I'm looking at possibly moving into the 20th century with stereo technology by replacing the bog standard 10-year old factory-fitted Sony Tape Deck / CD-Changer head unit with a more modern one.
I would like one with Bluetooth and also USB functionality, and was also hoping to try and also retain the CD-Changer functionality with the existing Sony CD-Changer in the boot but unfortunately the only head unit that Sony does with both Bluetooth and USB (MEX-BT3600U) doesn't have CD-Changer capabilities. The Sony one that does have Bluetooth and CD-Changer capabilities (MEX-BT5100) doesn't have USB As USB is my preference over CD-Changer functionality it looks like I will therefore have to bin the idea of still being able to utilise my current CD-Changer.
The only *concern* I have over the Sony unit is that the USB port is on the front and not a trailing lead from the back as some units have. I'm in two minds as to whether the USB slot being on the front is a good thing or a bad thing. The pros are that there is no faffing about trying to find a cable in the back of the glovebox to plug a USB stick into, but the cons are that a USB stick will be protruiding quite a long way out from the front and for security I would have to remove it every time I leave the car. With the "lead in the glovebox" systems it would be hidden so no need to remove it all the time. Does anyone have experience of a front-mounted USB stereo or any other thoughts on this to help me try and make up my mind?
These are the two units I've currently shortlisted as potential candidates (click for links to the detailed info):-
my personal preference is audio input on the front so you can plug anything that takes headphones directly into it whether its an ipod, tele, mobile phone, plus if someone else is in the car with there mp3 player they can plug it in, one lead fits all
IMO, go for the Pioneer. It looks smart. If you a very very serious music listener and listen to about five cd's a day then go for all that 'fancy stuff'.
Look at it this way, if you swop between cd's all the time whilst driving, then go for the 'fancy stuff', if however you don't particularly do that. Then why get all the gimmicks, I would just get something simple.
My blaupunkt hamburg has served me well. The understated design suits the dash (in my opinion) and the bluetooth phone connection works well. The current plan is to fit a surface-mount USB socket in the dash like the current 147/159s.
Well I went to a car audio specialist today and had a look at what was on offer in the flesh.
I have to say that I was very disappointed with the http://www.pioneer.co.uk/uk/products/25/121/61/DEH-P700BT/index.html unit which before seeing I was very tempted to go for. The most offputting thing about it was the main "controller disc" on the left hand side which is a hideous device that can best described as a cross between a knob and a joystick. To operate various functions you press the edges of the disc and it flexes over on what feels like a rubbery shaft. It really did feel quite horrible to use...I don't know what the Pioneer designers were thinking of when they came up with that one. Anyone who sees one in real life will see exactly what I mean. The rest of the functionality is great but that controller disc alone was enough to wipe the DEH-700BT off my shortlist.
The http://www.kenwood-electronics.co.uk/products/car/cd_receivers/KDC-BT8041U is also a really nice unit in the flesh and has all the functionality I'm looking for so now it's a toss up between that one and the Sony and the http://www.sony.co.uk/product/ica-bluetooth-car-stereo/mex-bt3600u.
I really thought that Pioneer had turned around and started making better equipment these days, but I guess with the location of the stereo in these cars, that Pioneer would be rather irratating.
I would go for the Kenwood, looks fairly straight forward and smart. No other brand you like in particular? Or are you not to fussy?
I'm only fussy in terms of the equipment being a respected manufacturer in terms of car audio equipment. I looked at the Blaupunkt units but I think you either like their styling or you don't. I'm in two minds and the ones that I do like are way above the price I want to pay. Alpine is another good make but again they have some very strange designs out at the moment which you either like or you don't. Never been a real fan of JVC stuff and not that keen on the current Clarion range.
