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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm something of an audiophile (without deep audiophile pockets). I'm looking for the best sounding deck possible under $200.

Alpine, Denon, Sony, other? I need make/model recommendations...

History:

My car, a 1999 Mustang, was broken into and the system I spent so many hours installing and tuning was ripped out, probably within seconds... leaving me with just the Infinity Kappa series speakers I bolted in the factory holes.

After the first system was stolen I don't have the heart (or money) to install a new one so now I'm looking for a good, budget deck that has a decent built-in amplifier to complement the Kappas.

Shiny stuff like iPod hookups, and USB ports are cool, but what I really care about is how it sounds. Willing to consider something used if it's in good condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
P.S. You probably get asked this question a lot. I did do a few searches before posting, but I apologize in advance if this was covered recently... If so, just direct me to that thread. Thanks.
 

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Well, you're honestly not going to get stellar sound out of headunit power, so you'll probably want to pick up at least a 2 channel (if not 4 channel) amp. You can find cheap power in the Classifieds. I know there are a lot of sweet deals on Cadence and Planet Audio amps lately.

As far as headunits, it sounds like you're looking more toward sound quality than gadgets, although you don't necessarily have to sacrifice one for the other. SQ=clean signal+the ability to tune, IMO, and if you're on a budget, you'll want to find a headunit with decent tuning capabilities so you don't have to spend the extra money on an external processor. Some decks that come to mind:

Alpine:

CDA-9813/CDA-9815
CDA-9833/CDA-9835
CDA-9853/CDA-9855
CDA-9887
CDA-7995
CDA-7998

Almost every Alpine there can be had used for under $200.

Pioneer:

DEH-P860MP
DEH-P880PRS
DEH-P800PRS

You may have to step your budget up a hair for those last two, but I've seen the 880 go for ~$200 on occasion.

Eclipse can be a little more pricey, but some of their older models can be had sub $200. I am not as familiar with their line, so someone else will have to chime in.

The new Clarion DXZ785 is a pretty sweet deck for the money right now as well.
 

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Get a Rockford Fosaget RFX-8240, they were Denon made and are quality decks. They are right at $200 or less. They have no aux in, only drawback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've heard good things about Alpine but IMHO they are ugly (sorry if that offends anyone). Nevertheless, the best car amp I ever owned was an Apline so I'm certainly willing to consider the brand.

I've owned two Eclipse decks. I liked the first one, but the second, more expensive, one wasn't very impressive leaving me to think that their quality was in a downward trend. I would still consider Eclipse, if someone knowledgeable were to vouch for it.

I owned a Sony ES series deck for a while. Replaced it with the 2nd Eclipse, but then wished for a long time that I had not. I want it back. It even matched the car well.

I've never seen or heard one in person but I hear a lot of good things about Denon. Their home audio is pretty decent, which gives me confidence, but they are probably out of my price range.

Never owned a pioneer deck either, but they seem to get decent reviews.

Anyone have experience with the new Sony CDX-GT630UI? It looks pretty, but I can't imagine it having a stellar built-in amp for the price.
 

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Get a Rockford Fosaget RFX-8240, they were Denon made and are quality decks. They are right at $200 or less. They have no aux in, only drawback.
I'll have one of those here this weekend. :)
 

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I've heard good things about Alpine but IMHO they are ugly (sorry if that offends anyone). Nevertheless, the best car amp I ever owned was an Apline so I'm certainly willing to consider the brand.
I agree 100%

as far as styling that goes to pioneer 100%, their touchscreen double din units are the best looking, on the market.

but honestly i will go carputer before i spend that much.
 

