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Panasonic MXE CQ-C5401U

CD receiver with MP3 / WMA playback

9 Reviews

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Item # 133C5401

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Our take on the Panasonic MXE CQ-C5401U

Talk about smooth! Panasonic's MXE CQ-C5401U CD receiver offers a motorized faceplate, for a dash style that looks as good as it sounds. The flip-down design also means more space for the blue display, giving you a screen that's easy to see and controls that don't get lost under your fingers.

Talk about smooth! Panasonic's MXE CQ-C5401U CD receiver offers a motorized faceplate, for a dash style that looks as good as it sounds. The flip-down design also means more space for the blue display, giving you a screen that's easy to see and controls that don't get lost under your fingers.

Your CDs (including MP3 and WMA-burned discs) will sound great, too, thanks to the internal MOSFET amplifier (17 watts RMS x 4). The SQ3 sound shaping tools (3-band equalizer and six preset tone curves) give you hands-on control so you can adjust the sound to fit your car and your music.

If you're looking for connection options, the MXE CQ-C5401U has you covered with three sets of 5-volt preamp outputs. They'll send plenty of clean signal to your external amps, and include a low-pass filter for customizing the bass output.

Built-in XM satellite radio controls can put more than 120 channels of music, news, sports, and entertainment at your fingertips (optional XM Radio subscription, tuner, antenna required to receive the satellite radio signal). Use the auxiliary input to connect an iPod or other portable music source for even more musical flexibility.

Product Highlights:

  • CD receiver with built-in amplifier (18 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
  • plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RW discs (including MP3 and WMA files on disc)
  • SQ3 sound shaping (3-band equalizer and four preset sound curves — "Rock," "Vocal," "Pop," "Club," "Jazz," and "Flat")
  • wireless remote
  • motorized, sliding face
  • direct track selection (with remote control)
  • MOSFET internal amp
  • 5-volt front, rear and subwoofer preamp outputs
  • low-pass filter
  • CD changer controls
  • auxiliary input
  • seek tuning
  • 18 FM/6 AM presets
  • rotary control knob
  • clock
  • XM satellite radio-ready
  • CD signal-to-noise ratio 96 dB
  • CD frequency response 20-20,000 Hz
  • FM sensitivity 10.2 dBf
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Bought this unit to replace a stolen Pioneer. Was pleased with the functionality but not the sound quality. Mid-range voice seemed over emphasized and highs muffled no matter how I changed settings. Returned for the 9801 (much different price) but am extremely please now

John, Indianapolis, IN

What's in the Box:

  • AM/FM/CD receiver with 15-amp fuse inserted into chassis
  • Sleeve
  • Trim ring
  • Wiring harness
  • Face
  • Hard plastic face case
  • Wireless remote control (EUR7641010)
  • CR2025 battery (installed in remote)
  • 2 Sleeve lock cancel plates
  • Mounting bolt (5mm diameter)
  • Rubber bushing
  • Security screw
  • Operating Instructions (English/French/Spanish)
  • Installation Instructions (English/French/Spanish)
  • Panasonic Customer Care card (extended service plan)
  • Electrical Connections sheet (attached to unit)
  • Security pin note

Panasonic MXE CQ-C5401U Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(9 Reviews)


James from Browns Mills, NJ on 5/10/2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Installation was a breeze with Crutchfield's instructions. Took me about one hour! The radio itself is awesome, great sound, crisp highs and deep bass! I hooked up my IPOD with the aux RCA jacks in the back and now I can enjoy it on the road. I also condensed my 900+ music library onto 7 CDs and can listen to them using this radio. I even hooked up my daughter's dvd player to the radio and my truck now sounds like my home theater!



Love my New Radio!

Peter from Milford, CT on 4/12/2006

2003 Mazda Protege
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Okay, let me say this... Crutchfield rocks! With the east instructions I was able to install in my Mazda in less than an hour! I love my new radio! Looks great and sounds great for the price! I hooked up my XM radio to the AUX in and it sounds great! The only complaint I have is you can't see the display in the day time! Not a huge deal since I use my XM most of the time and I can see my XM unit perfectly! Even though you can't see the display, the unit still is a great value! You have plenty of presets and I like the fact you can have different volume levels for each different source; radio, CD, or AUX. I really love this unit! If it fits in your car/truck... buy it!



