Head unit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A Panasonic head unit, combining radio, CD and MP3

A head unit, sometimes referred to as a "deck", is a component of a stereo system either in an automobile or home cinema system which provides a unified hardware interface for the various components of an electronic media system. An antiquated name for a head unit is a receiver.

Automotive head units[edit]

Installing a head unit
Activated head unit

The head unit is the centerpiece of the car's sound system. Typically located in the center of the dashboard, modern head units are densely integrated electronic packages housed in detachable face plates. As high-end head units are common targets for theft, many head units are typically integrated into the vehicle's alarm system.

Head units give the user control over the vehicle's entertainment media: AM/FM radio, satellite radio, CDs, cassette tapes (although these are now uncommon), MP3, GPS navigation, Bluetooth, etc. Many audio-only head units afford the user precise control over detailed audio functions such as volume, band, frequency, speaker balance, speaker fade, bass, treble, EQ and so on.[1]

Several OEMs such as General Motors are integrating more advanced systems into vehicle's head units[citation needed] such that they can control vehicular functions such as door chimes and even offer vehicle data such as trouble warnings and odometer information; such a head unit thus serves as a secondary instrument panel.

In as much as head units are a central part of a car's decor, they vary as widely in aesthetics as they do in functionality.

With the advent of GPS and DVDs head units with video monitors have come on the market. Such features raise design, safety, and ergonomic issues.[citation needed]


The most standard sizes for car audio head units and enclosures is DIN ISO 7736:

  • Single (180x50 mm) in Europe, South America and Australasia
  • and Double (180x100 mm) in Japan, the UK and North America. Double DIN is also written as 2 DIN and double din.

ISO 10487 is the standard for connectors for the head unit to the car's electrical system.

Aftermarket car radio brands[edit]

Most radio manufactures offers DIN headunits and standard connectors (called universal headunits), including Pioneer, Sony, Alpine, Kenwood, Eclipse, JVC,[2]Boyo[disambiguation needed], Dual, Visteon, Advent and Blaupunkt.[3]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]