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Old 01-30-2013, 03:59 PM   #1
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TJ Radio Suggestions?

I have a 2006 LJ stock radio with CD that is starting to go. Looking for a good replacement model that is:

  • pretty basic (i.e. not too fancy /expensive)
  • has an iPod port on it
  • easy to install -- i.e. closest in size to stock.


No preference on brand or style. I actually kind of like the simple design of the stock radio with the big buttons ... easy to tell what I'm going without looking at it.



Any suggestions would be appreciated.



Thanks
Elvis

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Old 01-30-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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This is what I have and I love it for the Bluetooth streaming from my smart phone (Iheart radio, pandora, etc). Plus I use a 8 gig USB thrumb drive for all my MP3's

Amazon.com: Sony MEXBT3900U In-Dash CD Receiver MP3/WMA/AAC Player with Bluetooth: Car Electronics

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Old 01-30-2013, 04:18 PM   #3
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This is what I have and I love it for the Bluetooth streaming from my smart phone (Iheart radio, pandora, etc). Plus I use a 8 gig USB thrumb drive for all my MP3's

Amazon.com: Sony MEXBT3900U In-Dash CD Receiver MP3/WMA/AAC Player with Bluetooth: Car Electronics
check out Crutchfield: Car Stereo, Speakers, Home Theater, LCD TV, Digital Cameras
they include alot of the accessorys like the inststall kit and wire harness free. also have great install instructions and tech support that knows what there talking about.

i love pionner stereos myself. good luck
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:26 PM   #4
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I just installed a new JVC unit in my LJ, bluetooth calling and streaming music was must for me...I spent $90 through crutchfield for everything, installed it in 30 minutes and it is awesome...mine doesnt have a CD player its all digital and of course am/fm.. but if you require a CD then about $20 more you can have one.

looks simple, is simple, and matches stock colors.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:37 PM   #5
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I put a sony in. CDX series, can't remember model number but they do USB, sirius/xm, pandora sync, cd/mp3, complex EQ that I can't figure out yet but seems pretty versatile. I think it went for $130 ish. They even have a handy multi color display setting so you can match whatever color LED's you put in your instrument cluster. Drawback is the manual is very vague on how to use all these options and settings.

Pretty much anything that isn't stock will be a decent upgrade. I never had good luck with JVC in the past. But I have had pioneer, sony, alpine, in past vehicles and they all worked pretty well. For the money I think you get more features out of a sony.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:42 PM   #6
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What model JVC I've been looking at a few different ones myself
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:42 PM   #7
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check out Crutchfield: Car Stereo, Speakers, Home Theater, LCD TV, Digital Cameras
they include alot of the accessorys like the inststall kit and wire harness free. also have great install instructions and tech support that knows what there talking about.

i love pionner stereos myself. good luck
What he said. FREE INSTALL KIT. FREE WIRE HARNESS. online and phone support (real people, not a bunch of menu's).

Pioneer, because of the MOSFET amp, and ease of use screens. Most of them have color choices in the display to match your interior lighting.

Yes, the radio will cost a little more than the one on Amazon/Ebay. But when you add the extras, you aren't saving money. Crutchfield gets it right, every time.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:51 PM   #8
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What he said. FREE INSTALL KIT. FREE WIRE HARNESS. online and phone support (real people, not a bunch of menu's).
Ditto that. They also sell refurbished models (mine is a refurb). It'll save you a few bucks, especially if you're just looking for a basic model anyway.

I got my Kenwood for a little over $100. It's a detachable face plate, which I'm sure most aftermarket stereos have. 90% of the time, it's got my iPod plugged into it. The EQ system is more elaborate than I care for it to be.

I'm pretty sure this model replaced my discontinued model. Of the results that popped up when I put in your Jeep year, this was the cheapest.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:00 PM   #9
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What model JVC I've been looking at a few different ones myself

This one:

JVC KD-X50BT Digital media receiver at Crutchfield.com

It is very highly rated...lives up to the ratings from my point of view....look for an online coupon or a refurb on crutchfield and you can get a great deal on it....with the free install stuff they sent me it fits like a glove and looks perfect.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:00 PM   #10
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I agree, crutchfield is a good way to go for getting the extras for installation.

