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Pimp Your Ride’s Audio With These RV Radio Options

Pimp Your Ride’s Audio With These RV Radio Options

RV owners often think they’re stuck with the RV radio that came with their rig. When new technology comes out, many wish they could take advantage of the advancements of newer RV stereos. Well, today’s post is here to tell you that you can!

We’ve written several TV-related posts covering satellite TV for RVs, RV TV antennas, and even 12V TVs. But we’ve never posted about RV stereo systems and the options for upgrading them. Now you can take your entertainment experience to new heights using the latest tech.

So, today we’re looking at replacement options for RV radios that’ll give you some new powerful entertainment resources. That way you can not only listen to your favorite music via CD, DVD, or FM tuner but also take advantage of key features of newer model RV radios.

Why Upgrade an RV Radio?

There are several reasons why a person might want to upgrade an RV stereo.

If your RV is older, you likely have a stereo with dated audio technology, such as a CD player or even a cassette deck (or… gulp… an 8-track player!)

Maybe you’d like to upgrade to take advantage of Bluetooth audio (A2DP) and controls (AVRCP), so you can play tunes from your smartphone/tablet. Or maybe you’d like to add the ability to use your phone’s apps for navigation and other features.

Maybe you just want a larger, more advanced touchscreen or even a unit with a DVD player. Maybe you’ve been using a 12 volt DC adapter to connect to a Bluetooth speaker and you’d like to hear your music through your RV’s speaker outputs. Or maybe you’d like a 2 zone RV stereo system for your family to enjoy separately in the front and back of the rig.

Some of the enhancements offered by an RV radio upgrade may be:

  • Easier operation
  • A large colorful display
  • Better phone integration
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Rear-view camera capability
  • Onscreen GPS navigation (built-in or via smartphone)

Whatever the reason, upgrading your RV radio will not only enhance your entertainment on the road but also increase the resale value of your rig.

Can I Replace My Old RV Radio With a New One Myself?

RV radio replacement can be a fairly easy upgrade to complete, depending on the type of radio and its installation location. Some in-dash stereos may be so integrated with the dashboard layout as to make a direct replacement difficult, or in some cases, virtually impossible.

However, many RV radios are simply car stereos. You may have either a single DIN or double DIN RV stereo that can be easily replaced with a new one with far newer technology. These can sometimes be plug-and-play replacements, though some may require adaptive wiring harnesses or mounting kits.

Should you require an adapter, mounting kit, or other installation items, you can contact the customer service department of a place like Crutchfield via phone or chat and they can tell you exactly what you’ll need to make the upgrade.

What Is DIN Size?

DIN stands for “Deutche Industrial Norm” — German for “German Industrial Standard.” This is the national organization for the standardization of products and industries throughout Germany. Because their products have become popular throughout the world, these standards apply globally.

DIN size is the size of the chassis of the stereo itself. Many car stereos and RV stereos come in one of two standard sizes: single DIN or double DIN.

It’s possible to have an old rig with a “DIN and a half” size stereo, like the ones that used to be used in old GM vehicles. But these are no longer made by stereo manufacturers.

If you happen to have one of those in your RV, it may be possible to use wiring adapters and a special mounting kit to upgrade your RV radio, but this would be best discussed with radio installation experts like those at Crutchfield.

Single DIN

A single DIN car or RV stereo is 2″ tall and 7″ wide. They were the standard-size radio heads those of us of a certain generation (ahem) had in our cars when we first started driving.

Double DIN

A double DIN car or RV stereo is 4″ tall and 7″ wide. Not surprisingly, they’re twice as tall as single DIN radios. Even though many look obviously different (larger/taller) than single DIN models, you can’t always tell whether a stereo is single or double DIN just by looking at it.

In terms of functionality such as sound, source, and power controls, single and double DIN radios are very similar. But double DIN units offer more real estate (space) for larger, more varied, and more versatile controls.

The real differences come into play with touchscreen stereos. In general, touchscreen stereos tend to be double-DIN units… but not always.

Some models include a large “floating screen” in a single-DIN chassis. The screen emerges from inside the stereo unit and “floats” in front of the dash. That’s exactly what we’ve had in our rig for the past 18 years, and the screen even includes the backup camera.

Our single DIN RV radio has a floating screen that includes our backup camera

Our single DIN RV radio, which came as original equipment on our ’05 motorhome, includes a floating screen that displays a variety of information, including our backup camera. The screen retracts into the dash when not in use.

You’ll likely find that many touchscreen stereos can be more difficult to install due to the additional wires, but you have a couple of options here. One is to contact a professional (again, one like Crutchfield) for advice on what you’ll need for self-installation. The other is to have a pro like Crutchfield, Best Buy, or an independent installer do the upgrade for you.

