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Single Din vs Double Din Stereo – What’s The Difference?

Single Din vs Double Din

If you’re looking for a new car stereo, it can be very confusing trying to understand the difference between single din and double din stereos. They both look pretty much the same – so what exactly is the difference?

Well, that’s why we are here! We want to help you understand all about single din vs double din stereos.

So, please read on to find out everything you need to know. You might also want to take a look at our article called Stereo Installation Basics – which is really helpful if you are thinking of installing one yourself!

So what is the difference between single and double DIN car stereos?

The most obvious difference between single din and double din head units is size. Double Din Head Units are physically bigger than their Single Din counterparts – hence the ‘Double’ part of their name. But this isn’t all there is to it…

What is Din in Car Stereo

First, let’s define what a DIN is. DIN stands for “Deutsche Industrie Norm” or German Industry Standard, and refers to the standardized size of car radios and head units. It was established by the German standards organization in 1984 and has since been adopted by most car manufacturers around the world.

What is single-DIN Car Stereo?

As the name implies, a single-DIN (or 1-DIN) car stereo is a single unit that fits into a slot of a specific size in your dash. A single-DIN head unit is usually about 2 inches tall by 7 inches wide.

What is single-DIN Car Stereo?

A single-DIN car stereo is the most common type of head unit on the market. It is generally less expensive than a double-DIN unit and is easier to install. Single-DIN head units also take up less space in your car, which can be a consideration if you have a small car or a tight fit in your dash.

Key Features of single-DIN Car Stereo

  • Easier to install
  • Takes up less space in your car
  • Less expensive than a double-DIN head unit

Cons of Single Din Stereo

  • May have limited features compared to a double-DIN unit
  • Screen may be small and difficult to see
  • Buttons may be close together and difficult to use

What is double-DIN Car Stereo?

What is double-DIN Car Stereo

A double-DIN (or 2-DIN) car stereo is a larger unit that takes up twice the space of a single-DIN head unit. A double-DIN car stereo is usually about 4 inches tall by 7 inches wide.

A double-DIN car stereo can offer more features than a single-DIN unit, such as a built-in touchscreen display, GPS navigation, and DVD playback. Double-DIN head units are also generally more expensive than single-DIN units.

If you have a double-DIN opening in your dash, you can choose either a single-DIN or double-DIN car stereo. However, if you have a single-DIN opening, you will need to get a single-DIN car stereo.

Key Features of double-DIN Car Stereo:

  • More features than a single-DIN head unit
  • Built-in touchscreen display
  • GPS navigation
  • DVD playback

Cons of Double Din Stereo:

  • More expensive than a single-DIN head unit
  • May be too big for some cars
  • Can be more difficult to install

Single DIN vs Double DIN Stereo – Which is better for sound quality?

In terms of sound quality, both single DIN and double DIN stereos have the ability to produce high-quality audio. However, there are a few factors that may impact the overall sound experience.

Built-in Amplifier

Firstly, the size of the stereo unit itself can make a difference. A double DIN stereo has more space for larger components such as amplifiers, resulting in potentially better sound quality. On the other hand, a single DIN stereo may have limited space for these components, leading to a slightly lower sound quality. However now a days many single DIN head units also comes with amplifier support so it is not a major drawback.

Number of Speakers Connection

Another factor that can affect sound quality is the number of speakers connected to the stereo. A double DIN stereo typically has more speaker connections available, allowing for a more comprehensive audio setup. This can result in a more immersive sound experience compared to a single DIN stereo with fewer speaker connections.

Additionally, the quality of the speakers themselves can play a significant role in sound quality. A double DIN stereo may have larger and higher-quality speakers than a single DIN stereo, resulting in better sound reproduction.

Built-in Features Like Equalizer, DSP

Furthermore, many modern double DIN stereos offer advanced audio features such as built-in equalizers and digital signal processing, which can greatly enhance the sound quality. These features may not be available in single DIN stereos or may be limited in functionality.

Verdict – If space is not an issue and having access to advanced audio features is important, then a double DIN stereo may be the better choice for superior sound quality.

Single DIN vs Double DIN Stereos: Major Differences

1. There are several basic types of car stereo – standard, premium, high performance and super high performance.

2. Once you have decided on a make and model, it will be easy to decide which is the right stereo for your car.

3. The next thing you want to decide is whether you want a single din or double din…and why?

4. A Double Din Head Unit is just that – it takes up two spaces in your dash (hence the name). A Single Din head unit only takes up one slot. If your dashboard isn’t pre-cut for a double din, then you’ll need to get this done at an auto sound store before installing.

5. Double DIN units will give you more options for features and inputs…but really big screens can take up more room than you might think.

6. If you want to install an aftermarket head unit like a Pioneer, Single or Double DIN will make little difference to your installation costs because most manufacturers design both standard and double DIN stereos with the same mounting points…and brackets are just brackets! The only reason you would need to get new ones is if your dash is pre-cut for one size but not the other.

7. When it comes to audio performance, there is very little between them – if any at all. You can certainly get awesome audio quality from either type of stereo. We have tested Premium & High Performance 6” touch screens that sound awesome!

8. What about safety? argument in favor of the double din is that they provide a lot more space behind the head unit, which can be used for routing wires from accessories…like rear view cameras and GPS receivers. This makes it much easier to keep them neat and out of sight.

9.  Another thing you might want to know is that a Double Din Head Unit has a larger screen than a Single Din, which is great…if you’re into watching movies!

10.  The last point to cover here is theft prevention. There are some cars that have had their stereos stolen time after time because there was nothing to stop the thieves simply ripping them out of the dash. If you don’t think this will be a problem for you, then you might not even need to worry about this. If it is a concern, the best thing you can do is get a head unit that has an anti-theft system built in…or one with car specific security integration kit.

