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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to tackle upgrading the stereo in the car finally. If you guys were to upgrade your stereo what would be your choice for a head unit in 2020?

Would you go single DIN with a pop-out screen? Single DIN with a standard display? Or fab up a Double DIN configuration? I've also considered installing an iPad mini but I don't have the fab skills to modify the dash. There's also the floating display ALPINE HALO in either 9" or 11" display. I was looking at these but the resolution on the display is atrocious and I think the 11" might be just too big for a Tbird interior. Thoughts?

Do you have MFG preferences? Alpine, Sony, Pioneer or some other brand?

I have three AMPS from a previous install sitting in the garage (2 SONY and one PIONEER). The Sony's are rated at 120w x 2 each for a total of 480w. I plan on driving the door and back seat speakers with these. I also have a PIONEER that's rated at 180w x 2 for a sub-woofer. I was thinking of going with a sealed box and two 10" speakers in a box on the trunk shelf. With a back seat delete firing the sub-woofer speakers directly into the passenger compartment. My total wattage is going to be a modest but respectable 840 watts of power.
 

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I love my Alpine, but I think the model I have(cde-164bt) may have recently been discontinued. I don’t like single DINs with popup screens, those have always looked cheesy to me, ad unless you absolutely need a screen in the dash I think double DIN is more trouble than it’s worth, there’s a lot of work to massage the radio bezel to not look obviously hacked to a discerning eye and it’ll still look weird because the double din receivers are shorter in height than the existing radio and HVAC control footprint.

I like Pioneer, easy to use and configure, sound great and look really nice IMO. I’d get the DEH-X8800BHS if I were looking right now. Sony’s are always hideous space ship looking things with too much Bass EQ no matter what you do. Hate them, I resisted aftermarket HUs for years because I had so much exposure to Sony!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks Matt. I've had one or two Pioneer receivers over the years. My currently installed receiver is a SONY CDX-C7850 that I bought in 1999.

Now I'm looking at the Pioneer DEH-80PRS which is comparable to the DEH-X8800BHS. What I like about this one is that it has an auto Time Alignment feature. It was released in 2012 but is still available.

Pioneer DEH-80PRS CD receiver at Crutchfield


Then there's the SONY RSX-GS9, which costs more than a used Tbird and would be a magnet to thieves. But wow, this is the Cadillac of single DIN stereos.


Keep the discussion going! What would be your dream Stereo build in 2020?
 

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We have a 92 Tbird thats full custom and we have a Pioneer 3500NEX in it.. its a single din flip out. its pushing a Memphis Belle 5 Channel amp running a set of Memphis 6.5 Separates in the front doors and then 6 Memphis 12s in the back seat..

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I forgot I was talking to Mr. moneybags! 🤑

If we’re talking high end Tbird priced receivers that would look great in one this would be my choice. Just rub off the Porsche lettering!


38384
 

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Oooohhh! PORSCHE 3.5" touch screen! LOL Interesting radio. There's no price listed in the link. I'll have to research that one.

Thanks NRIRSS10, I like the Pioneer 3500NEX. That's another one I was considering. Could you post a pic of it in the dash. How long have you had it? How do you like it? Wow six 12's! That's a sh!t ton of bass! What's the wattage on that system? Tell me about the build please.
 

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Oooohhh! PORSCHE 3.5" touch screen! LOL Interesting radio. There's no price listed in the link. I'll have to research that one.

Thanks NRIRSS10, I like the Pioneer 3500NEX. That's another one I was considering. Could you post a pic of it in the dash. How long have you had it? How do you like it? Wow six 12's! That's a sh!t ton of bass! What's the wattage on that system? Tell me about the build please.
I will have to go out and take one. But I like it. I have several of the pioneer NEX radios. I’m going to get another 3500 to put in my 95 f series as well.
As far as the car goes the Memphis belle is about 1000w total with about 500 of that on the subs.
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we have the batteries out right now as we are completely redoing the trunk so there is no power on the car to flip it out
 

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Nice! What's under the hood? What have you done with the engine?

I see an NC plate! I'm in NC too.
 

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That Porsche unit looks slick, and a nav screen in a single din to boot. That's something that bugs me about my '89, no room for a double din unit, and the slide outs would block the VMM. I'd love to have nav though.

I've always been pretty practical about car stereo, sound quality comes before cool doodads. And I've always favored Kenwood head units. I had an Alpine once, until it decided to lock itself into pause mode and refused to eject the CD. Every time I was in the car I would hit that eject button a thousand times until it finally spit it out. Then I replaced it with a new Kenwood Excelon, that was in 2006 and I still have that unit today, still works great. This one has active crossovers built in which is awesome, I can set proper high pass for speakers and low pass for the subs. I used to struggle with the crossover knobs on the amps and I could never get it set right. Now it's set and forget, until the battery needs to be disconnected. I wouldn't use anything without the crossovers.

