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A couple weeks ago I went out and bought a Kenwood 115s deck for $135 http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S-t3WH9wDxReI/ProdView.asp?bid=10319&store=0&sid=S-t3WH9wDxReI and a set of Kenwood KFC-1786 6 1/2S speakers for $60 http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S-ncver1wO5Qn/ProdView.asp?bid=10529&store=0&sid=S-ncver1wO5Qn not from crutchfield, but just to show you what I got. The receiver would start to roll the volume like a tape after listening to it at level 28-30 (35 is maxed out) for 10-15 minutes. It sounded good until it started rolling. When it got softer it would also get really fuzzy, but again the volume would come straight back up and get louder and unfuzzy again every 2-3 seconds. So the audio store exchanged the deck thinking it was bad. Nope, still did the same thing. So I ended up returning it.

No my speakers are great, except one of them is blown with my stock deck back in. ??? They are going to replace the speaker when they get their next shipment in.

Anyone have experience with Kenwood car audio stuff? Does their low end stuff really suck that badly? I used to have a Sony CDX-2180 in my old car that I had for a long time, but it's gone with the trade. Maybe I should stick with Sony head units? What would you guys recommend in a low-end CD deck just to give a nice power boost over the stock one?
 
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I am no car audio buff, but I have had success with panasonic, pioneer, and JVC head units. Luckily for me, whoever had my se-r before me installed very high end Kenwood tape and CD components, so I lucked out. The improvement is amazing, but probably is no reflection on their low end stuff though. I had a panasonic head unit in my last car, not unlike this one:

http://store.autotoys.com/cgi-bin/wfp53024.storefront/EN/Product/PANASONIC CDDF200

(That is where I bought it too) Probably more than you are looking for, but I know they make lower models than that for less. Just my experience.
 

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well, there is a common suggestion in the car audio world that if a company makes decks, then that is what they should make and they do not make that good of speakers. There are a few exeptions, but kenwood is not one of them unfortunately. I used to have a 5007 a few years ago (midgrade cd-player) and I loved the thing until someone decided that they wanted it more than I did :-( some car audio manufacturs put some kind of buffer in there like that to protect your hearing, and also, the amps inside the head unit get really hot, making them less efficient also. personally I would not own a sony cd player b/c the low end ones (below 500 bux for sony) are not made really good and some of the internals are not......up to standards, this was a few years ago and am not sure how they are now, but, well you never know. I personally like Clarion. I have the 7475 in my car and I love it, I have owned three other clarion decks besides this one, and bought one for my ex (when I was with her) and have never had a problem with any of them, never. with four pages wrote :) if you want specific answers, just ask, car audio used to be my life, and am still really into it, so I know my stuff really well
 

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Ok. My price range is $140-$180. What deck should I get?

And what is the advantage of gettig a $300 or $500 or $800 deck if I never plan to expand it with amps and stuff?
 

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sound quality, build quality, that kind of stuff, I am partial to Clarion, and I think that they have a deck around that price range too, but you could always check the ser.net classifieds also.
 

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What did the 98SE come with?
I added JBL Power Series 6.5" all around with the stock double-din (Clarion) CD/Tape/Radio. In my old car I had a high end sony tape deck with a good sony 10 disc changer, Kicker components and subs (just so you know that I know what I'm talking about). I am not a bass head, I want quality sound.
I love the setup I have now because it really sounds great (although I am thinking of adding a one small, 8" or less, sub), looks stock for theft deterent, doesn't weigh much, and I didn't have to mess with installing a new radio.

The JBL speakers were $150/pair, but I saved some $$ by not upgrading the deck.
 

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ya, Clarion does make the stock units and are not that bad, but just a little underpowered, thats all
 

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To your second question, I am in agreement with Brian - extra $$$ typically buys better build quality, sound quality, and often more "features". I recommend you prioritize these three, and rank tested components in the mags/online against your preferenes. Before choosing though, you should definitely check out some local shops(private and national) to HEAR, TOUCH, and SEE the head units/speakers/etc. ONLY YOU will know what sound you like(clear & crisp/ warm & smooth/ etc). Different head units may sound different with different speakers. Make sure you can use(touch) and see(obvious) the head unit's controls/displays. Try operating the HU from the normal distance b/n you & your current radio(as in driving). If you do want to upgrade in the future to an amplified system, invest in a HU with at least 3 pairs of high-voltage, pre-amp outputs(front/rear/non-fading subwoofer). You can even run a short length of RCA cables from the head unit, letting them reside in the center console. This will allow future ugrades without removing the head unit.

As for which brands, I can recommend Alpine and the better Sony HU's from experience. I also recommend the Clarion HU's, as they have made a marked effort to improve quality. As for speakers, I admit that I am smitten with Boston Accoustic components - I personally prefer the Rallye Series. This line offers many of the features from the Pro Line, without costing much more than the standard Boston offerings. I like high quality and clarity, so my decisions follow that pattern. I did get the Pro 10" sub instead of the Rallye, however. Great control, very clean, only .5 cubic foot box. Boston 6.5" seperates up front, 6.5" coax in the rear deck.

Well, lots of info - time to quit.
 

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ahhhhh, another Boston man, I perfer my pros over the rallies I had before, but they are still really good speakers. the pros can handle a ton of power too, I have a punch 160 bridged on a set, puts out about 150 watts a side (real power, no bs rating)
 

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I would like to have the Pro Series seperates, but the $$$$ was too much for my needs(I simply couldn't justify going to that level). Anyway, I'm very impressed with the Pro 10(it sees about 300 watts from an Alpine V12). VERY clean and tight. And talk about quality construction - I considered mounting the woofer inverted just to show off the cast frame and mechanicals! But logic won out, and she resides behind the heavy duty grill that's provided. BTW, the seperates/coax are seeing 60 true watts each from another Alpine V12(4channel).

Glad to know there are other Boston Men out there(and with such good automotive taste). ;)
 
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