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Hi,

I just updated from a 2007 RTL to a 2014 RTL both have the 6cd audio system. However, the 2014 just broke (MECC MALFUNCTION) and I am considering upgrading to a NAVI system. Would someone share his/her thoughts on the matter?

Thanks in advance!
Javier
 

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Navi function is low priority on my list of upgrades when it comes to buying a new HU. I can buy a stand alone GPS that has many more features, generally has free lifetime maps upgrade, and I can take it out of the truck for security. Ask yourself...How much do I use navi anyway? In my case, it is rarely as Google maps on my phone works great and my Garmin Nuvi fills in the gaps.
I like things like DVD player, USB/AUX/SD card in front, touch screen, reverse/foward camera, Bluetooth phone streaming, and whatever new phone mirroring applications coming out.
 

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1. Upgrading to the factory navigation system is impractical. It'll be cheaper and easier to trade for a Ridgeline that already has it.

2. Have your CD change repaired under warranty.
 

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Hi,

I just updated from a 2007 RTL to a 2014 RTL both have the 6cd audio system. However, the 2014 just broke (MECC MALFUNCTION) and I am considering upgrading to a NAVI system. Would someone share his/her thoughts on the matter?

Thanks in advance!
Javier
Hi Javier,

Welcome to the ROC.

I agree with dmessy on the GPS thing. And I like his avatar too. But that’s not important to the topic at hand. :act024:

Assuming you are going to replace the factory head unit with aftermarket, I offer the following thoughts for your consideration:
- The product category you are considering places you in the "high end", meaning navigation enabled devices are (usually) feature rich with hardware and software supporting all kinds of user options, which is cool for gadget nuts.
- Known name brands should be at the top of your list. The primary reason is: software controls and user interface design are where most development dollars are spent by well managed companies. It's hard to go wrong with brands such as Alpine, Pioneer & Kenwood, especially when looking at the upper end of those brands.
- A note about “name brands”: even very well-known brands can produce a clunker now and then. So the *crowd sourcing* (consumer written product reviews) provided by various on-line retailers are valuable for making an informed decision. In my experience, walking into a retail store and playing with a stereo can only take you so far when evaluating a product. Only through longer term use can one assess how well designed/user friendly a product is - and that’s where there is value in reading reviews written by regular people on sites like Amazon, Sonicelectronix and Crutchfield.
- MANY (if not ALL) manufacturers follow a tried and true method of product development: when they design something like an in-dash unit, component manufacturers of parts such as capacitive touch displays, CPU's, flash memory, disc drives, OP AMPs, Class D amplifier chips, transistors, ETC are limited.
- This means: other than cosmetics and software, most devices are remarkably similar in their parts and construction. It is entirely possible the owner of brand X dash unit has exactly the same display as the owner of brand Y. What we see on that display and how we move from one screen to the next is the real difference between them. SO, when making a buying decision, look beyond physical cosmetics. Look at screen navigation for common stuff like radio, disc, iPod and other controls. This is where the rubber meets the road – ease of use and intuitive navigation beats flashing segments, pretty icons and scrolling text every time.
- For me, I also consider how attractive a unit might be to bad guys. One of my vehicles was ravaged when a thief decided he needed what I had. He smashed a window, took a crow bar to a dash and ended up ripping a nice Recaro Ideal Seat C. Then, when he figured out there were amps in the trunk, pried the lid open causing severe body damage. All together it was several thousand $ in damage. That chit ain’t never happening again. Since then, I’ve taken a whole new approach to anti-theft deterrents.

The point of all this: at the hardware level, dash stereos within their various price categories aren’t all the different from one another. It’s similar with cell phones. A 4.7” display in a Motorola isn’t much different from the 4.7” display in a Samsung, but the way the user interfaces with that display is. So make sure to choose something that's functionally attractive to you.

To build a little more on dmessy’s comments: IMO: the biggest advantage of a standalone GPS device is portability. I use a large screen Magellan in two passenger vehicles and a motorhome. And I’ve taken it on trips for use in rental cars, which came in VERY handy last year when travelling through a rural area where network assistance for phone based maps was not available. On that trip alone, the Magellan paid for itself several times over. I too recommend assessing your need for a navigation solution. It just may turn out the $200 you save on a lower priced but equally high end in-dash stereo could be put towards a separate GPS device that solves other issues you may have.

