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Best Double DIN Head Unit for Sound Quality in 2024, Tested

As a car audio enthusiast, I’ve spent countless hours researching the best double DIN head units of 2023.

After long hours of studying reviews and comparing features, I’ve narrowed my selection to five top models that are sure to impress any audiophile.

From sleek designs to powerful sounds, these five head units offer the ultimate listening experience.

So buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life – with my top five picks for best double DIN car stereo of 2023!

Best Double DIN Head Unit – Our Top 5 Picks

ATOTO A6 PFBest Double DIN Head unit for Sound Quality

The ATOTO A6 PF car stereo is ideal for tech-savvy drivers who want to enjoy their music in style. It offers several advanced features that make it stand out, including powerful Digital Signal Processor technology, 36-band EQ, time correction, and speed-compensated volume.

It also has an exclusive USB port for network tethering feature for enhanced internet access and Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity options to ensure you are always connected. A convenient unlocking feature allows you to lock and unlock the screen with minimal effort quickly.

As for the specs, the A6 PF has a 7-inch HD touchscreen display, an intuitive user interface that is easy to navigate, and plenty of audio and video formats supported. It comes with dual camera inputs.

When you compare it to similar products, you will notice that this product offers more advantages than its rivals. It is the perfect choice for a reliable and feature-packed car stereo system.

Pros

  • Powerful Digital Signal Processor technology and 36-band EQ for great sound quality
  • Intuitive user interface for easy navigation
  • USB network tethering mode for enhanced internet access
  • Attractive design that looks great in any car
  • Durable build that stands up to everyday use
  • It comes with dual camera inputs.

Cons

  • Backup camera quality isn’t as good as expected
  • Some users have reported connectivity issues
  • Not the most affordable car radio on the market.

Overall if you want a powerful and feature-rich car radio that offers excellent sound quality, the ATOTO A6 PF is a great option. Its many features and attractive design make it a worthwhile investment for any tech-savvy driver.

Kenwood DMX7706S – Most Powerful Double DIN Stereo

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The Kenwood DMX7706S Head Unit unit has a sharp display, plenty of sound adjustment options, and easy Apple Carplay and Android Auto access. The menus are easy to navigate and the sound quality is excellent.

The DMX7706S Head Unit offers a 7” touchscreen display that allows you to easily monitor and control your audio, video, and navigation. The menus are easy to navigate and the display is bright and clear.

Kenwood DMX7706S – Most Powerful Double DIN Stereo

I especially like that it has adjustable illumination settings so you can adjust how bright the display is in different lighting conditions. This was important for me because I often drive at night on dark roads, and I don’t want a lot of distracting light inside my car. The unit also dims when the headlights are turned on, and has separate backlight settings.

This unit comes with a 13-band equalizer, allowing you to fine-tune the audio settings. It also supports high-res audio playback up to 24 bit/192 kHz and FLAC, AAC and WAV lossless formats for exceptional fidelity.

Kenwood DMX7706S Best Car Stereo for 2023

The wired Android Auto/Carplay functionality is a nice bonus. But keep in mind that the GPS antenna (comes in accessories) must be connected to the head unit during the installation if you want to to use this feature.

You also get a lot of input and output options on the rear side. These include dual rear USB port, four camera inputs, rear analog A/V input, and 6-channel preamp RCA output.

Those RCA pre-outs come with a 5V voltage – a massive upgrade from the 2V RCAs in other head units.

Kenwood DMX7706S mounting depth

Pros

  • Bright and clear 7” touchscreen display
  • Easy-to-navigate menus
  • Adjustable illumination settings for different lighting conditions
  • 13 band equalizer for fine tuning audio settings
  • Supports high-res audio playback & lossless formats (FLAC, AAC, WAV)
  • Text messages are nicely displayed on the screen
  • Maps and Waze work great

Cons

  • My main concern regarding this head unit is its non-HD screen. Its brightness is also average and becomes almost unreadable under direct sunlight – especially if you look at it from wider angles.
  • The other issue with the screen is that it gets a lot of fingerprints.
  • There is no built-in navigation either, but you can instead use Google/Apple Maps for this purpose

Overall I’m very pleased with the Kenwood DMX7706S Head Unit and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great way to upgrade their car’s audio system. It’s easy to install, looks great, and has plenty of features that make listening to music and navigating much easier. Highly recommended!

