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el fairmont ghia mp3/cd stacker 

 

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 Post subject: el fairmont ghia mp3/cd stacker
Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 5:57 pm 
Oompa Loompa
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My fairmont ghia cd stacker is buggered and I want to replace it with an MP3 stacker. Any ideas on the best option for this. I've been told I can't do it and will need to replace the whole system. Thanks
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Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 5:07 am 
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Whoever told you you need to replace the entire system is talking s**t. The EF/EL head units were made by Alpine and feature the company's M-BUS stacker interface. What this means is that you can replace the factory stacker with any M-BUS compatible Alpine stacker. Even if you weren't after MP3 specifically I'd still recommend the CHA-S634 as MP3 playback is too cool a feature to ignore.

 

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Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:55 am 
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Thanks LSD. I suppose if I go to a specialsed Alpine dealer then they will know what they are talking about..
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Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:07 pm 
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linchpin - The CHA-S634 and it's predecessors are all AiNet - you will need to source an AiNet to DIN (M-Bus) adaptor cable - this is available from most Alpine dealers...the part number escapes me right now...but a dealer will know what you're on about.

It would also be interesting to see how the ghia premium sound headunits interface with the MP3 usability.

JFYI, the CHA-S634 is available brand new for $299 at the moment - it is a special promotion - go to the website (www.alpine.com.au), print off the docket and take to your local Alpine dealer. It's a damn good price and I hope to be picking up another one sometime soon before the offer ends (it has been valid since October / November 2004 AFAIK).

Cheers,
Steve

 

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Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:59 pm 
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Can't beat $299. I'll keep you posted on what happens......
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Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 6:21 pm 
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dcstraight wrote:
linchpin - The CHA-S634 and it's predecessors are all AiNet - you will need to source an AiNet to DIN (M-Bus) adaptor cable - this is available from most Alpine dealers...the part number escapes me right now...but a dealer will know what you're on about.


The S634 is actually dual-bus - there's a little switch down next to the magazine eject button that lets you switch between MBUS and AiNet. It's natively AiNet though and probably works best with AiNet head units. I sincerely doubt you could hook a 100% AiNet stacker to an MBUS head unit (or vice versa for that matter) and expect decent results, even with the adaptor cable. On the subject of adaptors, you'll also need one to convert the proprietary stacker plug on the back of the H/U to the DIN standard Alpine use but a dealer will probably hook you up with this too.

As for how well it performs, I have an S634 in my EF Fairmont and aside from a couple of quirks, it works quite well. Quirk number 1 is that you don't see any MP3 metadata (track titles, artist names etc) making it difficult to find a particular track on a disc of 150 or more. Quirk number two is that when you cut the power to the vehicle the changer will "remember" what mode it's in (random etc. I've only noticed it with random but I don't see repeat, scan etc being any different) and will revert to that mode when you switch it back on. That wouldn't be a problem if the head unit didn't forget those same modes. What happens is that you'll get back into the car, it's start playing from where it left off, you decide you want to listen to a track that's a couple later on so press >> a couple of times to select it and suddenly you find yourself at track 75 or something. Both are fairly minor and are easy to live with once you're aware of them even more so when you weigh it up against the cost of a good AiNet head unit.

 

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Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 7:02 pm 
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Good work LSD - Interesting to hear how it interfaces with premo sound decks...so when's the upgrade to an AiNet deck on the cards ? hehe.

I have my 634 sitting all boxed up...didn't even see if it had the selector switch on it --> AFAIK, there were / are only a few AiNet 6CD changers that had the selector switch - the CHA-S604 and the CHA-S605 (has optical too!)...the 614 I am unsure about...but the 624 definitely did not have the switch.

Cheers,
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Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 3:30 am 
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dcstraight wrote:
so when's the upgrade to an AiNet deck on the cards ? hehe.


I'm not sure, lol. I've been having a few problems with the head unit in my car lately so I've been forced to weigh up the cost of repairing it as opposed to just replacing it with a new Alpine unit. The latter approach certainly has the advantage of possibly fixing the two quirks in the hybrid setup but at 300 bucks for even the most basic AiNet H/U, it represents quite a substantial dent to the wallet. I have the stock unit out of the car atm so I'll be taking it to a repair place to get a quote on the work which'll give me a better idea on what would be the best course of action and will make my decision then.

 

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Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:22 pm 
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Thanks for the advice guys..I ducked into Freeway audio in Dandenong. They are going to do it for the $299 + $50 cable + $50 fitting. I figured those quirks of not being able to see song titles etc..., but I think the existing system looks nice and neat. If the head unit was changed to an Alpine one would it still be able to use the premium sound settings - x bass, "space" setting etc....
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Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:48 am 
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will my el mid series head unit be compatible is well with the CHA-S634 stacker?

 

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Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:17 am 
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They all use the same interface so it should be, yes.

 

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Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:03 am 
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thanks

 

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Posted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 11:41 am 
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Everything installed - all works fine

Only gripe - not being able to skip through albums/folders (although I knew of this) :lol:
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Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2005 4:04 pm 
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I thought that the Alpine CHA-S634 was only on offer up to 31st of Decemeber or January?
I had the same stuff explained to me last year about that stacker fitting right in with the existing Premo HU but just didn't want to lash out with the money last year. I guess it must be a popluar unit if they've kept the offer going till now.

 

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Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:29 am 
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They extended it to 31st March......
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