on April 10, 2012
I've had this unit for a full day now and can say I am still truly amazed at how far technology has come in such a short time. This coming from a complete tech freak! This thing is awesome! I have no regrets whatsoever buying this. I just want to echo the same thing everyone else has already said. This unit does not have a built in cd player, but that was the least of my concerns as I have not bought a cd in at least 7yrs. This unit does everything else you can want and does it well.
First of all I love how customizable this receiver is. You can set different color schemes for night and day with this receiver. I like that during the day I can have a bright colorful scheme running and at night I can have the radio blend into the same colors as my dash lights(dictated by turning headlights on or off). Not only that; the colors are fully customizable, meaning you basically have a digital color wheel using the 3 primary colors. Be creative; blend them to your heart's content!
2nd I like the Bluetooth functionality of the unit. Hands free calling is a breeze! I mounted the microphone that comes with the unit to the steering wheel. No one I talked to has had a problem hearing me or even noted that I wasn't directly on my cell phone. When receiving a call, you can have the unit light up a different color and all the current caller id info displays on the head unit. Just hit the little phone button and your call is connected (there is also an option for auto connect). You can place calls very easily by pressing the phone button which brings up a menu of options (missed calls, dialed, received....etc). To take that a step farther, using my iphone 4s...you can hold the phone button for 2-3 secs and that will bring Siri up. Just ask Siri anything you would normally ask her (like what the temp is outside or call my wife) and her replies are broadcasted thru your speaker system. Not to mention that while the receiver will let you know when you receive a txt message, you cannot reply or open the message thru the receiver itself. However using the unit to summon Siri, you can have Siri read you your txt message and reply at will; as she will confirm with you everything before sending it.
My last comment about this unit is it is very versatile in regards to the iphone/iPod and I'm pretty sure just as much with the new wave of Androids. I just happen to have an iphone, so that is what I can speak on! I wasn't 100% sure by reading the description on Amazon if the unit would fully support Bluetooth streaming from my iphone. It does without any hiccups; anything that's playing on your iphone (nav apps, Pandora, games) will play thru your system using Bluetooth. Most Apps you can control thru the units' fast forward, rewind, pause, etc. Now if you want to be able to search thru playlist/albums/ artist or have complete functionality over Pandora (ability to thumbs up or down tracks, bookmark, etc) via the receiver, you need to connect the iphone via the usb port which also charges your phone. I usually just Bluetooth my music as I find it more convenient to just hop in my truck and press the play button (auto connect) all without removing my phone from my hip. It's nice to have the usb capabilities when needed and I'll probably use the usb port to charge the phone when I need it anyway. I cannot speak on the Aux in as I have not used it. I'm sure it works fine. The radio/tuner works very well and if the radio station broadcast the coded txt, the name of the song/artist will appear in the display.
All and all I think this is a steal at $80. Yes it doesn't have a cd player or detachable face, but cd's are a fading technology! To some of us it's already obsolete. With this era of digital media we're in, I personally see more and more "Media receivers" like this coming to market and being the norm. To say the least, I'm extremely pleased! Thank you to everyone who left a comment regarding this receiver! It truly did help me decide to purchase!
on October 1, 2012
I've been using this unit for over 2 months now and I honestly have no real complaints (that are due to the unit itself). I primarily use this for listening to usb mp3's. I am an android user so the iPod related functionality is useless for me. I tried the aux conn out of curiosity and it sucked -- too much interference, plus addl' cable sucked anyway.
Bluetooth works great, no hiccups for me. My only complaint about bluetooth is the degraded music quality. But this is a fault to the bluetooth protocol, not the unit. It's not horrible though, but I can tell a difference as there are some ranges missing but I'm not an audiophile. In my book it's still acceptable quality, I just wish they would have incorporated a better standard or came up with a new one already.. But to deal with it just set any streaming apps to high-quality. Phone calls over bluetooth are fine for me, no problems.
As I said, I primarily use a micro usb drive as my source for mp3's (can't really even tell it's there) and leave bluetooth streaming to podcasts, comedy and pandora. I've ripped them to around 256 to get the best quality. I love this method, it just takes work to get your source material organized and tagged properly (if you're OC about it like me). I like that method as there's no quality loss like with bluetooth (other than just mp3 in general). Helpful hint..use the 'back' button lower left of the vol knob to go 'back' or 'up' directories while navigating artists\albums on your usb drive. Wasn't in the manual. The usb navigation was awkward at first but, as with anything, once you see how it works you fly through it if there's a particular song you want to hear right then.
