I recently met a friend who was on the lookout for a head unit for his car. So, here I am writing this article to help the ones like him decide from the best in the industry. Typically placed in the center of the dashboard, the head is the centerpiece in the vehicle’s audio system. It gives the user the ability to control the entertainment system.
Single DIN Vs Double DIN
This was one of the questions that my friend had for me – Should I go for a single DIN or a Double DIN audio system. DIN stands for Deutsches Institut fur Normung a German body for standards that actually developed this specification before it was globally accepted in 1984. A single DIN indicates a head unit that fits into a 2” x 8” (or 180 x 50 mm) opening, while a double DIN measures 4” x 8” (or 180 x 100 mm). Please note that the width (8” or 180 mm) is constant.
With that little bit of explanation, let me head directly to the list of best JVC audio heads covering both the single DIN and the double DIN systems.
JVC is a well-known brand in the field of car audio systems. With years of experience in manufacturing the best audio systems by harnessing the latest technology to suit the ever increasing demands of the consumers, JVC has been able to maintain its leadership position in this business. We take a look at some of the best car audio head units manufactured by JVC to offer our readers the privilege to choose from the best. I’ve listed down some of the best car audio head units by JVC.
Top Double Din Head Units to buy
Top Single Din Head Units to buy
This product from JVC houses a 6-Inch Touch Screen Monitor. It has a DVD/Bluetooth/USB Multimedia Receiver system. The touch screen can be used to control the entertainment media. The system also boasts app display/control capability for Apple devices such as iPhone 4 and 4s as well as Android and Blackberry devices. The actual dimension of the screen is 6.1 inch and the color reproduction is taken care of by the WVGA Monitor system. The electronic system is MOS-FET (A form of field effect transistor that is far more reliable that the regular ones).
For those wondering about the dimensions, the JVC KW-V20BT is a double DIN arrangement, meaning that it measures 4” x 8”. You can play both CDs and DVDs using the JVC KW-V20BT receiver. You also get the standard AM/FM Tuner. Adding to this the audio/video input coupled to the USB input and what you get is a complete entertainment system right in your car. You also have the Bluetooth for hands-free calls and music streaming.
The sound amplification is taken up by a built-in MOSFET amplifier powered by a 22 watts RMS / 50W peak x 4 channels. You get the Pro EQ (Equalizer) comprising of a 3 band parametric EQ offering you continuous control over the bandwidth. Other features include high and low pass filters as well as the dual zone video and audio. The JVC KW-V20BT can display up to 20 compatible apps on-screen that can range from Navigation to Music to Driver assistance apps by using an optional adapter. You also get the Pandora Internet Radio playback and on-screen control support for iPhone. JVC KW-V20BT also has SiriusXM Satellite Radio add-on capability and Dual Zone source distribution. The SIRI Eye Free feature works with select iPhones through Bluetooth. The device is Energy Star Certified indicating that it is quite energy efficient and hence are inexpensive to operate.
The JVC KW-R900BT is a 2 DIN arrangement. This CD receiver has a built-in MOSFET amplifier and can play CDs (Compact Discs) of formats CD, CD-R, and CD-RW. Music CDs with the Windows Media format (WMA) and the MP3 format are also supported. The double DIN setup ensures a 4 line display that is easy to read. You also get a handy control knob and large buttons. In fact, you can customize the color of the display / controls from a list of about 30,000 hues. This gives you plenty of options to choose from. The setup also includes a Bluetooth adaptor to facilitate hands-free calling, app control, and music streaming. You can pair your iPhone, Android or even Blackberry smartphones to stream music, receive text message notifications and even access internet radio stations.
Hands-free calling is quite easy. Actually, this awesome gadget lets you pair two devices; let’s say personal phone and business phone simultaneously. When a call arrives the visuals on the screen lets you easily differentiate between the two. To answer the call, all you have to do is tap the volume knob. You can also invoke the QWERTY keyboard to type the name of the person in your contact list so that you can find it from the phonebook and call him or her. In fact, JVC has an android app that incorporates the swipe and gesture features to give control of the functions of the audio receiver. The integrated microphone is good to capture your voice well so that the person at the other end can hear you clearly and distinctly.
