In case this looks familiar, I also posted this on the escortradar forums. I hope it helps others who may be considering the Redline or 9500i:
I received my Redline the other day.
1. Potential missed Ka alert? (If it is a false I don't care of course, in fact that would be perfect (ignoring false Ka alerts), but I was not able to rule out a LEO running Ka radar).
Here goes (putting as much, hopefully, relevant info as possible):
I had one brief Ka alert in town on my 9500i that the Redline did not pick up. I did not observe any LEO's and traditionally my 9500i has not been that sensitive to them and this is a spot where I don't recall ever having had a Ka alert (right in my town) and my town's LEO's do not radar speeders too often (unlike one town over).
The 9500i was in Highway mode.
The Redline was in Auto mode (this has no impact on Ka sensitivity though right, or does it actually make a difference on the Redline as opposed to other Escorts?).
At that point I was running the two detectors side by side temporarily just to see if they interacted etc., to compare volume levels etc.
It also gave me a very unscientific idea of how they compared (I know this is not recommended due to interference from leakage). I would not use this to rate them, but I can at least see if one misses an alert (then run them independently at that same spot if LEO is going to be there for a while or if it is a speed sign etc.
Nevertheless, since the Redline does not leak , I can't see this being a false Ka alert on the 9500i due to the Redline.
I still suspect (or strongly hope) it was a false though (otherwise my Redline will need to be inspected already).
Idea 1: Is it possible that up close there could still be some leakage from the Redline that caused the 9500i to issue a false Ka alert - the detectors were very close together on the windshield since I was in a rush to mount them and was not speeding anyway)
Idea 2: Is it possible that the 9500i being so close caused the Redline to possibly miss a Ka alert due to leakage or interference from the 9500i?
I am leaning towards idea 1 (of these 2 ideas at least, since it could be due to something else entirely).
The reason for this is that I did not see any LEO nearby, I never get Ka alerts in that spot and almost never in my town (in 7 years of living here) and my 9500i does not pick up Ka (in town) from far (always thought it was not strong in that area to be honest, at least on 34.7 GHz).
I did also have a Garmin Nuvi GPS on, but I have used that many times in conjunction with my 9500i and never get false Ka alerts as a result.
The other thing is why would the 9500i suddenly alert to Ka there when the rest of the drive it did not. That is what makes me wonder if it was a real LEO, which would be of big concern (unless the 9500i interfered with the Redline and caused the latter
not to issue a Ka alert somehow.
Puzzling to say the least...
I just read that CJR238's Redline had a bad Ka antenna that had to be replaced, so I want to be sure mine is fine (not sure how common the bad antenna issue is, presumably it is rare though).
Open to any thoughts on this.
I wonder if there is a way to test this...
The Redline does not false (as in pick up off-axis and distant X and K band alerts from non radar sources) quite as much as I expected, especially on 'Auto' mode (this prompts one of my wish list items - to add GPS capability so it can track my speed and have variable speed sensitivity like my 9500i (did I read somewhere that the 9500ix no longer has this???) so I don't have to remember, worry about forgetting, to switch to 'H' mode on my Redline each time I get on the highway).
The Redline picked up most X and K alerts (no real LEO encounters yet since I only used it twice) noticeably quicker (sooner) than my 9500i.
I only used both that one evening. Yesterday I used the Redline by itself.
It also showed multiple signals, at least 4 simultaneously (most I have ever seen on Expert meter) near a supermarket, where the 9500i shows two I believe (will need to test them more and do so independently next time).
I was impressed, even though these were not LEO it shows the range of the Redline...
HOWEVER, I will need to run them independently at that same supermarket (separate runs) to confirm these results of course, to rule out interference and / or leakage from the Redline in terms of whether the 9500i was affected as a result.
iii. Possible missed "multiple signals detected" voice announcement on Redline (expert mode showed both X and K present).
Is there a certain threshold before the voice alerts to multiple alerts?
It did do it properly just a few minutes later though (also one X and one K alert), so it could be that I missed it (but pretty sure I never heard it whereas the 9500i did).
Since it did it a few minutes later, I am sure there is some reasonable explanation.
3. Other impressions (not detection performance-related)
- The Redline feels very well built.
-I like the rubberized feel of the case.
- It looks looks great.
- The alert lamp is a great idea (more on why and when later).
- The speaker / amp combo NEEDS to be upgraded.
As others noted, a $500 detector should come with a better (more powerful amp / speaker combo).
The 9500i is MUCH better in this respect.
The Redline actually seems loud enough (in a closed car) when set to high volume but it feels like it is nearing the capacity of the speaker and / or amp at this point.
This is probably why some have had issues with their Redline speakers needing to be replaced) and I dare not keep it at max for fear of overdriving it and needing to send the unit in like others.
I have a convertible and I can't take chance of missing an alert with the top down and radio on high.
- Voice alert volume far too weak compared to beep / brap alert volume. (The 9500i does not have such a big difference [maybe no difference] between the two).
Why not set the two types of alerts at the same / similar volume level like in the 9500i or at least allow a customizable setting to increase the voice alert volume???
- Not Redline-related but worthy of being mentioned: Love the new combo cord (partially straight and partially coiled) that came with the free accessory pack)
Last, BUT certainly NOT least, I wish it had GPS capability so it could have variable speed sensitivity built in like my 9500i.
