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#4499097 - 08/27/17 01:21 AM cheap blaupunkts?
bmwjohn Offline

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 728
Loc: indianapolis in
was looking for a Blaupunkt to put in an older Volvo 240 series and noticed a series of really cheap Blaupunkts (w/o CD players). Blaupunkys used to be premium product, then got cheaper Chinese versions, but these seen in the $30 range. Any idea what is going on?

#4499128 - 08/27/17 04:27 AM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: bmwjohn]
Johnny2Bad Offline

Registered: 05/20/13
Posts: 1810
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
If it's just a radio, they can make them very inexpensively. They use a standard Integrated Circuit (a chip) that costs, in quantity, about a buck. Same chip as found in AV receivers.

Discrete radios (using a circuit of specific individual parts) went out of favour during the 1990's. They are better, but require skill to design, and cost much more. A few AM/FM tuners still use discrete circuitry, at prices of $1000 or so, that can be hooked up to home HiFi's, but for the most part that type of radio is done.
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#4499137 - 08/27/17 05:20 AM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: bmwjohn]
Carmudgeon Offline

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 536
Loc: Under the hood
I'd be leery of cheap anything, including the current Blaupunkts.

It's hard to tell whether the old company is even involved anymore with the product, or has merely licensed the name to another company to apply to some Chinese-made ODM equipment. Even if the company still exists, the cheap ones are still going to be badge-engineered.

The brand has had a spotty distribution record in the U.S. in recent years. It seemed to disappear almost entirely before Crutchfield started carrying the brand again; now its selection is back down to two models.

For many years prior, U.S. support was based in Illinois along with the parent company Bosch's operations.

Look into the current U.S. distributor now, and it's some small car stereo outfit in Los Angeles, which should make one cautious.

I had a top-line 7-series Blau in the 90s. It had the perfect low-key Euro interior look, was a quality piece, made in Germany, and loaded with smart features. When it succumbed to display glitches that made it unusable, I replaced it with one of the then newish media players. It was still pretty good quality, made by Bosch in Portugal, but the quality was obviously a step down. After I found the USB media connection was very unreliable, I replaced it with a top-line Sony media player, which was well-made and sounded surprisingly good, and never looked back. But even Sony eventually dropped the model and stopped making the good, higher-end stuff.

When the OEMs started paying attention and made OE systems better in quality, and tightly integrated, the aftermarket 12v industry suffered terribly. Now, there seems to be a lot of cheap, off-brand stuff to fight on the bottom end. The middle ground is occupied by the consolidated survivors, with some OK, but not great stuff. The only money still being made is probably from the double-DIN big screen units, which can better slot into the big OE spaces, but carry commensurately high prices.

If all you need is a cheap radio to make produce some sound, it's probably OK. But I wouldn't expect, or count on it to be long-lived, let alone something worthy of the old Blaupunkt brand.

I'd probably look for a low-key looking JVC/Kenwood, Pioneer, Alpine or another brand that's still a real company.

#4499290 - 08/27/17 09:45 AM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: bmwjohn]
andyd Offline

Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 7145
Loc: Marshfield , MA
shop Crutchfields The Rat has a $ 60 Dual. Tell them the make and model and you will get a hookup kit. The next to last 528e came with a Blaupunkt Indianapolis, I wasn't impressed.
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#4499309 - 08/27/17 10:02 AM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: bmwjohn]
Urshurak776 Offline

Registered: 08/21/12
Posts: 445
Loc: North Carolina
I have two Blaupunkt 10" subs in my trunk. They sound great.
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#4499315 - 08/27/17 10:08 AM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: bmwjohn]
aquariuscsm Offline

Registered: 12/30/06
Posts: 18170
Loc: Dallas,Tx USA
Originally Posted By: bmwjohn
was looking for a Blaupunkt to put in an older Volvo 240 series and noticed a series of really cheap Blaupunkts (w/o CD players). Blaupunkys used to be premium product, then got cheaper Chinese versions, but these seen in the $30 range. Any idea what is going on?

I've noticed this trend with all electronics. I remember RCA tv's being mega expensive and absolute top of the line. Same with Yamaha,Sony,Pioneer,etc. Seems when mass-fi stores came along and replaced the mom and pop enthusiast stores (which was all there was at one time) all electronics turned into complete garbage.
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#4499399 - 08/27/17 11:55 AM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: bmwjohn]
BHopkins Offline

Registered: 11/03/13
Posts: 1095
Loc: Utah

They are trying to increase market share while using the reputation of their good name to sell inferior product to those who would normally not be able to afford what was traditionally a Blaupunkt product.

Nothing new. Others have done the same thing. John Deere. Sony. Cub Cadet. And the list goes on and on.
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#4499469 - 08/27/17 01:33 PM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: bmwjohn]
slacktide_bitog Online   content

Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 6156
Loc: USA
There's a NOS Blaupunkt Heidelberg on eBay right now (made in Portugual by Bosch). eBay item #322661829197

#4499474 - 08/27/17 01:35 PM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: BHopkins]
Y_K Offline

Registered: 05/29/09
Posts: 2147
Loc: WA (USA)
Originally Posted By: BHopkins
Nothing new. Others have done the same thing. John Deere. Sony. Cub Cadet. And the list goes on and on.

Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Marantz, Prada...

#4499839 - 08/27/17 09:27 PM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: bmwjohn]
DeepFriar Offline

Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 1367
Loc: Georgia
Sad to hear this about the Blue Dot. My introduction to good FM car stereo audio was in a 71 Volvo 142E (may have been an S). It was a revelation to a kid that grew up mostly rural and without FM. These days I see $5,000+ Burmester options in cars and just laugh.

#4500258 - 08/28/17 10:49 AM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: bmwjohn]
meep Offline

Registered: 02/20/07
Posts: 3552
Loc: Southeast
I bought a blau around yr 2000 and ended up not being impressed at all. the internal amplifier was dreadful with high-end component speakers, and the buttons all deteriorated and became unusable in about 10 years. The only thing likeable about it was the styling and the electronic functions, but the poor SQ and sub-par switchgear really hurt. Never again.

I'm in an alpine phase right now, but of the 4 I've installed and 2 that I've helped others install, 2 lost bluetooth functionality in about 2 years.

I'm not impressed with pioneer's UI, but generally like their SQ. I've been tempted to try kenwood but the alpine's SQ is so good I've been afraid to go elsewhere.
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#4503047 - 08/31/17 07:38 AM Re: cheap blaupunkts? [Re: bmwjohn]
wings&wheels Offline

Registered: 12/05/03
Posts: 581
Loc: New England, USA
Blaupunkt's certainly aren't what they used to be but are probably good enough. I do not like the new designs; too video gamey for me, but many current aftermarket radios are like that.

If you are determined to get a European radio, try the Becker. Big $ but a nice radio. I replaced the Blaupunkt Acapulco in my Lotus w/ a Becker Mexico Pro a while back. Looks and receives much better.

Or, find an older Blaupunkt and have it rebuilt. My TR6 has a 1974 Blaupunkt Frankfurt mono that I had rebuilt 10+ years ago by a reputable restorer and it is still working well.

One caveat; I am not a audiophile, so take my advice for what it is...

Edited by wings&wheels (08/31/17 07:48 AM)
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