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Discussion Starter #1
I think I've narrowed down my choices for a cheap aftermarket stereo for my '06 Forester to these two possibilities.
Dual XHD6425 CD receiver at Crutchfield.com (has HD tuner, front aux and USB)
JVC KD-S100 CD receiver at Crutchfield.com (no HD, and has rear aux, front USB and SD. possibly "better" sound?)

I'm leaning toward the Dual, if only because I might like to try HD and I like the easy front aux in. But the JVC seems like it might be a better (sounding?) unit and it has the SD card capabilities. I could always run an aux cable from the back out to the ashtray or glove compartment, I suppose.

One big question I had as I look at the head units, is a concern that the faceplate may not fit the existing trim panel opening in the dash. Based on the picture of the unit showing the actual housing with the face attached, it almost looks like it would hang over the edges when it's installed. Or does the bracket allow for that difference in size? If it does hang over, will that effect how the bottom DIN pocket functions?

This is the best shot I could find of what I mean. It's the JVC unit, but the Dual has that similar "overhang" of the faceplate. Thanks in advance for any opinions, whether you are an owner of either unit or if you have any gut feelings one way or the other.


 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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If you go with Crutchfield, they'll let you know if the head unit won't fit. They also offer "free" return shipping if you decide it's not what you wanted. I've done this & it cost me nothing to change to a different head unit. :cool:

HD Radio is coming on strong, so if you can get it, go for it. Front USB is nice, but rear will let you extend the jack to another location.

Good luck on your purchase & I can't stress getting one with a removable faceplate as a theft prevention measure. :wink:

For the first time installer, you can't beat Crutchfield's technicial support, but their prices are higher. Once you find what you want, check out other sources. The Sony in our vehicles was around $100 shipped on eBay. It's out of production, so I got a factory refurbished & it works perfectly. :smile:

Bobby...
 

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The Sub kit guy
2005 Forester X & XT VF39
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Check out Car Audio Stereo - Car Subwoofers - Car Amplifiers and Speakers. Much better prices than Crutchfield and really friendly people.

Dual is a budget brand, and I personally don't care for their stuff. The quality and reliability is questionable at best. You can get a good unit, but you could also end up with one that craps out after a few months.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. I know what you mean about checking around for prices. That same Dual that's $109 at Crutchfield is $82 and change at Amazon with free shipping. Even if I bought the harness kit off eBay for $12, it would still be cheaper with Amazon. But everyone's always praising the customer support at Crutchfield, and I do like their return policy. Plus I may need all the help I can get on the install, so to be able to just pick up the phone and have someone walk me through any problems, might be worth the extra money.

I'm still paranoid about theft, but that's something I'll have to live with.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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When I started out, I bought all my stuff from Crutchfield. They will walk you thru any problems. They'll provide an installation guide for your specific vehicle, plus everything you'll need to complete the job. :cool:

If you do with a single DIN, I'd suggest getting a factory/OEM storage pocket. The one that Crutchfield gives you is open (no cover) & looks kinda cheap. :frown:

If you need the extra help with this first installation, it may be worth the extra cost to go with Crutchfield. :wink:

Bobby...
 

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Dual is a low end brand and JVC is OK. I recommend Alpine, Kenwood, or Pioneer. The Kenwood KDC-MP638U is a very good choice for $130:
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_11788_Kenwood+KDC-MP638U.html

Crutchfield is a fine store though their prices are high. A big part of the reason they are high is that they have great service and they are an authorized dealer on all the brands they carry. Stores like Sonic Electronix are not authorized dealers for all of their brands (like Kenwood). This is not a big deal to me with Sonic Electronix because they offer the same warranty as the manufacturer when they are not an authorized dealer of a brand.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just a little update with a couple of interesting developments. While I'm pretty sure I'll go with the Dual XHD6425, now I'm trying to decide if I should go with Crutchfield. If it were just a few dollars difference I wouldn't even think twice. But Amazon has it for $79.37 with free two-day shipping (w/Prime). I can get the harness for $11 shipped off eBay. I'm going to get the pocket from the dealer anyway, so I don't need or want the freebie that Crutchfield includes.

The mention above of free return shipping was leaning me back in Crutchfield's direction, but I checked their website again and they charge $7 for return shipping, and their refund is minus shipping if I do have to return it.

