What is a Car Stereo Receiver
It's impossible to imagine a car without a stereo system which allows you to maximize the pleasure of driving. Most modern cars come with proprietary car audio systems installed by manufacturers. However, some of those car stereo receivers, particularly on cheap cars, provide pretty nasty sounding and if you are a fan of an oldtimer, it might have no stereo for car at all. Also, trucks require car audio systems too. Some of these devices are for listening to music only, while others have screens, so you can watch movies or videos. Moreover, the best car video & stereo receivers have a voice control support, so they allow you to enjoy your favorite music without moving your eyes off the road.
Also, even the best audio for car simply modifies and transmits the audio signal, but the final sound is produced by speakers. Thus, we recommend you to read our brand-new comparison of the best Car Speakers.
What Features to Compare
The first feature you need to consider when you are about to choose a car video & stereo receiver is the Type, which also includes the source of input data. In general, there are 2 main types of car video & stereo receivers: 1-DIN and 2-DIN. They differ in size, though their other dimensions are the same: 7 and 6.3 inches respectively. But the height is different. 1-DIN is the standard for car stereos and such devices are 2 inches high. 2-DIN models are twice higher - 4 inches. As usual, 2-DIN stereos offer more features, but they are more expensive. As of the input source types, they are as follow:
- CD - these car audio systems can read CD-R and CD-RW discs that are far more rarely used today, but many people still have lots of such discs with different music.
- DVD - these car stereos can read DVD discs (that have a lot more storage than CDs), so you can watch videos.
- USB - these car video & stereo receivers read the flash drives that are widely used all over the world today; of course, flash drives can store music and video files.
- SD - these car media receivers can read the data (music and video) from SD card. As usual, most receivers have an SD slot apart from CD, DVD or USB support.
The next feature you are obliged to check is the Multimedia Capabilities of car video & stereo receivers or, in other words, the formats every stereo for car supports, the number of available channels, the power output, and the controls. Some audio formats are read with losses of sound quality, while others are lossless:
- With losses - MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC.
- Lossless - CDA, FLAC, APE, OGG, WV, TTA, MLP.
Here are the most popular video formats: AVI, FLV, MPG, MPEG4, MP5, RM, RAM, RMVB, VOB, SVF, MKV, MOV, 3GP, DVD, VCD, SVCD.
Power output is a really important feature for all car video & stereo receivers. The sound quality highly depends on it - the higher the power output is, the better sound you will hear. Optimal power output is 4x50 Watts, but remember that the speakers must be 3 times more powerful. As of the number of channels, most car video & stereo receivers have 2 or 4 channels. Moreover, if a stereo for car has a subwoofer, it means it has 5 channels. Make sure to find out if the car multimedia player has an equalizer, which allows you to configure sound settings according to your own preferences and to the music style you prefer.
The last major thing to consider is the Connectivity of a car video & stereo receivers. The best devices allow you to connect a cell phone so that you can receive calls via a car's sound system (bear in mind that driving and holding a phone is very dangerous and forbidden). Most modern car stereos have Bluetooth support, so you can easily stream the music from your cell phone to a car multimedia device. Apart from Bluetooth, you can play the music from your cell phone or MP3 player if you connect it to AUX slot of the car video & sound receiver. Finally, the most advanced devices allow you to connect a rear camera, so that you can see what's happening behind your car.