Good luck!
 

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Portable units really lead the pack in terms of security, features, easy & free updates and price. Note some in-dash units like Kenwood incorporate GPS Units made by Garmin and and others, and also get free software revisions.
 

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Portable units really lead the pack in terms of security, features, easy & free updates and price. Note some in-dash units like Kenwood incorporate GPS Units made by Garmin and and others, and also get free software revisions.
'Sounds like that would truly be the best of both worlds!
 

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If you get an AppRadio from Pioneer, you can use it just like you would your iPhone. It doesn't have a CD player built in to it, so if you no longer use CD's, it's not an issue. You can use any navigation app on your phone and it will display on the screen. It's simply not worth the extra money to get the built-in navigation that constantly needs updated. There are some VERY good non-nav units out there for about $300 that are way more functional than the factory head unit as far as connectivity and sound tuning.
 

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If you get an AppRadio from Pioneer, you can use it just like you would your iPhone. It doesn't have a CD player built in to it, so if you no longer use CD's, it's not an issue. You can use any navigation app on your phone and it will display on the screen. It's simply not worth the extra money to get the built-in navigation that constantly needs updated. There are some VERY good non-nav units out there for about $300 that are way more functional than the factory head unit as far as connectivity and sound tuning.
... which is fine if you're not one of us dinosaurs that don't do the phone data thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for your comments, I will look into going to warranty to get it fixed. Thanks a lot!
 

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... which is fine if you're not one of us dinosaurs that don't do the phone data thing.
Most of my listening is FM radio and CD's. I still actually prefer the sound of CD's as compared to even the "high quality audio" on Pandora or a similar music app. I can hear the compression on most songs and it annoys the heck out of me. I know that CD's are still technically compressed, but it's way more pleasing to my ear than MP3's or streamed media. Nevertheless, I think the OP would be best suited to go get his OEM head unit repaired under warranty.
 

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'Sounds like that would truly be the best of both worlds!
Yes, it does. Actually there is one car maker introducing a Garmin based system, I don't recall who that may be.
 

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Most of my listening is FM radio and CD's. I still actually prefer the sound of CD's as compared to even the "high quality audio" on Pandora or a similar music app. I can hear the compression on most songs and it annoys the heck out of me. I know that CD's are still technically compressed, but it's way more pleasing to my ear than MP3's or streamed media. Nevertheless, I think the OP would be best suited to go get his OEM head unit repaired under warranty.
Actually, the digital audio on CDs is stored in an uncompressed format. Even after more than three decades on the market, CDs still offer the highest available quality when compared to today's popular audio formats. For many years, the de facto standard for compressed music was a 128 Kbps MP3 file, which sounds "good enough" to many. But, the better-sounding choice today is a 256 Kbps AAC file which still contains only 25% of the uncompressed audio from a CD. Granted, much of the uncompressed data on a CD can't even be heard by the human ear, which is the principle on which compressed audio is based. Today's compression algorithms are good. Very good. Indistinguishable by the vast majority of consumers on the vast majority of audio equipment in use today. A person with exceptional hearing listening on reference equipment with certain types of music can still tell the difference, though.
 

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Actually, the digital audio on CDs is stored in an uncompressed format. Even after more than three decades on the market, CDs still offer the highest available quality when compared to today's popular audio formats. For many years, the de facto standard for compressed music was a 128 Kbps MP3 file, which sounds "good enough" to many. But, the better-sounding choice today is a 256 Kbps AAC file which still contains only 25% of the uncompressed audio from a CD. Granted, much of the uncompressed data on a CD can't even be heard by the human ear, which is the principle on which compressed audio is based. Today's compression algorithms are good. Very good. Indistinguishable by the vast majority of consumers on the vast majority of audio equipment in use today. A person with exceptional hearing listening on reference equipment with certain types of music can still tell the difference, though.
Fair warning, this is an official Nerd alert!

Not to split hairs or cause any sort of conflict, but...

