Car Stereos...

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Matthew K, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    Hello all,

    so I just got a 2006 Dodge Charger R/T Daytona edition. Great condition, looks like it just rolled off the factory floor...but the stereo is definitely dated. Features a CD & cassette player. So, that's getting thrown out. I'm not familiar with car stereos at all to be honest. I talked to the local car audio guy about installing a new one for me. He said I might need a harness for the new radio, to save myself countless googling, I figured I'd seek ya'lls help. How do I know if I need a new harness or if the factory one will work?/where do I find said new harness or should the radio come with one? Also, any touch screen models you'd recommend for under $250?

    To give a general idea of the stereos I'm looking at, here's one I'm considering
     
  2. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    Oh, this wouldn't be complete without showing a picture of the car...please excuse the Georgia Bulldogs plate, that's from the previous owner :p charger.jpg
     
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  3. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Check Craig's list.

    Put a super nice touch screen navi into my Tacoma TRD, thing has options that have options, looks super slick, like $300 off Craig's and didn't have a scratch.
     
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  4. Half Fast

    Half Fast Pattern Altitude

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    Sorry, can’t excuse it. Car has been contaminated and should be sent to the crusher.
     
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  5. TCABM

    TCABM Line Up and Wait

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    Go to crutchfield.com. They’re the gold standard for car audio options. Don’t waste your time anywhere else.

    Oh yeah, they’ve got something for every budget.
     
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  6. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yes and no.

    They are overpriced

    Buuuut they have great install manuals.

    So, just buy the install kit and get all the manuals, but buy the high dollar stuff elsewhere
     
  7. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    @James331 What did you have to do about a wiring harness?
     
  8. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route

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    Crutchfield will list what adapter harness you need based on car and stereo. They’re plug and play.
     
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  9. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Like the above comment, I'd get the harness and dash kit from crutch field, but the deck, speakers, etc from elsewhere.


    BTW nice ride!
    Gotta graft that front plate off though, I hates me front plates
     
  10. SoonerAviator

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    Agreed w/above. Crutchfield will have the plug-n-play adapter for just about every possible configuration of factory stereo system out there. I don’t mind their pricing on some stuff, but you can usually beat them with Amazon. I’d just find out what fits in the factory slot, and go from there. Lots of dash kits available to covert to a touchscreen, too, if you wanted the GPS/rear view camera options.


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  11. JGoodish

    JGoodish Cleared for Takeoff

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    I replaced the stock double DIN radio in my Nissan several years ago with a new Pioneer touchscreen which I purchased from a third-party seller on Amazon. As others have mentioned, Crutchfield is apparently great for (phone-based) installation help, but you pay for it in the price of the hardware. If you're not sure about the process or your vehicle is a tricky install, Crutchfield might be the way to go. In any case, it's good place to learn about the options and requirements for install. You will likely need at least a wiring harness and trim kit in addition to the head unit itself.

    Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood, JVC, Sony, and many other brands sell aftermarket stereos. If there was a "premium" factory option on your model year of vehicle, you might find the upgraded head unit that someone pulled out on eBay or Craigslist, which may be plug and play. If I were going to purchase a new head unit now, I'd probably look for one with CarPlay/Android Auto support; it's not a must-have feature, but it is a nice convenience.


    JKG
     
  12. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    I love the car. Deck looks nice, but I prefer having a knob for volume.
     
  13. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    As far as installation goes, I will be paying the previously mentioned audio guy to do the installation. I don't want to worry about screwing anything up on this new to me car and his install fee isn't bad. I do plan to have the deck and harness for him to install though, because his mark ups are fairly significant so I'd rather bring him as many of the necessary parts as possible.
    Thanks, me too :).
     
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  14. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Rear view in a small car is silly, there are some good forward looking night vision options, also find a good bypass kit off amazon.
     
  15. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I am surprised there's not a bit surge of Android based stereos. Imagine the possibilities of having an android app store there. Pair it with your phone for internet access and boom.

    Sirius? GPS? Pandora? Boom
     
  16. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Oh my goodness, do you take your own food to a restaurant for them to cook...??? :lol::lol::lol: (And yes I am aware some restaurants do that for a fee.)

    Does the installer know you are bringing your own stuff.?? The reason the installation fee is reasonable may be because he makes it up on selling parts. When I was a mechanic there was a lot of things I did not charge a labor fee for because the mark up was so good. Funny how folks thought I was giving them a special deal...

    Nice looking car... I have always liked the new Charger.
     
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  17. JGoodish

    JGoodish Cleared for Takeoff

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    I debated about paying someone also, but in reality the install is usually pretty easy as long as you can figure out how to get the dash apart (a type forum for your car might be helpful here). You will probably have the option of splicing in the new connector to your existing factory wiring harness, or splicing together a bridge harness (factory connector on one end, new radio connector on the other) to mate with the radio and the factory harness; I chose the latter in case I wanted to put the factory radio back in later, or change out the upgraded radio to a different radio in the future (but will probably never do either). Paying someone to do it is certainly easier if you're fairly confident that you'll be satisfied with the finished product.


