Best Double DIN Head Units-Comprehensive Guide 2016
What Is a Double DIN Head Unit?
The head unit is a part of the stereo system and is the most visible piece of equipment on a car’s dashboard. It essentially provides a complete hardware interface for installation of different parts of a media system. If the head unit is removed, it will look like a box, but it is this little box that gives the user complete control over everything that can be heard on the speaker. Best double din head units don’t get any better than this.
Whenever there is a talk of car audio and mobile electronics, car stereos always make it into the discussion. DIN stands for Duetch Industri Normen. It is a German word and it refers to the opening in which a car radio sits. The term has been in circulation since the 1980s, when the big companies like Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes, and BMW adopted it. While DIN refers to 7” x 2” space in the car where the radio is fitted, the Double DIN refers to a 7” x 4” opening. Double DIN is also commonly depicted as 2DIN. Though established in Germany, DIN later became an international standard in 1984 and became an ISO 7736.
The single DIN is very common in South America, Australia, and many parts of Asia and Australia. However, double DIN reigns supreme in North America as well as countries like the UK and Japan. Modern systems come with advanced head units with sophisticated and well-integrated electronic systems. As the pricier ones easily become a target for car thefts, most of these systems come in an integrated form.
The modern Double DIN head units have big touchscreens, digital media controls, navigation and what not. There are also options for connecting via Bluetooth, access to entire phonebook, song library, and so on. Most of these units even come with capabilities to run or play SD cards, iPod and even CDs.
The accomplishment of the system is that it does not look ugly on the dashboard. As great as it is with regards to performance, it scores equally high on aesthetics. It is seamless and is completely in tune with the upholstery of the car. Because the standard double din head units perfectly fit the car, car owners will also notice that there is no empty pocket or need for any kind of plastic filler. More often than not, the screen can flip over to make space for a CD or DVD Player. This is also a space saver and makes the system compact and also sleek to look at.
Double DIN car stereos have made it to the top on the wish list of car owners and demand for them has skyrocketed in the recent times. The DIN is the standard size. Double DIN is for people who want to take their car stereo to the next level. Car owners should first check whether they can accommodate a double DIN system in their car. If they can, there is a whole world out there to make the sound system in the car state-of-the-art and experience the best there is in this field of audio technology.
What Can a Double DIN Head Unit Do?
Head units give the user complete control of the entertainment system in their car. Double DIN head units which have a larger interface have proven to be much more useful to the users. The higher dimensions of 7”x4” as compared to the 7”x2” for the single DIN head units, allows it to accommodate many new systems.
The Double DIN head unit system basically allows the user to control the entertainment system inside a car. This includes the cassettes, AM/FM Radio and CDs in the older versions, to the music albums, satellite radio, and even video screens in the newer ones. They also provide customized controls to the users, so that they can enjoy the right volume, bass, speaker fade, and so on. Double DIN head units vary largely in design and performance depending on the brand and the price range. Here is a list of things that a Double DIN head system can do.
Listen to Music
Double DIN systems are a music lover’s dream. They can play music from a variety of sources, including iPods, CDs, SD Cards, and so on. Users can simply connect a compatible device such as phones, pendrives, and others, and enjoy their favorite music. These systems offer the users every basic music player functionality such as volume controls, bass, order, treble, and more. The good old radio services can of course be streamed to the system as well.
Many head units, now-a-days, come fitted with touchscreens to allow the users to not only punch in their preferences more easily, but also watch videos and movies in high quality. The screen can be directly attached to the dashboard or may be motorized. Such flip screens can give way to CD or DVD players, a design that also saves space.
These double DIN head units also allow the user to directly use their apps in the car system instead of a smartphone. This is a very convenient feature for the person in the driver seat, who can also use the useful features such as GPS, using controls mounted on the head unit. Applications can add so much to the functionality of these already feature-rich head units.