What Are the Best Options for RV Radio/Stereo Upgrades?

There are many good options for quality RV radios/stereos on the market today. Note that while we’re not specifically talking about wall-mounted RV radios in this post, you can also upgrade your wall-mounted units as well. For this type of stereo system, Furrion RV radios are very popular with RVers and boaters, too.

Furrion Marine & RV Radio Entertainment System

This system offers 3-Zone audio and 2-Zone independent control, plays CDs and DVDs, and supports WMA, MP3 & MP4 formats. The AM/FM radio has 30 preset stations with additional programmable stations. It also has a USB input that includes charging, HDMI in and out, as well as a subwoofer connection.

Sale
Furrion RV and Marine Entertainment System, 260W, 3-Zone Audio, Bluetooth Enabled, Built-In CD/DVD Player, AM/FM Radio, Headphone Jack, USB Interface, Auxilary Input - 2021123544
  • SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE: Max power output of 130W (4x25W + 2x15W) provides powerful bass tones and explosive performance to your stereo experience on the...
  • EASY CONNECTIVITY: With Bluetooth connectivity and NFC quick-touch communication, the system offers next-generation entertainment experience.

Wall-mounted RV radios aren’t usually difficult to replace, though you do need to be sure to buy a unit that fits, or course… and make sure to buy any additional wiring or adapters required for the upgrade. In this post, however, we’re primarily focused on replacing in-dash units.

Following are some of the most popular car/RV stereo systems available today.

Pioneer DMH-WC5700NEX

This double-DIN unit has a 6.8″ touchscreen display that’s easily controlled with large icons. The system offers wired or wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Sirius XM, built-in Bluetooth, and Amazon Alexa. The built-in Bluetooth can be paired to two different phones at the same time.

This stereo offers a 13-band equalizer as well as built-in HD radio for crystal-clear sound from HD radio stations in the region where you’re traveling. You can add amplifiers through the preamp inputs if desired, and you can also add a backup camera through the video input or feed video to your backseat screens. Note that this unit doesn’t have a CD player.

PIONEER CAR DMHWC5700NEX 6.8-inch Multimedia Digital Media Receiver with Wireless or Wired Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth
  • 6.8-in Modular Display 1-DIN Separate Installation Chassis (Hide-away) AndroidAuto: Wired/Wireless AppleCarPlay: Wired/Wireless Pioneer's NEX or...
  • Availability of non-Pioneer content and services, including apps and connectivity, may change without notice due to changes in operating systems,...

BOSS Audio Systems Elite Series BE950WCPA

With this Boss audio system, you can link to wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and control everything with Boss’s 6.75″ touchscreen display. Play music via apps like Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, and Apple Music. You can tell Siri what you want to hear or who you want to call.

Or, if you have Android Auto, you can use Google Assistant to play music, use Google Maps or Waze, make calls, check your messages and reply to them, all without ever taking your hands off the steering wheel. You can accept and make hands-free calls and you and all of your passengers can stream music, all using the built-in Bluetooth.

The system has two camera inputs for the addition of a backup plus one additional camera for towing a trailer or boat. You can also connect nearly any device that has an analog output using the Boss audio system’s rear aux input.

Sale
BOSS Audio Systems Elite Series BE950WCPA Wireless Apple CarPlay Android Auto Car Multimedia Player - 6.75 Inch Capacitive Touchscreen, Bluetooth, No DVD, Multicolor Illumination, High Resolution FLAC
  • Apple CarPlay - Access icons on your iPhone by activating Siri voice controls the touchscreen. Available features include Phone, Music, Maps, Text...
  • Messages - With Siri on your side, you can ask her to read you your messages, reply as well as send them. Siri lets you concentrate on what matters...

Sony XAV-AX8100

This unit has a 3-way adjustable single-DIN chassis, which makes it fairly easy to install. It has a 9-inch floating anti-glare screen (which means it retracts into the unit when not in use and emerges over the dash when in use).

It’s a multi-media receiver with Apple Carplay/Android Auto, SiriusXM-ready, a 10-band equalizer, an HDMI video input, and a built-in rear camera input.

Sale
Sony XAV-AX8100 9-inch Floating Multi Media Receiver with Apple Carplay/Android Auto and HDMI Video Input
  • Resistive touchscreen with anti-glare
  • 3-way adjustable single-DIN chassis for easy installation

JVC KD-TD72BT

This is a single-DIN unit at a great price for an RV radio. It offers built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming, plus a “Streaming DJ” feature that allows five Bluetooth audio devices to be connected.

