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Clarion CZ501

CD receiver

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  • Clarion CZ501

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  • Clarion CZ501

  • Clarion CZ501

  • Clarion CZ501

  • Clarion CZ501

  • Clarion CZ501

  • Clarion CZ501

  • Clarion CZ501

Item #: 020CZ501
 

Review Summary

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Original price $159.99
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Our take on the Clarion CZ501

by Zak Billmeier
Clarion

Why replace your factory radio?

Two good reasons - sound quality and cool features. A new car stereo offers power that's superior to most factory radios, along with more sophisticated tone controls. And most car stereos offer built-in or optional features that add safety and fun to life in your car, including inputs for your iPod or MP3 player, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free cell phone calls, satellite radio or HD Radio reception, and connections for building an audio system in your car.

The road is distracting enough — Clarion helps you keep your eyes on the prize with the CZ501 CD receiver. Built-in Bluetooth® lets you keep your hands on the wheel while you talk on your phone. When a call comes in, the CZ501 mutes the music while you talk to your caller over your car's speakers. Clarion builds a microphone into the CZ501, or you can add an optional mic for convertibles and other vehicles with high interior noise levels. Another big plus — if you have a compatible phone or music player, you can also stream music directly into the CZ501.

Made for your iPod® or iPhone®
Simply connect your iPod or iPhone to the front-panel USB input — you'll enjoy outstanding sound quality and even keep your player charged as you drive. You can browse your music collection using the stereo's intuitive "starburst" controls, or let your passengers control the tunes with included remote while you concentrate on driving.

Even more ways to play your music
The CZ501 will play your store-bought and recordable CDs, even discs you've loaded with MP3 and WMA files. You can also load up a USB thumb drive with MP3 and WMA files for even more options.

Sweet sound
The built-in amplifier delivers impressive power, while a bass enhancer and 3-band parametric equalizer allow you to adjust the sound to your taste. If you're building a system, three sets of preamp outputs make it easier to add amps and subs. The subwoofer volume control comes in handy when you're switching from one kind of music to another, like from folk to rap. You can use the built-in low-pass filter to get maximum efficiency from your subs, while the high-pass filter trims some of the low bass out of your speakers so they'll play loud and clear.

Want to keep your car's steering wheel audio controls?
In most vehicles, you can use an adapter to connect your vehicle's steering wheel controls to this Clarion stereo. Connect a few wires, then program the adapter for your particular car and the Clarion, and you'll retain the convenience of your steering wheel controls. Check the "Accessories" tab for compatible adapters.

iPod note: If you're going to use your iPod with this receiver, be sure to check "Details" for specific iPod model compatibility with this receiver.

Bluetooth note: Use of this receiver's Bluetooth features will depend upon your phone's Bluetooth capabilities. Learn more in our article explaining Bluetooth profiles.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

    General features:
    • CD receiver with built-in amplifier (19 watts RMS CEA-2006/50 peak x 4 channels)
    • plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs (including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA files)
    • built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and music streaming
    • detachable face with LCD display
    • wireless remote
    Audio features:
    • BeatEQ (3-band parametric EQ and five preset tone settings)
    • Magna Bass EX bass boost
    • high- and low-pass filters
    • subwoofer level control
    Expandability:
    • built-in iPod and iPhone control — no adapter necessary
    • compatible with optional Clarion HD Radio tuner, satellite radio
    • inputs: front USB input (for USB thumb drives, iPhone, and iPod), front auxiliary input
    • outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (4-volt front, rear, sub)
    Other features and specs:

    Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

    Features and Specs
    General
    CEA-2006 Compliant
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    Yes
    RMS Power Output
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    19 watts
    Peak Output
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    50 watts
    RMS Power Bandwidth
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    20-20kHz
    Preamp Outputs
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    6-channel
    Sub Preamp Outputs
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    Yes
    Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs
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    No
    Video Screen
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    No
    Preamp Voltage
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    4 volts
    Display Color
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    White
    Key Button Color
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    Blue
    EQ Bands
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    3
    Wireless Remote
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    Yes
    Steering Wheel Control Compatible
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    Adapter required
    Parts Warranty
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    1 Year
    Labor Warranty
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    1 Year
    Expandability
    AUX Input
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    Front
    USB Input
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    Front
    Memory Card Slot
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    USB memory
    Bluetooth Compatible
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    Built-in
    Satellite Radio Ready
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    Sirius
    HD Radio
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    Optional
    Navigation
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    ---
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size
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    Classic/5Gen
    Nano
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    Nano6/Nano5/Nano4/Nano3/Nano2/
    Touch
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    Touch4/Touch3/Touch2/Touch1
    Mini
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    No
    iPhone
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    Phone4S/Phone4/Phone3GS/Phone3
    Tuner
    FM Sensitivity
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    8 dBf
    European Tuning
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    No
    Seek/Scan
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    Seek
    Radio Data System
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    No
    Product Research
    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • AM/FM CD receiver (with two transports screws installed)
    • Sleeve (installed)
    • Face (inside included hard-plastic face-case)
    • Trim ring
    • Wiring harness (with in-line 15A fuse on constant power wire)
    • RCX001 IR wireless remote
    • CR2025 3V Lithium battery
    • 2 Radio removal tools
    • 4 Machine screws
    • Face fixing screw
    • Owner's/Installation Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa)
    • Warranty Sheet (USA/Canada)
    • Revision Notice

