Old 02-09-2014, 02:17 AM #1
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Default Looking for A Car Head Unit

Hey everyone, I used to install car entertainment professionally. This however was the better part of a decade ago. I'm so out of the loop that I have to put my ego aside and ask for help.

My girlfriend and I just bought an 07 Ford Focus. The biggest concern we have right now is the radio. She likes the way the stock unit looks and we both hate the cluttered flashy "bling" look of too many after market head units.

We will slowly be building the entire system but we wanted to start with the head unit because we want to be able to plug into AUX.

We both liked the look of these but for obvious reasons these are NOT options.

Boss BV6824B DVD receiver at Crutchfield.com

Jensen MP1524 CD receiver at Crutchfield.com

So what do you all think? What are the current options for a clean, factory~ish look?

EDIT: Here's what the stock radio looks like

http://images02.olx.com/ui/1/06/37/f...984106096.jpeg



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Old 02-09-2014, 02:19 AM #2
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

Reserving space for options
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:01 AM #3
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

i Looked Around At The Bigger Names, Kenwood, Sony, Pioneer Etc. But They All Seem To Glow All Over The Place And That's Really Not Our Style. I Really Want Something Good butThose Two Were The Only Ones I Saw That Looked "Toned Down" Its Too Bad They Are Both Crap.
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:32 AM #4
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

Head unit does matter as some clip (distort) at lower volumes and functionality is subpar. I have always stuck to pioneer double dins. They are very clean but by no means a sq head unit seeing as it only has a 7 band eq and non active capable. Recommendations would be a pioneer, Kenwood, eclipse. In that order.

Just to make it clear, amp and speakers are what makes the system but in no way should the head unit just be disregarded. If you want to cheap out and get a POS, like posted just keep the stock radio and wire in a harness to have an aux jack.

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Old 02-09-2014, 05:51 AM #5
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

You recommending that with a decent system a head unit doesn't matter and also saying you plug your aux directly into the amp makes your statment severely ignorant. Sorry, you being somewhat clear? Just not correct.

The only reason I said "to make it clear" was because your posts contradict. And the only thing in my post I changed was the part that said you didn't know what your talking about...

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Old 02-09-2014, 06:16 AM #6
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubonicCronic View Post
I said the head didnt matter on his system if he used a decent amp, and speakers because he was going to buy a cheap head. You're putting words in my mouth.
But it does matter

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubonicCronic View Post
I even recommended he use his original head, just like you said. No one said anything about using a decent head.
This also goes back to your second post saying a head unit doesnt matter
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubonicCronic View Post
If you have a decent set up it doesnt really matter what head you use.



Quote:
Originally Posted by BubonicCronic View Post
And you can wire an AUX to the amp. How do you that? You wire into the harness, once again, just like you said.

Are you trying to troll me?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubonicCronic View Post
You can even use what you have now and run an AUX jack directly to the new amp. I used to plug in my boombox to mine.
Looks to me like you said run an aux jack directly to the amp. Your words dude. Trolling yourself...





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Last edited by TampaVmax; 02-09-2014 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:19 AM #7
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

Can we just suck up our pride and stop killing this guys thread.

I recommend the OP goes with a pioneer avh-x8500bhs. That my fav and what I run but its also about 500$

Truthfully I recommend any double din full screen that doesn't have the stupid knobs on the side. They look extremely clean.

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Old 02-09-2014, 10:35 PM #8
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

I didn't mean to confuse anybody. Those two I posted were just for the look I was going for. I really don't like the single DIN units because they end up looking cluttered and have flashing swirling lights. I know that a head unit is only part of the equation but this is an 07 Focus mind you. A $500 head unit would nearly match the cars' worth

The problem with the Focus is that to make use of the AUX port you have to buy a $120 harness to integrate with the factory unit. The stock system sounds okay but I'd have to ghetto rig it to work with a 4ch amp for speakers and another 1ch for the sub.

__________________________________________________ ____________________

I never hit send on this before I left this morning. Since I wrote that we went to Best Buy to see what was available there. We saw a few units that could have worked but NONE of the "cheaper" units had an AUX port in the front. The one unit that we found had a goofy cable that you'd have to run to another location (glove compartment or drill a hold in the factory cubby) But even that $700 unit I couldn't find the stupid AUX option in the settings.

We spent over an hour looking through the differences and she found one she liked but after reading reviews it looks like everyone has the same complaint about the Pioneer FH-X700BT Pioneer FH-X700BT CD receiver at Crutchfield.com. It's too stupidly bright and the "dim" option doesn't get dim enough. Even the reviews that rated it 4 of 5 stars they were complaining about the brightness.

I didn't think it would be this difficult finding a SOPHISTICATED looking head unit. All the radios I saw looked like they belonged in The Fast And Furious, on a car with underglow. I've got a 6 year old and this is the family car.



EDIT: What about Alpine? Any good? They used to suck rocks back in the day but they get decent reviews

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Old 02-10-2014, 12:35 AM #9
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

Alpine makes great head units also. When I was peeking around they seemed to be on the pricey side in comparison to what was also on par.

Every brand put there makes atleast one model on the style your looking for but moat are just lacking in options, as u have noticed.

