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Sony CDX-RA700

CD player with MP3/WMA playback

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  • Sony CDX-RA700

    Front

  • Sony CDX-RA700

    Remote

Item #: 158RA700
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Sony CDX-RA700

by Tim Sprinkle
Sony

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.

Looking for a CD player that combines great looks and high performance? Then check out Sony's CDX-RA700. The blue-white fluorescent display on its fold-down face will look sharp in your dash, while its high-powered internal amp and premium digital-to-analog converter will deliver your tunes with amazing depth and clarity.

The CDX-RA700 can handle the WMA and MP3 music files you've burned onto discs — plus it's compatible with ATRAC3plus files from Sony's online music store. Just download your favorite tunes, create a disc, and go. Sony's Aux Lite input allows you to connect your portable music player or other external source directly to the stereo's RCA inputs without having to buy a separate adapter.

The EQ3 feature provides three highly-adjustable tone controls and seven preset tone curves for customizing the sound to fit your car. The Dynamic Soundstage Organizer makes up for less-than-ideal speaker placement in your vehicle by "raising" the soundstage up to ear level. The same BBE processing that's used in recording studios energizes the sound from all your compressed music files.

You'll find two sets of preamp outputs on hand for your amps and subs. You can even switch the rear outputs to subwoofer mode, and control your bass right from the driver's seat. Need more options? The CDX-RA700 will control a Sony CD changer, satellite radio, or iPod adapter.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • CD player with built-in amplifier (17 watts RMS/52 peak x 4 channels)
  • plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs (including discs loaded with MP3, WMA, and ATRAC3plus music files)
  • flip-down, motorized faceplate with detachable, fluorescent display
  • EQ3 3-band parametric equalizer
  • BBE MP processing
  • Dynamic Soundstage Organizer
  • 24-bit digital-to-analog converter
  • three sets of preamp outputs
  • low-pass filter
  • Aux Lite auxiliary input
  • CD changer controls
  • satellite radio-ready (XM or SIRIUS tuner, subscription, and antenna required)
  • CD Text compatible
  • CEA-2006 compliant amplifier
  • clock
  • SSIR-EXA AM/FM tuner
  • 18 FM/12 AM presets
  • seek tuning
  • remote control
  • CD frequency response: 10-20,000 Hz
  • CD signal-to-noise ratio: 120 dB
  • FM sensitivity: 9 dBf
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

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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17 watts
Peak Output
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52 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
Preamp Voltage
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2 volts
Display Color
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White/Blue
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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Parts Warranty
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1 Year
Labor Warranty
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1 Year
Expandability
AUX Input
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Rear
USB Input
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Memory Card Slot
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No
Bluetooth Compatible
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Satellite Radio Ready
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Both
HD Radio
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Navigation
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iPod Compatibility
Full size
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Nano
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Touch
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Mini
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iPhone
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Tuner
FM Sensitivity
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9 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/Changer controller receiver with 10-amp fuse inserted into chassis
  • Face
  • Sleeve
  • Trim ring
  • Hard plastic face case
  • Wiring harness
  • RM-X151 wireless remote control
  • 1 CR2025 lithium battery (installed in remote control)
  • 2 Radio removal tools
  • 2 Face security screws
  • 4 ISO-mount screws
  • Operating Instructions (English/French)
  • Installation/Connections sheet (English/French)
  • Warranty sheet
  • Note on installing face security screws

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.

Features
Changer Controls
Note

Features

Drive S: The CDX-RA700 features the Drive S chassis platform. Drive S includes the CD mechanism, audio stages, 12 V power supply, and tuner section. The CD mechanism includes a suspension to resist shocks, a motor that draws less power, and a fast low-current pickup that improves durability and CD playback accuracy. The 52W x 4 S-MOSFET Power IC produces clearer, more accurate sound, less distortion, and a higher signal-to-noise ratio than previous designs.

Satellite Radio Ready: You can connect a satellite radio tuner to the CDX-RA700 in a couple of ways. The unit is directly compatible with the SIRIUS SIR-SNY1 Satellite Tuner for Sony (item # 607SIRSNY1). The Terk XMDirect universal XM Satellite Radio tuner (209XMD1000) can be connected to and controlled by the head unit when used with the XMDirect Smart Adapter for Sony (209SON110).