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Display Features
    Audio Section
    Radio Functions
    Disc Playback
    USB/iPod/Aux Connectivity
    Built-in Bluetooth
    Remote Control

    Display Features

    Detachable Face Security: This unit features Detachable Face Security. A hard plastic face-case is provide to protect the detachable face when removed. A face-fixing clip is supplied for making the face non-detachable, if desired.

    Note: An optional soft face case (142DFC1X, sold separately) can also be purchased for this unit

    H.M.I. Design: Clarion's superior H.M.I. (Human-Machine Interface) Design features an easy-to-use rotary volume control and easy-to-read illuminated buttons on the face which are laid out in an asymmetrical design to place the most used features within a specific area for ease of use and less user distraction.

    High Visibility LCD: The two-line, high visibility LCD (with black background and white characters) on the CZ501 allows numbers and characters to be displayed clearly in almost any lighting condition.

    Illumination Dimmer: The receiver's display automatically dims to a preset brightness when the vehicle's headlights are turned on. The wiring harness includes an orange/white lead that should be connected to the vehicle's parking light circuit in order for the dimmer feature to operate.

    Screen Saver: This unit is provided with a Screen Saver function which allows you to show various kinds of patterns and characters in the operation status indication area of the display in a random order. You can turn this function on or off. If the button operation is performed with the screen saver function "On", the operation display corresponding to the button operation is shown for about 30 seconds and then the display returns to the screen saver display.

    Audio Section

    MOSFET Amplifier: The Clarion CZ501 is equipped with a MOSFET amplifier. Compared to conventional power supplies, the MOSFET amplification circuit is smaller and more efficient, and it delivers increased power with less distortion and absolutely zero on/off switching noise. More power means louder and cleaner music at higher volumes because you're not pushing the limits of the amplification circuit.

    CEA2006 Compliant: The power specifications for the CZ501 are compliant with the CEA2006 Mobile Amplifier Power Testing and Measurement standards from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). These standards were developed as a way to equitably compare power specs from model to model and between manufacturers. The power output specs for the CZ501 are as follows:

    • CEA2006 Specs: 19 watts RMS x 4 channels (at 4 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 1% THD-N)
    • Maximum Power Output: 50 watts x 4 channels (200 watts total)

    BeatEQ: In addition to providing 3 preset equalization patterns (Bass Boost, Impact, and Excite), Clarion's BeatEQ lets you freely customize the level and range of the bass, midrange and treble portions of each pattern. You can tune the sound to your liking, depending on the category of music, for a more fulfilling listening experience.

    • Bass Boost: Bass is emphasized +/-3.
    • Impact: Bass and treble are emphasized +/-3.
    • Excite: Bass, midrange, and treble are emphasized +/-3.
    • Custom: Adjusts the bass, midrange, and treble independently +/-7.
      • Bass: You can set the effected bass frequency to 50Hz, 100Hz, or 200Hz and the Q-factor to 0.7, 1, 1.4, or 2
      • Midrange: You can set the effected midrange frequency to 500Hz, 1.0kHz, or 2.0kHz and the Q-factor to 0.7, 1, 1.4, or 2
      • Treble: The effected treble frequency can be set to 5kHz, 10kHz, or 15kHz, and the Q-factor to 0.7, 1, 1.4, or 2
    • Off (Flat): Bass, midrange, and treble are set to 0.

    Magna Bass EX (Extend): The Magna Bass Extend feature does not adjust the low frequencies like the normal sound adjustment function, but emphasizes the deep bass frequencies to provide you with a dynamic sound. This circuit boosts bass at an ultra-low frequency of about 50Hz, creating a rich, deep, defined bass rather than the muddy, booming bass of a standard loudness control. What is more, boost levels are dependent on the system volume, resulting in balanced system response and dynamic bass reproduction.

    6ch/4V RCA Output: The Clarion CZ501 features 6ch/4V RCA line level outputs (Front/Rear/Sub). The non-fading subwoofer preamp output features an independent level control (+/-6) and phase adjustment (normal/reverse).

    Built-in Crossovers: The Clarion CZ501 is equipped with built-in low-pass and high-pass crossovers.

    • Low-Pass Subwoofer Filter: The Low-Pass Filter (LPF) for the subwoofer preamp output will send only the low frequency range through the preamp outputs to ensure superb performance with a connected subwoofer. The low-pass filter can be set to 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, or Through (full-range).
    • High-Pass Filter: The CZ501 features a High-Pass Filter (HPF) for the unit's front & rear channels, via speaker-output or preamp-output. You can adjust the high-pass filter from 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, or Through (full-range). The HPF prevents low bass notes from distorting your front & rear speakers. The high-pass filter setting effects both the front & rear channels of the head unit.