Connect to Phone
By using cords or wireless technology like Bluetooth, the driver can connect their smartphone to the system. This allows busy professionals to take calls on the go. The entire phonebooks from various sources can be accessed from the system. The user also experiences a better quality of sound because the speaker of the car is being used. This is much safer than driving with a phone in hand, which is extremely dangerous or with a headphone whose continued use may not be good for the health of the ear.
Many car companies are also integrating more features into their Double DIN head units. They can issue warnings in case the car is experiencing any kind of distress, display weather warnings or even be used as a secondary instrument panel.
Here are the best double DIN head units of 2016
Pioneer AVH-X4700BS DVD Receiver
The AVH-X4700BS DVD Receiver is a feature-loaded system. The music quality through Bluetooth streaming is simply superb, thanks to the excellent equalizer. It comes with support for both USB, Aux, and Pandora, to give you more convenience. A responsive user interface, easy to understand menus, and decent user resolution make it a pleasure to use this unit. It does not come with built-in GPS antenna, but your smartphone can be plugged into it to access the phone’s GPS. It supports both Android and iOS devices, and works seamlessly with them. The Siri Eyes Free feature enables you to place calls, control music play, send SMSs, read SMSs, and more, using only your voice.
Kenwood DPX301U Double Din CD Receiver with Front USB and Aux Inputs
If you like simplicity, then you will love Kenwood DPX301U. The big controls are very easy to use. The receiver offers multiple connectivity features. You can connect it to your smartphone, be it Android or iPhone. Also, there is USB connectivity, satellite, OTA radio, HD radio. While iPhone users can enjoy their iHeartRadio and Pandora stations on their device, Android users can download the Kenwood Music Play app to access their phone’s stored music library. Then there is the variable color display, wireless remote, built-in iPod, iPad, and iPhone controls, bass boost, low-pass filter, and a host of other features. Everything is very easy to install and use too. What’s more, the price is simply unbeatable.
Pioneer FH-X720BT 2-Din CD Receiver With Mixtrax And Bluetooth
This is a perfect receiver for enjoying your car ride with excellent quality music every time. You can choose from over 210,000 colors for the receiver screen, and different colors for controls and display region. The MIXTRAX feature adds a DJ-style audio and video experience. It brings smooth transitions from one song to another, and multi-color display that pulsates to the music. You can connect your iPhone or Android phone using USB or Bluetooth, and stream music to the receiver. The unit even lets you talk on the phone, hands-free. Other features include Pandora connect, radio, MOFSET amplifier, Easy EQ 5-band equalizer, and a lot more.
Kenwood DDX372BT Double DIN Bluetooth In-dash DVD/AM/FM
Kenwood DDX372BT offers the latest features in car entertainment such as CD and DVD player, pendrive support and Pandora support for iPhone and Android phones. The 6.2-inch screen can play videos from either A/V or a video player. It even allows you to enjoy video game consoles or connect it to a dash cam or a rear view cam. The entire system is very easy to use with Bluetooth connectivity and USB support, while the menus are simple to navigate. You can listen to hours of music with phone or pendrive support, while a 5-band equalizer enhances your experience. It goes without saying that onboard Bluetooth provides you a complete hands-free calling functionality.
JVC KW-HDR81BT Double-DIN Car CD receiver
This JVC receiver is all about personalization and versatility. It can be connected to iPhones, Android phones and Blackberry devices via Bluetooth. In fact, you can connect two devices at the same time. Not only can you receive calls hands-free using the receiver, but the call alerts are accompanied by a specific colored flash, that is assigned to that phone. The other features include CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3, WMA, and WAV format compatibility, HD Radio, FM Radio, Variable Color display (more than 30,000 colors), and 24-bit digital-to-analog converter. The controls on the receiver are large, and easy to use.
Kenwood DPX500BT Double DIN In-Dash Car Stereo Receiver
Kenwood DPX500BT covers a lot of bases when it comes to auto entertainment and comfort. The smartphone connectivity feature gives you voice controlled phone dialing and receiving functionality. The USB and Bluetooth options add more variety to your music library with Pandora, Aha Radio, and iHeartRadio. Whereas you can also play music from your current collection in phone storage via a wired connection or Bluetooth, you can also use CDs, and iPod. For people who desire something more, the receiver has support for SiriusXM’s add-on tuner. The user controls are simple, automatic phone pairing, and audio controls are extensive, making this a great entertainment system for car owners.
