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-   -   Need a new head unit Alpine or clarion ?? (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=797382)

h20king 03-22-2013 10:45 AM

Need a new head unit Alpine or clarion ??
1 Attachment(s)
Well it is time to get a new head unit as the old Sony unit is acting up. I am considering two options the first would be to remove the waterproof cover and install an alpine unit in its place. The second option would be to keep the cover and go with a clarion deck. I have a WS 420 EQ so I don't think pre amp voltage matters.We only use an I pod so most important feature is ease of use with the I pod connected. Here is a link to the two units I am considering. Of the two what would you guys recommend ?? Or is the something else I should be looking at ??


grant_west 03-22-2013 10:59 AM

Why not just ditch the head unit all together. If your using IPod only then I see no advantage to running a Head unit. If your happy with your line voltage then I would just run a RCA line directly into your WS420 and call it a day.

h20king 03-22-2013 11:26 AM

G That would be a third option but I would sacrifice the ability to add an RF remote. The reason I say I don't think pre amp voltage matters is because I think that once a head unit is connected to a 420 EQ that the pre amp voltage from the 420 is fixed. Please correct me if I'm wrong I value your opinion

nitrousbird 03-22-2013 12:35 PM

Alpine has the best transom remotes out there, a big deciding factor.

With that Alpine unit, you could get rid of the EQ and get the Alpine Imprint box instead. That head unit does dual volume control (from both the unit AND the transom remote) so it can handle your tower volume needs as well. The Imprint box can be had new for $115; I just ordered a used one for $85.

jonyb 03-22-2013 12:47 PM

nitrousbird, I disagree with that about the Alpine remotes. I've been an Alpine fan since the 7909 was released, and still like Alpine, but they DONT have the best remotes IMO. There's a delay in the response from the remote to the head unit. So when you turn it up, you take a big chance of overshooting the volume your going to. And if you're impatient and press too many keys, then you've really done it.....

As for the imprint, there's no way that I'd agree that it's just as good or better than a 420. Operating it through a head unit can be time consuming, versus just turning a single knob.

Again, I do like Alpine, but in this case I don't believe those are reasons to choose them over a Clarion.

I've got a Clarion M502 and an MW1 in my Can Am Commander. The head unit is in the glovebox (where it can't be reached), and the remote is on the dash. The remote has a digital display, and you can control an iPod from the remote when the ipod is connected to the USB. The head unit also has Bluetooth audio. this radio has worked pretty well for what its in.

ilikebeaverandboats 03-22-2013 2:03 PM

I have always thought these headunits were sweet!!

bryce2320 03-22-2013 2:24 PM

I'd probably make your decision for the HU off of what remote will do the "best" job for your needs. In my case, I too have the ws-420. I upgraded my HU so that I could use the USB setting and change songs from the transom, so Im not constantly getting in and out of the boat to mess with the radio. Once you set your EQ to how you want it at party cove or floating, you can then turn the whole system up and down off the transom, as well as flip thru the songs. I made a playlist on my Iphone, and run it thru the USB of my CMD6 clarion HU. I need to read up on it, but Im not sure that you can go just off a playlist. Mine automatically goes to the list of every song on my Iphone, so I have to scan thru a bunch of songs to find one I want to listen to. The MW1 clarion remote, works great tho IMO. There's no delay in signal, the buttons are firm, read outs on the remote. I have no experience with Alpine so this would be a bias opinion so take it for what its worth.

jonyb 03-22-2013 2:30 PM

Alpine and Clarion will both allow accessing playlists from an ipod or iphone.

Bryce, my ipod is set up with music on playlists. First is "Mix", second is "Mashups", third is something else, and so on. All music is arranged by playlists. Like I said, both brands will let you go through playlists so it makes finding music or playing a certain thing a lot easier. I always keep a spare ipod plugged in for music only. I hate when people use music on their phone, especially at the gym. Music is playing, then it's interrupted for a phone call/email/text, or something else.

jonyb 03-22-2013 2:31 PM


Originally Posted by ilikebeaverandboats (Post 1812892)
I have always thought these headunits were sweet!!