Overall, I'm very pleased with this purchase. Even with Android, I can stream Pandora over bluetooth and use the remote with it. The usb functionality with this unit turned out to be my favorite. Without it, I would be disappointed. Note, from other research I was under the impression there was a 16GB limit on the max size of a connected usb drive. Not the case. I am using a 32GB drive with no problems. The unit's limitation is the # of files\folders. I've currently got 19.4 GB of music on there and it's shuffling through all of it no problems. I think it's limit is 20,000 files\999 folders.. I'm at 3338 files\369 folders and even if I doubled my music library it wouldn't be an issue..
Wordy review (I think coffee contributed some) but hope it helps somebody out.. :-)
on August 11, 2012
First, let me start by stating the obvious... how good something sounds is a very personal and subjective thing so likewise reviews will vary. Having said that, the quality of the source material, connections between components, and of course the speakers all play an important role.
To provide further context, a majority of my music has either been ripped or downloaded at a 256Kbps bit rate in AAC format. I listen to music through my 3rd generation iPad via USB connection or my HTC EVO 4G (non-LTE) via USB connection or bluetooth streaming (only if I'm in a hurry though or don't have my USB cable with me - read on to find out why).
In my experience, listening to music via direct USB connection from either the iPad or EVO is superior to bluetooth streaming. I attribute this to a couple of things 1) the signal-to-noise ratio and frequency response seemed noticeably worse via bluetooth streaming. I had to turn up the volume on the JVC substantially to even hear the music and the sound simply didn't seem as full or rich to me. 2) when streaming via bluetooth the source device's digital-to-analog converter is used, which in many cases including mine, is inferior to the head unit's converter. Connecting directly via USB means the JVC digital-to-analog converter will be used. One more thing to note about bluetooth streaming, and this could admittedly be a limitation of my EVO, is that artist/song/album info is not displayed on the JVC and I could not navigate or change songs via the JVC.
Another knock against the JVC is the completely unintuitive controls as others have mentioned. I've had this unit for a few weeks now and still find myself fumbling around trying to navigate the menus. I find it particularly cumbersome to navigate my music collection when my EVO is connected via USB. The menu integration with anything other than an iPod or iPad just seems terrible, that and it seemingly takes forever for it to index music on the EVO and start playing (sometimes it just gets stuck indexing and won't work until you shutoff/turn on the vehicle again - very annoying!).
One other minor issue I should mention, and maybe it's just me, but you can probably find sometimes while I'm listening to music I get unexpected dips in the volume. At first I thought something may be wrong with the song itself, but I've gone back to the songs where this has happened and it doesn't always occur. To me it almost seems like maybe the JVC isn't getting a good constant supply of power... perhaps it's a bad connection somewhere, but I have my doubts about that as I felt like I did a really good job wiring the unit and the battery in my truck is <4 months old.
So the bottom line on the JVC for me is that it's okay for the price, but you can probably find a better head unit in the same price range. If you consider yourself even a semi-audiophile then streaming via bluetooth is nothing more than a convenience. My preference is to have my iPad directly connected via USB for the best sound, no indexing of music required, and menu integration.
So I must admit that I was perhaps too harsh in my initial judgement of the bluetooth streaming quality. When I stated that the bluetooth streaming sounded inferior to a USB connected player due to poorer signal-to-noise ratio and frequency response I believe I was mistaken. At the time I had pretty lengthy power & neutral wire connections to my bass tube/amp and have since shortened them which seemed to help eliminate some of the excess background noise while streaming via bluetooth. Also, I started using PowerAmp as my audio player of choice on my HTC Evo 4G (WiMax) phone and that seems to have helped improve the sound.
Recently, I've also started bluetooth streaming from my 3rd generation iPad and the sound quality seems even better than from my HTC Evo. I listen to mostly rock music so I also had the equalizer on the iPad set to the pre-defined Rock setting as well. Leaving the EQ turned off on the iPad resulted in a less "full" sound even upon tweaking EQ settings on the JVC. I chalk this up to the fact that when streaming via bluetooth, as stated in my original review, that the source device's digital-to-analog converter is used which is typically inferior to the head unit's converter though I will say I found this hard to perceive once I fiddled with the iPad and Evo's EQ settings.
I also want to take a moment and revisit the topic of navigation on the JVC. I still believe the menu integration is best when paired with an Apple device via USB connection. That said, menu integration via bluetooth streaming was much improved when using my iPad versus HTC Evo which I attribute to the fact that the iPad uses the bluetooth 4.0 profile and the Evo uses the 2.1 profile. Artist/Album/Song information can actually be streamed from the iPad and while I can't use the menu button on the JVC to navigate around as I could if it were connected via USB, I can at least use the back & next buttons on the JVC to skips songs; the HTC Evo does not support streaming of Artist/Album/Song info. One annoyance still remains, however, and that is my iPad will not auto-play music once it's connected so I have to actually start the music manually from the iPad. With PowerAmp on my HTC Evo I can set it to auto-play once it's paired to the JVC, but this feature is admittedly flaky and doesn't always work.