Sony XAV-AX5000 Best Double DIN Head Unit Under $400

The Sony XAV-AX5000 is slightly more expensive than the ATOTO A6 PF. It is ideal for those who want a double DIN head unit with Apple carplay/Android Auto in the midrange price category.

It looks different from most other models. While its 6.9-inch screen is double DIN, the chassis has a single-DIN height. This shallow design allows you to manage all the wirings/interfaces easily.

Below the touchscreen, you get different physical buttons such as home, volume up/down, track up/down, etc.

On the backside, there are 6 RCA pre-outs, A/V input, SWC input (you’ll also need an SWC adapter), etc.

As for the specs, you get 10-band Graphic Equalizer, 55 Watt Peak Output, and 20-20,000Hz RMS power bandwidth.

Pros

  • Clean UI with auto dimming touchscreen
  • It has 10-band Graphic Equalizer and 20-20,000Hz RMS power bandwidth
  • Variable volume settings to customize media, voice control, navigation and phone call levels
  • Supports wired versions of Android Auto/Apple Carplay
  • Allows you to ‘broadcast’ your iphone and andriod phone to the stereo screen.

Cons

  • Resistive touchscreen with glaring issues
  • Crossover points not as granular compared to other head unit
  • Expensive for its features compared to other head units in a similar

There’s no major flaw apart from the display. The pros outweigh the cons by a good margin as you get an affordable head unit with solid build quality. Add the features mentioned above, and you get a pretty good deal. I would particularly recommend it for android phone users.

Alpine iLX-W650Best Android Auto Double DIN Head Unit

The Alpine iLX-W650 is an outstanding head unit that offers a modern design, intuitive usability and offers great sound quality. It has impressive features, including a built-in amplifier, 24-bit DAC and three preouts with true 4V outputs. The unit also has great sound customization options, with a 3-band graphic EQ and a 9-band parametric EQ, which can be used to fine-tune the audio.

Additionally, this radio includes high pass/low pass crossovers and six-channel time correction for further audio optimization. The unit has an intuitive user interface, with dedicated capacitive buttons at the bottom of the screen for easy control.

It also has HDMI input and output support, allowing you to connect your android phone or other devices. The unit is CTA-2006 compliant, making it incredibly reliable and safe to use in your vehicle. It also includes a 3-year warranty, so you can be sure it will last for years.

Pros

  • Great sound quality with EQ customization, crossover settings, timing delays, and subwoofer control capabilities.
  • Easy to install and understand the wiring.
  • Easily integrate with the majority of factory steering wheel audio controls (adapter needed).
  • Supports playback of a variety of media formats.
  • High-quality capacitive touchscreen and durable build.

Cons

  • Long startup time occasionally, but firmware updates can reduce this issue.
  • Poor UX with a spartan menu system and unresponsive two/three finger gesture control for volume adjustment.
  • No support for wireless Android Auto or Android mirroring.

The Alpine iLX-W650 head unit is an excellent choice for anyone upgrading their car’s audio system. With its great features and intuitive interface, this unit will provide years of reliable and enjoyable optimal sound performance. It is worth the investment!

Pioneer DMH-341EXBest Double DIN Radio Under 300

The DMH-341EX is an entry-level head unit by Pioneer. It’s ideal for those who want to upgrade to an aftermarket stereo without spending much.

Its chassis is slightly less deep than standard head units, which increases the compatibility with newer vehicles.

It has a fairly simple frontside for a modern car radio : a 6.75-inch, capacitive WVGA touchscreen with four buttons on its left side.

On the backside, you get an AM/FM antenna input, microphone input, SWC input (module to be bought separately), 5V USB port @1.5 Amps (for phone charging), RCA outputs connector, etc.