But first go find a retailer, like best buy or something and go look at some receivers just to see what kind of features the different manufacturers have in their radios. I wouldn't buy from best buy, just use it to see the physical product and get your hands on it.

Best buy has an unsatisfying selection, so try a local radio shop as well so you get a good variety to play around with.

Find something you like, then go to crutchfield and find a similar model. And you should be able to get a mounting plate and harness and such at no extra cost.

Option 2, if you can deal with paying for the installation equipment seperate. Search amazon for a similar model to what you want. You may be able to find a better price, and then get the installation stuff from crutchfield.

I went with option 2, ordered the harness and mount plate from crutchfield, and they sent me the build sheet free. I think it cost me around $20 for the mount and harness. But I had gift cards to amazon anyway so it worked out better for me.

Sidenote on the harness, pull your stock radio first and make sure if you have the 2 plug radio harness or the 1 plug harness so you know which one to get from crutchfield. If you search by vehicle and put in the year model it should pull up the right harness anyway but I would double check to make sure. I believe 97-02 was 2 plug, 03-06 was 1 plug so you should have the 1 plug.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:09 PM   #11
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Just got a cheap JVC unit from Crutchfield. I think the model is now discontinued, but has bluetooth/pandora/ipod/USB capability and pairs with phones. Under $100, which is good for an easy-to-break-into vehicle. Install was very easy with the free harness and DIN size adapter. The only things I dislike about it are the tiny buttons and sensitive volume dial. In a normal car they would be fine, but when you're bouncing around in a Jeep, it's hard to be precise about which button you're hitting or making a small volume adjustment! Not sure if there are a lot of units with larger buttons (like stock), but might be worth looking for.

Edit: Mine was the JVC KD-A735BT
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:11 PM   #12
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I'll throw out Sonic Electronix, they give you all the free stuff like Crutchfield but don't charge you a premium. Crutchfield usually has a pretty high mark up.

Nobody really makes a 1.5 din head unit, there's one I know of but it's way expensive. I paid 110$ for my Kenwood head unit, iPod USB and regular aux in, plus HD radio. Sonic Electronix also sent me free wiring and a nice Scosche install kit. There's also some cheaper Kenwoods with iPod USB but no HD radio.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:16 PM   #13
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They are harder to find but if you get a 1.5 din unit they might have bigger buttons. Also usually more expensive than single (1) din units.

Most of your aftermarket radios are single din, hence the need for adapter plates. Your stock one is a 1.5 din. The bigger touch screen ones are 2 din usually and I don't think they will even fit without modifying the dash.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:27 PM   #14
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I am partial to Alpine they discontinued the 1 I have the CDE-123,Another vote added to buy from Crutchfield full install kit & instructions included Free with most units & Great support if you need it for a budget unit check Alpine CDE-121 CD receiver at Crutchfield.com
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:01 AM   #15
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I installed this unit Kenwood KDC-BT652U CD receiver at Crutchfield.com which I bought from Crutchfield......just last night and have to admit that it took me a little longer than 30 minutes.....more like an hour, but I could surely do it again in 30 minutes!

I have to say that the sound quality even with the factory speakers (7 speaker system) installed is dramatically better than the factory head unit....by far

The unit is amazing for what I paid ($108 including all accessories needed to install. Also bought the dash mount from Quadratec for the iphone Bracketron JEE-203-97 - Custom Bezel Mounting Bracket for 97-06 Jeep® Wrangler TJ & Unlimited with Portable Devices - Quadratec

and a ProClip mount for the phone Apple iPhone 4 / 4S used with a Case - Adjustable Holder with Tilt Swivel and Pass-Through Connector *-*ProClip Car Mounts for Mobile Phones, Tablet, and Handheld Devices= which I found in eBay for $40......all told I now have a completely modern system with B/T, Pandora, iPhone and charging capabilites all for $165 installed.

Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:10 AM   #16
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all told I now have a completely modern system with B/T, Pandora, iPhone ...
Do you use Pandora through your iPhone? I'm considering Pandora but don't know much about it.

Anything is better than the crappy Chicago stations we've got.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:13 AM   #17
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Got mine on "cyber monday" on amazon, it was around $130 sony discounted to $70, I think it's a discontinued model anyway. + gift cards i got it for about $50. After getting installation stuff from crutchfield, and some soldering equipment and shrink wrap and such, I probably have around $100 in it.

I know it's a long wait, but you can score a nice deal if you save your gift cards now and wait till december. Don't wait till monday, start researching prices saturday and sunday, some of the good deals are already there.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:41 AM   #18
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Do you use Pandora through your iPhone? I'm considering Pandora but don't know much about it.

Anything is better than the crappy Chicago stations we've got.

I use it all of the time...it is free and streams right to the car stereo..basically you make your own radio stations, you add an artist or song, or genre and it will play that song/artist/genre as well as artists or songs like it, it awesome
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:24 AM   #19
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Just wanted to throw a low cost alternative - I picked up one of these things
Amazon.com: PYLE PLMR18 AM/FM-MPX PLL Tuning Radio with SD/MMC and USB: Electronics
on sale for like $40. No CD Player, but it's got a USB socket and an auxiliary input on the front. Also, it gets weather band, which is occasionally helpful. Oh, and "water resistant"...which is what killed the old Alpine that the PO installed.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:35 AM   #20
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I use it all of the time...it is free and streams right to the car stereo..basically you make your own radio stations, you add an artist or song, or genre and it will play that song/artist/genre as well as artists or songs like it, it awesome
Yup.....I agree completely.......Pandora is the bomb!

On my system I have noticed that the sound quality (and volume level) is much better with the iPhone connected through the cable (USB) than with the BT streaming audio......although the BT works very well too!

Also to be noted is that you can plug in any iPhone/iPad/iPod with the right cable. In my case if I'm on a very long trip I'll use the iPad as it is grandfathered on an unlimited data plan and you dont need to see the display in any case as the Pandora functions are managed through the radio when connected through the cable......if you want to see the screen and manage through the device then you connect via BT.

It should be noted that this was the first radio I had ever installed in a vehicle although I do have basic electrical knowledge but using the supplied harness and installation kit it was pretty straightforward and worked like a champ the first time I plugged it in.....the only issue I ran into was matching up the wires when installing the harness as I'm red/green color blind and I had to ask my wife to help me with 4 of the wires to make sure I had them right.

Give it a try yourself, pretty hard to mess it up in all honesty and worst case is you could take it to an audio installer if you get stuck.....but you wont!!!

Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:13 PM   #21
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Yup.....I agree completely.......Pandora is the bomb!

On my system I have noticed that the sound quality (and volume level) is much better with the iPhone connected through the cable (USB) than with the BT streaming audio......although the BT works very well too!

Also to be noted is that you can plug in any iPhone/iPad/iPod with the right cable. In my case if I'm on a very long trip I'll use the iPad as it is grandfathered on an unlimited data plan and you dont need to see the display in any case as the Pandora functions are managed through the radio when connected through the cable......if you want to see the screen and manage through the device then you connect via BT.

It should be noted that this was the first radio I had ever installed in a vehicle although I do have basic electrical knowledge but using the supplied harness and installation kit it was pretty straightforward and worked like a champ the first time I plugged it in.....the only issue I ran into was matching up the wires when installing the harness as I'm red/green color blind and I had to ask my wife to help me with 4 of the wires to make sure I had them right.

Give it a try yourself, pretty hard to mess it up in all honesty and worst case is you could take it to an audio installer if you get stuck.....but you wont!!!