    JKG
     
  18. John221us

    John221us En-Route

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    Just pay the guy for the parts and labor. One throat to choke, as they say. What are you going to save, $50?
     
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  19. SoonerAviator

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    I don’t follow (and are we calling a Charger “small”?). Unless you can see through the back seat/trunk, the rear view cameras are great for backing into areas and not having to guess at how much space you have. Like the distance available before you smack the hitch ball on the truck in the parking space behind you, or parallel parking. It’s not essential on any vehicle, but it’s cheap to install and nice to have if you’re already going through the effort of adding a touchscreen display.


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  20. SoonerAviator

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    I’m fairly certain no one wants to deal with having any phone software on their head unit. Interphase with Android/Apple? Sure, works great for maps and streaming audio via Bluetooth. No one is going to buy apps for their car stereo, not to mention the hurdle of getting people to design apps for car stereos, lol.



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  21. SoonerAviator

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    For what it’s worth, I’ve always been a big fan of Pioneer for head units. I’ve never had one fail, and they’ve always had some decent tech features worked in. Alpine/Kenwood was good, too, but something always swayed me to the Pioneers.


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  22. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Just saying, if you're over 15 years old and have a learners permit, you should be able to parallel park a charger without needing a backup camera.

    A forward looking night vision or FLIR for deer on the other hand
     
  23. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Thoughts:

    We drive older stuff so stereos are always an early must-do.

    I like Kenwood and Pioneer. There’s lots of good options.

    Don’t bother with navigation. Especially if you have to buy it map updates. We did three Kenwoods at once a few years ago... two big double DIN touchscreen things with Garmin maps and one in the Subaru without. Guess which one always works flawlessly? The $150 one. And it sounds as good, too, even with a huge 20-plus band EQ screen and all sorts more audio features on the big ones.

    Speakers make the difference. Karen’s truck has the factory Lincoln subwoofer and it rocks. Subaru has the upgraded factory speakers including crossovers and tweeters on the A-pillars, somewhat rare in 2000 from the and it rocks. Dodge, has some crappy speakers Chrysler put in. Above average but not the best. Spend money on speakers.

    If you want good phone integration make sure to spend plenty of time Googling forums and such. Or ask the installer. Like I said, the “dumb” Kenwood works better than the big “smart” ones and they needed a special cable installed for iPhone support. The little one, USB port on the front and a standard iPhone cable, works flawlessly.

    Waze works better than any on board nav yet being sold. Get a proper mount installed to hold your smartphone in view and charge it and forget about buying an automotive map built into the head.

    Also make sure your phone can be hard wired if you’re into good quality audio. That or get a Bluetooth adapter or head that knows about the high speed CODECs if your phone is one of the stupid ones that’s removed audio connectors and only has wireless. Get the best you can if that’s the case, and not just basic A2DP. You can hear the crap quality of old Bluetooth tech on a good stereo.

    One plus of a real Auto stereo dealership is you can go in and actually pair or connect your phone and then operate all the features from the head unit and see if it’ll make you insane.

    If you’re not phone streaming music, take a USB stick with your favorite stereo testing music in and do some weird things to the folder structure. See how hard it is to navigate to what you want to listen to from the head unit. Save the music in different formats and name some of them oddly so you can see how well the head unit displays track and album names.

    Whatever you do MAKE SURE the unit is outfitted with a proper microphone for hands-free and look for audio quality reports on that. There are interface boxes to use the factory mic if one exists, and also if the vehicle has factory steering wheel controls make sure those are integrated correctly. A good installer will know what works and what doesn’t here.

    Example: In my ‘04 Yukon I have a box installed that steals XM bank 1 on a radio that has two. XM 2 memories still work fine. The box inserted an old school iPod back in the day via the big Apple connector and today it still works with a lightning adapter. It displays tracks and has multiple modes for playing back four of the playlists on the device and also has an Aux input mode and a wired 3.5mm for other things. And it responds to the stock stereo’s commands for track change, etc... which means steering wheel control of my iPhone playback. That’s the oldest setup in the car fleet with the other three having gotten that monster Kenwood facelift a few years ago. (Karen’s factory CD changer jammed on the dirt roads, and the Subaru stereo was just dead. Dad had a spare from eBay and it was clear the problem wasn’t fixable with just a deck swap. Surprisingly. The Dodge just was ancient, 2001 tech.)

    Back then, phone apps for nav were just coming into their own so we did the Kenwood/Garmin thing. It has always been a headache. Garmin’s update process for firmware removed features once (I have a trip display on mine that’s still in the software but can’t be accessed anymore in the UI, and we want to switch Karen’s to it, but it’s now impossible) and paying for map updates today is silly.

    Kenwood has one really cool feature I don’t know if the others have. Here’s how it works. Waze knows how to announce turn by turn directions via the Bluetooth by simulating that the phone is ringing. Let’s say I’m listening to AM/FM but also have Waze running. No cable. Waze will “ring” the deck and announce things without me having to be listening to anything on the phone. The Kenwoods handle that game flawlessly. Just a minor thing, but I like it. Of course if I’m listening to something on the phone, the phone handles mixing the audio.

