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Head unit availability/ chip shortage?


Chapap

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I’m shopping for a head unit. I’ve decided to go with a Pioneer unit. Looks like they basically 2 different models, one looks different and does a bit more. Msrp is like 90 and 130 range for the two. I’m finding that market prices are a good bit higher and they’re hard to come by. The cheaper one is easier to find. Looking at the BestBuy website, NO head units are in stock at my local store, and half the stuff on the website is out of stock or not available. Is the chip shortage hitting these things? Anyone been into a Best Buy lately to see if the stereo wall is still full of stereos?
 


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fastpakr

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Yes, there's virtually nothing available right now (and going back quite a while). I just finished installing Boss units in each of my parents' vehicles because the options are so limited. Normally I'd look elsewhere. That said, they do seem to work just fine.
 

Davejb

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I just got a JVC and some speakers for my '02 at Crutchfield, the majority of the units I was considering were OOS as well.
 

Chapap

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I guess speakers seem to be fine. I paid $80/pair for some alpine type S. All they have is a capacitor so makes sense. I really want to say I paid closer to $40/pair 15 years ago
 

fastpakr

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Covid issues or not, that was still fifteen years ago and things have gone up...

The only radios that seem to be consistently in stock are bottom end brands like Dual/Boss and the bleeding edge stuff most people aren't willing to pay for. The top end wasn't an option for me, so i got the two Boss units from Crutchfield plus a set of 6.5 coax and components made by Sound Ordinance, another brand I'd never experimented with before.

It all works fine in the end. Just not my first choice for any of the gear. I'm enjoying the Android Auto experience with them though. Looking forward to my parents not needing constant guidance on using them though.
 

rubydist

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Yeah, looking on the Crutchfield site is depressing - nearly everything is out of stock or unavailable. I wanted to put a new head unit in the Mustang this summer but could never find what I wanted.
 

Chapap

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What are all the new features I should be looking for or ignoring? Last time I was in the market, the hot feature was an iPod hookup- the old one that’s like an inch wide. I know I want Bluetooth, but what goes beyond that for single din units? Some version of CarPlay? An app to go with the unit? Is anything useful beyond using Bluetooth as a wireless AUX cord?
 

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The new ones have wireless CarPlay / Android Auto and if you use that, its much nicer than having to fish the phone out of your pocket and plug it in each time you get in the vehicle.
 

Chapap

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The new ones have wireless CarPlay / Android Auto and if you use that, its much nicer than having to fish the phone out of your pocket and plug it in each time you get in the vehicle.
What does CarPlay do on a single din unit without any real screen?
 

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Beware of the really cheap Dual head units. I have one in my '87 that turns itself on repeatedly if it sees a Bluetooth device near it, even if it's not paired. Turn it off and it'll be back on within 30 seconds. Normally this is not an issue because my fiance drives that truck and connects her phone to it but if I'm driving and she's not with me, I have to keep turning the radio off. It also picks up a lot of feedback from the alternator so there's a constant whining noise present. Just a cheap POS.

I have another one halfway installed in my stepside truck that is a slightly different model, I'm hoping it works out better. I imagine I will replace both of them with a quality brand someday - I have always had really good luck with JVC, that's my usual go-to.
 

Davejb

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What does CarPlay do on a single din unit without any real screen?
Do single din units even exist with carplay/android auto?
 

Chapap

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Do single din units even exist with carplay/android auto?
Well maybe not. It could just be that the app integrates Google/Apple maps, or has a shortcut to it. Some of these radios have a physical button that launches the map app on the phone and has voice activation stuff. People doing writeups on these things might be using the CarPlay term incorrectly.
 

Davejb

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Well maybe not. It could just be that the app integrates Google/Apple maps, or has a shortcut to it. Some of these radios have a physical button that launches the map app on the phone and has voice activation stuff. People doing writeups on these things might be using the CarPlay term incorrectly.
The JVC I bought has Alexa built in for voice control to make hands free calls, have to install the alexa app on my phone, not sure if I'm gonna do that or not.
 

Chapap

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For those also looking, here’s my short list. Found all these new on eBay for $120-$135 free shipping. The Kenwood is the only one with an additional rear USB port. I really want that port, but the UI seems to be the worst… have to dig into a bunch of menus to change eq and stuff. I like the physical loudness or bass boost button for easy switching between music and talk. The rest seem about equal. I have no real opinion of JVC so it’s kind of out. Think I’m choosing between Alpine and Pioneer. Alpine used to be the cream de la cream (no time to Google how that’s actually spelled), but Pioneer looks slicker. Each brand has a bunch of slightly different models (ie, 6220, 6200, 5700) and I didn’t dive into the differences. I just wanted RGB illumination and BT. These were the cheapest I found with those features and the physical design I wanted from each brand. Surprisingly, cd receivers are generally cheaper than multi media receivers even though the only difference I can tell is the presence, or lack, of a CD player.

JVC KD-X370BTS
Pioneer DEH-S6220BS
Kenwood KMM-BT525HD
Alpine UTE-73BT
 

fastpakr

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JVC and Kenwood are effectively the same company if I remember correctly. And over the last ten years JVC has been one of the best value brands out there for good features and build quality.
 


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