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Post your Audio/Video reviews here....

4369 Views 20 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  slackass
I thought this might make an informative thread. Here it goes. Post your reviews of your installed in your MDX. Audio/Video equipment. I hope that this will help folks with what equipmnet can be used and how well does it intergrate with the X and maybe help them decide what suits their needs.

Heres my first review:

Panasonic CQ-DVR909U- Single DIN CD/DVD/CVD with built in DTS/Pro Logic Surround Sound system w/ built in center channel speaker:
Pros: Aesthetics is the high point of this head unit. It has a cool silver face in the day time and a cool blue backlit face at night. The cyborg arm that swings open to serve as a center channel speaker is a "cool factor" impress your friends piece but it also serves it purpose very well. Though it is essentially a tweeter it does well with dialogue for DVD movies. If you have a very loud system it might be a good idea to install an outboard center channel with a stronger amplifier. This is one head unit that has all the bells and whistles and more packaged neatly in a small unit without using an outboard box. This is one amazing piece of technology. The DVD playback on this head unit is impressive, Video is crisp, colors are vivid and bright with no hint of pixelation or spots. Audio playback in 5.1 and DTS sorround sound is better than I anticipated for in-car listening, rivals if not exceeds some home based systems. The ability to add delay effects helps to correct most imaging deficiencies. This head unit is also capable of running more than 2 monitors and is a dual zone unit meaning the front and rear media zones can be seperated to playback your choice of video or audio if headphones are used. Example front passengers can listen to the CD via the front speakers, the rear speakers will be turned off but monitor can still show a DVD movie while the movie watchers can listen through headphones for audio. There are so many features in this unit that I could not name all of them, you could check the full details in the Panasonic website.
Built-in equalization and Crossover ability would be a welcomed addition and to include a bass controller would be a plus. The remote control just has too many damn buttons that are to identical in shape. It is okey during the day but is really impossible at night in the dark. It would be nice if they went with OSD to minimize the buttons like the ones found on the Pioneer,Clarion and Kenwood and Alpine models. Due to the swing out arm installation choices are limited, the faceplate housing protrudes too much from the base of the mounting surface. DVD and VCD playback is exceptional but this unit will not play CDR and MP3 encoded cds. In order to playback burnt cds you will have to purchase one of the cd changers.
This might be a very challenging endeavour if you are not a seasoned installer due to the fact that there are a lot of wires to be connected. This installation takes more time than the average head unit install. The single DIN fitment is straightforward and manual is quite easy to understand but it does leave out some details in regards with how to install the little amplifier box. All in all it was a straightforward install just make sure that you have enough clearance for the swing out arm and make sure that there is nothing in it's way.
Conclusion: With the exception of having a built-in monitor and EQ capability this is the ultimate DVD/CD radio head unit in the market for the price range. SInce all the features are built into this single DIN unit including the sound processing it does make for one of the easiest installs when compared to other head units of comparable features that have to use outboard external processors. This must be the reason why this head unit is so highly praised in some reviews.
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JL Audio 300/4 4 channel amplifier

