Are you tired of listening to and looking at that boring stock radio in your dash? Are you ready to step up to some new technology, with cool and exciting cosmetics? Want to connect and control your iPhone or iPod? Have a look at the new Dual Axxera AXD430 receiver. With a full color TFT display, iPhone and iPod connectivity and more, the $119.99 receiver is a tough deal to pass up.
FEATURES and FUNCTIONS
The AXD430 is a single DIN size receiver, with a fold down removable faceplate, and a host of playback options. Of course there is an AM/FM tuner, CD, MP3 and WMA playback. There are also front and rear auxiliary inputs with a 3.5mm jack on the front, and a pair of RCA inputs on the rear of the chassis. A backlit front panel mounted USB input is provided for charging and direct control of your iPhone or iPod, or even just a simple thumbdrive. And with your connected iPhone or iTouch, you can also access your Pandora channels, use the usual thumbs up or down commands, and bookmark a song for purchase later. During Pandora playback, you can also play, pause or select the next song, and switch between any of your personalized stations.
In the looks department, the AXD430 is pretty exciting to look at, with blue button illumination, and a three inch full color TFT LCD with 320x240 resolution. The display is crisp and clear, and really brings your album art to life!
On the audio side of things, a built in MOSFET amplifier provides CEA 2006B rated eighteen watts per channel and the preamp section is capable of four volts of output. There are two pairs of pre-outs, a front pair and the second pair can either be rear or sub out by engaging the built in adjustable low pass crossover. A separate level adjustment is also provided for the subwoofer level. Built in equalization curves and a three band parametric type EQ are provided for those who like to tweak things for themselves. You can also adjust the internal gain settings for each of the sources, to get nice even levels between different sources.
A wireless infrared remote control as well as an input jack for a steering wheel control adapter (sold separately) is also included.
CONTROLS AND FUNCTIONALITY
From an ergonomics standpoint, the AXD430 has a lot going for it, but it’s not quite perfect. For example, I really like the tactile feel and smoothness of the rotary volume control, and the buttons also have good feedback when pressed. But, I tend to use the track up and down buttons a lot, and on this unit, these buttons are small, and difficult to find by feel. On the other hand, the buttons for Pandora’s thumbs up and down are prominent, easy to find, but I believe much less frequently used.
Another minor gripe I had was with the source selection process. On the AXD430, you press the source button and with a slight delay, the available sources scroll in the display. But then, you must also press the volume knob to actually enter your selection. I dislike the two steps, and much prefer simply using the source button. And there was the usually simple task of programming the radio station presets, which required downloading the owner’s manual, and then figuring out the software.
However, when it comes to accessing your Artists, Songs, or Playlists on your iPhone/iPod, the 12Mbps USB connection make things fast and quite pleasant to use.
If you take the faceplate on and off your radio frequently, you’ll appreciate the easy to operate disconnect and connect mechanism, which is simple and straightforward to use.
With a suggested retail price of just over a hundred bucks, I wasn’t expecting the audio performance of the Axxera unit to be as good as it was. I listened to all available sources, and I found absolutely nothing to complain about. I played around with the preset EQ settings, which range in usefulness from “okay” to “what were they thinking”! But, with the ability to adjust things for yourself, there should be no problem getting things adjusted properly. Set to a flat response, from a sonic perspective, the Axxera unit is quite good, and you’d have to spend significantly more money to get any discernible improvement. The tuner also worked well, and pulled in all the local stations, and sounded good in my lab.
ON THE BENCH
On the unforgiving and deadly accurate Cogent Audio Labs test bench, the AXD430 performed quite well. A true high performance head unit will combine a high output voltage with good noise performance, a flat frequency response and low source impedance. The Axxera unit measured pretty good in output voltage with a true 4.2 volts, and the signal to noise performance was good as well. Output impedance was decent, at just over 200 ohms. The internal amplifier measured exactly as the specs indicate, and also had decent signal to noise performance. Frequency response was reasonably flat from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, with a slight droop on the top end caused by the CD mechanism. The Aux inputs proved to be all ruler flat within the full audio band. Disc loading times were average, with a bit of a delay in loading the disc each time you changed sources. Overall though, from a technical perspective this is a pretty good product, and much better than its low price would have you believe.
CEA-2006A Power per channel (all channels driven, @ 4 ohms) …… 18.2 watts/ch X 4
A Wtd S/N Ratio (ref to 2V/1W @ 4 ohms) Amplified output…………... -79.7dBA (Aux)
THD+N @ 2V/1W @ 4 ohms 1kHz ……………………………………… 0.37%
Frequency Response (-3.0dB) ……………………………………………. 20Hz – 19.4kHz (CD)
20Hz – 20kHz (Aux)
Max Usable Output Voltage ………………………………………………. 4.2Vrms
A Wtd S/N Ratio ref to full output voltage……………………………… -83.5dBA (Aux)
Output Impedance …………………………………………………………. 211 ohms
Frequency Response (-3.0dB) ……… …………………………………… 20Hz – 19.4kHz (CD)
20Hz – 20kHz (Aux)
The Axxera AXD430 is quite an amazing performer when you take into consideration the low price. With a colorful and clear display, Pandora functionality, iPhone/iPod control, and very good audio performance that includes great pre-outs, built in crossovers and EQ functions, adjustable source levels, and plenty more bells and whistles. Couple all of that goodness with a two year warranty, and it may quickly become a favorite source unit for audio enthusiasts on a budget.
For more information on this product and all the other Axxera products, visit them online at www.axxera.dualav.com