A sheer driving experience comes from different factors. For some, it comes from the horsepower figure their cars have, for others, it’s the cool smartphone and technology integration of the car.
Some people may define it as smooth driving thanks to traffic-free roads, while many consider entertainment in the vehicle.
Since you’re in motion and confined to a limited space, there’s really not much room to do entertaining activities. But the simplest way to enjoy one’s ride is no other than by listening to great music.
This is all possible if you buy the best double DIN for your money.
Great music and sound systems have a big impact on creating a positive mood and atmosphere inside the car. But wouldn’t it be too distracting when you have to control the music playing on the radio, while having to navigate the roads?
There’s no need to worry because automobiles nowadays either have built-in double DIN stereos or have enough space to allow their installation.
What’s a Double DIN?
A double DIN stereo, also known as 2 DIN, is basically a bigger sized radio head unit present in cars. It is one of the main radio unit sizes, aside from the single DIN stereo. Its size measures up to roughly 7×4 inches, depending on the space allowed by the make of your car.
DIN stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung, which was the company that standardized radio unit measurements for German automobiles such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Volkswagen, ever since the 1980s.
Through the years, almost all of the carmakers, German or not, employed these dimensions and slowly became the standard for most car radio units.
The double DIN is the centerpiece of the stereo system in your car, the one located beside the wheel and the dashboard of the passenger seat.
Its basic features are the same as those found on single DIN head unit, but because of the extra space, the built-in amplifier is bigger and of course there is more room for additional features and more input options.
Should I use a double DIN or a single DIN for a head unit?
To decide what type of DIN to use, the aspect to look at initially is the measurement of the space for your stereo on the dashboard – the depth, width, and height.
Though recent and new cars conform to the 2 DIN stereo standard, not all cars have enough space for this head unit. If the space only measures 7 inches long by 2 inches tall, then only a single DIN can fit in the stereo. But if the compartment size is 7×4 or bigger, then a double DIN can be used.
A double DIN does not necessarily mean that it plays music better, however it does guarantee a more efficient and convenient way of maneuvering through folders and files of music while you’re driving thanks to the touchscreen controls.
Advantages of a Double DIN Stereo
More radio features
Compared to a single DIN radio, a double DIN stereo can have two CD players and other audio input options such as USB ports, AV ports, and an LCD screen.
Aside from buttons on the radio, you can simply click on command buttons in the screen which are touch-sensitive. Plus, since it has more space, it provides clearer audio quality thanks to the amplifiers placed behind the main radio.
Audio-wise, there are equalizers and controllers to help drivers or passengers improve the sound of the music streaming or tailor the radio channels to their liking.
Better Tech Integration
The most obvious tech involved in a 2 DIN stereo is the LCD display. They are full-color touchscreen decks that function like remote controls of the radio.
Acting like an automobile multimedia hub, it allows digital media streaming, Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone and MP3 players linkage. In some units, the backup camera function is added.
The responsive touchscreen allows for more functions such as voice commands, phone contacts log, weather predictions, and accessible music and navigation applications. You can answer calls, and at the same time, view directions towards a certain location.
Modern look for the interior
Interior aesthetics is a bonus when you install a 2 DIN stereo in your car. Glass and high-definition color displays are definitely better to look at than monochrome or green light displays in the dashboard.
To match the newness of cars, they also have modern interfaces that will delight tech-savvy individuals and digital natives.
Space for more powerful amplifiers
Do you think that speakers on the doors and deck are not enough? Not to worry, there’s more room for better surround sound experience thanks to the double DIN stereo compartments.
Some head units do not occupy the available space for the models, and owners can opt to install amplifiers at the back for quality sound.
Many units will have the same core processors and interface, so you’d need to do background research yourself to know what model perfectly suits you and your car.
As appealing as double DINs may be, they are often more expensive than the usual single DIN head units. Prices can range from $200 up to $400 depending on what features are included. And as usual, the newer the stereo is, the higher the price.
But we believe there is no need to spend too much or go over the budget just to be able to buy a decent double DIN. Here is our list of the greatest 2 DIN head units below $200.