    Beep: The in-dash head unit provides an audible beep to confirm button operation. This function can be turned On or Off.

    Radio Functions

    AM/FM Tuner: The Clarion CZ501 is equipped with a built-in AM/FM tuner offering 18 FM station presets and 6 AM station presets. Stations can be stored manually or automatically.

    Instant Station Recall (ISR): You can store one radio station in Instant Station Recall (ISR) memory and recall it from any mode (except Power Off). Once the ISR station has been recalled, you cannot tune to another station without first disengaging the ISR function. You can, however, switch to another source.

    Preset Scan: Preset scan receives the stations stored in the unit's preset memory in order. This function is useful when searching for a desired preset station.

    Local Seeking: When Local seeking is turned "On", only those radio stations with strong radio signal can be received.

    HD Radio Ready: With an optional Clarion THD301 HD Radio tuner (020THD301, sold separately), you will be able to receive digital AM/FM broadcasts from local stations where available. This new technology will significantly improve audio quality and reception, as well as include information such as artist name and song titles or traffic news, viewable on the receiver's display. The add-on HD Radio tuner includes iTunes Tagging capability, so if you hear a song on the radio that you like, you can tag it to download later from the iTunes Store.

    Note: Right now there are about 2,000 radio stations broadcasting using digital HD Radio technology in the U.S. To find HD Radio stations in your area, visit the HD Radio website (HDRadio.com).

    Satellite Radio Ready: There are several options for connecting an optional XM or SIRIUS Satellite Radio receiver to this receiver:

    • Sirius Satellite Radio: To receive Sirius Satellite Radio, you can connect the optional SC-C1 Sirius Connect Universal Vehicle Tuner (607SCC1, sold separately) directly to the head unit's Sirius direct connection (no proprietary interface required). You can also connect the Sirius dock-and-play adapter (607SCVDOC1) along with a compatible portable Sirius radio (all sold separately).
    • Auxiliary Input: A portable XM or Sirius Satellite Radio receiver can also be connected to the head unit via the front-panel auxiliary input.

    Note: A subscription is also required to receive satellite radio programming from Sirius or XM.

    Disc Playback

    Disc Compatibility: The unit features a single disc player that will playback CD-Audio, CD-Text, and finalized CD-R/CD-RW audio discs.

    MP3/WMA Playback: The unit can play MP3 (8-320 kbps/VBR) and WMA (8-320 kbps) files recorded onto CD-R and CD-RW discs using ISO9660 Level 1 or 2, Joliet, Romeo, or Apple ISO formats. The player can recognize up to 8 hierarchical levels and 999 files per folder, with a maximum of 3,000 total files per USB device. This unit is compatible with, and will display MP3 and WMA ID3 tags up to 32 characters.

    Disc-In-Play-Function: This feature allows you to turn the power to the unit "on" and start playing the disc automatically when the disc is inserted even if the unit is not powered up, as long as the ignition key is turned to the "on" or "acc" position.

    Top Function: The Top Function resets the CD player to the first track of a CD-Audio disc or first track of a folder for an CD-R/RW disc.

    Folder Select: This function allows you to select a folder containing MP3/WMA files and start playing from the first track in the folder.

    Playback Functions: The CZ501 provides Repeat, Random, & Scan playback functions.

    • Scan Play: This function allows you to locate and play the first 10 seconds of all the tracks recorded on a CD or the first 10 seconds of the first track of all the folders on an MP3/WMA disc.
    • Repeat Play: This function allows you to play the current track on a disc repeatedly or play a file currently being played in a MP3/WMA folder repeatedly.
    • Random Play: This function allows you to play all tracks recorded on a disc or in a folder in a random order.

    Last Position Memory: If you turn off the unit while a disc is playing, it will resume playback at the stopping point when it is turned on again.

    Auto Reload: When a CD is ejected and left sticking out of the CD slot for 15 seconds, the unit automatically reloads the CD to protect if from damage.

    Mounting: For proper CD playback you must install the unit within 30-degrees of horizontal.

    USB/iPod/Aux Connectivity

    USB Port: The front-panel USB (type-A) port allows you to connect and play USB (1.1/2.0) Mass Storage devices loaded with MP3 and WMA files. MP3 and WMA files with a bit rate from 8-320 kbps and formatted with FAT are supported. The head unit can recognize up to 999 files per folder and 3,000 total files. Titles up to 64 characters can be displayed while in USB mode. The CZ501 offers the following playback operation of your USB Mass Storage device - Play, Pause, Track selection, Fast-forward/backward, Scan play, Repeat play, Random play, and Folder selection. This unit will also charge you connected USB device when the receiver is turned on.