Note: In addition to the optional satellite tuner, you will also need the proper antenna and a subscription to SIRIUS or XM Satellite Radio.

Full-Motion Fluorescent Display: The unit's fluorescent display technology gives you better resolution than conventional LCDs, and lets data transition faster for smooth, clean, solid movement of graphics. Using the Image button on the face of the unit, you can cycle through 3 wallpaper displays, 5 spectrum analyzer displays, and 3 motion displays. Using the Auto Image function, you can step repeatedly through the spectrum analyzer displays, motion displays, or all displays.

24-Bit Burr Brown D/A Converter: This digital-to-analog converter uses Advanced Segment architecture to achieve improved dynamic performance and resistance to clock jitter. Additionally, the digital-to-analog converter features a zero-bit detection circuit, which senses when all bits are low on a CD, and mutes the output for improved S/N ratio.

ATRAC CD Playback: The CDX-RA700 plays ATRAC3plus/ATRAC3 files recorded on CD-R and CD-RW discs. Each ATRAC disc can have a maximum of 255 groups and 999 files.

MP3/WMA Playback: This unit can play MP3/WMA files recorded on CD-R and CD-RW discs in ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, and Romeo formats. Each disc should have a maximum of 150 folders and 300 files/folders. During playback, the unit displays any recorded ID3 Tag information.

EQ3: You may select one of the following EQ presets: Xplod, Vocal, Edge, Cruise, Space, Gravity, or Custom. For each preset, you can adjust the following frequencies: Low (60 or 100 Hz), Mid (500 Hz or 1 kHz), and High (10 or 12.5 kHz). The level of each frequency can be adjusted from +10 dB to -10 dB in 1 dB increments.

BBE MP: When playing back MP3 files, the BBE MP circuit recovers and recreates harmonics, restoring the detail, warmth and nuances that existed in the original recording.

Dynamic Soundstage Organizer (DSO): Sony's Dynamic Soundstage Organizer uses proprietary circuitry to induce subtle phase shifts, simulating a sound source that is placed higher than the actual speakers in the vehicle. For example, when the DSO function is used in a vehicle equipped with speakers mounted low in the front doors, it creates virtual speakers in the dash to raise the soundstage. This unit offers three levels of DSO, each with a larger and higher soundstage. You can store the DSO setting for each source.

Best Tuning Memory (BTM): This feature selects stations with the strongest signals within the selected band and stores them in order of their frequency.

2V Mono Subwoofer Preamp Outputs: In addition to the 2V front and rear preamp outputs, this unit includes one set of 2V mono subwoofer preamp outputs. Although there are two female RCA subwoofer outputs, the same signal is carried by both connections. A low-pass filter (see below) can be used to filter high frequencies from the signals output by the subwoofer outs.

Low-pass Filter: The subwoofer preamp outputs have a selectable low-pass filter that may be set to 78Hz, 125Hz, or off.

Aux Lite Auxiliary Input: The CDX-RA700 has an auxiliary input on the rear panel, allowing you to connect a separate audio source, such as a portable MiniDisc or MP3 player, or the audio output from a mobile/portable DVD player. In the past, Sony receivers required a separate adapter, however, this unit's "Aux Lite" input allows you to directly connect the auxiliary unit to the receiver's stereo RCA input jacks.

Note: If a CD/MD changer is connected to this receiver, you will not be able to connect an auxiliary source without an adapter (158XA300).

Dimmer: This unit is equipped with a wire that Sony calls an illumination lead, however, it acts as a dimmer lead. When the dimmer mode is set to "Auto" and the illumination lead receives power, the display dims to a preset level. The display brightness is not affected by the vehicle's dimmer control. Also, the dimmer feature may be turned off, so dimming does not take place when the illumination lead receives power. You may choose to dim the display at all times by setting the dimmer mode to "On."

Note: For this feature to work, the unit's illumination wire must be connected to your vehicle's dash lights wire.