CD sample rates (44kHz) and word lengths (16bit) were established in the 70's using then state of the art pulse code modulation operating at the theoretical limit components available for consumer level products. At the time, those values were not only constrained by hardware and software, but also the understanding of the human ear to resolve (or detect) lots of fine nuance like "staircasing" of complex waveforms and the jitter associated with high speed clocks.

The reason high resolution digital has evolved (and vinyl has made a huge resurgence) is because humans CAN and do hear those digital anomalies. They manifest as listening fatigue, sibilance distortion and the absolute ceiling that low sample rates place on harmonics.

In my late 5th decade on this planet, I definitely qualify as a human suffering from degraded auditory senses in the range above 12kHz, but I can absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt resolve the delta between any compression schema below OR above the CD standard. That delta is not limited to dynamics, frequency content or any other single attribute of sonic reproduction. It doesn't require close listening either - at freeway speeds windows down the difference between an mp3 and a better file.

Depending on who you might care to believe, the current state of the art digital is 196kHz @ 24-bit. Does anyone need that kind of resolution in a vehicle? NAH, not when the noise floor is well above 80db SPL when travelling. How about when parked? Maybe, but 145+ db dynamic range can be irritating for casual listening. Still, I'd go for it where financially possible. But DAC's and files at that level of play are still up there, so I'm more than pleased with storing all files with the ALE codec.

Taking of the propeller beany now.

Carry on.
 

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Fair warning, this is an official Nerd alert!

Not to split hairs or cause any sort of conflict, but...

CD sample rates (44kHz) and word lengths (16bit) were established in the 70's using then state of the art pulse code modulation operating at the theoretical limit components available for consumer level products. At the time, those values were not only constrained by hardware and software, but also the understanding of the human ear to resolve (or detect) lots of fine nuance like "staircasing" of complex waveforms and the jitter associated with high speed clocks.

The reason high resolution digital has evolved (and vinyl has made a huge resurgence) is because humans CAN and do hear those digital anomalies. They manifest as listening fatigue, sibilance distortion and the absolute ceiling that low sample rates place on harmonics.

In my late 5th decade on this planet, I definitely qualify as a human suffering from degraded auditory senses in the range above 12kHz, but I can absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt resolve the delta between any compression schema below OR above the CD standard. That delta is not limited to dynamics, frequency content or any other single attribute of sonic reproduction. It doesn't require close listening either - at freeway speeds windows down the difference between an mp3 and a better file.

Depending on who you might care to believe, the current state of the art digital is 196kHz @ 24-bit. Does anyone need that kind of resolution in a vehicle? NAH, not when the noise floor is well above 80db SPL when travelling. How about when parked? Maybe, but 145+ db dynamic range can be irritating for casual listening. Still, I'd go for it where financially possible. But DAC's and files at that level of play are still up there, so I'm more than pleased with storing all files with the ALE codec.

Taking of the propeller beany now.

Carry on.
While I can personally appreciate that information, the intended audience for my post was the average listener, not a recording engineer. :)

Still, I stand firm that as far as readily-available, consumer-level audio for the masses is concerned, CDs are still the king in terms of sound quality (even though I haven't used CDs in many years). And, while I can't argue with listening fatigue, >99% of the population can't even define it or tell you when it is present.
 

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Yeah.... umm.... I just like CD's. :)
 

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While I can personally appreciate that information, the intended audience for my post was the average listener, not a recording engineer. :)

Still, I stand firm that as far as readily-available, consumer-level audio for the masses is concerned, CDs are still the king in terms of sound quality (even though I haven't used CDs in many years). And, while I can't argue with listening fatigue, >99% of the population can't even define it or tell you when it is present.
Sorry, as usual, the wind from the propeller on my head sends the discussion off into the weeds. Points taken. And agreed regarding compact disc.

"In the business", the raging debate is the transition (which is WELL underway) away from physical media to downloads. Won't be long before CD's are as rare as 4 track cartridges.

figure-4-the-market-share-of-different-recorded-music-formats-in-20131.jpg

https://musicbusinessresearch.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/the-recorded-music-market-in-the-us-2000-2013/
 
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