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Old 20th July 2011, 22:05   #16
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
- Headache of unskilled labour installing the system (cutting wires et al). Especially a worry in complicated modern cars as well as integrated ICE.
- Potential warranty issues.
That is extremely well said. I would upgrade the speakers if necessary. But wont go through the hassle of replacing the HU.

Already i have some unpleasant experiences regarding HU installation.
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Old 20th July 2011, 22:34   #17
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

Good posts everyone - very informative.
My two cents.
I would agree with what some have said that the market for aftermarket HU may shrink due to a variety of factors.

I would have thought that this is unfortunate because some aftermarket HU's had one important feature - great amount of extensibility - i.e. you could integrate with LCD, iPOD, Phone, maybe even a GPS.

However, with the increasing proliferation of OEM HU, an important market is silently in the making...
This is the market for making other gadgests (GPS, iPOD, phone etc) integrate with OEM HU. Funnily enough it is getting created by the Tier 3/4 (mostly Chinese/Taiwanese) manufacturers who never had a chance when aftermarket HUs were in their heyday...
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Old 21st July 2011, 08:08   #18
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

Very interesting thread, ajmat.

I think carmakers fail at providing decent HUs and end up with a system that is acceptable to all but delights none. That may explain GTO's point about high-end car owners not opting to change the stock HU.

In a car like the Vento, the case for changing is simple: the OE HU sucks! No USB, no AUX- the only thing going for it is that it LOOKS good and the reason people (including self) have not changed it is that VW threatens to void the warranty if we do, which is simply not a fair trade practice.

My suggestion to automakers: tie up with name brands in the HU/speaker business and offer options to the customer. It's probably a workable model, except that car dealers will want to add their ownmargin on top of what the MRP for those HUs is, which is a stark contrast from aftermarket accessories dealers who will in fact DISCOUNT additionally. I think till this dealer mindset changes, we will be stuck with the status quo.
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Old 21st July 2011, 12:20   #19
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

Excellent thread Ajmat. It is a thought thats crossed my mind as well over the past year or so. It was a bad scenario in the past when the stock HU was barebones basic, even in premium cars.

Now, before i go ahead with this post, i have to say that while im no extreme audiophile, i do absolutely love my music, be it through headphones while travelling, speakers at home, or the maximum time spent listening to it - in the car.

The positives are that along with steering mounted controls, bluetooth, Aux, USB, iPod, SD Card, Voice activation - it has made life easy behind the wheel for us music lovers. Now, the argument against them goes that they may not give out the same quality sound that we prefer. My view lies in the fact that this is not the case anymore.

While it may have been for earlier, it doesnt hold true to a large extent today. The reason i say this is because we forget one of the most basic rules in improving sound - the speakers! The OE HUs of today are capable of playing adequate quality of sound. Its the speakers in most cases which let down the sound.
Personal Experience - The Linea had pathetic, absolute flat & tinny sound, my cell phone played better quality! But since it was the Emotion pk (Top end) version, it was decided not to change the HU for 3 reasons:
1 - Aesthetics
2 - Warranty
3 - Steering mounted control integration
So, what can we do. Simple, change the speakers! And it made a world of a difference while keeping intact the above mentioned 3 things.


CONCLUSION:
95% Will not bother for better sound

>4% (In which i lie as well) Will look for better sound if the OE is not upto the mark. But this can easily be done by changing the speakers themselves, so once again, aftermarket HU's loose out.

<1% Extreme Audiophiles will go in for complete & extreme overhauling of their ICE anyway but constitute a very minuscule minority.

So yes, while aftermarket players wont die out since they are into sound as a whole, one of the major sections of their business which also provides for instant visible branding (the HU) will see a drastic change.

Last edited by Xehaust : 21st July 2011 at 12:32.
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Old 21st July 2011, 14:17   #20
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Exclamation Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

The share of aftermarket HU's may shrink but I don't think the market for aftermarket HU's may end soon.Not everyone is able to afford the middle or top end variant of the car with OEM HU. Some part of the crowd will always be going in for the base variant, in which case aftermarket HU seems to be the only option.

Even if the company offers to factory fit in the 3rd party HU, they charge a lot for it. A simple example would be my own Micra. The dealer offered to fit in Kenwood KDC-U346 for 7999/- (printed price on the box). The same HU was fitted by Carax in my car and he charged me 6500/- (saving of ~1500/-). And no wire cutting was involved in it (Strict warnings).

Thus combined with the cost of speakers(which is also lower in accessory shops), there are quite a lot of savings which in turn will continue to lure customers the 'aftermarket' way.
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Old 21st July 2011, 17:22   #21
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

Exactly the issue I am grappling with right now.

The Aria has a 3 Din HU with integrated, bluetooth Phone, Satnav, CD, front Aux, USB, Screen and reverse Camera and it sounds decent. The Low and high notes both are clear, but there is a limit to clarity at higher volumes and how much Bass could door mounted speakers give.