It is a digital media receiver – meaning CDs/DVDs are not supported.

Specs-wise, you get 14 Watts RMS power (CTA-2006) and 20-20,000Hz RMS power bandwidth.

What I Liked

The first thing I liked about this head unit is the support for high-res (24-bit 192KB) FLAC audio files.

You also get built-in high-pass and low-pass filters, fade/balance controls, and a 13-band graphic EQ for sound processing. 

The EQ settings allow you to adjust frequency bands or choose between different presets such as Flat, Super Bass, Natural, etc. 

In crossover settings, the customization options are front HPF, Rear HPF, and subwoofer LPF. By default, these options would be off. But you can turn them on by tapping on the + sign. The ranges for these filters are 25-250Hz.

However, the main highlight is the Weblink. This feature allows you to mirror your phone and then use different apps on the car head unit screen.

All you need to do is download the weblink app on your smartphone. I watched some YT videos through this app. The scrolling was a bit sluggish, but the videos ran smoothly.

You can also use it to have Apple/Google maps on your stereo screen for navigation.

The other apps you can use are OpenWeather App, Zomato, Yelp, and Alexa digital voice assistant.

What I Didn’t

The most obvious downside of this radio is no Apple Carplay/Android Auto functionality. The weblink app allows you to use some Apps, but it shouldn’t be considered a full smartphone integration.

Then, there are the pre-amp RCA outputs. These outputs only give you 2V voltage. It is what you usually get in factory radios.

Also, you can only select between a few themes for the background. 

Lastly, there is no time alignment which can be a big issue if you’re an audiophile.

Verdict

Despite some shortcomings, the Pioneer DMH-341EX has plenty of features to offer.

And while it is true that many Chinese car stereos offer Android Auto in this price range, most of them are painfully slow and get overheated pretty quickly.

On the other hand, Pioneer is well-known for making reliable car stereos that deliver superior sound quality.

How we Picked Double DIN Head Unit

We tripled checked each of our 19 tested models in various ways to narrow down the best Double DIN Head Units for you. We compared their Sound quality, usability, installation process, and price.

Finally, we conducted an in-depth analysis of the features that make these head units stand out, such as compatibility with steering wheel controls and user interface customization. We also looked into the user reviews of each unit to get an accurate picture of how they are performing in the market.

Ultimately, we chose the four models that met our rigorous standards and offered the best overall value while providing top-tier features. These Head Units will transform your car with crystal clear sound, impressive visuals, and intuitive controls – all at an affordable price!

Things to Look for When Buying a Double DIN Head Unit

Vehicle Compatibility

The first thing you need to check in a car head unit is its compatibility with your vehicle. Unfortunately, factory stereos in newer vehicles are difficult to replace since you have a lot of other vehicle systems integrated into them. And replacing it would mean losing those features.

To solve this issue, you can use an online compatibility tool, such as the one by crutchfield.com. Go to that page, enter your vehicle details, and it will give you a list of all the compatible stereos.

RCA pre-amp outputs

There’s no point in buying a double DIN head unit if it’s incompatible with your amplifier. That’s why, make sure that your head unit has enough pre-amp outputs.

Since there are a lot of speakers/subs combos, it’s not possible to mention all of them here. But there are some general rules. For example, if you only have a single monoblock amplifier, you’ll need two RCA outputs. But if you’re using a 4-channel in addition to a mono amp, you’ll need 6 RCA outputs (two each for front speakers, rear speakers, and the sub).

In addition to this, you also need to pay attention to RCA outputs’ voltage. While standard head unit give you 1.7-2V, some high-end models have 4-5V pre-amp voltage.

The main advantage of higher voltage is a cleaner and more powerful audio signal. It means you don’t have to set your amp gain too high (and introduce distortion in the process).

Accessories

You also need to make sure that the head unit you’re buying comes with all accessories needed for the installation. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy them separately which will increase the overall cost.

