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RedOwl

Car Stereo Recommendation

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RedOwl

This is somewhat redundant from other topics out there, but I didn't want to interrupt anyone else's thread:

My wife and I just bought an '06 GMC Yukon XL Denali and I want to swap out the head unit with something bluetooth enabled. My wife will be the primary user and would like things to be as simple as possible, but still be able to use the existing steering wheel controls (volume, source, etc).

As you might be able to tell, I know absolutely NOTHING about car/marine/home audio and am feeling a bit overwhelmed by what I am hoping is an easy choice.

I have spent a bit of time on Crutchfield and it looks like there are plenty of options to choose from and prices seem to range from $200 - $1,500.

I am looking for a double-DIN unit, but other than that I just need it to be of good quality and mostly idiot-proof.

Can someone make a recommendation for me so I don't drive myself crazy in this strange world of "stereos"?

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Falko

I'm in the same boat. I've been reading reviews on Crutchfield and getting some decent information when you pay attention to relevant postings. I've always been a fan of Pioneer, I don't know if they have the best sound quality but always easy(er) to operate in my view and never let me down. But after reading reviews, the Bluetooth connections are finicky and slow and there are a couple other common complaints. I also like to have a volume knob, so I have been shying from Pioneer. Looking at Kenwood lately, so may end up going that route. The Alpine are nice, but probably more costly than I care for and some of their features I do not like. Personal preference thing.

Most can be equipped with an adapter to retain steering wheel controls. Most can also be equipped with the back up camera which is a big bonus for me as well.

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skyskier

Talk to a Crutchfield advisor. They train for three months before they ever talk to a customer.

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h2oratJR

JonyB on this forum woild be a good guy to PM he works in the industry . Also heard the Kenwood DDX 492 was a good unit

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Bill_AirJunky

I just bought a Pioneer FH-X720BT for my 05 Avalanche. I have a AUX adapter, amp & sub on the stock HU & its been fine till the CD player ate a disc. I don't play CDs that often, but I used it as an excuse to step it up anyway. The Pioneer is a double DIN, big volume knob, BT, USB, CD, Pandora, 50 watts, 2 preamp outputs, sub control, etc. It has good reviews & is and under $100. Hoping I can get it installed this weekend. Not the highest tech option around, but should be a step up as far as music options & convenience.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky

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40oz

Does your Denali have the Bose system?

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RedOwl

Does your Denali have the Bose system?

Yes, it does. Does this pose problems for me?

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40oz

It did for me in the past. I installed aftermarket head unit, which bypasses the factory amp that was on the bose system. System didnt sound as good so i ended up installing Focal componet speakers and an Audison 6 channel amp. MUCH MUCH better after that.

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Bill_AirJunky

It did for me in the past. I installed aftermarket head unit, which bypasses the factory amp that was on the bose system.

Can't you just install a lead from the HU preamp output to the Bose amp input & use the stock equipment?

Assuming it's worth using.

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David

This may be a reason to find a good local dealer.

Crutchfield is a legit on-line source. However, you shouldn't be paying a penny more than Crutchfield from your local outfit.

If there is a problem with the factory Bose equipment integration, or the stereo wheel controls interface, etc., the local dealer can move onto the next interface seamlessly while the vehicle is already in their possession and without charging redundant labor for changing product.

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shawndoggy

This may be a reason to find a good local dealer.

Crutchfield is a legit on-line source. However, you shouldn't be paying a penny more than Crutchfield from your local outfit.

If there is a problem with the factory Bose equipment integration, or the stereo wheel controls interface, etc., the local dealer can move onto the next interface seamlessly while the vehicle is already in their possession and without charging redundant labor for changing product.

LOL, crutchfield charges full boat retail. Of course you shouldn't pay MORE (well aside from sales tax, which can and does add up). But David are you suggesting shop buyers who pay full MSRP should expect to get free install components (harnesses, install kits, etc) and should expect installation to be thrown in too?

You guys must have a lot of competition in TX to keep it like that. It's never been my experience... every stereo shop I've ever been to has been focused on talking people into overpaying for whatever the stack of 12's is in the showroom that they gotta move. Very much a "pound that square peg in the round hole" retail model in my experience. The installers are usually the ones with actual knowledge, and in most shops those guys don't get to actually speak to the customers.

Crutchfield has pretty much every manual for every product they've sold in the last 15 years on their website too. Definitely not so for my local "HOME HOME HOME OF THE ONE DOLLAR INSTALL".

That said, my last visit to a stereo shop was in May of 2015, so maybe things have changed in the last six months.

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RedOwl

Thanks for the feedback so far. I am not committed to Crutchfield and am not opposed to going somewhere local for their service and support. I just need to make sure I educate myself a bit more so I don't feel like I'm going to get ripped off or sold the wrong product.

Thanks again for the suggestions.

