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Old 28th March 2009, 20:52   #166
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Aha. Doc saying this is something.
Nishant. Spill the beans and the pics please!
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Old 29th March 2009, 03:47   #167
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Thumbs up Initial review!

As they say, music will never be the same again!

The Clarion came out to be a massive change from my previous Pioneer 5050 (which was my reference point). The HU belts out music in a very balanced manner, and truly lives up to its reputation of being a sleeper unit.

I actually could not believe my ears when I sat in the car! The same songs, which sounded a tad too bright or lacking somewhere in acoustics were now crystal clear. Each and every instrument is very well brought out by this HU. Lows, mids and highs are very well detailed and there is absolutely no accentuation of any frequency.

And the Time Alignment works like a charm!

B&T manually entered the distances after measuring them from the driver's seat, so we didnt get to try out the preset TA modes. I suspect they would not be too exciting anyways.

But I have to admit, the HU is just awesome. It is extremely VFM and plays as good as (if not better) than similar 'expensive' HUs.

The 3 of us spent quite some time in tweaking around with the settings. The menu has embedded options and it did take some time to figure it out.

Yes, the gripe remains on the looks, 'navratri' colour scheme (Source - Frank) {BTW, we later changed to the Pearl White colour scheme and the display is very 'sophisticated' now!}, stodgy built and a bit complicated UI. However, SlideTrak takes only a little while to get used to. The remote is adequately sufficient for all practical purposes.

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the sound quality of Clarion. It has proven to be a well crafted unit. Ajay played the Devil's Advocate and tried to find faults in the HU. Apart from the lack of SW phase control, he could not find anything else! That I believe is a test of Clarion's credentials

Thanks to Frank for suggesting this HU and to Ajay for a nice, clean and professional install!

Last edited by nishantgandhi : 29th March 2009 at 03:49.
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Old 29th March 2009, 10:17   #168
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Nishant, looks like you didn't go to bed yesterday (initial reveiw @4AM!)
Glad to see the report, can't wait for mine. I believe, apart from other factors, TA followed by high-volt preouts might have contributed the most in making everything sound "clearer".

Quote:
Originally Posted by nishantgandhi View Post
Ajay played the Devil's Advocate and tried to find faults in the HU. Apart from the lack of SW phase control, he could not find anything else! That I believe is a test of Clarion's credentials
Ajay, why do we need SW phase control when it has TA? I thought phase switch is a crude way to get better bass in absence of TA (did I get it wrong?).

Nishant, can you please check following for me:

1. FM tuning mode- post #82 http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/1218874-post82.html
2. Is SW volume control easily accessible or is it tough to reach? My amp doesn't have remote knob to do the job, but I didn't care much because this HU features separate SW volume.
3. Does TA work irrespective of source, I am sure it does, but...

Last edited by santosh.s : 29th March 2009 at 10:19.
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Old 29th March 2009, 11:50   #169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nishantgandhi View Post
As they say, music will never be the same again!

The Clarion came out to be a massive change from my previous Pioneer 5050 (which was my reference point). The HU belts out music in a very balanced manner, and truly lives up to its reputation of being a sleeper unit.

I actually could not believe my ears when I sat in the car! The same songs, which sounded a tad too bright or lacking somewhere in acoustics were now crystal clear. Each and every instrument is very well brought out by this HU. Lows, mids and highs are very well detailed and there is absolutely no accentuation of any frequency.

And the Time Alignment works like a charm!

B&T manually entered the distances after measuring them from the driver's seat, so we didnt get to try out the preset TA modes. I suspect they would not be too exciting anyways.

But I have to admit, the HU is just awesome. It is extremely VFM and plays as good as (if not better) than similar 'expensive' HUs.

The 3 of us spent quite some time in tweaking around with the settings. The menu has embedded options and it did take some time to figure it out.

Yes, the gripe remains on the looks, 'navratri' colour scheme (Source - Frank) {BTW, we later changed to the Pearl White colour scheme and the display is very 'sophisticated' now!}, stodgy built and a bit complicated UI. However, SlideTrak takes only a little while to get used to. The remote is adequately sufficient for all practical purposes.

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the sound quality of Clarion. It has proven to be a well crafted unit. Ajay played the Devil's Advocate and tried to find faults in the HU. Apart from the lack of SW phase control, he could not find anything else! That I believe is a test of Clarion's credentials

Thanks to Frank for suggesting this HU and to Ajay for a nice, clean and professional install!
my pleasure nissant! feels very good to see you are happy with the final product. i just suggest some damping in the front door. it will make quite a difference.
the system sounded good indeed, and the HU along with the choice of components makes it one of the best VFM SQ installs I've come across!
Congrats nissant and enjoy the music!




