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on 2 May 2007
My first new headunit for a few years and I decided on a DAB one for the bragging rights! I had a few worries that I'd receive no DAB stations or that if I did, I'd lose reception really easily - especially when on the move but I am *delighted* with it. I recieve all available 35 stations with no fade/hiss or drop in signal even when through a (small) tunnel, driving in the city or parked in the garage. This is all from a small unobtrusive windscreen aerial thats included in the package.

Installation was quite easy. You get all the bits in the box that you'll need - DAB aerial, remote control, wires etc. I was lucky enough to have standard ISO connectors on my car (2000 Civic) but some models will require you to purchase an ISO adapter - check before you rip your dash apart! There is also an 'auxillary-in' connector to connect an mp3 player.

The headunit doesn't require an external amplifier, but if you want to use one, all the connectors are present on the back (Left/Right/Front/Rear). You can also connect a remote control (Sony one shown in the manual but it could be possible to wire up existing steering wheel controls).

Sound quality is excellent from DAB, FM and MP3/CD. MW and LW were also surprisingly clear with no 'engine whine'.

All I will say is that its slighty tricky to scan for DAB stations first time. I scanned in the driveway and picked up only 4 stations. I drove down the road and rescanned and picked up 35 stations, saved them and went back to the driveway and could still receive them all so I think you need to have a strong signal for the inital scan. It takes a bit of jiggery-pockery to get all the statiions and multiplexes as you want them but it only has to be done once.

The aerial - its a small black box with 2 filements that attaches to the windscreen. Its really unobtrusive but a word of warning. Do what I did and stick in on with blu-tak until you're happy its getting the best reception. Then and only then remove the backing paper and stick it on properly - it would be really hard to remove once its on.

Finally, keep in mind that you need to run this aeriel down the A-pillar and behind the dashboard. I was really lucky and found an easy route and it looks like a factory install but with a lot of cars, it may be hard to do this without a professional fitter or a lot of headscratching.

Anyway I'll shut up now. I'll be uploading photos too so check back!
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on 15 March 2006
I can now answer some concerns I had before I bought this car stereo.

To receive the DAB programmes, you must install the additional internal aerial which is supplied in the box. This could (and did!) involve major under dash work. It sticks to the inside of the windscreen, and has its own socket on the back of the set above the FM/External (existing) aerial. Without the DAB aerial, you will get "Not found" in DAB mode.

The removable front security panel is very large (full width (17cm) and height (4.5cm), and 3cm deep) and will fill up your pocket like a very big glasses case, but the action to open it to insert a CD has a very solid action. It slides down and can be closed after the CD has been inserted.

To turn the radio off, hold down the OFF button for 4 to 5 seconds. To turn it back on, press the SOURCE button on the bottom left. I say this because it is not obvious even though most of the other controls are.

There is a small remote control, which is fine, but I have difficulty reading the words on the buttons. I suspect this will get mislaid easily.

Fitting (apart from the additional DAB aerial) was remarkably straightforward. Adaptors are supplied for the existing FM/external aerial, the loudspeakers and power supply. The multi-lingual installation instructions are OK, but could be better.

There are connections for electric aerials, external amplifiers, one auxiliary input and steering column controls. There is no facility for attaching remote CD changers.

The display dims when the car lights are switched on, but this can be over-ridden.

I've not got any MP3 tracks, but I believe all the meta data can be displayed, as with CDs from Sony.

The clock can be set automatically from the RDS, but may be many seconds out due to transmission delays from satellites. It can be set manually.

The removal tools are supplied, but when used, the outer casing remains in the dash. I haven't figured how to remove that, which I will need to do when I replace the original Blaupunkt tape player before trading in the car.

And finally, the sound is much improved (and louder!) in the car, for both CDs and radio. I'm pleased with it, and recommend it as a DAB/single CD player.

Update - 6+ months on...

There's not a lot to add; the radio has been very good. The security panel has a solid feel, and clicks in and out easily and positively. The kids love the scrolling display but upper management tells me it's very distracting.

I can confirm that there's no problem with (my son's) MP3s, and I play podcasts which I've downloaded and saved onto CD-R. Track titles are displayed when newer CDs are played - most of mine are old...

The remote is fun if somewhat unnecessary. It does require to be looked at while using it - it's not intuitive which button does what, and so can't (shouldn't?) be used by the driver while driving along. I don't recommend handing it to teenagers sitting in the back either...

When the DAB signal is lost (e.g. in the Mersey Tunnel), the radio will quickly find the same station on FM, if it exists (e.g BBC Radio 4). If the FM station does not exist (e.g. Classic Gold), then "Not detected" is displayed and the system goes silent. When the DAB signal is re-detected, the radio reverts back to DAB. This can happen quite frequently when driving in cities as you drive through a shadow caused by a building. This more pronounced from local rather than national transmissions. The volume with DAB is louder than on the corresponding FM station, and change in volume as the radio searched for the stronger signal can be annoying.

Which to some extent comes back to the aerial. While the internal stick-on aerial is generally fine (and not shown any signs of peeling off), it works best in areas with a strong local signal. There seems to be very little loss with the national transmissions (i.e. the BBC)

If I transfer the radio to another car, I shall definitely be looking at installing a DAB roof-top aerial.

The radio has medium and long wave, but I don't think I've ever used them; they're all but superfluous in my view.

Sum up - make sure you get a quality aerial, preferably roof-top, and enjoy!
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on 6 February 2007
Had to take it to Halfords to get it fitted as I'm not technically minded and it had to be done behind the dash of my new model fiesta sport which at 40 quid was not cheap! I bought a seperate monster cable which plugs into the back for my mp3 player and fed into the glove box - so no need for a multi disk changer! (the guy in halfords said it was the best DAB available - if you'd give that credit!)