    Note: The Clarion USB extension cable (020CCA755, sold separately) can be used to connected your USB flash-memory device. Copy-protected WMA files cannot be played on this unit.

    iPod/iPhone Direct: The Clarion CZ501 allows you to connect your iPod/iPhone to the head unit's front-panel USB port using your iPod's USB/Dock cable for audio playback, control, and charging of your iPod/iPhone. This head unit also supports the display of title information transmitted from your iPod/iPhone.

    • USB Connection: The USB connection allows your iPod/iPhone's stored music to be loaded instantly to the head unit and sound quality to be maximized through the head unit's 1-bit D/A converter, allowing for a Signal to Noise ratio up to 80dB.
    • Audio Playback: The Clarion head unit supports audio playback of music files stored on your iPod or iPhone. iPod Video can be viewed by connecting the CZ501 to an external universal monitor with RCA video input and connecting a compatible iPod/iPhone via the optional Clarion CCA748 cable (020CCA748, sold separately).
    • Music Navigation: The head unit lets you search music for playback from your iPod/iPhone by category (Playlist, Artist, Album, Song, Genre, or Composer). You can then search each category alphabetically. You can also control the following playback functions of your iPod/iPhone: Skip Tracks, Fast-forward/backward, Pause, Repeat, and Random. In addition, you can choose to control your iPod/iPhone from its clickwheel or touchscreen. 
    • Information Display: The head unit will display your iPod/iPhone's music file information, including - Track number, Elapsed playing time, Song Title, Artist Name, and Album Label.
    • Charging: While connected and the ignition switch is set to ACC or ON, the head unit's USB connection will power and charge your iPod/iPhone.

    Note: If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.

    iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Clarion CZ501 is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of November 2011):

    iPod/iPhone Model Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Display Type Charge
    Audio Video Head Unit iPod/iPhone Song/Artist Text Track Info
    dock connector 3rd N/A N N N N N N N
    clickwheel
    color
    4th N/A N N N N N N N
    mini 1st N/A N N N N N N N
    2nd N/A N N N N N N N
    video 5th 1.3 Y N Y N Y Y Y
    classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    120GB 2.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    160GB 2.0.4 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    nano 1st 1.3.1 Y N Y N Y Y Y
    2nd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    3rd 1.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    4th 1.0.4 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    5th 1.0.2 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    6th 1.1 PC Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    touch 1st 2.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    2nd 4.2.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    3rd 5.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    4th 5.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    iPhone 2G 3.1.2 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    3G 3.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    3GS 4.3.5 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    4 5.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    4S 5.0.1 Y N Y Y Y Y Y

    Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the head unit and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to revert to the older software version or wait until a newer software update is available.

    Auxiliary Input: The CZ501 feature a front panel 3.5mm auxiliary input so you connect your external portable audio player or portable satellite radio receiver to this head unit. You can set the Auxiliary input sensitivity level to Low, Mid, or High to match the volume output of your connected external audio device.

    Built-in Bluetooth

    Bluetooth Technology: Bluetooth wireless technology enables voice and data to be sent via a short-distant digital radio link up to approximately 33 feet. As such, it extends the wireless communication possibilities for mobile phones and hundreds of electronic devices and ensures crisp, static-free audio performance. Built-in Bluetooth technology allows you to utilize your vehicle's built-in audio system for wireless mobile phone or music hands-free operation.

    Bluetooth Profiles: The Clarion CZ501 features built-in Bluetooth technology for wireless connection with Bluetooth enabled mobile phones, PDAs and MP3 Players. The CZ501 supports Bluetooth Ver.2.0+EDR profiles A2DP/AVRCP for audio streaming and HFP/PBAP for hands-free operation, so you can easily communicate and transfer digital music to your vehicle's audio system.

    • HFP/PBAP: Wireless hands-free communication for your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone with phone book transfer. 
    • A2DP/AVRCP: Wireless stereo music streaming and remote control functions (start/play/stop/pause/volume/track search) from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone.

    Pairing: Before using your Bluetooth enabled device, it must be paired to the CZ501. You can register up to five Bluetooth enabled cell-phones with the Clarion in-dash head unit (only one paired phone can be used at a time). The Clarion CZ501 is compatible with most Bluetooth enabled mobile phones, including the Apple iPhone.

    Note: The Clarion CZ501 is not compatible with all Bluetooth enabled phones or audio players. Visit Clarion Bluetooth Support for complete list of compatible phones and players.

    Hands-Free Communication (HFP/PBAP): The CZ501 supports Bluetooth hands-free communication from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. The CZ501 can be set to automatically answer your incoming calls and mute any music audio to your vehicle's speakers so you can instantly carry on a phone conversation hands-free. An integrated front-panel microphone carries on your side of the conversation while your car's speakers are used to hear the other person. You can make a call by entering the phone number, selecting a contact from your Phonebook list, or using the Call History Log of received/dialed/missed calls.

