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Old 04-12-2017, 05:24 AM   #1
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Finally upgraded electronics

Airstream has good ideas for amenities, but I believe they are generally poorly implemented, usually with inferior equipment. For the 4 years we have owned our trailer, I have lived with the electronics suite but I finally realized how much we use the electronics and how compromised the components are.
I recently replaced the living room Samsung with a 28" TCL, plug and play, and an AccuVoice sound bar. This TV actually has optical audio output, a headphone jack, a superior picture. The sound bar has made a huge difference in our ability to hear the TV, with and without the heat pump. Apparently TV sound is better aimed at your face than down from the overhead speakers.
I replaced the SONY head unit and its strange setup method, and the bizarre switching unit, with a Kenwood with equivalent capabilities. The Kenwood has an AUX input if I want to listen to TV over the overhead speakers, a USB input for media devices, and BT, of course. I had already replaced the speakers with Polks and the new Kenwood delivers much better sound with more configuration options, easily operated.
This all cost less than $300 and after our last two trips, I realized how much more we enjoy using the electronics.
I can thank Airstream for having the wiring in place, but I can diss Airstream for their choice of components and the rats nest of wiring behind the head unit.
Larry
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:15 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great setup you have there. I plan to just remove the head unit and go with two Bose Solo 5 speakers (one for each TV). I am going to build a small cubby where the current head unit is for storage.
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Old 04-14-2017, 01:05 AM   #3
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Truth is, after installing the sound bar, I will use the head unit very little. I do like having BT phone and, while I will listen to music, my wife prefers silence or her music. Your idea has merit!
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Old 04-14-2017, 01:58 AM   #4
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Marine Corps rescued me from becoming an audio nerd years ago!
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:49 AM   #5
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I think marriage did that for me! But, the sound when watching TV in my Airstream was horrible, especially if running the A/C. A good sound bar proves there is a solution to that. In all fairness to AS, most TV's, with small speakers facing down, have crummy sound.

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Old 04-14-2017, 07:28 AM   #6
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Sounds like some nice improvements. In our 2016, we've been mostly satisfied with the electronics. They aren't great, but since we recline in the dinette area to watch TV, and use the speakers above instead of the TV speakers, it works okay for us. The ducted air might help too. The one thing I haven't been able to get working is the Bluetooth for the phone, but that's not been a real problem either, since I'm used to just using my phone with the internal speakers while it's sitting on my desk or the table.
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Old 04-14-2017, 10:56 PM   #7
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I have to stop reading Larry's posts!!!! All the cool upgrades he does get in my head, and the next thing you know I am copying him. Solar, lithium, Easy start, man, now electronics! Sounds great Larry, an thanks for the idea for the next project , lol.
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Old 04-15-2017, 02:22 AM   #8
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Happy to help, Rich. Maybe someday we will meet at a campground!!

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Old 04-28-2017, 04:10 PM   #9
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What Kenwood unit did you install? It's time to replace my Sony due to 1 speaker channel not working.
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:27 PM   #10
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KDC-BT568U

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Old 04-28-2017, 08:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
KDC-BT568U

Larry
Hi Larry...I really want to switch out the Clarion in my 26U. I've installed a couple Pioneer units in various trailers, so I'm familiar with the speaker wires, antenna, power, etc. But I saw a photo of the back of the Clarion hooked up and the rats nest looked intimidating. You speak of a switching unit....did you eliminate it or adapt it to the Kenwood? Any other surprises? Or suggestions you could offer. Thanks. Don
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Old 04-28-2017, 09:12 PM   #12
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LilBigfoot,

I recently replaced my 2004 Sony head unit with an Alpine CDE-164BT. The color coding of the wires on the Sony matched the color coding on the Alpine wire harness. That made the rat's nest of wires easy to deal with. There are probably industry standards... So do not despair!
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Old 04-29-2017, 02:09 AM   #13
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I eliminated the switching unit as there is no need for it with the Kenwood or any other unit that has an AUX input and AUX mode. Airstream was emulating that with the Sony unit, but you had to be on CD2. I simply connected the cable from the TV to AUX, although I did need to buy an RCA to mini-plug adaptor.
Once you pull all of the wires out, it is pretty simple, albeit time-consuming. All of the audio places sell twist on connectors for car stereos, just replicate what you already have. In addition, you can ask Airstream for the audio schematic for your model and it shows the color code of the existing wiring.
Any single DIN car or boat stereo will simply fit right in the existing space.

