Guide to Choosing the Best Car Stereo System | 2018 Edition

Most New Year’s resolutions are discarded within weeks, but unlike eating healthier and exercising, upgrading your car audio system is a resolution you can actually keep, thanks to the variety of new equipment options available in 2018. To help you select the best car stereo for your needs and budget, we’ve compiled a best-of-the-best list of stereos so you can start the new year with high-quality music from the comfort of your car.

Best sound

For many people, it’s all about the music. If features, compatibility, and price take a backseat to sound quality in your opinion, you can’t go wrong with the Kenwood DDX24BT multimedia receiver. In addition to all the standard features of a large touchscreen display, this stereo receiver offers a 13-band graphic equalizer to customize your sound, plus a Time Alignment feature to further adjust sound performance and four 50-watt channels for maximum power.

Other top sound quality picks:

  • JVC KD-AR959BS offers a 5-band equalizer, digital track expander to enhance compressed audio file performance, and a Smart Music Control app to add gesture and voice commands.

  • Alpine CDE-HD149BT features a built-in 4-channel amplifier to ensure your music sounds great, plus a range of sound customization features and a 9-band parametric equalizer.

Best value

Even if your holiday bonus wasn’t as generous as you were expecting, you can still find a quality sound system with plenty of innovative features for an affordable price. BOSS Audio’s BV9979B model plays music from a wide variety of sources (including CDs, MP3s, flash drives, and SD cards), and features Bluetooth connectivity, 85 watts of power from four speaker channels, plus a built-in equalizer to customize your audio.

Other top value picks:

  • Jensen VX3022 includes built-in Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls and music streaming, a CD/DVD player, and a USB port, plus a large, user-friendly touchscreen display.

  • Pioneer DEH-X6900BT features a multi-segmented LCD display with various backlight options, wireless compatibility, and an onboard 5-band equalizer to maximize audio performance.

Best touchscreen

While many new car audio receivers feature touchscreens, most are “resistive,” rather than “capacitive” like smartphone touchscreens. For the best touch response in car audio, check out the Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX. In addition to offering outstanding smartphone compatibility, this unit enables multi-touch gestures like pinch-zooming, and its built-in navigation system comes complete with real-time traffic data and nearly eight million points of interest in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Other top touchscreen picks:

  • Kenwood DDX773BH features a 6.9-inch screen with a clean, user-friendly interface and a quality DVD player in addition to easy smartphone compatibility.

  • JVC KW-V130BT is compatible with streaming music applications including SiriusXM satellite radio, plus an easy-to-install rearview camera for parking assistance and increased safety.

Best smartphone compatibility

If smartphone compatibility ranks highest on your list of car stereo priorities, it’s a good idea to select a system built especially for your phone’s operating system.

  • For Android users, the Pumpkin 6.2-Inch Stereo runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow right out of the box and offers plenty of customization options and power. The Android Auto-optimized unit also offers a 1080p video display, subwoofer audio outputs, a Wi-Fi modem for increased signal reception, and steering wheel control connectivity.

  • For Apple fans, you can’t go wrong with the Alpine ILX-007, which is considered the legacy product of the Apple CarPlay market. The large 7-inch touchscreen display offers all the primary features Apple users love, providing a familiar and intuitive experience that decreases distraction. The unit is also compatible with most steering wheel controls to further enhance safety.

  • However, if you want quality smartphone compatibility for multiple smartphone operating systems, check out the Pioneer AVH4200NEX. The 7-inch motorized display is optimized for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and it can connect up to two smartphones simultaneously. It can also handle up to four amplifiers and supports various traffic, weather, navigation, and entertainment apps.

Start the New Year with a new car stereo

If you’ve resolved to enhance your mobile experience in 2018 with a new car stereo, let the car audio experts at Audio Shack help. We have a wide variety of car stereo receivers, speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers and more available for any budget, and we also offer professional installation to ensure you get the most out of your equipment.

Give us a call at 619-749-5750 or stop in our El Cajon location today.