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All cars these days have pre-installed stereo units; however, they are known for their unsatisfactory sound quality delivery. If you purchase the premium luxury cars, then you’d be enjoying the best surround sound given that they will have the top-quality stereo head units included in their equipment.
But you can still upgrade by choosing the best single DIN head units. If not, then you have to be contented with your current head unit. It’s a good thing that there is a way for you to give your car’s sound system a boost. There are numerous branded stereos available in the market that can give you crisp sounds and powerful music.
Aftermarket single DIN stereos can immensely improve your listening experience without having to remove or install other components of the car’s sound system. It’s even better to know that good single DIN replacement does not have to be expensive.
So for those who resort to good playlists to make their day’s drive more bearable and pleasurable, you’ll be happy to hear that there are several DIN unit brands which are of great quality and affordable price.
What is a Single DIN Head Unit?
A single DIN stereo is actually a standard for car radios that was created by the German standards body, Deutsches Institut für Normung back in 1984. Since then, almost all car manufacturers have applied this standard to all their stereo models.
The head units’ measurements should be of 7 inches wide, 2 inches tall, and 7 inches deep. Aside from the single DIN unit, some cars today have built-in double DIN units; there is also a 1.5 DIN unit on the market. However, these models have almost twice the size of a single DIN unit, using up more interior space from the vehicle’s dashboard.
Benefits of Upgrading the Head Unit
Buying a new head unit will provide you more convenient and outstanding features than the stock model. The standard features of a factory-installed radio unit are volume controls, interfacing options, equalization, and limited media input choices.
On the other hand, branded single DIN units boast their compatibility with smartphones and other gadgets allowing them to stream and play your music directly from the device’s library or installed iOS and Android music player applications.
Thanks to this, you can enjoy hands-free phone functions and just keep your hands on the wheel. Moreover, Bluetooth connectivity is featured in some stereo models. If you stored your songs in a USB flash disk, you can simply insert it into the head unit’s port and have non-stop playing of your best jams.
Since branded radio units cost more than the factory-installed head units, they have more durable materials and more updated technology employed in crafting the products. Because of the superiority of their components, rest assured that your sound system will create full and more powerful audio.
Looking at the aesthetic point of view, purchasing new models will also enhance the interior of your car. Though they may not have the big colored touchscreens, you will appreciate their glossy buttons and finishes and colored button backlight.
Plus, there’s something to be said about a car stereo that is simple and easy to use. A single DIN head unit makes the driving safer because of less distraction and less time looking at the display or fumbling with the controls.
Considerations Before Purchasing A Single DIN Unit
The delivery of high quality sound and improvement of overall performance greatly depends on the main features of a stereo unit. First and foremost, you should check the amplifier’s RMS power to know if it could give justice to all the peaks and riffs present in a song.
The basic functions should also be present such as the AM and FM radio, CD player, Bluetooth integration for phones and MP3 players. Additionally, the single DIN unit should have audio features and controllers such as equalizers and other features that result to personalization of sound output.
And last but not the least is the design of the head unit. A good looking dash will not only enhance the appeal of your car, but it can also maintain or increase its value.
Media and Format Compatibility
Since we are living in a digital world, our media isn’t just limited to CDs and radio channels. Thus, having the latest ports, hubs, and connectivity is already a need for seamless music playing.
Nowadays, music is available in MP3, WAV, and WMV files. They can also be played straight from the smartphone or iPod, which is why having Bluetooth connectivity is a must.
Single DIN head units, whether they are affordable or expensive, still add to your list of expenses. Wouldn’t it be better if you purchase a product that offers more than just the basics? Some head units available in the market have illumination color control that allows you to adjust the brightness and the color according to your eyesight and preferences.
In some cases, they boast their anti-theft attribute thanks to their detachable faceplate.
Now that you have a better understanding of single DIN units, we can help you decide on the best models are affordable, high quality, and user-friendly. To help you make the most of your hard-earned cash, we picked the stereos that are priced below $200.