JL Audio made it's reputation as a premier subwoofer manufacturer. Since their introduction they have dominated the competiton circuit. They then moved to component speakers and a line of coaxial speakers that became an instant success complementing and finishing off their speaker line up. Once again they come full circle with their introduction of their new line of amps.
I bought the JL 300/4 4 channel amp a couple of days ago. This an average size amp but it is a hefty amp. It really is a brick. Puns aside the aesthetics of this amp is far from industrial. It features a brushed aluminum front cover with green LED lights.
The heat sinks are located at the top, the design of the spacing of the fins permit an install of a side to side amp from either the left or right to make them look like one big long amp. Most amps have the power and signal running the opposite ends to avoid picking up any unwanted noise but JL does not. Though this amp is designed this way there is not a hint of noise from this unit at all. The power is plentiful here, with R.I.P.S. the rated 75 watts is constant regardless of power voltage and impedence to 1.5 ohms.
Handsome amp and it does sound as good as it looks. This is the cleanest amp I have ever owned. In car-listening revealed no unwanted artifacts added to the meduim. DVD movies I auditioned made left me in awe. Though I have listened to Star Wars Episode 1 at least a couple of dozen times in the car and with different home systems there was just some sound effects that I never heard before. The sound seperation of this amp is amazing. It is that clean! My Bostons never sounded this good! The impact of blasts and explosions just blew me away. The imaging was just breath taking. The plethora of signal processing in this amp is superb you can pretty much dial in and dial out the sound you are looking for. Music is still the number duty for this amp and it does it so well. Though my initial set up still needs some work my quick set up showed me how good this amp really is. With so little tweaking I got the system to sound like this. Given some more time and I know it will even sound better.
Though the equaliztion is pretty good more equalization is definitely welcome. This is a hefty amp it probably weighs around 12-15 pounds. I wished the included allen wrench was made of a better quality. The edges tend to get rounded after just a few turns.
As easy as any amp in the market. The power cables that this amp accepts can be that fat. Just amazing I will have to buy and upgrade to the thicker cable for the final installation. Every hardware to install this amp(except for the rca cable and power cables) is complete including an outboard fuse of high quality with included fuse. The tweaking is what will take the most of your time in setting this amp but this is definitely worth the wait from the results that you get.
The best sounding amp I have used to date including PPI,Phoenix Gold,Orion,Rockford Fostgate,Alpine,JBL,MTX to name a few. This amp is superb in respect to it's ability to equalize and process the sound without adding unwanted artifacts without smearing the imaging of the system. The detail is amazingly pure-- you hear what was meant to be heard when the meduim was recorded no more no less! There is one thing that dissapoints me--I have to wait a few days to get my hands on the JL 500/1 and 300/2. Oh well!!!!! For complete specs see link below.
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Boston Acoustics Pro Series 6.5 components

When you open the box package these components came in you wonder how the hell did they get the speakers in this pretty tiny box. I have seen the rally component sets and they were at least twice the size. I was able to trade in my unopened Rally sets and upgrade to the Pro Series. Amazing these sets come with every mounting plate options for both the woofer and the tweeters. The plethora of mounting options was mind blowing. These components also come with speaker grills should you choose to utilize them.
No end to the installation possibilities with the included hardware. The crossover network is art in it's design, it would be a shame if you hide these beauties. They need to be displayed to be appreciated. Easy speaker wire connection, you don't even need to read the manual. Build quality and materials used are top notch.
Though the crossovers are a work of art it will also take some work to find a place to mount these beauties. They are quite large and not easy to hide should you choose to.
These are easy drop in speakers in the MDX. The woofers install on the factory front doors with ease if the included mounting plate is used. I also applied some sealant around the plate where it mounts against the factory doors to make a proper air tight seal. The tweeters can easily go on the factory tweeter pods but I need the oem tweeters to play the oem navi voice guidance and plus I wanted a different type of ambiance and soundstage which the oem location could not provide. It took me 2 hrs using clay to temporary mount the tweeters in several location and different angles. I finally settled with the front pillars where the front windshield is and mounted the tweeters inside the pillars beside the factory tweeter pod. I angled the left and right tweeters up towards the rear view mirror. The hole cut into the pillars was covered with speaker cloth grill to let the sound through. The crossovers were temporarily installed inside the left side of the accelator pedals inside the radio dashboard panel. I will relocate the x-overs later to highlight them as they should.
In-car listening:
My first test, I used the built in amp from my aftermarket Panasonic unit which I think is rated at 45 watts each channel which is real world probably 10-15 watts true power. With music the Bostons sound very good, the oem Bose has nothing on these babies. Midbass response was quite impressive even though these units were designed to be used with higher power amps. The highs and midbass transition was smooth and not overbearing my ears never got tired. I auditioned them with DVD movies as well. These speakers can engulf you with sound even with low powered amps. These are very nice all around speakers.
My second test was with an amplifier(the first test was conducted with a Rockford Fosgate Punch 200x)4 channel amp 50 watts per channel. Now this is where the Bostons sing. With the higher powered amps the soundstage was more pronounced. The midbass clearly was cleaner and had more bass and impact. With the higher power amps this is where the inadequcies or defieiencies of a system will show. The way the components were installed realy worked well on the MDX. Sound stage was high center and seemed liked it extended well in front of the dash and there was a good stereo seperation without smearing the images to the left or right. I had friends listen to the speakers and the first thing they asked me was where the speakers were. They said they could not pin point the source it was pretty dead center. Since then I have replaced the RF amps with the JL Audio 300/4 (75 watts per channel) The RF amps made these babies sing but the JL made them sing and dance-- more like rock and roll. The Bostons are the perfect match for the JL amps. The highs have more of a presence and airy wide sound to them. The soundstage has widen without any distortion at all. On movies they play individual sounds with precision, every sound is seprated. The sound is what you would expect from best of Home theatres. Up front bass is hard to accomplish in a car unless bigger or more woofers are used but the Bostons really do rock. Not only do you hear rumblings and explosions but the impact actually can litterally blast you. This adds to the you are in the scene feel like presence. You have to hear them to really appreciate it. I also auditioned them with DVD Audio discs. Here I did experience a little problem the "S"s were too pronounced and ear piercing, this is more due to further tuning in the equalization, with a little tweaking I should be able to banish the "gremlins".
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More reviews to come........

