by: Roger Charles
There are so may car stereo head units on the market. How do you know what to choose? Let's take a look at some of the things you should look for when buying a head unit.
1. How user friendly is the head unit?
Your head unit must be user friendly. This is the part of your car stereo you will interact with the most so you must feel comfortable using it. Before buying one be sure to play around with it and see how easy and quick it is to change tracks on a CD, switch radio stations, and so on. Are the buttons too small? You need to be able to enjoy using your head unit.
2. How is the unit's power measured?
Pay close attention to power. Look out for models where the manufacturers exaggerate the unit's power. This malpractice is common among most manufacturers. Ensure that power is measures in RMS. Be very wary of terms like "music power" and "peak power". These terms mean nothing when it comes to measuring power.
3. Choosing between a cassette player and a CD player.
It's all about your personal preference. Do you use more cassettes than CDs? In that case you should probably go with a cassette player. Many of them give you the option of hooking up a CD changer. Your CD changer can be operated from your head unit.
The only problem with some CD changers is the fact that you may have to get to your trunk or under your seat to change CDs. With in-dash CD players everything is in reach and can be operated easily.
More and more people are using CDs these days. CDs have several advantages including better sound quality. Many of them can be hooked up to a CD changer as well.
4. Does the head unit include pre-amp outputs?
If you're serious about sound you wouldn't buy a head unit that doesn't come with pre-amp outputs. With these outputs, you can run an amplifier directly without any need for conversion. This output is the cleanest. Higher volt outputs are better as long as your amplifier or crossover can handle the voltage. For less noise choose 4 volts over 1-2 volts.
5. Is there a theft prevention scheme?
If theft protection is important to you buy a head unit that includes a theft prevention scheme. You can choose between a partially detachable and fully detachable face. Detaching the face of your head unit renders it useless. So this is obviously a great deterrent for thieves.
Kenwood has some models where the face flips around so the thief can't see the head unit.
Some head units like Eclipse's ESN system, require a reference CD when you first apply power to them. If it is stolen it is useless. You must have the reference CD for it to work. The only problem with this is that if the thief has no clue about this feature, your head unit would be stolen anyway. Your only hope would be if he foolishly takes it to Eclipse for repair. Eclipse would be able to verify that it was stolen.
Ordering your car stereo head unit online is quick and easy. Before buying your head unit be sure to check out some online reviews. Find out what customers like yourself think of the unit you want to buy. You can order one online today.
This article was posted on August 09, 2005