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Old 06-26-2013, 05:43 AM   #1
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The factory radio finally died

I guess 8 years isn't bad, and the wifey's has gone out in the Windstar, so we'll probably be getting one for her too.

First off, I'm totally disappointed in the selections out there when it comes to mechless media receivers. Back in the day when MP3 CD players were new, I was on top of that- why have a changer when one CD holds as many songs? Now I don't see the sense in having CDs laying around inside the car when I can either attach a USB drive, SD card, or phone to the receiver and have music.

Right now I'm looking a a few- now this is not a $$$$ expense for me, but I'd like to move up to the next level. I don't care about navigation, DVD, or having a touch screen. I would actually prefer not to have a touch screen because then some kid won't bust a window out and tear up my dash to steal it.

I'm looking at these in no particular order:

JVC HDR 81BT
Kenwood DPX 500BT
Jensen VM 9225BT
Jensen MP1524
Kenwood DPX 308U
Pioneer FH-X700BT

I know... all of these have CD players, but I haven't found a DMR yet that I really like. The JVC is tops on the list but only because it has F and R USB- no SD card slot. The Jensens are the only ones with SD card slots, which is completely surprising. Soundstream makes one with SD slots, but people complain about the 30 second load times! Well, yeah, I would too. I might have to give up on the SD card and just go with a USB powered drive hidden somewhere.

Any options that you guys know of? I know all these are 2DIN, but I really don't care too much about that. The JVC DMRs I looked at were all DIN- but no SD card- wth? Those would be an option if HD radio were available on any. I guess maybe the world isn't moving towards DMRs?


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Old 06-26-2013, 05:49 AM   #2
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I have a sony xplod head unit with a usb/aux input its great. Its probably real cheap now.
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:02 AM   #3
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A lot of the stereos use USB instead of Micro SD because its easier for people to transfer music to a USB, especially on laptops and computers that don't have a built in SD drive. Of the ones you listed the JVC HDR 81BT seems to be the best choice. In the rear there is a USB cable where you can run it to your glove box and hide the USB drive in there. See this picture.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:24 PM   #4
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I'd go with the JVC first Alex.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:55 PM   #5
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I was leaning that way. Unfortunately they seem to be in the middle of a model changeover. Previous model was a KW-R800BT, then they added HD radio in the unit, so it became the KW-HDR81BT. There is a 900 unit that has 5v pre-outs and a slightly better CD player. I think I'm going to see how this one works in the wifeys car first then either get one or wait for the HDR91BT. HD radio seems cool, although I rarely listen to the radio.

One drawback- in order for the steering wheel controls to work, it takes up the USB. IDK if I could get a universal adapter to work or not. I'm off to do more research. I might have to let that go.

It's been a while since I looked at car audio stuff, so I'm seeing internal antennas, maybe a shark antenna- dunno. I'm going to look around. I was happy to see some good stuff from Metra- 2 different kinds of steering wheel controls. One is a stalk.

I'm also going shopping for a USB drive that is powered off the USB.

Do any of you know which stereo wiring adapter I should get?

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Old 06-26-2013, 06:05 PM   #6
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Oh... funny note. I read all the reviews of the JVC on Amazon: There is always one in the crowd. This guy complains because 10 days after he had the radio installed "professionally" he could hear a buzzing that got louder and higher with the engine

We know what that is.

Then he said that the installer put something in there to make it stop, which worked for a day. Then a lot of other things started going out, and he had the same problem with 2 units... DUH!
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:15 PM   #7
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road noise.......go with the pioneer I'd take the pioneer over anything any day.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:36 PM   #8
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Im Partial to the Pioneer as well, Whatever you chose avoid the Jensen units.
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:51 AM   #9
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Eh.... I've had a good Jensen before. Back in the day when MP3 CD players were a new thing only 2 companies made units with 10 buttons on the face and direct track access (without scrolling through everything). One was Alpine, the other was Jensen. That's something I'll miss with the JVC as they only give you skip options not direct access. I'm sort of used to that with the Ford factory unit though, and I'll just have to make folders on USB sticks.

Pioneer only has one USB input. I've had good luck with Pioneer HUs before, and I prefer their amplifiers and subs.

Anyway, if I had to choose between the Jensen and the rather expensive Kenwood I put in the following vehicle- I'd have gotten another Jensen. It had ESP, and never skipped. The Kenwood would skip, and no direct track access. Jensen still offers direct track access, however there are other things that I didn't care about for that install- like decent RCA outs- which are leaning me towards other units. I am disappointed that the JVC doesn't allow direct track access on the remote like some others do. I'm really disappointed in the whole industry that direct track access is a PITA to find! Who wants to FF through everything like it's a freaking cassette deck? Even 8-tracks could skip immediately to a song!
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:14 PM   #10
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I am so POed at JVC now. All the models they sell, including the ones I wanted, do not truly have built in bluetooth. Instead it's an included USB adapter, so that takes up one of the USB ports. What's the point in saying you have 2 USB outputs? Use a passive splitter? No, according to the instruction manual you can't use a hub or splitter. Back to the research.
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