggles.. What about the Sony Specialty stuff coming out. Any good? Or Pioneer Premier or Excelon? These conventional circuitcity brands scare me, but surely they have one or two units that are top notch?

    Otherwise, I might have to just step on up and score a $2G unit if I just gotta.
    Thanks again.. Great food for thought. My head's spinning now.




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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    Going through the same thing as you did with your alpine. Haven't had mine a week and i can't put in a cd. Just shows disc error when I try. Alpine *****~!!!! I have been looking at the JVC KD-AVX2. JVC use to be crap and I started a thread to get some feedback on SQ and build quaility. Hopefully I hear something soon. Something to look into though. Only other radios I've owned that never crapped out were Pioneers, but I hear those have been riddled with trouble as well. Is everything being made in china instead of japan these days or what?




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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    Exactly what mine is doing but I did get two years out of it playing tons and tons of CD's and.. for $169 I can't knock it that bad... but I'll say my old Excelon Kenwood from like 1993 or 94 blew it away in SQ.. with just flat no EQ. The excelon's faceplate died (imagine that).. So I wanted a unit without the flipface. Only the cheap units had it, so I bought. Eh, worked for two years and made sound.. About it.

    Yeah I've looked at a thousand different units to see what's the latest and greatest.

    Appears the Sony's and JVC's are trying to make a comeback bigtime.. May just be great webdesign and marketing though.. Hard to say. When I hear a fancy name given to basically a boombox style bass boost, I pass over it really quickly.

    I tell ya, if the faceplate 1Gig unit Sony is offering were one of it's better units with better DACs and higher voltage outs.. I'd be very tempted to just be satisfied and pick one up.

    I'd be interested in opinions on the new JVC's also.. Their website doesn't explain the differences in this "Arsenal" and "Exad" stuff. I have no clue about it.

    By the way, currently running a 4 channel 60x4 I think Coustic amp from 02 or 03.
    A little class D US Acoustics mono. Infinity Kappa components front, little ones inback, and an OOOOOLD JL 10W6 that will soon be replaced. It's pretty humble but will improve.

    When I do the head unit, I'll probably make use of my new garage and pull seats and carpet and clean up some wiring and do some good soundproofing material. It's time, the car's long paid for.. Can't depreciate much more either.. hehe




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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    I won't buy sony anymore. They stop reading disc at 2 years. Never fails. Discman, car cd, boombox....anything with a cd player that's made by sony dies on me. The old JLs rock. Had one 12 W6 in my civic hatchback. Sounded excellent! Had two 12 W6v2s in my acura RL. Pounded at high levels but low levels were below par. I have Image Dynamic 8s in my Z now with a Memphis 1000d powering them. Infinity components up front like you and coaxils in the back powered by a Phoenix Gold ZX475 ti. All good equipment, but it won't sound good with a sorry HU. Good luck.. Keep us updated in the quest for a quality HU.




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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    I looked at that JVC you mentioned.. That's a lot (I mean a LOT) of stuff in a single din head unit.. Especially with a 1 yr warranty. LCD screen, Surround processing, DVD, etc. Less than a grand. If you think about it.. more and more and more "stuff" for little cash and a short warranty.

    But that seems to be the way a lot of these units are. Flash and features in a 3lb unit an no warranty to back 'er up.

    My dream head unit would weigh 7lbs, have 2 or 3 great preout pairs, CD only with great DACs or possibly even a separate DAC/preamp setup. maybe just maybe have MP3/WMA/AAC capability with some kind of external USB or SD input into auxiliary.. And for a reeeeeal stretch, have an external bluetooth hookup for a cellphone. After all that, possibly an external parametric and call it done.

    Add an orange crush soda tap and crushed ice dispensor and you got somethin'

    Oh.. And God Bless Texas!




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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    Haha. While we're at it, can we get a nake chick that pops out of the box when you go to install the radio. lol.

    True the JVC has alot of stuff in a single din, but alot of radios are going this way. Warranties seem to be far and few between. And in todays corporate owned world, they really don't mean squat. I don't wanna send my radio out for 10-12 weeks so someone on the other side of the world can fix it. Unless you buy a warranty from a third party that offers free replacement, it doesn't mean anything to me. Most of the shops will take back their stuff if its DOA. That's the only thing that saved me this time. Had it been a month later, I'd be without a radio for who knows how long. I'm starting to feel old when I say this, but they don't make em like they use to. Everything I see is either made in mexico or china. Cheap labor isn't a bad thing, but bad quality is. I might try to locate a Denon unit. I had some of their stuff before. Pretty good equipment. Haven't really justified spending $3Gs on a head unit so I've never used Mcintosh. Oh well. Just ordered the JVC through my cousin. He doesn't like the idea much, but we shall see. I'll keep you posted. God bless Texas? lol Houston isn't like the rest of the state - 3rd largest city in the US. Someone needs to bless the highway, traffic blows here - big time!




