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Aftermarket head units?


Well-Known Member
Ok, I have a basic question that I can't seem to find an answer to. My wife has an older work car she uses (06 Highlander). The factory stereo was garb, so I added a basic single-din JVC. This did a couple things. She now has bluetooth (for music and calls) and also the dash kit has a handy little pocket to store her phone. What I didn't plan on was the absolute HUGE improvement in sound...even with the factory speakers. I did choose jvc because I knew their mosfet models are based at 22w rms per channel, which is noticeably better than the average 10-14w most other brands produce. Kenwood is also 22w, I believe.

So here's my question. I'm looking at Pioneer head units, also mosfet, and their website states "22w continuous, 14w rms". I always thought rms and continous were the same thing. All 3 companies list "Max" power as 50w per channel. Does Pioneer have the same power or less than jvc & Kenwood? I like Pioneers interface better and thinking about picking one up for my ol commuter car or one of the mustangs.


Active Member
I'm going to say the Pioneer has the same power as everybody else. It's a pretty standard power rating among head units. I have no idea why they're using 2 different ratings for continuous and RMS. Unless they're saying you can run it at 22W for a safe max, 14W for all the time. And of course 50W is just nonsense. That's a momentary peak that's going to make the unit very unhappy.

I've used Kenwood, Pioneer, Alpine, Sony, and others, and never really noticed a huge difference. The Pioneer should have a more quality sound than JVC.

I'm running a tape deck in my Mustang. I found one on ebay - NIB. And, what I couldn't believe, it has an auxiliary input on the back. I'm adding a bluetooth receiver. I feel a need to be period correct. :)

I just helped a friend of mine add a Kenwood head unit to his Lexus SUV (I can't remember what model). It sounds great, and he didn't add any amps.


Well-Known Member
I'd say you're correct about the amp power being the same. I hate that it's so hard to figure out just what the heck you're buying. I thought we were past this lol!

I've used 22w head units before and really didn't notice any improvement in sound quality at all. Now that I've been around the block a few times, I believe the difference lies in the sensitivity of the speakers. Older cars had pretty lousy quality components. The newer cars may not have high-end stuff, but speakers are, at the very least, slightly better these days...in power handling and sensitivity. Back in the olden days of yore, a cheap speaker had good sensitivity or good power-handling, but not both. They could sound great for a minute or two or lousy for years lol!
And I know what you mean about retro stuff and these cars. Definitely a cool way to go! The 79 cobra I'm restoring still has what appears to be a high-end Alpine cassette deck. Looks to be in good shape, but the car sat since 90s I believe. I know it had a system in it at some point. There was amp/sub wiring from battery tray to hatch area. It also had an alarm/anti-theft system of some sort (that should be fun to deal with when I get to the wiring stage)