Decent HU without these problems?


New member
Username: Redknight

Atlanta, GA USA

Post Number: 10
Registered: Nov-04
Hi folks!

I came here a year ago, and was very impressed by all the helpful people here. It was much appreciated. I was looking for a good basic FM/MP3 player, and got a lot of good ideas. I wound up buying a Clarion DB345MP which in retrospect was not quite what I was looking for. Now I need another HU for another family car. Here are two things I really dislike about this Clarion, which caught me by surprise:

1) In order to turn it off, you have to hold down one of the buttons for TWO SECONDS. This is incredibly annoying when you're driving and/or have a incoming cell call and are also scrambling for the phone. Out of the dozens of buttons I've never once touched, can't they just have a @#$%% OFF button? Sigh, lol

2) For the automatic channel assigner which assigns the best-reception channels to the 18 presets, incredibly, it doesn't take THE best 18... it just seems to take ones over a certain cut-off, which left me two-thirds the way through the FM band by preset #18. Also it has some real inconvenient thing where you have to restart it from a particular point, for each of the three sets of six presets. Is it so hard to just have a blanket automatic setting across all 18 presets and the whole FM band?

Ok, down off the soap-box.

I am just looking for a good basic HU for FM and MP3 playing. The dial must be legible from all angles and especially in direct sunlight... and I do not need any "fancy" graphics or continuous display, I don't want to *watch* my radio, for Pete's sake, hehe. Just tell me the channel. :P

Willing to spend $200-$300 or so. I don't need tons of power. Just clarity, decent bass; longer FM station reception is good.

Any ideas about my two problems above? Any particular brands or models to go for these days? (Or NOT go for - I was grateful that this site steered me away from Sony, which I had come to love from years past.) Or maybe there's a website these days which gives good recommends for particular types of buyers.

Thanks in advance if you can help!

P.S. Micro rant: When will HU makers ever put a "clock" button on their units? Car batteries are usually only disconnected once or twice a year, just long enough to forget the arcane, usually unlabelled, series of buttons needed to reset the clock, lol

Gold Member
Username: Illuminator


Post Number: 2377
Registered: Apr-05
1) This has become an unavoidable feature in head units now. I agree, it is annoying when the unit has to be shut off, but I almost never turn it off, heh.

2) Interesting observation. I, too, would expect Clarion to have made it scan the entire spectrum and then assigning the strongest stations. Most likely it would take too much work to correct the problem as far as circuitry design goes.

The fancy graphics in almost all cases can be turned off. The units with a high count pixel display can actually be nicer than those without because it is much easier to read the characters being displayed i.e. the eight's won't be confused with 'B's.

The power button is always going to be a problem, my best advice is to find a unit with a dedicated mute button (Doesn't your Clarion have a mute button on the remote?). Also, I honestly haven't explored the FM scan option on enough headunits to really tell you who makes the best.

The best Clarion head units are really their top of the line ones with a HPF. Though, you still did get a good head unit relative to what is already out there. You might consider picking up a Crutchfield magazine and checking out what they have there and searching ebay for a better price. I highy recommend you look at their Alpine and Pioneer units if you really do not want another Clarion, though Clarion is one of my favorites.

Unregistered guest
You can always use the mute button!! If your going to spend up to $300 I would suggest to go to a few local car audio shops, and listen to a few. The decent ones will always have some demos you can listen to and use.

My suggestion, for a good HU with no graphics etc etc with MP3 capability and a decent tuner would be the Becker Mexico Pro. I used to own one of these, the design is simple and in my opinion looks very subtle and classy (it is used as standard in Porsche, Mercerdes and Ferrari) it has a twin tuner, one locks a station, while the other searches constantly for the best signal. The sound quality (in my opinion) is excellent. It is German made, and very soild. Failing that, a base model Blaupunkt or Pioneer could a cheaper alternative
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