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8 posts

Wannabe Geek


Topic # 116919 13-May-2013 23:32
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I intend replacing the radio in my 2009 Kia Sorento and am looking for something with good AM sensitivity. I need good AM performance as that's all I can receive in many of the out of the way places I travel through. Most manufacturers give very little in the way of the AM sensitivity and frequency response as for most people, it's probably rarely used.
FM receiver to have the RDA service included if possible.
The other features I would like is bluetooth for my non smart phone. MP3 playback which they all probably have anyway. I don't have an iPod or iPhone and not too worried about that.
Steering wheel control ability would be good.
I like the clean simple look of the Fusion CA CD800 and it seems to have all the features I want. The large display font is especially good so I don't have to stare at it to read the frequency or whatever, as long as it's visible on a bright sunny day as many displays are not.
Single DIN size radio is required.

Thanks,

Grant.

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gzt

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  Reply # 817198 14-May-2013 09:33
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Selecting blind I would tend to choose a good model from a long established brand like Sony or Phillips on the assumption they are still using the same engineering in the AM dept, and still have large numbers of customers to satisfy in out of the way places. That would be just guessing, and Fusion could be just as good.

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  Reply # 817237 14-May-2013 10:21
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Wouldnt the biggest issue be the aerial?
Presumably the current radio has AM reception - just not great reception....

What sort of aerial is on the car - they are often built into windows these days - maybe you need an external aerial?




Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself - A. H. Weiler

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  Reply # 817240 14-May-2013 10:23
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Maybe something like this would help:
http://www.aucklandwide-car-stereo.co.nz/product/aerial-booster/

It seems they pretty much design cars around the radios these days - changing radio units in a modern car isnt trivial!




Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself - A. H. Weiler



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 817649 14-May-2013 20:00
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The present antenna is an automatic telescopic whip about 1 metre long mounted in the usual place on the front right guard. The present factory fitted radio (made by Hyundai of course as they own KIA) has single CD with MP3 decoding. It's a double DIN unit. It's quite easy to remove and I have a surround coming to allow fitting of a single DIN size radio plus a pocket to fill the rest of the double DIN hole. I have other radio equipment to fit in the vehicle so the second part of the double DIN fitting will allow fitting some of my other gear there.
I have a Sony head unit that I've used for the last 7 years in other vehicles but I want something with Bluetooth for the phone. The display is difficult to read on a bright sunny day which is why the Fusion units appeal. I like the large display.
Most radios I have tried in various vehicles have OK sensitivity but very poor frequency response on AM receive. The worst being the Bose system in my Mazda MX5.
There's no where here in Blenheim I can try any displayed radios on AM. Most people selling them don't even know what AM is!
Thanks for the replies and I will look into getting the in line amplifier as well. Worth trying.

Grant (in sunny Blenheim)

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  Reply # 817659 14-May-2013 20:09
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I'd stay away from fusion myself... I had one for about a day once (the ipod inside) and took it back. Horrible build quality.

Last month I got a JVC bluetooth model. It's excellent for everything I tried, unfortunately I haven't used AM though..

gzt

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  Reply # 817661 14-May-2013 20:09
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There are several current Sony models with Bluetooth. I'd hope they have improved the display in 7 years as well. You may be better off going to see a specialist installer rather than a retailer. If you find a good one and they understand your requirements then a test drive might not be a problem.

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  Reply # 817679 14-May-2013 20:19
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gzt: You may be better off going to see a specialist installer rather than a retailer. If you find a good one and they understand your requirements then a test drive might not be a problem.

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Sorry I can't offer advice as to brands currently on the market. However I can suggest that careful attention to the aerial installation and earthing of the coax cable is essential to keeping ignition noise out of the AM signal. A good aerial and well engineered am receiver will give far more satisfying result than relying on a aerial booster to overcome other deficiencies in the installation.



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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 817791 14-May-2013 23:17
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The Sony I had in an earlier vehicle before I got the present Sony had a good display. The JVC in my previous MX5 also had a good display in the sun. I understand about the antenna installation etc and also about reducing noise. The KIA is a Diesel but the modern injectors can be just as bad for noise as a spark ignition system can be. The body on separate frame construction doesn't help either. I will be working on reducing the noise as much as possible as I will be installing HF transmitting and receiving gear in there as well. Bonding panels and chassis to body will help reduce the noise.
There's no specialist installers here in Blenheim so the only option is to look in the major retail chains and research on the internet. No one though has any reviews of the AM performance.
Thanks for the information so far!

Grant.

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  Reply # 817817 15-May-2013 06:11
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I doubt if you will find any useful reviews with reliable information as to the am reception performance. Unfortunately this aspect is well down the priority list these days, and for a long time the car radio manufacturers have simply used pre-made modules in their products.

At home (in a rural location with very poor fm reception), I still prefer a Sony radio which we bought about 30 years ago for its good reception and acceptable audio bandwidth. And I still have a Grundig transistor radio from the early 70's which can't be beaten!

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  Reply # 817842 15-May-2013 08:39
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The only station I used to listen to on the AM band was National Radio.  However, since they set up the 101 FM network, I find that to be a far superior alternative here in the Far North.  The FM signal gets into many more places than the old AM repeaters ever did.  However, they are in the middle of the AM band and of pretty low power, whereas I guess in Blenheim you are listening to 2YA on 567kHz, which does get into an awful lot of places in the centre of NZ due to its low frequency.

Just recently, I pointed out to my father that National Radio was now available on FM as he had never tried it, and was still suffering interference from their microwave oven.  Oh yes, it does sound cleaner he said.  Why anyone would choose AM in preference to FM is beyond me, due to the 4.5kHz audio bandwidth vs. 15kHz on FM.  Of course, it didn't used to be that way.  When I worked at the AM transmitter site in Henderson, we used to do regular "frequency runs" where the audio bandwidth of each AM transmitter would be tested, right out to 10kHz.  That was in the days of valve receivers with a "wideband" function where you could actually receive most of the 10kHz bandwidth.

Then we moved to 9kHz channel spacings and in came a flood of imported AM receivers designed for overseas markets where 4.5kHz audio bandwidth is the norm, and it has been that way ever since.  AM is now the lowest quality option among all commonly-used audio formats -- even worse than 128kbps MP3!







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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 817875 15-May-2013 09:16
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National on 567KHz is the only station that can be received in many of the areas I drive through. The frequency response on that transmitter is still very good. I used to use a wide band AM receiver through a small FM modulator so I could hear it troughout the house. 101 FM is now the first choice of course and the RDS service on most newer car radios is great. Pity National radio couldn't have more low powered FM transmitters fed through a satellite receiver in small areas such as St Arnaud. This is done in some places such as Golden Bay.
I was hoping there might be a manjufacturer out there with slightly better AM bandwidth than most others. Unfortunately AM is included as something that has to be there but probably will never be used so why put any effort in to it?
Maybe I need one of those satellite dishes on the roof that will automatically track a satellite for (almost) continuous coverage!
Grant.

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