BOSS AUDIO BV9364B Double-DIN 6.2 inch Touchscreen DVD Player Receiver
If you look only for maximum value in every purchase, then you need not go any further. The BOSS AUDIO BV9364B is easy to install, simple to use, and offers decent experience. It can play CDs, and DVDs, or you can pair up your smartphone to play music on their storage. Hands-free phone calling and receiving works like a charm with Bluetooth. However, the audio is nothing great, but decent enough for the price. The receiver display automatically switches to rear view camera, when in reverse mode. You will also love the wireless remote, built-in subwoofer, preset EQ curves for quick adjustments, and more.
JVC KW-R910BT Double Din Car CD AM/FM Player Receiver
This is another sophisticated unit from JVC. In addition to the standard connectivity feature with Android phones and iPhones, there are numerous apps compatible with JVC, which offer unlimited entertainment. The Siri Eyes Free feature provides voice calling, receiving, and music control. You don’t have to choose which phone to connect as it supports dual phone connectivity. You can choose the colors to illuminate your screen and controls form over 30,000 colors. Some more entertainment options include Pandora Internet Radio, iHeartRadio, subwoofer level control, 16-bit digital-to-analog converter, 12 preset EQ curves, and 3-band parametric equalizer. Apart from this, you will also find AUX and USB ports, the latter of which is powerful enough to charge your phone.
BOSS AUDIO 870DBI Double-DIN CD/MP3 Player Receiver
The BOSS AUDIO 870DBI incorporates an ingenious theft-deterrent solution, wherein the front panel detaches easily rendering the unit inoperable without it, thus preventing its theft. A front panel audio jack allows the music to be played from a music player. Also, you can play music from your phone storage, pendrive, CDs, and SD cards. The Bluetooth of course enables you to receive calls with a push of a button, and stream music wirelessly to the receiver. A wireless control, built-in MOFSET amplifier, 4 preset EQ curves, and other features are found on this receiver. It sure isn’t the most feature-rich unit, but a great value for money because its quality and theft prevention system.
Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120 Smartphone Receiver
The AppRadio 4 is the next generation receiver, fitted with the latest features. It is compatible with Apple CarPlay. This provides drivers complete access to their phone content (iPhone, some Android and some Nokia phones), such as messages, navigation, contacts, music, navigation, third party music apps, and so on. The AppRadioLIVE seamlessly integrates your apps to provide a much better car driving experience, by bringing together traffic info, radio, navigation, and so on. Engaging in call hands-free is simpler than ever, and the conversation feels as if the other person is right beside you. A 6.2-inch touchscreen really makes this receiver a contemporary device.
Type of Accessories
An amplifier should be bought after taking into due consideration as to how it is going to be used. Whether you need it for speakers or subwoofers? What kind of power would you need and how many output channels are required? Monoamplifiers have a singular output channel and usually power subwoofers. Any number of subwoofers can be added to one such amplifier, however, two channel amplifiers are more versatile. The two output channels can be used to power the speakers (like on the car door). Also, the two channels can be put together to power a subwoofer too.
Of course, four and five channel amplifiers are even more versatile and useful. They provide more power and take lesser space. These higher level amplifiers provide the user with a lot of room to add more options and hence, flexibility. Good amplifiers make the higher notes louder and the lower notes clearer. Many factory dashboard receivers may not deliver the best results for new speakers or woofers added to the car. An amplifier gives them the extra power they need to perform at their best. While installing the amplifiers, keep in mind that they need extra wiring to connect them to the stereo. Apart from this, a proper installation also requires fuses and battery terminals.
