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Our take on the Clarion CX201 by Crutchfield's Zak Billmeier
You've got room for a double-DIN receiver, but no desire to spring for in-dash DVD. Fill that dash real estate with Clarion's sharp CX201 CD receiver, and you'll enjoy an easy-to-see 2-line display along with fantastic Clarion sound quality.
Plug in your iPod® or iPhone®
When you plug in your player to the receiver's USB slot, you can control your iPod with the large, central control knob, plus view song info as it scrolls across the two-line display. You'll enjoy great sound quality — much better than plugging into an auxiliary input — and your player stays charged while you drive.
Enjoy great sound
You'll be impressed by the clean power from this receiver's built-in amplifier, and Clarion's unique bass boost will add some punch to your sound without getting muddy. The 3-band parametric equalizer is a big jump over the simple tone controls found on most factory radios, giving you pinpoint control over the highs, mids, and lows.
You'll find the front auxiliary input convenient for plugging in a Dock & Play satellite radio, an MP3 player, or any other portable audio player. This receiver will play your store-bought and recordable CDs, plus any discs you've loaded with MP3 and WMA files. Two sets of preamp outputs give you extra control over your amps and subs — you can switch the rear output to subwoofer mode and use the level control for on-the-fly changes. A built-in low-pass filter lets you control the character of your bass, while a high-pass filter trims the extreme low bass out of your front and rear speakers so they play more efficiently.
Ready to add on
You can add an HD Radio tuner to dial in the great sound quality and expanded programming choices offered by participating AM/FM stations. The CX201 also lets you tap into SIRIUS satellite radio by adding the SCC1 tuner — unlike most receivers, it plugs in directly without a brand-specific adapter cable, so that'll save you some money. Of course, a subscription is required to hear satellite radio programming.
Want to keep your car's steering wheel audio controls?
In most vehicles, you can use an adapter (not included) 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.
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.
Outstanding radio. Exactly the features I was looking for at a great price. All installation parts and vehicle specific directions were included. Tech support was fantastic. I love this radio.
aroutlaw, Raleigh, NC
What's in the Box:
- Double-DIN AM/FM CD receiver (with two transports screws installed)
- Trim ring
- Wiring harness (with in-line 15A fuse on constant power wire)
- RCB-176 IR wireless remote
- CR2025 3V Lithium battery
- 8 Counter-sunk phillips-head screws
- 8 Hex-head bolts (with a flat-washer attached to each one)
- 8 Plastic rings
- 2 Self-adhesive gaskets
- Owner's Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa)
- Installation/Wire Connection Guide (Eng/Fre/Spa)
- Warranty sheet (USA/Canada)
- CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
- built-in amplifier (21 watts RMS CEA-2006/50 peak x 4 channels)
- plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs (including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA files)
- 2-line display
- remote control
- BeatEQ with three preset tone settings and 3-band parametric EQ
- high- and low-pass filters
- compatible with Clarion HD Radio tuner and SIRIUS satellite radio
- inputs: front-panel auxiliary input, front-panel USB input
- outputs: 4-channel preamp outputs (2-volt front, rear/sub)
Clarion CX201 Reviews
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Features and Specs
|Memory Card Slot||USB memory|
|Satellite Radio Ready||Sirius|
|RMS Power Output||21 watts|
|Peak Output||50 watts|
|RMS Power Bandwidth||20-20kHz|
|Sub Preamp Outputs||No|
|Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs||Yes|
|Preamp Voltage||2 volts|
|Key Button Color||Blue|
|Steering Wheel Control Compatible||Adapter required|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
|FM Sensitivity||11 dBf|
|Radio Data System||No|
2-DIN Chassis: The Clarion CX201 has a 2-DIN chassis (also known as "Double DIN" or size DD), and will fit in many vehicles with a large dash opening. The unit can be ISO-mounted using your vehicle's factory radio brackets and the supplied hardware. There is also an optional custom double-DIN sleeve (0202DBKT, sold separately) available for this unit that will allow you to mount the CX201 in a custom 4" opening. As always, please consult the Crutchfield Car Selector to verify fit with your vehicle.
