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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On my 2011 I currently have the OEM head unit driving the OEM speakers in the front doors , Kicker component 6.5" speakers in the rear doors, and preamps out to a Kenwood 120 watt monoblock amp driving an 8" Rockford Fosgate subwoofer in a sealed box under the front passenger seat.

For the past few weeks I've been thinking of the best way to upgrade my sound system: new head unit and/or external amp and/or new front door speakers. I looked into many double DIN head units on Crutchfield and Sonicelectronix, ranging in price from $160 to $450. I also looked at a few external amps. For now I've decided to just keep the OEM head unit and upgrade the front door speakers.


I like the OEM head unit because:
  1. Well integrated: The OEM head unit fits nicely into the hole. The OEM head unit is slightly wider than a double DIN unit, so any installation kit will have filler panels on each side of an aftermarket double DIN head unit. Also I like the USB and Aux cables in the center console (with my 32 GB USB stick hidden and out of the way), I'd have to replicate that with any aftermarket unit.
  2. Dedicated function buttons: The OEM head unit has dedicated single-function buttons for Power, CD, AM, FM, and USD/Aux. I really like being able to go directly from Off to whatever function I want with a single button push, and being able to turn the unit off with a single button push. All the aftermarket units I looked at combine the power On/Off and functions into a single button, or use a touchscreen (which is not tactile like physical buttons). Also, to shut off the unit, you'd have to press and hold that single button for 2 seconds, an annoyance.
  3. Steering wheel controls already work: any aftermarket unit will require an adapter to regain the steering wheel controls. An adapter typically costs ~ $50.
  4. Decent power: my OEM head unit manual claims a "maximum power of 160 watts, or 40 watts per speaker". Elsewhere in the manual it says a "standard speaker" is 17.5 watts. So I figure the OEM head unit is good for maybe 10-15 watts RMS per speaker, which is enough to drive it decently. Most aftermarket head units I looked at put out 18-20 watts RMS.
  5. No new wiring needed: the external amps and many aftermarket head units recommend a new dedicated fused power line of 10 gauge or heavier. (I know some of you are running 4 gauge, or perhaps something even heavier.) Keeping the OEM head unit avoids that.
  6. I'm used to it: over the past two years I've gotten used to the controls. I'd have to learn all over again with a new unit.
  7. Other experiences: see this thread http://www.newscionxb.com/131-audio...llent-affordable-2012-xb-speaker-upgrade.html from AJ_Gil who only upgraded all his speakers and was satisfied. He's a musician and has built recording studios, so it's likely he has a pretty discriminating ear.
  8. It's anti-theft: potential thieves who see my OEM head unit are likely to pass me by, and instead move on to someone else who has an aftermarket unit. In the past, I've had three of my cars broken into and the stereo stolen from one of them, it's no fun.
  9. It's cheaper: I have 1 kid in college and 2 more to send, so I need to spend money wisely.
Sure the new units offer Bluetooth, and cool services like Pandora and satellite radio, and DVD screens. But I've satisfied Bluetooth with a dedicated speaker unit mounted on my overhead console (I can make or receive phone calls), and I don't stream music from my phone or subscribe to radio services, or watch The Avengers in my car.

So, I've decided to upgrade the front door speakers and keep the OEM head unit. That ought to satisfy the modding itch, at least for a while...
 

· Royal Floor Sweeper
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The 1960s Diana Rigg/Emma Peel Avengers or the modern Marvel one?

I'm a HUGE fan of the 1960s spy one.
Dang-it, gonna have to watch some to get a fix now . . .
Love the Castle De 'Ath episode
 

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As always, very well written BrickPig! :book:

I've upgraded to the Alpine Premium H/U because i needed the 3 RCA outputs.
I deeply miss my stock one and I wish I could go back to it.

I think you're making the best choice !
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
...I needed the 3 RCA outputs.
I deeply miss my stock one and I wish I could go back to it.
Just thought of something: One way to keep the OEM head unit (if it has preamp outputs) yet get more power to the speakers and an aftermarket sub, is to get a 5-channel amp that accepts both speaker level and preamp inputs. That way you could wire the 4 speaker level inputs into the amp, and run the preamps to the 5th channel to push an aftermarket sub. Examples:
Speaker Level Inputs 5-channel Amplifiers at Crutchfield.com
Just an idea...
 

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Nice list BrickPig! Im an old schooler myself. However while I do agree with you on most points, however I got to the point where my OE Premium Alpine head unit was just pissing me off. Nothing wrong with the unit, just prefer my aftermarket deck for all the features. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i dont know if its true but i was chatting with a crutchfield tech about oem stereos and he was saying most stock stereos have the output of 2-10 rms , is there anywhere we could find out how much the stock carries?
The 2011 stock head unit claims 160 watts peak (40 watts x 4 channels - Left Front, Right Front, Left Rear, Right Rear). Crutchfield says peak is roughly 2x RMS. So figure between 15-20 watts RMS per speaker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Scion sometimes changed head units midyear (for example some late 2011 cars came with the 2012 head unit with Bluetooth) so it's probably best to go by the model number on the head unit. My 2011 came with a T1814 head unit, for that unit the model number is printed just above the right hand corner of the display.
 
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