best single din deck PERIOD

David Anderson

David Anderson
Best out right now, no issue of price within reason. $800 and under...no screen needed. No ipod controller. Wanted HPF and LPF filter built in.
 

Odin

Slow on DR, fast on RKC
I have a KIVBT901 that I bought to put in the Impala. Now I'm reconsidering and thinking about just sticking an old school shaft radio in there.

That's a great head unit, awesome resolution on the screen for backup cameras and iPod video/art.

But you said "no ipod" and that unit is pretty much designed to be an iPod control deck. It has no CD mechanism in it, just AM/FM/iPod control and satellite/HD tuner control.
 

David Anderson

David Anderson
Im not opposed to not having a cd reader, I just use memory sticks or my phone. Im having an issue, 10 years ago, Alpine made good stuff, now there isnt anything nice no matter the maker.
 

Odin

Slow on DR, fast on RKC
KIVBT901 can't be beat if you don't need a CD player.

But if you want something with a waterproof face for the Jeep 'd suggest a marine radio. Kenwood, Alpine, Sony all make nice ones.
 

Odin

Slow on DR, fast on RKC
If price ist an issue, i suggest a Soundstream Single DIN. Zero distortin at max volume, lots of tuning, filters built in. Fantastic units, or you could drop some serious coin and get a McIntosh unit, best of the best.

http://www.mcintoshlabs.com/us/Products/pages/categorylanding.aspx?CatId=CarAudioSource

Soundstream went under years ago, the stuff that says Soundstream on it now is cheap Chinese junk.

McIntosh was bought by Clarion about the same time Soundstream went under.
Not bad radios, but the Mcintosh name on the radio is just that, a name that ups the price on a Clarion radio.

Now days the choices are Alpine, Kenwood or Pioneer, and a select few Sonys. jVC makes some units with good features for the money, but i wouldn't buy (or sell) one. Pretty much everything else is junk.
 

Big Show

RKC Official VP of MN Region
im more of an alpine fan. the interface seems more user friendly to me. Kenwood is a close second.
 

MelloYello

Vertically-Challenged
Soundstream went under years ago, the stuff that says Soundstream on it now is cheap Chinese junk.

McIntosh was bought by Clarion about the same time Soundstream went under.
Not bad radios, but the Mcintosh name on the radio is just that, a name that ups the price on a Clarion radio.

Now days the choices are Alpine, Kenwood or Pioneer, and a select few Sonys. jVC makes some units with good features for the money, but i wouldn't buy (or sell) one. Pretty much everything else is junk.
Wow. I would like to see proof of it being chinese junk.

Soundstream makes some of the best competition audio equipment. That is from first hand knowledge. I personally know Griz, the guy who designs a lot of there products as well as all there woofers. HE invited me to be on their competition team as well as a good buddy of mine. I wouldnt join a team that makes shitty equipment. Their decks have 0 distortion, their drivers take serious abuse and put out extremely good number with out failing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In8XVvOWG9M&feature=g-user-u&context=G26bb0ffUCGXQYbcTJ33YDd-CsL97T9VjZlv1UbNCmnrxZj07VB2k

That is my boy Tim out in Cali, running nothing but Soundstream equipment for years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS_GzfHq494&feature=g-user-u&context=G290038eUCGXQYbcTJ33bXW4fWYz-6LnVJMW2ghwwX_p0EZZEN6tM

Testing distortion levels on the deck later on in that video. ;)
 

Odin

Slow on DR, fast on RKC
Soundstream used to make excellent amplifiers. But the industry changed, and then economy changed, and then Soundstream - like so many others - couldn't make it. The company that currently put out imported cheap proiducts with the Soundstream name (and that's all it is, the Soundstream name) is the same company who puts out cheap stuff under the Power Acoustik name.

It's not just Soundstream, a lot of the companies that used to be giants in the car audio industry went under, and investors bought the rights to the name and stuck those old respected names on cheap imported products.

For example.....these are all the EXACT same unit, cheaply imported from China, with 3 different names on the (one of them being Soundstream).


