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2nd Gen Head Unit Recommendations

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by bvbull200, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. Jul 24, 2020 at 6:55 AM
    #1
    bvbull200

    bvbull200 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hope you all don't mind another "seeking recommendations" thread. I've read through a bunch on here, but technology changes quite a bit, so figured I'd ask anew.

    I have an Amazon gift card to burn and was considering a new head unit. I have a 2013 with the factory head unit now. I've added new front speakers and a 10" sub, each powered by their own amp (2 channel and mono, respectively) via a line out converter. Part of my motivation is to get rid of the slight whine the LC2i seems to pick up. Considering upgrading the rear speakers and going to a 4 channel amp at a point, but only if the truck starts seeing more rear passengers (I like the sound stage being in front of me).

    Here's a few things to narrow it down:

    - It needs Android Auto. Wired is fine as I have a place to mount my phone and usually keep it plugged in anyways.

    - I like the physical volume knob, but realize that's a big ask. I think I would still lean towards physical volume buttons, however. If it has a mute button, even better. I just want to be able to attenuate the sound quickly.

    - Budget? Seems like there are some good options around $300-350. That'd pretty well keep me from coming out of pocket much, save for adapters and the dash kit. I'll go up to $500-600, I suppose, but only if I feel I'm really getting something useful to me. I don't get as much out of tech or fine tuning sound quality in the vehicle as some do. The Pioneer DMH-WC6600NEX seems to be getting a lot of love here. Mostly 3rd gens, though? Decent option for me, even if at the top of my budget?

    - No brand preference, necessarily. I just want it to be reliable and not finicky to set up and use day to day.


    Beyond that, any features I need to be aware of? Capacitive vs resistive screens? I'd like to keep the rear view camera in my rear view mirror. I am interested in adding a camera to my camper shell. Could I have that go to the head unit and the tailgate camera go to the mirror with both activating when I go to reverse?

    Any others thoughts I have I'll post up.

    I appreciate any input from the group!
     
  2. Jul 24, 2020 at 10:12 AM
    #2
    Koolbreeze7

    Koolbreeze7 GRILL MAN

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    Check my thread listing for the 4200NEX out of my 2nd gen
     
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  3. Jul 25, 2020 at 8:03 AM
    #3
    bvbull200

    bvbull200 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I saw that. Looks like a nice head unit. Trying to burn this Amazon gift card, though. Don't have much else to blow it on that we need or want otherwise.
     
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  4. Jul 25, 2020 at 9:36 AM
    #4
    amansker

    amansker Well-Known Member

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    I've invested many hours into research and my Pioneer DMH-2660NEX arrived yesterday. Its wired/pigtails and ready to install today. Two features I had to have were HD Radio and Capacitive screen. Those are typically found on ~$600 front ends. I like the volume knob too - a lot, but not common with all the features I needed. It allows me to use my Android with bluetooth, see GPS, make phone calls.

    It HAS: Android Auto, capacitive screen, HD Radio, front &rear camera (some models offer more video options, I don't care).

    Does NOT have: Wireless Android Auto (look that up, these terms are confusing because you CAN use bluetooth for phone calls), CD, volume knob, ANY physical buttons on front (which I'll miss).

    $345 at Crutchfield, but I had to wait two weeks for them to get back in stock. I left it on CC and they charged and shipped (also install component) 2-day after it arrived. The next day I noticed they were out of stock AGAIN. Most others were out of stock or charging $400-$500 and I don't know if they are legit dealers. Maybe they are selling gray label products or won't be so easy on returns, etc. Crutchfield is reliable. Install kits + Pioneer + posi-connecters (do buy these) = $420.15 delivered. Wiring pigtails was a no-brainer, all color matched wiring (but I confirmed in documentation).

    NOTE: My search quickly narrowed to Pioneer and Kenwood. Kenwood did not have capacitive screens until very $$$. I think KW might have a higher screen resolution. The Kenwood Excelon series cost a bit more, but has a two year warranty. All others were one year.

    I'm convinced these are hard to find because they BANG FOR THE BUCK IS VERY HIGH. Crutchfield makes it easy to compare models. More expensive models offer a log of features that I personally don't think" "I need hard to tell until I've used it for a bit.

    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_130DM2660/Pioneer-DMH-2660NEX.html
     
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  5. Jul 25, 2020 at 9:53 AM
    #5
    amansker

    amansker Well-Known Member

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    FYI: If you put a front end into the cart at Crutchfield they will offer install kit options. Those part numbers transfer to Amazon searches which can be very helpful. I ended up with the Scosche because of reviews.
     
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  6. Jul 25, 2020 at 5:45 PM
    #6
    bvbull200

    bvbull200 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Man, that lack of any physical buttons is tough for me. I want a little point of reference when I touch the head unit.