45-Degree Installation: For flexibility of installation, this unit can be mounted between 0 (horizontal) and 45 degrees.

Wired Remote Compatibility: In addition to the supplied wireless remote, the receiver can be controlled by an optional wired rotary commander (item 158RMX4S). Once the wired remote is connected, you can change the control direction of the remote, depending upon which side of the steering wheel you choose to mount the remote.

Changer Controls

Compatibility: This unit is compatible with Sony Unilink CD/MP3 and MD changers.

Optional Auxiliary Input: You can connect an auxiliary audio device (such as a portable digital memory player, cassette, MiniDisc, or VCR) when used with the optional XA-300 Unilink Auxiliary Input Adapter. The XA-300 uses the Unilink and Bus Audio inputs on the back of the receiver, and allows you to connect an optional CD/MD changer in addition to the auxiliary audio source.

Multiple Changer Control: A maximum of 5 CD changers, 5 CD/MP3 changers, or 5 MD changers may be connected to this receiver. When connecting CD, CD/MP3 and MD changers, you may connect up to a total of 7 changers (but there must not be more than 5 of one type of changer). When connecting more than one changer to this receiver, you must use the Sony XA-C30 source selector.

Note

Display Illumination/Clock Display: Pressing the Off button once will turn off audio output, but the clock display and face/button illumination remain on. This makes the clock display and face/button illumination "Keyed" instead of "Unit On" only. To turn the unit off completely, you must press the Off button for two seconds.

Note: When installing in a vehicle without an accessory power wire at the radio location, you must turn the radio completely off (this defeats keyed operation), or you may wire the accessory power wire of this radio to an alternate source of accessory power to retain keyed clock and face/button illumination operation.

 
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Sony CDX-RA700 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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5 out of 5

BUY THIS STEREO

Written By jasonraces, orlando, fl on Saturday, November 11, 2006
 
I just bought this stereo to use as a head unit for a new sound system im installing with hopes that it will sound halfway decent considering its a sony and its sound quality blew my away, i even got rid of the 4 way amp i was using for the main speakers because the stereo was loud enough by its self. which also comes with 2 subwoofer outputs and front and rear rca outputs so its great for a full system upgrade.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

nice sony product

Written By fordman, houston, texas on Wednesday, October 11, 2006
 
i bought this head unit for my wife's beetle, the install was very easy, i am very pleased with the appearance and sound quality of this receiver, i think it even sounds better than my pioneer p80mp head unit, and i have infinity components with and amp! im jealous! thanks crutchfield for your great catalog!
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4 out of 5

Sony CDX-RA700: Has perfect sound but surprisingly poorest features!

Written By Vitaliy, Brooklyn, NY on Saturday, August 05, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This one is my first Sony CD Player. It has very nice pure sound. I had blaupunkt before - the difference in sound is huge. About features. This model doesn't have much features. I'm completely unsatisfied with controls such as equilizer and frequencies. There are no options to choose. Everything is already set up))) That's a bad part but the rest should be ok. I rated it as 4 for now.
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5 out of 5

Worth the $

Written By Vinnie, Lewisburg, OH on Sunday, June 11, 2006
 
I bought this unit to play CD's and my iPod.It works great, and is good looking also. Much better sound than the OEM HU, and more volume too. I would recomend this unit.
7 out of 8 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

Probably the worst radio for Satellite radio

Written By Jon, Chicago, IL on Saturday, May 13, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
If you're looking for a radio to control your satelite radio, don't buy this one. I previously had a clarion radio that interfaced much better then this new sony radio. Everything went down a single cable (power, audio, control). With the sony, you must run three different cables and the audio must plug into the aux input (goodbye aux iPod input). This coupled with a short control cable which only made it under the front seat of my car instead of my trunk where I was able to put my clarion receiver kinda took the magic out of the whole "new stereo sensation." I was disappointed with my new sony radio. This may not be for the novice to install. Additionally, when you're using the satelite radio, the display will only show one line of text at a time (Ex: Channel number, Artist, Song, Channel Name... ONLY ONE)

Go with a clarion radio. You'll be much happier.
33 out of 59 people found this helpful
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