Advice on upgrading to mp3 in my 98 civic.

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by josh4040, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. josh4040

    josh4040 Second Unit

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    I am looking to upgrade my car stereo to an mp3 player, I am only planing on keeping my car another two to three years max so I don't want to spend too much money, but I would like to have mp3 or if possible even wma. I was at best buy today and saw two that were in my price range, the Pioneer DEH P4500mp and the JVC RDS890. These two units do not do wma but they are under 200 which is HIGHLY preferred. I can't have this affecting my DVD buying habit. Do I really need wma? Or is mp3 enough. Are either of these two units worth getting? Would I be better off ordering from crutchfield, (I saw a panasonic on crutchfield for cheaper then both units and it played wma) and installing it myself? Mind you I have no technical skills whatsoever! I could probably persuade a friend to do it. Any incite will be much appreciated.
     
  2. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    Only you can answer if you need WMA. Do you anticipate playing lots of WMA encoded discs? MP3 seems to be the accepted standard.

    However, if you want WMA, I'd recommend the Alpine CDA-9807. I never tested it for anything other than CD, but people say it is great for handling MP3 and WMA files, with quick access and good file searching. Regular CD sounds great, it has a good tuner, and is fairly easy to use by feel. I liked the buttons and display much more than the Pioneer 3500, which I took back after a week due to too much glare on the display and the tiny hard buttons.

    As for installation, if your stock head unit is of standard DIN size, it shouldn't be too much trouble to fit the new one. You probably won't have to bolt the new unit in, unless you want increased security against theft. HUs come with a mounting cage that holds the HU snugly in the dash. For the wiring, you may have to get an accessory wiring harnes that plugs into your stock harness, and you may have to splice the new unit's harness to the adaptor harness. Everything is colour coded so it is not too difficult, just time consuming.
     
  3. Andrew Pierce

    Andrew Pierce Stunt Coordinator

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    MP3 is fine. I rip using CDEx's standard preset, which is a variable bit rate from 128 to 320 kbps, whatever the music needs, and burn to CD, and I can get 8-10 albums per CD, and at that sort of bit rate honestly can't tell the difference between the mp3 and the CD. With WMA you presumably get 2x better compression ratios, but with a possibly with a loss of quality, and a definate reduction in the number of tools you can use to encode and manage your files. As chris said, MP3 is the standardl. Do you really need more compression? At 10:1 I can fit my 400-odd cd collection into a 64 disc wallet with room to spare, and bring it in the car without worrying that it'll get stolen. Also I have no doubt that 20 years from now I'll be able to decode MP3s on something. I'm not so sure on WMA, if Microsoft were to give up the format tomorrow you'd need to reencode to MP3.
     
  4. josh4040

    josh4040 Second Unit

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    Ok, you guys have sold me on mp3, no need for wma. Now on to the other part of my post, I bought the stereo today did I get the right one? I got the JVC RDS890 anyone have this? Thanks again
     
  5. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    Andrew - do you know of any program that will convert Real Audio files to MP3? I have the demo version of Wisecroft Ripper and it seems to work OK, but the max bitrate is only 256 Kbps - I wonder if that is enough for high quality, before I spend money for the full version.

    Josh - sorry, I'm not familiar with JVC, just Pioneer and Alpine. I'm sure most makes have similar specs for the amplifier section, 45-50W (peak) x 4 (maybe 20W RMS). What I look for in a deck is expandability. If it has preouts you can add a better amp later if you want.
     
  6. Andrew Pierce

    Andrew Pierce Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry, Chris I have no clue on RealAudio conversion. I just rip from CD. I think in that price range you're going to find pretty similar perfomance, but like Chris said, if one has preouts and the other doesn't... Though I'd wager both have them.
     
  7. Dave Bennett

    Dave Bennett Screenwriter

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    I've got a JVC-LH2000 MP3 CD deck. I really like it. Though it's display of ID3 tags is a bit odd(It displays Album/Artist on the top line and Song title line below it). Personally I'd rather have it display just artist on top and song title on bottom but oh well. I also noticed it was somewhat flaky in the reading of ID3 tags and would often just display the file name. Also, it wouldn't read some of my mp3s I had embedded artwork in using iTunes. I think the id3 tag/not reading problem were both due to the artwork though as both seem to have been cleared up when i deleted the embedded artwork from the tracks.
    I still don't like the id3 tag display format, so I ended up going to file name mode. Since I always name my mp3s Artist-Track.mp3 this works just fine.
    In terms of performance, the seek time isn't bad(though it seems quicker on a CD-R than a CD-RW) and like other second gen players, it will resume mid mp3(which my friends 1st gen Aiwa won't). Fast forward speed from within an mp3 is pretty slow but usable.
    It's a really nice unit overall with a good deal of features and lots of customization. It's currently 249 at Crutchfield and I reccomend it at that price.
     
  8. Sean Me

    Sean Me Extra

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    You can easily find an mp3 headunit for under $200. Which one that is best for you depends on what features you are looking for. If you just want cheap, the clarion DB336 is a god bet at $135 from www.ikesound.com (scala1 on ebay) and it has a set of preouts. Take a look at www.thezeb.com www.etronics.com www.ikesound.com and www.sounddomain.com and see what is available. Myself, I bought the pioneer premier 550mp from thezeb, paid $180 for it, but I needed three preouts.

    Some potential options, with prices taken from ikesounds website are:

    Pioneer DEH-P4500MP $148.50
    Pioneer DEH-P450MP $149.40 (premier version, recommended over 4500)

    Blaupunkt MP3000 $130.50 Rotary knob
    Blaupunkt San Jose $139.50 Rotary knob

    You could also have the eclipse 3403 installed by an authorized dealer for just over $200, comes with a great warranty (three years I believe)

    JVC KD-S890 $141.30 Rotary knob
    JVC KD-SX990 $146.70
     

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