You get USB ports both on the front and the rear as well as front aux input to take care of the input part while the output is handled by the 6 channel preamp with 5 volts at the front, rear and the sub. The high-powered USB port on this audio head can be used to both access the contents of the micro SD card of your smartphone as well as charge the phone.
Audio capabilities of the built-in MOSFET amplifier include 20 watts RMS CEA-2006 / 50 peak x 4 channels, built-in controls for iPhones and iPods. The audio system comes with a 5 band equalizer with subwoofer level control. You also get a 24 bit digital to analog converter and a remote control. In fact, I would say iPhone and iPod users would love this. Just plug in the iPhone or iPod into the USB port on the front panel and you get to navigate through its music library using the large knob and buttons. You can bring on your Pandora Internet Radio station and play songs as well as rate them, right from the dashboard.
The JVC KW-R900BT is compatible with most of the factory steering wheel mounted audio controls, though you may need an adaptor to get it going.
Next, in the list is the JVC KW-R910BT. This CD receiver has a built-in MOSFET amplifier with specifications 22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels. This device can play CDs, CD-R, CD-RW that include the Windows Media files and the regular compressed audio – MP3. This is a double DIN arrangement that means you get a 4 line display. What makes this instrument all the more appealing is the 3 zone variable color display. Just like the previous model it also gives you the luxury of choosing from over 30000 options, but additionally it also allows you to assign three different colors to your display and the controls. This extra bit of personalization adds to the uniqueness of your cabin.
The design of the audio head is symmetric and the colors that you choose can give it a unique look. It has the built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling, playing your audio tracks, streaming music, and app control. The KW-R910BT enables you to access your digital media in many different ways. You can play music from your iPhone, Android or music player, or even choose from JVC’s very own list of compatible apps, that is forever growing. You may also plug a pen drive into the front USB port, connect your MP3 player to the front AUX input, or even insert a CD. If your iPhone has the Siri Eyes Free functionality you even don’t have to plug it in. All you have to do is link it up and enjoy playing music wirelessly for a totally hands-free experience. The equalizer with 12 presets is quite easy to use and adjust. The equalizer is of a 3 band parametric type giving you ease of control. You also get a 16 bit digital to analog converter as well as subwoofer level control.
As far as the connectivity options go, you have front USB and AUX in for inputs, and 4 channel preamp output (2.5 Volt front and rear/sub). You can connect two smartphones at the same time giving you the options to carry your personal and business phones to the vehicle’s dashboard. The 1 A USB ports can be quite fast at charging your phone besides offering a host of connectivity options. The instrument is compatible with most the factory installed steering mounted audio controls through an adaptor.
The next head unit that we are going to take a look at is the JVC KD-X33MBS. The previous ones that we looked at were double DIN units, but this one is a single DIN unit that would fit into a 2” x 8” (or 180 x 50 mm) opening. This marine rated digital media receiver offers a plethora of impressive features to connect all your digital devices. This head unit is ideal for open top vehicles and convertibles as the reverse display reduces glare to improve visibility. The white background of the display panel makes it easier to read even in bright sunlight. The head unit incorporates a 14-segment, single-line LCD with black backlit text and a white backlit background, plus a blue button illumination. Brightness and dimmer adjustable settings are available for the LCD and button illumination.
The built-in amplifier is of MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field effect transistor) type with full bandwidth power of 22 W RMS and a maximum power output of 50 watts peak x 4 channels totaling to 200 W maximum power. The JVC KD-X33MBS head unit uses a 24-bit digital to analog converter for superior audio quality.
The KD-X33MBS head unit gives 4-volt preamp outputs through front, rear and subwoofer. The front and rear speaker preamp outputs can be adjusted for balance and fade. The subwoofer preamp output is non-fading while offering independent level control ranging from -50 to +10. The face of the JVC KD-X33MBS head is made detachable to deter theft.
