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Old 06-15-2003, 03:48 PM   #1
bobcat62
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Default Alternatives to new Kenwood motorized head units?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TulaneJeff
While the H2A is a great portable device, you can't beat a Kenwood headunit with direct connect tuner.
I'm in the process of relacing the BOSE system in my new car with something that actually sounds decent. I was planning on replcing the head unit with a new Kenwood eXcelon head unit. That way adding Sirius would be a no-brainer.

Have you looked at the replacments for the KDC-X959s that we had installed with our 1st-gen Sirius tuners? Unfortunately, I have. :-(

I've been to 3 stores to look at the Kenwood motorized head unit. Each store has at least one unit that:

- won't fully close
- won't open without pushing the top of the faceplate through the dash

The indepenent shop that will do the work for me has seen these head units start to have faceplate problems only a month after installing them in their demo rack.

Unlike our now-discontinued X959s, the faceplate mechanism isn't replaceable. So, when the faceplate starts to act up, you get to send the whole head back to Kenwood for repair. (Note: These heads do have a removable security cover. When you remove the thin security cover, you disable the head, but you leave almost all of the receiver in the car.)

The controls that the driver gets to struggle with leave a lot to be desired. When even simple things, like trying to insert a CD into the head, leave the sales guy & yourself stumped for a minute, there's a problem with the controls. The other controls, which map a function from the preset buttons, aren't much better. As my sale rep put it: "There's a bit of a learning curve with this unit."

I don't think the independent shop I'm talking to carries Panasonic or Clarion. So, I either go with Kenwood, or start looking at Alpine (and XM).

Suggestions?
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Old 06-15-2003, 03:59 PM   #2
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Here's a picture of the Claion headunit I am considering....Crutchfield sells it for 2k, but it can be found for almost half that price if you shop around:



I would think you'd be able to buy whatever product you want and then just take it to the independent shop to have them install it if you feel they do quality work.
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Old 06-15-2003, 04:04 PM   #3
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I have two Kenwood units each with a faceplate that rotates to hide itself. One is the KDC-X815. A brief check on the net and you'll find people who've mentioned that it gets stuck sometimes. I've been using it for over 3 years and its yet to have a problem. It now lives on in our second car.

The other is the KDC-X969. It's faceplate is a simpler design than the older 815 so it's even less likely to have issues. They are new though so who knows about long tern reliability. I wouldn't judge it though by what you see in stores. Display models get abused, more than once I've seen a baby (being held by the parent) reach over and yank on anything portruding out of a car stereo display.

There is a bit of a learning curve with the Kenwoods though. It does provide a lot of features but they are all buried in their menu system. If you don't want the flippy front, check the Kenwood unit in this thread, it looks pretty cool:

http://www.siriusbackstage.com/forum...opic.php?t=899

Overal I'm pretty happy with Kenwood equipment. The displays are very primitive, but that seems to be something that plagues all car audio unless your willing to spend >$1000. I like the fact that they are very expandable. I've got the Sirius tuner plugged into my head unit, and the Music Keg daisy chained off the Sirius tuner. Later, I can add HD Radio to that. It's a pretty cool setup. At the end of the day, I'll never buy a headunit that diesn't hide itself when I turn the car off. That's the best deterent for casual thieves since at a glance there isn't a shiny stereo visible.
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Old 06-15-2003, 05:07 PM   #4
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Send a message via AIM to PMuller Alternatives to new Kenwood motorized head units?
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Hi Bob,

Let me try to address each of these issues for you before you decide to completely ignore Kenwood as a choice in your next radio.

First of all, the sales rep is correct in the fact that there have been problems with the motorization ON THE DISPLAY BOARDS. 99% of the units that have been sent in for repair are from displays. The only reason for this, is because it is a new type of motorization that the general public is not familiar with yet. Since some people do not know how it works, instead of trying to learn -- they decide to maneuver it manually. I imagine that if you have this unit in your car, you would take at least a couple of minutes to learn how it works. Even in the unlikely event that you ever did have a problem with it once it was installed in your vehicle, it comes with a factory 2-year warranty that will be honored at any authorized Kenwood repair center in the USA -- and there are many of them. It does not "have to be sent back to Kenwood for repair".

Secondly, the controls of this unit are unlike any other product that has been introduced in car audio. Like the new motorization, a new product requires people taking a second to learn how it works before diving right in head-first. I will say this, and feel free to quote me on it: The only salesperson who would tell you that a 3D Mask radio is complicated to use is an uneducated one. The new "3D Mask" units for this year are by-far some of the easiest-to-use head units that we have introduced to date. You will find that nearly any menu function can be accessed with just a couple of key presses using the "soft key interface". Commonly used functions are easier and much quicker to access than ever before. Feel free to e-mail me if you would like me to go into further detail, explaining exactly how to use the interface.

Not only is the unit incredibly easy to use, it is also bundled with the most ergonomic remote control we have ever introduced in car audio. So rather than "struggling with the controls on the radio" as you put it, you have the option of using the remote.

I'm sure there are plenty of members on the forum who use one of these head-units and can back me up on each of these points. Anyone who owns a "KDC-722, V7022, MP822, MP922, X769, X869, or X969" feel free to jump in and state your opinion.

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 06-15-2003, 05:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PMuller
I'm sure there are plenty of members on the forum who use one of these head-units and can back me up on each of these points.
I would...care to send me a X969 to demo?

Jeff
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Old 06-15-2003, 05:49 PM   #6
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I think its cool to have a stereo with a pop out display, but most cars Ive seen that would block the air vents or the controls to the air vent.
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Old 06-15-2003, 07:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Cobner
I think its cool to have a stereo with a pop out display, but most cars Ive seen that would block the air vents or the controls to the air vent.
Yeah, it's going to almost completely block the center vents if I get the Clarion LCD I want. The sacraficies I make to have a cool looking stereo.
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Old 06-15-2003, 10:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superdoppler
Here's a picture of the Claion headunit I am considering....Crutchfield sells it for 2k, but it can be found for almost half that price if you shop around...
In a Miata, that head unit just says "steal me." Once stolen, I'd have to replace the head unit and the convertible top.
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Old 06-16-2003, 12:09 AM   #9
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I have had the x869 for about a month now and I love it. The demo in the store was broken and that worried me but after seeing the advantages of it folding up I made my decision. Plus, it matches my interior lights better than any hu i have seen yet!!

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Old 06-16-2003, 12:13 AM   #10
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Wow, that matches your interior lights very closely indeed. NICE! Its really hard to match up interrior lights with new HU these days. I have a Kenwood that has the color shock screen, so it changes to like 72 different colors. I have found one color that actually matches my interior lights pretty closely.

Yours looks very nice from what I can see in that picture.
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Old 06-16-2003, 05:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobcat62
Quote:
Originally Posted by superdoppler
Here's a picture of the Claion headunit I am considering....Crutchfield sells it for 2k, but it can be found for almost half that price if you shop around...
In a Miata, that head unit just says "steal me." Once stolen, I'd have to replace the head unit and the convertible top.
I have a convertible too, but I can't live my life wondering if someone is going to steal my stuff or not. The LCD screen does fully retract into the dash when not being used which makes the head unit look like just any regular head unit.
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