This way I would not have to switch between H and A and worry about forgetting to switch to Highway sensitivity (especially after 4 years with a 9500i where I left it in H or A permanently - H has little falsing anyway, although I did use 'A' mode a lot with my 9500i recently - I trusted that at 50 MPH and above it was operating at max sensitivity as claimed).
(I don't use Tru Lock on my 9500i. I feel it has a chance to lock out a real LEO as some videos have claimed. Even if it is low likelihood, I would rather get a false that I can mute, than have it lock out a LEO running radar in error).
I like the variable speed sensitivity and lack of 'falsing' on my 9500i. Those are the two main reasons I have it, in addition to its performance of course (which is still decent - Ka detection range leaves a bit to be desired IMO, at least agst 34.7 which is used extensively and frequently in the town next to me). Never lived in or near a town with such active LEO's...
Summarized pros and cons
- Well built (with the very notable exception of the speaker / amp, especially when compared to the 9500i which can go much louder and, more importantly, not feel strained at high volume).
- Alert Lamp
I love the NEW alert lamp feature (especially given the speaker volume issues).
It can help (only at night for the most part) to catch alerts I might otherwise miss where I could have the convertible top down and / or the stereo on high volume. This is not to mention truck, motorcycle or road noise with the top down.
Looks and feel
I like the no nonsense looks and rubberized feel.
Easy to make settings changes
Only three buttons, including power, which are well placed and easy to find (distinguish) in the dark, unlike 9500i which has too many buttons to use while driving (if you want to remain undistracted)!
Then again in my 9500i I left it in Auto sensitivity (varies based on speed) mode and it also had Auto Volume.
Speaker / Amp too weak
Big deal for me since I don't want to have to send it in (like others have had to), especially given a convertible.
Lack of Variable Speed Sensitivity (I realize this needs GPS capability to be present in order to be possible)
Lack of Auto Volume
This feature would be especially important to me since I drive with the top down which adds a lot of road noise and other noises.
Voice alert volume weaker than signal alert
Either have it like that of the 9500i by default where the two types of alerts are at similar volume levels or at least allow this to be customizable by the user (via preferences).
'Falsing' is more frequent than on 9500i. Not as bad as I expected, given other reports, but definitely enough to be more annoying and potentially lead to more complacency.
Auto mode helps a lot in reducing 'falses', which is exactly why I wish this unit had variable speed sensitivity (I know adding GPS is not in the cards due to design and / or cost considerations but wanted to mention it anyway).
Overall, my feelings are mixed at this early stage.
I love the alert lamp, looks, build quality (speaker / amp excluded) and detection range (need to check Ka is working on mine).
I also have had good LIDAR scatter warnings with my 9500i against the NJ GSP LIDAR guns, so I hope the Redline's additional front laser sensors may make it even better. There seems to be a somewhat mixed verdict on LIDAR or, more importantly, LIDAR scatter detection compares to that of the 9500i (TBD).
Has anyone run the two against LIDAR guns???
. I know the Escort rep said it worked well compared to other Escorts, but no specifics were provided a to how this was determined or which models it was compared to.
If it had a better speaker / amp (may have to just buy an amplified speaker but hate to have one more thing to unplug when parking) and variable speed sensitivity (so I don't have to remember to switch it to H mode when entering the highway), I would like it a LOT more.
I also wish Auto Volume was included (is it that hard to design for with the Redline architecture?).
MORE TO COME
I will post more when I have had some LEO hits.
Prompted by bigalinwv's comments about a toggle switch, I found and ordered a 12V lighter socket splitter with independent on / off toggle switches.
The benefit of this is that I can run mount both the 9500i and Redline and run one at a time.
In the long run, I may not want the hassle of having to remove two detectors (and power cords) each time I park and then remount them again.
The four suction cups (don't like removing those too often) may also cause more attention by would be thieves...
I will try it for a while and then make a (potentially very tough) decision. I could also use my Redline for my daily highway commute and the 9500i on weekends etc.
Final thoughts (for this initial impressions and comments post):
Aside from the weak speaker / amp, lack of auto volume and lack of variable speed auto sensitivity (for which there are possible solutions, some easier than others), it boils down to the age old dilemma of balancing sensitivity against excessive alerting...
For those in rural areas free of electronic door openers and other electronics that operate on the same frequency as radar, the Redline is a perfect choice as far as sensitivity goes.
For all the rest of us, it is not nearly as easy to decide...
The big draw to the Redline, for me at least, was the possibility of getting advance warning of IO via detection of a radar hit on a car far enough in front (in cases of low traffic volume) where the 9500i's weaker sensitivity (due to antenna or simply being detuned) would not detect or at least not report that hit.
WISH LIST (oops forgot):
1. Upgraded Speaker / Internal Amp
2. GPS. Not for Tru Lock, in my case, but so as to be able to add v a r i a b l e 'A'uto sensitivity (that suppresses X and K below 15 MPH and then ramps up rapidly over 15 MPH to reach max sensitivity at 50MPH, just for X and K).
No need to switch between 'A' and 'H' anymore...
3. Auto Volume (especially important for convertible owners given the added noise in the car when the top is down)