Anyway, after all the dithering about, I've finally come to a decision on the http://www.kenwood-electronics.co.uk/products/car/cd_receivers/KDC-W7541U. It doesn't have built-in Bluetooth but can be extended to handle Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone functionality and A2DP/AVRCP Audio Streaming by using a http://www.kenwood-electronics.co.uk/products/car/accessories/KCA-BT200 which I also intend to get. The cost of both of those doesn't work out to be too much more than the http://www.kenwood-electronics.co.uk/products/car/cd_receivers/KDC-BT8041U unit on it's own (which has native built-in Bluetooth support) but the advantage with the KDC-W7541U is that is has 3 sets of pre-outs (front, rear & sub) instead of just 2, and it also has a "5L Bus" connection socket on the back which allows for external modules to be connected (Bluetooth Interface, CD Changer etc.) which makes it much more flexible for possible future expandability if I ever go that route. The Kenwoods do have USB and auxilary inputs (both on the rear) as well as native iPod control so they can handle pretty much any external music source you throw at them.
If you have decided on Kenwood then look at http://www.kenwooddirect.co.uk/ before giving your hard earned dosh to a dealer.
Why don't you get one from these blokes....? ( try the CD-300 )
They rather different
Bit late for this reply but never too late!
Not to hijack this thread.....
But I've owned a Nakamichi and currently have my BRILLIANT Nak CD-400 for sale.
So if anyone wants one of the best sound quality head units ever produced, then let me know.
The Pioneer DEH-P700BT is a cracking unit!!!
3x hi volt pre-outs,
USB, Aux-in, P-Bus for expandability too.
RGB colour, flip front, 4x 50 Mosfet amp,
iPod direct (charge and full control)
Built in B/Tooth with included mic...
What more could you need????
Granted you may not initially likeed the feel of the rotary commander. but then you probably tried it with your right hand in the store. It's designed to be easy to use while in the car- used mainly with your left hand for when its installed. By having this all in one menu it removes the buttons off the front of the fascia cleaning it up making it look far better and easier to use! Compare it to anything else in comparison and you'll see what I mean.
Still.. it's your choice and the fact you purchased the seperate components already means you made the choice right for you.
Anyone else.. Sony is Pony! haha.
Let us know once you've installed it as to what it's like.. be interested to see how you got on.
Installed the head unit this morning in about 20 mins flat. Then another hour looking at and setting up the various options. Looks and sounds fantastic even with the standard speakers although I'll look into upgrading those when I can in the not too distant future. I'll be putting the bluetooth interface unit in tomorrow after I've got some stick-on velcro strips as it's going inside the centre console and I don't want to drill any unnecessary holes. With the separate bluetooth unit, the Kenwood has everything the Pioneer has without the stupid navigator knob/joystick and so far I'm very pleased with it
including extra buttons and flashy lights...
For your mic, it should be able to be clipped into the top of your a pillar.
Run the cable behind that panel and then safe and securely under the bottom of your dash into the centre console to the unit.
No drilling is needed for b/tooth units on all manufacturers.
If you sometimes have your phone in the pocket under the stereo, then when you install your b/tooth module, mount it far as possible from this area otherwise you'll get interference during calls.
I've been using the Pioneer DEH-P700BT and had the phone in the pocket underneath and had no real problems with both a samsung handset and a nokia handset.
This has the B/tooth all built in.
Just on external seperate modules they can sometimes cause echo's for the other end if the phone is too close to the module.
So to save any potential issues, just fit it elsewhere if you can find a suitable location.
well choosed SD card type of radio
perfect choisse 2 GB SD card cost 4-5 pounds
radio price was 85 euro pretty cheap
Heaving the same dilemma myself. Car came with pretty cheap looking circus style JVC head unit and would like to change it to something that fits the look of the dashboard. Was thinking about the VDO, BLAUPUNKT and BECKER units.
Nevertheless still tempted with the OEM SONY units with integrated shelf. But can't find any. Are they still available? Where to look for them?
Hey, not sure if you've made your mind up yet,
I've got the old version of the Pioneer and it fits really nicely in it's slot, no issues at all.
Plus i've had my pioneer for about 4 years and it's still going strong!
i've also got steering controls from the song tape deck that was in the car (not sure if that was original) but these also work with the pioneer.
so i'd say go with that!
I purchased a Sony xplod headunit with Bluetooth for £50 of of eBay and it plugs straight in and the original steering console controls fit right in and the changer in the boot works perfectly
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