Also the 12 speaker arrangements of the Laura, Audi, BMW, Merc sound better.

So went down to a guy to see what could be done, without cutting wires. Even adding an Amp requires cutting wires. The System is Delphi and they don't have a connnector for it that can let me use manage the connection at the rear of the HU without splitting wires. Also the system does not have any external output at all.

Want to:

1) Add Screens to the front head rests with built in DVD player. Got a good source for them, but but the sound would be intergrated through FM.

2) Add reverse parking sensors in addtion to the camera that is already there for an audio alarm and better judgement, want to see the signal on the reverse screen itself. got a guy who can do that but front sensor options for this does not exist, then there would be a seperate screen. How may screens and mirrors can one keep an eye on?

3) Add an amp and a sub. They have given space for a 8-10" subwoofer in the rear door - but there is no wiring, again the sound may not improve too much with a subwoofer in the door panel.

4) Want to get one of those really classy RR / Bentely kind of switches installed to switch off / on the a) Parking sensors - in case they go crazy in the monsoon b) the Amp - For periods when the car is parked for long - so that there is no chance of the battery going dead in a weeks time. c) An Extra switch or two for additional aux lights that I plan on adding.

The Original HU replacement would spoil the look of the car too much plus the replacement will not plug in with all the features.

So need a real specialist who can get all my above work done with minimal wire cutting.

The market for Subs and Amps will continue to exist but HU's may not survive as even smaller cars - Indica - I20, I10, Manza, Polo, Punto, Linea are getting really feature rich Integated HU's/ with Blue and Me, Blue5 etc.

4)
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Old 22nd July 2011, 02:11   #22
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

India was one of the last markets where people actually installed their music players. But to state that the market is dying is a bit premature. If we look at statistics of cars sold last month for example - Alto, i10, Nano, Spark etc. are the ones which lead the pack and I from what I recollect none of these come with integrated HUs. The majority of Indians still spends between 3-5 lakhs on a car - not much more.
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Old 22nd July 2011, 02:38   #23
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

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Originally Posted by invidious View Post
If we look at statistics of cars sold last month for example - Alto, i10, Nano, Spark etc. are the ones which lead the pack and I from what I recollect none of these come with integrated HUs. The majority of Indians still spends between 3-5 lakhs on a car - not much more.
Good point mate!

At times, we guys tend to forget that there is a world outside the team. That most car buyers aren't really enthusiasts. Heck, look at how the Fluidic is selling!!!

(No offense meant to Fluidic lovers. It is wonderful city car IMO. The above was for illustrative purposes only)

With time, given how "jugaru" our country is (call it innovative), expect someone to build affordable adapters to put HU's in OEM settings for popular cars. Or maybe it will just get imported from a "jugaru" Chinese company
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Old 22nd July 2011, 10:24   #24
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

Really good thread.

The situation indeed looks grim for aftermarket HU's. But then necessity is the mother of all inventions.
Products like the MS-8 are the beginning of the things to come. Innovations which give us the best of both worlds.
Obviously, as pointed out by others, emerging markets like India will not see the death of aftermarket HU's anytime soon.

A wise man once said "Every problem is an opportunity."
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Old 22nd July 2011, 10:36   #25
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
his research found that most cars are now coming in with integrated headunits?
Quote:
Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
OE models from the Blau, Alpine, Kenwood etc.,

After-market will always be around for those who know and care, who can go to extent of replacing OE for better features and quality. Making this attractive to such prospects depends on the fine art of getting the balance between features and price. Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood et al will continue to exist. So will OE dash manufacturers like Bosch and the like. Requirements of high-end cars are anyway niche and low-volume - doesn't compare with the market we are probably talking of.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
- Headache of unskilled labour
- Potential warranty issues.
- Higher chance of stereo theft.
- Incompatibility with steering-mounted audio controls.
OEM supplies might become more about sustainability, rather than just expanding market share.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xehaust View Post
The positives are that along with steering mounted controls, bluetooth, Aux, USB, iPod, SD Card, Voice activation - it has made life easy behind the wheel for us music lovers.
it was decided not to change the HU for 3 reasons:
1 - Aesthetics
2 - Warranty
3 - Steering mounted control integration.
Quote:
Originally Posted by invidious View Post
India was one of the last markets where people actually installed their music players.
My take.

Aftermarket HU sales from Alpine, Pioneer, etc.. are destined to fall.

1. OEM HUs offer integration with their car's other systems and today there are OEM systems that display everything from the temperture outside and inside to the typre pressure. After market HUs just cannot match this level of integration.