    I'm starting to find l dig this Sony unit. Seems to review well and is very tidy looking.

    https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07CB3CB1V/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_bhnhFb8TTVSWB

    Think I lose the second camera, but gain a second USB port, which might get some use.

    Which kit specifically do you have? I suppose I need an adapter to keep steering wheel controls, too.
     
  7. Jul 26, 2020 at 1:10 PM
    #7
    amansker

    amansker Well-Known Member

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    That looks great and it has the capacitive screen. Crutchfield recommended it when the 2660NEX was not available. It does not have HD radio which is a priority for me. A few buttons for the basics - especially volume - make all the sense in the world to me. I use a dab of silicone on remote control buttons to help me get my bearing. That might work on the edge of mine next to volume controls. Mine only has one USB out on the back and I'm afraid I might have to use it to connect the phone. That would be a real bummer because I want to use a flash drive. Connected wires and had it playing yesterday, finalizing install today.

    However, the parking brake bypass may require an extra part. AND I'm not so certain about the steering wheel controls even though I bought the part (see CRUX SWRTY). Instructions are lacing EVERYWHERE.

    BTW, I was trying to remove the warning signal modulesfrom the removed dash part and found three sets of instruction. The first was using a screwdriver to free tabs, then to unscrew the two screws and, FINALLY, simply pop it out of the frame. So, pop it out in 15 seconds and ignore the rest.

    Crutchfield RCA Y-Adapter 3.5mm Male to 2 Female RCA
    Item #00735RCA

    Scosche TA2053S9B Tacoma 2009-11, Gray, DD
    Item #142TA2053B

    FOR PIONEER
    Crux SWRTY-61S Toyota Radio Interface W/SWC Retention 03-11
    Item #249TY61S

    WORTH THE $6
    Posi-Products Connector Kit 16 pieces for Car Stereos
    Item #669PP500
     
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  8. Jul 26, 2020 at 3:45 PM
    #8
    bvbull200

    bvbull200 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I'd really like that 2nd video input, but can't find the feature/form combo that I like that also includes it. I would use the secondary camera very infrequently (thinking of having a camera inside my enclosed trailer), so I think I can get away with adding a video switcher somewhere upstream from the single video input. I don't plan to have my tailgate backup camera running to the headunit as I'm happy with it in my rear view mirror.

    Everything keeps pointing back to that Sony for me. There is an Alpine that I like (iLW-W650) that seems good for the money, too, but only a single USB input. The workaround for a second USB isn't quite as clean as is adding a video switcher. Could do a USB hub or something, but that doesn't sound like a great option if you're using wired Android Auto.

    The form of that Sony is about as near an OEM look as I've seen, too, for something with all of those features.
     
  9. Jul 26, 2020 at 5:30 PM
    #9
    amansker

    amansker Well-Known Member

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    >>>Could do a USB hub or something, but that doesn't sound like a great option if you're using wired Android Auto.<<<

    I see phone calls/contacts/messaging work with bluetooth. For GPS phone must be plugged into my only USB port. That will suck if I can't figure out a way to use a flash drive or SSD attached. If not will just have to use my phone.

    Mine's hooked up and I played with it a bit. Realized the SWC kit I ordered just plugs into the back of the head unit. Controls on my steering wheel are working great. Already in the habit of controlling volume from there.
     
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  10. Jul 26, 2020 at 6:27 PM
    #10
    bvbull200

    bvbull200 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Just built a cart full of stuff.

    I'll put up the stuff here shortly. Basically that Sony unit and the big install package recommended by Crutchfield. No Scosche kits seem to fit the 2013s and that head unit, so went with a metra. I think the gloss charcoal gray is the better color? I don't want flat black. If it sucks, I'll just paint it.
     
  11. Jul 26, 2020 at 6:54 PM
    #11
    amansker

    amansker Well-Known Member

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    The Scosche is not snapping in correctly. Will report later. I re-used the existing steel brackets instead of the plastic kit brackets. Maybe that's why.

    The color is not silver like my dash, but the gray is close enough to other colors.

    And I just noticed my Android WAPO app shows up on screens, lists articles and offers to read them. That's kewl! Kind of funny I'm so in the dark after running an internet development business for 20 years.
     
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  12. Aug 1, 2020 at 10:34 AM
    #12
    amansker

    amansker Well-Known Member

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    Evidently the Scosche faceplate was meant to attach to the Scosche mounting brackets. I used the original steel brackets for strength. Temp stuffed some paper napkin in connector holes and it is holding well so far.
     
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  13. Aug 1, 2020 at 12:11 PM
    #13
    bvbull200

    bvbull200 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Is there a mute/attenuate button on the screen or anything? What is the quickest way for you to mute the sound on that unit?
     
