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Dual XDMA6700 car stereo review: Dual XDMA6700 car stereo

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The Good The Dual XDMA6700 is a competitively priced car stereo with respectable support for digital audio sources and a great optional Bluetooth calling interface.

The Bad The system's goofy faceplate design leads to confusion when trying to control tunes on the road. Sound quality via the 1-bit digital-to-analog converter is unimpressive.

The Bottom Line The Dual XDMA6700 is a bargain-basement stereo, ideal for those interested in a useful Bluetooth hands-free module that also plays music.

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5.9 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Performance 5

Review Sections

The Dual XDMA6700 is a car stereo designed with hands-free calling in mind. While the system does not come with a built-in Bluetooth receiver, it does feature a prominent numerical keypad and dedicated buttons for making and ending calls. As a music player, the XDMA6700 has many of the standard digital-age audio requirements, including the ability to play (and search within) MP3 and WMA files, and the provision for an intelligent iPod connection. However, all this functionality comes buried beneath a clumsy control interface.

The Dual XDMA6700 features an attractive faceplate design with blue backlit buttons, a single rotary control knob and a simple monochrome white-on-black display. However, this stereo's design is more ornamental than useful, and the scattered placement of audio search and control buttons is our principal gripe with this system. While the track skip forward and back buttons are located on the far left of the unit (in a vertical configuration, which is confusing enough), the folder skip buttons are inconspicuously buried in the keypad on the right side of the faceplate, doubling as the 5 and 6 buttons for making calls. To switch between the various information readouts for digital audio files (such as track, artist, and album information) or to mute the sound, drivers have to use the buttons at the bottom on the keypad, while to pause audio playback, they have to go back up to a button on the diametrically opposite side of the faceplate.

The XDMA6700's small phone keypad buttons double as a bank of audio controls, making it tough to control music on the fly.

The XDMA6700 can be used to play regular CDs as well as MP3- and WMA-encoded discs via its single disc slot. The first impressions one gets when attempting to play these discs, however, are not very positive, as the system takes around 10 seconds from the time a disc is inserted to start producing any music. With compressed digital audio files (such as MP3) playing, the display can be set to show one of a selection of ID3 information tags, including info on track name, directory name, artist, album, and song title.

Using the Disp button (the number 0 on the keypad), users can toggle between each of the categories, with a corresponding logo appearing on the top of the display. The XDMA6700's monochrome LCD display can show only eight characters at a time, but the brisk automatic-scrolling feature ensures that information can be viewed more quickly than on similar units, such as the JVC HD KDR1. For navigating digital audio libraries, the XDMA6700 makes use of two search buttons as well as its 12 keypad buttons, which each have a phone and audio function.

The XDMA6700 has a unique search function that enables users to fast-forward through the tracks on a disc to find what they are looking for without having to repeatedly press the forward skip button. Tracks can be searched either numerically or alphabetically after the rather arcane search initiation procedure (hold down the mode search button> press the same button again> turn the rotary dial to the required letter number> press the enter button to preview the results> press the same button to make a selection).

The search function can be used to find specific tracks, although the system does not differentiate between artists or track titles when performing its search. The alphanumeric search function works adequately well but requires entry of at least three digits to return decent results--two-letter searches result in every listing with those two letters in some part of either the song title or artist name being returned: for example a search for "to" brought up "A Message to You" (a track name), and Face to Face, Fear Factory, and Pato Banton (all artists). In general, we like the option of being able to search for tracks on vast digital audio libraries, but the process of entering the required information is too labor-intensive to make the XDMA6700's search function a really useful tool.

The system's search function works with the right number of letters entered but is labor-intensive to program.

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