PeachParts Mercedes-Benz Forum

PeachParts Mercedes-Benz Forum (
-   Car Audio and Multimedia (
-   -   help me pick headunit for 500E (

hedpe 04-25-2003 03:19 PM

help me pick headunit for 500E
Alright guys, I have to decide on a new head unit for the 500E. I'm getting $230 through insurance for my cd-changer that my subwoofer box knocked out of whack. I don't want a head unit more than $320. It has to be cd "feedable" with mp3 capability. It also has to match my car

Preferably black, of course :P

I was looking in to the alpine's...but...not quite a fan of their green buttons and their display. I really liked the panasonics, but they're quite silver. I'm pretty picky :) I tried to pass off the Panasonic LCD head unit (matches my car nice, like it) with my dad but he didn't fall for it :P

apb 04-25-2003 05:54 PM

Nakamichi CD45z, feed mp3s through the auxiliary input.

sflori 04-26-2003 12:52 AM

Both Nakamichi and Blaupunkt are good
I've been very satisfied with both Nakamichi, which I have in my 16 valve and Blaupunkt, which I have in my 123.

I'm also not a fan of the flashy head units that you now see in stores. I think they really clash with the classy interior of our cars. Maybe you can find a used Blaupunkt on Ebay or something.

ROGER JARJOUR 04-26-2003 12:53 AM

Although it hasn't been installed yet, I recently purchased the Alpine CDA-9815. For the money, around $400, I think it has a great combination of features and ergonomics. Three pairs of pre-outs and a display that isn't full of gimmicks. Every store I went to recommended Alpine out of all the other products they carried. Eclipse also has a new line of head units you might want to look into. My next decision is whether to go with an Alpine amp or one of the new Boston Acoustics amps. Good luck with your research.

anthonyb 04-26-2003 02:45 AM

Another vote for the Alpine...
I just went through this whole deal when my Becker died a couple of weeks ago. After spending a week or two agonizing over what head unit to buy, I ended up with an Alpine CDA-7894, which is last year's version of the 9815. Most of the big boxes don't carry them anymore, but Crutchfield still has some for ~$380 and eBay and some online discounters have them for $260-280. I ended up stumbling (pure chance, was killing time with a couple of friends) on a new-in-box unit at a local Circuit City, and jumped at the chance to get one for $300 plus tax.

I've had it installed in the car for almost a week, and while I still need to figure out a couple of wiring issues (see my question about speaker polarity, plus I think the antenna connection is loose), overall I've been pretty happy with the unit. The sound quality (especially CD playback) is fabulous. AM reception is better than the Becker, although I'm not so sure about the FM reception. The mp3 capability is really nice, I may end up dumping plans to get a changer thanks to this.

The 7894 has dual illumination buttons, but after playing around with it for awhile, I don't think this is as big a deal as I first thought. The amber color doesn't quite match the interior lights, it has more red in it, and at night it's BRIGHT. Also, the radio is so far down the console that I hardly even notice what the colors are when I'm driving. I think if I had ended up with a green Alpine (actually, it's more of a blue-green, kind of cool during the day), I would've gotten used to it by the second or third day.

Some other comments:
-There are a LOT of wires that hook onto the back of the unit. Shoving it into the stock location takes some careful routing of everything behind and underneath.
-The mounting sleeve will require some filing at the corners and sides to fit, but after a few minutes of careful work it slides in nicely. Snug, but not too tight, and the vertical clearance is perfect.
-The flip face cleans up the front of the unit nicely, but it's kind of a hassle changing cds. It takes a couple seconds to fold down and eject the disc, and the face halfway gets in the way of my hand when I'm feeding new cds.
-There are some bugs with the mp3 playback, it had problems with skipping on one or two of the folders on my test cd. I haven't had a chance to really try it though, so I don't know if its a problem with the disc media, the files, or the player.
-Even though there's no playback buffer, cd-da shock resistance is rock-solid. I spent some time on a thoroughly trashed road, and it didn't skip once.

Overall, even with the aforementioned issues, I'm pretty satisfied with my purchase. I paid a little bit more than my original budget (actually, twice my original budget, when I count the cost of tools and wiring!), but considering the thing originally retailed for $100 more than I paid, not a bad deal at all. :)


P.S. With the exception of the new single-cd Beckers, there are virtually no aftermarket head units that come close to matching a W124 interior. And those are around $600-700, which was more than I was willing to spend, didn't play mp3's, and would only interface with the equally expensive Becker changers. Pretty much the same analysis applies to the Nakamichi units. Blaupunkt used to make some affordable and appropriately boring head units, but discontinued them a couple of years ago.