Panasonic MXE CQ-C5401U

Ted from Rome, Ga on 4/10/2006

2002 Ford Focus ZX3
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Overall this is a great stereo for the price. I have the same complait as some of the other reviewers. During the day you can't read the display. If there is any sunlight where your radio goes you won't be able to read the display. The source button is small and in a hard the push location (just above the volume knob).<BR>I love the mp3/wma playback. I've reduce my entire collection to 10 cd's. Great value radio!



Panasonic MXE CQ-C5401U

John from Indianapolis, IN on 4/3/2006

1997 Plymouth Voyager
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Bought this unit to replace a stolen Pioneer. Was pleased with the functionality but not the sound quality. Mid-range voice seemed over emphasized and highs muffled no matter how I changed settings. Returned for the 9801 (much different price) but am extremely please now



Easy Installation...Excellent Product.

Niko from Delano, Ca. on 4/3/2006

1996 Chevrolet Blazer
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Finally got to replacing the stock stereo on the 96 Blazer and let me tell you, Crutchfield did their homework and made the installation easy. The longest part was unscrewing and unbolting but once that was over, the harness and kit that came with the stereo made my life a whole lot easier. My wife helped out and once we got everything together, powered the car, turned the stereo on, it was music to our ears. The stereo was a good fit for the stock speakers making for good sound. The ease of adjustment and easy to read graphics on the stereo made this a good buy. Now my wife wants to upgrade her stereo in her car...Thanks Crutchfield, you sell only the best.



Panasonic MXE CQ-C5401U

Mckinley from Markham,IL on 4/1/2006

1994 Ford Thunderbird
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought 2 they that good.One for me and one for my son.We both love them. Great sound and the high preamp output really helps the amp sing. My only problem is the volume knob could stick out slightly more. I have big fingers so its delicate.



Panasonic MXE CQ-C5401U

Brian from White Bear Lake, Minnesota on 3/26/2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This system was purchased for a 2006 Toyota Corolla S:<BR>This system is awesome!<BR><BR>1. For the price this system has features that others charge several hundred dollars more for, if they have it all. The motorized flip down screen is one of the cool added features, with 3 different tilt settings. <BR>2. The sound from this system is great. Good bass punch but nice crisp & clean highs. The equalizer with 4-presets works very well without having to fiddle with the individual settings. <BR>3. The aux input, MP3/WMA compatibility, and XM ready make this a system that is sure to meet most users needs. <BR>4. The included (free) installation kit work flawlessly. It blends right in with the factory dash and looks like a factory installation. Good job done with the design of this kit.<BR>5. The included (free) wiring harness worked perfect. <BR><BR>I would recommend this system to anyone. The features and sound quality out of this unit are awesome for the money. It looks and sounds like a system that would cost much more than it does. I recommend it!<BR>



Works great, but not compatible with Honda Civic trim package

Cameron from San Luis Obispo, CA on 7/12/2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

So far, I have no complaints about the Panasonic receiver/CD/MP3 player. Sounds great, even on my Honda Civic factory speakers, and the interface is pretty standard and intuitive. The EQ presets provide a nice variety of sound quality. I've got my iPod hooked up to the aux in (on the back of the unit) with the cable running behind the dash into my glove compartment, where I keep the iPod most of the time, even when it's playing.<BR><BR>However...the trim package that Crutchfield supplied to fit this into my '96 Honda Civic dash doesn't work with the unit. It fits perfectly, but the Panasonic's faceplate jams against it when it tries to open. To be fair, part of this is probably Panasonic's fault for designing a funky faceplate system. Instead of just folding down, like most I've seen, it slides out on the bottom and then pivots from the bottom backwards into itself, facing upwards...clever, but doesn't leave much clearance for the faceplate. I had to rip the trim piece off to get the thing to open so that I could get discs in and out. I tried filing down the trim piece, but it didn't help.<BR><BR>If you order this unit, check with the Crutchfield advisors to see if the trim kit they supply for your vehicle would have the unit inset at all. If so, there's a chance that the faceplate could jam.