Our Top 5 Single DIN Head Units
1. Pioneer DVH-885AVBT Single DIN Bluetooth In-Dash DVD/CD/AM/FM/Digital Media Car Stereo Receiver w/ 3.5″ TFT Display
What We Like
- 3.5″ TFT LED Backlight Display
- With remote control
- 2 Sets of 4V Preamp Outputs
When it comes to audio equipment, there’s no other brand to trust more than Pioneer and it’s definitely not surprising that the DVH-885AVBT model is at the top of our list. In an instant, you can its sleek design thanks to its 3.5-inch LED display and modern buttons.
But the more important features include its built-in Bluetooth technology allows hands-free usage and its list of compatible devices and gadgets. It can play media from DVDs, CDs, MP3, USBs, and even with iPhones.
It has a remote control included and a hands-free profile kit included in the package. For security purposes, it also has a detachable face plate.
2. Kenwood KDC-X500 Single Din Bluetooth In-Dash CD/AM/FM Car Stereo
What We Like
- Powerful MOSFET amp
- Internet radio functionality
- Detachable face
Another single DIN unit that does not disappoint is this model from Kenwood. It has a CD receiver with charms and FM Tuner. Its playback features range from CD, CD-R, MP3, AAC, and USB. The product highlights its dual phone connection capability and its maximum communication rage, 32.8 feet.
Apple and Android users can also control this radio unit by downloading the Pandora heart application. For a more powerful audio play, it has a built-in Mosfet amplifier that audiophiles will truly love.
3. Fahrenheit TI-930B In-Dash Single DIN DVD AM/FM Receiver with 9.3-Inch Touchscreen Monitor and USB/SD Input
What We Like
- Plays audio, video and photos
- Motorized touchscreen
- Hands-free phone functions
At first glance, this Fahrenheit product is distinct compared to the other stereo units. It has a 9-inch motorized LCD touchscreen that can be adjusted to the eye level of the driver or the passenger. This already seems impressive, but what’s more admirable is its seamless integration with both smartphone and audio systems.
You can easily access your phone’s apps, contacts, calendar, messages, and even video files through the LCD. Likewise, all the controls for the audio such as the volume, clarity, playback are controlled using the unit. It guarantees more defined and crisp tunes since it includes front and rear amplifier outputs and subwoofer outputs.
4. Pioneer DEH-X6700BS Single-DIN Bluetooth Car Stereo with MIXTRAX Smartphone Integration and SiriusXM Compatibility
What We Like
- High power 4 channel amp
- Satellite radio compatible
- Pioneer performance and reliability
This Pioneer stereo unit is not just your typical model. The product highlights its DJ audio-inspired listening experience which is compatible with most of the smartphones and its advanced sound retriever to improve the overall sound from compressed files in CDs and USBs.
For those who enjoy listening to music on full blast, this unit has a 3-level volume and a subwoofer level control, assuring that you hear every audio detail. For the convenience of drivers, it has a multi-line display for easy reading and a hands-free calling and streaming thanks to a Bluetooth connection.
5. Pyle Single Din Touchscreen 7″ Head unit Flip Out GPS Navigation and Bluetooth Receiver (Plbt71G)
What We Like
- Motorized touchscreen display
- Easy driving with GPS
- Remote control
Last but not the least is Pyle’s new touchscreen DIN unit defying the typical single DIN models in almost all aspects. If you’re fond of long drives and heading to new destinations, directions will no longer be a problem because Pyle’s unit has a built-in GPS navigation software.
And you won’t have to shout at the top of your lungs during calls because it has a built-in microphone and Bluetooth connectivity to match. Their high resolution 7-inch foldable screen is also a dream for drivers for the reason that they won’t find it difficult to read and choose the functions.
With this unit in hand, you’ll benefit from a total entertainment and safety system guiding you and your car. It simply is the total package.
All of the products on the list are best buys, both in value for money and diverse in functionality. It all boils down to what you are looking for, its compatibility with the make of your automobile, and your preferences.
An aftermarket head unit is a simple audio device, but its functionality should not be underestimated. For a reasonable price, you can see the big difference in audio quality and also overall driving experience. From the car’s interior design, to audio delivery, and the brands’ credibility and standard, rest assured that these products can give you nothing but the best.