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TOP-5 car audio. Rating car radio 2019!

Today we have selected for you the TOP-5 of the most popular car receivers of 2018 and the beginning of 2019. Just want to note that this top will only diskless radio, they are media receivers, since the discs as a carrier are outdated. This has reduced the price of the radio itself and reduce its size.

So, we will not divide today's TOP in places, all the receivers are good in their own way and have their own chips. In general, here it is our top:

Let's look at each model in order. The story about the first radio tape recorder will probably turn out to be slightly overcast, but this is because I will talk in more detail about the main characteristics and will not repeat this in the review of the following radio tape recorders.

Pioneer SPH-10BT

This is a new 2019 year. The main unique feature of Pioneer SPH-10BT is the smartphone holder built into the radio, the ability to pair the radio with a smartphone and full control of it. This is just incredibly cool stuff for several reasons:

  • First, thanks to this, from a regular 1DIN radio tape recorder, you get a full fledged multimedia system on which you can listen to music, watch videos, surf the Internet and enjoy all the benefits of a modern smartphone.
  • Secondly, this is a replacement for the GPS navigator, since you can install any navigation software and maps on your smartphone.
  • Third, the eternal problem “Where to put the phone in the car?” is solved. The smartphone is firmly fixed in the holder and even when driving on bumpy roads, it will not fall out of it. And of course, along with the radio, you can use it as a speakerphone, and the portable microphone is also included.

The radio is controlled using the Pioneer SmartSync application, which can be installed on a mobile device on both Android and iOS. In addition, the receiver has dedicated buttons for launching navigation on a connected phone, as well as launching voice assistants.

So, with the convenience of using a smartphone in the radio tape recorder, we’ll now turn to the most technical stuffing in the media receiver.

Size is 1DIN. I'll go ahead and say that all the tape recorders in this TOP are performed in this particular frame size. I will explain for those who do not know what this DIN is. This, if to say in simple words the height of the radio. 1DIN — 180x50 mm, 2DIN — 180x100 mm. In most cases, 2DIN radios are distinguished by the fact that they have a large display on which you can watch videos and use navigation, but in our case our small 1-din Pioneer can do all this.

Power of the built-in amplifier — 4 channels of 50 watts each. At first glance it may seem that this is enough, but, like most other car stereos, this is an indicator of maximum power, and nominally they give out somewhere in the region of 20-25 W, almost no manufacturer indicates the nominal power of the radio tape recorder, so for percent 90 of all existing head units on the market will indicate 4x50 watts in specifications. Therefore, in order to get better sound, it is recommended to additionally connect an audio amplifier in order to fully unlock the potential of the installed acoustics. Again, I'll run ahead and say that this TOP will have a model with a larger maximum and nominal power, for which, in principle, an additional amplifier is not necessary.

2 pairs of RCA outputs . RCA outputs are line outputs that are used to connect external audio amplifiers. In this case, you can connect 2 audio amplifiers to the radio tape recorder for acoustics and for a subwoofer. There are several options for connecting amplifiers.

Integrated Bluetooth . With it, you can use the speakerphone and listen to music from your smartphone without connecting via USB. And of course, control the radio from a mobile device.

FLAC Support . Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) — playback format uncompressed files with a maximum bitrate, which is much better in terms of playback quality than usual MP3 and even WAV. Such files can be played from drives connected via USB.

13-band graphic equalizer . It's just a bomb! Maximum flexible frequency setting with controls from 50 Hz to 12.5 kHz.

How to set up a 13-band equalizer correctly?

RGB backlight . You can choose the backlight tone to your taste and also, so that it fits perfectly with the color of the other elements in the cabin.

Protection against theft . The receiver is equipped with a removable front panel, which you can always take with you when leaving the car and not be afraid that it will be stolen.

A few words about design — very beautiful and minimalist. On the front panel are the main controls: 6 buttons, USB-connector, which is hidden under the protective cover, a small TFT-screen and 2 stylish semi illuminated. And of course, the smartphone holder, just like the USB connector, hides under a protective cover, so even if you don’t want to connect the phone to the radio, the holder will not interfere you can hide it without any problems.

