Car MP3 Audio Advice Requested

Well, my trusty Kenwood KDC-MP8017 MP3-CD seems to be almost done. As I said earlier the flip face buttons only work if it’s in the halfway down position, which is useless. It’s also about 8m out of warranty, having been bought sometime in 2001. Oh well, that’s the way it goes anyway.

So I stopped by Beam Riders in abbotsford and talked to Pat a bit, and checked out what they had. Not a bad selection, and better price (by about $60, even with a discount) than the one case I could compare directly with Future Shop. Free basic installation as well, which is good. I could probably hack it in myself of course, but I’d rather have a professional do it… and if it’s free, why not. My deck already is set up with a wiring harness anyway, so it’s not like it’s a huge effort.

The decks I looked and am considering are:

All three have pretty much the same functionality and features, with the exception being the lower end Arsenal which has the addition of an input on the face for when I finally get my $25 iPod. Actually looking at the page now it says the higher end JVC supports AUX input as well, but not (from what I can see) on the front.

Since they are all pretty much the same, it really should come down to the user interface, one of the bitches I have with my current deck (mushy keys, slow response). The other things I don’t like are the slow loading of mp3s, but it seems that this has been fixed in the current generation of decks, and the delay when switching between mp3 songs is now a second or so instead of 4 seconds.

I know it’s pointless to ask “does anyone know the best one to get?”, because no one has really tried more than two or three (unless you work in a car audio store). Cat5 advised me against Panasonic, but this one seems pretty good. Silv recommended this Alpine deck but I don’t think I need a 6.5″ screen to play CDs 🙂

Anyone know of anything good/bad/ugly about any of these decks, or should I just go in and get the one that has the best button layout?

5 Comments on “Car MP3 Audio Advice Requested”

  1. JVC and Panasonic are both good middle-range decks and are going to be pretty equal from a sound standpoint, so I’d go with the one you feel most comfortable using.

  2. For what is’ worth I’ve always had good success with Pioneer decks… Not familiar with their current slection, but hey, you asked for adivce.;)

  3. I’d say NOT to get to hung up on having the AUX IN on the front of the deck. You can get an extra RCA and just tuck it behind the carpet on the passenger side or something…. then when you get the Ipod or the “Neo Mini Jukebox” [1] you can just plug it into that… either directly if the units support RCA or with one of those RCAstereo convertors.
    Seems like most decks now a days do CD/CDRW/MP3/etc.
    [1] A very sweet looking unit from, similiar to an iPod — 20GB for $200 USD. or 60GB for 350USD. Never burn a CD again. Use it at the gym, at work, at home, in the car. fast usb, lcd.
    [2] No, I’m not a saleman for them. I bought one of their 30gb railmount headunits, which is nicely mounted in my trunk and connected to the AUX IN. have been quite happy with it.