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RE:Hi-Fi installation 101

In a note dated 12/9/96 Igor Kessel writes a wonderful note regarding audio
upgrades...almost all of which I totaly agree with...however as a consumer
electronic tech for 20 years and an audiophile even longer...as well as an ex
employee of Sony I must toss in my .02 worth about <" Replace just a head
unit with a good one, Alpine or Denon being my favourites. I, personally,
have a very low opinion about Sony, JVC and other mainstream audio. Sony is
just as much a hype as BOZO. For a good video equip. go for a Sony, no doubt
here, but audio is just not their stack of aces.">
Umm...with all due respect to Igor, Alpine, and Denon...yes, the Alpine head
units might be the best sounding...on CD they all sound pretty much the same
(given that you compare same generation of DACs) and Alpine CD head units are
pretty much Sonys in disguise anyway. However, as a fixer of sxxt as I have
been for so long, my opinion is it is ALL just that. The revered brand name
Nak... is utter garbage with much of their latest stuff made in Taiwan. First
thing I always suggest to anyone looking at consumer audio is to considor
parts and service...here in the states it is very hard to beat Sony in that
way-Alpine and Denon do not hold a candle to Sony for after sale parts and
service (this is coming from a service tech who has worked for many different
independent warranty authorized shops as well as Sony and Philips). As far as
Sony not being good in audio??? Umm...who makes the laser assemblies and
custom LSI IC's for the vast majority of CD players made-home or car...any
brand??? Sony. Whose ES (Esprit) series home audio components rival the best
of Japan??? Sony. Who invented the CD format of digital audio as we know
it???...not Denon-the self proclaimed inventor of digital audio-yup, Sony
again...okay along with Philips for the laser disc technology part. It amuses
me that people become so anti-Sony and buy Denon, Alpine, Nak..., et
all...when the real stuff (laser assy. servo drive and dsp IC's etc.) inside
of all three of those brand's CD players are sourced most commonly from Sony
OE parts...The biggest difference in head-units it seems to me is in the
tuners and operating features. Pick the best unit for your needs based on
radio reception (yes, Sony is lacking and Pioneer-who I despise-is strong
there) and various other features...Though I'm not real fond of them, JVC has
the lowest return rate (but not real good parts and service either) of all
the brands sold at the car audio shop I moonlight at (fixing sxxt is not my
main gig anymore). I bought one because it was cheap to me ($200.00) and have
been pleased.

Bottom line on consumer electronic brand loyalty...it's all crap because the
typical consumer wants max features at min price and the marketing people
make it so. I lean towards Sony on all my reccomendations because they have
the second most aggressive (to Philips) parts and service network in the
industry...but their car-audio tuners are lacking.

When selecting components for car audio...speakers are absolutly the most
important and good quality amps are a must (Igor's suggestions all good
ones). Good advice on head units too...just wanted to shed some light on this
"brand name" stuff...I'm not up on the latest in the inner workings of any
car audio except CD players and amps as that is all I work on these days
besides home stuff and video gear so I can't comment on tape transports much
(aside from the fact that once again, Sony is by far the largest OE supplier
of these sub-assemblies).

Pay attention to Igor's advice on wiring, speaker mounting etc...all
excellent information and absolutly correct-good stuff Igor!!! No flames
intended...just giving a little more "insider's info" about consumer
electronic sh*t (and it is ALL just that-trust me). Nothing against Alpine
either...aside from I think they have always been over-priced and
over-rated...and yes, they do use Sony OE CD player parts too. This is all
coming from someone who has fixed laser disc players since 1981 and CD
players since 1984 and has been to more hours of factory training on these
products than I can remember anymore...just my $2.00 worth.

Mike Veglia
85 4ksq (with JVC CD in-dash...'cause it was cheap!)