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Discussion Starter #1
I bought this unit based on a few assumptions that taught me some lessons about the state of head units.

Assumption #1. - USB would allow me to take the 200gb of songs from my phone, play them through the USB-C and have sound come out of my speakers. I wanted to play wav files that were on my phone.
So after some going back and forth with Crutchfield, it turns out that the brains of almost all head units are able to scan through your library, but they typically are limited by, for instance, 5000 songs. I have 1,000, mostly WAV files. It would take 20+ minutes of "reading" to access any songs. The interface on the unit was not great for finding anything, and I would have preferred to be able to search and then play on my phone. As it turns out, the only real way to use my phone to search and use its music player was through 3.5mm connection, or bluetooth. The Kenwood didn't have a 3.5mm connection.
The Kenwood app is second rate at best.

Assumption #2 - a stereo meant for a car would be visible while in the car.
The glare on this was unreal. It was impossible to read in the daylight. Turns out a lot of full screen double din head units are this way.

The screen, interface, and all that was pretty good. I thought the general interface was a bit boring, but that the Time alignment, crossovers, etc were pretty decent to look at.

I was able to play without clipping on 34/35 volume - I was very impressed.

The voltage I realized isn't all that important. The amplifiers I'm using (JL XD and a Twk88 DSP) don't really care if its 1v, 2v or 5v. The only way to get 5v on the subwoofer channel was to increase the SW setting to max - this didn't affect clipping once the amplifier gains were adjusted. I was not able to get the full 5 volts out of a single channel of my RCA's - maybe the 5v is split up somehow?

The DVD player I didn't really need. The screen resolution was pretty bad compared to a phone or a tablet (even my older phones) and honestly wasn't that much bigger than a phone. I don't really see why I would use it, I only had it because it was the same price as the non-DVD version.

Oh ... and the 15 second load time for the DDX396 got pretty annoying too. It doesn't seem like much, but it added a little bit of annoyance everytime I turned on my car.

After speaking with one of the representitives from Crutchfield about the USB issue - as this was really all I wanted from the head unit, he told me that most people in this situation use a tablet or go directly from their phone if they want to access stored files. He stated that the OS of a phone or tablet is 1000x faster than these head units, which really are pretty dumb, and have low quality screens with high-glare. It made me really wonder what's the point? Maybe there is a point in a $800 head unit, but other than a volume knob, I'm just not seeing it right now.

I decided to go directly to my DSP for sound. I have a 3.5mm that will either go into my phones headphone jack, or with an adapter will go into my phone's usb-c which has the potential for digital playback (I could use the optical or coaxial on my DSP with the right adapters.) To access Bluetooth, in case my passengers want to put on a track, I bought a Bluetooth 5.0 (pretty much all head units are still using 3.0 or 4.0) receiver/transmitter. I found one that has Optical input and output as well as RCAs. I haven't really tested the quality of it yet as I've just been using the RCA directly to my DSP. The other interesting thing about the bluetooth receiver is that it has an Optical passthrough, so potentially I could go from my Usb-C on my phone or tablet, through RCA's, into the receiver, and out the optical output on the receiver to my DSP.

The Optical thing is more of an idea than reality at this point - its an attempt to keep everything digital if possible and to eventually see if that helps the sound.

Oh ... and the 15 second load time for the DDX396 got pretty annoying too. It doesn't seem like much, but it added a little bit of annoyance everytime I turned on my car.
 

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Awesome write up, thanks for reinforcing that I don’t need a shiny new DD. One allure for me would be one that plays Flac. I have spindles of CD in Flac format. But, do I really want to fumble through cd’s again while driving and spent hours in front of the cpu burning discs? Haven’t found the desire to convert flac to wav and go that route since my phone has spoiled me.
I am interested in which BT 5.0 module you are referring too. I tried to replace my 80ps with a Nexus 7 (optical out) that didnt work out too well. Streaming BT to Mosconi DSP sounded better than going digital through inexpensive dacs. i could not find a digital “pasthrough”. I believe the one less digital to analog conversion makes a difference. I put the 80prs back in to have hands free phone calls. I use the hu rotary for volume control and skip tracks. Since i have a dsp mini controller installed to control volume on optical the hu could be just to skip tracks, read title and occasionally glance at voltage meter. After all the years of the rotary dail on the hu, it seems more natural to reach out and crank it up.
i guess my point is that bt streamed over the iphone to dsp 6to8v8/amas sounds good. Are all dsp’s dac the same?
 