*I'm a bit concerned about the Bose issues, but I've found a few forums & Youtube videos that list solutions and workarounds - so I think I can make something work without having to redo the entire stereo setup*

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David

Shawn,

Don't have a horse in this race.

But I have seen with frequency what happens when consumers come into a shop with a pile of goods purchased over the net.

You can't lump all brick & mortar dealers together just like you can't lump all on-line retailers together.

I visit Tucson regularly, as I used to live there and still have friends there. So I'm familiar with the Home of the $1 Install. They're definitely geared toward the first time buyer. Up the street is the Specialists which presents a very different experience.

Price is certainly an important element. I am simply providing one other concern. Consumers can and should do their own comparison shopping and take a number of factors into consideration.

Once a CE dealer until 2.5 years ago, now I'm retired and have much more time and focus to be a consumer. Personally I have no tolerance for bad service or having to repeat the experience in order to get it right. So I'll pay a bit of a premium if there is something to be gained, and oftentimes there is. That's my way.

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Nitrousbird

Shawn worded that so well.

I wouldn't spend a penny at the local stereo shop. Certainly not a Best Buy or the like. Crutchfield is overpriced too.

Hell, Amazon has good deals on head units. Pioneer is popular, plentiful selection and well optioned. You will easily find a steering wheel control harness for it too.

Get the NEX-4100 and you will get CarPlay and Android Auto built in, along with AppRadio. Obviously it will have Bluetooth and the like as well. But CarPlay/Android Auto will make it very simple for your wife to utilize her phone with the radio, as it will be her basic apps right on the screen. You can score one for right around $500.

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jk13

This is why the dozen or so audio industry professionals that have tried to frequent this site rarely offer much advice anymore, myself included. Gets tiresome being kicked around with generalizations and experiences with crap places. Everyday guys can quote some rando that used one interface one time and it carries the same weight as having someone with multiple installers using them daily and seeing the upside/downside of one vs. another over and over. We're here off the clock at no charge so there is not much to be gained on our end, especially under the new TOU. BTW I don't disagree with the TOU policy change as we certainly don't want a repeat of the Stereogate days, but a lot of knowledge has come and is now gone.

I was an installer and salesperson concurrently for many years and have done countless GM NBS Bose integrations. I moved into a different aftermarket arena a few years ago so I'm not up to date on the best current option for you RedOwl and the reasons why, sorry. I do know that you can keep the stock Bose amp and use an aftermarket radio's speaker output into it. The best interface for steering wheel controls and door chime are the parts I'm unsure of--not being familiar with the current market.

The two guys I could've sent you to that would have had those answers in SE WI closed their doors in Feb.

Good luck.

Edited by jk13

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jonyb

Thanks for the feedback so far. I am not committed to Crutchfield and am not opposed to going somewhere local for their service and support. I just need to make sure I educate myself a bit more so I don't feel like I'm going to get ripped off or sold the wrong product.

Thanks again for the suggestions.

*I'm a bit concerned about the Bose issues, but I've found a few forums & Youtube videos that list solutions and workarounds - so I think I can make something work without having to redo the entire stereo setup*

The key is to find a good local dealer. You'll know whether or not they're full of s*** in the first couple minutes. If they try to sell you yesterday's pile of subs like somebody mentioned, walk away. Like David said, not all dealers are the same. Some people have had bad experiences with dealers so many in their eyes every brick and mortar shop is a big pile of s*** and is ripping everyone off.

There's a value with using a reputable local shop. A lot more than some of the geniuses here let on. Every person that's ever been to my shop comes back and refers us to their friends. We beat online pricing and discount parts. We are the largest wet sounds dealer in KY, and have a customer base that stretches 5 hours north and 3 hours south. BUT, all shops are there to rip you off, right?

Jk13, you're exactly right. A lot of people in the industry try to help, but some of the comments from the narrow minded people ruin it and they don't come back.

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jonyb

Now to the original question, with the right interface you won't have Bose issues. 1 single part will interface Bose, steering wheel controls, and onstar. Aside from that you'll need an antenna adaptor, and the dash kit.

I sell Sony and alpine. That's from years of experience with all head units of every brand. We dumped clarion and kenwood for nagging issues with operating or Bluetooth issues. The Sony mobile line has been been great. Alpine has always worked well and Bluetooth works perfect. I've never been a fan of pioneer but am considering bringing them in for the app radios since they're popular. Sound quality is harsh from them IMO.

You can also add a rear view camera to any of the double din head units.

If you use a good dealer and have issues, most will swap parts or radios over the counter on the spot. Amazon will make you take it all out and send it back, while they reserialize it and repair it. That's 4-6 weeks without a product you spent money on, and that's assuming it isn't dead on arrival, and I know lots of people that's happened to.

My favorite was when hifi sounds sent a guy a single kicker 10" dual 4 ohm sub with a 2-channel kicker amp that wasn't 2 ohm stable. Pretty much not compatible at all. Took him 4 weeks to get his money back. That was an ordeal..... You would think they'd catch that, but hey, they're just trying to sell you yesterday's truckload of 12's.