Coming Soon:
Boston Acoustics Pro 5.5 Component sets
Pioneer AVD-W8000 8" LCD Active Martrix Wide Screen Monitor.
JL Audio 300/2 (2x 150 watts)2 channel amp
JL Audio 500/1 (1 x 500 watts)mono sub amp
Kenwood KSC-900CTR Single Din size powered center channel speakers.
Kenwood KSC-WA6ZRC Powered 6.5 subwoofer.
Clarion MSS430 Multi Zone Audio/Video swicther
Rockford Fostage RFQ500 Dolby Prologic II Sorrround Sound Decoder Processor
IR Wireless Headphones (undecided what brand yet)
Wow, Xtreme, excellent reviews. While I have yet to receive my MDX and upgrade my stereo equipment, I'll be sure to share my results...

I'm considering (2) JL 300/2 amps, (1) JL 500/1, an Audio control-EQS, Boston Pro's or Focal Utopias up front, some rear fill to be determined. (2) JW 12W3's in a sealed enclosure...
I can highly recommend the Focals and the JL amps.

Mini- review:

JL 300/4- clean, regulated power sound tight and very clean, runs a bit warm. My favorite amp to date. Very musical.

JL 250/1-clean, regulated power. Small size (great for the folks that just want to toss a sub in their MDX) kicks the bass but runs a bit warm.

JL 500/1- clean, regulated power (class D) kicks the bass and runs very cool.

Alpine 7977 XM ready CD player. Dead head. Very cool looks and the usual great clean Alpine sound. It has blue LEDs and a silver face. All outputs (3 sets) at 4 volts and not a lot of pointless features or cheesy display graphics. Fairly simple to use and best of all XM radio ready. The XM soudn sgood but not quite as good as CD due to the compression. This desk has BBE and that helps greatly with the XM. Soon to be replaced by the 7995 wich is basically the same but adds MP3. As soon as the 7995 is available I will be getting it and I will update this review.

Focal PolyKevlar 165 K- great speakers (to my ears anyway). I listened to every high end speaker you can think of and the tweeters on all of them either hurt my ears (way too much titanium,) or were just too weak (Boston). Then I stumbled onto the focal line. These were perfect in everyway. I even used the seperates for the rear fills. Worth ever $ spent. But remember speakers are very subjective.