Of what's left in the consumer market for black-colored head units, I think Alpine is probably the most conservatively styled brand out there.

The Godfather 04-27-2003 06:22 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Long story short: Get the Alpine 7894. They dont make it no more, got some other replacement, but you can still find it on ebay for cheap and new im sure.

I got it in botht eh 124 and the 202. I set the lights to amber. look liek a bright orange.

take a look

shanta 04-27-2003 11:15 AM

Get an Alpine that does not have green lights. Get a newer Alpine, not last years model. The reason for this is because when Alpine releases it Hard Drive MP3 Unit this summer (July 03) ), it will only be compatiable with their newer units that says Hard Disk Drive Ready. I don't believe last years models are HDDR.

Bryan Harter 04-28-2003 07:17 PM

Nakamichi has just released a new CD-700 and CD-400, I think the 400 may be a bit out of the price range you want.
I understand many of the old Nak dealers were very disappointed with the level of support they got on the product line and many have told me they would not sell one to me. I hope that Nak does make a comeback and starts to produce a quality product again.

csnow 04-29-2003 12:50 PM

MP3 play capability is nice indeed. I no longer feel the need for a CD changer. 1 CD can hold so much.

Being rather frugal, I am content with my low-end Sony MP-40 for < $200. Mostly black. Some of the buttons are a bit smaller than I would like.

The very nice Alpine CDA-9815 mentioned and others will play WMA files, which have even tighter compression that MP3.

These things become obsolete so fast, it is hard for me to invest much in car audio. If I bought a high-end unit 2 years ago, I would be cursing that it could not read MP3s.
The fellow who mentioned the embedded hard drive is onto the next big thing. I just bought a 140GB hard drive for $99, and a $30 USB enclosure makes it portable. Now that's a lot of MP3s! At least 1400 hours of mid-quality music. Just a minor matter of 'convergence' to make head units capable of 'plug and play' with IDE or perhaps the coming serial ATA devices.

Bryan Harter 04-29-2003 01:25 PM

I think a very good head unit / amp / speakers will provide the basis for a solid system. If you want to play MP3's and other trendy media (MiniDisks) then find a unit that will interface with a standard digital feed. I know a number of people using iPods to feed MP3's to their stereos.
My ideal system would be a good pre-amp head unit, a clean amp and some tight speakers. Then hook in a cd changer or mp3 player or disk drive unit (if 1G SD chips are $250 or less) no need to have moving parts IMO.
Leave all the disco lights and other bells and whistles for the kids who think that is cool, because it is. It just isn't really necessary for good sound.

hedpe 04-29-2003 01:27 PM

that sony doesn't look too bad, i'm leaning alpine again for some reason, I don't know...

any other opinions?

suginami 04-29-2003 11:51 PM

Whatever you get, make sure you get a unit that has a round dial for volume control.

I just don't like the units, like many of the Alpine, that have the buttons to increase / decrease the volume.

hedpe 04-30-2003 01:23 AM

What do you guys think between these models? I'm going to be hooking a subwoofer up to it, i dunno if that makes a difference.

Blaupunkt Phoenix MP33

Alpine's CDA-9811

Kenwood Excelon KDC-X569

My dad wanted this one, but it looks like an old Apple IIe computer or something cheap:

opinions anyone? I'm not too familiar with head units. I've never had to look in to getting one before, they've always been stock or someone else put it in before me. Thanks guys, appreciate the huge response.

hedpe 04-30-2003 02:44 AM

I have two amps i'm going to hook that going to be a problem with the blaukpunkt? It has 1 pre-amp output. The alpine has 3.

Right now I have that 1994 alpine headunit in there, the guy before me has 4 RCA's running to an alpine V12 amp which powers the interior speakers.

Since then I just got an alpine M500 amp to power my subwoofer, I havn't done any wiring for it yet.

What difference will the two make?

wjm 05-02-2003 12:22 AM

I like the alpine. Not overly flashy.

Also, I agree with the round dial for sound.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:35 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2018 Pelican Parts, LLC - Posts may be archived for display on the Peach Parts or Pelican Parts Website