Car Audio Centre : Car CD Players Part 2

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iPod Control: This is the ability of a receiver to control an iPod or at the very least, accept the music output of an iPod into the unit. Look for units that can directly control the iPod. Some have the ability built in while others require special adapters or cables. The more control you have of the iPod from the head unit the better.

Loudness Control: This is a feature that boosts the lower and sometimes the very upper frequencies to compensate for the human ear's insensitivity at low volume.

MP3/WMA capability: Some of the newer CD head units have the ability to play MP3/WMA encoded discs. This can be a real benefit if you have a CD burner and a collection of MP3s on your computer as it eliminates the need to have additional equipment to play your MP3 collection in your automobile.

Power Output: This is the amount of power, in watts, that your receiver should be able to deliver to the speakers. The number printed on the face of the receiver is usually a large exaggeration. Most receivers actually have between three and fifteen watts RMS per channel. Keep in mind that the sound will become quite distorted at this level because of the size and current limitations of your receiver. The best sound is always found in dedicated external amplifiers.

Pre-amp Outputs (RCA jacks): These are the most common connectors used for external power amplifiers. If you plan to add amplifiers to your system I strongly suggest that you purchase a receiver with these outputs. More than one set of outputs are available on some of the better units and are handy for retaining front/rear/subwoofer fading capabilities.

Remote Control: Most people laugh at the idea of having a remote control for an in dash receiver but it is actually much safer to use when on the road. Models are available in large TV sized remotes, handheld remotes, credit card remotes and even steering wheel mounted remotes.

Skip Protection: Some receivers have a built in memory buffer, usually between three and ten seconds, that will continue to play the music skip free even when the player is actually mis-tracking. This is a great feature if you drive on a lot of bumpy roads.

Station Presets: These are the areas of memory in which your receiver stores radio station frequencies. The more the better here. Some units even allow you to assign names to the various presets.

Seek/Scan: These functions are used to seek for the next station that is available and scan through your preset stations respectively.

Tuner Sensitivity: This is the ability of the tuner in your receiver to pull in weak stations. It is measured in dbf and the lower the number the better. Eight is about the best you will likely see and thirteen is about average.

USB Input : Usually a front panel USB jack that will accept direct connection of a USB thumb drive or a similar USB storage unit. This allows you to plug in a small thumb drive and access the compatible digital music you have stored there. This can be more convenient than burning a CD everytime you want to change the MP3s you take with you.

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