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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    Quote Originally Posted by Babs
    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.

    Input capability:
    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.

    Longevity:
    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

    I don't know if it was mentioned all ready but, how about the Clarion DRZ9255. Great sounding deck that can be had for around $1000, with the build quality/flexibility/support/dependability you crave. Otherwise it's tough to argue against Eclipse. You might be a little turned off with the look of the new units but they still seem as solid as the 03 and up units.




    1999 Chevrolet Malibu
    Head Unit: Eclipse CD8053
    Front Stage: Diamond Audio D651a
    Front Amp: Eclipse PA5422
    Sub Amp: Eclipse DA7122
    Subwoofer: Eclipse SW9122

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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    Yeah the DRZ9255 is another great deck with a decent amount of processing. You could get the Denon DCT-100 for under a grand at Audiocubes. If you're keeping it under $1000, I'd probably go with the Clarion because it has the processing, which is very useful in the car environment. I don't think anyone reasonable will argue that a digital signal processing is great in a car, as you will be hard pressed to get the desired frequency response otherwise.The Clarion unit is also very pretty, and has a fixed faceplate (which, for what you want, is definitely a good thing).




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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    Quote Originally Posted by Babs
    but I'll say my old Excelon Kenwood from like 1993 or 94 blew it away in SQ.. with just flat no EQ. The excelon's faceplate died (imagine that).. So I wanted a unit without the flipface.
    FYI Most likely the Kenwood was a PS (which was Kenwood high end series) or it was newer than that. The Excellon name started in 98 and was an overlap year with the PS. The Next year they drop the PS designation. I have a PS709 Eccellon and PS909 Excellon, both work great, but they are both in fair weather vehicle with low miles, I am not sure how the CD would hold up long term. The 709 I bought used and the 909 I bought new, but I also have a CD changer so its not used as often. I have no idea about the current quality, a lot has change quality wise in car audio since then...




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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    2 years now, still rocking my alpine 9835 which has almost every feature I wanted, and the other features it did not have, the pxa-h701 had them. Rock solid unit. Just to keep her in once peice though and to insure long life, I run a 6 disk changer and use the crap out of it instead of the motorized face.



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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    Quote Originally Posted by xOld Schoolx
    Only other radios I've owned that never crapped out were Pioneers, but I hear those have been riddled with trouble as well. Is everything being made in china instead of japan these days or what?
    All brands have their troubles. You can't single any one brand as a brand "riddled with troubles" you're rolling the dice eveytime you purchase ANY electronic device whether for car audio or anything else. Pioneer had some problems with some 04 or 05 decks but they have been ratified. Since then on newer decks I haven't heard of any NEW problems yet. Knock on wood.



    Source Unit: Pioneer P9 combo
    Tweeters: CDT DRT-25 Silk
    Mids: CDT ES-5 (5.25")
    Midbass: CDT M6 (6.5")
    Subs: Pioneer TS-W12PRS
    Mid & Tweet amp: Pioneer PRS-X340
    Midbass Amp: Pioneer PRS-X720
    Sub Amp: Pioneer PRS-X720

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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaredl
    Yeah the DRZ9255 is another great deck with a decent amount of processing. You could get the Denon DCT-100 for under a grand at Audiocubes. If you're keeping it under $1000, I'd probably go with the Clarion because it has the processing, which is very useful in the car environment. I don't think anyone reasonable will argue that a digital signal processing is great in a car, as you will be hard pressed to get the desired frequency response otherwise.The Clarion unit is also very pretty, and has a fixed faceplate (which, for what you want, is definitely a good thing).
    Yes, I saw that unit.. Very very nice. About the only larger online retailer I saw was cardomain. Looks like these types of head units are very similar.. Like the older Denon built Rockfords and the Nakamichi CD-700II and the MacIntosh unit.. They all seem very similar in design.. Just beefy cd only players with great dacs, preamp only, some with separate dc/dc power supplies as well. That Clarion appears to be an excellent piece... I agree, it's very sharp looking as well.

    Currently, I'm looking at winning (ebay) a Rockford unit.. One of the Denon built preamp units. It's probably a refurb and definitely pretty ugly looking, but the deal is good enough to risk it to see how much better even the older one would be. If it dies, I'll probably just bite the bullet and go for that Clarion or possibly the Nakamichi. I think the model is an RFX8240.

    I'm torn though because it appears that some of the "mid-fi" brands I'm seeing are coming out with some nifty gadgets like USB or SD card reading capability and some have potential for a bluetooth adaptor for the phone. To me are nice features, though to me a great transport, dacs and preamp are the biggest things.. Got a chance to hear recently what good time alignment can do as well.




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    Re: Looking for High-End and Built like a Tank

    wait for the zapco deck to come out, it is based off of an old denon.




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