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Old 04-30-2017, 03:09 PM   #14
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Thanks for the info Larry. I assume then that it would be best to get a receiver with a rear AUX input. The Alpine and Panasonic units seem to all have front AUX input.

DaveP mentioned an Alpine receiver....it has the AUX on the front.
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Old 04-30-2017, 03:26 PM   #15
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Yes, AUX in back for the TV input. Unfortunately, I could find none with AUX in back and USB in the front, maybe why AS went with the SONY. But I ran the USB cable to on top of the DVD player, for an iPod.
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:06 AM   #16
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The Alpine unit has six RCA plugs on the back and a single aux plug on the front (like a headphone jack). I plug my iPod into the front aux. Just wanted to make sure that we are not confusing the types of jacks and what they are used for.
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Old 05-01-2017, 09:26 AM   #17
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Good point. These units seem to have RCA outputs on the back as well as wires for the speakers. Airstream uses the speaker wires and splices to them. The Kenwood that I installed has one mini jack(AUX) on the back and one standard USB on the back for iPod, MP3, etc. Some of the Kenwoods have 2 USBs.
Most of the units have connections(other than the speakers) on the front because they are boat or automobile units and people want to temporarily plug in their device. Fortunately there are still a few units made with connections on the back.

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Old 06-18-2020, 07:07 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
Airstream has good ideas for amenities, but I believe they are generally poorly implemented, usually with inferior equipment. For the 4 years we have owned our trailer, I have lived with the electronics suite but I finally realized how much we use the electronics and how compromised the components are.
I recently replaced the living room Samsung with a 28" TCL, plug and play, and an AccuVoice sound bar. This TV actually has optical audio output, a headphone jack, a superior picture. The sound bar has made a huge difference in our ability to hear the TV, with and without the heat pump. Apparently TV sound is better aimed at your face than down from the overhead speakers.
I replaced the SONY head unit and its strange setup method, and the bizarre switching unit, with a Kenwood with equivalent capabilities. The Kenwood has an AUX input if I want to listen to TV over the overhead speakers, a USB input for media devices, and BT, of course. I had already replaced the speakers with Polks and the new Kenwood delivers much better sound with more configuration options, easily operated.
This all cost less than $300 and after our last two trips, I realized how much more we enjoy using the electronics.
I can thank Airstream for having the wiring in place, but I can diss Airstream for their choice of components and the rats nest of wiring behind the head unit.
Larry
I will do something similar. Which Kenwood for starters? Does it fit in the original spot? USB port? How to mount a sound bar below LR TV? It plugs into the TV. Haven't used TV yet, is it that bad?
Thanks,

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Old 06-18-2020, 07:27 AM   #19
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Wow! A blast from the past! It's a Kenwood KDC-BT568U, but I doubt it's made anymore. The bracket is a standard single DIN unit that holds any auto or marine stereo so just pick one you like. Crutchfield has a good catalog and selection. Most of them have all of the ports you need these days including a couple of USB.
The soundbar uses an optical cable to plug into the TV, but audio output jacks also work if your TV has audio out but no optical port. I made brackets from 1/8" aluminum stock(Lowe's) that are bolted to either side of the soundbar, on its built-in screw mounts and the upper ends are bolted to pullout cradle for the TV. I think the aluminum is 1" wide. It looks right at home in an aluminum trailer and the soundbar hangs right below the TV.
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Old 06-19-2020, 01:02 PM   #20
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Thanks, those are excellent suggestions.
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