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Thread: Head unit suitable for use with a USB hard drive.

  1. #1
    Posting is my life! Club Member Digsy's Avatar
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    Head unit suitable for use with a USB hard drive.

    I think my old Kenwood head unit is about to keel over, so its time to think about a replacement.

    For a brief period I had a Dension hard disk based player in my car. Unfortunately this was second hand and conked out after less than a year but I loved having ALL my music in my car at once, so this is what I want to go for again.

    Before someone starts jumping up and down yelling, "Get an iPod! Get an iPod!" I'm NOT going to get an iPod. End of. I already carry my Smartphone everywhere with me, so I have no desire to carry a secone little box full of music, or have it displayed on my dash in a bracket for all to see. I want a little box that lives under my seat that I can take out every so often to update when I rip new CDs.

    I know you can get head units that take USB drives or SD cards, but the large capacity ones are expensive, so I'm thinking about getting a unit with a rear USB input and connecting it to something like this:

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=261050

    The only issue I have heard is that many head units do not output enough current to power a USB-powered external drive. The other (possibly bigger) problem is that USB-capable head units seem to be designed to work with small capacity flash drives and when presented with anything more than a few Gb can take several minutes after each power up to index all of the music on the drive before it is ready to play.

    Can anyone suggest a head unit that will be suited to what I need? Ideally as well as the above it would be single DIN (as I will want to port it to my next car), but still have a multi-line display to make navigating the tracks easier. Black front / bezel. Subtle styling, some kind of removable front for security.

    Cheers,
    Digsy

    Taking the fun out of tuning since 1993.

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    Custom User Title Club Member Willson's Avatar
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    Having just gone through the stereo buying thing for 2 cars, I will give my thoughts.

    1) I found it quite hard to find a stereo with a rear usb port. There are some, but the vast majority these days, have put them on front panel. I was looking <200 pound though. I got an alpine IDA which does have the rear port. Generally you need to buy a stereo with a flip down type face (where you would normally put the cd in) and then they have put the ports on the back to keep the clean face. Such as http://www.caraudiodirect.co.uk/kenw...ource=googleps
    You may be alright if you are gettings something a bit more upmarket though, like a double din touch screen type.

    2) The indexing thing you mention. On my alpine, when you turn on the unit it starts indexing the tracks. At the moment it takes a couple of minutes to index 200 tunes or so. But, it can still play tracks while its indexing, you just cant use the full search facilities. I think this is a common scenario.
    The only 2 ways around this that I know of are: Certain Kenwood models use a peice of software called "music wizard" or some thing along those lines, which you use to transfer your music onto your drive and it creates a database file, which I understand negates the need for any "indexing". Though I don't know they support hard drives.
    I would send an email to Car Audio Direct and ask them which stereos support hard drives, they are very helpful.

    The other way around it, and what I think I would do, it to buy an ipod! These already have the database built then, and you just control it with one of many ipod controlling head units. You can just leave it in your car (hidden!) connected to your stereo.

  3. #3
    I'm addicted now! Club Member sams's Avatar
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    jvc avx33, i no it a dvd player but it has an excellent usb function and cause the 4.5inc tc screen built in it easy to use the menu functions

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    I'm addicted now! MEMBERSHIP EXPIRED
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    I have a Pioneer P4100SD ( http://www.dynamicsounds.co.uk/pione...rd-p-8869.html ) with USB (front) and SD.

    I would highly recommend using SD. I have approximately 7 folders with 80+ songs in each folder, it starts/loads each song immediately, is very easily navigationable (is that a word?) I THINK my SD card is a 8GB but i cant be sure. But for 110 its a bargain for loads of songs, and no USB sticks youve got to try and hide away.

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    Work... what work? Club Member mobius's Avatar
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    I got this good sound from it though could be a bit better on the base, and you can't dim the display but your arms in the way anyway when driving but no biggie,

    http://caraudiosecurity.com/shop/pro..._id/10843.html

    more pics here
    http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_...ss+865DBI.html

    takes usb on front panel, or sd card slot behind face off panel, also has front panel Ipod compatability, look at pics on second link ipod tucked away inside it.

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    Posting is my life! Club Member Digsy's Avatar
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    I think I may have found what I want.

    Does anyone have any experience with this head unit?

    http://www.caraudiodirect.co.uk/kenwood-kdc6047u.html
    Digsy

    Taking the fun out of tuning since 1993.

  7. #7
    I can post! MEMBERSHIP EXPIRED
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    if you were after a double DIN I've got an alpine CDE W203 ri and love it !!

    Not tested it with a usb drive but can do if you like. Had it running with a flash usb stick, old creative jukebox mp3 (mini harddrive) and my ipod.
    All works great.

    I can test with a full size usb harddrive if you like ?

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    Aim for the Bushes!! Club Member Matt H's Avatar
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    Forget the hard drive.

    18 delivered for 16gb is a bargain - surely that's enough space? Easy to swap and
    change too.

    http://www.play.com/Electronics/Elec...t:Memory+Cards

    And here's an example of how cheap car stereos are nowadays:

    http://www.lowcostcaraudio.co.uk/lcc...847?afid=88888

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    Mahchin Club Member martini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt H View Post
    Forget the hard drive.

    18 delivered for 16gb is a bargain - surely that's enough space? Easy to swap and
    change too.
    From reading his first post, I am under the impression that he has considerably more than 16GB worth of music, and also doesn't want to swap and change very much at all.

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    Custom User Title Club Member Willson's Avatar
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    Did you make any progress with this Digsy?

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    Posting is my life! Club Member Digsy's Avatar
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    Yes I did actually. I recently bought a Kenwood KDC6047U which has USB or iPod input. I currently have it connected to a 16Gb memory stick which has enouigh storage for now. The USB cable can supply 500mA to power an external device so hopefully connecting a hard drive later might be possible.



    TBH the head unit isn't great but of all the ones I tried it had the best navigation of tracks, plus a five line full dot matrix display. Folder-level navigation is pants (even the tracks play in the wrong order) but if your MP3 collection has its tags organised and you use the Kenwood freeware to create a database on your memory stick when you add new songs, then you can find songs by artist, album, track name or genre.



    As soon as my car is fixed I'll probably enjoy driving around listening to some music!
    Digsy

    Taking the fun out of tuning since 1993.

  12. #12
    Custom User Title Club Member Willson's Avatar
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    Cool, yeah I thought the Kenwood would had good navigation due to the built database.

    Fortunately I just want mine for background noise really, so I am happy with random play.

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