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Old     (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       12-26-2011, 7:41 AM Reply   
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:

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:

Plus $30 IS75 (or similar) cable:

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?


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