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Sub $200 Head units, narrowed down to 3 choices

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hello Everyone,

I'm in the market for a new car stereo head unit for my 2004 Hyundai Sonata. I currently have a factory stereo installed. After some thinking and searching I have narrowed it down to the following choices:

1) Sony CDX-GT630 - $170
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_158GT63...ml?c=3&tp=5684

2) Apline iDA-X200 - $150
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_500IDAX...tab=review#tab

3) Pioneer DEH-P4100 - $170
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_130P410...ml?c=3&tp=5684

I just wish to be able to hook up a USB jump drive or my cell phone via USB or aux input. Which one will likely offer better sound quality? I currently favor the Sony the most for features and I have liked the Sony sound in the past.

Any opinions or advice?

Thank you in advance.

Chandra
post #2 of 33
Be aware that the Sony Xplod line is manufactured for Sony by Jensen. I don't care for them, myself.

Alpine seems to have a different philosophy as far as user interface and controls -- it's a love it / hate it thing, so be sure to test one out in a shop before you commit. (imo)

The best headunit I've used short of the uber Clarion Z is the Pioneer Premier 880PRS - a 2006 model, but really fantastic electronics inside. For $200, I don't think it can be beaten.

I'm pretty sure it doesn't have a USB port, however. Maybe check their current offerings?
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
I had no idea Sony was outsourcing their car audio manufacturing to Jensen!

Quick question... is there a difference between the regular Pioneers and the Pioneer Premiers series? They have IDENTICAL specs and the only thing I see different is the warranty.
post #4 of 33
Regardless of the specific model, you won't go wrong with Pioneer, Alpine, or Eclipse in terms of quality. Don't waste your time on any other brands.
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
I ended up getting the Pioneer Premier 310ub from Crutchfield. I should have it at my door in a few days.

I'll write up a mini review once I install it and use it for a few days.
post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by vipervin View Post

Don't waste your time on any other brands

What are your specific reasons for this? Please enlighen us.
post #7 of 33
I had this installed a few months ago, as a Christmas gift. It's fantastic, does everything I want it to do.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...er/DEH-P7000BT

I have my 16GB iPod Touch connected to it via the rear USB slot (usb cable comes out of the center cosole).

I also have a Sirius Sat reciever connected to it (hardwired, so no unsightly power cables or) and the antenna module/disk comeso out of the front dash at the base of the windshiled. Again, no unsightly cables and module sits pretty way out front.

I have no problems with teh Bluetooth either. My BB Storm picks it up quick and doesn't drop any calls. It also does Bluetooth audio, which I don't use, but it does work.

It has plenty of power on it's own, but amps always help push aftermarket speakers.

All in all, it's a great receiver. I got it on Amazon for about $213 if I remember correctly.

Spend the extra couple of bucks and pick it up. The newer version that came out a month or so ago doesn't outperform it in any tangible way, just looks sleaker with more black and slicker finish. Not worth paying an extra bill or so for that though.

Good luck with whatever receiver you choose!


Edit: I see you'ev chosen already. Durrrr.

Anyway, good choice picking up a Pioneer. They are really good quality and worth the extra buck or two, or ten.

I'm biased though:

Pioneer Elite Pro-FHD1 50" 1080P Plasma
Pioneer Elite VSX 91TXH HD-Audio Receiver
post #8 of 33
Pioneer premier's are good, the 880 allowing an active setup...
post #9 of 33
I've got the Pioneer DEH-P6000UB which is on sale at Crutchfield for $199. Does an awesome job at navigating my iPod Nano. I've also got a Slacker G2 portable player running thru the AUX in and a direct Sirius hookup. Everything sounds great! Pioneer's User Interface is really easy to use, the model I have includes a built-in 7 band EQ, active crossover, subwoofer output and a much of other nice features. The built in amp is pretty powerful too... so no complains with Pioneer head units from me.
post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 
Ok... so I installed the unit and I've been listening for almost a week now. And I hate to say it, but I honestly prefer the factory/stock head unit sound more!

The Pioneer drives the speakers(factory/stock) in such a way that the sound is VERY bright. The vocals/highs really outweigh the rest of the frequency spectrum. I even played with the EQ/balance/fade for hours trying to modify the sound, but no luck. Also, the Pioneer... in some songs... it sounds like it's dropping lower frequencies. The bass was almost non-existent in some songs! I thought it was just me, but my wife agrees that the factory head unit from my Hyundai indeed sounded better, smoother and more refined.

I will continue to listen for another week or so. Maybe I need to adjust to the different sound type?
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by chandra.hp View Post

Ok... so I installed the unit and I've been listening for almost a week now. And I hate to say it, but I honestly prefer the factory/stock head unit sound more!