2. In the past many car manufacturers gave scarce though to the car's ICE system. Usually they OEMed this out to companies like Blaupunkt (Opel), Becker (Mercedes), Alpine (Honda), Delco-Bose (GM), Infinty (Chrysler and Ford), etc... slowly some of these companies even developed the ICE systems to work with the car. Bose was one the first to do this, a few otehrs followed. What resulted was better understanding of in-car acoustics. Some of this understanding was used to make compromises that should be least audible. This resulted in a series of cost cutting excersies till today where a typical HU+4 speaker system costs the manufacturer under Rs. 2000 ($50) to add. The speaker baskets from example went from metal to plastic, smaller magnets were used (the technical aspects of this has been discussed on another forum), and build quality of HUs slowly fell.

The market fragmented into 2 groups:
a. Those who did not care and took what ever the car manufacturer dished out
b. those who cared (to various degrees) and added HUs, EQs, DSPs, amplifers, speakers, high end wire, power conditioning, damping, etc....

3. Today ICE is more than just audio. It is audio (including digital radio aka Pandora, Sirrus, etc), video, GPS, cell phone integration, feedback from the car's internal systems, etc. Car manufactuers looking for the extra buck to make have realised that if they can integrate all of this into one HU that can only be bought from them (3rd party HUs just cant have this degree of integaration). This way they can charge 5x the cost of the electronics and the car buyer who is plonking down $40,000 on the car will be either foced to live with some $50 system or plonk down $4000 for a high end ICE (that really should not cost more than $800). With these added costs what has also happened is a gradual shift from the traditonal ICE buyer being a 18-25 year old to a more mature 25-35 year old and maybe even 35-45 year old.

Companies like Caska, Motevo, DLAA, Flyair, Roadrover, are filling in a gap. These companies are able to offer all the integration of OEM HUs but with added features and slightly better sound quality. However I have still to find the sound quality level to meet high end audio standards and include features required to attain this SQ (DSP driven time alignment and equallization for instance) still not evenon the horizon of these (Caska, Motevo, DLAA, Flyair) manufacturers.

So as more car manufacturers upgrade their ICE systems the market will fragment into 4 sections.

a. those who do not care
b. those who do care and are willing to pay the car manufacturer's absurd prices for their peace of mind
c. Those who do care but want in car integration yet have beer budgets so miagrate to the Caskas of the world. No that Caska HUs are cheap but prices are destined to fall and fall fast.
d. Those who are willing to sacrifice in car integartion for the absolute best SQ their money can buy. 3rd party Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, will serve this last segment.

Disclaimer: India is an abnormally small audio market (even if adjusted for GDP, average income etc...) and an even more miniscule car audio market. So my opinons are more on the world market including the developed world and fast developing markets like China, Korea, SE Asia and Eastern Europe.

Last edited by navin : 27th July 2011 at 16:49.
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Old 22nd July 2011, 11:49   #26
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Thumbs up Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

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Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Also, going for a lower variant will mean you miss out on other important safety features like air bags, ABS, etc - we don't have a variant minus audio system option yet (de-link audio system from variants?) and I don't think the manufacturers will ever offer that !
And yes, will help if we have manufacturer certified/recommended products and installion services for branded after market stuff.
The Toyota Etios sedan offers ABS and Airbag on even their low end models as an addon option. I hope, the other brands follow suit because safety should not be classified as a luxury.
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Old 22nd July 2011, 12:19   #27
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

Aftermarket head units will not die so soon!

The above statement is based on the fact the below 10 lakh segment cars account for a huge majority of car sales.

For midrange and small car owners, aftermarket HUs are the only hope since most of the OEM HUs coming on fully loaded variants, dont even have 2 pre-outs, leave alone SQ.

A good example is the hyundai i20. The OEM 2 din stereo fails to provide a decent sound quality. I have seen i20 owners adding an amp and subwoofer to the OEM head unit and the result is pathetic.

So as long as the Hyundais and Marutis are ruling the market, pioneers and alpines are here to stay.
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Old 22nd July 2011, 12:47   #28
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

The only way out for after-market HU makers is to tie up with car companies and install integrated HUs in factory-spec cars.

HUs may not have potential anymore, but this doesn't necessarily mean that they would shut shop completely. Most of these companies will find ways to make money, like the sale of speakers, woofers and amplifiers for cars.

Look at it in a positive way! HU robberies will be a thing of the past!
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Old 22nd July 2011, 15:13   #29
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

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The above statement is based on the fact the below 10 lakh segment cars account for a huge majority of car sales.
In the audio world India is a small blip. In the car audio world (esp 3rd party) India is a really small blip. No one makes products just for India, we will get what they make the rest of the world primarily Europe, China and SE Asia and maybe the Middle East.

Japan/US are separte markets big enough to support dedicted Japan/US specific models.
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Old 22nd July 2011, 15:23   #30
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Default Re: Integrated Head Units - Is this the death of the aftermarket for aftermarket HU's

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In the audio world India is a small blip.
Hmm.. Thats correct. I did not think about the international scene.
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