Pros LOADED with features for the price.
Cons Lighting is limited to white. It cannot display the time and other information at the same time.
Summary The karaoke does not work with small condenser, computer style microphones, but works great with the large dynamic stage microphones.
I'm using a $10 Phillips mic that was labelled for use with karaoke systems.
(simply ground the parking brake lead to allow karaoke on the go, but keep in mind that having a functioning video screen in view of front passengers is illegal in most states.)
Pros SACD - support for HD radio - plays DTS surround
Cons My unit doesn't return to same channel after power off
Summary This is a great 1-DIN unit at a great price point. Sony also supports SACD with a 2-DIN unit (XAVW1) with built-in DVD screen.
Surround sound is great for the car! Obviously the CNET reviewer has never had any interest in surround audio; too bad. (Check out sa-cd.net for the almost 5000 SACDs released).
With 5.1 discs and a sub you don't just get big bass derived from stereo; you get a sub signal as intended in the studio. Best pop multi-channel SACD: Destiny's Child. Pipe organ discs sound great. With pop mixes that use the rear channels for something other than ambience you get that little bit of extra interest; your ears perk up to hear what's different between front and rear.
There are several center channel speakers available, though they're hard to find - I chose a 1/2 DIN Clarion unit as my Dodge Durango has a 1 1/2 DIN opening. The Pioneer center channel speaker sounds better but needs dashboard (on top) space.
Given the limited frequency range of the 1/2 DIN center channel speaker, only one album so far has sounded peculiar; a James Taylor SACD with his voice only in the center channel.
I also bought the Sony slim sub amp (under the seat) and their HD Radio unit (somewhere in the dashboard) with an Infinity REF1220SE sub.
I wish I could balance the four usual car speakers individually - if only to boost the left rear speaker, due to its position right behind the driver.
The biggest problem is that my unit doesn't return to the same channel when turning off the engine and then getting back into the car; it just tunes to some random preset. So I set almost all the presets to my favorite station.
The HD Radio option gives me more choices in my area (two more classical "multicast" stations).
Oh, and this is a DVD player, too, if you get a separate screen.
This is the unit Sony should have released five years ago, but at least I've got it now.
Pros SA-CD in-car ten-years too-late
Cons No DVD-A, Karaoke (@*#&$(@*&#$(&
Summary I've had the Sony MEX-DV2000 installed in my 2007 Toyota Yaris Liftback for a few months. MB Quart QSC 615 speakers, Kenwood KSC-SW1 powered subwoofer.
The SA-CD format, and its competitor DVD-Audio, is years late coming to car stereo (DVD-A is found in a few cars like the Acura ELS, which doesn't support SA-CD). There have been about 10,000 titles released in both formats combined, they both can deliver stunning sound (SA-CD uses Sony's proprietary - surprise - 1-bit DSD recording system, and DVD-A has high-bitrate PCM, up to 24-bit 192 kHz, depending on number of channels). Both were intended to replace CD, neither succeded, and both survive in niche high-end markets to deliver audiophile-quality sound and/or 5.1 surround. If Sony would have been serious about making SA-CD the most-popular format, they would have had their first SA-CD-capable car unit ten years ago.
This unit benefits from new audio chip designs which can decode multiple digital formats on one chip, from DSD to DTS, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Pro Logic II. DSD has to be dumbed-down by being converted to PCM to use the system's internal digital crossovers, but I considered this compromise worthy and this sounds fine to me (appropriate external crossovers cost more than the Sony MEX-DV2000 itself).
DPLII is not included specifically to enhance SA-CD playback - it's there to make any two-channel music or movie an immersive experience. It actually sounds quite good on plain-vanilla CDs and radio, and I prefer it to two-speaker stereo with any 2-channel source.
The MEX-DV2000 has a well-implemented Center Channel mode. A Center Channel speaker would be ideal in a car (which probably already has four speakers, ideal for surround), but my Yaris gives me few options for installing one of equal quality to the other speakers (Center Channel is actually the most important in many 5.1 mixes). Sony's CSO mode works well for now, with options to focus the center image for one listener (driver or passenger), two front-seat listeners, or four listeners.
I have over 100 surround discs (either SA-CD, DVD-A, or DTS music) and this is the first car player that made sense to me. I would have preferred to have full support for DVD-Audio's MLP lossless encoding, but all DVD-A discs have either DTS or Dolby Digital versions of the same surround content and the MEX-DV2000 plays those. Sony, as usual, is too proud and stupid and short-sighted to do the correct thing here.
Even with my phantom Center Channel and not-so-quiet Yaris, SA-CD almost always sounds much better than an equivalent CD. You don't have to be an audiophile to enjoy this.
The Karaoke feature and the fact that Sony didn't issue a simpler but higher-quality version (ES series) unit tells me that this and its video-screen-equipped brother may be Sony's Last Exit Before Toll in the SA-CD car stereo world.