  14. Aug 1, 2020 at 1:37 PM
    #14
    amansker

    amansker Well-Known Member

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    THAT is on my task list for today. I can turn the unit off by holding down a button, but there is a 2 second delay. There is no visible mute button. Will follow up.

    I do like the way it handles USB flash drive files. Catalogs and writes a file to the drive for future reference. Our 2018 Subaru system has to catalog the flash drive every time you connect it! That is just plain stupid.
     
  15. Aug 2, 2020 at 9:48 AM
    #15
    amansker

    amansker Well-Known Member

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    There is a vertical column of tiny icons on the left side. The middle button (hardest to locate without looking) can be held in for two seconds to mute. Not good at all. There is a larger mute touch button that shows up in some screens, but is not constantly on when music is playing. If you change volume, this button shows up on the bottom row for ~5 seconds and disappears. It is an instant mute. If one had an emergency, the fastest mute is to click a volume button and then click the large mute button I mentioned. Still awkward and slow.

    Makes me think of an Iron Butt Bun Burner Gold ride I did in the distant past. The idea is to cover 1500 miles in 24 hours. I can assure you one becomes a bit spacey after eight hours on a bike (especially at consistent high rates of speed). I traveled from San Diego to OKC. At 2:30am in the middle of nowhere in TX, about 2 hours south of Dallas, no city lights in view - I mean nowhere - I'm travelling at 86mph and an LEO lights up behind me. To stay awake I had music cranked into my helmet and at that particular moment Purple Haze was blasting. The last thing I wanted that cop to hear was Purple Haze blasting out of my helmet so I start fumbling for a way to turn it off. I was so spaced out that I failed, but took my helmet off and hung it on the mirror as the cop arrived. Not a good thing. The first thing out of his mouth was "I bet you didn't expect to see me here." Got nailed for 86mph.
     
  16. Aug 2, 2020 at 11:52 AM
    #16
    bvbull200

    bvbull200 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I decided on this:

    Sony XAV-AX5000:
    https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B07CB3CB1V/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_xpVjFb6B8H61C

    Metra dash kit:
    https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00A81NGK2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_QqVjFb6HY9QT2

    Wiring harness:
    https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01BM3QGCO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_qrVjFbXEGCR1Q

    I got those little Posi-products things, too.

    Decided on the Sony unit based mostly on the physical buttons and the OEM-ish look. I don't do much playing off of USB, but I think I'll get a little use out of the second USB input. You can attenuate the sound by long pressing one of the buttons on the face. We'll see if it's annoyingly slow or not.

    I was close to getting that Pioneer you got. I like the extra camera input, the 4v pre-outs, and the retention of the aux input. Frankly, the lack of inputs is my least favorite bit about the Sony, but I'll get over it. It's going to be miles more capable than the factory unit anyways. I was considering a unit that works with the Maestro adapters as the ability to display some vehicle diagnostics is appealing, but I have Torque Pro on my phone and it sounds like it can be displayed with Android Auto.

    I just couldn't come around on the lack of physical buttons, otherwise that probably would have been my choice.

    I have a dashcam coming in, too. Might try to make a day of it all where I get wiring to the front camera hidden and wire up the rear camera. Might pull the headliner for some of that, which means I might as well add sound deadening and isolation to the roof at the same time.

    Busy day coming up soon.
     
  17. Aug 2, 2020 at 2:13 PM
    #17
    amansker

    amansker Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately mine has only one USB input which is required for phone connect/Android Auto leaving no 2nd option for a USB flash (which IS important to me). It is simple and fast to switch and probably won't matter too much in real life. Time will tell. Phone calls only require bluetooth, not USB connect.
     
  18. Aug 2, 2020 at 2:26 PM
    #18
    amansker

    amansker Well-Known Member

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    And...your system looks great. Like you said, it is leaps and bounds beyond stock.
     
  19. Aug 7, 2020 at 4:47 PM
    #19
    mr2crazed

    mr2crazed Well-Known Member

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    Looking forward to seeing the end result after your installation. Been trying to decide what to upgrade to on my 2006 from OEM.
     
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  20. Aug 10, 2020 at 12:02 PM
    #20
    bvbull200

    bvbull200 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Head unit arrived yesterday. I am waiting on one more RCA cable to arrive and I think I'll have everything needed to get started. I have a dashcam that I want to install, too, but think I'm going to run the rear camera cable behind the headliner while I have it pulled apart to add sound deadening/isolation. I don't think that affects my plans to install the head unit, it just matters on whether I want two projects or one long one.

    The plan here is to leave the backup camera in the rear-view mirror. I will add accessory cameras (via a video selector) to the backup camera input on the head unit (I rather like the backup camera being in the mirror).
     
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