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Our take on the Clarion CZ401 by Crutchfield's Zak Billmeier
You love local radio — why not experience it to the fullest? Clarion's CZ401 CD receiver lets you enjoy the crystal-clear reception and high-quality sound that HD Radio™ technology brings to AM and FM broadcasts. On participating stations, you'll hear AM that's as clear as FM, along with FM that's almost CD quality. Many HD Radio stations also broadcast more than one channel on the same frequency, giving you even more listening choices.
Plug in your iPod® or iPhone® to the USB slot, and you can control it using the CZ401's knobs and buttons. You'll enjoy great sound quality, and your player stays charged while you drive. Song info shows up on the easy-to-read two-line display. When you're tuned into an HD Radio station with your iPod connected, you can "tag" songs you hear by simply tapping a button on the stereo. Then the next time you sync your iPod, you'll be reminded to buy the tagged songs in the iTunes™ store.
Build a system
Clarion made sure the CZ401 is ready for the future. You can add a Bluetooth® adapter to enjoy the safety and convenience of hands-free calling. You can connect a SIRIUS satellite radio tuner directly to this receiver without the need for a brand-specific translator cable, and that'll save you some money. Of course, a subscription is required to hear satellite radio programming.
At the core lies great sound quality
You'll be impressed by the clean power of the CZ401's built-in amplifier. Clarion's unique bass boost will add punch to your sound without getting muddy. The 3-band parametric equalizer gives you pinpoint control over the highs, mids, and lows — much more effective than the simple bass and treble controls found on most factory radios.
You can play your store-bought CDs, recordable discs, and discs you've loaded with MP3 and WMA files. You'll also find the front auxiliary input handy for plugging in a Dock & Play satellite radio, an MP3 player, or any other portable audio player. The receiver features three sets of 4-volt preamp outputs that'll get a clean, strong signal to your outboard amps. A built-in low-pass filter lets you control the character of your bass, while a high-pass filter lets you send your speakers the frequencies they were designed to handle.
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.
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.
The radio does everything I hoped. The installation instructions were easily understood. The installation for a non-professional was a snap.
Dave S, TN
What's in the Box:
- 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)
- CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
- built-in amplifier (18 watts RMS CEA-2006/45 peak x 4 channels)
- built-in HD Radio tuner
- plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs (including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA files)
- remote control
- BeatEQ with three preset tone settings and 3-band parametric EQ
- high- and low-pass filters
- compatible with Clarion Bluetooth adapter and SIRIUS satellite radio tuner
- inputs: front-panel auxiliary input, front-panel USB input
- outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (4-volt front, rear, sub)
Clarion CZ401 Reviews
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Features and Specs
|Memory Card Slot||USB Memory|
|Satellite Radio Ready||Sirius|
|RMS Power Output||18 watts|
|Peak Output||45 watts|
|RMS Power Bandwidth||20-20kHz|
|Sub Preamp Outputs||Yes|
|Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs||No|
|Preamp Voltage||4 volts|
|Key Button Color||Blue|
|Steering Wheel Control Compatible||Adapter required|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
|FM Sensitivity||8 dBf|
|Radio Data System||No|
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. 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 CZ401 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.
MOSFET Amplifier: The Clarion CZ401 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 CZ401 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 CZ401 are as follows:
- CEA2006 Specs: 18 watts RMS x 4 channels (at 4 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 1% THD-N)
- Maximum Power Output: 45 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 independently
- 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 CZ401 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 CZ401 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 CZ401 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 headunit.
Beep: The in-dash headunit provides an audible beep to confirm button operation. This function can be turned On or Off.
HD Radio: The Clarion CZ401's built-in HD Radio tuner lets you receive digital AM/FM broadcasts from local stations where available. HD Radio technology offers higher quality sound than conventional analog broadcasts and receives text data. HD Radio provides FM broadcasts that are equal to CD sound quality and AM broadcasts that are as good as analog FM stereo broadcasts. HD Radio also provides a variety of data, including station name, song title, artist name, album name, etc. The unit's built-in HD Radio tuner allows analog AM/FM tuning as well. 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). No subscription fees required.
Station Text: The built-in HD Radio tuner displays song title, artist and station information on the display of the Clarion in-dash unit.
Multicasting: In addition to conventional broadcasts, with HD Radio broadcasting it is possible to choose from up to 8 multicast programs (HD1 to HD8 and analog). There are also data programs for each program.
Preset Stations: The Clarion CZ401offers 18 FM station presets and 6 AM station presets. Stations can be stored manually or automatically.
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.
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 headunit'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 headunit 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 (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 CZ401 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 and WMA files with a bit rate from 8-320 kbps and formatted with FAT are supported. The headunit 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 CZ401 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 CZ401 allows you to connect your iPod/iPhone to the headunit's front-panel USB port using your iPod's USB/Dock cable for audio playback, control, and charging of your iPod/iPhone. This headunit 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 headunit and sound quality to be maximized through the headunit's 1-bit D/A converter, allowing for a Signal to Noise ratio up to 80dB.
- Audio Playback: The Clarion headunit supports audio playback of music files stored on your iPod or iPhone. iPod Video can be viewed by connecting the CZ401 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 headunit 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 headunit 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 headunit'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.
iTunes Tagging: iTunes Tagging allows you to "tag" songs heard on the unit's built-in HD Radio tuner. Tagging saves the song's title and metadata to a connected iPod/iPhone (you may store up to 64 tags in the memory). When the iPod/iPhone is synced to iTunes, a playlist is generated with links to the iTunes Store where the song can be purchased and downloaded.
iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Clarion CZ401 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||iTunes Tagging||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 CZ401 feature a front panel 3.5mm auxiliary input so you connect your external portable audio player or portable satellite radio receiver to this headunit. 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 CZ401 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 CZ401 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 CZ401 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.
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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