Nice upgrade from the factory unit

Rick Murphy from Annandale, VA on 5/27/2005

I bought this with the XM receiver and adapter to replace the factory receiver that was installed in my Saturn VUE SUV. I bought this unit specifically to get XM without using an FM modulator or cassette adapter. I wanted a direct connection and the factory radio did not have an aux input. The replacement install went well and looks good; the XM receiver is installed under the passenger seat with cables running under the carpeting.<BR><BR>Note that you can only have XM *or* a CD changer. That is not obvious from the info on the site. Also note that since the XM receiver uses the Aux inputs, you can not connect your iPod if you are using XM. However, given the low cost, you cant expect the receiver to do everything - it is important, however, to know the limitations.<BR><BR>The unit works well and sounds great. The various pre-set equalization curves sound good (and can be tweaked to the characteristics of your car.)<BR><BR>An MP3 CD burned out of iTunes is compatible and displays ID3 info, scrolling titles and artists when necessary. This is the first receiver I have used with MP3 CD capability and it is very nice - especially the scrolling to allow the entire title to be read. For some unfathomable reason, XM titles and artists are chopped off at 8 characters and dont scroll. Thats a bit of a nit, but I find it annoying.<BR><BR>My other nit is that the sound settings are not stored with channel presets. (The Saturn factory receiver stores "flat" with the news station and "Jazz" with the jazz station - it doesnt look like this one does that.)<BR><BR>I am quite happy with the purchase - I would give this receiver a 5 out of 5 if the XM titles scrolled as I expected.




Hands-on research

Features and Specs

AUX Input Rear
Audio/video Input ---
USB Input ---
CarPlay No
Android Auto No
Siri Control No
Android Control No
Memory Card Slot No
Bluetooth Compatible ---
Satellite Radio Ready XM
HD Radio ---
Navigation ---
iPod Compatibility
Full size ---
Nano ---
Touch ---
iPhone ---
RMS Power (CTA-2006) 17 watts
RMS Power (Manufacturer) ---
Peak Output 50 watts
RMS Power Bandwidth 20-20kHz
Preamp Outputs 6-channel
Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs No
Video Screen No
Preamp Voltage 5 volts
Display Color White on blue
Key Button Color Red/Blue
EQ Bands 3
Wireless Remote Yes
Steering Wheel Control Compatible ---
Parts Warranty 2 Years
Labor Warranty 2 Years
FM Sensitivity 10.2 dBf
European Tuning No
Seek/Scan Seek
Radio Data System No

Product Research

CD Changer Controls


MP3/WMA Compatible: The Panasonic MXE CQ-C5401U can play MP3 and WMA files recorded onto CD-R and CD-RW discs in ISO 9660 Level 1/Level 2, Apple Extension to ISO 9660, Joliet, and Romeo. The player can support up to 999 files, 255 files in one folder, 8 levels, and 255 folders. During MP3/WMA playback, you can switch the display between Folder #/File #, File Elapsed time, Folder Name, File Name, and Source Name/Clock.

XM Satellite Ready: You can receive XM Satellite Radio by connecting the optional Terk XMD1000 XM Direct receiver (206XMD1000) and the XM Direct Smart Adapter for Panasonic (206XMDPAN1). A subscription to XM Satellite Radio is required to receive the over 130 channels of digital-quality programming. Note: You cannot use the Auxiliary Input when an XM receiver is connected to the DIN connector.