I guess I'd better check Amazon's return policy just in case. If they'll take it back if I don't like it, that could make it interesting...
 

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If this is your first installation, I'd recommend paying the extra cost & go with Crutchfield for their customized installation instructions & all the additional parts needed to complete the installation. That includes topnotch technical support, if you run into a problem. :wink:

Bobby...
 

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Another vote for crutchfield and against Dual.

I have ordered tons of stuff from crutchfield and they are an absolutely fabulous company...I wish all retailers had the standards of quality and customer service as they do. Can't say enough about them.

As for the Dual- if you have done your research and think that it is highly likely that you will be going HD and want a cheaper unit then go for it. If you are just interested in maybe getting HD then I would say take a look at something else. Dual is not the most reliable.
 

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If you get a Dual HU I would definitely buy it from an authorized dealer (like Crutchfield). They are not known as reliable head units and you might have to deal with a warranty repair.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again, everyone.

After taking everything into consideration, I've made a decision. I'm holding off for a while. I realized I'm not going to want to crawl around under a dashboard, prying off trim panels and fiddling with little connectors when it's 30 degrees outside. I should have done all this researching 6 months ago. I can live with what I have until the spring. By then there might be even more and better options.

And who knows, I might still find someone upgrading their '07 or '08 stock changer and perhaps I can grab it for cheap and maintain my "factory installed" look. :icon_wink:

I'm sure I'll pipe in again in a few months for more opinions. Thanks again. I almost feel guilty for not buying one now.
 

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I actually run the Dual in my set up and have not had any problems. I do not use the speaker outputs since I am running through an amplifier but the Head unit has not given me any problems, plus I love the sound of HD radio... I was able to purchase through a local stereo installer an adapter that allowed me to leave the stock wires intact. I have had issues with JVC and would never use them again...
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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Thanks again, everyone.

After taking everything into consideration, I've made a decision. I'm holding off for a while. I realized I'm not going to want to crawl around under a dashboard, prying off trim panels and fiddling with little connectors when it's 30 degrees outside. I should have done all this researching 6 months ago. I can live with what I have until the spring. By then there might be even more and better options.

I'm sure I'll pipe in again in a few months for more opinions. Thanks again. I almost feel guilty for not buying one now.
Totally understandable. I still have MODs to do, but it's been raining heavily, so I'm inside cleaning house. I have to admit, MODding is way more fun! :icon_eek:

Since you have an X model, I'm assuming you have the manual climate controls. You might want to look into how that's removed. It's a bit more involved than the automatic controls, since there are cables that need to be unhooked under the dash. Not difficuilt, but it's kinda tricky the first time. :wink:

Bobby...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Totally understandable. I still have MODs to do, but it's been raining heavily, so I'm inside cleaning house. I have to admit, MODding is way more fun! :icon_eek:

Since you have an X model, I'm assuming you have the manual climate controls. You might want to look into how that's removed. It's a bit more involved than the automatic controls, since there are cables that need to be unhooked under the dash. Not difficuilt, but it's kinda tricky the first time. :wink:

Bobby...
Actually, I have the LL Bean model and it does have the automatic climate controls, so that's one thing in my favor.
 

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where are you in ma? i've pulled apart the dash of an 03x and an 04xs... if you want help with it let me know... don't let the cold stop you... i've worked on it outside in 40* weather here in cambridge :)
 

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Actually, I have the LL Bean model and it does have the automatic climate controls, so that's one thing in my favor.
My mistake. My '03 was an X & it came with with manual climate controls. To get the automatic climate controls, you have to upgrade to an XS or XS Premium. :smile:

Getting to the head unit is a piece-of-cake if you have the automatic climate controls. :wink:

Bobby...
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
where are you in ma? i've pulled apart the dash of an 03x and an 04xs... if you want help with it let me know... don't let the cold stop you... i've worked on it outside in 40* weather here in cambridge :)
I'm on the South Shore, but thanks for the offer. :icon_wink:

The weather is certainly a part of it, but the other upside to waiting is availability of extra funds, as seemingly little as they would be. Unless the local library stops carrying regular CD audiobooks, I think I can make it through the winter with what I have now.

And like I implied, maybe by then I'll find a cheap, decent quality head unit with HD, USB, aux-in and an SD card slot.
 
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