Car Radio – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis
One of the most common activities to do in the car, besides driving, is listening to music. This has been one of the most sought after entertainment, as it offers fun without distracting you when riding in your vehicle. However, these artifacts have evolved and today offer much more than music. A model like the Pioneer MVH-S310BT allows you to receive calls, charge mobile phones and enjoy powerful sound. On the other hand, there are other more modern models such as the Atoto A6VW821P car radio that brings a high resolution screen to use applications, view directions in GPS, among other things.
Car radios are now not simply devices for listening to music, as their constant innovation has brought their ability to adapt to other driving needs to the fore. For that reason, it is advisable to take the time to verify various features to make a successful purchase.
Although the design is not the most important thing when it comes to making a guide to buying the best car radio, the external appearance is probably the first characteristic that we notice when viewing all the options offered in the market.
The most common and those that are usually cheaper are the 1 DIN alternatives, as they are small in size and easy to install. In addition, they come with a classic design that condenses all the main functions in one place to provide intuitive operation.
On the other hand, 2 DIN car radios are those models that stand out for their large size. These usually come with screens to show relevant information, or modern touch panels to control the device easily. Choosing between one option and another depends on you and what are the characteristics that you value the most.
If modernity is the most important thing to you, then a car radio with a screen might be the best option. However, if you want something discreet and of good quality, then a small car radio is usually a more suitable alternative. The latter are usually black except for minimal details in other shades.
The design also affects the ease of installation, as well as the ability to remove it when leaving the car to prevent theft. On the other hand, the structure greatly influences its resistance to constant use, the simplest being the ones with the greatest durability.
After looking at the design when comparing car radios, we come to the most important thing about these artifacts: the sound. If a car radio does not provide you with quality audio, then it does not make sense to buy it, because exactly this type of device is acquired.
Most car radios come with connections for 4 amplifiers, which vary in power between 30W and 60W, approximately. Although this figure may vary and be lower or higher, a large part of the models are found within this power range and this is usually adequate for the operation given to them. However, certain car radios come with connection outputs so that another speaker or subwoofer can be adapted, which will allow you to listen to the music at a higher volume without forcing the device.
To this must be added the compatibility with different multimedia playback devices. Most devices no longer come with a CD slot and instead come with USB, AUX or Bluetooth ports to connect the sound source. Besides that, it is remarkable that the device can read different audio formats, especially FLAC. This type of format, for example, is important because it prevents details from the original recording from being lost and provides more noticeable audio fidelity.
Finally, it is recommended that your equipment is built to be able to pick up different audio signals without much effort. A powerful RDS reception system will give you the opportunity to find alternative frequencies and enjoy radio broadcasts with a good signal, even in remote places.
If you focus not so much on how much a car radio costs but on the qualities it offers, you can find truly multifunctional devices that will not only make the moment of driving more enjoyable, but also safer.
For example, some modern car radios with a screen offer the possibility of accessing GPS navigators to receive audio directions and also to be able to guide you through maps with total clarity. In fact, certain models come with preloaded maps, so you can check the routes even if you don’t have a stable internet connection.
Another positive aspect of this product is usually the compatibility with the dash and rear cameras to give you a better view of your surroundings. In addition, because these devices allow you to store high resolution videos, you can also save visual evidence in case you suffer a crash or simply if you want to have memories of your last route. For the latter, it is advisable to purchase devices with space for a large capacity SD card. In this sense, you can get components that support up to 250 GB.
An inexpensive and classic car radio can also provide good functionalities, such as a stable and simultaneous Bluetooth connection between several devices to be able to receive calls. Lastly, when it comes to connectivity, another highlight would be the ability to quickly charge the phones battery via the USB cable.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to use a car radio?
After installation, all you have to do is turn it on and tune in to your favorite station, place a music CD or connect a multimedia device.
Q2: How to adapt a USB to a car radio?
If you don’t want to get complicated with difficult installations, but want to convert your classic car radio to use USB connections, you simply need to get an FM transmitter with a USB port.
Without needing installation, you just have to connect the transmitter and insert the USB device. The best thing about this is that most transmitters also have AUX inputs or Bluetooth systems to allow connection with mobile phones.
Q3: How to install a car radio at home?
For this, 4 steps are needed:
The first one consists of connecting the loudspeakers to the car radio. For this, you need to identify the cables and then connect the gray and black / gray cables to the right speaker and the black and black / white cables to the left speaker.
To do this, remove 1 cm of insulation from each lead wire and thread the wires with those of the speakers, covering with insulating tape.
As a second step, check the wiring harness and find the red, black, and yellow wires. Strip the insulation so that each wire has about 2 cm of free wire.
You should screw the yellow and red wires, and then connect them to the positive terminal of the 12-volt AC and DC power supply. Meanwhile, the black wire should be connected to the negative terminal.
Plug in the power supply and you’re done.
Q4: How to remove a car radio?
If you already have a new car radio and you need to disassemble the old model of your car, you will need some tools to facilitate the process.
Have a screwdriver and the unlocking keys for the radio you want to remove.
Cover the screwdriver with adhesive tape, to avoid scratches on the frame of the car stereo and begin to gently pry with the tool, so that the frame gives in progressively. Use the unlocking keys and remove the radio, disconnecting it to avoid damaging the cables.
If you do not have the unlock keys, then it is preferable to go to someone professional so as not to risk breaking the device.
On the other hand, if it is a small modern model car radio, these usually have an extraction method that is achieved by pressing on a corner to release it.
Q5: How to install a 2 DIN car radio?
When it comes to installation, it is best to follow the instructions indicated in the user manual of the appliance or ask a professional to do it; Otherwise, you risk doing a job incorrectly.
Q6: How to connect the phone to a car radio?
The 3 most common ways to connect a mobile phone to a car radio are: Bluetooth, USB and AUX.
With the first, you will have to link the phone to the device using Bluetooth technology and wait for the pairing.
On the other hand, making the connection through a USB or AUX port only requires the use of the corresponding cables for it.
Q7: How many amps does a car radio need?
This does not have a universal answer, since the amperage depends on the model of the car radio and, in addition to that, it also greatly influences the use that you are going to give it.
Most of the time, common stereo headsets will require about 5 amps of power; only if you plan to use the device at a moderate volume and occasionally. If you want to use the equipment at maximum volume to liven up parties, for example, then you will need more amperage.
It is advisable to buy car radios that use 10 to 15 amps; However, if you want to expand your possibilities, it is easy to find sound players with much more power.
Q8: What is the ISO connector of a car radio?
The ISO connector of a car radio is basically the plug that allows the device to be correctly connected to the car. This can vary, depending on the model of the car, as cars often have different wiring harnesses.
The function of this piece is to control the power of the car radio and the car horns and it will be easily recognizable, since it involves two dual connectors with eight pins each.
In case this fails, it is necessary to purchase a new ISO connector that is compatible with your car; for this you have to know the brand and model of this. If you don’t, the car radio will simply not work, as it is mandatory to have that connector for the device to sound properly.
To make the process easier, this component can be found in automotive parts stores and also websites dedicated to the sale of car parts.