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Lightning Audio LA-1500BT

Digital media receiver

7 Reviews

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Item # 495LA1500B

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Our take on the Lightning Audio LA-1500BT

Lightning Audio's LA-1500BT digital media receiver offers plenty of connections for your media, along with built-in Bluetooth. You'll be able to make hands-free calls with your compatible phone and stream music from your Bluetooth device. On the front panel, you'll find a USB port for plugging in a thumb drive full of music, a mini-jack plug for most other audio sources, and an SD card slot.

Bluetooth® functionality

Lightning Audio's LA-1500BT digital media receiver offers plenty of connections for your media, along with built-in Bluetooth. You'll be able to make hands-free calls with your compatible phone and stream music from your Bluetooth device. On the front panel, you'll find a USB port for plugging in a thumb drive full of music, a mini-jack plug for most other audio sources, and an SD card slot.

Intelligent design

If you plan on building a sound system, this receiver offers a full set of preamp outputs for connecting outboard amps. If you're an AM/FM fanatic, you'll appreciate the six preset buttons on the driver's side of the control panel. The big volume knob really comes in handy when you're trying to keep your eyes on the road, and Lightning Audio includes a wireless remote so your passengers can entertain themselves. The 3-band equalizer is helpful when you're trying to make quick adjustments from one artist to the next. You can detach the front panel and take it with you when you park — a nice feature when you're in an iffy part of town.

This digital media receiver will not play CDs. If you want to play CDs in your vehicle, we offer a wide selection of CD receivers.

Bluetooth note: Use of this receiver's Bluetooth features will depend upon your phone's Bluetooth capabilities. Learn more in our article explaining Bluetooth profiles.

Product Highlights:

    General features:
    • digital media receiver with AM/FM tuner (does not play CDs)
    • built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calls and music streaming
    • Internet radio playback through Bluetooth
    • detachable face with single-line display and blue button illumination
    • plays MP3 and WMA music files
    • built-in amplifier (22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
    • remote control
    Audio features:
    • 3-band equalizer with 4 presets curves (1 user-adjustable curve)
    • inputs: front USB port (no iPod control), front auxiliary input, SD card slot
    • outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (front, rear, sub)
    Other features and specs:

    It's a great stereo with a pre sub woofer plug in for when I get my subs it's blue tooth and just makes any speakers sound clearer

    Corey b., Wake forest NC 27587

    What's in the Box:

    • Digital media receiver (10A fuse installed)
    • Detachable face (attached)
    • Trim ring (installed)
    • Sleeve (installed)
    • Power harness
    • Speaker harness
    • Remote control
    • CR2025 3V battery
    • 2 ISO-screws
    • 2 Removal keys
    • Mounting backstrap
    • Mounting screw
    • Flat washer
    • Lock washer
    • Hex-nut
    • Cloth carrying pouch
    • Owner's Manual

    Lightning Audio LA-1500BT Reviews

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (7 Reviews)

    lighting audio

    Corey b. from Wake forest NC 27587 on 9/26/2014

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    It's a great stereo with a pre sub woofer plug in for when I get my subs it's blue tooth and just makes any speakers sound clearer




    awesomety97 from New York on 7/29/2014

    2002 Pontiac Grand Prix
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Awesome product, not sure what everyone is talking about the lowest of the first volume, you can change the startup volume, which is preset to 10 if thats the problem.

    Pros: Bluetooth, auxiliary, remote control.

    Cons: Radio has slightly more static, excessive features to turn on, installation, led color doesn't match my car.

    Great value for the money!!!

    Heath from Adairville, KY on 5/7/2014

    1994 Chevrolet S10
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I bought the stereo for my sister and although I can't attest to how well it is preforming, she sent me a txt message the other day stating that she loved it. I asked was there anything negative she could say, and she told me there wasn't. After reading reviews on this product before buying it, there were lots of people saying that they wished the sound would go lower on the lowest volume setting. I have to say that I didn't see a problem with this at all. In addition, the sound quality was much better than he stereo that I replaced it with. And for those reading this review whom have never bought anything from Crutchfield, they are grade AAAAA. They stick behind you 100% and it is if they are holding your hands during installation.