I've installed a few of those, and they're pretty sweet, but for what you get with it, and the high price tag, there's better options out there.

ilikebeaverandboats 03-22-2013 2:32 PM


Originally Posted by jonyb (Post 1812899)
I've installed a few of those, and they're pretty sweet, but for what you get with it, and the high price tag, there's better options out there.

Bummer, can't beat the looks though :)

scottb7 03-22-2013 2:39 PM

I have the alpine. And generally like it. But have to agree that the remotes are bad. They are not wired. Are delayed. And mine - have two - are not reliable. Meaning sometime they don't fire up. But the seperate volume control for tower is great. (Basically 2 zones).

You know what for me I am finding that I am sick of the music on the radio just because of drive time to work. And am more and more interested in going from iphone for pandora directly to radio. As you know with Pandora you can set up stations so you can have a rock, jazz, hiphop, depending on your mood. So it is interesting comment that head units are less and less relevant as you don't need them for content purposes.

h20king 03-22-2013 2:57 PM

I have no interest in a transom remote. Once the head unit becomes out dated your left with a hole in the back of your boat. What I'm looking at is the waterproof RF remotes this one for clarion http://www.crutchfield.com/p_020MF1/Clarion-MF1.html or this one for the alpine http://www.crutchfield.com/p_500RUEM...-RUE-M1RF.html . For you guys that have the clarion is it easy to access and control the i pod or does it take some practice ??

jonyb 03-22-2013 3:50 PM

ipod access is easy on my MW1 and M502. Press the menu button on the MW1, then you have the choice of artists, songs, playlists, etc. Playlist is already highlighted, press enter, then choose the playlist you want, then the song. It resumes through that playlist following the song that you chose. The 502 also does streaming bluetooth, so you really don't even have to connect to the ipod if you didn't want to. If you did, it could be tucked away, and charging.

The wireless remotes have the same delay as mentioned above. Such a delay that you press the button, then have enough time to think it didn't work and press it again. I was NOT impressed at all with the wireless, and vowed to not try to sell any more.

Scott, don't forget that you don't always have enough reliable service to support streaming audio. I sometimes use Slacker, but on a 15 minute drive, I may hear 1 song. Between trying to load, the lag in skipping between songs, or a loss of service, its very aggravating.

h20king 03-22-2013 8:03 PM

Thanks for the input guys Think I'm going with the clarion it will be a quick swap and the stereo better matches my dash.

ktm525 03-23-2013 8:21 AM

I want to change head unit in My 2013 MB. I was thinking sony dsxs210x, the 310 version has bluetooth. I want bluetooth. We run pandora thru my phone most of the time. Also I am going to add the wetsounds 420 so I have mic capability.

edgeski1 03-23-2013 8:41 AM

I'm a huge fan of the 118 with the bluetooth adaptor.

grant_west 03-23-2013 9:12 AM

transom and other Remotes IMO are a PINTA. So if it was up to me I would say get what ever head unit works best for you and forget about the HU. But if you just cant NOT have a Remote then I like the ALPINE. Ipod head unit and the remotes.

nitrousbird 03-23-2013 9:30 AM

I have no syncing issues at all with my two transom remotes (one on the transom, one located elsewhere in the boat) nor my floating remote. There is a delay, but it is pretty slight.

I also use Sirius as well as my iPhone for music. We have vacationed in places where there isn't any cell service, so streaming Pandora can't happen and people don't always want to listen to my music. This alone means an EQ won't work well where the Alpine controls the Sirius, is displayed from the transom remote and overall it works pretty well. I have no real complaints.

