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While it’s true that high-quality speakers, tweeters, and subwoofers are important for playing music with the best sound quality, if your head unit or multimedia receiver aren’t also top-of-the-line, then your listening experience will still suffer.

Our experts sat down and created a list of some of the best car stereo head units and multimedia receivers of the year. Here’s what we came up with.


Customers leave happy with these car stereo head units from San Diego Car Stereo.

Kenwood KMM-BT328U

Get Alexa voice control in a slim head unit with lots of features for the price: Bluetooth, a USB port for music and phone integration, and the ability to control the receiver via a free JVC Remote app.

Pair two phones simultaneously with Bluetooth for music streaming and voice calling. Play your favorite internet radio playlists, without ever pressing a button. Just ask Alexa to do it for you. The stereo’s USB is compatible with lots of different music files, and Kenwood’s Sound Reconstruction technology restores the depth that often goes missing in compressed music files.

Tweak the sound with a 13-channel EQ, and enjoy preamp outputs and crossover controls to add amplifiers to your system for more power and boom.

Sony RSX-GS9-GS-Series

This sleek head unit looks simple, but underneath are some seriously high-performance audio components that deliver the same rich sound quality you’d expect to hear from Sony’s home audio line up. Connect your smartphone via Bluetooth, NFC, or the Sony SongPal app, or you can wire your phone through a USB or auxiliary cable port.

The unit plays almost every type of music file, so you can even play your music from a jump drive. The large volume knob makes it easy to control the volume.

Other outputs include three pairs of 5-volt preamp outputs and an optical digital output. The only downside of this is that you need to buy a new amplifier with this head unit; it is not included.

Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS

This single DIN CD receiver is equipped with an AM/FM radio and a 14-watt, 4-channel output with built-in Bluetooth and 13-band equalizer. Six-channel preamp outlets include a 4-volt front, rear, and subwoofer.

Despite its nondescript appearance (it looks pretty plain and traditional), it hides hot features, including dual Bluetooth and access to music streaming apps like Pandora and Spotify. The dual-zone color illumination also lets you customize what your screen looks like, so it can match your car’s interior features.

The system also comes with a remote control, which means you can run the head unit without touching it. This is ideal for backseat passengers who insist on being the road trip DJ.

Alpine CDE-HD149BT Head Unit

You can tune this head unit’s sound to meet your exacting specifications. Connect with the Alpine TuneIt app to create a user profile that lets you customize up to 100 different settings to suit your preferences.

Take hands-free calls, thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity, which also allows you to stream Pandora. It also includes an HD radio tuner; CD player; USB for MP3, WMA, and M4A files; and AM/FM tuner.

The 9-band parametric equalizer lets you set your own preferences, or use one of Alpine’s 3,000 presets for easier customization. The head unit is very aesthetically pleasing, too, with its detachable faceplate and easy-to-use display.


These multimedia receivers rank highly in customer reviews.

Kenwood DNX997XR Multimedia Receiver

This fully-loaded 6.8” touchscreen car stereo with CD, DVD, and Garmin navigation capabilities is absolutely off the charts.

Mirror your iPhone, connect up to four exterior cameras, and enjoy built-in navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, HD radio, and three sets of 5-volt preamp outputs for more external amplification.

For a multimedia receiver with absolutely all the bells and whistles, choose this Kenwood model.

Pioneer AVH-221EX Receiver

For both an affordable touchscreen display and wireless convenience, this Pioneer multimedia receiver is a top choice. Its bright 6.2” touchscreen is more than adequate and comes with user-friendly control icons and color options that let you integrate the stereo to match your dash lighting.

The system has built-in Bluetooth, or you can ask the pros at Car Stereo Depot to wire your phone in, instead. You can even pair it with two different phones simultaneously (and take calls or play music from either) and charge a phone via a USB port.

Technically, the Pioneer AVH-221EX includes a 13-band equalizer and digital time alignment. Preamp outputs let you add amplifiers for more power -and you can use this system to play video on backseat TV screens, or to input video for a backup camera.

Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309

Looking for an absolutely huge display? The Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 is outfitted with a 9” one, which still fits in a 2” dash opening.

You’ll get all the latest tech you’d expect from Alpine, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to plug into, plus great sound, especially when you use Alpine’s TuneIt app. If you don’t want to plug in, this receiver also includes regular Bluetooth connectivity.

A 9-band parametric EQ and digital time correction refines your sound, and you can add a rearview backup camera, too.


Connect your smartphone without being tethered to your stereo with this digital multimedia receiver from JVC. The receiver’s built-in Wi-Fi links your phone to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto wirelessly, and Android users can even mirror their phone screen directly onto the 6.8” touchscreen display. Your passengers can connect via Bluetooth to take charge of the playlist or answer their phones, too.

Four camera inputs let you add a backup camera, side-view cameras, and more, and you’ll get the best sound for your buck thanks to this mechless receiver’s digital processing.


Take your car audio to the next level with help from our trusted experts at San Diego Car Stereo. Our team specializes in stereo installation in luxury vehicles, like Jaguar, Volvo, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, and more.

Our car stereo systems are from top audio brands to best complement your vehicle from top car brands.

For the best possible sound in your ride, you need a premium stereo head unit in your dash. Visit us at 4220 Convoy Street in San Diego, California to let us help you choose the best one for your vehicle and your needs.

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