Finally, I think I've also determined what is causing the unexpected dips in volume when I'm listening to music. It's silly that I didn't think of this before, but whenever I'm in range of a WiFi network then my iPad or Evo start syncing down email & such which appears to cause these temporary dips in audio volume.
on January 30, 2012
This head unit has many features, and for someone who does not have any CD's is an incredible value. *IT DOES NOT PLAY CD'S*, so make sure you have your music on a flash drive or your phone. In this day of age, I feel CD's are mostly obsolete anyways. An mp3 with a good sampling rate will sound good, and you can store literally thousands of them on a 32gb flash drive, or on an sd card on your phone.
Front Auxiliary input
2 RCA Jacks (Front, Rear/Sub)
I am running this in an S-10 Blazer Xtreme that has a 5.3 v8 in it with a loud exhaust, so I wanted something a little more than the factory unit to punch through the engine rumble. I use this phone in conjunction with a flash drive, and my Droid X. It's nice to be able to stream the music on my phone, but keep it plugged in to charge on my charger. This is the primary reason I purchased it. A plus is it also has Pandora Droid support, supposedly, although I haven't tried it. I use it with all Sony speakers, nothing high quality like some of my previous systems, but I'm not going for super high end on this... just a reasonable system that can be heard over my v8.
It has ample EQ adjustments for getting the sounds just right, and ample color adjustments for a nice aesthetic.
Ultimately, I would buy this unit again. It was between this and a higher quality Kenwood unit for nearly $70 more that had blue-tooth streaming. $70 better spent on an amp or subs
on May 2, 2012
I'm astonished at the people giving this head unit poor reviews due to their own ignorance! Read up on the features of the head unit first BEFORE you buy it so you're not disappointed if it doesn't have the features you want. I doubt you'd buy a car before you give it a bit of research, you should maintain the same habits while buying things for it.
That aside, this is a fantastic head unit.
-Fully adjustable color scheme, button/lcd independent with over 35k colors to choose from. It matches my interior spot on.
-Has advanced equalizer and sound options, with 2 subwoofer/preamp outputs in the back.
-Bluetooth capable, can pair up to 5 devices simultaneously.
-The USB port at the front and back can be used for your Smartphone, a flash drive, or any other USB media device.
-Front AUX input.
-Works with Pandora, Grooveshark, Spotify, flawlessly. Bluetooth pairs with my phone within 5 seconds and I can hit play and go, no touching my phone required.
-Handsfree calling works great, sound quality is not diminished when using the included microphone.
-No CD player (If this is actually a gripe for you, please get out of the stone age and toss your music on a flash drive.)
-Bluetooth isn't truly "integrated", it's a little USB dongle that takes up one of the two USB ports. I plugged it in to the back USB port and haven't thought about it since.
As long as the lack of CD player and losing one USB port to the bluetooth dongle won't bother you, this head unit is a steal for the price.
on October 26, 2013
I'd recently bought my wife a 1st Generation 1997 Honda Odyssey that was generally in pretty good condition. It came with a factory AM-FM Cassette player though. I was doing some work on the van to fix it up for my wife, and part of that work involved taking the dash apart. To replace a stereo in one of these vans, you have to take a good portion of the dash out to do that. Knowing how much my wife appreciates some good tunes in her vehicles, and since the dash was already apart, I figured it would be a good time to get her an early Christmas present, and started shopping around for a stereo for her van. I came across this JVC unit, and liked that it does not play CD's or tapes, but strictly digital music. Many years before most people thought of it, I started converting all my music to digital, so I have it all in MP3 format. I don't own any tapes anymore, and am trying to do away with CD's & DVD's. My truck's Sony stereo has a USB plug in it, and I have my entire music library stored on a thumb drive the size of a postage stamp, which is pretty cool as far as I am concerned. My wife liked that feature on my stereo, so I wanted something similar when I shopped for her.
This JVC pretty much covers most of the bases for digital music. Its got two USB ports, one in front and one in back. It has a Aux. line-in 1/4 inch plug. And what I thought was coolest of all, it has Bluetooth. With Bluetooth, you can stream and control music from a cell or tablet to the stereo. You can also make hands-free cell phone calls! You could also use a cell phone GPS to act as a car GPS, while mounted in a dash-mount. With the right apps, you could have your text messages read to you through the stereo, or get traffic alerts, or weather reports while you travel, all coming through your stereo! I'm not a cell phone person, but my wife is, and loves her phone. I often worry about her fumbling around with her cell phone while driving, especially at night. I'd already bought her a cell phone dash mount from that auction site most of us shop at. And just a couple months ago, I bought her a T-Mobile HTC 4G-Slide cell phone. So, this JVC stereo seemed just the perfect thing for my wife!
