Tag: head units

CEA-2006 Compliant – Amplifiers

By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor

Have you ever read the line that says “CEA-2006 compliant” on an amplifier’s features and thought to yourself, “I wonder what that means..”? CEA-2006 compliant is not just an advertising claim. If an amplifier is CEA-2006 compliant, that means that this amp has been tested by the Consumer Electronics Association to verify its ratings. By meeting the CEA 2006 standards, you can trust that the amplifier’s ratings are accurate. CEA 2006 tests the two most important amplifier ratings (and the two ratings that are the most likely to be fabricated): RMS Power (how loud it plays) and Signal-to-Noise ratio (how clearly it sounds). Both car amplifiers and car stereos undergo CEA 2006 testing in order to verify their external amp power rating. The CEA logo will appear on the boxes of products that meet the standards.

Are manufacturers required to submit their products to the CEA-2006 testing? Unfortunately, the answer is no. CEA-2006 testing is voluntary, so not all manufacturers send their products in for testing. Some manufacturers may overstate an amplifier’s power ratings to make it seem more powerful, and as a result, appear more valuable. This is why CEA-2006 testing is so important. In order to avoid buying amps with inflated power numbers, you should only believe the ratings of CEA tested products.

In order to make the testing uniform, CEA uses a standard that measures an amplifier’s RMS power and signal-to-noise ratio. This allows consumers to compare amplifiers across the industry. The consistency of the testing guarantees that all car amplifiers are measured equally, and most importantly, that they have accurate ratings. The CEA logo is officially licensed by the Consumer Electronics Association to guarantee that the product ratings comply with the CEA 2006 standard. Besides a CEA logo, CEA tested products mention CEA compliancy in the manual and on the manufacturer website. Avoid false marketing schemes and buy CEA tested products.


JVC KD-R200 and KD-R300 Car Stereos


By Chelsey P. – Sonic Electronix Writer

Looking for a new in-dash car audio receiver without all those extras? The JVC KD-R200 is perfect for you. It features a simple design that will get the job done in any situation. This particular head unit has a white dot-matrix display with customizable illumination depending on what menu you are in. Although this unit does not have built-in Bluetooth or Satellite radio capabilities, it still allows you to play CD and CD-RW’s along with MP3 and WMA files. And don’t think you will miss out on excellent sound either. The powerful internal MOSFET amplifier keeps your music sounding clean even with the volume turned all the way up. In addition to the amplifier, the KD-R200 has a 3-Band iEQ equalizer to tune your music, a low-pass filter and subwoofer control and a 24-bit digital-to-analog converter.

Wait, you say? You do want a CD Receiver with the works? Well, the JVC KD-R300 is a great way to kick off your new system. It has variable color illumination, which allows you to choose from over 30,000 color variations to match your vehicles interior. Just like the KD-R200, it plays CD’s, CD-R/RW’s, MP3 and WMA files. And you can even perfect your sound system with 3-Band parametric equalizer and loudness control for low-level listening.  There are multiple expandability options that can be added to this in-dash receiver. For example, you can add HD Radio, Bluetooth and even Satellite Radio. All of these expandability features are available with optional adapters.

Both of these JVC head units are great for first time audio enthusiasts looking to broaden their car audio system.


2009 Jensen VM 13 Series Multimedia Receivers


By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor

Did you know you can add an in-dash touchscreen unit to your car even if your vehicle does not have a double din opening? The new 2009 Jensen 13 series multimedia receivers are single din, in-dash stereos with 7” motorized, flip-out touchscreens. These Jensen models are all-in-one car stereos, as they play DVDs, MP3s, and CDs. The touchscreen makes it easy to navigate through your menu and options. Speaking of “navigate,” the 13 series receivers even carry built-in GPS navigation as an added bonus. Not to mention, you will be able to expand with Bluetooth using any of the new 13 series models. All of the units will allow you to keep your factory steering wheel controls. These models feature a plethora of inputs including USB, SD card, and aux inputs. Depending on the model, you may even be able to add satellite radio. Let’s discuss three of the best models in this outstanding lineup.

The Jensen VM9213 is an in-dash motorized touchscreen car stereo. The bright, full-color LCD screen clearly displays the stereo’s menu options, and the touchscreen controls make it simple to operate. DVD movies will come in bright and clear, and you can play media from your iPod or other digital media player through both the front aux input and the front USB input. At the price, you would be hard pressed to find a unit that can offer the same amount of options. You can expand with Bluetooth by adding on the Jensen BTM10 Bluetooth module. You will love how easy it is to make and receive calls by dialing on the touchscreen and communicating through your car speakers. Navigation is made easy with the touchscreen, just type in the address or pick from a saved location. You just need to add the Jensen NAV102 and you will have GPS navigation integrated in your vehicle. This motorized flip-out screen will bring life to your vehicle and the touchscreen controls make it so much easier to use than a standard stereo.If you think the VM9213 is impressive, imagine a stereo with all of the features listed in the previous paragraph, plus built-in HD radio, an iPod ready interface and satellite radio controls. The Jensen VM9313 delivers all of the above. This unit includes an iPod interface cable for iPod controls, charging and playback. The built-in HD radio gives you CD quality radio stations and exclusive programming. Finally, it also includes satellite radio controls, so all you need is a XM subscription and the Audiovox CNP2000UC+CNPJEN1 Jensen satellite antenna and tuner package.

