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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am trying to get everything started rolling on the interior mods for a while... mainly upgrading the whole stereo system. I am past the blaring loud music stage now, but enjoy music enough that this factory non jbl system just isn't doin it for me. I want something clean and crisp at low to moderate volumes. I want to be able to roll the windows down while driving and be able to hear the music without having to turn the volume up so high it's distorted. I think i will be going with Alpine type S or type R 6.5 components up front, 5.25 coaxial in the rear, and a shallow mount sub. I would really like to do everything Alpine, but thats just my OCD kicking in. The head unit is a very important piece of the puzzle so i don't want to get this one wrong. I'm not sure if i'm going to put an amp on the door speakers, or just the sub. I'm an android user and want it to work well with my phone through bluetooth for listening to music stored on my phone, pandora, and hands free calling, etc.

I thought I had my HU picked out.... this Alpine
Alpine Electronics of America, Inc.

But I have heard really good reviews on this Pioneer, and it's $100 cheaper.
AVH-X5500BHS - <b>NEW!</b> - 2-DIN Multimedia DVD Receiver with 7" WVGA Touchscreen Display, MIXTRAX, Bluetooth®, HD Radio™ Tuner, SiriusXM Ready, and AppRadio Mode for iPhone® | Pioneer Electronics USA

What are your experiences, and what would you recommend? Thanks.
 

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I've got the 5500 and absolutely love it. It works flawlessly with my Samsung Galaxy SIII streaming Pandora on the Pandora input and you get all the control on the deck that you would normally have on your computer or phone like thumbs up, thumbs down, skip song, etc. The iphone will not do Pandora wirelessly on the 5500, an iphone has to be hooked up with the cable. It also works well with streaming music stored on the phone.

It looks like the Alpine has everything the 5500 has and maybe even a better EQ and crossovers. The thing I like about the Alpine is the mirror link for Android that mirrors your phone and lets you use certain apps like navigation on the deck so the phone stays in your pocket. The 5500 has an app mode for iphone but it doesn't work for Android even with ARLiberator. The Pioneer 8500 works with app mode and Android through ARLiberator but even then you have to root your phone and hook it up by a data cable and the 8500 is about $50 more expensive. The Alpine is $100 more expensive than the 5500 but, if the mirror link works like its supposed to, I think it would be worth it. I've always had Alpine decks until I got the 5500 but Alpine didn't have anything at the time that would stream Pandora from Android.
 

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Oops. Looks like I spoke too soon without finding all of the specs. The Alpine only has 2 volt outs which would be a deal breaker for me. I don't understand why they would make a deck like this with lower voltage outputs when it would only cost them a few bucks more in parts to put 4 volt outs on it. Maybe they don't want to compete with the next deck up in their line?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I do really like the idea of the mirror link. For my setup, which I described above, would the 2V pre outs be that big of a deal? My previous HU's have all been 2v pre outs so I haven't heard the difference between the two.

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I honestly don't know if it will make a difference to you or not. It does to me. Having higher voltage outs gives you a lower noise floor and more dynamic head room. It deals with noise from the deck to the amp. Basically, higher pre out voltage means that a higher percentage of the signal that gets to the amp is music and less of the signal is noise. It allows you to use a lower gain setting on the amp to match the output voltage of the deck so any interference is a lot less intrusive to your music. The result is that the music is more dynamic and detailed and the amp tends to work a little bit better because the gains are set lower.
 

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There was a time when I would have said buy alpine over anything else, that time has passed I won't even sell alpine head units any more do yourself a favor and get the pioneer, the 5500 is a great piece. Sold a ton and everyone is happy with them so far.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's interesting. I've always heard alpine put out the best head units. I have been out of the car audio market for 4 or 5 years now, so things have obviously changed. I figured I would get nailed for choosing alpine speakers over some other brands, not the head unit. Any particular reasons you have done away with alpine products? I'm still a few weeks out from buying anything, so I've got time for input from you guys, plus doing my own research

