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How to select an aftermarket head unit stereo

The head unit is like the “brain” of the entire audio system. These days head units have an amazing number of built-in and optional features; Bluetooth, Pandora, iHeart , Ipod, satellite, HD Radio, USB readers and many other interfaces and features  Many also include backup camera display, navigation, DVD player along with many more features so where do you start? If you are looking to build a quality sound system and plan for future growth you need to be sure you head unit has the following options:

Must Haves:

  1. High Pass Filter
  2. Front Preamp Output RCA
  3. Rear Preamp Output RCA
  4. Subwoofer Preamp Output RCA

Nice Features:

  1. Onboard EQ
  2. Low Pass Filter
  3. \

NOTE: If you have steering wheel controls for your audio, you will need to purchase a steering wheel interface. We have the easiest setup and instructions here **:

If you are going to stay with a basic, just select a decent name brand product and don’t worry about the features above.

Next decide do I want Navigation / DVD or just a good head unit?

Lately it seems like more and more people are steering way from Navigation units and just going with a head double DIN unit that will play DVDs or nice single DIN head unit

Next you will want to decide do I want single DIN or double DIN?  Don’t get scared here, this is really easy! Head units generally come in either single DIN (180 x 50 mm panel) or double DIN (180 x 100 mm panel) size. The depth is not standardized. The US standard for a singe DIN head unit is 2″ x 7″ and the Double DIN sized head unit is a 4″ x 7″. Your new head unit will say single or double DIN.

Head Unit FAQ;

  1. Why do I need an amp, my new stereo will output 50      watts per channel.

99% of all stock & aftermarket head units do not provide more than 20 watts RMS. Most manufacturers state the PEAK ratings in large print and the RMS rating in small print. Without getting all technical you want to look at RMS. Since most head units do not output much power, many will end up adding an amp.

  1. Will my steering wheel controls work with my new head      unit?

Most new head units will require a steering wheel interface that integrates the new head unit to their existing steering wheel controls. We have custom kits just for your Toyota Tacoma Double Cab.

  1. I have the JBL system, do I need anything special to      install my new head unit / aftermarket stereo?

The JBL system includes a factory amplifier. If you want to add a new head unit, you will need to purchase a JBL interface kit. It will allow you to connect your new head unit to your factory JBL amp.

  1. Will a 4, 5 or x inch screen fit in my Toyota Tacoma      Double Cab?

Most head units will clearly state if they are single or double din units. The size of the screens can vary greatly. But the overall unit will usually be a single or double din.

  1. Can I move my camera video feed from my mirror to my      new after market stereo?

Yes, we can show you how to do that. We have a video and even offer the custom parts you will need to easily move your camera display from your rearview mirror to your new stereo with a screen. Keep in mind your head unit must have a camera input and support backup camera function.

  1. Which brand and model aftermarket stereo / head unit do      you recommend?

For a single DIN on the entry level side:

For a single DIN on the mid level side:

For a double DIN on the entry level side (No Nav):

For a double DIN on the mid level side:

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