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Our take on the Sony CDX-GT56UI by Crutchfield's Ken Nail
Sony's CDX-GT56UI CD receiver offers a front-panel USB input for iPod® connection and control, along with great sound and some pretty sophisticated audio controls.
Take charge of your iPod
You'll appreciate this receiver's ability to control your iPod in the car. The Quick BrowZer feature lets you search for a song by genre, artist, or album with a couple of quick flicks of the control knob. The Jump control leaps through your songs in 10% increments, while Zappin' plays short clips of your music files until you hear the song that suits your mood.
Audio controls to customize your sound
Sony's Advanced Sound Engine provides excellent dynamic range and fidelity, and throws in some extra features. A 7-band equalizer gives you lots of options for adjusting the sound to match your car. Automatic Level Optimizer continually balances the output of your sources so you don't have to keep a hand glued to the volume knob. Sony's DM+ Advanced circuitry restores the details that are lost when you compress your digital music, so you enjoy the best possible sound from your MP3, WMA, or AAC files. And you'll be able to dial in a stronger stereo image with the Listening Position time alignment feature.
Want a little more kick?
When you're ready to expand your system you'll find a set of preamp outputs for adding an external amplifier or a powered subwoofer. You can use the built-in high- and low-pass filters to trim the signal going to your speakers and subs so you get maximum efficiency from your system.
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 Sony stereo. Connect a few wires, then program the adapter for your particular car and the Sony, and you'll retain the convenience of your steering wheel controls.
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.
easy to install
What's in the Box:
- AM/FM CD receiver (with 10-amp fuse inserted into chassis)
- Sleeve (installed)
- Trim ring (installed)
- Wiring harness
- Remote control (RM-X211)
- CR2025 Lithium battery (installed in remote)
- 2 Radio removal tools
- 4 Flathead ISO-mount screws
- Face-fixing screw
- Operating Instructions (Eng/Fre)
- Installation/Connections sheet (Eng/Fre)
- US Limited Warranty sheet
- Canada Consumer 1 Year Warranty
- Face fixing screw note
- CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
- built-in amplifier (17 watts RMS CEA-2006/52 peak x 4 channels)
- detachable face with black and white LCD display
- red key illumination
- built-in RDS (Radio Data System)
- remote control
- plays CDs and USB devices (see Hands-on Research for full capabilities)
- EQ7 7-band equalizer, Listener Position calibration, DM+ advanced sound restoration, Rear Bass Enhancer, and Dynamic Loudness
- 24-bit digital-to-analog converter
- adjustable high- and low-pass filters
- iPod direct control via USB input no adapter necessary, but adding an optional connecting cable lets you leave your iPod cable at home
- compatible with satellite radio tuner (not included) — subscription required
- inputs: front-panel auxiliary and USB inputs
- outputs: 2-channel preamp outputs (2-volt rear/sub)
Other features and specs:
Sony CDX-GT56UI Reviews
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Features and Specs
|Memory Card Slot||USB memory|
|Satellite Radio Ready||SiriusXM|
|RMS Power Output||17 watts|
|Peak Output||52 watts|
|RMS Power Bandwidth||20-20kHz|
|Sub Preamp Outputs||No|
|Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs||Yes|
|Preamp Voltage||2 volts|
|Key Button Color||Red|
|Steering Wheel Control Compatible||Adapter required|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
|FM Sensitivity||8 dBf|
|Radio Data System||Yes|
Digital Clarity Tuner: The Sony CDX-GT56UI is equipped with a Digital Clarity Tuner for clear AM/FM stereo sound with digital processing technology.
RDS: The Radio Data System (RDS) feature displays radio broadcast information such as artist & track information when listening to compatible AM/FM stations.
Preset Stations: The radio features 5 memory bands to store and receive AM/FM stations. You can store up to 6 presets each in band (FM 1-3, AM 1-2).
Best Tuning Memory (BTM): This feature automatically selects stations with the best signals within the selected band (FM 1-3), AM 1-2) & stores them in order of their frequency.
Manual/Seek Tuning: The CDX-GT56UI allows you to manual tune or seek tune AM/FM stations.
- Manual Tuning: You can manually tune & find your favorite radio stations one by one.
- Seek Tuning: You can use the seek button to help you search quickly through the available AM/FM stations.
Local Mode: In the Local Seek Mode, the unit will only tune in stations with very strong signals during Seek tuning.
Mono Mode: The Mono Mode allows you improve poor FM reception by selecting a monaural signal instead of a stereo signal.
SiriusXM Ready: The Sony CDX-GT56UI comes ready for SiriusXM programming with access to XM and Sirius Satellite Radio stations. Thanks to its proprietary SiriusXM Connect port, you can add the optional SXV200V1 SiriusXM Connect tuner and receive more than 150 channels of exclusive programming directly from SiriusXM, via the "SiriusXM All Access" package (subscription required). Visit SiriusXM.com for a complete list of subscription options and channel guide. Additional features of the SXV200 SiriusXM Connect tuner include:
- Channel list displays a list of all available channels
- Category Search searches for channels in a certain category
- Displayed Information such as Channel Name, Artist Name, & Song Title can be viewed on the head unit's LCD
- Up to 18 SiriusXM Satellite Radio station presets
- Channels containing unsuitable content for children can be blocked
Note: A separate SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription is required (operates on the XM Network). If you already have a Sirius Satellite Radio subscription, this radio cannot be added as a discounted second unit. If you have an existing XM Satellite Radio subscription, you can add this unit as a discounted second unit.
