How to choose a good car radio


Music in the car is an integral part of the comfort system. Many car manufacturers pay a lot of attention to the car multimedia system. Sound quality, playback volume, sound effects - these and many other options can brighten up time on a long journey.

What radio tape recorders are there? How do they work, and what will help you decide on the choice of a new device? Let's consider all the questions in order.

The principle of operation of a car radio

How to choose a good car radio

The main task of a car radio is to play music. It can be removable media or a radio station. The multimedia consists of the tape recorder itself and several speakers (they must be purchased separately).

The player is connected to the vehicle's power system. It can be connected directly to the battery or through the ignition switch. In the first case, it can work with the ignition off. In the second - only after turning the key in the lock.

The speakers are placed throughout the cabin to create a surround sound effect. Some models allow you to connect a subwoofer, which is most often (due to its size) installed in the trunk, and in extremely rare cases - instead of the back sofa.

Types of car radios

All car radio tape recorders are divided into two types:

  • IN-1.
  • IN-2.

They differ in size, connection method and the presence of additional functions. When deciding on the modification, it is necessary to pay attention to the installation size of the device. There are no restrictions on the depth, but the height and width of the slot for a tape recorder in the operating panel has clear dimensions.


How to choose a good car radio

This type of radio tape recorder has standard dimensions (width 180mm. And height 50mm.). They fit the cars of the domestic auto industry and most foreign cars.

Advantages and disadvantages of such radio tape recorders:

Budget price+
Output power selection+
High-quality radio reception+
Reading removable media (flash drive, memory card up to 64GB)+
Connecting a telephone by cable+
Small screen+
Video playback-
EqualizerSeveral standard settings

Not a bad budget option that can be installed instead of a regular tape recorder.


How to choose a good car radio

In such AV systems, the width remains the same (180 millimeters), and the height is twice that of DIN-1 (100 millimeters). The reason for this size is the large screen of the head unit and the presence of more buttons for navigating the device menu and setting it up. It displays more information about the melody or radio station being played.

An additional feature is the ability to play video files. In this category, there are models that are navigated using buttons or a touch screen.

Big screen+
Sensor+ (depends on model)
Video playback+ (depends on model)
Steering wheel controls+
Synchronization with iOS or Android+
External shield connection+
GPS+ (depends on model)
"free hands"+
Budget price-
Inner memory+ (depends on model)

More expensive models are equipped with sophisticated navigation systems. In this case, the map and GPS assistant are displayed on the screen.

Device manufacturer

This is the main parameter that people pay attention to when choosing a radio. Among all manufacturers of musical equipment, the leading brands are:

  • Soundmax
  • Pioneer?
  • Kenwood;
  • Mystery
  • Sony.

However, the brand of the tape recorder should not be the only parameter to be guided by. You also need to pay attention to the options available in the model.

Options for choosing a radio for a car

There are a lot of parameters for selecting multimedia. If the head unit installed in the car at the factory is not satisfactory, the driver should pay attention to the following parameters.

Connectable media type

How to choose a good car radio

Modern multimedia is capable of reading music from various media. For this, it can have the following connectors.

  • CD pocket. It allows you to listen to music recorded on CDs. If the car radio can play DVD and has a video output, then additional screens are connected to it, which can be built into the headrests of the front seats. This technology has its drawback. When driving at high speed over bumps, the laser head of the reader jerks, causing playback to malfunction.
  • USB port. Allows you to connect a Flash drive or phone to a tape recorder. The advantage over disks is that in most cases this digital medium is read with better quality and without failures.
  • SD slot. A small slot for connecting an SD card, or an adapter in which a microSD is installed. This is the most popular removable media because it is installed inside the player, and it is impossible to accidentally hook and damage it like a USB flash drive.

Output power

How to choose a good car radio

Car recorders do not have their own speakers. External speakers are connected to them. Standard connector - 4 speaker output, Front - front pair, Rear - two rear.

When buying a new turntable, you need to pay attention to the power it gives out. Each model is equipped with its own amplifier for connecting passive speakers. It is worth remembering: the more speakers, the quieter the music will sound, because the power is evenly distributed over all the reproducing elements of the system.

Standard multimedia systems deliver 35-200 watts. If the car has a weak door seal and sound insulation, then you should pay attention to models with a power of 50-60 watts. Those looking to connect a subwoofer will have to buy a more powerful option.

The following video dispels the myths about so-called powerful devices:

MYTHS OF AUTOSOUND: In a radio tape recorder 4 x 50 watts


How to choose a good car radio

It is a modern digital technology that allows you to combine an audio and video player in one device.

When buying such a model, it is important to remember that the main task of the driver is to safely deliver passengers to their destination. And watching films should be left for the time when the car will be stopped.

Illumination of buttons

How to choose a good car radio

In fact, the backlight of the radio in the car is a useful option.

Many models have several shades of button glow. Thanks to this, the driver can create his own atmosphere in the cabin.