Connection PDC. Another feature of this receiver is the ability to connect a Pioneer ND-PS1 Parktronic. When it is connected, all information transmitted from the parking sensors will be displayed on the smartphone screen. Very convenient and useful, because even experienced drivers may incorrectly calculate the distance to the border when parking or not notice some kind of barrier that is in the blind zone. And parking sensors will notify all this and help you park properly.

Package :

  • radio tape recorder;
  • plastic storage case for the front panel;
  • ISO connector;
  • Remote speakerphone microphone;
  • User’s Guide;
  • warranty card.

On this, in principle, everything. Summarizing, we can say that the Pioneer SPH-10BT is the media receiver that is perfect for the modern, technologically advanced person who wants a compact head unit in his car that is not inferior in its functionality to more dimensional 2DIN multimedia systems and wants squeeze the maximum out of your smartphone, and not use it only as a dialer, in the internet-carer, on YouTube-video-watcher.

Pioneer MVH-280FD

Pioneer MVH-280FD is also a single-disk diskless radio with one cool chip that sets it apart from the competition the power of the built-in amplifier is 4x100 watts. And this is as much as 2 times more than that of almost all other existing tape recorders. What does it mean? This means that you can easily connect medium-power speakers directly to the radio and not bathe about installing an external amplifier. Yes, as I said earlier, you can ignore the maximum power, but even the nominal power of this radio is 40 watts per channel. For comparison the Pioneer SPH-10BT rated power of 22 watts. As you can see, the difference is almost 2 times. It is worth noting that the average external audio amplifier has a nominal power of 50 watts per channel, so the Pioneer MVH-280FD can quite well compete with it.

So, the power has already been said, now let's move on to the line outputs there are also 2 RCA outputs for connecting an amplifier for 2 pairs of speakers or a pair of speakers and a subwoofer.

Pioneer MVH-280FD can play FLAC audio files and supports direct control of iPod/iPhone and Android devices.

Also, the model has high and low frequency filters, the ability to control a subwoofer and a 5-band graphic equalizer for a fairly flexible sound setting.

Appearance. In principle, the Pioneer 280 looks outwardly like a typical 1DIN radio tape recorder-a small LCD screen, a bunch of control buttons, some of which perform a dual function, a large convenient volume switch, AUX input and a USB connector with a protective cover and backlight. Speaking of lighting. Here it is not replaceable, but only red and other variations of this radio, for example, with a green or white backlight does not exist. So if you want this Pioneer for yourself, but the red light does not fit into the interior of your car, you will either have to accept and live aesthetically unsatisfied, or turn off the light in general and blindly poke buttons at random in the dark.

As for the bundling , it’s like this:

  • radio tape recorder;
  • ISO connector;
  • Pioneer CXE 9606 IR Remote Control;
  • plastic storage case for the front panel;
  • user manual;
  • warranty card.

So who would suit Pioneer MVH-280FD? And it is suitable for those who want to improve the volume and sound quality of their audio system, but are not ready to install an amplifier. Let's go further!

Kenwood KMM-124 and Kenwood KMM-125

Purely technically, this should be the TOP-6 car stereo, but I cannot divide the Kenwood KMM-124 and Kenwood KMM-125 radio receivers into two places, simply because they are almost completely the same. Kenwood KMM-125 is the heir to the KMM-124, which all went to his father and slightly surpassed him. In general, in a nutshell about the KMM-124 model.

Kenwood KMM-124 is a leader in the budget segment of the 1DIN car stereo, which has no decent counterparts for its price. At the time of recording this video, the price of this radio is only 1600 UAH. and for this price you get an excellent USB tape recorder, with FLAC support, 2 pairs of RCA outputs, a 3-band parametric equalizer, a replaceable backlight and a perfectly readable LCD display. Also, the ability to control the regular buttons on the steering wheel is supported, but for this you need to install an additional module. No other brand on the market can provide this now.

Package :

  • radio tape recorder;
  • ISO connector;
  • warranty card;
  • User’s Guide.

