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      04-25-2014, 08:20 AM   #1
funkle
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Least offensive aftermarket head unit?

If one were to do a complete rip/replace of the stock stereo, what are the options for aftermarket heads that look the least offensive? Most of the mainstream ones have blue/white illumination, gaudy styling and a piano gloss finish. In my 325 I had a Blaupunkt Toronto circa '98 which looked like it was made for the car - minimalist, simple round buttons, matte finish & adjustable display color you could match to the orange dash illumination. Is there anything with all the current desirable bells/whistles that doesn't look like out of place?
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      04-27-2014, 12:34 AM   #2
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106 views and counting, zero replies. There's your answer.
I don't think I would use the word "offensive", especially the Alpine you're considering.
They're all just piano black and chrome.
The stock head reminds me of my 1950's Grundig Majestic.
The look may come back some day, but not today.
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      04-27-2014, 12:51 AM   #3
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in for pictures with whatever you decide. id love a new head unit but the trim pieces on the side of the head unit would look aweful and bother the heck out of me
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      04-27-2014, 08:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dorifto88 View Post
in for pictures with whatever you decide. id love a new head unit but the trim pieces on the side of the head unit would look aweful and bother the heck out of me
The adapter plate is one of the worst parts of it. The ones which countersink the unit, like this one look much better than the flat ones IMO

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      04-27-2014, 10:24 AM   #5
funkle
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I think the Blaupunkt 420 might be the best fit in terms of styling. Too bad you cannot change the display color.
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      04-27-2014, 01:41 PM   #6
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I have a Pioneer DEH-80PRS in my E36 M3, and although the gloss black looks a bit out of place, at night it looks great because of the color matching. The sound quality is also great, plus it has bluetooth, etc.

I think what would bug me most, as was already mentioned, is the surrounding plastic. The head unit in the E36 is the perfect size, so you don't need any plastic around it.

Here's a shot at night of it in my E36:



And here's a shot of one in the light. Again, the polished black is a bit out of place but not too terrible:



Another shot in a different car:



Also, since the navigation display controls are on the stock head unit, how would you get around that? Or do you not have navigation?

-Rob
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      04-27-2014, 02:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboDream17 View Post
Also, since the navigation display controls are on the stock head unit, how would you get around that? Or do you not have navigation?

-Rob
I have navigation, but never use it, I use google maps on my phone.
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      04-27-2014, 02:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkle View Post
I have navigation, but never use it, I use google maps on my phone.
I'd have a really hard time giving up the zero effort map.
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      04-27-2014, 03:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psygnosis View Post
I'd have a really hard time giving up the zero effort map.
Typical scenario for me is I will launch the map from my calendar, an address from the web, or by voice. And usually current traffic conditions will play the biggest role in choosing my route. So little use for the 8 year old maps on the DVD, the bigger concern is losing the range & gas consumption data.
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      04-27-2014, 07:20 PM   #10
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Another option

(it's an X3 but the screen is the same)

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      04-27-2014, 11:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkle View Post
The adapter plate is one of the worst parts of it. The ones which countersink the unit, like this one look much better than the flat ones IMO
That does help a lot. Thanks for the tip.
I think I'm going to buy one while they're available on the bet that I'll eventually need it.
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      04-28-2014, 08:39 AM   #12
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I had a thought yesterday: If we want to keep the stock look, and some functionality of the onboard computer, but use a modern, aftermarket head to handle music & communications, why not have our cake and eat it too and use both?

It looks like the navigation DVD unit in the compartment behind the seat is double DIN. So why not pull this out, and put in an aftermarket head there? Doesn't matter how gaudy/game-boy looking the unit is, because it will be hidden. Wire the unit to work with the steering wheel controls, then you'll have control over the key functions without having to access the deck itself. Total stealth installation. You could even set it up to use a remote control, wired would be ideal, but may need to use an IR repeater, since the unit would be hidden away.

That Pioneer DEH-80PRS does look pretty kick-ass functionally (looks are another matter). 6 channel 24 bit DACs, 2 USB ports and one SD card slot. Unlike the Alpine, plays lossless (WAV). You could hook an SSD filled with lossless music up to one of the USB ports.

Another thought I've had is if the deck ends up not hidden, you could plasti-kote some of the shiny bits, like the volume knob & any chrome or piano trim.

Last edited by funkle; 04-28-2014 at 11:11 AM.
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      04-28-2014, 01:25 PM   #13
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EDIT: I just spoke with Crutchfield. They did not see any issues getting the steering wheel buttons to work with most of these decks using the Axxess ASWC-1. He said the phone button on the steering wheel will typically not work to bring up voice control, but one of the other buttons could be programmed to do so.

Last edited by funkle; 04-28-2014 at 02:49 PM.
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      07-29-2014, 02:13 PM   #14
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There used to be a product made by Kenwood (not JVC) called the Chameleon and it was a flat head unit that was all touch screen, no buttons. It was able to adapt to any array of colors and was by far the cleanest unit I had ever seen. I cannot seem to find anything on it now, but it is something that existed at one time (although at the price of 3-400 bones).

