Tag: Sony Car Audio

Things To Consider For Your New Car Stereo

Sony MEX-BT3800U Car Stereo with Bluetooth

Trying to pick out a new car stereo can seem overwhelming sometimes.  It’s difficult to decide which features are more important to you, and which are worth the price that you’re paying.  Most features found on car stereos are all about personal preference.  Some people may need to have a feature packed equalizer, while other users may never even use this feature.  Other features, like Bluetooth Hands-Free options are required by law in some states and bulky external accessories may not get the job done like your car stereo can.

When shopping for an aftermarket car stereo the first question is all about fitment.  What will fit in my vehicle?  After determining what size of car stereo you’ll need, next is to decide what type of audio features you’re interested in.  Aftermarket receivers can provide a little wattage to your factory speakers so they can sound better, but also can provide equalizer options so you can fine tune your music to your preference.  After deciding between the options for adjusting your music, now it’s time to decide what type of sources you can listen to.

A factory stereo will most commonly have an AM/FM tuner and a CD Player.   Aftermarket receivers expand your options significantly.  You can have playback sources like Satellite Radio and HD Radio for better playback options and quality.  Other sources that can be introduced by an aftermarket stereo are USB playback options and SD Memory card playback options so you can listen to music from an MP3 player like an iPod, or a flash drive.  Some Bluetooth stereos, like the Sony MEX-BT3800U can even playback audio from compatible phones wirelessly through your car stereo!

It’s tough to consider what style of receiver you’re looking for.  Some look made from the factory, while others use flashy interfaces that stand out a bit more.  After determining what size of stereo you’re looking for and what playback options you’re interested in it’s all about deciding among the plenty of options and price ranges found on the market currently.


Sony XAV-60

Sony XAV-60

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.


Sony XS-LB10S Shallow-Mount Loaded Enclosure

Sony XS-LB10S

By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor

One of the coolest aspects of my job is that I somehow get paid to take a first-hand look at some of the top products in the car audio industry. Sweet gig, right? When I found out my latest assignment was to evaluate the Sony XS-LB10S, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. As a truck owner, enclosed subwoofer boxes are an interest of mine since they can fit right under the seat and save cargo space. After testing it on-site, I came away impressed with the sound quality and bass emitted from this loaded enclosure.

After connecting an amplifier to power the sub and a music source to play some tunes, I was able to observe this subwoofer’s strengths and weaknesses. First off, I was amazed at its level of bass considering its shallow-design. The cone excursion flexed rhythmically and did not miss a beat. The sound check showed that the Sony XS-LB10S subwoofer does not emit muddy bass or poor sound quality. Distortion only occurred when I tried to push it to its furthest limits.

The grill and sub cone look great, though I found myself lamenting the fact that the two-bar grill design only partially covers the subwoofer. This would be a problem if I mounted this sub box in the back of my truck since I typically toss supplies in the back seat without regard for my seats/audio components. The front firing design hits hard with the beat and noticeably pushes air around. It would look great behind or below your seats, or in the trunk those of you who own a sedan.

The XS-LB10S sub exceeded my expectations and is definitely worth a look if you are in the market for a loaded subwoofer enclosure. The shallow-mount sealed enclosure design is ideal for vehicles with limited space. Whether you install it behind your seats or underneath them, this sealed box setup is the perfect piece for adding bass without wasting space. At 330 watts RMS you get a whole lot of bass for your buck!


Sony Xplod XS-R5743


By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor

The Sony Xplod XS-R5743 5” x 7” 4-way speakers provide great sound at an affordable price. This four driver setup includes built-in dome tweeters and super tweeters for enhanced sound accuracy. These speakers are a definite upgrade from factory speakers. You will enjoy the finely tuned music emitted from these 5” x 7” speakers. Even though they are listed as 5″ x 7″ speakers, they are also suitable for 6” x 8” openings. As far as appearance, these speakers will look great in your vehicle. The bright blue tweeter in the middle of a dark grayish cone makes for a pleasing look.

In terms of power handling, these speakers won’t wake up the neighbors, but they provide just enough bass for a nice, rhythmic thump. Rated at 35 watts of RMS power per speaker, you can use your head unit to power these speakers. The XS-R5743 can reproduce a wide range of sound, handling a range from 40 Hz to 23,000 Hz. That means these speakers will be able to reproduce most of the highs and some of the lows in your music. If you wanted to hear even more of your lows, you could always add a subwoofer to your car to compliment these speakers.

The Sony brand is a quality name you can trust. Established in 1946, Sony has been building reliable car audio products for a long time. The XS-R5743 are carefully crafted to ensure high quality playback for years to come. Further, these speakers have a full 1-year warranty to keep your investment safe. That investment will certainly improve your system. Switching to these from factory speakers will help you enjoy your favorite tunes like never before!