Hands free kits are also available for most stereos – so if its important to have voice control with hands free operation, choose a stereo with this feature.

Touch screen stereos are also becoming more common – they offer the user all sorts of features like iPod connections and Bluetooth integration…and they look cool too!

If you would like to know more about our range of touch screen car stereos, click here now.

FAQs

Can a single DIN fit in a double DIN?

Absolutely! You can put a single DIN in a double DIN slot with the help of an adapter. A single DIN is 50 mm x 180 mm while a double DIN is 100 mm x 180 mm — so the only difference between them is the width.

If you are wondering why anyone would want to do this — well, maybe they have an older car with only one slot for audio and video components, or maybe they just don’t like how big double-DIN radios look. 

Using an adapter that converts from one type to the other will essentially make your radio fit into both sizes.

It’s important to note that it may be more difficult for some models than for others, as some brands might require extra installation steps or wiring modifications that could challenge amateur installers.

So it’s recommended that if you choose this route, you seek professional help if needed! 

What’s the best car stereo to buy?

For single din units, Sony’s DSX-GS80 is designed for excellent sound quality without breaking your budget. It comes with a 4 x 55 watt amplifier that lets you enjoy higher volumes than other receivers can provide without distortion or loss of clarity. 

You can read full reviews here: 6 Best Single DIN Head Units in 2023

When it comes to double DIN head units, Kenwood’s DMX7706S is our top pick overall thanks to its amazing sound quality resulting from 13 EQ settings (13 band graphic equalizer) that let you fine tune how your music will sound through advanced Digital Signal Processing technology.

You can read reviews here: 6 Best Double DIN Head Unit for Sound Quality

Is 1 DIN universal?

Absolutely! The 1 DIN (or “single din”) size is the most commonly used standard for in-dash car stereo head units. This universal size has been around since the early 1980s when automakers started to include factory-installed head units into their vehicles. 

1 DIN car stereos are generally 7” x 2” in width, height and depth, but some may be slightly larger or smaller depending on the specific product you have. Generally speaking, any radio that is within those measurements can fit into a single din slot with little to no modifications required. 

That being said, there are certain vehicular makes and models which require a unique 1 DIN adapter kit for installation as they may have an irregularly sized opening due to climate control modules or other components taking up valuable space within the dashboard’s interior paneling

Will any double DIN stereo fit?

Yes, in most cases a double DIN stereo will fit in any car that was manufactured after 1988. This is because automakers began using the double DIN (168mm x 100mm) design as the industry standard for radio installation around this time.

How do I know if a double DIN will fit my car?

To make sure it fits properly, you should be aware of a few things. Firstly, not all vehicles are designed to accommodate double DIN head units; some will require an aftermarket installation kit to accommodate that size unit. 

Additionally, check your vehicle’s dimensions before buying one as older cars may have had smaller stereos which might need special adapter plates or brackets depending on the console design.

To do this, start by measuring the space between both panels of trim on either side of the dash. If you have more than 7 inches width or 180 millimeters, then you’ll want a double DIN sized car stereo unit – these are generally found in newer vehicles due to their larger display capacity. 

How much does it cost to install a double DIN car stereo?

Installing a double DIN car stereo can cost anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on the type of stereo chosen and the complexity of the installation. 

The least expensive option is usually to purchase a basic model double DIN car stereo and then install it yourself. This route requires you to have some knowledge of electronics as well as experience working with car audio systems.

You’ll need some tools to help with wiring, such as crimpers, strippers, torque wrenches etc., in order to properly connect all components together. If you’re not confident in your DIY capabilities, then it’s best to take your vehicle into an experienced installer who will be able to provide professional advice when selecting your new system and ensure that it is securely installed in your vehicle. 

If it’s just a simple replacement job for an existing double-DIN setup in your vehicle (i.e., no custom fabrication required) then prices should start at around $50 – this includes labor costs for removal/replacement of parts plus any additional accessories like wiring harnesses or antennas required for installation.

However if additional hardware needs building up before installation can commence then prices can go up considerably depending on what sort of aftermarket equipment might be needed (for example if replacing an old single-DIN unit with a new DVD/navigation system). 

You can read the full article here: How Much Does It Cost To Install A Car Stereo In 2023?

Conclusion

In conclusion, single DIN and double DIN car stereo head units both offer great sound quality, depending on the model you choose. The major difference between the two is their size; single-din units are typically 7” x 2” in width, height and depth while double-din units are usually twice that size at 7”x 4”.

This means double DIN units can incorporate more advanced features, such as a USB port or an MP3 player.

Additionally, double DIN stereos are the standard size for most vehicles manufactured after 1988. While it is possible to install a single-din model into these cars, they may require an adapter kit due to space and size restrictions.

The cost of installing a double-DIN car stereo will depend on the type of stereo chosen, complexity of installation and any additional hardware required.

No matter which type of head unit you decide to go with, make sure it fits properly in your vehicle. Consider the dimensions of both the single-din and double-din stereos to ensure they will fit where you plan on installing them.

Some vehicles may require an aftermarket installation kit for a double-DIN stereo as older cars may have had smaller stereos that need special adapter plates or brackets.

Additionally, consider the features available; while single-din models can have some additional features, a double-DIN stereo typically offers more options such as a USB port or an MP3 player. Lastly, keep in mind the cost of installation; if you are not confident in your DIY skills, it’s best to take your car to an experienced installer for help.

James Williams, the founder of CarAudioSense and a Mobile Electronics Certified Professional, has been in the industry for over 10 years. He specializes in providing custom solutions to make customers' car audio systems sound amazing.

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