Aftermarket Headunit Options for Mach 460 - Pioneer DEH vs. ???

Discussion in '1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk-' started by patman0911, Oct 27, 2009.


  1. patman0911

    patman0911 Founding Member

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    I'm planning on replacing the factory Mach460 receiver and CD player since buttons are starting to fall off and I have to keep a paper clip handy to turn it on & off and eject CDs. I was going to look for some decent used factory pieces since I'm satisfied with the performance of the 460 but have decided to go aftermarket so I can get iPod integration and an extra 1/8" aux input. Additionally, since I lost the console ashtray in favor of cupholders I can put a pocket tray in place of the CD player and get some storage space back.

    Budget is $150~$200
    Requirements:
    • CD player
    • iPod playback, control & charging (rear - iPod cable will probably be routed to armrest storage bin)
    • 1/8" aux input (front - for infrequently hooking up my other mp3 players/recorders and other stuff)
    • 2 or 3 sets of preamp outputs
    • Simple & clean control layout and appearance

    My research keeps coming back to the Pioneer DEH-4100UB & 410UB. Is there a significant difference between Pioneer's DEH-X100 and the DEH-X10 Premier lines other than the Premiers have a 2 year warranty and come with an iPod cable?

    I stopped by Best Buy to put my hands on some receivers and I was a little disappointed with the way the control wheel felt on the Pioneer radios. The knob is very thin and sticks out on a tall stalk and it doesn't have a good feel when using it as a knob - slick with not much surface area to grab on to. Felt a little weird when using it as a four-way stick too. Some of the other stereos felt better in that regard.

    The other thing is that the interface wasn't as intuitive as I would've liked but I found that to be true of all the stereos I played with - you get in a sub-menu and you can't figure out how to get back out again. I'm sure I'd figure it out and adjust quickly but if my wife or stepson drive it, I'll be fielding support calls on how to operate the stereo :D

    So, any other receivers I should be looking at? I'm sure I'd be happy with the Pioneers but I'd be even happier if the controls felt a little better and the interface was more intuitive.

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. stangGT97

    stangGT97 New Member

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    I have the DEH-P5100UB in my '98, and it definitely has its ups and downs.
    Pluses:
    Great sound quality
    Full iPod control
    Looks nice
    Front USB port, so you can play MP3s off thumb drives
    Rear USB port allows you to stick iPOD in glove box for security
    Better electronic shielding then the 5000UB (last gen), so no cell phone interference if you have AT&T (I know this because I have a 5000UB in my Jeep and it picks up the phone signal)

    Negatives
    Multi-control button is a pain to use, esp on bumpy roads
    Doesn't know how to randomize MP3s on a thumb drive
    Clock display is too small (unless the radio is off)
    No pause button (wtf?) - you need to hold SRC to shut it off when taking a call, or use remote
    Browsing for songs is difficult. They did add the ability to select the first letter when browsing, but you still have to scroll a lot

    All in all I think it is a good CD player for the money, but it definitely has some really annoying quirks.

    Edit - for your '96, you may be interested in getting a utility compartment to replace where the old CD player sits (late model restoration supply part #LRS-13594A). This is my setup:

    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. patman0911

    patman0911 Founding Member

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    Cool, thanks for the info. Your feedback pretty much confirms my initial impression - looks great but doesn't handle quite as good as it looks.

    Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten that a few reviews had mentioned that the iPod browsing was clumsy - I meant to ask about that too but you covered it.

    Yep, that tray is pretty much exactly what I had in mind to put in place of the cd player.
    #3
  4. stangGT97

    stangGT97 New Member

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    Yeah. I like it for the most part, but it makes me curse every once in a while when I have to fumble to find a song or make an adjustment. It definitely made my stock (non Mach 460) speakers wake up, so from that perspective, I am very pleased.

    The CD tray is very handy. It's big enough to fit my wallet & cell phone in, and has a no-slip insert so they don't move around. A little bit pricey, but worth it from a function and aesthetic perspective. The alternative is to leave the old, non functioning CD player in there, or have a gaping hole in the dash. Hope this helped! :)
    #4
  5. mustang50v8

    mustang50v8 New Member

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    check here. all headunits between $101 - $250
    In-Dash CD Receivers with MP3 / WMA Playback | Car Stereo Receivers and Head Units | Car Audio | Car Audio, Video, & GPS Navigation at Sonic Electronix


    if you can stretch your budget slightly, you can get a kenwood reciever with built in HD radio. a coworker of mine has it and says the sound quality difference is amazing. also he says it looks fantastic installed in his car and is easy to navigate.
    Kenwood KDC-HD942U (kdchd942u) All In-Dash Car Stereo Receivers Car Stereo Receivers and Head Units Car Audio Car Audio, Video, & GPS Navigation - Sonic Electronix
    #5
  6. patman0911

    patman0911 Founding Member

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    Hmmm... I hadn't considered HD radio...

