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Test Report: Sony CDX-GT660UP Multimedia Receiver

You want a radio with Pandora internet radio control that can also be connected to a SiriusXM tuner. You want a radio that’s iPod/iPhone ready, and will also play digital music from a USB drive. You want a radio that can be customized to perfectly integrate into your dash with an easy-to-read, high quality display. And finally, you want a radio that sounds great, has powerful built-in tuning tools and can be used with or without external amplifiers. If that’s what you want, the new Sony CDX-GT660UP is what you need.

Features

The Sony CDX-GT660UP is a single DIN-sized AM/FM/CD receiver, and comes with a ton of useful and innovative features. The Pandora-capable unit will provide complete access and control of your favorite Pandora stations via your Internet-connected iPhone. Or if you prefer to be your own DJ, simply connect your iPod/iPhone or USB thumb drive to the front mounted USB port, and use Sony’s Quick-BrowZer function, or search for a song by listening to short previews of tracks with the Zappin function. But if you want to get even more involved in how tracks are selected, the CDX-GT660UP is also equipped with Sony’s innovative and proprietary SensMe feature which, via software in your computer, automatically groups tracks by tempo and mood, always ensuring the tracks played are what you’re in the mood for. Maybe you’re a fan of satellite radio, and if so, you’ll be happy to know the CDX-GT660UP has direct connection compatibility with the SiriusXM tuner, eliminating the need for any complicated or costly adapters.

If you like to personalize things, you’ll love the Dynamic Color Illuminator function, which not only provides quick and easy selection of 12 preset illumination colors, but with the RGB adjustability, the color selection extends to 35,000 colors! You can even synchronize the timing of the color changes with the audio source!

On the audio side of things, there is a built-in high power “Dynamic Reality” MOSFET amplifier rated at 17 watts x 4, and three pairs of RCA pre-amp outputs. A powerful DSP processor called an “Advanced Sound Engine” provides all sorts of tuning capabilities, including a 7 band EQ, adjustable delays for tuning the soundstage to your listening position, adjustable high and low pass crossovers and more.

There are five different crossover frequencies available for both the high and low pass filters, with selectable crossover slopes at -6/12/18 dB/octave. A phase inverter is also available for the sub channel, or if you don’t have a subwoofer, a feature called Rear Bass Enhancement applies a low pass filter to your rear speakers to substitute for a subwoofer. Still another feature, something Sony calls DM+ improves the sound quality of highly compressed tracks, restoring much of the lost fidelity.

Controls and Ergonomics

I immediately liked the Sony’s controls and display. The easy to grasp rotary volume control has its circumference wrapped in a nub covered rubber ring, making it nice to operate, and gives good tactile feedback. Track up and down buttons are found on the left upper and lower edges of the removable faceplate, and although they are not very tall, they are wide and can easily be operated with gloved fingers. The source and back buttons are also to the immediate left of the volume knob, and can be operated easily. All controls are logically placed and reasonably intuitive. This is a head unit that you won’t struggle to learn how to operate, or constantly need the owner’s manual for. But by all means, read it, because it does
a great job explaining how all the functions work and you may even discover
a few you didn’t know were there!

The negative image LCD was very easy to read under most conditions, but does tend to wash out a bit under direct sunlight. With two full lines of scrolling text, your track artist and information is always available and, of course, the display can be configured in many different ways, to suit almost any taste.