    Pros: Easy to install, BT works great, price is great.

    Cons: None that I could see

    OK value for the money

    Hank D from Brooklyn, NY on 11/15/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I wanted to upgrade the radio in my 99 olds cutlass to a bluetooth eqyupped model without breaking the bank. The Crutchfield rep recommended the LA 1500 BT. After reading the reviews, I took his recommendation and ordered the radio along with the installation adaptor kit and the posi products quick connectors (a definite recommendation). Installation was very easy using the posi connectors and other adaptors. The whole process only took an hour. Bluetooth works great both for calls and streaming music from my iphone. One negative - the 1 setting on the volume control is still too loud. Road noise sometimes makes it less annoying, but lower adjustment(s) would be better. For me, this is not my main car so it doesn't bother me that much. "Coolness" was never a consideration for me with this unit.

    Pros: Price, easy of installation

    Cons: Lowest volume setting is still too loaud for many situations

    LA-1500BT has design flaw

    Randy from San Jose, CA on 11/11/2013

    1987 Volkswagen Vanagon
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Overall the radio has a good user interface with a big volume-select button and buttons that have functions clearly silkscreened on the front. With a little reading of the user manual you will be up and running in no time. For me, i had to refer to the manual to find out how to navigate directory folders on my sd card, ie. use APS button->SEL->BAND. There is a lot to like about this radio but for one major flaw, the volume has none. At the lowest setting the volume is way too loud. How LA could have missed this one I don't know. But for me it makes a potentially 4 star radio into a 2-3 star, and an unhappy customer.

    Pros: Logical control layout, (unlike some sony's I've owned).

    Cons: Lowest volume setting, set to 1, is uncomfortably loud as low volume settings go. For that, I do not recommend purchasing the unit.

    Good Radio, Bad Engineering

    Matt J from New York, NY on 10/7/2013

    1996 Buick Riviera
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Excellent value at the time of purchasing. It's very 2013 with Bluetooth, SD card, USB slot, and AUX options. Having ADS for the radio is a great touch also. I would like to have the clock displayed at all times, though.

    Pros: Bluetooth phone controls on the actual unit. Removable face-plate,

    Cons: The lowest volume for the radio (FM and AM) is still very high. I wish there were a way to toggle what level constituted "one" and so forth... Another complaint is that the Bluetooth has crashed the radio on me. It became not functional and I had to turn the car off and on again to get it back. Biggest pitfall of all, the radio sleeve didn't lock the radio in properly. Pushing on the front of the unit caused it to slide back. Had to drill into the sides and add screws to get it to stay.

    Amazing Budget Radio!

    AndrewL from Saint Paul, MN on 9/5/2013

    2005 Buick LeSabre
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This may not be the coolest radio ever made, (thus, only 4 stars for Coolness Factor) but for 99 dollars this is an amazing radio that Lightning Audio made in 2013. I researched radios for 3 months for my 2005 Buick LeSabre and this was one of the few that met my depth needs. You have so many choices with this radio! Bluetooth calling and mp3 playback, Aux input for your friend with an iPod, SD card, and usb slot (USB charges as well) I use the sd card slot for when I don't have 4g access with my (Sprint) phone, which is most places when traveling. (I use Google cloud for my mp3 storage) Also, the Android app is very easy to use and more information is displayed than on the radio itself at one time. There is no CD player but who wants that? There is another Lightning Audio model with cd player for 50 dollars more! If you really love fallible cds then "upgrade" to the 2300bt.

    Pros: Bluetooth calling and audio playback, sd card, aux input, and usb memory all for $99!

