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Discussion Starter #1
I think that car stereo head units are lame. Single Din's look like they did when I was in high school. Double DIN's are dumb (as in the CPU), slow, full of glare, and in reality, they get beat out my cell phone 90% of the time.

So what do we need from the head unit of the future? Personally I feel like they should be dumbed down tablets that fit perfectly into a Double Din opening. My 2013 Nexus is an OK example - if it was 1/8" smaller it would fit inside the double din opening.

Since ditching my head unit, I've found that I have enough space to fit a DSP, a proper amplifier, a BlueTooth receiver, and even some PC fans to keep everything cool.

1. Screen Mirroring - maybe you could let our phones do the processing. I don't want your proprietary navigation software or music app - I want Google maps, Waze or even mapquest if I feel like it. I want whatever music player is hot right now and I don't want to be stuck with whatever is on my head unit.

2. 2x USB-C's - USB-C power, AND a USB-C Digital audio/video (so you can use Optical/Toslink, Coaxial, HDMI etc), and a headphone jack (only if you give us a quality DAC - afterall this is an audio device). Preferably the USB's would be located on the back side of the stereo for cord management purposes.

3. Bluetooth 5.0 or even better - stick a couple USB's on the back and then you could upgrade to whatever the new USB 12.0 is in the future.

4. A non-glare screen - I think you could have a variety of options in terms of resolution - if you want to watch movies in your car - pony up the $$, and if you really just need a fairly basic display for navigation and changing songs - then have an option for less resolution and less $.

5. AM/FM - most cell phones have a tiny chip in them that allows them to get AM/FM. Throw one of those in there.

6. Processing power - it wouldn't need to have an amazing processor. It would need to boot fast, but it wouldn't need the complex brains to do real processing - just enough to use navigation and quickly access files.

7. Sim-card slot - make it so that you can get the internet if you want.

8. Micro-SD card - or even have another couple USB slots - one for power, and another 3.0 to be able to hook up a full-size SSD. Put a little clip on the back and you could potentially have a TB worth of High definition songs.

9. Battery - the battery wouldn't need to be cutting edge or particularly robust - it would have the car to power it and at most would need a 1-hr life so you can tinker a bit when the car is off.

10. A good DAC - Either give us the option for a good DAC or if not, then if you give us the USB-C then we can plug in something like an AudioQuest Dragonfly or any other DAC.

11. Make the whole thing run on Android or another upgradeable and already existing system.

Let's add to this list and see what we can put together. I really think that a dumb tablet with USB-C digital audio and a couple of extra USB slots on it would be a game-changer for car audio. Allow the user to upgrade it as they see fit - there certainly would be a ton of room in our Double Din openings if we ditch the full-size stereos.
 

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I hear some after market android auto screens are good. I'm currently sticking with my single din Kenwood KDC-X7100DAB for am fm dab plus and the CDs i havent ripped yet and an astell & kern SP1000M which has insanely good SQ for ripped CDs digital downloads and Tidal into the SPDIF or USB HEC of my helix ultra. And a helix URC.3. So it's a bits and pieces solution. Wish helix did a pared back head unit that did everything without doubling up on the DSP. the director is about 20% the way there.
 

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i gave up on headunits a while ago. i'm mostly streaming from my phone (LG V30) with BT to a JL MBT RX directly into my amps. i also have a 3.5mm connection if i want to use the 24bit dac in the phone. wish i had a larger screen, but that plus the JL knob lets me get great music, volume knob and navigation. can't believe modern headunits are as terrible as they are.
 

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There is Joying HU's that do all that mostly. There is Android units but the reliability is the problem. Getting Kenwood, Pioneer, and Alpine to do this seems to be a problem. What's funny is they all do this stuff for OEM. Maybe that's the problem. No compete clause's. Who knows.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There is Joying HU's that do all that mostly. There is Android units but the reliability is the problem. Getting Kenwood, Pioneer, and Alpine to do this seems to be a problem. What's funny is they all do this stuff for OEM. Maybe that's the problem. No compete clause's. Who knows.
I feel like the classic "head unit" we are all familiar with was based around the Single DIN CD-player style units - Then there are double DIN's which are essentially the same thing. Alpine did their shallow mount head unit - I think that this really could be the way forward. "Multimedia Receivers" - In reality Millenials and younger are not going to be using CDs or DVDs - so that eliminates 4-6" of space that a head unit needs to occupy.
I think Kenwood, Pioneer, Alpine etc need to get with it or else they are going to get replaced by a tablet. The striking thing to me is that my DoubleDin metra kit has a 1/2" slot that a tablet could fit in - so this hypothetical head unit tablet also by no means needs to be thick, or have cutting edge processing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was looking at the LG V60 ThinQ - its $600 refurbished on Ebay, and Bad ESN ones can be had for $~300. Like all cell phones will come down in price as fast as they release a new model. Currently, it's new enough that they aren't selling it on its own, you have to buy it with a plan. It apparently is stellar for sound quality because of its Quad Dac - its 170mm x 78mm whereas the Double Din opening is 180 x 100. That would leave enough room below it for the attenuation knobs on my Twk88 (Two knobs - one controlling 3khz+, the other controlling 80hz-3khz) and my subwoofer attenuation knob.

I think it hit all 11 points on my list.

It has:
-non glare Amoled screen
  • Quad-DAC - ranks super high in sound quality
  • micro-SD to carry half a TB of tunes
  • FM Tuner
  • Bluetooth
  • HDMI-out support - so you could plug it directly into the Optical or Coaxial of a Twk88 or other DSP.
  • Bluetooth Version 5.1 with aptx HD
  • battery - so you could use it outside of the car to tweak settings, EQ's, etc.
  • less than 1/4 inch on each side and 1/2" top/bottom - almost fits a Double Din Opening.
Added benefit of instead of leaving your faceplate or tablet in the car, you could just throw it in your pocket.
 

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I've got a LGV30+. AU$400 no plan from a real shop. Quad core processor dedicated for music. Native MQA though i think MQA is smoke and mirrors and fibs. Real headphone plug. Great music phone. Dirt cheap. B&O earbuds and speaker

Not in the same league as my astell&kern DAP but good. .
 
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