The front USB port has a power rating of 1.5A sufficient enough to charge a smartphone quickly while it is connected. This makes up for the battery draining while using the smartphone as an audio device or a paired device in conjugation with the audio head receiver. When the smartphone is connected to it, you can make use of the drive change mode that helps you listen to the smartphone’s internal memory and the installed micro SD card as individual sources of media. The Drive change feature also enables you to switch between multiple mass storage devices in a USB multi-card reader or multiple USB drives mounted on a USB hub. The KD-X33MBS supports an array of audio formats such as WMA, MP3, WAV, and FLAC files. The KD-X33MBS head receiver device is known to be compatible with iPhones 6S+, 6S, 6+, 6, 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, 4, 3GS, and 3.
The only flip side here is that this marine digital media player does not play CDs or DVDs. Having said that, we are in a generation that is moving away from the disc media and the storage media is getting smaller and smaller in the form of pen drives and memory cards. The JVC KD-X33MBS has a USB (type-A) port that is hidden behind a flip-out cover on the front panel. The USB port enables you to connect USB mass storage class devices such as USB thumb drives and USB memory card readers, including select Android or Blackberry smartphones. You can directly insert a compatible USB Mass Storage Class device into the KD-X33MBS head unit’s USB port for playback, control, and song/artist display of the track or music file.
The instrument has an anti-rust coating to protect it from the harsh marine environment, hence the Marine Rating. This conformal coating makes it ideal for outdoor applications and extreme conditions. If you are looking for a single DIN system, this one is worth a buy.
Next one in the list of best JVC head units is the JVC KDR860BT. That is yet another single DIN in-dash stereo receiver. The face panel of this stereo receiver has the facility to connect USB, CD/DVD, and audio input using the AUX input jack. If you have the habit of listening to the radio while driving, the JVC KDR860BT gives you the option to listen to local AM/FM stations and also the Internet radio stations.
The built-in MOSFET amplifier generates 22 watts RMS at 50 W peak bandwidth. The peak output of this single DIN head unit touches 200 W achieved by a 50 W x 4 channel setup. As far as the ports are concerned, you have a USB port with a sliding cover and an aux input on the front panel. For the output, the 4 channel preamp (2.5 V) on the front, sub / rear does the job. Being a single DIN design, the detachable face features single line LCD display of 14-digits with blue button illumination built-in. The connectivity options include Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming, AOA (Android Open Accessory) 2.0 to enable control and charging of Android devices (running Android version 4.1 and higher) through a USB connection, built-in control and charging capability for Apple smart devices such as iPhone, iPod, and iPad. Pandora and iHeartRadio Internet radio control with iPhone and Android operating systems, and Siri Eyes Free voice control with supported iPhones.
The wireless streaming is achieved using the Bluetooth pairing between the stereo receiver and your smart device. Once the pairing is done you can easily communicate with your hand-held device (answering calls, playing media, local radio stations and internet radio stations) and iPhone users are provided with the option to talk to Siri without picking up the phone. You may feel that controlling the receiver is difficult from the unit and to address this manufacturer has developed a mobile app to access your receiver controls and settings. This is one facility which will catch your attention.
The charging facility provided through the USB port on the front panel of the receiver is quite useful too. Any smartphone user will value this since it enables them to be both connected and entertained throughout their long drives. The 3-band parametric equalizer with 12 presets provides you the option to control bass, treble etc. You also have the subwoofer low pass filter, level and face control. The Digital Track Expander helps to improve the audio quality while playing highly compressed music files. The Music drive feature enables you to choose audio from multiple memory cards or USB pen drives in through a connected memory card reader or USB hub. We’ve seen this feature in the previous product as well. This comes handy on long drives or if you are somebody who wishes to choose from a huge list encompassing multiple storage devices.
Like most other audio head devices, this is compatible with factory fitted steering controls through an adaptor. What this lacks is the ability to read DVDs, which is more than compensated by the extensive connectivity options and the Music drive feature.
This concludes my list of the JVC audio receiver head units. You can choose the one that suits your requirements best. You may not need all the features, but certain may be a must have. So, choose wisely.