Motorized Sliding Face: The CQ-C5401U features a motorized sliding detachable face with a large bright display. When you press the eject button, the face slides down to allow you to insert or remove a CD. For best visibility, you can utilize the 3-stage tilt function to angle the faceplate at 15°, 25°, or 35°. When the face is removed, a red LED blinks on the front panel of the radio. In addition, a faceplate removal alarm sounds to warn you to remove the faceplate before leaving your car. The security indicator and alarm can be deactivated. A hard plastic face case is supplied for carrying your detached faceplate.

Spectrum Analyzer: The display features a spectrum analyzer at the bottom of the display. You can select one of 6 patterns or turn the spectrum analyzer off.

CD Text: The unit will display CD Text information when encoded onto CDs. During CD play, the display can be switched between Track #/Elapsed Time, Disc Title, Track Title, and Source Name/Clock.

Auxiliary Input: A set of female RCA jacks is provided to allow the connection of a portable audio source. Just connect your portable cassette, MD or MP3 player to this unit, and you can listen to the audio from the portable player through the speakers in your mobile audio system. The jacks are on a 6" long pigtail attached to the back of the unit. Note: You cannot use the Auxiliary Input when a CD changer or XM receiver is connected to the DIN connector.

CEA-2006 Compliant: The specifications given by Panasonic for the built-in amplifier comply with the CEA-2006 mobile amplifier power testing and measurement standards from the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association). All manufacturers who comply with the standard can display the CEA-2006 logo on their product.

Subwoofer Output: In addition to front and rear preamp outputs, the receiver has a non-fading, two-channel subwoofer output. You can adjust the volume of the subwoofer output from -6dB to +6dB in 2dB increments. In addition, you can set the frequency of the built-in low pass filter at 80Hz or 120Hz.

Sound Quality (SQ3): In addition to the bass and treble adjustments, the unit's Sound Quality 3 functions allow you to set the level and center frequency of each of three bands. You can adjust each band by +/-12dB at the following frequencies: SQ-Low/Bass at 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, or 200Hz, SQ-Mid at 500Hz, 1kHz, 2kHz, or 3kHz, and SQ-High/Treble at 10kHz, 12kHz, 15kHz, or 18kHz. There are six SQ3 settings:

  • SQ-Rock: speedy and heavy sound; exaggerates bass and treble
  • SQ-Pop: wide-ranged and deep sound; slightly emphasizes bass and treble
  • SQ-Vocal: clear sound; emphasizes middle tone and slightly emphasizes treble
  • SQ-Jazz: jazz-specific deep sound with emphasis on sharpness of high-hat and echo of saxophone
  • SQ-Club: club and disco specific sound: reproduction of realism being in a club
  • SQ-Flat: flat frequency response; no emphasis applied

Mute/Attenuate: This unit allows you to choose between mute (volume at 0) or attenuate (volume decreased by 10 steps) when you want to decrease the volume instantly. After selecting mute or attenuate in the menu, pressing the Mute button activates either function and the Mute indicator light glows in the display.

Alphatuner V: The CQ-C5401U's Alphatuner V tuner is designed to help suppress multi-path distortion and reduce the problem of radio signal reflections in metropolitan areas. It also features increased sensitivity for weak signal areas.

Remote Control: The CQ-C5401U is equipped with a wireless remote control (EUR7641010). The dimensions of the remote are: W=1.64", H=0.664", L=3.762". The remote is powered by a CR2025 lithium battery (supplied).

Display Note: Pressing and holding the Source button turns the unit off completely. After the unit has been turned off, you can use the DISP button to switch the clock display and face/button illumination on and off. If you leave the clock display and face/button illumination on, they are "keyed". If you turn the clock display and face/button illumination off, they only turn on when the unit is turned on ("unit on" operation).

CD Changer Controls

CD Changer Controls: The CQ-C5401U has controls for a compatible Panasonic CD changer, such as the CX-DP880. CD Changer functions include: Disc Skip, Direct Disc Select (remote only), Track Skip, Track Search (FF/RW), Disc Intro Scan, Track Intro Scan, Disc repeat, Track repeat, Disc random and Track random. Note: You cannot use the Auxiliary Input when a CD changer is connected to the DIN connector.

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 verify what’s in the box, 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.