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  • Single DIN audio systems offer the latest car audio technology in a compact package.

    What is a single DIN receiver?

    When it comes to in-vehicle, in-dash entertainment systems, there are two standards: single DIN and double DIN. The difference is in the height of the slot required to accommodate the unit in the dashboard. Double DIN systems are twice as tall as single DIN receivers. Single DIN receivers are what most vehicles came with as standard equipment for decades.

    That compact size is a significant advantage for singe DIN receivers. It means they can be installed in virtually any vehicle.

    The different types of single DIN receivers

    Single DIN receivers have evolved to incorporate the latest in vehicle audio technology. While you can still find models that stick to the basics of AM/FM radio and CD, there are many options for more advanced capability.

    Want to play music from your smartphone? A single DIN receiver with USB input or Bluetooth wireless connectivity means any music that can be played on your smartphone can also be played over your car’s audio system. Satellite radio fans can find single DIN receivers that also feature a built-in satellite radio tuner.

    One of the biggest evolutions in single DIN receivers has been driven by the popularity of touchscreen double DIN systems with advanced features like touchscreen input, real-time vehicle camera display, navigation, and support for platforms like Apple CarPlay. Manufacturers are now offering these big touchscreen displays in a single DIN system.

    What to look for in a single DIN receiver

    There are a number of factors to consider when looking for a new single DIN receiver for your vehicle.

    The biggest decision these days is whether you want smartphone connectivity. If that’s important to you, the first decision is whether you want to go all-in with a platform like Apple CarPlay. If so, you’ll need a receiver that supports the standard and includes a touchscreen display. if the goal is limited to being able to stream music from your smartphone over your vehicle’s stereo, a big choice is between wireless Bluetooth connectivity, or physically plugging in your phone with a USB cable. Do you want CD playback capability? With Bluetooth increasing in popularity, some manufacturers are dropping CD playback from their single DIN receivers, so make certain to check that.

    Other factors to consider include support for HD or satellite radio, and the display itself (even when showing just a CD track or radio station, not all LCD and LED displays are created equal).

    One critical factor that doesn’t change, whether you’re looking at a receiver with just FM radio and CD or the latest multimedia-capable unit with full smartphone integration, is sound quality. How much power do you want, and how many speakers do you want the receiver to drive? How much control do you want over the sound? Are you happy with basic bass and treble adjustments, or do want to customize the sound with a multi-band graphic equalizer.