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I'm really torn between what approach to take. Should I stick with the factory EX CD head unit and add on a 4 channel amp or simply replace it with a more powerfull aftermarket head unit? Pros and Cons? Bang for the buck? Any and all advice would be appreciated!
 

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Go with a new headunit, 20+ Watts RMS per channel is more than adequate to drive front and rear speakers plus you can always add powered subwoofer should you need more bass.

Consider this:
- New headunit only requires wiring harness and dash kit.
- Adding amplifier to factory headunit requires new wiring for power and ground, extending speaker wires from headunit to the amplifier (with optional High to Low level signal converter), new speaker wires from the amplifier to the speakers, a manual on-off switch or a remote turn-on adapter such as PAC TR-4 plus more labor in locating and installing the amplifier unit itself.

And last, you get a lot more features / sound controls with an aftermarket headunit, you have a wide variety of choice starting from under $300.

-Harry
 

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I think this question is very complex, and really depends on what you value.

First, I'd recommend listening critically to your current setup at low volume. Is the sound quality good enough, or are you looking for better resolution, better soundstage, etc? If you are just looking for more output, and (perhaps) a little more dynamic range, an amp with the factory head may be the way to go.

If you are unhappy at the overall sound, you need to replace your source unit with one of higher quality. My personal opinion is that if you are gonna change the head unit anyway, get an outboard amp too. You'll get the very best sound quality with the line level outputs of aftermarket units relavite to their speaker outputs... Besides, amplifiers built in to aftermarket units tend to be grossly overrated for power anyways.... Don't get me wrong however, the power in an aftermarket headunit is substantially better than factory, but if you really want good sound, I think an outboard amp really makes the most of an aftermarket source unit.

A couple of other considerations:

- factory headunit = factory look = low theft/vandalism risk. Changing to an aftermarket significantly increases the risk of break in because they can "see it". Even if you remove the faceplate, many theives will break in, rip out the stereo, and rummage through the car for the face plate. So, even taking the face plate with you is no guarantee.... an added amp can be completely hidden from view...
- adding an amp is alot of work, but can be alot of fun for a do it yourselfer.
- I believe you can get an amplifier wiring harness for the Odyssey, which plugs into the accessory console (fuse box) just like the Kelton bassworks sub does. If you are doing a simple, LOW power amp install, this could make things really easy.
- add a multi-channel amp, and you can power a sub along with your main speakers, killing two birds with one stone. You'll get more output and better sound out of either a custom sub or even premade subs like the bazooka tubes.
Just some thoughts.
-SJ

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DEP '01 EX no-navi
 
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