Car Audio help please

Hi all. Am looking for some help in upgrading my car stereo system with after market double din head unit/receiver (budget around £300-400), two front 6.5 inch speakers and a single 3 inch centre speaker. For the head unit there is not a lot of info or detail on the web about great sounding units. Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood and Alpine all seem equally represented. Bluetooth a must but not too bothered about Apple CarPlay. Speaker-wise I think I will go with Focal.

Any comments and guidance greatly appreciated.

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How much to you want to spend.

If very little then go for a simple Bluetooth adapter, I have tested these, and they are superb.
They enable voice, handsfree and streaming from your phone, for the princly sum of £10.79…

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No commercial links in here, thanks.

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If you are going with Focal speakers it might be a good idea to ask them what they would recommend as an aftermarket head unit.

Sound-wise, I always found Nakamichi to be head and shoulders above the rest, but that’s going back some years, and I’m not even sure whether they even make in car kit any more. Alpine and Pioneer weren’t so bad, so maybe check out what they offer in double DIN.

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Apolgies re link… :slight_smile:

Also Thumbs up for Nakamichi listened to them via the US in Germany, very impressive…

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Worth contacting a car audio specialist and asking what they recommend for your budget. They can also advise what adapters are required to interface with steering wheel controls etc if you need them.

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Agreed, go and listen

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I fitted a Sony XAV-AX3005DB last year and it’s fantastic.

Car play has been a god-send for both Tidal and Waze / Google Maps, but regular BT works fine just without album art work.

£250 and was a doddle to fit, it’s a double-din bit the actual unit is single so easy to route wires.

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Thanks Richard Nakamichi is available here (Thailand). Will venture out to the dealers to go listen. Always good to get feedback from this group.

When my son was a lot younger he worked as a car audio engineer to fund his studies. He was considered by many to be pretty good at what he did - probably due to growing up around my Naim system?

When I was looking for for something good to go in the car he suggested an Alpine head unit, one of their class D amps and separate focal tweeter and mid/bass units. The head unit/amp was linked with a Chord lead and the amp/speakers/cross-overs with QED cables (soldered). He even ran a dedicated supply direct from the battery.

How does it sound? Pretty amazing really! It seems to have that same Naim quality (PR&T) that makes you want to listen to it all the time.


Thanks for this. Do you recall the Alpine head unit model and what year was this?

I can’t remember the exact model number as it was three or four years ago, so probably superseded anyway? It was quite a good one and has CD, USB/DAC and radio with preamp output. I think I paid £200+ for it.

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I’d recommend JL Audio for amplification, and CDT or Dynaudio for the speaker drivers.

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