Everyone that listens to my system comments on how great it sounds and that they want the same sound from their install.
It is amazing how many people ask what kind of speakers I have and when I say Focal they smile knowingly. Only one dealer sells them here and all the other dealers want to carry them.
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Yes they are very good sounding highs very smooth I definitely agree, How was the mids by the way. Some people have said that they are the only short coming on these components but if they are used in conjunction w/ subs they are definitely very musical. How does it sound with movie playback? I auditioned them at a local shop with music and they are definitely better in the highs but the shop salesman said that for what I will be listening to music and movies the Bostons were a better choice. The MB were too high strung and he carries both Focal and MB but not the Bostons. He was one of the other people that have mentioned about the mids on the focal being too soft, he has it in his car. I did prefer the Focals for music playback though. By the way they make a 6.5 subwoofer that really rocks. 4 of these babies were used by a competitor in IASCA and won that category. I was thinking this might be my last upgrade to my system to bring the bass to the front. An under the seat box should squeeze in there. A couple on each seat.
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I have no complaints with the mid-bass my Focals produce. I am using the Polykevlar 165K series wich is a 2 piece setup. Some will suggest you go to a 3 way setup to really get great sound but I am from the less components the better "school".

I am using a sub that we fit in the factory location but if I kill the sub the Focal sound great.

I will agree that the Bostons sound great as well but I was less than pleased with their tweeters.

The trend seems to be tons of bass and tons of high end these days. Seems like all peole want to listen to is rap that has a ton of bass, some high hat and vocals. T0 me that is just not music and hence the painfully high sounding MBs and JLs.

BTW I do not nor will I have a video setup in my car so I cannot really vouch for how movies will sound. I play bass guitar so as you might imagine I am a critical music listener and I always need the mid and low bass to be there and clear. When I buy speakers and amps be it for my home theater or my car I always make sure the music will sound right first or I wont buy them. Movies are great but IMO they do not need the accuracy that music demands.
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That's good to know.......

that you are very happy with your Focals.. I listen to all types of music from Jazz, Classical,R&B,Rap or Hip Hop, Alternative Rock, Top 40, Heavy Metal, you name it I listen to it. I agree that the Bostons tweeters need a new design I think they have been using the same design for quite awhile now they have improved their mids with the new basket design. I am also a believer in the installers mantra K.I.S.S. school of thought(Keep It Simple Stupid). I agree that for pure musical sonics the simpler the speaker set up is (The Less is Better)the purer it sounds. Unfortunately the Audio/Video design on my system tosses the KISS mantra out the window but I am making provisions to make sure that I still have a set up that will play music the way it should. I have carefully though out the speaker placements for both the front and rear passengers in most cases the oem speaker placements will not be used so it does require a little more customizing. I think I will be putting the Focals on our other car though, and this will have a simple set up. This car was stolen last year. They took the custom rims and most of the audio gear so it desserves a nice sounding system. This one will have the new JL 5 channel amp, a single JL 10W3, the Focals front and back and one of the newer Pioneer MP3/XM ready CD head but I have to finish the X first. Whew this is going to be one busy year for me.
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Xtreme MDX and mig,
I have enjoyed your discussion and would like to have your opinion of my planned A/V install. I have the 2002 Touring with Nav and have the following objectives: stealth install, no disruption or modification to the factory nav system, XM, DVD, MP3, CD audio sources and a sound quality that approximates what I enjoy in my home theatre system.