    Shop carefully and look at whether or not people are having trouble of any kind with whatever phone variant you use. iPhone support is much higher than a Android but some decks are good at Android mostly newer ones and a newer OS phone. Really look at the integration and the interface.

    Lastly, nowadays I’d look into always recording dashcam front and rear and a way to look at the output in the head if you do go for a big screen. Probably not cheap though. Rear recording cam can double as a backup cam, perhaps.

    There’s my brain dump. Hope it helps.
     
  24. asicer

    asicer Pattern Altitude

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    Congrats!

    You need a new harness.

    That's a job for your audio guy. The radio won't come with one that's plug&play with your car.

    Look for one that has Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto. That one doesn't.
     
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  25. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Oh couple more things.

    That head you’re looking at has DVD. Most installers will want to install that with a parking brake lockout for safety. Mine is locked out driving, which is fine by me. If you have kids and you can keep your eyes on the road and have any plans of using it for DVDs while moving, ask the installer to bypass the parking lockout. Additionally there’s only ever been one DVD in mine, and that’s an old copy of Planes by Disney. Ha. We watched it sitting in the truck waiting out a downpour once. Otherwise, DVD has been totally useless to me.

    The heads we have CAN drive back seat displays for kids. We don’t need it and never used it.

    You aren’t towing but one of the best uses for a big screen in a pickup truck is hardwiring a trailer camera at the back of the trailers. Just a note for anyone reading along. I wished I had done that on the fifth wheel. And set it up for non-lockout view from the trailer cam while moving.

    On vehicles without trailers I mentioned I’d want to see what the dash cams were seeing. But already covered that.

    One more fun item. HD radio. It’s been around forever but a lot of decks don’t have it. Finding FM HD sub-stations and lots that are commercial free or have content not found on the main stations in town, is very cool. AM stereo is even more rare, but one station here in town and a couple in surrounding towns do it. It’s freaky to hear AM normal bad fidelity morph after a couple of seconds into an almost FM quality stereo signal. Heh. Neat. But the sub-channels on FM are where the real fun is at.

    One local station does studio acoustic sets of all artists who visit town. They’ve got a catalog of over 20 years of it. They play it commercial free 24/7 on one of their sub-carriers. It’s awesome.
     
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  26. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The 'Audio guy" should know what harness to get and where to source it.
     
  27. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    Congrats, gonna do some ground flying I see. :rockon:
     
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  28. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    I figured I'd get some push back on having someone else install it lol. And yes, I got quotes for me bringing my own equipment and if I just bought everything from him.
     
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  29. SoonerAviator

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    Agreed, regarding GPS, don't bother with anything that requires paid updates or DVD discs. I know Pioneer has some models which offer full control of Apple/Android maps, etc. I don't know about integration with Waze, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did pass through.

    In terms of audio quality, you can hear the difference between Bluetooth and hardwired connection even on the worst stereos. Bluetooth isn't a good medium for signal quality on most anything. I almost never do speaker upgrades without an amplifier added as well, since head units (factory or otherwise) just don't put out much in terms of RMS wattage (usually 22.5 watts per channel). However, a head unit with a decent EQ can still be a good improvement for stock speakers just due to being able to adjust a greater number of frequency parameters.
     
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  30. John221us

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    The main reason for a backup camera is to get rid of the blind spot behind your bumper. It is so you don’t accidentally run over little kids in your driveway.
     
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  31. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

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    Others mentioned it as well so I figured I'd address it, as far as audio goes it does come factory with an amp. The Daytona edition came with an upgraded speaker system compared to the base model chargers. This system may not be great compared to some of yours but just wanted to put that out there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  32. Stewartb

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    My GMC pickup has what’s probably the predecessor model of that Pioneer unit in the OP. Mine was so impressive I bought another one for my wife’s Touareg. In both cases we had good factory speakers so the dash unit was all that was needed. They have CD capability but since bluetooth came out I’ve neve touched an audio CD. The telephone interface is probably the best feature. Hands free calling. That’s standard stuff in the newer cars but equally nice to have in cars that didn’t come with it. Pioneer makes good stuff. Google a local car audio shop that handles Pioneer and talk to them about the sale and install.
     
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  33. SoonerAviator

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    The factory DVD/Nav system in my '08 F-150 is a Pioneer-made unit as well. Works very well, but I never use the NAV unit (especially as it's DVD-based circa 2008). The audiophile system is actually decent from the factory, even though it's not particularly high-end. The little 7" subwoofer under the rear seat puts out some decent bass that results in a well-rounded sound.
     
  34. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Great..!! I just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. Some folks do not like surprises.

    When I was a mechanic I would tell the owner of the car that it needs a new water pump, $49.95 installed. Then they would ask how much to install the one they got for 3 bucks at the local do it your self....

    %49.95, but my water pump comes with a warrantee that covers labor.

    And it will cost you $49.95 to replace that 3 dollar pump you got at the discount flybynight auto parts store next month...
     
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  35. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'd also make sure they solder and heat shrink everything, nothing sucks more than having a loose connection a year or so later.
     
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