    What's the signal coverage and reception like on HD? Does it cover a similar range as the regular radio signal? Looks like the only HD station here in Tuscaloosa is NPR (like I need to hear the Click & Clack brothers in HD) but there's a bunch up the road in Birmingham (40-50 miles away), including several I pick up OK now and listen to regularly in glorious super-compressed, super-highs-rolled-off non-HD.

    Those prices look pretty good at that SonicElectronix. I haven't gotten to the serious price comparison stage yet, I'd been browsing through Crutchfield since they'll include the adapters tools and even a DIN storage tray without me having to do any legwork on what fits.

    stangGT97: Yeah, your input has been very helpful - thanks again.
    #6
  7. stangGT97

    stangGT97 New Member

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    Crutchfield says that you will need a special mounting bracket to support the rear of the head unit, but everything I read said that it was a POS. Needless to say I didn't buy it and the radio installed fine without it.

    FYI Advance Auto sells the special head unit ejector prongs you will need to remove the factory radio.
    #7
  8. mustang50v8

    mustang50v8 New Member

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    i have purchased many things at sonicelectronix and not once had an issue. since they are not "authorized sellers" many of the items, they do have their own return / warranty policy. but again, i have not had an issue.
    #8
  9. 0Trueblue2GT

    0Trueblue2GT New Member

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    I have worked at a higher-end privately owned Car Audio and Home audio and video store for about 2 years now. We carry Kenwood, Alpine, Pioneer, and Sony products for Head units and many other brands for sound. The Kenwood in my opinion by far the best head unit on the market. No matter if it is just a simple single din unit all the way up to their video / nav units. I've used Kenwood in my car forever. The Alpine and Pioneer units are nice units but have their setbacks. The Pioneers are a pain in the a** to use and the Alpines build quality has slacked for the past few years. The Kenwoods are very intuitive and easy to learn and sound the best, mostly because of build quality and their DAC's.

    I would recommend the Kenwood KDC-X493 for $170 which has a front AUX in and front USB where you can take your iPod cable and plug it right in and control all the functions of the iPod through the radio and it has a 2 year warranty and 3 x 4v Pre-outs. Or do the Kenwood KDC-MP342U which has same features but lower voltage pre-outs and a 1 year warranty.

    If you do run decided to run an iPod cable out take it to the glove box. It's a lot easier to get the cable to because if you want it in the center console that thing is a huge b**ch. Just my $.02 and if you have any questions i can help with just ask.

    This is what's in my car:
    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. LaserSVT

    LaserSVT Founding Member

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    If you dont know, now you know ni....
    I didnt read every post but here are my .02

    I have installed stereos for over 15 years and worked at the number 1 shop in Hawaii. I have installed thousands of decks from all the brands and can tell you that a Pioneer will give you the best bang for the buck and the best sound quality.
    It has the most features and the best processors on board. The joystick controll is their only downfall. Seems its the trend these days to have a knob that controlls everything. :nonono:
    They do have a pause but its only accesable throughthe remote or the menu feature. CD Performance is quite exceptional though and the tuners are the best in the buisiness. Cant go wrong with a Pioneer.
    Also the only difference in the Premier is the warrenty, nothing else.
    Eclipse would be my second choice but not for your price range. I would also look for a used DEH7800 or 780 as they were excellent head units and one of the best I have ever heard.
    #10
  11. Ateup

    Ateup Active Member

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    Very timely thread for me. I have 2 factory units for me 03 and neither cd player works. I have tons of music on my ipod and can't stand to listen to the radio for more than 10 minutes. I'm struggling with whether to have Best Buy put one in for me or do it myself. My only real experience is switching out the factory units. I'm worried that BB might fark it up since it's not as easy with the 460 system to just plug a new HU in. Then again, I don't want to get in over my head by doing it myself either. I found these instruction on another site. Anyone have any comments about it? Should I trust BB on the installation? Thanks for the advice on the units also. Will definitely keep those in mind when I purchase one.