I lucked into my sub. Back in '89, a few months after I bought the car, a local shop was selling sub boxes they made on spec. A big carpeted box with 2 10" Kicker subs for $220. The subs alone were $100 each retail. I still use it today.
 

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That Porsche unit looks slick, and a nav screen in a single din to boot. That's something that bugs me about my '89, no room for a double din unit, and the slide outs would block the VMM. I'd love to have nav though.

I've always been pretty practical about car stereo, sound quality comes before cool doodads. And I've always favored Kenwood head units. I had an Alpine once, until it decided to lock itself into pause mode and refused to eject the CD. Every time I was in the car I would hit that eject button a thousand times until it finally spit it out. Then I replaced it with a new Kenwood Excelon, that was in 2006 and I still have that unit today, still works great. This one has active crossovers built in which is awesome, I can set proper high pass for speakers and low pass for the subs. I used to struggle with the crossover knobs on the amps and I could never get it set right. Now it's set and forget, until the battery needs to be disconnected. I wouldn't use anything without the crossovers.

I lucked into my sub. Back in '89, a few months after I bought the car, a local shop was selling sub boxes they made on spec. A big carpeted box with 2 10" Kicker subs for $220. The subs alone were $100 each retail. I still use it today.
Cool! Lucky catch on those subs. I'm with you on sound quality > doodads. I've always been about clean sound over pure volume.
 

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I like the Pioneer DEH-80PRS mentioned above. I have its predecessor, the Premier DEH-P800PRS. Because it's a single DIN, the menu UI is kind of lousy and I almost exclusively use the remote control, but the tuning features are still top notch all these years later because car audio never really changes. I bought an AVIC-W8500NEX for my other car last year and it doesn't have as much SQ customization even though it has a ton of other features in terms of multimedia and connectivity. I still have no reason to move on from the DEH-P800PRS in the Thunderbird because I don't care for Bluetooth audio and I have a USB adapter and flash drive plugged into the head unit via its IP-Bus interface for digital audio files, plus I like the way the unit looks, and the voltmeter visualization is a free gauge.

I don't like trying to cram things in where they don't belong and I also don't like motorized pop-out displays in a single DIN. If you want a big screen, custom fab the dash trim panel to accept a double DIN and move the climate control to the bottom. I've only ever seen one truly fantastic fabrication of a double DIN in the '94-97 MN12 trim panel that also integrated the VMM lights into a custom slot window above the double DIN opening, and two more that were okay. One of those other two also re-textured the trim panel which hid any potential flaws. Everything else I've seen has looked like a hack job in some form or another.

I also got to look at the Alpine Halo display last year when I was shopping for a new head unit for my other car, and I thought it looked kind of ridiculous. I will never find a head unit that is not flush with the dash to be an elegant solution.

The European Porsche Classic Radio is over €1300.


If you can find the North American version on eBay, it will fetch $1400-2000. It's annoying that a lot of car stereo manufacturers refuse to get the hint as far as head unit design.
 

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It's annoying that a lot of car stereo manufacturers refuse to get the hint as far as head unit design.
Agreed. What’s frustrating is there really hasn’t been a reasonably priced single DIN option that doesn’t look overly curvy or elaborate, or glossy with tiny buttons and confusing menus for at least 20 years. You look at the old headunits Alpine Kenwood etc. put out in the 90s and they actually kick ass in design. I wish these companies would reissue legacy designs like Alpine’s 7909 but with modern specs and features. Most people buying single DIN headunits for cars now a days are putting them in cars of this era where those designs fit in better anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Nice ALPINE Clock!

As to those Porsche Classic Radios ... GOOD GOD that's insanely expensive! Only Porsche owners with money to burn would spend that kind of coin.

As to the Pioneers. I think I'm going to go ahead and order the DEH-80PRS. Irv summed it up really well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 
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Agreed. What’s frustrating is there really hasn’t been a reasonably priced single DIN option that doesn’t look overly curvy or elaborate, or glossy with tiny buttons and confusing menus for at least 20 years. You look at the old headunits Alpine Kenwood etc. put out in the 90s and they actually kick ass in design. I wish these companies would reissue legacy designs like Alpine’s 7909 but with modern specs and features. Most people buying single DIN headunits for cars now a days are putting them in cars of this era where those designs fit in better anyway.
The current models available that aren't an eyesore are pretty expensive. At the other extreme, the Sony RSX-GS9's design is so overly simple that it actually seems pretentious to me.

I'm partial to Pioneer, so my current favorite would have to be the DEH-80PRS even though it doesn't quite look right in older cars (though to be fair, almost no aftermarket head unit does), but I just noticed this on Crutchfield which has to be a leading option for a retro-styled high-end head unit with a barely sane price from a brand that many of us haven't thought of in years.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
That is a great retro look on the Blaupunkt. I'm partial to Pioneer too. I have a Pioneer receiver in the house and Pioneer 6x8's in the car now. Transitioning back to a Pioneer receiver is an easy choice to make.

What you're paying for with that Sony RSX-GS9 is the best-in-class processing chip.
 
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