Disc Compatibility: The unit features a single disc player that will playback CD-Audio, CD-Text, and finalized CD-R/CD-RW audio discs (12cm only).
MP3/WMA/AAC Playback: The Sony CDX-GT56UI allows you to playback CD-Rs or CD-RWs loaded with MP3, WMA, or AAC songs (up to 320 kbps) recorded in ISO 9660 level 1 or 2, Joliet/Romeo, or Multi-Session. The CDX-GT56UI can support up 150 folders, and a combined 300 folders & files on a disc. The head unit will also display song information for MP3, WMA, and AAC music files (Joliet: up to 32 characters, Romeo: up to 64 characters).
Note: Not all MP3, WMA, AAC files may playback due to file variations. Copyright protected ACC-LC files cannot be played back.
Compressed Audio Display Information: The CD receiver can display the following CD-TEXT or ID3/WMA-tag information - Track number, Elapsed Playing Time, Song Title, Artist Name, or Album Label.
Quick-BrowZer: The unit's Quick-BrowZer feature allow you to search for a track on a CD, iPod, or from your connected USB Mass Storage Device easily by category (Genre, Artist, Album, or Playlist).
Jump Mode: Jump Mode gets you closer to the song you want by allowing you to fast forward through a music category in 10% increments.
Zappin: With the Zappin feature, you can play music (files or folders) in 6, 15, or 30-second clips until you find the song you are looking for on your CD or connected USB device.
Off Insert/Eject: A CD disc can be inserted or ejected with the power off. The head unit will automatically begin disc playback, when a disc is inserted with the receiver set to a different source or powered off.
Auto Reload: The CD player will automatically reinsert the disc if it's ejected, but not removed for 20 seconds or more.
Mounting Angle: For proper CD playback, this unit must be mounted between 0° (horizontal) and 45°.
USB Port: The receiver's front-panel (type-A) USB port can be used for plugging in a (MSC) Mass Storage Class or MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) type USB device. The head unit can play music files stored on the USB device in MP3, WMA, or AAC formats (up to 320 kbps). The head unit can recognize up to 128 folders with 500 tracks each when connected to a USB Mass Storage Device. The CDX-GT56UI offers the following USB search, playback, and display functions.
- Search Modes:
- Quick-BrowZer: allows you to search for a track on a connected USB device easily by category (Genre, Artist, Album, or Playlist)
- Jump Mode: gets you closer to the song you want by allowing you to fast forward through a music category in 10% increments
- Zappin: play music (files or folders) in 6, 15, or 30-second clips until you find the song you are looking for on your connected USB device
- Playback Modes:
- Repeat: repeat a single track or repeat an entire album
- Random: shuffle all tracks or a specific album
- Display Information:
- Numeric Text: track number and elapsed playing time
- Alphanumeric Text: song title, artist name, and album label
Note: This unit cannot recognize USB devices via a USB hub. Not all MP3, WMA, AAC files may playback due to file variations. Copyright protected ACC-LC files cannot be played back.
USB 1-Wire iPod/iPhone Control: The GT56UI's front-panel USB port allows you to connect your iPod/iPhone via a single cable (iPod dock connector-to-USB cable; not included with the head unit). This USB 1-Wire for iPod/iPhone connection lets you directly connect, charge, & control select iPod/iPhones via the USB jack on the front of the unit, as well as view metadata like song title & artist name on the front display.
- Bypass iPod DAC: 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 24-bit D/A converter (bypassing iPod/iPhone DAC), allowing for a Signal-to-Noise ratio up to 120dB.
- Information Display: The head unit will display your iPod/iPhone's music file information, including - Track #, Elapsed playing time, Song title, Artist name, and Album label.
- Music Navigation: You can choose to control the
iPod/iPhone from the head unit or from your iPod/iPhone's clickwheel or
- Quick-BrowZer: the Quick-BrowZer feature allows you to browse your iPod/iPhone's music library by Artist, Album, Song, Genre, Playlist, or Podcast
- Alphabetical Search: search within a specific Quick-BrowZer category or All tracks alphabetically (A-Z)
- Zappin: with the Zappin feature, you can play music tracks & albums in 6, 15, or 30-second clips until you find the song you are looking for on your connected iPod/iPhone
- Repeat & Shuffle Play: Repeat (Track/Album) & Shuffle (Album) playback modes
- 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 this 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 Sony CDX-GT56UI is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 9/25/2012):
|Apple Device||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.