    Cons: Button layout isn't the coolest, but who is trying to impress anyone by the button layout?!


    Hands-on research

    Features and Specs

    AUX Input Front
    Audio/video Input ---
    USB Input Front
    CarPlay No
    Android Auto No
    Siri Control No
    Android Control Yes
    Memory Card Slot USB, SD/SDHC
    Bluetooth Compatible Built-in
    Satellite Radio Ready No
    HD Radio No
    Navigation ---
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size N/A
    Nano N/A
    Touch N/A
    iPhone N/A
    RMS Power (CTA-2006) N/A
    RMS Power (Manufacturer) ---
    Peak Output 50 watts
    RMS Power Bandwidth 20-20kHz
    Preamp Outputs 5-channel
    Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
    Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs No
    Video Screen No
    Preamp Voltage 2 volts
    Display Color White/Black
    Key Button Color Blue
    EQ Bands 3
    Wireless Remote Yes
    Steering Wheel Control Compatible No
    Parts Warranty 1 Year
    Labor Warranty 1 Year
    FM Sensitivity 40 dBf
    European Tuning Yes
    Seek/Scan Seek
    Radio Data System Yes

    Product Research

    Digital Media + AUX Input
    Bluetooth/Remote Control
    Audio Section
    Tuner Functions
    Display Features

    Digital Media + AUX Input

    Front-Panel USB Port: The Lightning Audio LA-1500BT digital media receiver features a front-panel USB (type-A) port for connection of USB mass-storage class device; such as your Android smartphone, portable digital audio player, or USB thumbdrive. The USB port enables audio playback and control of MP3/WMA audio files (formatted in FAT 8/16/32) stored on a portable USB mass-storage class device. The head unit's USB connection provides 500mA of current to power and charge your connected USB mass storage class device when your vehicle's ignition switch is set to the 'ACC' or 'On' position.

    Note: You cannot connect a USB device via a USB hub or Multi-Card Reader to this unit. The front-panel USB port does not support Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad.

    Front-Panel SD-Card Slot: The LA-1500BT digital media receiver is equipped with a front-panel SD-card slot which is hidden behind the unit's detachable face plate. The receiver's SD-card slot supports playback of MP3/WMA music (formatted in FAT 8/16/32) files loaded onto a SD/SDHC memory card (up to 32GB).

    Information Display: The LA-1500BT will display your MP3/WMA's music file information (ID-3/WMA-tags); such as Track number, Elapsed playing time, Artist name, Song title, and Album label.

    Search Modes: The Lightning Audio LA-1500BT digital media receiver offers Track Search, Character Search, and Directory Search modes to help you locate music files on your USB device or SD/SDHC card.

    • Track Search: You can enter the track number ("000") of a music file contained on a USB device or SD/SDHC memory card for direct access.
    • Character Search: You can search for your MP3/WMA music tracks alphabetically (A-Z) or numerically (0-9) by entering in a single character.
    • Directory Search: Directory Search displays a list of MP3/WMA folders and tracks on a connected USB memory device or SD/SDHC memory card, so you can scroll through your music.

    Playback Modes: In addition to Normal playback, you can select from Repeat and Random playback modes.

    • Repeat: Track Repeat (plays the current track repeatedly), Folder Repeat (plays all tracks of the current folder repeatedly), Off (cancels repeat function)
    • Random: All Random (plays all tracks at random), Off (cancels random function)

    Front-Panel Aux Input: A front-panel stereo minijack is provided to allow the connection of almost any portable audio source with a 3.5mm headphone output. Simply connect your portable digital music player to the unit's front-panel auxiliary input, and you can listen to the audio from the portable player through the speakers in your mobile audio system.