Edited by jonyb

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Truekaotik

From what I read you really just want Bluetooth, why add a new head unit unless you hate the factory one and how it functions? May I ask why not leave the unit as is and add the ISGM655? Adds Bluetooth, extra audio ports, unlocks nav function while moving and countless other toys.. Plus you retain all factory functions. It's plug and play as well..

Edited by Truekaotik

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Truekaotik

The key is to find a good local dealer. You'll know whether or not they're full of s*** in the first couple minutes. If they try to sell you yesterday's pile of subs like somebody mentioned, walk away. Like David said, not all dealers are the same. Some people have had bad experiences with dealers so many in their eyes every brick and mortar shop is a big pile of s*** and is ripping everyone off.

There's a value with using a reputable local shop. A lot more than some of the geniuses here let on. Every person that's ever been to my shop comes back and refers us to their friends. We beat online pricing and discount parts. We are the largest wet sounds dealer in KY, and have a customer base that stretches 5 hours north and 3 hours south. BUT, all shops are there to rip you off, right?

Jk13, you're exactly right. A lot of people in the industry try to help, but some of the comments from the narrow minded people ruin it and they don't come back.

I'm sorry brother but people do not know half the time when they are being played until after the fact. It would be great for everyone to pick up on our knowledge in the first few minutes. Although Let's face it, that don't happen often enough. Degrading the forum members won't get you ahead.. Don't spill your piece here drumming up business or complaining about the masses... Let's just give good solid advice that we are trained to do and don't feed the others... That's what they want, us to loose our cool.. We need to give solid unsolicited advice, these forums are not for drawing business like our predecessors, that's why people have a bad taste when we post... Edited by Truekaotik

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NWBU

Truekaotik - I don't have a horse in this race either but appreciate that response, you've got a good perspective in running your business and providing online advice. Not all do...

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jonyb

I'm sorry brother but people do not know half the time when they are being played until after the fact. It would be great for everyone to pick up on our knowledge in the first few minutes. Although Let's face it, that don't happen often enough. Degrading the forum members won't get you ahead.. Don't spill your piece here drumming up business or complaining about the masses... Let's just give good solid advice that we are trained to do and don't feed the others... That's what they want, us to loose our cool.. We need to give solid unsolicited advice, these forums are not for drawing business like our predecessors, that's why people have a bad taste when we post...

Appreciate the comment. 1 thing though, I'm not trying to drum up business. Just passing on experience. I don't have a website or do online sales.

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RedOwl

Again,

I thank everyone for their recommendation. I appreciate the different options and perspectives people have presented.

As I have admitted numerous times, I am a morAn when it comes to stereo/audio options. I trust that the 'crew can make a solid recommendation for products/dealers/services and I have yet to be disappointed.

As a side note, the system vs. system and dealer vs. online debates make it even more intimidating for me (the moran customer) to make a decision. I appreciate that everyone has a dog in the fight and they are all good dogs. I want something that works. I want something I can understand. I don't particularly care about the finer points (which will probably make hair stand on end for a few of you).

I will glady put money in the pockets of my local dealers if I know I can trust them. If I don't have that reassurance, I have no problems putting money in the hands of an online retailer and doing the job myself.

I wish there was a "Bakes" of the stereo world that had an almost universal approval rating by the 'crew.

I am a big boy and can make a purchasing decision, but I trust the guidance of you folks and will trust your judgement.

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jonyb

Best thing to do is narrow it down to something you like from the manufacturer's website. Then use their dealer locator. Alpine and Sony Mobile are pretty strict about territories and authorized dealers. Kenwood, Clarion, and Pioneer is whored out to distribution. Being through distribution, almost anyone can call themselves a dealer. At least with an authorized dealer (found on a locator), you'll get a somewhat reputable shop with employees that are trained or know the product and how to present it.

That's when you can go to those dealers and press the buttons. You can get a real live demo and make sure YOU like it, and not what people tell you that you'll like. I'm 100% on touch, see, and hear. Without those options, I wouldn't put money in something. My expectations are different than yours. I may hate something you like.

If you go to one of those dealers and sell for retail, or don't discount from retail, weigh the cost of something from another dealer. I know in my store the parts would be around $200. Retail of those parts would be near $300. This is just an example, I'm not trying to sell you anything.

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blk93jeepzj

http://www.amazon.com/GOgroove-FlexSMART-Transmitter-Multipoint-Hands-Free/dp/B003PPGOC0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449857395&sr=8-1&keywords=gogroove+flexsmart+x2

Easy and done. Bluetooth, charging, $30. Take it in the boat for the day and when you tie up everyone tunes to the same station and no competing to drown the other stereo out. I've used mine for a few years in an 04 Yukon. Oh yeah, also make the vehicle a hands free device for talking on the phone.

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Truekaotik

Sony is sold through distribution as well...

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