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hi there,

lemme give u my 2 cents worth,

2 yrs back, i bought myself an old school Rockford RFX 8140 that was made by delco ( in mexico or something)

had like a 1 bit some **** DA or something like that

fugly deck with no functions, just a pure deck

but it had balanced outputs ( nice to have, but didnt use it cos buyer didnt send the cables)

but it had a 8.5V preout.

now SQ wise,

this little bugger was GOOOD

how do I describe it, u know decks nowadays sound very clean and accurate rite?

this guy was accurate, but in terms of how " clean " the sound was, there was something about it that made it more " natural", not too clean, but not to dirty.

It was very dynamic and for that price, dam it was good! had it hooked up to a H701 and had a lot of fun with it until the laser gave way.

anyway, if u can find one on Ebay, i would say give it a try. But its a pure deck with no BS functions at all.

hook it up to a processor and u'll be in action

OR if ur running a passive setup, it would be just as good

have fun:)
 

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hi there,

lemme give u my 2 cents worth,

2 yrs back, i bought myself an old school Rockford RFX 8140 that was made by delco ( in mexico or something)

had like a 1 bit some **** DA or something like that

fugly deck with no functions, just a pure deck

but it had balanced outputs ( nice to have, but didnt use it cos buyer didnt send the cables)

but it had a 8.5V preout.

now SQ wise,

this little bugger was GOOOD

how do I describe it, u know decks nowadays sound very clean and accurate rite?

this guy was accurate, but in terms of how " clean " the sound was, there was something about it that made it more " natural", not too clean, but not to dirty.

It was very dynamic and for that price, dam it was good! had it hooked up to a H701 and had a lot of fun with it until the laser gave way.

anyway, if u can find one on Ebay, i would say give it a try. But its a pure deck with no BS functions at all.

hook it up to a processor and u'll be in action

OR if ur running a passive setup, it would be just as good

have fun:)
 

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Im using Denon DCT-950R.. dual 18bit..
am still quite happy with it for a year now coming from alpine cda-7949, more than a year also which is also an amazing alpine deck..
Though im switching to sony c90 next month or mcintosh mx4000 for my ritual journey to oldschool sound nirvana.. lol..
 

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With the price of power being dirt cheap these days, I don't think head unit power only is your best move. If you want SQ you gotta have good juice. Head unit juice is usually crap. I've never seen power so cheap. Even new amps are dirt cheap nowadays on Ebay. It's worth the few bucks for much better sound.
 

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2,487 Posts
hi there,

lemme give u my 2 cents worth,

2 yrs back, i bought myself an old school Rockford RFX 8140 that was made by delco ( in mexico or something)

had like a 1 bit some **** DA or something like that

fugly deck with no functions, just a pure deck

but it had balanced outputs ( nice to have, but didnt use it cos buyer didnt send the cables)

but it had a 8.5V preout.

now SQ wise,

this little bugger was GOOOD

how do I describe it, u know decks nowadays sound very clean and accurate rite?

this guy was accurate, but in terms of how " clean " the sound was, there was something about it that made it more " natural", not too clean, but not to dirty.

It was very dynamic and for that price, dam it was good! had it hooked up to a H701 and had a lot of fun with it until the laser gave way.

anyway, if u can find one on Ebay, i would say give it a try. But its a pure deck with no BS functions at all.

hook it up to a processor and u'll be in action

OR if ur running a passive setup, it would be just as good

have fun:)
There is a gentleman selling one of these units here on DIYMA.

http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/classifieds/50263-rockford-fosgate-rfx-8140-a.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What about the Pioneer Premier DEH-P400UB? I don't kow how it sounds but it is from the Premier line, has iPod connectivity (nice), and it's only $117 at Amazon right now... I have a $75 gift certificate for Amazon, so that would only be $42 out of pocket plus a wiring harness. Not bad :) Anyone heard this deck? Comments?

I know I could buy a better deck, especially if I searched for a good used deal, but I don't use this car too often and I can't imagine my marriage would survive installing amps and all that. I'm actually starting to talk my budget down even lower because I don't really live in a great neighborhood. I'm already thinking about how to conceal it because I don't want to spend $350 on a new window AND replace a <$200 deck.
 
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