    Integrating AM Head Unit w/ Mach 460 (00-04 Mustangs) - Mustang Forums

    2002 Mustang GT Sound System Write Up.

    By: Mixedbreed02GT

    Step By Step Tutorial For Integrating an Aftermarket Head Unit with your existing Mach 460 Speakers and Amplifiers

    What you need:
    Aftermarket Head Unit (preferably 20+ RMS Watts, and 50 Watts x 4 Channels, 3 pairs of RCA Jacks on the back of the unit to connect your sound system)
    Metra 99-5026 2001 - 2004 Mustang Dash Kit
    Metra 70-5519 Wiring Harnesses (only works on 2000 - 2002)

    Tools:
    Wire Crimpers
    Wire Cutters
    lighter
    zippy ties
    Socket Ratchet and 9/32” socket
    Electrical Tape
    Soldering Gun
    Solder
    And you need some patience as well!

    Ok you should have 3 wiring harnesses. 2 from the metra package, and one from your cd player.

    Take these three harnesses, your heat shrink connectors, and your tools to
    a table with plenty of work space. This way you are in a relaxed place, not in a big hurry,and aren’t in doing this in the cramped front seat of your car, dropping tools, and connectors down the sides of your seats, and having to stop to look for them.

    On the Factory Plug metra (should be black)...there are a bunch of wires.

    Right Rear Speaker
    Purple
    Purple/Black

    Left Rear Speaker
    Green
    Green/Black

    Right Front Speaker
    Gray
    Gray/Black

    Left Front Speaker
    White
    White/Black
    Red – Accessory
    Yellow - Battery
    Black - Ground
    Orange - Illumination/Dimmer
    Orange/Black - Dimmer Ground

    On your second Metra Adapter (should be white and have RCA plugs attached to it) there are the following wires

    2 wires that have RCA Plugs on the end (these go in the back of your cd player)

    2 Blue/White wires - These power your Mach 460 amps
    2 Black/White Wires - These are your Mach460 amp grounds

    CD Player Harness.
    You should have the following wires may vary for different cd players)

    Right Rear Speaker
    Purple
    Purple/Black

    Left Rear Speaker
    Green
    Green/Black

    Right Front Speaker
    Gray
    Gray/Black

    Left Front Speaker
    White
    White/Black

    Blue - Remote System Control/Power Antenna
    Red - Accessory
    Yellow - Battery
    Black - Ground
    Orange - Illumination/Dimmer
    Yellow/black – mute

    You want to connect all the regular wires normally. Now here's where it gets a little tricky. Take the 2 Black/white amp grounds on the RCA plug harness, and solder these, plus your dimmer/illum. ground (orange/black)and solder them to the metra adapter ground along with your radio ground, now take your 2 blue/white amp wires on the RCA plug harness, and your blue remote system wire and solder all three of these wires together.

    Avoid using connectors if you can, solder works better, and ensures a better connection. (make sure to tape off the connection so it won't ground out, or short circuit anything.

    Now you're ready to install the head unit.

    take your new head unit which should be mounted in the dash kit and awaiting installation, and your 3 wiring harnesses and tools, and go out to the car.

    Pop your hood, and disconnect the battery! Do this before starting any electrical work…no exceptions!!! Factory battery requires a 5/16" socket with ratchet.

    Also while you're at the battery take a wire brush and clean off both of your posts by scrubbing them really hard until they are bright again..this will help the battery terminals conduct electricity from the battery.

    if you have a drill or air tools, take some tape and tape a piece of sand paper about 9 or 10" long to a drill bit, then wind the sand paper around the drill bit really good...stick the drill bit w/ sand paper through the battery terminal ring, and then release sandpaper and let it fill the ring terminal, now squeeze the power trigger, and sand the inside of the ring terminals out until they are shiny, as this will remove the dirt and grime, and help conduct electricity better.
    remove your shift knob, and firmly pull up on the shifter bezel, and it
    should pop right out.

    now pull on the trim plate that surrounds the radio and a/c panel...it too
    should pop right out, make sure to unplug the 3 plugs on the back of the
    panel...now put both the shifter bezel and trim plate in the back seat so
    they are out of the way.

    now using your socket ratchet and 9/32 socket, remove the 2 bolts that hold your factory head unit in place. now carefully slide the mach460 forward(you may have to play with it a little bit, but it will come out).

    unplug the antenna, and the 3 plugs from the back of the radio, and take the head unit and put it in the backseat so it's out of the way.

    take your wiring harnesses and plug the 2 metra harnesses into the factory
    harnesses. now connect your cd harness plug to the back of the cd player. Put the 2 RCA's from the metra harness into the "Front Output" RCA Jacks on the back of your aftermarket unit. Connect your antenna.