These accessories generally include a wire harness, antenna adapter, and dash kit (optional). The wire harness is probably the most important as it allows you to install an aftermarket head unit without cutting the factory wiring.

Sound Processing

Amid all the flashy features modern car stereos offer, we sometimes forget that their main purpose is producing high-sound quality signals.

No matter how vibrant touchscreen a car head unit has or how fast it loads CarPlay, it will suck if the sound quality is poor.

The main sound processing features in a car radio are equalizer, crossover, time alignment, and DAC.

The equalizer allows you to tune the audio frequencies according to your liking. The frequency range is divided into different regions known as frequency bands. More bands mean more control over your audio signal.

There are two types of equalizers: graphic and parametric. The graphic EQs allow you to adjust the center frequency of these bands only, while the parametric EQs allow you to adjust the center frequency as well as the width of those frequency bands.

Next up, we have crossover. While it’s true that you can buy an amp with a built-in crossover, the head unit crossover settings allow you to adjust settings from your seat instead of going back to the amp over and over again.

The time alignment allows you to delay/speed up the sound coming towards you. So that the sound from every speaker reaches the driver’s seat at the same time.

Lastly, we have the DAC. It is an internal component of car stereos that converts the digital signal into analog. While choosing an aftermarket head unit, you must ensure the DAC must be of 24-bit 192KHz type.

Smartphone Integration

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the two main features people look for in car radios these days.

Why?

Because they allow us to get turn-by-turn directions, receive or send messages/calls, and stream music from the phone, right from the car head unit screens. This way, you can stay focused on the road while using your phone (indirectly).

Many car radios have recently started to offer wireless CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. While it does look better than wired connectivity, the wireless versions consume more battery from your phone.

On the other hand, wired connections will allow you to charge the phone through USB port.

Capacitive vs. Resistive Touchscreen

The touchscreens we get in head unit come in two types: Capacitive and Resistive touchscreen.

Capacitive touchscreens are very sensitive to touch and have a high contrast. These are the touchscreens we use in smartphones as well.

On the other hand, resistive touchscreens have multiple layers of glass and plastic. They’re less sensitive (require more pressure to register input), have a reduced contrast ratio, and can get easily scratched.

However, their main advantage is reduced cost. That’s why they’re found in cheap head unit mostly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes the best double DIN head units?

ATOTO, Pioneer, Kenwood, Alpine, Sony, and JVC are the most reliable and trusted brands in the car radio market. Therefore, you should go for their stereos unless there’s a great discount on any other model.

Does head unit improve sound quality?

Yes, a high-quality aftermarket head unit can increase sound quality to many folds with features like equalization and time correction. Many units also support hi-res music file formats such as FLAC, WAV, etc.

Why do aftermarket double DIN head units sound quality better?

Aftermarket head unit generally feature a better DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) that produces a better and well-detailed sound quality.

How can I get better bass in my car?

The easiest way to increase bass is by adjusting the bass frequency bands through EQ. But if you’ve already done that and are still unsatisfied, you can add a dedicated subwoofer.

What does double DIN stand for?

Double DIN means a car radio has double height (4 inches) compared to a standard DIN stereo (2 inches). The word DIN stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung – the body that regularized car radio sizes.

Can I put a double DIN head unit fit in my car?

If you have a single-din space in your vehicle, there’s no way to put a double-din head unit. But if that space is double-din, you can have single-din as well as double-din stereos installed in your vehicle.

Can I use my steering wheel controls with an aftermarket stereo?

Yes, you can. But you’ll need a separate steering wheel control interface for this purpose.

What does SWC mean on a radio?

The SWC stands for Steering Wheel Controls. These are the buttons on your vehicle’s steering wheel that can be used to control the head unit.

Is there a better alternative to Android Auto?

