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Discussion Starter #1
Interested on thoughts in choosing a head unit to aid in going two way active without a separate processor. The amp I will be using can handle the crossovers on its own, but I need time alignment to get full use of going active. I’d love to go double din A/V unit with good iOS compatibility, but I just don’t think it is in my budget. Definitely trying to keep the head unit cost under $300.

So far, I have found the following:
JVC KD-A925BT
Kenwood KDC-X995
Kenwood KDC-BT948HD
Kenwood KIV-701
Kenwood KIV-BT901
Alpine CDA-117

Any thoughts on any of these units? Positive experience? Models to avoid? Other models I should be looking at?
 

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i like my kdc-x995, have had it for a few weeks now and it works great. the only downfall imo is that the equalizer is graphic rather than parametric, and there is some screen glare. the non-excelon version of the 995 i believe has a parametric but i'm not sure if the internals are the same quality. i believe the cda-117 has a parametric equalizer as well, and doesn't have as much of a glare issue on the screen, but i heard some things about distortion and ultimately, that + the lower price of the 995 led me to my purchase and i haven't been disappointed.
 

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I have owned a 9887 and really liked it. Just in my opinion one of the best sounding decks for the money is the Clarion DXZ785USB. The faceplate is a little bunlky but very nice sound and usually go for $130. Nismos14 has a DXZ775 for sale right now for $150 I think. I have a brand new in box Eclipse CD8443 for $200.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So what would the advantage of that CDA-9887 be over the CDA-117 from Alpine? The specs look very similar, save for a broader EQ on the CDA-9887. Is there something else I am overlooking?

It also appears that there are some trade-offs with the Kenwoods. Only the 948 has a parametric EQ, but you sacrifice 2 bands as well as time alignment. So I think that one is out. The 995, 701 and 901 all have time alignment, but only have graphic EQs. The same holds true for the JVC.

It also appears that the Kenwoods and JVC have a lot more connectivity and features beyond the SQ front included (Bluetooth, HD Radio, Pandora). Whereas everything is an add on or not even an option on the Alpines. This could/would drive up the price on the Alpine significantly.

The older Clarions also look decent, but I wonder about connectivity, as I will likely be using an iPhone 4 for my source quite often. Are the DZX785 and DZX775 compatible with the current iPhone? These also fall into the same category as the Alpines in terms of connectivity features when compared to the Kenwoods and JVC.

And while the crossover options are nice on some of these head units, I don’t know how critical that is for me, as the amp I will be using can handle the crossovers.
 

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The iPod connectivity on the Clarion 785 is pretty nice. Like mentioned earlier the "slide face" is different but once u get use to it it's not bad at all. I found it to be alot more user friendly than my 9887. Definitely like the look of the 9887 better though. The 9887 has active crossovers build in whereas the 117 needs the Imprint added to it to do active. Someone correct me if I am wrong.
 

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Other alternatives:
- Eclipse CD7200MKII
- Pioneer DEH-P800PRS
- Pioneer DEH-P880PRS

The Eclipse has been a leading contender for years since production has come to a halt. Full Active capability is the game here. Both Pioneers are on the heels behind the CD7200MKII. It would come down to aesthetics and/or Look & Feel. Hope this helps.
 

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The iPod connectivity on the Clarion 785 is pretty nice. Like mentioned earlier the "slide face" is different but once u get use to it it's not bad at all. I found it to be alot more user friendly than my 9887. Definitely like the look of the 9887 better though. The 9887 has active crossovers build in whereas the 117 needs the Imprint added to it to do active. Someone correct me if I am wrong.
Correct. You need an external box, the PXA-H100 to get access to the additional tuning functions. The 9887 has all those functions built-in, it's imprint ready aswell. Believe they changed some components too, the 9887 had an Audyssey processor if I remember correctly. Good source unit in any case ;)
 

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I'd go for an 9887. Had one of those and was very pleased with it ;)
Correct. You need an external box, the PXA-H100 to get access to the additional tuning functions. The 9887 has all those functions built-in, it's imprint ready aswell. Believe they changed some components too, the 9887 had an Audyssey processor if I remember correctly. Good source unit in any case ;)
Alpine Buffs LOVE this piece. Expandability for Imprint (H100 or the New H800 hopefully) a Big Plus.
 

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I believe Kenwood KDC-BT948HD 'time alignment' is a joke. The only thing you can do with it is tell whether your car is "big" or "small" and whether you seat on the right or left side. It's scandalous they advertize this as time alignment capable head unit. It's like saying your stereo has a volume control, but once you install it, you realize that there are only two volume settings, high and low.

Having read reviews and played with various of these, I would prefer Kenwood KDC-x995 over JVC, but I would take some time to learn whether Alpine CDA-117 is better than both. Kenwood KIV-BT901 is like KDC-x995 but with much better screen, much faster interface, but no CD playback capability. Another interesting stereo is Sony DSX-S300BTX digital media player.
 

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Other alternatives:
- Eclipse CD7200MKII
- Pioneer DEH-P800PRS
- Pioneer DEH-P880PRS

The Eclipse has been a leading contender for years since production has come to a halt. Full Active capability is the game here. Both Pioneers are on the heels behind the CD7200MKII. It would come down to aesthetics and/or Look & Feel. Hope this helps.
The Pio's are actually a step above the Eclipse and the 9887 cause they offer a 16 band eq which is independent for L/R channels. That is a huge difference when you're tuning.
 

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Sony's newer decks have time alignment as well
 

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I was reading about some of the newer Sony HU's and to me it seemed like they had T/A that is set by choosing from preset speaker positions on the screen, not by a constantly variable number for distance- like the 9887 and most others. Is this wrong?
 

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I was reading about some of the newer Sony HU's and to me it seemed like they had T/A that is set by choosing from preset speaker positions on the screen, not by a constantly variable number for distance- like the 9887 and most others. Is this wrong?

The only way to find out is download their manuals and read (crutchfield.com has them all). I checked this for Sony's digital media player and it does seem to accept variable adjustments.
 

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I was reading about some of the newer Sony HU's and to me it seemed like they had T/A that is set by choosing from preset speaker positions on the screen, not by a constantly variable number for distance- like the 9887 and most others. Is this wrong?
preset speaker position/location dependent only...non variable number
 

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It's scandalous they advertize this as time alignment capable head unit. It's like saying your stereo has a volume control, but once you install it, you realize that there are only two volume settings, high and low..

x2......:beerchug:
 

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I can personally recommend the Clarion. iPod and iPhone works very well.
If you can find the clarion, it great bang for the buck.

I also have the alpine Ina-w910 with imprint. Similar specs to the cda117. Good sound, eq, ta. Eq is a little more flexible than the clarion with the imprint.
Price is much higher for the 117 and Imprint than the clarion 775 or 785.

George
 
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