JVC sx990

[10/13/2003] Reviewed by: Dave

Applicable to: '90 - '97 '99 + 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

MP3 capable CD head unit.

Just thought I'd put up my experience. I recently upgraded the factory CD unit in my 2000. It was the Mazda brand one, and it worked fine but I wore out the cd mechanism so had to upgrade. I have boston acoutstics component speakers. The upgrade was completly painless, thanks to the forum for the stock HU removal instructions. The time from when the UPS guy came from Sound Domain to when I was done was less than 1 hour. it sounds great, the MP3 feature works flawlessly, it's loud enough and it's easy to use. I disconnected the power antenna because unlike the factory unit, this one keeps the antenna up all the time. The display dimmer works nice, and if you want total black, you can flip the face down while playing.

Nice and worth the low low price of $150 with shipping.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

JVC KD-MX3000 MD/CD Receiver

[6/3/2000] Reviewed by Anonymous

Applicable to '90 - '97 '99 + 1.6 liter 1.8 liter

The JVC KD-MX-3000 is a combined MD/CD player, plus radio receiver, all in a standard DIN Chassis. It features a removeable flip-down face plate, and a remote control. It can play a single mini-disc or a single audio CD, using the same slot.

I bought it through a local mobile audio specialty shop who also handled the installation, so I cannot comment on that, except to say that they did a nice job.

Once installed, the noxious moving lights and animated displays end up being fairly easy to ignore. I will say that I'd rather that the clock display were larger, because it's often hard to find amid the visual clutter. Of course, the clock also blacks out with the rest of the display when the unit is off, which is mildly annoying.

The radio performs well, nothing special. I upgraded the factory speakers (a bit) with a pair of Blaupunkts at the same time as I had the radio installed. It sounds OK, but this is an open car we're talking about. The main attraction to me was its versatility.

One of the features of the unit is it's 'cruise' function, which adjusts the volume in three stages, matching the output of the alternator. In practice this works out rather well.

Remote controls on car stereos are pretty useless in any case, and in a car as tiny as a Miata, almost completely senseless.

The case for the removablle faceplate is a bit too bulky to fit into the center compartment, although the faceplate itself fits there.

You can create 'names' for the pre-tuned radio stations, and for your favorite CDs. I use the radio station names, but not the CD names. The radio does not pick up any of the fancy digital content (call letters, program information etc.) currently being broadcast.

Overall, based on its ability to handle multiple formats, and the fact that it's a better receiver than the stock box, overcome its ugliness and high price. I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in mini-disc receivers.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

JVC KDX-1 "El Kameleon" CD Receiver

[1/19/2000] Reviewed by: Lois Kaznicki - mx5kaz@mad.scientist.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97

This head unit is a fairly standard 40-watt peak per channel (about 18 or so RMS -- different sites said different things) 4 channel aftermarket system with the usual bells and whistles What distinguishes it is it the look -- when the unit is turned off, the faceplate is completely black and flat. When you turn the power on, a control panel slides out the bottom (and the buttons are *small*) and everything lights up like Vegas at night. Wanna stick a CD in? Push a button and the faceplate slides down, revealing a slot, which takes your disc and slides the faceplateback up, making the controls available again. For an added measure of way cool, you can select from several variations on the level meter, and when you turn the unit off, it displays a cheery "see you" briefly before retracting the controls and going dark.

I'd planned to do the install myself, and I tried, but with the Metra install kit I could only get close, but, as they say, no cigar. With the Metra kit, you have to slide the unit's DIN sleeve through the plastic opening in the faceplate. This can only be accomplished with a great deal of patience. In the end, getting the positioning right proved to be a real pain, and I decided my time was worth the sixty bucks to let the pros do it.

The downside: it certainly does not look stock, and it has to stick out a little bit from the center coverplate, which would detract from the "Kameleon" anti-theft system. In other words, don't buy it for your convertible unless you have a good alarm system. However, because the unit is so sleek and flat, looks don't suffer greatly. And it's still not immediately obvious that it's there to the casual observer.

The sound: I'm more than pleased with it (This is with the stock speakers in the doors and correctly wired factory headrest speakers). The unit has lots of options to customize your sound, and the BBE really fills in the lows and highs. In fact I think it sounds a bit anemic without it. Anyway, suffice to say that I've now got to add some insulation around the door speakers because the bass is making the door panels vibrate! The sound is very full, very clear, very satisfying.
One more cool feature is a "Cruise" function, which is like the Speed-o-Sound, reviewed elsewhere on these pages. As with everything else on this unit, it's completely customizable and you can set not only the volume boost but also your base RPMs. It's a little weird getting used to, and it sometimes adjusts the volume at awkward moments, but it really does cut down on the need to fiddle with the volume. All in all, this one's probably not for everyone, but, like the car, it sure is fun.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

JVC CD Receiver Model # KD-S630

Reviewed by: Carl Falletta - moonstruck1@earthlink.net

AM/FM/CD Receiver - 18 FM presets, 6 AM. Detachable face, sound control memory, direct track access, 1 bit DAC, RCA preout jacks.140 watts.(35X4) Price at Best Buy is $189 (US).

Very good experience with JVC products over the years.

Having searched for either a Mazda factory CD player or a suitable aftermarket unit, I finally decided on this model. I was able to compare it to other major brands by simply pressing the selector button on the store display. This unit had the 'fullest' sound by far! Seeing the 'full range' of units available, this one in particular looks like it really 'belongs" in the Miata,too. I kept the original speakers (headrest, too) and wired them per the instructions. The color codes even match the wiring harness. Installation should take no more than an hour, as long as you have plenty of solderless connectors AND a flat 'spade' plug for the ground wire. (Had to run to Radio Shack as I thought that I had that one plug). Hey, just one more excuse to drive with the top down, right? Installation is VERY straightforward and simple. Complete removal can be made in about 15 mins. Personally, I chose not to have it installed at the store as they wanted an additional $30 ($15 for the harness & $15 for the "installation kit", whatever that is). I found the harness set at an Auto Zone store for $8 (part # AW-WHMZ2) and did the rest myself. Once installed, the unit looks great and sounds like a million! (you MUST play the Moody Blues "Days Of Future Passed" CD - *chills* are guaranteed!!!) The FM radio sounds great and the CD player is very simple to use. On the whole I am VERY pleased with this unit as the sound is every bit as nice as our home stereo. On the 'down' side, if there is any disappointment to be found it's only a few minor items...nitpicky, really.There's no wire for the "dimmer", so the unit's display is on a constant brightness when the headlights are on. Not a real problem as it IS well-lit and not obnoxiously "bright" by any means. The other item is that the power antenna will raise whenever the CD unit is activated.(Many factory units I've seen will keep the antenna "down" when playing tape/CD, then "raise when on FM/AM.) With that said, on the whole I am very pleased with this unit and recommend it highlUnder 30 minutes to remove completely

One more item of note as for a minor disadvantage. I've noticed that once the unit is turned "off" completely, the screen is blank....no clock display option as on the factory unit. Again, with the quality of sound, ease of installation etc, I still find this to be a very good, worthwhile investment.

Back to Product Reviews 22 October, 2003