Whether you are a music lover or not, car speakers can really make your travels more fun and less daunting. Speakers allow you to use the stereo system to its full potential. They produce much better sound. All of this is possible when you pick the right speaker. While making your choice, ensure that you buy the right size speaker for your car. You can judge the size by looking at the opening the old speaker will leave in your car. Also, keep in mind that if the factory fitted stereo supplies low power, it will not do much good even when a high-end speaker is installed. Such a speaker requires a much higher power supply, which the stereo won’t be able to meet. Then the speaker will have to be backed up by external amplifiers. So, purchase such speakers only when you are ready to invest in an amplifier as well.
The RMS power rating is another important facet of a speaker. It tells the amount of power the speakers can handle on a regular basis. So, make sure to not over or under power them. Depending on the place of installation, the speakers can be a co-axial or a component speaker. The latter is mounted in the front of the car and it will sound like the sound is coming from above. They are definitely more sophisticated than co-axial speakers and give much better sound quality.
Sound has a wide frequency range. So, one type of speaker may not be able to produce audible volumes over the entire range. This is where sub-woofers, among other equipment, come into the picture. They work in the range of 20 to 200 Hz and form a significant part of a nicely put together speaker system. The subwoofers add that realistic touch to the music or movies on the car stereo. Whether it is the bass in a song or an explosion in a movie, you will actually feel it all with a subwoofer.
A subwoofer is a delicate piece and generally has its own separate enclosure to keep it secure. This is necessary as the subwoofer focusses a slow and large amount of air with precise vibrations in one direction and produce its effects. A subwoofer also has its own power source that helps it in maintaining a complete control over volume while performing its primary function. There are a huge variety of sizes, shapes and design configurations that subwoofers come in. They can be large acoustic subwoofers, ported subwoofers, or compact passive radiator ones. Choose after taking into account the amount of power the subwoofer requires for optimal performance. Also, go through the controls a particular sub-woofer has to offer.
OEM Integration Kits and Accessories
The OEM integration kit and accessories are for those car owners for whom is it not possible to change the existing head unit, or for those who like their existing controls and don’t wish to change them. OEM Integration Kits help them to get a better power and audio system than the existing without changing the actual head unit. There are so many improvements that can be done without touching the dashboard. These improvements can range from Android or Apple integration, HD radio, Bluetooth and what not. While wiring harnesses help in installing an aftermarket radio without cutting factory wiring, the dash kits fill are designed in such a way that they do not leave any unseemly gaps after a new audio or video installation.
Often times, using factory controls with new receivers will require some adapters to connect the vehicle’s steering wheel controls to the receivers. Also, since factory produced systems are all set in a much different way than the aftermarket receivers, connectivity features will also require adapters, such as connectors, cables, wires, and so on, to integrate the new receiver. Apart from these, there are many accessories such as radio mounting kits, Bluetooth receiver and transmitter, sound dampers, speaker mounting adapters, line output converter and control, and so on.
This is a piece of equipment that has slowly risen in popularity. Also known as dash cam, it is designed to fit inside the car and record video of each journey undertaken by the car. Initially used by cops, these cameras can actually serve as evidence in case of an untoward event. The concept is pretty similar to the black box on a plane. The car cameras usually feature an automatic start and stop. They are powered by a wire adaptor or directly by the wiring in the car. The car cameras also loop the videos, which means that it will record in fixed segments and once the memory card is full, it will delete the oldest one in the batch. Today’s cameras feature seamless recording and do not have any gap between recordings like the older models did.
Some car cameras also have many additional features to offer. The most common of them is the G-sensor. It is essentially a shock sensor and if the camera experiences a jolt, then the recording for the time will be flagged. The recording cannot be overwritten now. GPS is another feature in many car cameras which are becoming popular and can mark the place and speed of the car in the video recordings. Many people use multiple cameras to cover the side and rear end of the car as well. Apart from the dash cams, there are also rear view cameras, which offer better view of the back of the vehicles. Other features include night vision, motion detection, and so on. Look out for the size of the camera you install. Smaller is generally considered better, since they use less battery and hence, last longer.