It’s Amazon Alexa enabled to use voice control for audio controls, hands-free phone calls, traffic updates, and weather information. It has a 1.5A USB port to charge devices.

This unit plays music via CDs as well as USB devices. It has a 13-band equalizer with digital time alignment and K2 technology for improved digital sound.

No products found.

Alpine iLX-F411

This is a popular single-DIN unit with an adjustable mount and a huge 11″ display. This stereo works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It has built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling.

With one HDMI input and one HDMI output, you can use iDatalink connectivity for vehicle information and parking assist display on compatible vehicles. You can also connect to the rearview RCA camera input, which has a distance guide.

Alpine iLX-F411 Alpine Halo11 Multimedia Receiver with 11-inch Floating Touchscreen Display
  • The Alpine Halo11 is the culmination of the Alpine Halo display platform. The large, 11-inch display has 49% more surface area than a 9-inch display,...
  • Compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - The smarter, safer ways to access your phone in the car.

Alpine UTE-73BT

This is another popular single-DIN unit at a very good price point. It’s a simple unit that has a Mach-less AM/FM tuner and also plays Flak, MP3, and WMA audio files via USB. It also works with Pandora Music for both iPhone and Android phones. Note that it doesn’t have a CD player.

It does offer hands-free calling via Bluetooth and has a 3-band parametric EQ for music level adjustment.

Sale
Alpine UTE-73BT Mech-Less Digital Media Receiver with Bluetooth® Wireless Technology
  • Mech-less AM/FM tuner with RBDS information
  • FLAC/MP3/WMA audio file compatibility via USB

If you’re looking for RV radios with in-dash navigation, you’ll need to opt for a higher-end unit similar to one of these:

PIONEER AVIC-W8600NEX with Mobile Navigation System

This unit from Pioneer has a 6.94″ capacitive touch display for controlling Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, both of which can be used wirelessly. It can accommodate one or two cameras so that you can use a dash cam in addition to your backup camera — perfect for an RV radio.

This RV stereo is compatible with SiriusXM and the iDatalink Maestro module. You can mirror cast or play videos off an SD card. AV inputs include HDMI, USB, AUX, and RCA.

For navigation, Pioneer uses HERE guidance with over 12 million points of interest and coverage throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada. You’ll have real-time traffic updates and spoken speed limit warnings with this unit.

PIONEER Mobile Navigation System TOP of (AVIC-W8600NEX)
  • Package Dimensions: 16.002 cms (L) x 24.688 cms (W) x 28.498 cms (H)
  • Product Type: Ce Accessory

Alpine INE-W970HD Navigation Receiver

This RV radio with navigation is a double-DIN unit with a 6.5″ touchscreen display. It has built-in CD/DVD capabilities, HD radio, and is SiriusXM-ready.

This Alpine stereo has built-in navigation with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also includes 2 USB inputs, 2 camera inputs, and 1 HDMI input. A great feature of this model is that it has a split screen to show your navigation and entertainment information simultaneously. The navigation screen also displays the speed limit of your current location and your current speed.

Alpine INE-W970HD Audio/Video/Nav System Compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 3 4-Volt Pre-amp Outputs, DVD, AAC, MP3, DivX Playback, HDMI input

Jensen RV Radios

The iconic brand Jensen has a wide range of choices. (It’s iconic to me anyway, because it was such a big deal when I installed one in my first car at 17 years 0ld!) But there are so many to choose from that we’re simply going to include this link to Jensen stereos for you to browse the many options.

Have You Replaced the RV Radio In Your Rig?

If you’ve replaced the RV stereo in your rig, we’d love to hear about your experience. What unit did you purchase and how do you like it? Did you do it as a DIY project, or did you have it installed professionally? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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Jim

Thursday 24th of August 2023

We replaced our sony single DIN radio with a Dual model XDVD179BT with 7" motorized screen AM/FM DVD player from . It was an easy swap similar to installing a radio in a car. The large tpuch screen makes it easy to operate. The original sub woofer and dual zone speaker system was still operational as all the wiring just swapped between manufacturers connectors. The only option we would have like to had is a wireless remote.

Lyndon Washington

Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

Anyone have experience replacing an Axera AVM111NAVLH with any of the models featured in this article?

Stephen Snure

Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

Another option would be the Kenwood DNX775RVS which includes RV GPS software from Garmin and is similar to Garmin's dedicated RV GPS devices that allow users to enter the length, weight, and height of their rig. One caveat is that users must pay for map updates. Map updates on dedicated Garmin RV devices are free.

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PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

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