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Jensen MS2013BTR Waterproof Marine Stereo With Bluetooth

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The MS2013BTR waterproof stereo from Jensen has a unique design and offers some great features that will work well on any open vehicle as well as a boat.  The face is only slightly larger than a typical DIN sized stereo and it has a rubber gasket around it to seal it to the dash or wherever you decide to install it.  That keeps the water from getting behind the unit.

As a waterproof stereo the face can be rained on and splashed with no problem.  The chassis in back can handle some exposure to water too.  But don’t plan on tossing this thing in the lake and expect it to survive. rocktheboatmarinestereo.com It isn’t built to handle any kind of depth at all.

The face is permanently attached to the chassis which means no security removal is available.  That is due to the fact that it is waterproof.  Any kind of connection like that is likely to be an avenue for water to penetrate so Jensen avoids it altogether by simply making it permanent.

This marine stereo has a rear USB port for connectivity to iPhones, iPods, MP3 players and pretty much anything else you can think of.  It’s on the rear to keep the unit sealed and waterproof.

If you want to keep your phone in your pocket, you can stream your music right to the MS2013BTR via Bluetooth.  You phone won’t get recharged that way, obviously, but it is a nice feature to have.

Alpine CDE-134HD Car Stereo With Built In HD Radio

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This car stereo head unit from Alpine comes with built in HD radio which allows you to tune in free digital radio over the air.  It’s a nice changeup from standard AM/FM radio, but it also has those analog bands available for you as well.  The quality is digital which means no static or interference at all.  You either get the channel or you don’t which can be bad in rural areas where reception is limited.  You will want to make sure you use a quality antenna so your reception is not hindered.

Like most forms of digital music, HD radio is compressed which can result in a slight loss of sound quality.  It is especially noticeable in the higher frequency bands, so that is something to consider.

This stereo pushes 18 watts RMS x 4 channels (50 x 4 peak) which is normal.  If you want high end quality sound you will need to use an external amplifier

This stereo has a front USB port so if you were hoping to be able to run an extension from behind to a glove box or alcove for your iPod or iPhone, that is not available.  You will have to make due with the plug on the face.

Pioneer DEH-X8500BH Car Stereo With Mixtrax, Bluetooth, And HD Radio

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DEH-X8500BH is a cool new product from Pioneer for 2014.  It has a standard AM/FM radio and also a CD player but it also has excellent connectivity with virtually all types of media players including iPhones and other smart phones.  This model will control and recharge just about any kind of portable music player you can think of.

You can connect all of these devices via USB.  The USB port is on the back which is bad and good.  Good because you can easily run an extension to a glove box or other location where you want to store your device while you drive, but bad because sometimes you just want to plug right into the face.  It depends on your habits and opinion, but keep this in mind while evaluating the product.

This unit has a built in 4 channel, 200 watt amplifier.  The 50 watts peak per channel by 4 channels is fairly typical.  Obviously, the thought is that if you want some real power you will need to add an amplifier.  This is confirmed by the presences of 3 sets of RCA preamp outputs.  It offers front, rear and subwoofer outs and gives you nice control over all of them with a built in crossover.  That will allow you to dial in the sound just the way you want it.

The Mixtrax feature is like an electronic DJ built in.  LED lighting on the face will pulse with the music and your tracks are automatically blended together with cool sound effects.  You can adjust the color of the lighting, but if you aren’t really into the club scene this could get a little annoying.