High Visibility LCD: The 13-segment, 2-line high visibility LCD (with black background and white characters) on the CX201 allows numbers and characters to be displayed clearly in almost any lighting condition. You can adjust the display contrast (1-16) to match angle of installation of the unit.
Large Rotary Control Knob: The unit's large, 3-way, rotary control knob, combined with the ergonomically symmetrical design of the unit, helps to provide equally comfortable operation from the driver side or passenger side. Its intuitiveness and natural feel minimizes stress for the operator and contributes to driving safety.
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.
Anti-Theft System: Since the CX201 does not have detachable face, this unit features Clarion's Anti-Theft System (CATS). CATS allows you to create a 4-digit code that must be entered to operate the unit if it is ever disconnected from your vehicle's battery.
Anti-Theft Indicator: The red Anti-theft indicator on the unit's front-panel is a function for preventing theft. When the CX201 and your vehicle is turned completely off, this indicator will blink to deter theft.
MOSFET Amplifier: The Clarion CX201 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 CX201 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 CX201 are as follows:
- CEA2006 Specs: 21 watts RMS x 4 channels (at 4 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 1% THD-N)
- Maximum Power Output: 50 watts x 4 channels (180 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
- 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.
4ch/2V Preamp Output: The Clarion CX201 features 4ch/2V RCA line level outputs (Front/Rear). The unit's rear preamp outputs can be configured as a dedicated non-fading RCA subwoofer output with a low-pass filter, phase adjustment (normal/reverse), and level control (+/-6).
Built-in Crossovers: The Clarion CX201 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 (when activated) 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 CX201 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.
AM/FM Tuner: The Clarion CX201 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).
- 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 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 (5-320 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 256 files per folder, with a maximum of 999 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.
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 CX201 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 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 files with a bit rate from 8-320 kbps and WMA files with a bit rate from 5-320 kbps that are formatted with FAT will be supported. The head unit can recognize up to 256 files per folder and 999 total files. Titles up to 64 characters can be displayed while in USB mode. The CX201 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 CX201 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 92dB.
- 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 CX201 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 select between categories by using the head unit's numbered preset buttons 1-6. Once you have selected a category, you can search through the music in that particular category alphabetically. You can also control the following playback functions of your iPod/iPhone: Skip Tracks, Fast-forward/backward, Pause, Repeat, and Random. You can also choose to control your iPod/iPhone through 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. If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.
Note: If you have an iPod nano (7th gen), iPod touch (5th gen), or iPhone 5; use the Lighting-to-USB cable that came with your Apple device to connect to the head unit.
iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Clarion CX201 is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 9/25/2012):
|iPod Model||Generation||Tested Version||Media Type||Control Type||Display Type||Charge|
|Audio||Video||Head Unit||iPod||App mode||Artist/Song Text||Track Info|
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 wait until a newer software update is available.
Auxiliary Input: The CX201 features a front panel 3.5mm auxiliary input so you can 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.
Bluetooth Ready: The CX201 is compatible with Clarion's BLT370 Bluetooth system (020BLT370, sold separately) via its front panel 3.5mm stereo minijack input. The BLT370 gives you hands-free communication from your compatible Bluetooth cellular phone and wireless streaming audio from any Bluetooth compatible portable audio device. The CX201 can be set to automatically mute any music audio to your vehicle's speakers so you can listen to your telephone call using your car speakers.
Wireless Remote: The CX201 comes supplied with the RCB-176 infrared wireless remote control for wireless operation of the CD player. The remote operates off of a single CR2025 Lithium Cell 3-volt battery.
Steering Wheel Remote Compatibility: The head unit features an OEM steering wheel remote control input on the rear of the unit that lets you keep your vehicle's factory radio steering wheel remote controls when used with an optional steering wheel audio control adapter (sold separately). Please consult Crutchfield's Outfit My Car to see if your vehicle is compatible.
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