Here is the equipment list:
Alpine CDA7998 AM/FM XM MP3 CD player headunit.
Alpine XM Tuner.
Turk SR2 XM Antennae.
Alpine in dash DVA5205 DVDVideo CD/CD Player.
Alpine TME-M760 video monitor (mounted in compartment below factory headunit).
Accele reverse image, color backup camera.
2 Alpine MRVT420 AccuClass-D V12 2 channel amps for front and rear speakers (140w per channel).
Alpine MRD-M500 AccuClass-D V12 digital sub amp (500w at 2 ohm). All 3 amps will fit in headrest storage area!
Boston Pro 10.5" 2 ohm sub.
Boston Pro 6.5" component speakers in rear doors.
Boston Z6 Reference component speakers in front doors (with crossovers mounted in rear - they are huge at 8.75"x3.5"x2") .
Dynamat entire interior of car.
Lightning Audio 1 farad capacitor.
Monster cables and power distribution kit.

Do you have any experience with the Boston Z6 Reference speakers? I've never heard them but the installer says if I can't hear a significant difference over the 6.5 Pros in the rear doors he will replace them with the 6.5 Pros and refund the difference. He claims they are much better than MB's top of the line and for $400 less (he carries both brands).

In September Alpine will be releasing their PXA-H700 Multimedia Manager with Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS and Dolby Pro Logic II processing, with 1/3 octave equalization, digital crossover and precise digital time alignment. The appeal to me with this processor is that I am building a nice collection of DVD concerts, and that the Pro Logic II creates multi-channel sound from any stereo source including XM, FM and CD and MP3. Have you heard any demos or reviews of this processor? It was featured at the 2002 CES.

Also, you seem to be high on the JL amps. My installer also carries this line but has the opinion that the new Alpine V12 series will be better suited tomy system. Any thoughts would be appreciated. We are going to put final touches on this list next week and likely start the install the following week.
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Video review

I got a motorized flip down 7" Sony monitor XVM-R75 (installed by Best Buy) along with Sony Playstation2 installed under the passenger seat (installed by myself). Very clean monitor install, blends in nicely with the gray color of the roof (looks factory). Great picture. I have an adapter out of the Playstation 2 to a cassette adapter with good sound. Monitor is able to do 2 IR wireless heaphones but those puppies are expensive (about $100 each). I (and of course my kids)love the system. Will post pics when I get a chance.
R Stevens said:
no disruption or modification to the factory nav system,

Accele reverse image, color backup camera.
Just two points R Stevens, just make sure you take into consideration how you will keep the Navi voice with the new headunit. Some people have lost it completely and didn't care, but others have had to do a work around. It's kind of blurry what really needs to be done, but take a look at to see how they addressed it, especially if you'd like to keep the Navi voice.

For a backup camera, consider the Santeca CDM-301 also. I got it for $145 at . It also has night vision, which is very nice for use at night and in dark garages.

Otherwise, if you really do the install, it will be an amazing system!!
Re: Video review

rlm32 said:
I got a motorized flip down 7" Sony monitor XVM-R75 (installed by Best Buy) along with Sony Playstation2 installed under the passenger seat (installed by myself). Very clean monitor install, blends in nicely with the gray color of the roof (looks factory). Great picture. I have an adapter out of the Playstation 2 to a cassette adapter with good sound. Monitor is able to do 2 IR wireless heaphones but those puppies are expensive (about $100 each). I (and of course my kids)love the system. Will post pics when I get a chance.
Any pics?
Ok, to follow with the purpose of the thread, mine was what you can call a "budget" system, try to get the most of what I could for the least amount of money.

Here's the equipment:

Power Acoustik PADVD80 DVD/VCD/MP3 player:
- $189 low price
- Brushed aluminum face
- Fits under driver's seat
- Nice silver remote with zoom, ff, rr plenty of functions
- Hidden so it doesn't look like I've got a DVD
- Not a top name like Alpine/Clarion/Kenwood
- Can't fit in dash

Pioneer AVC-RGB1:

- One of two solutions to do Navi conversion
- Requires a toggle switch instead of digital remote switch

- Discontinued
- Discontinued
- Discontinued

Santeca ST-1000 Tuner:
- Diversity Antenna
- 3 inputs 2 outputs
- 2 outputs are same signal, can't have different source to different screen

