Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any? - Car Audio | DiyMobileAudio.com | Car Stereo Forum

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Old 02-20-2012   #1
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Question Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

I'm looking for a head unit, vintage or modern, that's DIN in width and height, that must install in less than 6" of depth. I've searched the hell out of this to no avail, so I hope someone here has some ideas. Apologies if I'm posting in the wrong place or to the wrong crowd... it's been a while since I last mucked around with 12v audio.
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Old 02-20-2012   #2
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Default Re: Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

(here are way more details... didn't want the top post to be too long...)

I finally got around to upgrading the AM/FM-only factory unit in a '91 that I've had for a few years, and found that the factory unit is super-shallow (129mm, ~5") deep. A 2012 Kenwood of typical dimensions (6 3/8" deep) is, at minimum, 5/16" too deep to fit. So I need something that's definitely less than 6" deep.

Ideally, I'd like to get a CD-less, USB+SD modern unit. I'd have thought that with no CD transport, the mech-less units could be a whole lot smaller, but all the manufacturers seem to just be re-using the chassis from their CD receivers. The exception seems to be the Parrot Asteroid, which definitely has a super-short form-factor, but I don't have a smart-phone, and I'm not interested in paying $350 for features that I won't use. Plus reports suggest that it's buggy. Basically no other 2011/2012 USB-capable unit seems shorter than 6 1/4".

I started looking at older units, and I'd love to stick a vintage classic in there, but it's even harder to find info on their dimensions. If I go vintage, I'd like to find something 1990s, understated in appearance, like a Nakamichi, Blaupunkt or Soundstream. Alpine is about as flashy as I'd want to go. Does anyone know of any 1990s head units, CD or cassette, from these or similar manufacturers that are shallower than 6"??? AUX in would be a huge plus.

I'm all over the map here, from a USB unit to a cassette deck, but basically I'm looking for ANY info on short-mount HUs, and I'm surprised I can't find anything about them.

I know this is already halfway to being a WTB post, but I wanted to try to gather some information, or see if what I want even exists, before I post to the classifieds. If you think I should re-post this as a WTB, I'll do that, but it would be nice to have a clearer idea of what specific units I should be asking for.
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Old 02-20-2012   #3
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Default Re: Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

If you look at media receivers (no CD), they're less deep if I remember right. Since a CD is round, a deck has to be pretty deep to accommodate a spinning CD. By foregoing the CD, they can make them less deep.

I just looked at the Alpine iDA-X305 and it says it's 6 1/8" deep according to Crutchfield.
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Old 02-20-2012   #4
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Default Re: Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

Yeah, thanks, I was going in that direction, too. I'd be totally happy with a CD-less unit (I posted a reply to my original post with more details about what I'm after, but it got sent to the mods for some reason).

With no CD transport, media receivers could be tiny, but for the most part they seem to be only marginally smaller than the CD units, or are the same size. I guess most manufacturers are using the same chassis as their CD units. Saves cost, I suppose. I don't think 6 1/8" will be small enough for me.

The Parrot Asteroid is the only media receiver that seems to take full advantage of not having a CD transport to allow a much smaller form factor. But I don't have smart phone or data plan, so shelling out $350 for a tethering car stereo would be a big waste. Too bad; 4 USB inputs could be fun.
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Old 02-20-2012   #5
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Default Re: Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

Alpine 5953 and 1310 changer controllers. The 1310 looks like a regular head unit and believe had an internal tuner, it was probably 3" deep. The 5953 was only 1 inch thick and could be mounted anywhere including in a din slot using the 4932 mounting kit. The 5953 had an external tuner option and hide away brain. The 5953 is classic alpine with green chicklit buttons (7909 era), the 1310 was a bit newer (7949 era). Both will require a cd changer. The other option is the Secretaudio from Custom Autosound, not sure of the sound quality. It appears to use a standard DIN cable so you may be able to use an Alpine or Eclipse changer instead of their own.

Secretaudio SST
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Old 02-20-2012   #6
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Default Re: Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

Unfortunately, the only units I'm aware of are the Pioneer AXM series controllers.

The trick is that they're neither cheap or easy to come by, as they're not marketed here in the US.

The cheaper of the two is marketed in Japan AXM P01, the more expensive is part of their very high end ODR line, and was only marketed in the UK and Japan, and is no longer made. That was called the AXM P99RS.