    Now go reconnect your battery. Now go turn your aftermarket head unit
    on and make sure it works. Listen to a radio station, then put in a cd.
    Make sure the bass sounds good...if you think it's not working, unplug the
    RCA's from the back of your aftermarket head unit. If you hear the sound
    quality and loudness decrease dramatically, then it was working properly
    when the RCA plugs were in the back of the head unit. If you hear no change,check your wiring as you probably have something connected wrong, or not connected at all.

    The RCA for the mach amps, should go into the middle set of inputs on the back of your head unit (if it has three sets...if not refer to your cd player's manual). Amp rca's should go in the bottom set, and if you have an EQ, then the RCA's from that should go in the top set.

    Now unplug battery again (5/16" socket)

    Make sure you connect any accessories, such as Ipod, Sirius Satellite Tuner, Bluetooth Interface, Amplifier RCA Cables, Etc.

    Once you're satisfied, use some zippy ties and tidy up your wiring harnesses. No need to super tighten the zippy's, just enough to hold the wires in place.

    Now put your head unit/dash kit, into the hole, and secure with the 9/32 bolts.

    Grab your trim plate, plug in your 3 plugs (defrost, TCS, Fog lights) to the
    back, then firmly pop it back into place.

    Now get your shifter bezel, and pop it back into place, and put your shift
    knob back on.

    Now get that manual out for your head unit, and set your settings to your
    liking and enjoy a killer sounding Sound System for the price of only
    an aftermarket head unit, a wiring harness, a dash kit, some heat shrink
    connectors, and a little bit of your time.

    Contrary to popular belief, if you follow this you should not hear any popping sounds when you turn your radio on. If you do, you either don’t have a built in crossover, you have a bad connections somewhere, or you have a bad ground.

    What Did I Use For My Install?
    Metra 70-5519 Wiring Harnesses
    Metra 99-5026 Dash Installation Kit
    Pioneer 5900IB Aftermarket Head Unit
    20 GB Ipod.
    Pioneer CD-i200 Ipod Interface Cable
    SIRIUS Satellite Pioneer Tuner/Receiver Model# SIR-PNR2
    Alpine MRP-M850 Amplifier

    Once I got everything wired up, and installed, I couldn't believe how great the sound was. It was probably 50% better sounding and louder than the factory Mach 460 Head Unit. The good thing about this setup is, it saved me from having to remove all the Mach 460 Amps, and the speakers, and having to rewire the entire car. This was a simple solution, that provided a quick, efficient, and affordable way to get great sound without having to spend big money.
    #11
  12. patman0911

    patman0911 Founding Member

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    Weird, I started to look at the Kenwoods again just before I saw this post last night. I was looking at the KDC-MP642U - I kinda like the classic 2 knob layout. Not sure about the fold down face for CD access but since I've started using the iPod in the car, I've had the same CD in there for months now :crazy: ...so, probably not a real issue.

    I'd rather go for the console than the glovebox because I keep the iPod touch on me at all times and I hate having to reach over and open the glovebox and it's even more of a pain to close because it's not even big enough for the freakin' owners manual - it wants to slide up and block the latch making it a two hand job to close. I had the console out recently and it was pretty easy, I think I'll be OK running it up through there.
    #12
  13. patman0911

    patman0911 Founding Member

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    You've replaced factory units before? If you can solder halfway decently and can follow directions then I think you should be able to tackle it.

    The last couple of times I've let Circuit City (RIP) or anywhere else do stuff like that, they've been hackjobs - chopped harnesses, poor crimp connections and horrible, horrible splice connectors. Of course, my first couple of attempts were hackjobs too :D but that was before there were harness adapters for everything under the sun so we had to cut off the factory plugs and try to wire everything up with barely enough wire sticking out of the console to hang on to and no room to work. Building the adapter harness on the bench is a relative breeze.

    ---------------------------------------

    Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm starting to feel a little less overwhelmed by all the options - so many receivers with so little to distinguish between them :eek:
    #13
  14. Dkblue98GT

    Dkblue98GT Member

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    stanggt97, what did you have to do to get that headunit to integrate with the Mach 460 system?

