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Old 26th February 2009, 18:19   #1
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Thumbs up Clarion Vs Alpine Vs Pioneer Vs Kenwood EDIT - Its a Clarion DXZ 785 USB

Hey guys, I know there are a lot of threads here which has discussed all of the above makes. I have been thinking of getting a new high end CD/Mp3 head unit for myself. Going around every different forums and threads here, checking what each one of them has to offer. Sure we all have different taste with different sound preference, SQ or SPL whichever one it is onething is for sure that we all look for is that it should most importantly sound clean - with very less distortion, should have features - that help in turning good sound into a great sound, Accesory options - which ones give option of USB, Bluetooth, and in the end for some Value for money.

So let me point out the 4 high end head unit I wanna compare here, fall in the category cost of 15-20K +/- average. Sound Quality being the top priority. So here are the 4 contenders :

1. Clarion DXZ786USB
2. Alpine CDA 9887
3. Pioneer DEH-P80RSII
4. Kenwood KDC -X9006U


I know they all have their pro and cons where SQ is concerned but what I would like to know which of these would give overall good sound with not to harsh highs, deeper lows, clean vocals.
There will be many of you who would say that Alpine is any day the best. No doubt it is. Or some would say that Pioneer is superior. But each one of these have their own characteristic sound. We all always try and see what other things do we get. I would like to list some of the common tech spec.


Clarion 786usb | Alpine 9887 | Pioneer P80RSII | Kenwood X9006U
RMS Power output : 25x4 | 18x4 | 22x4 | 22x4

RMS Power Bandwith : 5-20khz | 5-20khz | 10-20khz | 10-20khz
(frequency response)
Preamp output : 6channel | 6channel | YES | YES
(F+R+sub)
Preamp Voltage : 6volt | 4volt | 5volt | 5volt

EQ/DSP parametric : 3band | 5band (7band individual) | 5band (16band.individual) | 4band


CD signal to noise ratio (DB) : 100 | 105 | 105 | 110

THD (1Khz) : 0.01% | 0.008% | 0.008% | 0.008%

Dynamic Range (1khz) : 95 | 95 | NA | 93

DAC type : 24bit | 24bit Bur.brown | 24bit.bur.brown | 24bit

Sub Level Controller : yes | yes | yes | yes

Time Alignment : yes | yes | yes | yes

IPOD CONTROL : Yes | yes | yes | yes

USP/AUX : yes | yes | yes | yes


More information on these :
1. Clarion India | DXZ786USB

2. Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. - CDA-9887

3. DEH-P80RSII

4. Kenwood - KDC-X9006U

Much other details am sure all you guru's must be aware of. What's interesting is they all share almost the same technicalities. All of these also give a bluetooth option. Now I know it's not just tech spec on papers which matters what also is important is how they perform in real world. Amongst all I guess Alpine has the upper edge where features are concerned, it's definately the one that is loaded.
What I would wanna know is which one those would give overall good quality sound as per different types of Music?

Those who have experienced it or who own, could be off great help by describing their experience. It would be great if you'll give them score from 1 to 10 in following category.

1. Sound Quality:

2. Features :

3. Ease of use :

4. Value For money :

5. Looks :

Am sure many of us must have not heard the Pioneer and kenwood since they newly launched. But I guess many of you'll have heard the p80. Don't think the SQ should be different from it in the P80RSII. I know each one of us has different taste and preference irrespective of that I like which you will sounds the best and rate name in above department. What are the pros and cons due you'll think ? Which headunit will sound the best with which kinda music or rather meant for which sought of music? They all are great brands with top-notch quality in their price bracket.

It would be highly helpful to me and many others like me in future who looking to buy or compare these high end models.

THanks.


P.S. MODS: It would be great to put up a voting poll for these models. If required can be moved to product discussion thread.

Note from MOD- For Detailed Discussion on Clarion HU click here Clarion DXZ785USB
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Last edited by Technocrat : 20th March 2009 at 15:24. Reason: Added link to Clarion HU discussion thread
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Old 26th February 2009, 19:18   #2
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the Clarion are my personal choice. Too bad, I had to go for a pioneer for my own car. Their logistics and communication are pathetic.

I think next will be Kenwood. They are the best bet for the value they offer.


It's good that you looked up these models but did you check if they are available and at what price?
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Old 26th February 2009, 19:36   #3
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i think the last kenwood you have mentioned is the internationally known x991. its highly respected and is known to perform better than the 9887 and even the 7200MKII from Eclipse. please list the prices of all 4 of them. will help us consider those too!

oh and by the way, internationally the x991 comes with dual differential offset d/a converters. in layman terms i think it has 2 d/a converters :-)

Last edited by frankmehta : 26th February 2009 at 19:37.
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Old 26th February 2009, 20:13   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmehta View Post
oh and by the way, internationally the x991 comes with dual differential offset d/a converters. in layman terms i think it has 2 d/a converters :-)
Well researched Frank! Yup the x991 is the only HU currently that has ODD apart from their Reference K-CD01.

@ Invisible: That's a touch choice and some very nice HUs. It depends on how important stuff like USB and iPod integration are to you. The P80RSII does not have built in USB and iPod control, but the Clarion and Kenwood do. Alpine 9887 has iPod integration but no USB.
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Old 26th February 2009, 20:26   #5
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Personally out of these four,

1. Sound Quality: Not heard clarion and kenwood

2. Features : Look at par. Maybe a point here or there

3. Ease of use : Pioneers are one of the easiest to use. So are kenwood and Alpine though wont compare both. Have not used the kenwood for a long time.

