Sony CDX-DAB6650 – In-Car DAB Head Unit - Sony CDX-DAB6650 – In-Car DAB Head Unit



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The DAB6650 itself is smart looking. The removable face plate is curved at the front and at the sides. The left side is volume up and down and the right for moving between stations. The CD slot is hidden underneath and you just push down at the top for the curved fascia to slide down and in to reveal the CD slot, which is pretty cool.

The DAB6650 has six buttons running underneath the display for presets. However, assigning DAB stations to these presets was awkward. Instead of scanning all available stations and then listing them alphabetically as I expected, you have to search for an Ensemble (or Multiplex), a group of stations broadcast from the same transmitter. To move to a station on another Ensemble you need to do another search. So if you want a station from one Ensemble on preset one and one from another ensemble on the second preset, then it’s a long winded process, at least for the initial setup. It also takes a fraction longer to switch between stations if they are on different Ensembles.

The next issue I found is that the two line fluorescent display is of too low resolution to conveniently display the amount of text information available. The top line is taken up with the station name or the Ensemble, so you’ve only got one line of display. I for one, am partial to the half-hour comedy slot on Radio 4 at 6:30 or the old shows such as the Goons on BBC Radio 7. Often a wealth of information is provided about the show but I quickly discovered that trying to read it as it slowly scrolled across the display while driving along the motorway was not a good idea. Higher resolution and more lines, would enable you to take in more information at a glance, which would be safer.

Being a Sony, there’s little chance it would be free of some sound altering features to play around with and I wasn’t disappointed. The EQ3 button on the right toggles between a number of sound shaping presets such as Vocal, Club, and Jazz and a custom option. I found that the only ones I used were the ‘Xplode’ option, which essentially jacks up the treble and bass, and the vocal setting for when I was listening to podcasts. Experimenting with the presets can be a pain though, as each time you press the button the sound drops out as the processing kicks in, and you have to scroll through them all to get to the one you want.

The other feature is called DS0. This is designed to make the sound from in door speakers appear higher up, to bring the sound closer. Of the three settings the first was tolerable, but the second and third made everything sound incredibly shrill and trebly and should be avoided like the plague.

Generally, the sound was quite bright and accurate, rather than warm, and some may find the bass lacking. On occasion I needed to add extra bass via the EQ on the iPod to get the sound I wanted, but for radio the ‘Xplode’ setting sufficed.