I'm linking to the UK site because it's in English.

AXM-P90RS (Archived) - Pioneer UK

I know someone who may have access to the P01. The price for this unit would be in the $1400USD neighborhood, plus shipping, and includes no tuner, no cd changer and no processing. It is just the master control for other pioneer and odr components.

Good luck with your search.

Back to stock
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Old 02-21-2012   #7
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Default Re: Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

That looks like a beauty, but well outside my price range. Thanks, though. Another thing to dream of...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Se7en View Post
Unfortunately, the only units I'm aware of are the Pioneer AXM series controllers.

The trick is that they're neither cheap or easy to come by, as they're not marketed here in the US.
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Old 02-21-2012   #8
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Default Re: Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wattser93 View Post
If you look at media receivers (no CD), they're less deep if I remember right. Since a CD is round, a deck has to be pretty deep to accommodate a spinning CD. By foregoing the CD, they can make them less deep.

I just looked at the Alpine iDA-X305 and it says it's 6 1/8" deep according to Crutchfield.
My previous reply seems to have disappeared in the system, so here goes another try...

I definitely looked at CD-less media receivers. I'd be fine with a USB-only unit, and I would have thought that they could be made a lot smaller than units with CD transports, as you suggest. Unfortunately, the manufacturers seem to be re-using the chassis from their CD units for their mech-less units. It saves them money, I suppose. So all the currently-available media receivers that I could find specs on were, at best, only a tiny bit smaller than CD units.

The one exception is the Parrot Asteroid, which has a dramatically short form factor. I guess with no history in head unit manufacturing, Parrot could design their chassis from scratch. But some reports suggest that it's not ready for prime time, and I'm hesitant to invest in a buggy, first-gen product. Plus its selling point is its smart phone connectivity, and since I don't have a smart phone, that would not be an effective investment for me.
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Old 02-21-2012   #9
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Default Re: Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wattser93 View Post
If you look at media receivers (no CD), they're less deep if I remember right. Since a CD is round, a deck has to be pretty deep to accommodate a spinning CD. By foregoing the CD, they can make them less deep.

I just looked at the Alpine iDA-X305 and it says it's 6 1/8" deep according to Crutchfield.
I'm having a hard time getting past the <5 post filt... here goes another try...

I looked at CD-less media receivers. As you suggest, they should be smaller than units with CD transports. They certainly could be a lot smaller. But most of them seem to re-use the chassis from CD units, because all the media receivers I looked at were only a tiny bit smaller, if at all.

The exception is the Parrot Asteroid, which is very short. But reports suggest that it's not ready for prime time, and I'm hesitant to get a buggy, first-gen unit.
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Default Re: Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

Did you take a look at marine remote HU? Not sure what is out now but some had more or less a remote face. Some are white may not look the best. Also heard of people making a cable to connect a normal face and just mount the face.

Pioneer 880PRS~boston comps/alpine coax on Kappa 4 Z~back to Alpine mrd-m500 v12 on pyle 15s IB. But now have a new car, this will take a while to figure out.
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Old 02-23-2012   #11
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Default Re: Shallow head units (<6" deep), vintage or modern. Anyone know of any?

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll probably look into some of them, but I was hoping to keep it a simple installation with a single head unit and not have to mess around with mounting a face and separate brain.

Anyway, I finally found something: the Clarion RG-9451. It's a "Heavy Duty" unit, and its primary advertised specs are its dust- and water-resistance and 6.8G Vibration Resistance. It's only listed on Clarion's Canada site (insert pickup/tractor joke). My car's a 4WD so it won't look out of place. I'm kinda digging the understated look, and I'm a fan of theft-deterrence through plainness.

It's AM/FM only, but with front and rear AUX in - believe it or not, that's a big step up over what I had before (the previous owner retro-installed an AM/FM OEM unit after getting aftermarket decks stolen twice).

I think my only complaint is that the volume controls are buttons -- it's going to drive me nuts not having a knob. SQ was probably not a major consideration in the design, but I really liked a Clarion I used to have in a different car, so I'm willing to give it a shot on brand reputation alone. If the sound is terrible, then back to the drawing board.

Long story short, it's 4.5" deep.
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