The Pioneer drives the speakers(factory/stock) in such a way that the sound is VERY bright. The vocals/highs really outweigh the rest of the frequency spectrum. I even played with the EQ/balance/fade for hours trying to modify the sound, but no luck. Also, the Pioneer... in some songs... it sounds like it's dropping lower frequencies. The bass was almost non-existent in some songs! I thought it was just me, but my wife agrees that the factory head unit from my Hyundai indeed sounded better, smoother and more refined.

I will continue to listen for another week or so. Maybe I need to adjust to the different sound type?

Factory speakers and head units were designed to work together, I would upgrade the speakers.
post #12 of 33
what type of vehicle do you have? is it equipped with jbl, infinity, or bose sound system from the factory?
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by razel View Post

What are your specific reasons for this? Please enlighen us.

It comes down to build-quality. Don't get me wrong, other brands/models often work just as well, but statistically, Alpine, Pioneer, and Eclipse have the lowest number of defects.
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by chandra.hp View Post

Ok... so I installed the unit and I've been listening for almost a week now. And I hate to say it, but I honestly prefer the factory/stock head unit sound more!

The Pioneer drives the speakers(factory/stock) in such a way that the sound is VERY bright. The vocals/highs really outweigh the rest of the frequency spectrum. I even played with the EQ/balance/fade for hours trying to modify the sound, but no luck. Also, the Pioneer... in some songs... it sounds like it's dropping lower frequencies. The bass was almost non-existent in some songs! I thought it was just me, but my wife agrees that the factory head unit from my Hyundai indeed sounded better, smoother and more refined.

I will continue to listen for another week or so. Maybe I need to adjust to the different sound type?

Regarding the comment I bolded. Was this during the playback of various mp3's? I've noticed varying sound quality levels of different mp3's off my Ipod as well... Some tracks had much better encoding than others. And these aren't off of mp3's that I personally ripped but ones that were downloaded as well. I would think this would have less to do with your HU and more to do with the quality of the mp3. I recently purchased an mp3 album off amazon and I have to turn the volume up a good 5 notches when that album comes on my IPod to get the playback at the same volume as the previous artists I was listenin to

Regarding the balance/fade. I wouldn't think you need to adjust this. Balance you want to leave set to 0 so music is played equally on both sides of the car. Fade I always leave at 0 as well unless you prefer more sound coming from the rear of the vehicle...

Regarding the equalizer, first I would set it to the preset value of flat, then set it to the equalizer preset ROCK and see if you notice a significant sound improvement.... Personally must users would want to tweak their equalizer to their own liking. I have a Pioneer DEH-P6900UB which is about 3 years old. I have a customizable 7 band equalizer. I like a lot of treble in my music as I feel it provides a more full sound, so I started off adjusting the bands to the far right (higher frequencies) and set them pretty high and then gradually decreased the bands as I moved to the left (lower frequencies) as I found setting those lower frequences too high produced too much bass.... Another setting I recommend you adjust on Pioneer units is SLA, set it to +1... It's called Source Level Adjustment and I've found it produces louder vocals on my music from using that setting on my previous 2 Pioneer head units. You should also have a High Pass Frequency setting on your unit but I don't know if that comes into play as I don't know what your complete set up is.... My HPF is set to 100 hz...

I'm no mobile audio guru by any means but thought I would offer the above advice based on my own personal experience with Pioneer HU's. Lastly I would agree that if you are still using the factory speakers in the vehicle you should look to upgrade those to determine if your HU really is the culprit, wouldn't hurt to upgrade them anyway because if it really is the HU and you buy a new one, the speakers will hinder it's performance anyway....

For the record I'm running a Pioneer HU with all Boston Acoustics components:

Pioneer DEH-P6900, Boston Acoustics SL80's / GT-40 / GT-28 / SPG555
post #15 of 33
Are you running full range?
Check your crossover settings - open 'em up.
Turn 'Sub' to Off, None, or similar.

Did the car have an amplified or specialty system in it previously?
These often utilize proprietary amplifiers, and can be oddly wired.

Did you wire at the harness or splice into the existing wiring at the door?
Is the factory crossover still in place between the oem driver and tweet?
post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
I apologize for the long delay.

I have a 2004 Hyundai Sonata. It had a simple AM/FM/CD player head unit from the factory before I put the Pioneer in. Overall, I have come to accept the sound of the Pioneer, but I still cannot say it's as good as the factory sound! I never thought I'd say that!

My EQ settings are as follows:

Lows: +2
Mids: -6 (the lowest setting)
Highs: -5

Low Freq Center: 40 Hz, q point: 2W
Mid Freq Center: 500Hz, q point: 1N
High Freq Center: 3KHz, q point: 2N

This is as closest I can get it to the factory stereo sound. And I still find the highs/mids a little overbearing! As far as I know... the factory stereo doesn't have any sort of unique crossover set-up different from most other cars. And no it doesn't have any Bose, JBL, or Infinity sound system. Also, I wired at the harness. I followed the instructions per the sheets provided by Crutchfield.

