Let’s face it: unless you’re buying a new car with all the bells and whistles, the stereo in your new ride is probably lackluster at best. Sure, you can upgrade with speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers to transform your listening experience and give your favorite music the system it deserves, but don’t forget about the in-dash receiver. Stereo head units these days go way beyond tuning into the radio and controlling volume. So if you’re looking to upgrade your car audio system with a new in-dash receiver, check out these must-have features:
More than just a way to wirelessly play music from your smartphone, Bluetooth capability can also assist with hands-free phone calls. And if you’re blasting tunes when a call comes in, it will automatically mute so you can connect with ease. Many stereo units also feature the ability to read text messages aloud and send dictated texts as well, which will help keep you safe when certain messages just can’t wait.
2. USB Inputs
While accessing your music library via Bluetooth is easy and convenient, it requires most smartphones and MP3 players to convert the music file from digital to analog, which can limit the sound quality. Receivers with USB inputs bypass the digital-to-analog converter and often include sound enhancement features specially designed for compressed music files, giving you a much fuller sound. Another bonus: although your music player is connected manually, the information will appear on the receiver screen in most cases so you don’t have to unlock your phone every time you want to change the song.
3. GPS Navigation
Most smartphones have excellent map apps, but unless you have a high-end integration unit like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, those maps won’t transfer to your in-dash receiver, even if it has a large screen. However, most newer head units come with GPS navigation. They’ll map out your route and guide you with voice directions so you don’t have to keep glancing at the screen. Some even provide “points of interest,” including restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and other useful locations when traveling through unfamiliar areas.
4. Satellite, Digital, and HD Radio
Tired of the same choices in local radio? Satellite radio stations provide a wide range of music and talk radio options. SiriusXM even has a “classic” radio station that plays hilariously campy golden-era shows! If you’re a fan of stations outside the local range, some offer digital versions of their broadcasts—you just need the right equipment and a subscription. HD radio is a digital-analog hybrid that boosts sound quality and is free to listeners. It also allows for additional text data broadcast straight to your receiver, like local weather and traffic info.
5. DVD Players
Okay this might sound obvious but we have to say this upfront: Keep your eyes on the road and don’t watch DVDs while driving! But for passengers—especially kids—DVD players can be a blessing on long car trips. In-dash DVD players are usually installed where the existing stereo receiver is located and wired into the car’s electrical and audio system (which means the driver can still listen to the movie, just not watch). And because the DVD player is replacing the existing stereo, most units are versatile and play audio CDs as well. They also include auxiliary connections for satellite radio tuners and MP3 players.
Ready to upgrade? Give us a call
If you want the latest tech and top-notch features in your car audio system, at JC Power Audio, we can recommend the best equipment for your car and your budget. Our installation experts have been decking out vehicles in San Diego for years, so give us a call today!