Quote:
Ajay, why do we need SW phase control when it has TA? I thought phase switch is a crude way to get better bass in absence of TA (did I get it wrong?).
SW phase control is a software mechanism to accommodate for incorrect polarity of the connection of the subwoofer to the amplifier. The subwoofer phase control is actually a polarity inversion switch. It allows users to reverse the polarity of the subwoofer relative to the audio signal it is being given. This type of control allows the subwoofer to either be in phase with the source signal, or 180 degrees out of phase. if the positive and negative wires are interchanged, the bass sounds disjointed and out of phase. a simple thing to do is to change the setting from the HU. but the Clarion only supports phase change of the Sub in active mode (strange)



Quote:
1. FM tuning mode- post #82 http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/1218874-post82.html
we didnt get chance to check this since we were listening to CD's or USB or iPod.
Quote:

2. Is SW volume control easily accessible or is it tough to reach? My amp doesn't have remote knob to do the job, but I didn't care much because this HU features separate SW volume.
its not easily accessible, like in many alpines. a couple of presses and slides will get you to it. not a big deal though.


Quote:
3. Does TA work irrespective of source, I am sure it does, but...
it does. and does so remarkably. BTW i read in many forums, that the DXZ785USB bypasses the iPod DAC and plays stuff itself. Not sure about this but quite exciting if its true. ALpine must learn all this and incorporate it into their 'high end' HU's.
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Old 29th March 2009, 12:11   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santosh.s View Post
Nishant, looks like you didn't go to bed yesterday (initial reveiw @4AM!)
I came back from the Mum-Pune Mega Meet at 3.30 am, thats why I posted the review at 4 am!
Quote:
Originally Posted by santosh.s View Post
Nishant, can you please check following for me:

1. FM tuning mode- post #82 http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/1218874-post82.html
Will check and revert. Did not get a chance to try out FM as was engrossed in listening to iPod, CD and USB.
Quote:
Originally Posted by santosh.s View Post
2. Is SW volume control easily accessible or is it tough to reach? My amp doesn't have remote knob to do the job, but I didn't care much because this HU features separate SW volume.
SW vol control is just 2 clicks (slides) away. Very easily accessible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by santosh.s View Post
3. Does TA work irrespective of source, I am sure it does, but...
Yes, TA works irrespective of source.
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Old 29th March 2009, 12:53   #171
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Thanks for clarifications, Nishant & frank!
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Old 29th March 2009, 14:33   #172
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Great review nishant. Can't wait to install mine in this coming week.

Reg FM am sure it work fine. Shouldn't be an issue.

Nishant did you check the EQ ? How useful is it ?

Am sure it would make a day and night difference compared to the pioneer and in my case the stock head unit.

Can a portable HDD be attached to the USB?
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Old 29th March 2009, 22:31   #173
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wow Am now really looking forward for my install. I believe we would have same HU & front speakers after my upgrade.

Damn I cant wait for the day of install

EDIT- did you get rid of the alternator whine?

Last edited by Technocrat : 29th March 2009 at 22:34.
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Old 29th March 2009, 22:33   #174
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same speakers? you finally getting the el6.1??????
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Old 29th March 2009, 22:37   #175
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Well I already have EL & .1 Only 6 was missing so yes I would be getting them

Last edited by Technocrat : 29th March 2009 at 22:39.
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Old 29th March 2009, 23:34   #176
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nice! so youre buying just the midbasses? or getting the whole set?
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Old 30th March 2009, 10:29   #177
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Invinsible View Post
Great review nishant. Can't wait to install mine in this coming week.

Reg FM am sure it work fine. Shouldn't be an issue.

Nishant did you check the EQ ? How useful is it ?

Am sure it would make a day and night difference compared to the pioneer and in my case the stock head unit.

Can a portable HDD be attached to the USB?
1. I have stopped listening to FM now! The 24 bit DAC must be working its charm on me! Same music files sound so much more better through a USB/iPod that I dont need FM now.

2. I did switch on the EQ for a while but if you know B&T, he hates any Sound restorer/bass boost/EQ/PEQ/DZE crap settings on the HU. So he tuned it without all these things and it does sound sweet. I intend to keep it that way.