Soundstream VDVD-155





Farenheit DVD-360





Power Acoustik PADVD-360

 

MelloYello

Vertically-Challenged
Those videos are extremely recent. Going off of personal experience with Soundstream, its not cheap chinese shit. Maybe their extremely low end stuff. But not the caliber myself, and others use.
 

rileyrat

Well-Known Member
Those videos are extremely recent. Going off of personal experience with Soundstream, its not cheap chinese shit. Maybe their extremely low end stuff. But not the caliber myself, and others use.
This is close to the truth actually. Power Acoustik bought out Soundstream when they went under. Power Acoustik was bought out by EPSILON electronics. EPSILON has bought out tons of specialty electronic companies. Base electronics for all of their sub companies are the same, Korean made stuff. It's not cheap Chinese stuff but it is mass produced. In a stroke of brilliance EPSILON kept the big name engineers on at all companies to work on the high end equipment. So if you buy the top deck, you get the same ole Soundstream quality.

FYI most of these specialty companies used the same basic electronics back in the day on lower end stuff anyhow. So the outside looked different but the insides were the basic mass produced stuff you get in the basic stuff now.
 

the car guy

Well-Known Member
Best out right now, no issue of price within reason. $800 and under...no screen needed. No ipod controller. Wanted HPF and LPF filter built in.
Got any other details? Bottom line is there is no individual best head unit. Here are the basic things I would expect in a top head unit:

1. 3 or more sets of pre-amps. No head unit ever made has an amp that comes close to even a middle of the road external amp.
2. The ability to control the output to each channel on each preamp.
3. USB, not just iPOD controls. You aren't going to get better sound reproduction off CD, DVD or even HD Radio than a true continuous streaming digital music source. HD Radio can still lose packets, so it is not as good as a direct MP3 source.
4. Must have HD Radio built-in or optional. Quality is far superior to a regular FM Tuner.
5. Must have Sat Radio built in or optional. Reason, same as #4.
6. Must have Bluetooth built in or optional.
7. Wireless remote with decent range from outside the vehicle. You can't crank those amps up and keep you hearing to show your homies that you can blast sounds 4 blocks away.

Things not important for a top head unit:

1. CD player. Who buys CDs anymore?
2. Internal amp. If you can't afford a decent amp, you should not be spending this much on a head unit.

Critical deciding factors - things you need to determine before choosing your head unit:

1. Single or double din. The best head units will be double din, but a lot of cars can't fit them. Hence you need to decide what can fit.
2. Do you need integrated Nav? This should be a must for a top double din, but a single din with a decent Nav and good sound reproduction will have an additional electronic unit that will need to be installed in someplace like in the trunk or under the seat.
3. If it has a full screen then it must have an interface for external inputs, such as cameras.

Unfortunately, none of my cars have room (either by design or what I have in them) to support a double DIN unit. My top pics today for single DINs are:

1. Pioneer DEX-P99RS Stage 4 - sorry this is over the budget, but 4 sets of pre-amps (8 channels) and EQ capabilities far beyond anything else on the market
2. Kenwood eXcelon KDC-X995
3. Kenwood KDC-BT948HD (I am looking to get one of these later in the year)
4. Alpine iDA-x305s
5. Alpine CDA-117
6. JVC El Kameleon KD-AVX77 (best front screen on a single DIN unit ever)

I have always liked Blaupunkt and Nakamichi head units, but currently both manufacturers are 1-2 generations behind the rest. Sorry, no Sonys on the list. I know a they have several that sound good, but I have never seen a Sony car audio product last.

Two years ago I did a similar search and bought a Kenwood KDC-HD942U which is for sound and capability a phenomenal head unit. The only downsides are you can go crazy setting it up (it has over 100 different settings in the menus) and the 2 joystick design isn't that easy to manipulate when the head unit is located in front of the passenger seat.
 
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the car guy

Well-Known Member
I started researching prices on the units above and I'm pulling the trigger on a Kenwood eXcelon KDC-X995. Price is the same as the KDC-BT948HD, but it has another year of warranty and 4 volt pre-amps versus 2.5 volt on the BT948.
 
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