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Old 02-10-2014, 01:07 AM #10
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

I went looking through most brands worth looking at just now and I can't find anything that is decent for running a whole system with that style unit. The best one looks to be the Kenwood with 3 sets of preouts but even then they are 2.5 volt preouts. Which is garbage. Pioneer you linked coming in second with 2 sets but those are also with 2 volt preouts. Even worse.

I would just bite the bullet and get a nice double din touchscreen. I did also look around for a aux harness and they can be had for your focus from 50$-75$. Still doesnt solve any kind of amp thoughts down the road.
If you got one with only a single preout or just did the aux on the factory unit you could always toss in a sound processor like jbl ms8 or the rockford fosgate 3sixty.3. These would give you the outputs and tuning you want while keeping whatever in the dash. Only problem here is price. Again you might as well just get a nice head unit.

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Old 02-10-2014, 01:58 AM #11
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

Alpine is pretty good. I'm using an older 1DIN and since the blue illumination doesn't match my dash (sound quality first, looks second for me), I set it to turn off the lights when I'm not doing anything to it.
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:27 PM #12
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

I'm not terribly worried about pre amp voltage, even top-of-the-line head units have around 2-2.5V and the .5V isn't going to make a significant difference in SQ off the amp so long as I don't run the gain too high. This is the family commuter and my son and girlfriend have a 30 minute one-way commute to school in the morning and we have a 1 hour one-way commute to church, the grocery store, the nearest mall, the nearest Wal-Mart... So we are in the car A LOT!

I just ordered a temp fix so we can listen to music off the phone until we can find something that works at least halfway decently and looks a bit more reserved than some of the units I've seen.

Thanks for the tip on the touch screen TampaVmax, what kind of car do you have? We have a few concerns about the touchscreens (I've installed more than I care to count but never really USED one) We live in the desert, the sun is bright and there's no such thing as a cloudy day. How bad does the sun glare affect the screen on your pioneer?

I guess I might be making a huge assumption but the screen is likely not too different from model to model, or even between major brands that all share parts made by one China manufacturer.

Also, the 3 touchscreen Kenwood's I looked at didn't have AUX in, I couldn't believe it until the spec list confirmed... the cheap model, the mid model and the $1000 model. None had AUX in. It that just too old-fashioned now a days?

The search goes on! (My ghetto solution is only in case we can't find what we want before our cross-country trek back to California)
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:38 PM #13
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

Almost every head unit that is half decent will have 4 to 5 volt preouts. I have a Silverado in Florida with a couple of Xs power batteries, crescendo amps, American bass xfl 15s take up my whole extended cab.

The glare is not bad at all. The screen has that LCD matte finish and its great. Higher end model screens will be better res obviously.

Aux is a little old. Most units now a days do the whole Bluetooth thing. Most touchscreens do have an aux, it is just in the back and you have to wire to a spot that you put your phone when you get in the car. Some cheaper touchscreens have aux and USB in the front but they look kinda tacky.

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Old 02-10-2014, 08:24 PM #14
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

I would agree that decent head units have 4 -5V preouts but in practice even the $1000 Kenwood we looked at (I forgot the model) only had 2V out. Now it of course had SIX pre-outs but they were all 2V none-the-less.

The Pioneer you mentioned has the 4V but I'm saving the "good" sound system for the '64 Chevy C20 we are fixing up.

Truth is, $500 is steep for the head unit on the Focus. The Focus' sound system has to be good enough for the audiophile in me, but not look like it is hosting a rave. We COULD put a huge banging system in there but my 6 year old will be in the back seat 99% of the time so sound levels will be moderate most of the time.

Really our needs on this one are fairly conservative.
1) Good, but not necessarily the best sound quality,
2) Reasonable expandability with pre-outs, AUX, Bluetooth,
3) Look like a grown-up owns it. (I like the full touch screen models but price may be a resisting factor here)

What do you think about these candidates:

Pioneer AVH-X1500DVD DVD receiver at Crutchfield.com
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_500W235...T.html?tp=5684
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_113DPX5...ml#details-tab
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_130X350...17#details-tab

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Old 02-11-2014, 12:19 AM #15
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

The Kenwood looks like it belongs in tron the movie.

The alpine seems like that is the look you started off wanting and truthfully has almost all the features you want except for expandability.

The 2 pioneers would seem like your best bet. If you were even thinking of considering the last pioneer at 299$. You can get a new 2014 model pioneer avh-x4600bt from amazon and such for 325$... Literally is just like the high end one I have except for no detachable face plate and I think mine has a tiny bit better screen. It would be a really nice unit. Let me know what you think.

Also take note that with a big 7 inch in the dash on those long trips you can play a video or DVD and such. Hell, I play music videos on mine while I drive...

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Last edited by TampaVmax; 02-11-2014 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:03 AM #16
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Default Re: Looking for A Car Head Unit

Just did my taxes, depending on when they hit my bank account I may splurge and get a 4ch amp too... not likely though since I'm 3000 miles from home and all my tools. Now I'm just thinking out loud. I'm getting a decent chunk back so I'm going to talk to my lady tonight to see what she feels comfortable spending on the new radio. I'll let you know what she says.

The Alpine doesn't seem to speak to either of us truthfully, It was more just to give a little variety. The $299 Pioneer could be a serious contender if she thinks it's worth it. I'll take a look at that X4600 tonight too.

We are pretty simple creatures, movies and videos etc aren't really a selling point for us. Hell, to be honest with you we don't even own a TV!
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