Inexpensive head unit choices - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 07-22-2010
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Inexpensive head unit choices

After almost 20 years & several vehicles, I think my good old Sony CD player died.
Let us have a moment of silence...



I went to the Post Office today & noticed that the clock wasn't on (it normally comes on with the key) didn't think much of it as I was in a rush & I didn't need to listen to the radio anyway.
I was too busy to dig into it today to check fuses/grounds/etc. plus it was too darn hot & muggy to be stuck outside in the truck.
Hopefully, it's just a fuse that melted with the heat or something simple, but if it's terminal I'm gonna need a new head unit, fast & CHEAP.

I REALLY want a double din DVD, but the funds ain't there right now so I'm gonna have to make due with a basic CD player for now (unless I have an extra one on my audio parts rack).

I can't complain about the Sony, it's the 2nd one I've had in 20+ years & they were great.

Anyone have any suggestions on what to look at or what to stay away from?

I'm looking at a new Sony, JVC, Kenwood, etc.
A Sony CDXGT340 / Sony CDX-GT440U / Sony CDX-GT540UI are about the cheapest with most of the features I want.

There's probably no way in heck I'll find all the features I want for the little cash I'll have to spend, but I'd like:
1. selectable illumination (blue/green/other)
2. 4 pre-amp outputs for front-rear/sub
3. large display with easy to read text
4. front/rear USB ports for media cards + mp3 playback
5. built-in equalizer / sub controls
6. wireless remote

Stuff I don't care about:
1. bluetooth
2. iPod
3. HD radio

Most of the receivers I see have blue or red illumination which will throw a wrench in my green LED mods (that I haven't finished yet) but I guess I could always start over & switch my green stuff to blue so everything matches.

Ideas? Suggestions?
Thanx
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Old 07-22-2010
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i have a pioneer deh 2200ub and i love it. the only thing is that it only has 2 pre amp outputs. but it has a remote and everything

i paid $109 for it
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Old 07-22-2010
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and btw it lights up green
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Old 07-22-2010
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what do you define as cheap? Gimme a price range.
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Old 07-22-2010
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I like the higher end Kenwoods, but it might be out of your price range
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Old 07-22-2010
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JVC makes a few inexpensive double dins in the 300-400 range, pioneer even has a few moderately priced ones. you should give ebay a look and see what turns up, it might be worth it to save for a little bit instead of buying a temporary unit in between.
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Old 07-22-2010
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I have a really nice Green lit up Alpine radio that I used for 2 weeks (bought new for 269$) - my blue alpine was being repaired and this was a temporary one. I'll sell it to you if you want.
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Old 07-22-2010
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I now the AutoZone I work at has some nice Kenwoods to choose from........ none of which are over $160.
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Old 07-22-2010
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I got this one last week and I love it. 3 4 volt preouts, USB and aux input, 4 line super easy to ready display and a ton of different sound settings. Only thing it doesn't have is selectable illumination, it just lights up white.

Amazon.com: Kenwood KDCX794 AM/FM/USB/CD Receiver: Electronics
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Old 07-22-2010
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I'm lookin' for something in the $100 - $150 range.
I've got points on my credit card for a $100 gift card to Amazon or WalMart, so at least it won't be a huge hit to the old wallet.
My old Sony cost around $400 back in the day & it was a higher end unit then.

I ran across THIS & THIS today online, not sure if they're any good though, never heard of the brand before.

I hate to buy a temp. stereo, but I found a heck of a deal on an Autotek AT1500 2ch amp & it should be perfect for my 15" Kicker solo-baric.
Need to get up & running to test the amp if I can get one before they sell out.

The Autotek website has a video that says it's 1500w MAXX power x1 @ 4ohms, divide that by 2 for RMS power... so 550w x1 @ 4ohms should be about right.
I've been using 2 channels of my 4 channel MTX amp bridged for about 220w & it's plenty loud now... I can't imagine more than doubling that power.

My local WallyWorld only has a couple cd players & nothing really made me say ooooh.
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Old 07-22-2010
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Those are both crap. Stick to one of the name-brands, Alpine, Pioneer and Kenwood are all solid double din units.
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Old 07-22-2010
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Name brands are the way to go. For your needs/wants your looking in the 200-250 range for a double din though.
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Old 07-22-2010
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I'm weary about buying something like that without getting my hands on it first too.

Hopefully I'll find an extra CD player up in the attic that will get me by for a while.
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Old 07-22-2010
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ya its tough. go look around at any electronic store to get a feel for what you want. hell go to a best buy some times they have open box stuff for pretty cheap.
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Old 07-23-2010
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There used to be a car audio shop the next town over, but I don't know if they're still in business now.

I had way too many bad experiences with best buy to even look at their website now. Everything I ever bought from them broke a day after the 90 day warranty expired... I had a nice amp to power a pair of 12" subs, worked great for 90 days, on day 91 it blew a channel. They were completely useless, didn't even have any info as to who/where to get it serviced. I've still got the amp in my attic, maybe one of these days somebody could work on it, but it was a lost cause for me.

On a side note, I went out this afternoon to check fuses & see if the old Sony had any life left in it... put in the key, switched to ACC, poof the darn thing worked like it always did, switched to ON, still worked.
This thing must be part cat, 'cause it's on it's 4th or 5th life now. I'm still looking for something new, maybe I'll be able to hold off for a nice double DIN DVD player like I've been wanting.
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Old 11-03-2010
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I was in Best Buy the other day and saw a double-din JVC radio for about $180 and you can choose to change the display colors. I too am looking at changing my radio and was going to go for this model but I want HD. Good luck in your search.
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