I think I paid about $280 shipped for my iDA-X100M, which I liked better than the CDA-9886M.

jonyb 03-23-2013 9:50 AM

The remotes are a PITA? I think they're more a convenience then anything. A lot of my boating consisted of being backed up to a beach in knee deep water. I could stand behind the boat and control the stereo from the transom. You can't do that when you've got an ipod and pre-amp, with nothing else - unless you want to take your music source out in the water. So how would this be a PITA? Just asking, not trying to start a battle.

bryce2320 03-23-2013 11:03 AM


Originally Posted by jonyb (Post 1813041)
The remotes are a PITA? I think they're more a convenience then anything. A lot of my boating consisted of being backed up to a beach in knee deep water. I could stand behind the boat and control the stereo from the transom. You can't do that when you've got an ipod and pre-amp, with nothing else - unless you want to take your music source out in the water. So how would this be a PITA? Just asking, not trying to start a battle.


tigeidaho 03-23-2013 11:24 AM

So I have been kicking around head units as well. I found this and haven't seen anyone else with one. Anybody use one or know how they are?
It will work with the wired weatherproof remote.


I have always used alpine products but I think they are way overpriced for what you get now.

h20king 03-23-2013 1:24 PM

OK so with all the back and forth I'm having second thoughts. I have heard that the decks with the internal storage to hold the I pod have problems. Some of the reviews I have read state that the heat from the deck will cause the I pod to overheat. Guess I'm going to do what everyone says so I'm grabbing my I pod and heading to the stereo shop to try out the different decks. Ill post up what I get when I get back.

grant_west 03-23-2013 3:45 PM

John; I think remotes are a PITA because.
The way to run your system correctly when using a EQ/ Pre amp is this way.
1. Adjust your Head unit to its max output. Unusually 3/4 full. Just before it distorts.
This way your getting the highest strongest signal to your EQ/Pre amp.
2. Then turn the volume up and down from the EQ.

What I have found is when you have 2 diffrent input volumes. I.E 1 from the head unit and the other from the EQ you now have introduced a 2nd way to mess with the system.
Example you have your system dialed and some one leans up or touches the remote getting in and out of the boat and now your system is tweaked.

If your a PIMP you should A. Have a mix that you can push play and not have to touch your system for a hr + or so so there is no need for a remote. Going up and down with volume and changing songs is for beginners lol

h20king 03-23-2013 4:16 PM

well I went with alpine. The local shop still had one new iDA-X100m left in stock. Although it is a discontinued model it is the one I wanted to begin with. I also came home with the alpine RF waterproof floating remote. The clarion was hard to operate with just the one button and the alpine 118m had a larger face than I wanted. super stoked to find the X100m

jonyb 03-23-2013 5:28 PM

Grant, I set mine up the same way, but adjust it according to where we were hanging out at - towers set low, inboats and sub turned up. Volume on the eq was always set to where a drunk could come up while I wasnt guarding the remote and turn it all the way up without damaging anything.

There are no mixes that you can let play without some kind of suck in it.

grant_west 03-23-2013 6:02 PM

I have found that a decks output is progressive. Think of it like the power band on a 2 stroke or a whip. It's greatest strength or best sound is right near the end. By adjusting your head unit volume to 3/4 your at the "peak of the power band" The Eq's volume is set Low. So your new volume adjusting point is from the EQ. This works counter productive when you start running Remotes because now your adjusting from different ends. And your asking for people to play with your system when they don't need to be. Yea it's great to have a Remote at the end of your boat if you need to be constantly be switching between songs and going up and down with the volume but In my opinion if your doing that then you you have other issues. You need a lesson in Boat Music 101. Below is a lesson.

1. Search for good clean music. Down load that music to your iPod. Delete all low quality mixes and mixes that have volume spikes and valleys. Or create a play list from your library.
2. Plug your IPod in. Hit Play.
3. Adjust your volume to the proper level.
4. Foo-get-About-it!!!

If you do your homework and get your music all dialed in you can enjoy your self more by Not having to Play DJ and 2. Constantly adjusting volume. Rendering remotes useless.