    • Answering A Call: During an incoming call, the caller's phone number will be seen on the unit's LCD and a ring-tone will be heard through your car stereo speakers. You can then manually answer the incoming call from the head unit's front-panel controls. You can also set the unit to automatically answer an incoming call within 5 seconds.
    • Making A Call: There are 3 ways to make an outgoing call from the Clarion in-dash head unit.
      • Direct Dial: Outgoing calls can be made be entering telephone numbers (0-9, *, #, +) directly via the car stereo's rotary control knob.
      • Phonebook: You can search for contact names in your mobile phone's phonebook from the Clarion CZ501 and then make your call. The head unit can store up to 500 contact numbers.
      • Call Log: You can also make a call by searching your mobile phone's call history (Received/Dialed/Missed) from the Clarion CZ501.

    Integrated Microphone: The Clarion CZ501 features an integrated front-panel microphone to carry on your side of a conversation during a Bluetooth phone call. You can adjust the microphone gain (1-5) for each paired mobile phone device.

    External Microphone (optional): The Clarion RCB-199 (020RCB199, sold separately) is an external microphone which can be connected to Clarion CZ501. The RCB-199 external microphone provides better performance in noisy environments than the integrated microphone found on the front-panel of the head unit. The microphone features an attached 13.25' cord terminated by a right-angle male 3.5mm connector which plugs into the microphone input on the rear-chassis of your compatible Clarion head unit. The microphone also features an integrated sun-visor clip for mounting the external microphone in your vehicle. The integrated bracket allows the microphone to swivel left-to-right and rotate up-or-down.

    Audio Streaming (A2DP/AVRCP): The Clarion CZ501 supports Bluetooth wireless music streaming for transferring stereo music audio data that is processed as a steady and continuous audible stream from your Bluetooth enabled phone to the Clarion head unit and your car's audio system. You can listen to and control music stored on your Bluetooth enabled phone or MP3 player. The CZ501 will also be able to control basic playback features such a Pause, Track Selection, Fast Forward, and Reverse.

    Remote Control

    Wireless Remote: The CZ501 comes supplied with the RCX001 infrared wireless remote control for wireless operation of the CD player. The remote operates off of a single CR2025 Lithium Cell 3-volt battery.

    OEM Remote Ready: The unit also features an OEM steering wheel remote control input on the rear of the unit to allow you to keep your vehicle's radio steering wheel remote controls when used with the optional PAC SWI-JACK Steering Wheel Control Interface Adapter (127SWIJACK, sold separately); or the optional Metra ASWC Steering Wheel Control Interface Adapter (120ASWC, sold separately).

    Note: Please consult the Crutchfield Car Selector to see if your vehicle is compatible.

     
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    Clarion CZ501 Reviews

    Average Customer Review:

    26 people say:

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    5 out of 5

    Good Head Unit

    Written By hertzypoo, Huntsville, AL on Sunday, October 28, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This is a great head unit but it has a few glaring deficiencies. They aren't enough to make me mad I bought it, but they are enough to irritate me occasionally.
    Pros:
    streaming bluetooth is an AWESOME feature, excellent EQ sound control for a mid-level item, great sound.
    Cons:
    streaming bluetooth has slight distortion, satelite radio will occasionally freeze up which requires resetting the head unit, display options are limited, clock runs slow and loses about 1 minute every 3-5 days.
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
    "Coolness Factor"
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    5 out of 5

    Great Audio !

    Written By Jills, California on Friday, February 10, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This has great value for theh money. The only thing which i did not like is few menus like screensaver (but we can disable this) For me , everything is good , Value for money
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
    "Coolness Factor"
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    3 out of 5

    Great Audio, Terrible Bluetooth

    Written By SetTheCat, DFW, Texas on Wednesday, February 01, 2012
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I've always been a fan of Clarion devices because of the amazing sound quality you get from their products. This was no different, playing 320Kb/s MP3 audio from a USB flash drive creted sounds on the stock speakers I didn't even know they were capable of. The problem was, I bought the unit for my girlfriend because she wanted BT hands free and it just did not work out well. The audio comes over Bluetooth and sounds fine, but when the driver talks it sounds like they are at the other end of a tunnel. I went to a local dealer and bought the optional microphone, unfortunately it did not help. If this device was simply used for music playback it would be 5-star, but because of the issues with Bluethooth it has to go down a couple of notches. I wanted to make this work, but I also don't want to spend what I spent on a gift that won't be 100% appreciated.
    Pros:
    Music quality is amazing, wide input support.
    Cons:
    Bluetooth hands free is worthless, microphone barely picks up the driver and the addon mic doesn't help. Didn't download phonebook from an Android based phone.
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    5 out of 5

    Great deck but read this if you've had reception issues

    Written By NealG, Lehigh Valley, PA on Friday, December 16, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    The feature set in this price range is really great; it's got everything and you can add Sirius and/or HD radio with adapters.

    Mp3 sound quality is excellent (320 kbps of course) and radio sound quality is great even with the factory speakers. I got ambitious after hearing it and have new Infinity Kappas on the way.

    I gave it 5 stars because of performance for the money. My Cons are nit-picky stuff.