Sounds like I need to try different speakers before I write off Pioneer.
post #17 of 33
Nice choices on the Mid and High Freq centers. In two small cars I worked on using a db meter and test tones, the 500hz and 3khz were common frequency peaks. Seems like you were able to get there as well.

It sounds like you really have exhausted and tried to make the best of the aftermarket headunit. You atempted to reduce frequency peaks in what I think are very common areas, but unfortunately, the headunit/speaker/cabin aren't syngerizing for you.

Spending money on speaker will definately help, however going back to the stock unit and using something like this:

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_142FMMO...2.html?tp=1701

seems to be the best option if you'd like and aux input for your phone/iPod.

FYI. I once drove a Hyndai Accent 2007 (I think) rent-a-car it's stock stereo surprized me. Of course when I turn the volume up loud, it distorted but when the volume was under control, what I heard was enjoyable. In your situation, I would go back to stock, add the aux input and then add thick neoprene over the wheel wells/car doors/below rear seats to lower road noise/make cabin quieter. This could help ya enjoy your stock system more. It shouldn't cost you more than $80.
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by razel View Post

Nice choices on the Mid and High Freq centers. In two small cars I worked on using a db meter and test tones, the 500hz and 3khz were common frequency peaks. Seems like you were able to get there as well.

It sounds like you really have exhausted and tried to make the best of the aftermarket headunit. You atempted to reduce frequency peaks in what I think are very common areas, but unfortunately, the headunit/speaker/cabin aren't syngerizing for you.

Spending money on speaker will definately help, however going back to the stock unit and using something like this:

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_142FMMO...2.html?tp=1701

seems to be the best option if you'd like and aux input for your phone/iPod.

FYI. I once drove a Hyndai Accent 2007 (I think) rent-a-car it's stock stereo surprized me. Of course when I turn the volume up loud, it distorted but when the volume was under control, what I heard was enjoyable. In your situation, I would go back to stock, add the aux input and then add thick neoprene over the wheel wells/car doors/below rear seats to lower road noise/make cabin quieter. This could help ya enjoy your stock system more. It shouldn't cost you more than $80.

Curious as to why these settings would need to be so low for the mids/highs:

Quote:


Lows: +2
Mids: -6 (the lowest setting)
Highs: -5

That just doesn't seem right to me... Wouldn't that essentially drown out all of the mid/high detail? Near the lowest settings?
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfgaze View Post

Curious as to why these settings would need to be so low for the mids/highs:

That just doesn't seem right to me... Wouldn't that essentially drown out all of the mid/high detail? Near the lowest settings?

When the speakers are in the car doors, I often do see +8db peaks near 500hz (similar to speakers in book shelves) and 2-3khz peaks are very common in car interiors -- at least in the cars I've worked on. Of course at 2-3k and higher if you move are ear a few inches here or there, levels can change quickly, but in general hp.chandra seems to be tweaking the right direction.
post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by razel View Post


FYI. I once drove a Hyndai Accent 2007 (I think) rent-a-car it's stock stereo surprized me. Of course when I turn the volume up loud, it distorted but when the volume was under control, what I heard was enjoyable. In your situation, I would go back to stock, add the aux input and then add thick neoprene over the wheel wells/car doors/below rear seats to lower road noise/make cabin quieter. This could help ya enjoy your stock system more. It shouldn't cost you more than $80.

That is something I'm definitely going to look at!

And no... even -6dB on the mids... is not enough! They highs/mids are still much more pronounced than the low frequencies. I just need speakers that offer a better balance between the tweeter and woofer maybe. That or go back to the stock stereo with a good FM transmitter.
post #21 of 33
Thread Starter 
Ok... so I've had the unit for a couple of months now. In short... I have not owned anything Pioneer before and this is my first Pioneer device of any kind... and my impression thus far is that they are ABSOLUTE CRAP!

A few months into use... and the unit randomly turns on/off! And the front USB port is just unusable. Plug in USB flash drive... takes a few seconds to read/load up. Then if I so much as TOUCH the unit... it will stutter like it was playing a CD on a bump road! This is a Pioneer Premier head unit... I thought this was the best of the best? I don't think this is excusable.
post #22 of 33
I've been very happy with my Pioneer head unit...

Regarding the unit turning on and off. The contacts must be dirty.... I would clean the contacts with a Q-tip and some contact cleaner.
post #23 of 33
Owned dozens of Pioneer headunits and the only issue I've ever had was with the blue tooth used in the FH-P8000BT which the call sound quality on the receiving side was poor.
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by chandra.hp View Post

I don't think this is excusable.

You bought it from Crutchfield? They are a authorized web dealer I would send it back for exchange or a credit for a different unit.
post #25 of 33
post #26 of 33
this one looks cool ..
post #27 of 33
Pioneer DEH-P4100
post #28 of 33
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_...+KDC-X693.html

Best sub 200 headunit on the market
post #29 of 33
is that the remote control ? the one with wire on it
post #30 of 33
no..that's for the ipod hookup
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