Front Panel Auxiliary Input: A front panel stereo 3.5mm mini-jack is provided to allow the connection of a portable audio source. Just connect your portable digital music player to this unit, and you can listen to the audio from the portable player through the speakers in your mobile audio system. The volume level of the auxiliary input is adjustable from -8 to +18 dB to compensate for any difference between the unit and your portable device.
True Fidelity Sound Construction: The Sony CDX-GT56UI AM/FM compact disc player features a newly developed sound processor for less distortion, an S-MOSFET IC for smooth signal transmission, and a large-sized high power capacitor for deep bass sound.
Dynamic Reality Amp: The CDX-GT56UI is equipped with Sony's Dynamic Reality Amp to produce 3 dimensional sound staging for more realistic sound inside your vehicle.
CEA2006 Compliant Amplifier: The power specifications for the Sony CDX-GT56UI 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 CDX-GT56UI are as follows:
- Continuous Power Output: 17 watts RMS x 4 channels (at 4 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 1% THD-N)
- Peak Power Output: 52 watts x 4-channels (208 total watts)
Switchable Rear/Subwoofer 2V Preamp Output: The Sony CDX-GT56UI is equipped with a switchable rear/subwoofer 2-volt preamp output for connecting a full-range or subwoofer amplifier.
Subwoofer Controls: When the unit's subwoofer output is activated, the preamp output becomes non-fading & a low pass filter is activated with a selectable cut-off frequency of 50Hz, 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, or Off. You can also adjust the slope (1/2/3) of the low-pass crossover. You can adjust the subwoofer preamp output's volume level independently from the head unit's volume control from -10 to +10 in 1dB increments. In addition, you can select the phase of the subwoofer output from Normal or Reverse.
High-Pass Filter: The front & rear speaker outputs offer a selectable high-pass crossover frequency of 50Hz, 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, or Off. You can also adjust the slope (1/2/3) of the high-pass crossover.
Advanced Sound Engine: Sony's Advanced Sound Engine creates an ideal in-car sound field with digital signal processing. Advanced Sound Engine contains the following features: EQ7, Listening Position, DM+ Advanced, Rear Bass Enhancer, & Dynamic Loudness.
- EQ7: You can select an equalizer curve from eight music types - Xplod, Vocal, Edge, Cruise, Space, Gravity, Custom, or Off (Flat). The Custom EQ7 mode allows you to make your own equalizer settings. You can adjust the level (+/-6dB) of seven different frequency bands - Band1 (63Hz), Band2 (160Hz), Band3 (400Hz), Band4 (1kHz), Band5 (2.5khz), Band6 (6.3khz), and Band7 (16.0kHz).
- Listening Position: This unit can change the localization of sound by delaying the sound output from each speaker to suit your position, and simulate a natural sound field with the feeling of being in the center of it wherever you sit in the car. You can choose from Front Right, Front Left, Front Center, or Off. You can also set the subwoofer distance of the subwoofer to Near, Normal, or Far
- RBE (Rear Bass Enhancer): RBE enhances the bass sound by applying the low-pass filter setting to the rear speakers. This function allows the rear speakers to work as a subwoofer even if there is no subwoofer connected.
- Dynamic Loudness: Dynamic Loudness refers to compensating for volume level & signal gain.
- DM+ Advanced: DM+ Advanced improves digitally compressed sound by restoring high frequencies lost in the compression process (works only for USB).
Automatic Level Optimizer: Automatic Level Optimizer analyzes each track's playback level & adjusts the output level to optimize transitions between tracks & sources.
Beep Tone: The in-dash head unit provides an audible beep to confirm button operation. This function can be turned On or Off.
Detachable Face: The Sony CDX-GT56UI features a detachable face for theft prevention. A face-fixing screw is supplied for making the face non-detachable, if desired. No face case is included with this unit. An optional soft face case (142DFC1X, sold separately) can be purchased for this unit.
Caution Alarm: If you turn the ignition switch to the Off position without detaching the head unit's front-panel, the caution alarm will sound for a few seconds. The alarm will only sound if the unit's built-in amplifier is used.
1-Line LCD Display: The Sony CDX-GT56UI features a 1-line LCD display for viewing radio & song information.
Motion Display: This feature shows moving patterns on the display when turned on.
Auto Scroll: This feature allows long displayed items to scroll automatically across the display when the track is changed on a disc.
Display Illumination/Clock Display: Pressing the Source/Off button once will switch sources. Pressing and holding the Source/Off button for one second will turn off audio output, but the clock display and button illumination remain on. To turn the unit off completely, you must press and hold the Source/Off button for two seconds.
Dimmer: The CDX-GT56UI feature a dimmer mode to dim the brightness of the display. You can choose from either "Dim On" or Dim Off".
Auto Off: When installing in a vehicle without an accessory power wire at the radio location, you can set the unit to turn off all lighting a set amount of time after you turn the power off. The Auto Off feature can be set to 30 seconds, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or No.
Demo Mode: The head unit's demo mode can be turned On or Off.
Wireless Remote Control: The head unit comes supplied with an IR wireless remote control (RM-X211) for easy operation. The included wireless remote allows you to control the basic functions of the Sony head unit while keeping your eyes on the road.
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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