    Extremely important fact regarding radio reception that's not documented anywhere; I have a 2001 Maxima with in-the-windshield antenna. Initially reception was terrible in both FM and AM bands; worse than the factory deck and so bad that I would have returned the unit and got something else. I see this same problem in a couple of other reviews of this unit and assume they didn't figure it out.

    I called Crutchfield support and their support person (Brent) clued me in to the cause of the problem. I did not connect the power antenna wire on the wiring harness going to the car (seemed to make sense because I don't have a power antenna). Big mistake because that's actually a mislabeled power feed to the antenna amplifier that you need for radio reception. When I connected it to the power amplifier output lead from the deck... WOW. This unit has much better reception than the factory unit in both FM and AM bands. Thanks Brent!

    I'm really happy with my purchase now, this is a great unit. It fits perfectly into the dash with the included adapters. Thanks Crutchfield!
    Pros:
    Bluetooth built-in, iPhone connectivity and control from the faceplate, Bluetooth streaming music, FM sensitivity rating, lots of pre-amp outputs and sound control tweak-ability
    Cons:
    Controls are ok; not bad but not great, the screen saver is stupid so I turned it off
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
    "Coolness Factor"
    Build Quality
    Ease of Use
    Sound Quality
    Value
     
    4 out of 5

    Scott

    Written By Scott, Hampstead,Md on Friday, October 28, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This is an excellent and affordable upgrade to a factory system that has full expandability to an externally amplified system. Sound quality is evident even with stock speakers. I lost my factory sub and bass is richer and extends deeper than the factory system. Can't wait 'til they get upgraded.
    Pros:
    I found the in glass antenna of my Pilot to be horrible, with my stock system unable to pick up stations that my CR-V could. The tuner section on this is amazing for both AM and FM. The installation was easy. Extras included make Crutchfield competitive with the online competitors.
    Cons:
    Clock needs constant pushing of a button to maintain on the screen.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
    "Coolness Factor"
    Build Quality
    Ease of Use
    Sound Quality
    Value
     
    4 out of 5

    GOOD PRODUCT

    Written By DAVE, SARVER, PA on Thursday, October 20, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    GOOD STEREO, SOUNDS GREAT! LIKE ALL OPERATIONS. THE ONLY FAULTS ARE DISPLAY IS TOO BRIGHT AT NIGHT, TEMPTED TO HANG SOMETHING OVER IT, NO WAY TO DIM IT. ALSO IF YOU WANT THE CLOCK DISPLAYED YOU HAVE TO HIT A BUTTON EVERY TIME TO DISPLAY IT. IF YOU ADJUST VOLUME OR CHANGE ANYTHING THE CLOCK DISPLAY IS REMOVED AND YOU HAVE TO HIT THE BUTTON AGAIN. THIS IS KIND OF ANOYING! OTHER THAT THOSE TWO FAULTS A GOOD PRODUCT.
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    4 out of 5

    Clarion CZ501

    Written By Moe, Sun City West AZ on Saturday, October 01, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    CZ501 is super radio and cd player. I also enjoy the bluetooth features. Have not use the USB port yet but will on our next long trip. We will use it for recorded books from the iPad. Installation was fairly straight forward, I did have a problem with the bezel fitting properly. It required some modification to allow the stock faceplate to be reinstalled. Overall, great product.
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    Awesome

    Written By Dave W, Louisville, KY on Friday, September 09, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Absolutely satisfied with this product. Wonderful features, great Bluetooth connection, and easy install. Superb customer service also.
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    4 out of 5

    Nice stereo

    Written By RG, Maine on Wednesday, August 31, 2011
     
    liked this unit so much I bought a second one. Decent iPod integration, good sound, controls are each to use. Very much appreciate the Pause button. Built in microphone a plus at this price range. Install on sienna minivan was simple. Install in volove s40 was a bit more problematic, the adaptor kit seems a bit oversized.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    2 out of 5

    Display is way too bright for night driving - returned unit

    Written By Brian, California on Wednesday, August 31, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I installed this in a 2006 Subaru Outback. I use an Iphone 4.

    1. Front USB and Front Aux connectors great 2. The receiver provides both options to control an Ipod/Iphone although the manual includes a disclaimer to the effect of "avoid pressing the Iphone buttons too quickly or the receiver may complain". Most of the time the receiver remains connected to the Iphone but occasionally drops out. It seems that the stereo defaults to wanting to control the Iphone instead of allowing your to control it with the Iphone. 3. Bluetooth calls: callers hear static/feedback when the internal mic is used. Experimented with the mic settings but they didn't help. Could be due to the receivers location in my car relative to the front speakers. Haven't tried external mic 4. User interface isn't very friendly. Bass/treble settings buried. Radio preset buttons small 5. FM/AM reception comparable to factory unit 6. Display easily seen during day. Dimming feature useless for night driving. Only the LED display dims. Lights around jog wheel and all lights to its left remain super bright and do NOT dim. Very distracting at night on roads without streetlights/country roads. Sounds great but would not recommend. Could experiment with external mic, live with small buttons, and learn obscure user interface, but way too bright at night. For that reason alone I returned this unit.
    6 out of 8 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    Perfect install, vast improvement!