    I have that headunit in one of my trucks and would like to put one in my 98GT mustang.

    Thanks
    Robb
    #14
  15. stangGT97

    stangGT97 New Member

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    Well, my car didn't come with the Mach system, just the basic 4 speaker w/ CD player. For me, all I had to do was get the wiring harness adapter from Crutchfield, rig it up to the new deck and directly replace the old factory deck. I think with the Mach 460, things get more complicated
    #15
  16. 0Trueblue2GT

    0Trueblue2GT New Member

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    Go for a Kenwood man the layout is the best and the functionality and expandability and incredible. It's super easy to install a radio in our cars too.
    #16
  17. patman0911

    patman0911 Founding Member

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    Giving this thread the Christmas bump too: Found a Kenwood KDC-MP642U under the tree :D

    So far so good. I really like the iPod controls - easy to browse through by playlists, artist, albums, etc., and you can even search. It also remembers exactly where it was if you take the iPod out, go do some other stuff with it and then come back - just picks right back up wherever in the song it was playing and keeps track of the song order if it's on shuffle -I was hoping it would do that and it does.

    Overall, the UI isn't bad but still not as direct and intuitive as I'd like but, it seems to suck less than the interfaces on other aftermarket stereos. I'm going to have to actually read the manual for how to program my radio stations in :nonono:

    It's too early to give it an honest review yet, but I think I'm really going to like it.

    A couple of observations: First of all, installation was indeed super easy! Crutchfield included the radio harness adapter, RCA preamp out to factory amp harness adapter, radio removal tool, DIN storage tray to take the place of the CD player and the support bracket it needed. Only had to solder 5 wires on the harness adapter and then it took, literally, 5 minutes to remove the factory pieces and install the new stuff.

    Second, Ford must have packed a good bit of DSP into the 460 head unit because the Kenwood sounded totally flat and lifeless before I started digging in the parametric EQ and other processing options. I always ran the tone controls flat on the 460 and bumped the bass up one notch for some sources and it always sounded big and full. I know it's cooler to bash factory stuff but Ford and whoever they partnered with on the Mach460 really did a good job with it - really well designed system for a factory setup.

    Here it is installed:
    [​IMG]

    I don't like the storage tray that came with it that much - I don't need the CD slots taking up space and I'd like a more OEM looking one that is lined with the thin carpet-like stuff.

    I haven't done anything with the USB cable yet, it's just coming out the back of the console on the passenger side right now. I ordered a retractable iPod cable so I may see if I can rig that up in the console to keep things tidy.

    Again, thanks for everyones' input :cheers:
    #17
  18. Icemanstang

    Icemanstang New Member

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    Congratulations Patman on your new stereo deck.
    I have always used Alpine stereo decks and I never had
    any problems either.Alpine seems to have a good product
    and I would buy again too.
    #18
  19. wmburns

    wmburns SN Certified Technician

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    Looking for single DIN cover

    Glad to hear about your recent find. I wish stuff like that would appear under my tree.

    About that CD storage tray. Any ideas where I could get one for myself? I have a 2000 GT with the separate CD player. When the CD player crapped out, I installed a single DIN combined head unit. I now have a hole in the center console where the CD player used to be.

    At the time, I thought it would be no big deal to just "buy" an off the shelf single DIN blanking panel. I found plenty of examples for sale from the UK. No cost effective options from the states.

    Someone also suggested getting the blanking panel out of a salvage V6. I learned two things. 1st, most V6's came with CD players. Next, the salvage yards will not sell pieces from a good center console. Must buy the whole console.

    If my memory serves me, Ford wanted $65 for the V6 cover. The hole doesn't bother me that much.
    #19
  20. patman0911

    patman0911 Founding Member

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    Woah! $65 for a blank panel! It's really weird what parts ends up being ridiculous at the dealer and what ends up being reasonable.

    2000s still have the 2 separate single DIN slots for the head unit and a CD player, not a single double-DIN hole, right? You can get a tray and the hanger bracket from Crutchfield, this one from LMR that StangGT97 mentioned upthread or any of the other online automobile A/V suppliers but it's tricky finding them on their sites because there's no agreed upon name for them - pocket, shelf, tray... and they tend to not show up when browsing through different categories where you might expect to find them.

    Your local Best Buy may have some in the back in their install shop and a local car audio store would probably have them too.

    Does anyone know where I can find one that has the carpet/felt lining like OEM trays have? I'm having trouble finding one of those.
    #20

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