Google Maps offers a great alternative to Android Auto for a driver’s navigation needs. By using voice control, Google Maps allows you to easily find routes and destinations without having to type in an address. With the help of its intuitive interface, it’s easy to get reliable driving directions and estimated times of arrival at any destination. You can also call business numbers or search for businesses by name with a few simple commands. Best of all, you don’t need to purchase an extra device or software; it’s already integrated into the Google Maps app! So if you’re looking for a reliable navigation companion that won’t take up too much space on your dashboard, Google Maps is the way to go.

What is the advantage of a double DIN car stereo?

For road-trippers eager for maximum control and customization of their audio experience, double DIN car stereos are the perfect solution. They provide a much larger display, and the extra space allows for more options and better usability.

The touch screens on double din stereos tend to be bigger, making them easier to use, while the user interfaces are often more intuitive. Advanced features like navigation, DVD playback, and backup camera input on stereos can also be found. So if you want to take your audio experience to the next level, a double DIN car stereo is worth considering!

Do I need a dash kit for a double DIN?

If you are looking to upgrade your car’s stereo system to a double DIN, then yes, you will need a dash kit. A double DIN head unit is twice the size of a single DIN stereo and requires a larger mounting bezel. Dash kits are designed to fit perfectly in your vehicle’s dash, making installing your new double DIN stereo much easier. A dash kit also helps hide gaps between the radio and the existing metalwork in your car.

Why would I want Apple CarPlay?

While driving, Apple CarPlay allows you to remain connected to your favorite apps and features easily – all while keeping your eyes on the road! With this technology, you can make hands free calling, send and receive messages, listen to music, access maps, and navigation systems for turn-by-turn directions, and more – all with a few simple taps of the touchscreen. Plus, it looks pretty cool, too, so you can roll around town in style. All of this adds up to a safer and more enjoyable driving experience – what’s not to like? You’ll be saying “Hey Siri” in no time!

Why is Android Auto better than CarPlay?

Android Auto is an intuitive way to navigate while you’re on the go, providing easy access to directions, maps, and more. With its pinch-to-zoom function, users can easily zoom in and out of the map interface. This makes it easier to view a larger area when exploring a new city or seeking alternative routes to your destination.

Plus, Android Auto also allows users to connect their smartphones to the car audio system to enjoy their favorite music and podcasts while driving. With CarPlay, you’re limited to playing media through Apple Music or third-party apps — but with Android Auto, you have access to all of your favorite tunes.

Finally, Android Auto allows you to control your car’s climate and other features from the comfort of your driver’s seat, making it easier to stay comfortable behind the wheel.

Is double DIN the same as 2 DIN?

The double-DIN (2-DIN) standard is a size measurement of car audio head unit, referring to the unit being twice as tall as a single-DIN radio. This means that the dimensions of a double-DIN unit are 180 by 100 mm or roughly seven by 4 inches. 

Furthermore, the extra height is essential for accommodating larger displays and touchscreens, making double-DIN head units the go-to choice for media players. So, in a nutshell, yes – double DIN is the same as 2 DIN; it’s just a fancy way of saying “double the size!”

Should I get a double DIN or a single DIN?

Double-DIN stereos are larger than single-DIN units and have the distinctive feature of having double the height of a normal stereo. This allows for more space for additional features, such as larger display screens, secondary or auxiliary inputs, or even an integrated DVD player.

Double-DIN stereos generally have more functions than single-DIN units and are the way to go if you want a truly advanced audio system. But, if your vehicle is small or you just don’t need all the bells and whistles of a double-DIN unit, then a single-DIN may be the more sensible choice.

Are all double DIN head units the same size?

No, not all double DIN head unit are the same size. The overall dimensions may be minor variations due to special features or design considerations. Generally speaking, a standard double DIN head unit measures about 4″ x 7″, though some models can be slightly larger or smaller depending on the manufacturer and design.

Double DIN head unit with a touchscreen may also be slightly larger than normal models to accommodate the display. Before buying, measure your car’s dashboard and double-check the dimensions of any prospective head unit!

Michael Brown is the founder of techyaudio.com, a website that provides car audio installation guides and tips. A self-taught car audio enthusiast, Michael has been installing and modifying car stereo systems for over 15 years.

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