Santeca CDM-301 Backup Camera:
- Low $145 price
- Color
- 107 wide angle
- Night vision
- Fish bowl effect
- Kind of visible

TView 7 inch Flip-down screen from :
- Low $265 price
- High res active TFT at 1440 x 234
- Smallest 7 inch flip-down in the world
- Great wide angle viewing
- Not name brand

Infinity 652i upgrade, not installed yet.
- Only $59.99
- Easy install
- Not a blow you away system
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Thanks for the tips. On the navi voice I want to keep it and the installers think they have a way. I gave them my shop manuals to have all the wiring diagrams. One of the options will be to run the voice directly into the Alpine TME-M760 monitor. It has a built-in amplifier and speaker for use with the aftermarket Alpine nav system.

I'll look into your recommended camera. The night vision feature is appealing, although the installer claimed that the backup lights are more than adequate for this Accele camera. It is the same model they use for their in store security system that works with minimal lighting.

Do you do your installs yourself, or do you have a Bay area car audio shop that you can recommend?

I would like to know is there any other conversion kits for NAV screen to video out there?:1:

I would to know is there any other conversion kits for NAV screen to video out there?:1:
Check out this thread:
R Stevens...

Sounds like a great plan you've got on the go, I, like yourself have been a dedicated Alpine Fanatic for years, and for great reason, winning many sound quality and RTA competions with virtually all Alpine equiptment...very clean, and not as "punchy" as some, not a boomer, but very good SQ...

I am waiting for my 2003 to arrive in late fall, but have all equiptment bascially ready to go, most of which is carry over from my previous system in my Caravan. -Alpine amps for front and back, and a mono amp for sub. Speakers are SPX component for front and DD DRive coaxials in rear. the imaging on the SPX's are the best I have ever heard! I will also use the Alpine G320 sound
processer/EQ as this piece really adds a lot of control for listening position, EQ, and if you want, surround effects, but I'm not real
big on anything other than good clean stereo sound with an up/fron and in your face stage...The only delima I have is whether or not to go with the stock BOSE head unit/CD player and hook up G320 via an RCA line converter which will then feed my amps, or go with my CVA1005 in dash multimedia controller and screen, and external 6 CD changer.

I would love to use this, however, I'm not too keen on trying to make a faceplate/trim peice which would look good in terms of the
opening left void by the Bose system , which would house my CVA 1005...G320, and maybe even the indash DVD????

The Video system will be either a drop down 10" monitor and visor screen, or two headrest screens and visor....I can't decide on which will provide the best viewing for the kids in row 2...the bigger screen mounted "way up there"...or the little screens mounted dead ahead of them...??? Comment anyone??

I would be interested in knowing where all of you have put your amps, crossovers, and brain units? As far as subs, I will try to go a little lower key , (had 2-12" kicker solobarics in my Caravan) by utilizing the same location, but with some type of special box to
house a 10" R-Series alpine sub...These can work in as little as .6 cubic feet, so other than a hefty mounting depth, volume should
not be a problem....I also like the idea of using a PS 2 for games and DVD use....2 for the price of one kind of thing...

Last thing...MDX trous...any word on how Ron made out with the molex connector to feed your video into your Stock Bose system?

If I go with staying with the Bose head unit, and all else, I'll need to "bite-into it" some how with the DVD audio signal...
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Curtsan said:
Last thing...MDX trous...any word on how Ron made out with the molex connector to feed your video into your Stock Bose system?

If I go with staying with the Bose head unit, and all else, I'll need to "bite-into it" some how with the DVD audio signal...
Ron has been a bit slow in getting me in to do the install. I think it pretty much works, but he just needs to schedule me in. He got the connector, and I sent him a schematic, but just told me today he'll be off on vacation until the 18th, but I myself am going away on the 16th for 17 days, so I won't know until beginning of September. I'm really sorry guys. I'll definitely post the results when it's done. Ron's done it on other cars before, so he assures me there will be no problem.
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