Also pay attention to the Demo mode. This is when the player in the off state demonstrates the functions of the screen. Blinking messages can distract the driver from driving. With peripheral vision, he notices changes on the display, and the brain can regard this as a malfunction message. Therefore, it is better to disable this option.


How to choose a good car radio

Those who cannot stop and talk on the phone (driving in the central lane) should choose the version with Bluetooth.

This function allows you to wirelessly connect your mobile phone to your car's audio system. And voice control (not available on all models) helps you stay focused on the road.

Using these functions, the driver will be able to communicate via mobile communications, as if his interlocutor is in the next seat.


How to choose a good car radio

This option is important for music lovers. Most car radios have automatic sound settings for songs. Some allow you to change the melody to your preference, for example, increase the amount of bass.

Equalizer also allows you to adjust the sound level of individual speakers. For example, the balance can be moved from the rear speakers to the front speakers so that the music isn't too loud for the passengers.

Other multimedia players (wideband) allow finer adjustments in sound style. However, in order to feel these changes, excellent sound insulation of the car is required. Otherwise the funds will be wasted.

The size

How to choose a good car radio

Models of DIN-1 standard are suitable for all domestic cars and foreign cars of the middle class. They are provided with an appropriate size mounting niche from the factory.

If the owner of the car decides to install a radio tape recorder with a large screen, he will need to increase the height of the opening. But this can not be done in every car, because rarely is there an empty space on the panel near the pocket of the radio.

The DIN-2 modification is installed in executive cars and off-road vehicles. In them, the torpedo already has a corresponding niche for a high car radio.


How to choose a good car radio

Some DIN-2 type radios are equipped with a GPS module. It communicates with the satellite, and displays the location of the car on the map. This multimedia system allows you to save money on the purchase of a navigator.

However, when choosing an option with this function, you should remember that the presence of this option does not mean that it will “lead” along the given route qualitatively. It is better to read the reviews of those who already have experience in using the device.

For GPS navigation to work properly, you need to install maps of the corresponding regions of the country in the software. You can do this yourself by downloading the update from the Internet, or take the av-system to a specialist.

Location of the USB connector

How to choose a good car radio

Most modern radio tape recorders allow you to connect an external drive. In such models, the flash drive is connected either on the front side or on the back.

In the first case, the Flash drive will stick out of the radio, which is not always convenient. It can be easily hooked and pulled out of the socket. This can spoil the port, because of which later you will either have to buy a new car radio or re-solder the connector itself.

A discless player with a rear connector will require the purchase of an additional cable for the flash drive. It will take time to plug it into the connector and route it into the glove compartment or armrest.

Display type

How to choose a good car radio

There are three types of displays:

  1. Text. The information displayed in the strip is sufficient to find a suitable radio station or track. These are often budget players.
  2. LCD display. They can be colored or black and white. This screen displays more information about folders on removable media. They can play video files, and often have an attractive demo mode.
  3. Graphic. Most often it is a touch screen. It looks like a multimedia system of an expensive car. Equipped with great functionality of settings. They can watch movies and view a map of the area (if there is a GPS module).

Supported formats

How to choose a good car radio

Old tape recorders could only listen to radio and tape. With the advent of CDs, their functions have expanded. However, it is worth remembering: the presence of a disc slot does not mean that the car radio will read any format.

Most of the audio files are recorded in mpeg-3 format. However, WAV and WMA extensions are also common. If the player is able to read files of this format, the music lover will not need to spend time searching for favorite songs with a suitable extension.

If the device can play video, the owner of the device should pay attention to the following formats: MPEG-1,2,4, AVI and Xvid. These are the most common codecs that are installed in multimedia software.

Before buying a player, you should make sure that it will read files with the correct extension. Often this information is written on the front of the device, and a more detailed list of codecs is in the instruction manual.

Camera connection

How to choose a good car radio

Av systems with built-in color or monochrome screens can be used as video recorders. For example, a rear view camera is connected to some models, which will make it easier to park the car.

This feature allows you to improve visibility when the car backs up. It is especially useful for large vehicles. In them, it is difficult for the driver to notice cross-traffic when he drives out of the garage, or from the yard.

How much does a car radio cost

How to choose a good car radio

A typical budget digital tape recorder of average quality will cost in the region of $ 15-20. This is a great solution for a driver unpretentious in musical tastes. The power of such a player is enough for two small speakers in the back and two tweeters (tweeters) on the side windshield pillars. The more expensive options will be more powerful, so you can connect more speakers to them.

For a music lover and a driver who spends a lot of time in a car in the parking lot (for example, a taxi driver), multimedia from $ 150 is suitable. It will already have a large screen on which you can watch movies. The power of such a multimedia system is enough for four bass speakers.

The Av system with advanced functions (the ability to connect additional screens and a rear view camera) is useful for long trips with the whole family. Such radio tape recorders will cost from $ 70.

As you can see, a seemingly simple matter requires a careful approach. Watch also a video on how to properly connect the player:

How to properly connect the radio in the car!


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