3. I have not yet tested my portable HDDs on the HU. But me (and Frank) think that it should work.

And sorry Abhishek, I could not reach back Andheri in time to give you the audition. If you are in town side (i.e. Fort) during day time, buzz me. Else, I can probably meet you late evening on the way back home.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
wow Am now really looking forward for my install. I believe we would have same HU & front speakers after my upgrade.

Damn I cant wait for the day of install

EDIT- did you get rid of the alternator whine?
Yes, definitely got rid of the alternator whine. I was quite sure it was being caused by the infamous 'PICO' fuse of the Pioneer, since I am using GZ RCAs and rest of the setup cannot be a culprit.

Review continued:
I tested out different music genres yesterday and today to get a flavor of the capabilities of this HU. I am happy to report that the Clarion does a very neat job of bringing alive all kinds of music. Coldplay, Avril Lavigne, Armin Van Buuren, Diana Krall, Dire Straits, Tiesto, PVD, and yes, our dear old Bollywood numbers - all sound the way they are supposed to.

In hindsight, I think the Pioneer introduces some bit of 'dhin-chak-ness' in the music (even with the Sound Retriever off). Because of that, music sounds bright and after a while you will want to switch to FM/another genre to avoid overkill.

On another note - 'The Wife' appreciates the natural sound of Clarion. She likes the crisp and tight bass it reproduces and makes the Electras sound natural and punchy (and not laid back as many would like to believe!). Its a big compliment for the HU, mind you. My wife is least bothered about the nuances of ICE/TA/24 bit DAC etc. (and I can safely say this for most mammals bearing the XX chromosome).

Damn, I think I cannot stop reviewing this HU enough.
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Old 30th March 2009, 11:20   #178
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NISHANT:
Quote:
2. I did switch on the EQ for a while but if you know B&T, he hates any Sound restorer/bass boost/EQ/PEQ/DZE crap settings on the HU. So he tuned it without all these things and it does sound sweet. I intend to keep it that way.
Well am sure it would sound better without adding these features to add/work on. But all I wanted to know how useful is the EQ features. Since it's Parametric don't think it would make much of a difference. I do have separate 9band EQ which I plan to use it along with the Player.

Quote:
And sorry Abhishek, I could not reach back Andheri in time to give you the audition. If you are in town side (i.e. Fort) during day time, buzz me. Else, I can probably meet you late evening on the way back home.
No issues my friend. I guess evening sounds much better than the day time. As I am tightly tied up with my work during the day.

Quote:
Damn, I think I cannot stop reviewing this HU enough.
I just can imagine how it feels. I guess I am gonna be in the same state once mine is installed Can't wait any longer for that dashkit, the wait is already killing me
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Old 30th March 2009, 20:52   #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nishantgandhi View Post
1. I have stopped listening to FM now! The 24 bit DAC must be working its charm on me! Same music files sound so much more better through a USB/iPod that I dont need FM now.
You are enlightened too soon, I wish you tested tuning before that. Never mind though, I will keep patience till I figure it out myself!

Quote:
2. I did switch on the EQ for a while but if you know B&T, he hates any Sound restorer/bass boost/EQ/PEQ/DZE crap settings on the HU. So he tuned it without all these things and it does sound sweet. I intend to keep it that way.
I would think so, too. Except *may be* for Clarion's feature called "magna-bass" which is NOT available in this HU anyways. If I got it right, it automatically compensates for bass boost level depending upon master volume level (more boost at low volume and vice-versa. BTW, audyssey have similar thing called "dynamic EQ", which has not yet made it's way to Apine's Imprint though.)


Quote:
In hindsight, I think the Pioneer introduces some bit of 'dhin-chak-ness' in the music (even with the Sound Retriever off). Because of that, music sounds bright and after a while you will want to switch to FM/another genre to avoid overkill.
Just curious, does this apply to only MP3s or uncompressed audio CDs as well? (trying to make out whether it is caused by differences in MP3 decoding or rest of the electronics). BTW, I hope it's only the HU that changed in your comparison (and nothing else, definitely not tweeters).

Quote:
My wife is least bothered about the nuances of ICE/TA/24 bit DAC etc. (and I can safely say this for most mammals bearing the XX chromosome).
You are more lucky, my XX chromosome isn't bothered about the ICE itself, but I dream to change her views about music one day!
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Old 1st April 2009, 16:18   #180
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Managed to get someone to bring the 785 unit from US! Ordered it and will be delivered in the US tomorrow. Will get it in my hands on 22nd April. Can hardly wait
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