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-   -   $50 EQ + $30 iPhone cable or $90 Head Unit (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=791246)

Jeff 12-26-2011 7:41 AM

$50 EQ + $30 iPhone cable or $90 Head Unit
 
Sorry for all of my recent audio related questions but I'm trying to come up with the most cost effective solution for my boat in the offseason. I'd like to address my head unit deficiencies at a minimal cost so that I can apply the savings to a better amp.

My current head unit is an 11 year old Clarion with no option for aux input and only 1 set of preamps. I'd like to add either a 5 ch amp or a 4 ch + mono sub amp. So, "needs" are 3 pairs of preamps and some sort of aux input. "Wants" include iPhone charging while connected, 4+ volt preamps, preferably a rear USB rather than front, and maybe bluetooth if I don't have to spend much extra to get it. I have no need for wired remotes and I don't really need iPhone controls through the head unit/display of song info due to the fact that it's mounted low and to the left in a place where it's not exactly easy to read the display.

So, for the moment I've got 2 solutions:

1) $90 JVC ARSENAL KD-A725:
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_105KDA7...-A725&skipvs=T

I would buy it on eBay but Crutchfield has better detailed info.

Pros- Fits in existing DIN location, charges iPhone, digital iPhone interface (USB), wireless remote that can also skip tracks on the phone and what not. Could add a bluetooth USB adapter later.

Cons- 2.5 volt preamps, likely more difficult to change fade from cabin to tower speakers vs. the EQ. Also, I have concerns about long term compatibility with iOS devices. It seems like a moving target and my phone is provided by my employer where I tend to get the latest an the greatest. So, if I get an iPhone 5 in a year I may be stuck using the 3.5mm input down the road.

2) $50 Clarion EQ:
http://www.amazon.com/Clarion-EQS746...4909843&sr=8-1

Plus $30 IS75 (or similar) cable:
http://www.amazon.com/iSimple-IS75-P.../dp/B001TH8O7E

Here I'd retain the existing HU as a tuner and CD player but mostly just use the EQ + iPhone.

Pros: 7 volt RCAs, easy to control fade and volume while driving, good future compatibility

Cons: Analog AUX input, mounting concerns since it won't fit in the existing DIN cutout w/ the old HU


Can anyone think of any more pros or cons that would sway me one way or the other? Or other ideas?

alanp 12-27-2011 9:35 AM

ive always gone the eq and cable route. i would also suggest just getting a 3.5mm to rca cable for your ipod. they run about 5-10 bucks. you use the earphone jack from your ipod and it will plug right into your eq.

liljohn 12-27-2011 11:03 AM

Ditch the headunit. Metra makes a few kits that will fit your single din hole and make it so you have a small pocket and room for a 1/2 din EQ. also on the i pod cable they do make some that will supply power to charge as well as give you the rca outs. I personly ditched my head unit a few years ago and will not look back.!

Jeff 12-27-2011 11:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by liljohn (Post 1723067)
Ditch the headunit.

This was my first thought but I think that sometimes I'd just rather listen to the radio than mess with phones, iPods and selecting music. I was trying to find a 1/2 din tuner so that I could cram it in the factory hole with the EQ but a google search didnt turn one up. Is anyone aware of a 1/2 din radio tuner?

Jeff 12-27-2011 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alanp (Post 1723056)
i would also suggest just getting a 3.5mm to rca cable for your ipod. they run about 5-10 bucks. you use the earphone jack from your ipod and it will plug right into your eq.

My experience has been that coming out of the headphone jack sounds pretty bad while coming out of the dock port sounds fantastic. This was backed up with a technical explanation at this link that was posted by another forum member in my recent bluetooth thread:
http://beavishifi.com/articles/headphonejack/


Also, the $30 cable has a fused lead that you can connect to the electrical system for charging of the iPhone or iPod.

Jeff 12-27-2011 12:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by liljohn (Post 1723067)
also on the i pod cable they do make some that will supply power to charge as well as give you the rca outs.

That iSimple 75 cable does actually charge the iPhone/iPod. The pics on Amazon don't actually show it.

I think I may have talked myself into going "headless". I may miss my tuner a little bit but I can revisit that later if necessary.

cedarcreek216V 12-27-2011 1:22 PM

Newer IPODs have FM tuners built in so you won't lose the radio feature if you ditch your head unit.

diamonddad 12-27-2011 2:22 PM

I like the idea of using the smart phone as the music server.

Ideally, someone would write an AP that adjusts volume based on feedback from the smart phone's accellerometer too!

A head unit & boostbox replacement.

Jeff 12-27-2011 5:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by diamonddad (Post 1723109)
Ideally, someone would write an AP that adjusts volume based on feedback from the smart phone's accellerometer too!

"Someone" already did and it's called Adaptunes. It uses the accelerometer and GPS to adjust volume automatically. It's not without limitation though.
-It doesn't run in the background. So, if you want to perform certain tasks with the iPod app or if you're using another app like Pandora you have to bring Adaptunes back into the foreground before it will take over volume again. This seems like something they could fix.
-It cannot manipulate the volume if you're connected through the dock port, only if you're connected via the headphone jack or bluetooth. This is unfortunate since the best quality connection is the line out through the dock port. This is probably not something the app developer could work around since it's just how the line out works.

shawndoggy 12-29-2011 11:27 AM

If you'd consider refurb, the clarion cz500 falls within your budget, has 4v preouts, wireless remote, USB and bluetooth. New it looks like they are around $125.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Clarion-In-D...ht_2784wt_1076

Jeff 12-29-2011 11:40 AM

Thanks. I've seen the CZ500 and on paper it looked perfect and i was pretty much ready to buy it. The two issues with it are that 1) it takes over control of the USB connected iPhone/iPod and 2) in reviews many complain of problems establishing and maintaining Bluetooth connectivity.

shawndoggy 12-29-2011 2:13 PM

Have you personally tried any of these cables and headunits with your ipad to see whether YOU can hear a difference between the various inputs? Might be worth hauling the ipad down to best buy with a usb cable and see whether you can actually hear a difference yourself between headphone / bluetooth / dock connector.

Jeff 12-29-2011 6:29 PM

I haven't listened to it on the eq/HUs in question but on my cheap Panasonic "home theater in a box" I can certainly tell the difference between the headphone jack and the dock port. Dock port is indistinguishable from a cd for me while the headphone jack sounds like FM radio.

In my truck I have the iPhone connected to my Sony HU via the headphone jack and it's not good either.

So, I'm convinced I need dock port of a good quality Bluetooth connection. The problem with the dock port is that I cant use adaptunes which I was semi looking forward to.


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