    Written By CarFan, New Hampshire on Monday, August 22, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Selected this unit based on the wide selection of installed (Bluetooth, iPod control, USB port, AUX port) capabilities as well as the add ons available, not to mention I have had great luck with Clarions over the many years I have done these installs. The unit is for my younger daughter to replace the factory head unit in her first car, a 2004 Subaru Legacy.

    The wiring I did at the kitchen table with the aid of the included wiring harness and color coded schematics. Went like a charm. A few days later I had the opportunity to remove the old and install the new. Again with the aid of the included instructions, it went flawlessly and the results were dramatic and well worth the money and effort! A great foundation unit with the included outputs, this one will be around a while!
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    4 out of 5

    Good for the Money

    Written By BenG, Germantown, MD on Saturday, August 13, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This is a good stereo and it was fairly easy to install. I like the integrated microphone. The bluetooth sounds good and pairs well with both my iPhone4 and my wife's iPhone 3g. It is a little annoying that it has different buttons on the stereo to accept a call and hang up (most stereos just have one button). It fit the bill well and my wife is happy to have it in her 2004 Honda Odyssey. BTW installing it in the Odyssey was a cinch. It took me more time to solder all the wires.
    4 out of 4 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    4 out of 5

    Clarion CZ501

    Written By RichB, Lincoln, NE on Wednesday, August 10, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Stereo itself is great. Love the Bluetooth, aux, and usb. Subwoofer control is the feature i probably use the most. 3 different preset equalizers are nice to play with. Wiring was easy due to the 2 different connection types. Antenna picks up more stations than a aftermarket stereo should. Only bad thing is didn't fit in my dash with the finish trim plate like it should've. Bolts line up but sits too far in my dash. Doesn't look the greatest sitting in the dash like it is, but it produces good sound.
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    Great car stereo

    Written By Brad, Colorado Springs, CO on Wednesday, August 10, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I did a lot of research before buying this unit for my 2005 Pontiac Grand Am. It fit without any problems (however it was a pretty tight fit). The sound is fantastic. I love the bluetooth, however it took a while to recognize my phone. I had to try to connect several times. But my wife's phone connected right away so it was probably my phone's issue, not the stereo. Also, I love the usb capabilities. It is very nice not to have to carry around a bunch of CD's. I love everything about this stereo. It was a great purchase. Now I just need some good speakers to go along with it.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    3 out of 5

    all good except radio

    Written By MikeOhio, Columbus Ohio on Wednesday, July 27, 2011
     
    I installed the unit to my 2005 Odyssey without much problem. I had a slightly difficulty in figuring out the wiring but it worked after calling the crutchfield tech support. Everything but radio worked as it supposed to be. Bluetooth paired well with my LG smartphone. The radio reception was much worse than stock radio. AM pulls no signal at all, FM works better than AM but got a lot more static than stock. I am almost returning the unit due to low reception of AM/FM, but it is a hassle to pull out and returning the unit so I am keeping it. If you listen radio frequently, This is not a good unit. If you look for a good USB, CD, mp3 unit, this could be a good choice.
    1 out of 3 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    Clarion CZ501

    Written By Dan, Johnston, RI on Tuesday, July 26, 2011
     
    i bought this receiver for my wife.install was easy in her 2008 tundra.she uses Pandora all of the time, and not having to use a wire is great.the bluetooth works great i would recommend this to anyone. all of the function work just as they should.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    5 out of 5

    SWEET CLARION

    Written By snowman, kansas on Friday, July 15, 2011
     
    SIMPLY PUT AWESOME. for those who had problems, 1 dont trust any installer unless u know them personaly. 99% are all kids still learning and realy dont have a clue. I have been a tech for 30yrs so no one touches my equipment. And almost on a daily basis im fixing someones system who had it so called professionally installed.make sure screws are remved or it will skip balancer can not be free to balance if screws are in.Mine sits at a 45 degree almost 90 realy and not skiped once, and my discs are pretty scratched up due to kids. The only thing i can say maybe a negative is preouts are not a true 4 volt, u can measure to verify. But with a good amp wont matter much. And does not put as much bass as some others, but perfect for me. At the local radio comp, they voted mine the best sounding system. AND IT IS SWEET , CLEAN AND CLEAR. paired with my kicker sub, kicker 6x9s (2pr), lanzar 4x6 for dash, and pair of tweeters. will blow u away. Toatal investment $812, yes i said $812. Got all on sale BIG TIME. except one item. would have been apro $3500. only use head unit to power tweeters and amps for subs and 6x9s. QUITE SIMPLY UNBELEVEABLE. Starting to get a little anoying showing everyone this is all i have.
    3 out of 5 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    Very Good Head Unit