Good luck!
I do the same thing and I am also grandfathered with my iphone...and this was my first install as well...it was so easy and looks perfect, I wouldn’t pay someone to do it..Believe me if I can install it in 30-45 minutes and have it be perfect anyone can...I even routed the BT speaker for my phone through my steering column and it is hardly noticeable and works like a charm...I sure don’t miss not having a CD player on mine but if it a big deal for some it is easy to pay a bit more and get one..
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:07 PM   #22
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Oh, damn! I completely forgot about being grandfathered in with the unlimited data. Good call!

The only drawback is that AT&T "caps" the data flow after a certain amount. It goes slower, but I've never really noticed. I bet I'd notice when streaming songs, maybe?
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:45 PM   #23
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Oh, damn! I completely forgot about being grandfathered in with the unlimited data. Good call!

The only drawback is that AT&T "caps" the data flow after a certain amount. It goes slower, but I've never really noticed. I bet I'd notice when streaming songs, maybe?
Actually Pandora uses very little data so that alone won't cause you to hit the limit.......I use it all the time and it may be like 1GB a month....MAX!!!
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:50 PM   #24
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This one:

JVC KD-X50BT Digital media receiver at Crutchfield.com

It is very highly rated...lives up to the ratings from my point of view....look for an online coupon or a refurb on crutchfield and you can get a great deal on it....with the free install stuff they sent me it fits like a glove and looks perfect.
I have the same radio and absolutely love it. I have no need for a CD and love the fact I can have my iPod hooked up all the time and still use the BT to take calls and stream Pandora. Plus it has to AV outs so I can run both my amps.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:20 PM   #25
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So the ones who have upgraded from the factory unit, are you still using the factory console sub? Just curious because I want to upgrade my sound system and was wondering if the sub is still necessary with the better sound upgrade
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:14 PM   #26
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So the ones who have upgraded from the factory unit, are you still using the factory console sub? Just curious because I want to upgrade my sound system and was wondering if the sub is still necessary with the better sound upgrade

Im using the fatcory sub and speakers, probably wont change them until something happens to them..sounds fine to me... Ive gone hifi in previous Jeeps and Im just happy this system is easy/cheap and with the addition of the Bluetooth head unit it is everything I need....I like having the sub, but if it didnt come that way Id probably be fine without it also.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:15 PM   #27
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So the ones who have upgraded from the factory unit, are you still using the factory console sub? Just curious because I want to upgrade my sound system and was wondering if the sub is still necessary with the better sound upgrade
Depends what you want to do, if you want an aftermarket amp and sub, then you can just pull out the console and disconnect the sub.

Run your signal cables (rca) from radio to amp.
run a power wire from battery to amp.
Ground wire from amp to frame.
and wire the remote out wire from radio to the amp.

As for the other speakers you can leave them hooked up as is, or run them off an amp to if you want more output.

this can be accomplished with a multichannel amp to run all the speakers.

Or 1 for subs, 1 for the others. I like this better, i find it easier to put lows on subs, and highs/mids on the others. Then you don't put extra stress on speakers by pushing frequencies through them they weren't meant for.

Then just disconnect the factory sub so you don't have to listen to it. I would leave the other wiring in place in case you ever sell it so you can keep your expensive audio stuff for the next vehicle.

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You will get a lot better sound out of upgrading everything, but spend far less money and time just replacing the stock sub. I haven't decided what I am going to do yet but I am leaning towards total upgrade.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:42 PM   #28
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I left all the factory speakers in (including sub and amp) and they sound pretty good to my surprise....much more crisp that with the factory stereo.....I think I'll just leave it alone until something goes out or I see something killer on sale....even then this is not a DD....well kind of but I only drive about 3 days a week and then only a couple of miles......Off road will be great.....especially when I take the HT off.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:53 PM   #29
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Yeah I am doing pretty much the same, replace it when it breaks. Stock radio wouldn't play cd's and the volume knob didn't work so I replaced the radio. Whatever breaks next determines what happens with the rest of the speakers.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:30 AM   #30
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Thank you everyone! Excellent feedback and suggestions. I think the JVC KD-X50BT will be the one for me. Again, thanks everyone for all the input.

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