A head unit in an entertainment center refers to the control center or receiver and serves as the user interface often found in the car’s dashboard. This is where you can find the controls for different radio sound wave frequencies like AM, FM, or HD radios, for the GPS navigation, the CD and DVD players, iPod connector, Bluetooth integration for cell phones and the hard disk storage for your playlist.
If you plan to install a surround sound system for your car, make it a point to choose a head unit that has the capability to be wired to surround sound processor. The head unit via the fiberoptic cables will be responsible in transmitting the digital signal transferred by the sound processor.
Parts of a Head Unit:
1. Some head units like the OEM or Original Entertainment Media is designed with a Touch Screen Display with backlight. To easily discern what’s being shown on the screen, the head unit’s LCD screen has a 90-degree vertical angle and a 120 degree horizontal angle for viewing. You can adjust the LCDs screen as to brightness, contrast, sharpness and adjustment for color and tint adjustments.
2. Aside from the LCD display, the head unit has hard key controls like the rotary knob for volume adjustments, the rotary knob for selection, the play/pause/eject/ mute buttons plus the SRC/mute/ previous and next keys. Some head units can also have wireless capabilities hence, the unit will be equipped with an easy-scroll wireless remote control.
3. The head unit has a built-in AM/FM tuner to access when searching for radio stations that are available in the area. There is usually the “seek mode” where it automatically allows the radio station with the strongest radio signals to air.
4. A good head unit has a multi-zone capability wherein the user can play the output of the AV source to the front seat passenger or to the passengers at the back seat. This will be made possible by using stereo jacks and wireless head phone systems. In addition, the head unit should have a 24-bit high performing digital to analog converter.
Including the head unit for your entertainment system will help you achieve the acoustic desirability of your entertainment center. You can choose to reduce the dynamic range of the Dolby Digital or prefer to tone it down to hear the dialog above the din of back ground noise so you can hear a clearer exchange of dialogue.
Most of all, before buying a head unit, make sure the unit is compatible with the home entertainment system.