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That's interesting. I've always heard alpine put out the best head units. I have been out of the car audio market for 4 or 5 years now, so things have obviously changed. I figured I would get nailed for choosing alpine speakers over some other brands, not the head unit. Any particular reasons you have done away with alpine products? I'm still a few weeks out from buying anything, so I've got time for input from you guys, plus doing my own research

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I still sell alpine products, there amps and speakers are fine, of course there is better stuff out but there is always something better. But they make a good quality speaker and amp. There are a few reasons I have steered away from there head units in the last few years, a couple years ago they had major issues with integrating Bluetooth and sat radio, the Bluetooth sound quality was very poor and would lose connection to the phone often which lead to a ton of customer complaints, and the xm radio would just freeze once in a while then you had to pull out the sat radio tuner, disconnect it and wait like 20 min re connect it and do it all over again in about a month. The iPod controll is pretty good but compared to kenwood and pioneer the user interface is just not near as user friendly, and there navigation these days is a joke compared to the competitors.
I haven't installed a new alpine head unit in almost 2 years now they claim they have improved things but I have friends who work for other shops telling me that its getting worse not better so I'm going to keep pushing kenwood and pioneer for now. As far as new double dins go I have had huge success with the new kenwood dnx690hd for a navigation unit and the pioneer 5500 for non navi double din. The kenwood is an excelon unit so the pre amp on it is stronger. All the excelon units have a 4 volt pre amp which if you are installing amps now or in the future will make a difference in sound quality. I am disappointed that alpine has slipped because back in the 90s and even early 2000s it was the best head unit money could buy.


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good to hear that before I purchase. Thanks, and I will check out the options you mentioned.

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The pioneer also has 4 volt sorry, for the money also look at the pioneer 8500 it does everything the 5500 does but adds app radio for android and a high res screen and retail is still 150.00 less than the alpine.


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I agree with Platinumb. My last deck was an Alpine CDA-9887. It was incredible both sound and features wise. I bought it in about 2002 or 2003 and it was still going strong when I sold it because I wanted to use my stock deck when I got my Tundra. I wish I would have kept it because I would have put itn my Tundra in a hot second even though it was single din and had no blue tooth or Pandora. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with Alpine's offerings for double din with the same features as the 5500. Either way too much money or the little details suck like no high voltage pre outs. I have also seen several complaints of bluetooth problems and satellite radio issues. I don't think Alpine is anywhere near where they used to be.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This is all disappointing news. I was always a huge alpine fan back in the day when I was cruising town on the weekends and doing the typical teenager stuff. I never could afford the higher end alpine stuff, and now that I can, it sounds like they aren't there with their quality. Thanks guys for all the input. Now back to the drawing board

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I do not have much experience with Alpine high end stuff but can say in general I am a Pioneer guy. I feel they give you the same quality and better features for the money. It used to be Alpine was tops and had some really great head units. Then they started removing the content content from their less expensive units and making people pay more money for IMPRINT, separate bluetooth modules, and other add-ons just to get the stuff they wanted.

They have reversed this trend with their more recent offerings though but have not won me back over quite yet.
 

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hu questions

hey man had to pm you , fr some reason it won't let me post a reply.

Hey guys! First want to say what a great read. Got some good info already off your comments.. I'm looking to redo my stereo and abandon the 6 disc jbl system. I wasn't sure which head unit to buy. I have an i-phone, so it would be nice to have my navi (phone navigation) , pandora, all just pop up on the screen without having to hook up the phone to a cable. ALTHOUGH, that is not a deciding factor for me at all. I have had Alpines 9887, 9886, and loved them both. I also share the same feelings with the 2volt vs 4 volt issue. I want 4 volts. I plan on running just 4 6 1/2s , and two tweets up front.. ive contemplated running a mid in addition making 8 speakers total. I have a 250/1 (also have a 500/1, but not looking to spend$$$$ on subs that handle that power) for my dual 8" subs ( built a box to fit the storage space under the back seat)
I guess my questions are which decks should i be looking at. I haven't modded a vehicle in years so im wayy out of the stereo game.
What recommendations for speaker sizes ?
Your inputs would be appreciated

thanks

have a good day
 
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