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Kenwood Excelon & Clarion Mind - Sound Check May 2009

Super Street Audio And Electronics Page

Ben Oh
May 1, 2009

If you've been thinking about getting your first aftermarket audio system or need to upgrade your old gear, here's a potential package for you to consider. I picked the different products based on their fit, literally, for compact car enthusiasts. But price and value were the other major considerations in choosing the gear. You spend enough loot on your ride and performance bolt-ons and what have you. That's not to say the choices here are "cheap", that is, inexpensive as well as crappy in quality. Some people may object to paying $300+ for a source unit. But the prices are reasonable and certainly you're getting your money's worth in terms of the features. And of course you don't bring down the status of your car with the products here, unlike the no brand junk you tried jamming in your $30+K vehicle (including custom work) last year. No one has money to waste these days. Buy smart and buy quality.

Sstp_0905_02_z+products+alpine_ida Photo 1/5   |   Kenwood Excelon & Clarion Mind - Sound Check May 2009

Alpine iDA-X305
Long live the hard drive, the CD is dead. Or almost. Do we really need CD playback on a source unit? Other than for auditioning heavy-duty sound quality systems, I never carry around discs in the car. Alpine knows this, which is why they've been evolving their iPod-dedicated media players. The iDA-X305 is compatible with the iPhone, searches through files quickly and is easily expandable through various accessories. Get HD Radio, iTunes Tagging, Alpine's Imprint and more for a full system. The 305 is a good value for its system potential. MSRP: $350

Sstp_0905_03_z+products+kenwood_excelon Photo 2/5   |   Kenwood Excelon & Clarion Mind - Sound Check May 2009

Kenwood eXcelon XR-4S
I chose the new Kenwood eXcelon "Fit" amp more for its footprint than its MSRP. The Reference Fit line from Kenwood, including this 4-channel amp is only small in size. With a 4-layer circuit board and better heat dissipation combined with enhanced air cooling and a heat control system, this little beauty stays cool while under the pressure of producing 120 watts x 4. Best of all, they fit pretty much anywhere in your compact car. MSRP: $600

Sstp_0905_05_z+products+clarion_mind Photo 3/5   |   Kenwood Excelon & Clarion Mind - Sound Check May 2009

Clarion Mind
It's hard to conceive that there are some of you left that don't own an iPhone or other smartphone device. Or maybe you do but you want a bigger screen. A few more features wouldn't hurt either. And you probably need something to do when you're not driving, right? Hence, The ClarionMiND. Use it to connect to the Internet, for navigation using Google Map features and as a DMP for various entertainment purposes. At an MSRP of $699.99 it's a little pricey as one more thing you have to carry around, but the power of the MiND is a terrible thing to waste. MSRP: $699.99

Sstp_0905_06_z+products+jl_audio_w0 Photo 4/5   |   Kenwood Excelon & Clarion Mind - Sound Check May 2009

JL Audio W0v2
JL Audio quality for $109.95? Sounds almost too good to be true. The W0v2 has the kind of excursion capabilities to move a ton of air. But it's not all about the biggest bass, but sound quality as well. The company's patented Elevated Frame Cooling makes for outstanding thermal power handling and stability. The new stamped steel chassis provides the right support for the flat, progressive roll spider, a very large positive roll surround and classy push terminals. You could go with JL Audio's flat sub to save space, but go with the W0v2 to save some money. MSRP: $109.95

Sstp_0905_09_z+products+schoshe_efx Photo 5/5   |   Kenwood Excelon & Clarion Mind - Sound Check May 2009

Scosche EFX C65
The speaker designers have been busy at Scosche. They completely revamped their EFX line of speakers and amps. Most notable among the newly designed products is the C65 with its integrated crossovers. It can be mounted in either a coaxial or component alignment with separate tweeter for optimal positioning. The C65 loudspeaker also has the company's Universal Backmount Adapter for quick, secure and easy tweeter mounting behind factory panels or A-pillars. MSRP: $229

By Ben Oh
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