Disclaimer; I have a system
In another boat. It's just a head unit and a few remotes it works nice in this very basic system.

jonyb 03-23-2013 8:16 PM

Grant, your theory is useless in most types of boating. You're pretty much telling me that you leave your stereo at the same volume all the time. At a beach or an environment with a mixed age of people, respect comes into play and sometimes, the volume is turned down. Later in the day it may be turned up.

When people are at a beach and NOT IN THE BOAT, they don't want to get in to turn a knob on an eq to keep parameters correct (like anyone really cares about that on the lake).. A volume knob or control on a remote is to turn it up and down. Occasionally people do that.

grant_west 03-23-2013 9:23 PM

John: I see your point. But I guess I should have taking into consideration the average scenario pretty much dose not exist. Everyone pretty much doses somthing different what works for me might not work for you or be practical.

As far as being respectful of other people ect. I pretty much stay away from Public tie up's. We go to a cove or some where that no one occupies some where less traveled and then play music at what ever level the group desires and then run at that level pretty much all day. I guess that's why I don't see the need for a remote. Im not Constanta running to the boat to make changes ect. We put on a Mix set the volume and hit play and don't worry about it for the better part of 2 hrs.

You might be one of these people that has to baby sit your volume and change the song every 5 second's if so I can see how a remote is a must. And even if you do so what its all good use your boat any way you please. white people problems,LOL

jonyb 03-24-2013 6:29 AM

On this lake there are no private coves. Everything has been taken over, just a different type of crowd here or there.

As for babysitting, no. There are times that I'd let mine play for 2 hours without touching it, but later in the day it gets, and when a certain type of the crowd leaves, the music and the volume changes.

Then there's the time when someone wants to hear a certain song, hence the remote.

White people problems? Great. Nice talk.

scottb7 03-24-2013 7:11 AM

Admittedly it is kind of a white person problem. Despite what language is used. No point in being offended at how said. When actually grant, i think, appropriately, made light of the whole line of conversation.

I am one of those that is always tinkering with the volume and station. My system is pretty damn good, but I haven't had a system that sounds great with each and every song, each and every music type since my cheap 80w channel kenwood home stereo and my big cerwin vega floor speakers. Sold in garage sale for like 40 bucks. Big black speakers did not aesthetically work well in newer house.

grant_west 03-24-2013 5:50 PM

LoL the "white people problems" comment was a Jersey Shore reference. Carry on my work here is done! Lol

jonyb 03-24-2013 6:57 PM

I won't watch Jersey Shore because I get frustrated with today's society and the things people do, or the way they act -- so I have no idea what that means, nor do I care.

volzalum 03-25-2013 9:23 AM


Originally Posted by h20king (Post 1812852)
G That would be a third option but I would sacrifice the ability to add an RF remote. The reason I say I don't think pre amp voltage matters is because I think that once a head unit is connected to a 420 EQ that the pre amp voltage from the 420 is fixed. Please correct me if I'm wrong I value your opinion

H, the output of the 420 depends on the input voltage and settings on the 420. It is essentially a linear amp that increases voltages. I am in the process of mapping mine out to see if any clipping is introduced by it if given a clean signal. I will also be mapping the voltage changes caused by the EQ settings. It will be updated to my 420 tuning thread on the CCrew posting.

grizzly 04-22-2013 8:07 PM

I would seriously take a look at Fusion marine I love mine!! Best price I found was at thegpsstore.com

h20king 04-23-2013 9:11 PM

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took back the x 100 and went with the 118M big upgrade over the Sony unit

scottb7 04-23-2013 9:17 PM

Yep, that is the one i have...you are lucky to have it right next to you in helm. Nice that you have room! If you have tower speakers you will love that you can adjust volume for zone 1 and 2 independently.

loux2 04-23-2013 9:36 PM

Hey I just received my WS 420 and it didn't come with that cool floating attachment for your keys. You must be special Harold.

h20king 04-23-2013 10:06 PM

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LOL It came last year with my REV 410'S

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