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Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

wrybread
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Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Post by wrybread » Wed May 15, 2019 12:27 am

Apologies for the rambling post, but I've been agonizing over what to do about the stereo in my S70, and I'm wondering what other people like in theirs.

My priorities:

- good tuner (the tuner in my SC-816 is awesome)

- aux in

- would be nice to have bluetooth but I can add that through the aux in

- ability to connect to an external amp

Getting a line in adaptor for my SC-816 would probably work for me, but for the price (around $120 I think) I'm most of the way there for a new head unit. And I've read a lot of posts saying this amplifier isn't very good. I'm not sure if they're right or not, I actually love the sound of it, but maybe another amp would sound better.

I was considering the Kenwood DPX593BT, but I've read some reviews saying the tuner sensitivity isn't very good. I listen to a lot of left-of-the-dial low powered stations and can't stand tuners with weak sensitivity. That head unit is also a little gaudy, but probably less so than most aftermarket stereos.

I was also considering getting an SC-901, but then I'd still need to get the line-in adaptor, and not sure if I can use any amp or if I need theirs. If I found one complete at the junkyard I might go that route though since I've read so many raves about the sound.

Another option is an HU-XXX head unit from a later model Volvo at the junkyard, since they're so easy to build line in adaptors for. Does anyone have any thoughts on how they sound compared to my SC-816?

https://gizmosnack.blogspot.com/2015/11 ... o.html?m=1

I'm also considering touchscreen style amps with Android Auto and Car Play, like the the Sony XAV-AX5000, JVC KW-M730BT or KW-M650BT, or Alpine iLX-W650, or Kenwood DMX-905S. It would be nice to have a large nav screen, but I'm not sure the S70 is the best candidate for this since the head unit is so low on the dashboard. Has anyone used on of these in an S70? If so, do you find it to be a problem having to look down at the screen?

(Edit: my front runner here is the Alpine iLX-650 and the Taramp TS 400X4 amp. The Alpine is single DIN behind the double DIN screen, and the Taramp amp is pretty small so I *think* both will fit in the double DIN slot. And the Taramp is cheap at $70, and the Alpine is cheap for the category at $300, and can probably find it for $200 on eBay refurbished)

There's also a new class of head units that run Android directly, which is interesting but I'm guessing full of issues:



Or any other clever solutions to get good sound in an S70 volvo, and have a line in? Maybe there's some other double DIN head unit from another car that works well?
Last edited by wrybread on Thu May 16, 2019 10:49 pm, edited 11 times in total.



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Re: Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Post by Clemens » Wed May 15, 2019 12:51 am

You can easily add an Aux to the Volvo factory head units. You might have to search the UK Volvo Forum. The european HUs have a different name due to a different FM setting range, but they are very similar. If I remember correctly your HU is one of the premium sound ones. If so, you can easily add the factory amp and increase the sound tremendously. They can still be found on ebay or junkyards, but be sure to get it with the wiring harness or you are doomed. The Premium Sound HUs were made by Alpine if I remeber correctly, so this is really good stuff.
If you want to replace the soeakers, be carefuö because the factory ones might be 8 ohm, but I'm noz sure if thi is still true fir the S70. In an 850 you could have 2 to 8 speakers depe ding on the teim level with speakers in either 4 or 8 ohm. You might still have the labelling on the back of your factory speakers.

There are some good posts on this topic here in the forum.


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Re: Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Post by wrybread » Wed May 15, 2019 1:20 am

You can easily add an Aux to the Volvo factory head units
I can easily add line-in to the HU-XXX units, which are made by Mitsubishi, but not to the SC-816 (Alpine) unfortunately. Totally different radios, different protocol, and I haven't found a single person who's done it successfully, and I've searched hard (including the forum).

But I'd love to be proven wrong.



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Re: Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Post by Clemens » Wed May 15, 2019 2:08 am

what about this? this is an 816 as far as I can see.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgdvXB2PdnI


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Re: Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Post by wrybread » Wed May 15, 2019 2:20 am

I tried that, posted a few pics here:

https://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/forum ... =1&t=89365

I think it's a different unit, but I was juggling a few projects the day I tried, I guess I should open it up again and have another look. I didn't see any indication of left/right channel, and certainly didn't see any pots, but maybe I missed something.

Edit: at the end of that video can see it's an SC-816. I must have missed something.
Last edited by wrybread on Wed May 15, 2019 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Post by LOB » Wed May 15, 2019 2:28 am

The aux adapter isn't 120 USD but 32 USD...

NOK 274.95 11%OFF | DOXINGYE,USB SD AUX Car MP3 Adapte CD Change For Volvo SC-series SC700 800 810 900 CR905 S80 C70 Interface
https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/cqdHM2dw



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Re: Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Post by wrybread » Wed May 15, 2019 2:34 am

> DOXINGYE

Whoa! Thanks for that. Is that confirmed working with the SC-816? Sounds like it does from the ad description. Does anyone have personal experience with it?



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Re: Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Post by wrybread » Wed May 15, 2019 8:09 am

I just ordered the Doxingye adaptor, it's so cheap I figured even if I do the tape input hack it'll be nice to have if only to avoid having to insert a cassette.

And the more I research, the more I like the Sony XAV-AX5000:



One big drawback though: no aux in! That's pretty hilarious. I know the idea is that they expect us to use bluetooth, but personally I prefer aux in for long drives since, on my old stereo at least, bluetooth takes a little while to re-pair after stopping the car.



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Re: Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Post by callahanoffroad » Wed May 15, 2019 12:30 pm

I have a CD player out of a s70 in my 850. Its the wrong color but it works. Of course I didn't know what that weird thin slot for a cd was for about a week bc I completely forgot what a CD was to begin with.... But that's my bad.

I actually use a $10 speaker phone adapter from the Walmart automotive department. Its a bluetooth FM transmitter, takes calls and the FM transmitter is amazingly powerful. I used to hate FM transmitters bc they were always so weak, but these new ones work great. Works with handsfree calling, and can charge two devices at the same time. Because my wife and I delivery drive full time in the car we needed something easy to use that just works. And I will say that it does really well. Even has micro FM adjustments for even numbered settings. I also put in new rear deck speakers, 5"x7" ford style. They fit perfectly into the original rear deck speaker boxes. When I listen to T.I., I know that i'm listening to T.I. with those new speakers.

Here's the link. Its just something functional. If I had cash to spend I'd do speakers first and then a head unit. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Auto-Drive-A ... /934128635


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Re: Favorite stereo for your volvo?

Post by wrybread » Wed May 15, 2019 12:39 pm

Good point on the speakers. When I was fixing my door panels I saw what an ugly sight those paper cone speakers are. They still sound surprisingly good so no rush but those are definitely getting swapped at some point for sure.



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