    Bluetooth/Remote Control

    Built-in Bluetooth: Bluetooth hands-free communication is built into the Lightning Audio LA-1500BT, making it easy to integrate a Bluetooth enabled cellular phone (up to 10). Bluetooth is a two-way wireless communication system allowing you to make and receive cell phone calls or stream digital audio from your Bluetooth enabled phone on the LA-1500BT digital media receiver

    • Hands-free Communications (HFP/PBAB): The built-in Bluetooth hands-free feature allows you to talk on your cell phone through the LA-1500BT without the need of holding the phone in your hand, which helps avoid any traffic violations by keeping you focused on the road. During an incoming call, "CALLING" will appear on the unit's display and a ring tone will be heard through your car speakers. You can answer a call from the receiver's front-panel controls or the included remote control. You can dial a number from the numeric keypad (0-9) on the included remote control. To redial a number press the Send button on the remote control twice. The caller will be heard through your car speakers, while you talk into the receiver's integrated front-panel mic.
    • Audio Streaming: The built-in Bluetooth audio streaming feature allows you to stream digital audio from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone to the LA-1500BT and control basic playback of the audio through the receiver. You can listen to stored music and music apps on your mobile phone through digital media receiver. The LA-1500BT will also control basic playback functions of your Bluetooth device's stored music; such as Play/Pause & Skip Next/Previous. No song/artist information will be displayed.
    Note: Your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone or digital audio player must be paired with LA-1500BT before hands-free & wireless operation. Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some mobile devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the LA-1500BT.

    RadioView App: Another way to control the digital media receiver, instead of using its front-panel controls or the included remote, is by using your Android smartphone. You will need to download the free "RadioView" app from Google Play onto your Android mobile device (2.0+). You'll be able to switch sources and control playback functions from your compatible Android smartphone.

    IR Remote: The LA-1500BT comes with an IR remote control for wireless operation of the digital media receiver.

    Audio Section

    22W x 4CH Amplifier: The Lightning Audio LA-1500BT digital media receiver employs a 22W x 4Ch RMS amplifier (50W x 4Ch Peak).

    5CH/2V RCA Outputs: The Lightning Audio LA-1500BT is equipped with a pair of 2V front- and rear-channel RCA outputs, as well as a single 2V mono-sub RCA output for connection of external amplifiers.

    3-Band EQ w/ 4 Presets: The LA-1500BT offers 4 preset EQ modes (Flat/Classic/Rock/Pop), plus a User EQ mode. The User EQ mode lets you manually adjust the receiver's 3-band equalizer (bass/mid/treble).

    Programmable Turn-On Volume: You can set the head unit to turn-on to the last volume level adjustment when turned off, or turn-on to a pre-defined volume level (0-30) every time you power up the radio.

    Loudness: This function enhances low and high frequencies to make the sound clearer lower volumes.

    Key Beep: The in-dash head unit provides an audible beep to confirm button operation. This function can be turned On or Off.

    Tuner Functions

    AM/FM Tuner: The Lightning Audio LA-1500BT features a built-in AM/FM tuner with manual, seek, and preset tuning.

    18 FM/12 AM Presets: You can store a total of 18 FM stations presets and 12 AM station presets, manually or automatically. 

    RDS: The Radio Data System (RDS) feature displays radio broadcast information such as artist, title, and album when listening to compatible AM/FM stations.

    Local Seek Mode: The unit's tuner also is equipped with a Seek mode that when used with the Local function, only allows radio stations with a strong local radio signals to be played.

    Mono Mode: If an analog FM stereo broadcast is hard to receive, you can manually switch the tuner to Mono operation. 

    US/European Tuning: You can set the built-in AM/FM tuner between US standard and European tuning spacing.

    Display Features

    Detachable Face: The Lightning Audio LA-1500BT features a detachable face to deter theft (a soft cloth pouch is included). An optional soft face case (142DFC1X, sold separately) can also be purchased for this unit.

    Single-Line LCD: The digital media receiver uses a single-line LCD with white text and black background.

    12/24 Hour Clock: You can set the unit to display a 12 or 24 hour clock.

    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.