I got it installed in her van, and began the learning curve of trying to figure everything out. The FM mode started picking up local stations real strong, BEFORE I even got the antenna plugged in. That impressed me a lot! I haven't tested out the USB or Aux line-in ports yet, but I'm not too worried about whether they function or not. Those features are kind of hard to not get right. Since I never used Bluetooth before, it took me some time to get it figured out. JVC could seriously stand to improve their instruction manual! I'd read another reviewer say that the controls on this stereo are not intuitive. I disagree. They do make sense, it is just figuring them out from the poor manual that is the tricky part, and there is a lot to learn and explore. Once you figure it out, it's fairly easy to remember. I downloaded the JVC Smart Music Control app from JVC on the Google Play Store. I installed that app on a Toshiba Thrive tablet I use, which has 32 Gigs of SD Card storage for music. I also installed it on my wife's cell phone. Getting the tablet and cell to pair-up with the stereo properly, and then connect was the most difficult issue. I got the tablet connected first, and was streaming music from the tablet to the stereo beautifully. The phone was a bit more difficult to get connected, but I did succeed. I streamed music from the phone to the stereo nicely. I then tested out the hands-free calling feature. That actually went a lot smoother than I expected. We tried it out, and naturally nobody we called was answering, and we just got everyone's voicemail! So, my wife went in our house to the house phone, and I called her from the van. Through the car stereo, I could hear her very well with the volume set at 20, and her voice came out of the four door speakers very clear. I cranked the volume up to 30, and I'd say you could hear a caller easily no matter how much road noise you're suffering. The JVC comes with a mic, that you mount on the dash, and you use that to talk on the cell phone. The mic tests were okay, but it needs to be tweaked. Fortunately, the JVC has controls in the menu for adjusting mic performance, noise cancellation, and echo reduction, so you should be able to customize the mic settings to whatever you like. I should mention here, that the Bluetooth device plugs in via a USB port. So, using Bluetooth means that you have to either use the front or rear USB ports, so that only leaves one of the USB ports free. I mounted our Bluetooth device in the rear USB port, so it is hidden under the dash. JVC supplies both the Bluetooth device and a cable for it and those come with the stereo, along with the mic and a tiny remote control.
The remote control is very small, and simplistic in its function. It has a key-chain fob hole, so you could put it on your car key chain if you'd like. While Google reviews are rough on the JVC Smart Music Control app, I don't think it is so bad as people make out. It's control menus need improvement, and it could also use more file manager abilities. However, JVC has a demo video of that app with this stereo on their website. I highly suggest that you watch that video. The hand gesture controls you can use on your cell phone or tablet to control music playing on the car stereo is really pretty cool, and that feature worked great for me. On my wife's cell phone, the app even automatically turns on Bluetooth in the cell and connects to the stereo when you activate the app. My tablet wouldn't do that, but that may just be a limitation of the tablet. With the tablet, you have to manually turn on Bluetooth in the tablet settings. One thing I did notice, after I'd gotten Bluetooth working on both devices, I took a drive with no cell or tablet in the car. The stereo beeped briefly, and the display read "BT Device Not Detected". The fact that the JVC stereo automatically looks for the devices you'd paired it to, was kind of cool too. So, for instance, you get in the car and have forgotten your cell phone somewhere, the stereo is kind of giving you a reminder that you forgot your cell! I'm sure that could come in handy for cell owners.
Now, for the reason we all usually buy a stereo for; namely music, we both really like the sound this stereo puts out with the four factory Honda door speakers. The sound is rich, and you could easily make it uncomfortable to hear if you crank up the volume. Personally, I don't think you need super powerful speakers, or a pre-amp for this stereo, but it does have that ability if you want. For us, the stereo itself, and the factory car speakers are more than enough for us. The stereo has a Pro EQ feature, if you want to tweak the bass, treble and midrange. One feature I like, is it has a feature called "Loud". When the stereo is at low volume, this feature kind of boosts the sound, so that it sounds much deeper than normal. Honestly, in our Honda, it sounds like we spent a lot more money on stereo than we did. The faceplate light is changeable, and can be customized to something like 26 colors, if I remember right. So, whatever floats your boat in color is right there. You could also set the normal faceplate lighting for say, blue, then have the color change to say red, when the stereo is giving you an alert in the display. I also noticed that in the Menu, there is a section for "Software". My impression is that JVC made this so that if they choose, they could update the bios on the stereo, and update the features.
All in all, we are pretty happy with this stereo purchase, and my wife thinks her new early Christmas gift is pretty cool! Now, I just need to route that mic to the spot I want on the van dash, then mount her cell-mount, and then reinstall our dash! We've only had this stereo a very short time, so I don't know how long it will last, but for the moment, we're loving it. If JVC had made a better manual, so I didn't have to figure so much out by experimentation, I wouldn't be tempted to deduct a half of a star from my rating. Except for that lousy user manual, this is a 5 Star Stereo, and I will give it 5 Stars!