At the 2010 CES show in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Sony booth to learn about their newest products. This year one of the most remarkable things at the car audio portion of the Sony booth was a new audio and video receiver, the XAV-60. What impressed me the most about this new unit was the crisp screen, the new SensMe technology, the advanced audio processing, and the reasonable price. At first glance at the Sony XAV-60, I knew that there was something special about this screen. Living up to the reputation of high quality displays, Sony has integrated technology from their Bravia televisions to create an in-dash car display that is bright, vivid, and incredibly detailed. No matter where a passenger is sitting, they will be able to watch their videos in high resolution and with great visibility. After learning about the story behind the monitor, the Sony representative began to show me about a brand new feature to the 2010 line of select Sony receivers. This SensMe technology has been available in the past for other Sony devices, but now has entered into the car for a listening experience unlike anything you have heard before. The SensMe application allows you to connect an iPod or Sony Walkman to the XAV60 and choose your music based on your current mood or how you are feeling. The interface is quite simple. A point graph is displayed on the screen with each of your songs being a point on the graph. Each side of the graph represents a mood or feeling. Once all your songs are analyzed, they are plotted on the graph in a spot that is representative to their “mood”. The user then touched his finger on the screen to select an area with songs inside. Then only the songs in the selected area will play, each with a similar tone. Now when you are in a mood for a specific tone of music, it is just a touch away. As I played with this application at CES, I found it extremely simple and easy to use. For this application alone, the Sony XAV-60 is a step ahead of the competition.
Inside the double DIN chassis, there are some new and sophisticated audio processing technologies that enhance the playback of all your music. Some of these features include the Center Speaker Optimizer (CSO), which creates a virtual soundstage in the location of a center channel speaker and the Rear Bass Enhancer (RBE), which places a low-pass filter on the rear speakers and allows them to act as a “subwoofer”. This RBE is a great feature for cars that don’t have the room for a large subwoofer, but still want the low end that the subs produce. Sony integrates a 7-band equalizer for all the audio tuning that you could handle. I was shown feature after feature right there at the Sony CES booth and heard the unbelievable difference. When the Sony rep told me the low MSRP for the unit, I didn’t believe him because this unit has too many features to be considered one of the “inexpensive” A/V multimedia receivers. For those that are considering a new in-dash audio and video receiver, the Sony XAV-60 prove to be an incredible in-dash stereo.