    Written By ZacB, Atlanta,GA on Friday, July 15, 2011
     
    This unit exceeded all of my expectations. Easy to install, came with all the necesary connections and only took minutes to install. This unit immediately made the stock speakers in my 2001 Ford Sport Trac sound better. Connects to Bluetooth on my iPhone 4 when i get in the car without me having to do anything. Works very well. Highly recomended.
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    4 out of 5

    CZ501 Early Returns

    Written By Subaru Baja, Newburyport, MA on Tuesday, July 12, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    So far, so good. Only disappointment is very weak AM reception (I like my Sports Talk Radio on occasion). Bluetooth works well and was easy to set up. FM reception is fine and music plays and displays well from both iPod and iPhone.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    Good gear for the price

    Written By Mr MV, Westchester NY on Monday, June 06, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I got this unit as a "scratch and dent" deal. It arrived very fast and it looked like a brand new one. The installation was a breeze thanks to the clear set of instructions included and all needed adapters. The bluetooth feature works nicely with my Ipod Touch and my cellphone. It was quite easy to set it up. I'm very happy with this purchase.
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    1 out of 5

    never worked

    Written By jp, mass on Friday, May 20, 2011
     
    Had everything I wanted coming out of the box. Problem was not everything worked. Mic for bluetooth, no. Ipod playback, no unless I plugged and unplugged 5,6,7 times. Random play, no. Called customer service and they blamed on installation (had professionally done) and bad Iphone. Getting a new deck this week. Thanks Crutchfield!
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    4 out of 5

    Bluetooth sort of works

    Written By PlainShane`, Austin, TX on Thursday, May 12, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This unit turned my civic stock speakers into a bose system. It made the
    speakers sound marvelous, but the bluetooth is shoddy. Only when connected via
    BT do my tweeters start to crackle. For some reason this transmission method
    degrades the quality of the music. I know this is not my phone, because I also
    have a Jambox by Jawbone and the quality does not degrade on that with the same
    phone. Otherwise, this unit is awesome.
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    4 out of 5

    Great unit

    Written By Deallio, Hobart, IN on Monday, May 02, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Great unit, sounds fantastic with just the factory speakers on my Escape. USB
    plays MP3s off my thumb drive or my cell phone simple and sweet. Bluetooth
    works flawlessly with cell phone calls. Thought of buying the more expensive
    double-din size unit with similar specs to look more factory, but happy I
    didn't. The cubby hole in the Crutchfield provided dash adapter is perfect for
    stowing the included remote and my cell phone. Two thing I don't like (one may
    just be a learning thing) but you can't just zip up and down the radio dial.
    You either press and hold for the next station or you use the presets. Since I
    do a lot of distance driving I have to spend too much time searching for
    stations. The other thing is the CD player. It sounds great but it' skips and
    locks on minor scratches that my other players play right through
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    Never a disappointment with Clarion

    Written By Eric, Upstate, NY on Tuesday, April 19, 2011
     
    I had a Clarion DXZ615 with a 6 disk changer in my 97 TJ, it still works flawlessly after all these years. Being an older stereo it did not play MP3's or .wav files, so I thought it was time for an upgrade and free up some center console space. Now with a flash drive or bluetooth connection, I have more music on hand than I ever could before.

    With the CZ501 cranked up to 40, the sound is crystal clear with properly sized after market speakers.

    I have read other reviews for Clarion CZ501's about only the display dimming and the bright buttons being a distraction. I think it depends on the stereo's location in the vehicle as I don't find it distracting at all.

    My only concern with instillation is the wiring harness's for either the stereo or the one supplied by crutchfied; one could have been a few inches longer to make it easier to connect/disconnect. My reasoning for 5 stars and not 4 is if by chance someone tries to steal it, they will have a heck of a time getting it out without breaking anything.
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    So Far So Good

    Written By Dustin, Bloomington, IL on Monday, April 18, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    After much research on this site and others I purchased this headunit from
    crutchfield. Installed it myself without many problems in my '06 forester and
    so far I love it. Sounds great compared to my factory radio and the bluetooth
    works great as well. have yet to find something I dont like!
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     
    5 out of 5

    Probably the best, yet most simple aftermarket radio yet...

    Written By Johnny, Bethlehem, PA on Saturday, February 26, 2011
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I bought the Clarion Cz501 as a replacement for the crappy old radio that came
    with my 1995 Ford F-150 that I bought back in the summer of 2010. I liked this
    radio for the fact that it has simple aesthetics, and is easier to operate than
    most of today's aftermarket radios. It is pretty much the same as the Cz401, but
    I would recommend this radio instead, because they're both the same price, but
    this one has bluetooth built in at no extra cost. The sound quality is very
    good, I was able to carry on a hands-free phone conversation while shifting
    gears, and the radio is very easy to learn how to operate (took me no more than
    10 minutes). I would recommend it to anyone who wants a good aftermarket radio,
    but doesn't want something that is difficult to operate.
    16 out of 17 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
     

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    Keep one of these in your car, so you can leave your other cable at home. See all categories & accessories

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    For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Clarion CZ501, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_020CZ501/Clarion-CZ501.html ).