Best Car Stereo: Reviews, Ratings, and Top Accessories

October 31, 2012

A car stereo has many different components and options available.  One of the best ways to determine which stereo is best for your vehicle and listening needs is by using a stereo comparison. Look at the different specs and features side by side. Reading review rankings from users of each stereo system is also a great way to learn more about each system. A bit of time and research before shopping can go a long way to getting a great deal on a car stereo. The cost of a car stereo can range from $100 to several thousand dollars. Make sure you have a budget in place before you go shopping, because it's easy to spend more than you planned.

Setting up the Stereo

Many times purchasing the receiver unit and then building your stereo from there is the easiest way to go. However, if you're planning on using existing speakers and amplifiers, it will be necessary to know the specifications for each piece to ensure everything is compatible. If you have a large budget in mind, see about getting a factory brand stereo that comes with all components. Generally a full stereo system will utilize the head unit or receiver, amplifier, speakers, subwoofer and tweeters. Some speakers come with an integrated tweeter and subwoofer. See which parts you need and those that are to be replaced or upgraded.

Alpine iDA

The Alpine car stereo is the best for those individuals that frequently listen to music from their iPod or MP3 player, as it lacks a CD player. It is possible to quickly search the stereo's loaded library for that specific track. The exterior look of the stereo allows it to blend seamlessly in with the vehicle's dash. While users rave about its excellent use with the iPod, they have found it a bit difficult setting radio stations.

Kenwood KDC

This is a great car stereo, and it's affordable at about $150. It offers a USB port for direct connection of an MP3 player or iPod as well as mini stereo input and CD receiver. It contains special searching features for the connected player. It is also possible to play music from a thumb drive. There are mixed preset options for both FM and AM radio stations and a remote control. This stereo has so much power that it is necessary to check your speaker specs first. Many times, aftermarket speakers are needed along with this receiver.

Sony CDX

The Sony stereo offers as many different playback options as you can image. It supports CDs and CDRWS and can play WMA, MP3 and AAC music formats. This stereo uses Digital Music Plus, a codec enhancer, to ensure that all of the compressed files are played at the highest quality. The radio broadcast feature displays the song, artist and album playing. It is possible to directly connect an iPod or MP3 player to the stereo and play your favorite music. It also integrates with the Sony satellite radio tuner and receiver so you can enjoy digital radio. This stereo contains a high pass and low pass filter to produce the best sound possible, as well as reducing any low end reverberation.

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