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I tried to replace my 80ps with a Nexus 7 (optical out) that didnt work out too well. Streaming BT to Mosconi DSP sounded better than going digital through inexpensive dacs. i could not find a digital “pasthrough”. I believe the one less digital to analog conversion makes a difference. I put the 80prs back in to have hands free phone calls. I use the hu rotary for volume control and skip tracks. Since i have a dsp mini controller installed to control volume on optical the hu could be just to skip tracks, read title and occasionally glance at voltage meter. After all the years of the rotary dail on the hu, it seems more natural to reach out and crank it up.
i guess my point is that bt streamed over the iphone to dsp 6to8v8/amas sounds good. Are all dsp’s dac the same?
1. What exactly was wrong with the Nexus optical? I have a 2013 Nexus. I was toying with the idea of having it as an option to cover my Double Din vacancy. I'm a little worried that its internal DAC might not be good enough, also mine has very limited storage space.
2. If I had an 80PRS or really almost ANY single DIN that didn't clip on high volume, I'd keep it. I think the current state of head units are overpriced and even the overpriced ones don't really give you very much besides something to fill the hole. I agree with the volume knob - I almost got a gauge style Marine radio - they are essentially a 4" circle with a big volume knob. My DSP came with a very small volume knob that I actually have been enjoying. I have a bass attenuating knob going to my subwoofer - and then my Twk88 DSP comes with a DRC-205- which has an inner and outer ring. You can program it a variety of different ways (like Master volume and subwoofer, or Channel 1-2 and Channel 3-4 etc). I ended up using it to control 1. My tweeters, and 2. My midbass - I have a separate knob for subwoofer control. I like it - I like the ability to adjust it on a song-for-song basis. It makes it a bit more difficult than just grabbing the volume button - but I think you get a better sound.
3. Are all DSP DAC's the same - honestly, I have NO idea. I kind of figured that in my current system - going directly from my phone to my DSP - that really its my phone's DAC doing all the work. Actually I'm almost 100% sure that is the case. I know that the DAC on my phone is pretty good. I could always throw in a Dragonfly if I needed to boost it. Currently, it gives my DSP enough input voltage (granted it's on the very low end of the scale for voltage, around .5 volts) so that I don't have any issues. I learned from talking to JL (I have a JL amp) that their amplifiers really don't care if they are getting .5 or 5.0 volts - once you adjust the gains its really all the same.
 

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1. First off, let's get this out of the way. My attempt at programming the Nexus was a failure. I used Nexus root tool kit and Timur's kernel. I had to get my 16 year old son to show me how to do it. Then having the wifi model tablet , using the phone for a hot spot was a drag. The carplay dongle sucked. Sitting in the driveway, switching between wifi and dongle was night and day in sound quality. Then switching between BT and the DAC I was using was night and day. I tried a different DAC which had good reviews in the hifi forums and BT sounds better,.
I took the external hard drive out to the truck and tried to configure the tablet to read from it , like others have done. I tried to use a mic and set up hands free calling. Both of which were epic failures.
I read about the topping D10 DAC and it almost want's me to try again, but I will still have the wifi issue.
With a lot more reading and a lot less ADHD I could probably get the tablet configured to be successful like the build logs I have read. It was very frustrating and the MRS. was on me about the law and being hands free.
I did like the Navigation and the large screen and the novelty of a diy head unit. I went to Best Buy and flipped through the DD's and none of the interfaces/screen compared to the tablet.
2.that sounds cool, having independent volume control over the speaker sets.
With the 80prs L+R eq I was also able to make some cuts and help smooth out the response
3. Some say the least analog to digital conversions the better, some say it doesn't matter. I know with my Iphone the signal going to the 80prs through the lighting cable is digital. Switching between BT and the 80prs doesn't sound any different to me, even though it is one less conversion. But could be that the prs is known for it DAC and SQ where a different HU dac may be noticeable, I don't know. When I got the 6to8v8 I watched the videos about turning the gain up until it clips then backing it off. Then setting amp gains with the 80prs at 61 never had the output that I was looking for.I was barely turning the amp gain before clipping. I turned the gain down on the DSP and changed the level in the mixer from 100% to 70. Set the prs at 48 and cranked up the amp gains. That brought back the missing output. So yea, once the gain structure is right it's all good.
4. which nexus model did you get the FLO or DEB? it may be worth a shot if you can get a "digital passthrough". The battery mod was fun to do, along with the wiring. The damn programming kicked my ass so I can't help ya there lol
 
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