I have to say the sound is fantastic - when you select normal tuner and listen to, say radio 1, it will recognise it has it as a DAB station and automatically switch it over, but before it does you get the 'before and after' effect and you can truly hear the difference! unobtrusive DAB aerial for the edge of the windscreen and not a wire in sight. never had a problem with signal yet.

If like me, you're no boy racer and don't care about the amps, speakers and bass boxes etc and are just after the DAB experience for your car - then I highly reccommend this stereo to you. (I have no idea about it's suitability to a complete in-car audio system!) I research anything like this (anything over 20 quid actually!) and this is the flagship sony DAB car stereo. (I'm slightly bias toward purchasing sony being a sonyphile!)

It suits my needs perfectly - no more CD's, nothing too complicated, tonnes better than the factory fit, I now have DAB which is amazing for the extra choice and it's sony!
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on 20 January 2007
Had it installed in my Golf as I wasn't sure how easy it would be to run the aerial connection behind the fascia. The aerial itself sticks unobtrusively to the inside of the windscreen. The sound is great, much better than the factory fitted gamma unit, and radio reception excellent. The controls are rather small however and the sound profiles pretty useless. Just sticking to the default tone setting is best. The others as on many electronic music players just sound odd. The removable front plate is rather large.

Overall excellent with a quality feel to it. Just hope Sony improve the control buttons on future models.
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on 1 April 2007
i had a jvc dab car radio/cd,itwas one of the first on the market.The set came with a seperate dab receiver. The set was not bad but after 6 years the receiver packed up so it was time for a replacement and being a Sony fan i plumped for this set,i must say how technology has moved on this set is easy to operate the sound is great, the cd is easy to use and im over the moon with this purchase. I have my own arctic unit and spend all day every day in it and the sounds are very important.Providing you dont go into obscure areas the digital improvements on radio sound are well worth having and recommend this set whole heartedly.
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on 25 February 2007
Fitting the sony was quite a straight forward job using the uso connectors.Make sure you get the dab aerial in the correct place because its hard to move once fitted. I would also strongly recommend that you read the manual before fitting.Good sound well laid out good features such as DSO easy to use equalisers.I also got very good results playing my MP3 player through the audio input. If you have a resonable idea of fitting any hi-fi equipment together, then I would see no problem fitting this item DIY.
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on 29 December 2007
Main reason for buying this was the DAB radio which I listen to at home and work, mostly 6 MUSIC , also I wanted a mp3 compatable cd player, the Sony has it all, DAB reception is excellent and the mp3 playback is very good.
Fitting the aerial was a bit fiddly but worth taking time over, hiding the cable was easy in my primera, setting up the unit was also a bit fiddly as the instructions arn't brilliant, i couldn't understand why it couldn't find any DAB stations until i'd worked out you had to press and hold the "next station" button and leave it for a minute or two, shame it doesn't have an auto volume control and i can't see any real use for the remote but that aside its a great piece of kit
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on 9 March 2008
Well now....cracking piece of kit! I have to say first of all, this is £90 cheaper than Halfords! Get it for that reason alone if you want a tidy bit of DAB in your motor.

Having changed stereos in the car before i thought this may be a bit too much for me having read some of the reviews beforehand about the dash work involved in installing it. Pleasantly surprised however to find that there wasnt....took me longer getting the old radios cradle out than putting this one in. Managed to find a path for the DAB aerial to go down between the door hinge and the join of the dashboard and under the glove box at the back.....little bit of sticky tape does wonders if you dont want to rip your car apart.

Once installed (looks very good by the way) the sound quality is excellent. My twin door speakers helps i'm sure, but theres no interference that i can hear anyway. When i tuned to my local station i was again chuffed....the DAB kicked in automatically for that one. Managed to find a few more with some manual tuning, slightly limited however due to my location.

MP3 discs do indeed play the tag details, very handy in fact when you consider how many tunes you can squeeze onto CD's in this format.

All in all, loving my new radio, listen to it more often now that the quality is vastly improved. Only slightly bigger than my old one so the case is reasonable to carry. Equaliser settings give good thump to the driving anthems (again, possibly dependent on how good your car speakers are). A shout to another reviewer though....when you install it take the guys advice....stick the aerial to the windscreen with blue tack first to ensure you get a reception from DAB and you know where the wiring is going, it will be a nightmare removing it as once its stuck it certainly seems stuck for good. This will be a pickle as its definitely coming with me when i trade the car!

At £140 though..........need i say more?!
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on 10 January 2006
After waiting for what seems to be an awful long time, Sony have entered the car stereo/DAB market. After putting up with an inferior Goodmans DAB car radio for the past 18 months, I was relieved to be able to upgrade to a reputable brand again. This head unit is fab, it does everything bar control a boot changer (which I don't possess so isn't a problem for me but maybe for others). I was pleased to be informed by the fitter that the DAB aerial was included in the box (see review below re:aerial) and was easily attached to the windscreen. The unit is simplicity itself to use. Didn't need to refer to the manual at all to get all the basic functions up and running. It sounds great as well even with the 2 original speakers in my car. It drops a star for not controlling boot changers as originally quoted in the spec way back when it was supposed to be released as the option to upgrade would always be nice...
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on 11 January 2006
After a very long wait, Sony have finally released a DAB head unit. It is an excellent stereo which only drops a star for not including a CD/MD changer option. It is very easy to use, sounds great and has exceptional DAB coverage with the included DAB antenna which fits to the inside of the windscreen (very unobtrusively). Like all Sony car audio, it also looks the part. As my car has no clock, I like the fact that this stereo also has the time permanently displayed. All in all, I can highly recommend this unit IF you do not need the CD/MD changer controls. I am just wondering how useful the remote control will be seeing as the head unit is all of about 12" away from my left hand when driving!
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