The 5 Best Double DIN Stereos for the Money
1. Pioneer FH-X731BT 2-Din CD Receiver with Enhanced Audio Functions
What We Like
- Bluetooth hands-free
- Works with Spotify and Pandora
- Plays FLAC files
Since 1938, Pioneer has provided us with quality and premium electronic devices at very affordable prices. Until today, this product of theirs is a perfect marriage of productivity and affordability.
Its main specs are the 2 CD receivers and built-in Bluetooth function, compatible with numerous phone brands and models, as well as iPods and MP3 players.
Keeping up with the smartphone technology, it allows dual phone compatibility and connectivity. It can be used to control your Spotify music application and other online streaming audio sites.
The LCD displays can also be adjusted; it has a ten-level brightness option and 2 dim settings available. For clarity and accuracy in sound, this stereo can control the subwoofers installed in the car. When it comes to the volume, it has a built-in amplifier of 200 watts.
2. Kenwood DPX501BT 2-DIN CD Receiver with Built in Bluetooth
What We Like
- Works well with iPods and iPhones
- USB + aux ports
- Music Search function
Trailing behind is this model developed by Kenwood which also allows Bluetooth technology for hands-free audio streaming and phone calls. Compared to the previous product, this only has a single CD receiver, but includes a remote control instead. Not only can it connect with an iPod, but it is also compatible with an iPad and a USB.
Another feature is that it allows music playback for Android phones in sync with Kenwood’s Music Play application. When you buy this double DIN, you’ll be surprised that the package includes a music drive with multiple USB hubs and a memory card reader where you can source your music or videos.
3. JVC KW-R920BTS Double DIN Bluetooth In-Dash Car Stereo Receiver w/ For Android & iPhone, SXM, Vario, 2 pre 4.8V and FLAC playback
What We Like
- Bluetooth calls and audio streaming
- Subwoofer controls
- Plays most digital audio files
The JVC KW-R920BTS delivers powerful audio systems and an attractive front panel display for its users. It has a built-in built-in MOSFET amplifier to please the ears of hi-fi aficionados.
Additionally, it boasts its 6.2-inch touchscreen which has several keys and function designed to assist the drivers and passengers in setting up their audio systems and controlling other applications such as the GPS, the calendar, and a synced log book of the connected phones’ contacts.
It has iPhone, iPhone, and iPad connectivity and smartphone charging capabilities. Another commendable feature is its two-language options, English and Spanish.
4. Jensen VX4022 2 DIN Multimedia Receiver, 6.2″ Touch Screen & Built-in USB Port (Black/Black/Black)
What We Like
- High resolution touchscreen display
- iOS, Android and Blackberry compatible
- HDMI connectivity
Jensen is another leading brand when it comes to car audio systems. The VX4022 model is one of its ingenious creations channeling smartphone functions, a 6.2 high resolution display, DVD and CD playing capabilities, and wireless connectivity.
You can easily interact with their touchscreen stereo to control the sound, use certain applications, and answer calls hands-free. Though its costs more than the brands aforementioned, this model looks more appealing given that you can customize the background, or upload your own wallpaper.
Likewise, it can connect with Apple products, Android phones, and even Blackberry handsets. If you wish to give this an upgrade, a cool feature to add is a universal rear view camera for your car.
5. Pioneer AVH-280BT In-Dash DVD Receiver with 6.2″ Display and Bluetooth
What We Like
- HD LED backlit display
- Graphic equalizer
- Pioneer performance
Another remarkable model from Pioneer is their AVH-280BT double DIN stereo with a clear 6.2 color display.
You can choose from 4 colors to use for the wallpaper, and also adjust the dimming settings of the screen. There is wireless technology integration for Apple and Android phones, allowing you to have access to media and smartphone applications.
It plays content from phones, CDs, DVDs, and USB devices. For a better listening experience, you can adjust the bass tones of your music by simply clicking a button from the menu. Available in the package when you purchase this unit is a wired microphone for clear and distortion-free conversations.
If you check out the latest cars today, most if not all are already equipped with double DIN head units. We have discussed the advantages of having one in your ride and it’s easy to see that this is definitely a must-have. Best of all, you don’t have to break the bank to get the best double DIN for your money.