It would be a gloss finish however.
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      08-11-2014, 02:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkle View Post
I had a thought yesterday: If we want to keep the stock look, and some functionality of the onboard computer, but use a modern, aftermarket head to handle music & communications, why not have our cake and eat it too and use both?

It looks like the navigation DVD unit in the compartment behind the seat is double DIN. So why not pull this out, and put in an aftermarket head there? Doesn't matter how gaudy/game-boy looking the unit is, because it will be hidden. Wire the unit to work with the steering wheel controls, then you'll have control over the key functions without having to access the deck itself. Total stealth installation. You could even set it up to use a remote control, wired would be ideal, but may need to use an IR repeater, since the unit would be hidden away.
This is actually a really interesting concept -- has anyone ever done this? I wonder if it would be possible to leave the DVD unit where it is and place a head unit in place of one of the storage shelves...
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      08-11-2014, 08:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboDream17 View Post
This is actually a really interesting concept -- has anyone ever done this? I wonder if it would be possible to leave the DVD unit where it is and place a head unit in place of one of the storage shelves...
We looked into that. Storage shelf is a bit too small without modifying/cutting into it. I honestly never get why anyone would want to use the built in navigation - calling it antiquated is an understatement compared to what we have on our phones.
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      08-12-2014, 10:22 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkle View Post
We looked into that. Storage shelf is a bit too small without modifying/cutting into it. I honestly never get why anyone would want to use the built in navigation - calling it antiquated is an understatement compared to what we have on our phones.
Definitely true -- I've never once used the built in nav and always end up using my phone. However it would be a nice backup in case your phone battery died, and it seems kind of silly to have a huge pop up screen in the middle of your dash and not have the ability to do anything with it.

So, if we were willing to give up the DVD/nav, we could potentially mount an aftermarket HU in its place, wire it up for steering wheel control, and leave the stock HU in the dash for aesthetics. Still doesn't sound too bad really.
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      08-12-2014, 12:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkle View Post
We looked into that. Storage shelf is a bit too small without modifying/cutting into it. I honestly never get why anyone would want to use the built in navigation - calling it antiquated is an understatement compared to what we have on our phones.
Reasons to use the built in NAV:
1. Sick and tired of fat fingering digits into my iPhone and having to enter everything twice
2. No cell coverage at the time so iPhone/Nav can't get the data it needs.
3. I'm headed home from an unfamiliar location and only need directions to the highway (easy to select "home" from address book)
4. I can easily mute the sound on the OEM Nav until the last 5 miles of the trip. Unmuting on a smart phone requires taking eyes off the road for at least 3 seconds. Could be the wrong 3 seconds.

Don't get me wrong, I often use my phone for Nav and 'm a WAZE user for long, highway based trips. But to always have your smartphone on your dash/window is a distraction based accident waiting to happen (especially in local driving conditions).
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      08-12-2014, 02:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elerner61 View Post
Reasons to use the built in NAV:
1. Sick and tired of fat fingering digits into my iPhone and having to enter everything twice
2. No cell coverage at the time so iPhone/Nav can't get the data it needs.
3. I'm headed home from an unfamiliar location and only need directions to the highway (easy to select "home" from address book)
4. I can easily mute the sound on the OEM Nav until the last 5 miles of the trip. Unmuting on a smart phone requires taking eyes off the road for at least 3 seconds. Could be the wrong 3 seconds.

Don't get me wrong, I often use my phone for Nav and 'm a WAZE user for long, highway based trips. But to always have your smartphone on your dash/window is a distraction based accident waiting to happen (especially in local driving conditions).
Agree it can be dangerous. I usually either enter the directions manually before I start driving, launch a meeting address from the google calendar, or use voice command to enter directions. I also listen to the google voice guided directions rather than looking at the phone (I don't like the Apple map, so I use the google app to launch google maps). When I want the voice to stop, I cancel the navigation, then restart it when I need it.

a few things for me are:
a) San Francisco traffic. If you don't check traffic, you will get screwed. Theres always a weird traffic jamb, a baseball game or street fair going on somewhere, so my rout is always different based on real time traffic.
b) I'm almost always launching the destination from my email, calendar or web search, not typing it in.

Last edited by funkle; 08-12-2014 at 03:05 PM.
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      10-29-2014, 06:13 PM   #20
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2003 z4 roadster w/ DSP

Funkle or anyone else w/ this experience;

The fascia indicated above would allow me to install a HU w/ Blutooth, MP3, and USB ports. Along with a Sirius box (if there is room behind the HU.) I actually did this recently in a 99 z3 M roadster.
Crutchfield is my supplier and the gent info'd me I would have to bypass my amp. I can deal with that.
My question is, how difficult is it to remove the existing HU and fascia. Anybody done it?
Thanks!
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      10-29-2014, 10:58 PM   #21
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Found it on youtube. Thanks!
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