Panasonic is debuting what it says is the first head units with built-in digital amplifiers this week during International CES.
The aim is to create smaller and lighter head units while boosting power and reducing distortion, said the company. "In a conventional system the digital signal is converted to analog in the CD stage. Here the signal is kept in the digital stage until it goes to the speakers." The company says the units will appeal to "tuners" who want to keep their cars as light as possible to make them as fast as possible.
Two new models offer the digital amp sections, both using Tripath technology. The MXE model has 4x70 watt power and is called the CQ-C9800U while the standard line model is the CQ-C9700U with 4x60 digital amp.
Both ship in March at $499 and $479, respectively.
The new units also come with electronic crossovers, new subwoofer controls and radio DSP, which takes analog AM/FM signals and converts them to digital to reduce multipath noise. Both units also have 9-band paragraphic equalizers that allow user-selectable center frequencies.