Kenwood KMM-125, in turn, can boast of exactly the same, but slightly changed in appearance, very slightly, just a couple of buttons moved and that's it.

In conclusion, about these recorders you can say only one thing these are well deserved leaders in the economy segment. They are perfect for anyone who wants to improve the quality of sound in their car for inexpensively.

Alpine UTE-200BT

Alpine UTE-200BT. To be honest, there is practically nothing to tell about this radio. Look, there is a good Kenwood KMM-124 radio tape recorder, Bluetooth has been screwed to it, Alpine corporate sound quality and design have been added, support for iOS devices and a couple of little things have been added, like Spotify support and listening to Internet radio via a smartphone, as well as support for an optional remote control and in the end it turned out Alpine UTE-200BT.

In words, it somehow doesn’t sound very good, but in fact there’s nothing bad, even the opposite. This tape recorder boasts excellent sound, FLAC support, 3-band EQ, interchangeable backlighting, and all those chips that I listed earlier. This is an excellent tape recorder of the middle price segment. A bit more expensive than good budget models, but for this price difference you get Bluetooth and better sound quality.

Package :

  • radio tape recorder;
  • ISO connector;
  • Remote speakerphone microphone;
  • User’s Guide;
  • warranty card.

This radio is suitable for those who need good sound and Bluetooth.

Alpine UTE-92BT

So, the last tape recorder in our list, but not the last one in quality — Alpine UTE-92BT. This is the most expensive model from our TOP, but its price is fully justified. This is a radio with a built-in sound processor, which means that it has almost unlimited possibilities to tune the sound.

Let's start small. Here you can control the regular buttons on the steering wheel. There is a single line LCD display with interchangeable backlight. The backlight of the buttons is also replaceable, and it can be adjusted independently of the display backlight. There is a built-in Bluetooth, due to which you can connect a smartphone to the receiver for hands free conversations and radio settings. Let's now focus on the settings of the radio, as there is something to tune.

Sound tuning can be carried out either directly with the buttons on the radio tape recorder, or with the help of a special application on the smartphone, it is obviously easier and more convenient to configure from the application. Available per channel setting, that is, for each speaker, you can set your own settings and time delays. Briefly tell about the time delays. They are needed to expose the correct sound stage in the cabin. As we know, the speakers in the car are at different distances from the driver and Respectively, the sound from different speakers comes at different intervals, in order for the sound to come from all the speakers, so to speak, at the same time, you need to set the time delays. They are set by measuring the distance from the speaker to the driver and setting this information in the settings. Most average people may not even notice the difference between correct and incorrect delays, but real audiophiles and people who participate in car audio competitions will appreciate this opportunity.

Achieve perfect sound with the Alpine UTE-92BT radio tape recorder thanks to:

  • 9-band parametric equalizer;
  • factory equalizer presets;
  • crossover;
  • 24 bit DAC;
  • 3 pairs of RCA outputs;
  • as well as FLAC support.

Package :

  • radio tape recorder;
  • plastic storage case for the front panel;
  • ISO connector;
  • Remote speakerphone microphone;
  • User’s Guide;
  • warranty card.

Total, Alpine UTE-92BT this is probably not the one that suits everyone. For many users, most of its functions will be useless. This is more like a radio tape recorder for those who really like high-quality sound, loves to dig in the settings and turn the twists. For those who are going to participate in competitions in car audio or just want to enjoy the perfect sound of your favorite songs in your car.


Well, we talked a bit about all the radio tape recorders and now let's summarize. Each radio tape recorder that hit this TOP is excellent and undoubtedly deserves attention. What to choose — of course you decide. We just give advice.

You need a budget good radio tape recorder — take Kenwood KMM-124 or KMM-125 .

You need a radio with a slightly better sound and Bluetooth — take Alpine UTE-200BT .

Want a stylish and modern radio with full control from your smartphone — definitely Pioneer SPH-10BT .

Want to listen to music loudly, but do not want to install an amplifier — Pioneer MVH-280FD .

Well, if you want to get the perfect sound and do not hesitate to delve into the settings for you the obvious leader is Alpine UTE-92BT .

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