To take it one step further, check out the Jensen VM9413 in-dash receiver. This unit has all the features, from built-in HD radio to iPod controls, navigation, satellite radio, and Bluetooth compatibility. The great thing about this unit is its fully functional 7-band equalizer with preset tone curves. This equalizer has two times as many bands as the previous models, giving you maximum control of your tunes.

If you are looking for something similar to these models but in a double din version, the Jensen VM9423 is a double din 6.5” touchscreen receiver with a built-in HD radio tuner and iPod cable. It is also compatible with expandability options such as navigation, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. Just make sure your car is suited for a double din stereo.

No matter what model you choose, you are sure to come away satisfied with any of these multifaceted car stereos.


Kenwood KDC Stereos (MP738U, MP638U)


By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Kenwood Corporation is known for their outstanding products. They remain a leader in car audio today, going on 63 years of industry dominance. Today we discuss two of the top Kenwood stereos.

Kenwood KDC-MP638U and KDC-MP738U are superb car stereos. Both are in-dash CD/MP3 players, which means you can load hundreds of MP3 files on a blank CD and have music playback for hours without switching discs. Both head units are loaded with expandability options, as they are both compatible with Satellite Radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth hands-free talking, and iPod connectivity. Satellite Radio has commercial-free, premium content. HD radio gives you a clearer signal almost anywhere. Bluetooth hands-free devices are now required by law in many states. Besides, it makes your drive safer and more convenient.

Both car stereos have iPod to USB connection capability. The USB input enables you to use the iPod cable that came with your iPod to connect it to the stereo, just as you would connect your iPod to a computer USB input. In fact, you can connect practically any unit or portable storage device to the USB input. You can control playback with your stereo controls, and your MP3 player or iPod charges while the music plays.

You will love the total equalization control you get from the System Q Sound Control. The stereos come equipped with a 3-band parametric equalizer and 6 preset tone curves. Adjust the bass, treble and other sound details based on the music or song you are listening to. When it comes to connecting an amplifier, the 3 sets of preamp outputs will allow you to connect each channel.

The KDC-MP738U is an upgrade over the KDC-MP638U, because it has a few additional features. For just a little more money, you get a model that has everything the 638U has, plus steering wheel control compatibility for your convenience and a Security Code for theft prevention. The steering wheel control accessory is required and sold separately, but it is a very important safety feature because it keeps the driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel when adjusting the stereo controls. The security code is a built-in anti-theft device that requires a security code to be inputted when your head unit is re-installed. If someone were to steal the stereo, the thief would not be able to turn it on without the security code. Besides that, the hope is that these codes will deter theft since thieves may be aware of units that require security codes.


Pioneer GPS Navigation Receivers

By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor

The latest Pioneer Premier head units create the ultimate driving experience. These models better your driving experience with their built-in navigation, voice guidance, and MSN Direct compatibility. The innovative Conversational Voice Recognition system can understand the way you actually talk, even in conversational tones. So even if you pause midway through a command or mumble, it will still understand the meaning. For example, if you say, “I’d like to, umm, hear the playlist Party Time,” your iPod will play the “Party Time” playlist. The voice guidance is incredibly accurate and enables you to keep your attention on the road, affording you a safer driving experience.

You can also call out a name or number using the hands-free Bluetooth technology. The Pioneer Premier built-in Conversational Voice Recognition system bolsters built-in Bluetooth wireless technology. For example, imagine you are calling your friend Joe Smith, who has multiple phone numbers. Let’s say he has three numbers. When you say, “Can you call, umm, Joe Smith?” The system will ask you if you want to call his home, cell, or work number.

Though all of the models include this wonderful technology, each of the Pioneer Premier navigation receivers are designed with unique features. So choose the model that will perfectly suit your needs. The AVIC-F90BT and the AVIC-F900BT are in-dash GPS navigation receivers with DVD playback, so if video playback is a priority, you should select one of these models. The AVIC F700BT is an in-dash navigation receiver with CD playback. The lack of DVD playback makes it a more affordable option, and you can still play videos through a USB media player or iPod. Finally, the AVIC F500BT is a portable multimedia navigation system. Unlike the other models mentioned, you can mount it on your dash. This gives you the option to remove it when necessary. It cannot play CDs or DVDs, but it is compatible with USB media players and iPods.

MSN Direct enhances your Pioneer Premier experience. MSN Direct informs you of oncoming traffic accidents, movie times, locations, directions and gas prices. It is important to note that MSN Direct is only available for the AVIC-F90BT, AVIC-F900BT and AVIC-F500BT models. These Pioneer Premier navigation receivers include a free three-month trial subscription to MSN Direct, and after that it is available on a paid subscription basis.