4. Value For money : If all are in the 15-20k range, then it has to be the Pioneer / Clarion.

5. Looks : Kenwood > Pioneer=Alpine> Clarion
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Old 26th February 2009, 20:27   #6
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thanks gunbir paaji. i was mulling getting this head unit since the 9887 was out of my budget. but then the 9887 worked out fine. the x991 is a great unit, and if it costs in the same league as the the other units mentioned, i'd choose it over the others anyday!!

PS: its the only kenwood audio component that i personally covet.

Last edited by frankmehta : 26th February 2009 at 20:35.
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Old 26th February 2009, 20:30   #7
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Whats new in the P80RSII? Any improvements/changes from the P80RS?
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Old 26th February 2009, 20:34   #8
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nope. i just think its a different kind of badging for different countries. akin to how jbl used to call their 75.4, 75.4II in EU i think (or usa, not sure but one of them).
also the jbl gto 1004 is known as the 1004e in some places. i doubt there is any striking difference. might be a different colour, i think. thats about it
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Old 26th February 2009, 20:40   #9
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Frankmehta
Quote:
please list the prices of all 4 of them. will help us consider those too!
Well they are all costing me anywhere between 350-400$ except for Clarion which would fall around 300$ or so.

I am more inclined towards Clarion and Pioneer. As I am looking for something that would be wee bit better with vocals and smoother highs.
Not sure about kenwood how good are they. Never heard one. On back of mind am thinking they shouldn't be like their amp which most of them are overrated. Tech wise kenwood does sound good.

Eclipse 7200 is out of my reach as of now. plus it has 8V output which am not sure my alpine would be able to take it. They have limit to 4V max 5V.

Alpine I have felt is a bit heavy on bass not that I mind but I would prefer something that would give me a clean softer bass. Now don't know which one of these would suit this application.
Pioneer gives you one advantage is of independent eq which I prefer as it makes it more flexible to make it sound the way you want.

Last edited by Invinsible : 26th February 2009 at 20:46.
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Old 26th February 2009, 20:44   #10
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Quote:
I am more inclined towards Clarion and Pioneer. As I am looking for something that would be wee bit better with vocals and smoother highs.
Not sure about kenwood how good are they. Never heard one. On back of mind am thinking they shouldn't be like their amp which most of them are overrated. Tech wise kenwood does sound good.
considering this and seeing the prices (i just opened a few sites) i think the kenwood xdc-991 (9006) would be the best bet for $379. the specs just blow away everything in that bracket. also, i do remember seeing the 9887 for 309 somewhere. thats a killer deal too. besides that the pio will cost you lesser in mumbai, if you are keen on it. only thing is the pio and 9887 do not have usb. so thats a big minus point.


Quote:
Eclipse 7200 is out of my reach as of now. plus it has 8V output which am not sure my alpine would be able to take it. They have limit to 4V max 5V.
nothing like that! thats a myth!!!!

Quote:
Pioneer give you one advantage is of independent eq which I prefer as it makes it more flexible to make it sound the way you want
not as convenient as it sounds. if by this ytou mean time correction, all the hus mentioned by you have it!
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Old 26th February 2009, 20:56   #11
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Frankmehta
Quote:
Quote:
Eclipse 7200 is out of my reach as of now. plus it has 8V output which am not sure my alpine would be able to take it. They have limit to 4V max 5V.
nothing like that! thats a myth!!!!
Well I am somewhere sure of that fact or else don't think manufacturers would mention of it in their tech spec of their amplifiers.

Here's what they have mentioned.
General
Power Requirements: 14.4V DC (11V to 16V)
Input Sensitivity: 0.2 - 4.0V
Frequency Response: 20 -20kHz (0, -1dB)
Speaker Impedance: 4 or 2 I?
Signal to Noise: 100dBA


I just meant that Pioneer is giving Independent control 16 band graphic eq. I suppose its different than TA.

Kenwood is a good choice going by the Tech but i wanna if some here has heard it along with anyother listed here, what's their after which ?
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Old 26th February 2009, 21:00   #12
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There shouldn't be a problem with the preout voltage, i think. The gurus can fill us in on this. As far as i know there isn't a limitation based on pre out voltage. About the sq of the kenny,Gunbirji should fill you in on that part. I'm sure he's installed a x991 somewhere...
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Old 26th February 2009, 21:32   #13
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My preference:
1. Kenwood 991
2. Clarion 786
3. Alpine 9887
4. Pioneer P80RS (I will never BUY one)

Clarion seems to be the best VFM according to some online shopping sites.
Kenwood will be the best overall in terms of sound and features.
Alpine 9887 is a good all rounder but it lacks USB control.
I've read some very good things and ravings about the Pioneer P80RS. But I don't like it personally and will never recommend it.
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Old 26th February 2009, 21:45   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmehta View Post
There shouldn't be a problem with the preout voltage, i think. The gurus can fill us in on this. As far as i know there isn't a limitation based on pre out voltage. About the sq of the kenny,Gunbirji should fill you in on that part. I'm sure he's installed a x991 somewhere...
It's true. A lot of amps have trouble accepting anything more than 4V-5V. Anything above their limit will yield a result similar to setting the gains too high; clipping!

Nope, haven't installed a x991/x9006U. It's been on my list of HUs to use for a while now. One major reason I like the HU: it plays WAVs straight off the USB!!! Another plus: uses Wolfson DACs instead of the now de rigueur Burr Brown. So far, we have liked what we've heard from Wolfson and this should be no exception.

Having used some of Kenwood's high end units, we can safely say they have a very vocal centric sound, which is not sexed up at all. Light natural bass, and a bent towards detail in the mids and highs.
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Old 26th February 2009, 21:50   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunbir View Post
It's true. A lot of amps have trouble accepting anything more than 4V-5V. Anything above their limit will yield a result similar to setting the gains too high; clipping!
Gunbir jee, what is the crack for it.
Lowering gains?
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