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Double DIN Stereo Explained

YuanYuan Liu |


Double DIN stereo is the larger head unit of the two form factors, and replacing the head unit is the easiest way to upgrade a car audio system.

Looking deeper, there are two main radio sizes which are "Single DIN" and "Dual DIN". And it’s easy to find the one you need. If your car has a single DIN head unit, the front panel should be approximately 7 × 2 inches (180 × 50 mm).

If you have a double DIN stereo, the front panel is the same width but twice as tall. If it meets the standard, the head unit of your car will be approximately 7 × 4 inches (180 × 100mm).

If your car has a double DIN stereo, you can choose whether to replace it with a single or double DIN head unit. On the other hand, if your vehicle has a single DIN head unit, then you have to replace it with another single DIN radio.


What Does 2 DIN Car Stereo Mean?

DIN means Deutsches Institut für Normung, which is the head unit standard created by the German Standards Organization, and we still use this standard today. The standard DIN 75490 stipulates that when viewed from the front, the size of the head unit should be 180 mm long and 50 mm tall.

The International Standards Organization adopts DIN 75490 as ISO 7736, which is adopted by automobile manufacturers around the world. However, the most common form of expression is still "DIN car radio" because the German research institute für Normung proposed the original standard.

Although ISO 7736/DIN 75490 is the main global standard for car radios, there are still some important changes and potential suitability issues. The most important change to DIN 75490 is the so-called "Double DIN", because a car radio of this size is essentially like two single DIN head units stacked on top of each other. For this reason, "double DIN stereo" is still 150mm long, but it is 100mm tall instead of only 50mm.

At the same time, depth is also very important, and neither ISO 7736 nor DIN 75490 specify depth. In fact, neither of these two standards even propose a depth range to match the car head unit. This means that when installing certain head units, some cars and particularly shallow head unit sockets may be difficult to install

Most modern double DIN stereo are suitable for most modern cars, but there are a few exceptions. So it is best to consult a suitable guide before you place the order. Although it is usually good enough to simply look at whether a head unit is single or double DIN or other less common form factors, consulting a fit guide takes any guesswork out of the equation altogether.


Is 2 DIN Better Than 1 DIN?

If you are worried that the quality of the 2 DIN and 1 DIN head units will be different, then you can stop worrying. A double DIN stereo is not necessarily better than a single DIN head unit. Although there are more internal space components (such as built-in amplifiers), the best head unit has a preamplifier output, so a dedicated car amplifier can be heavily upgraded.

Normally, the main advantage of the double DIN head unit is the display. Because the double DIN brings more screen real estate than the single DIN. Most of the best touch screen head units also meet the double DIN specification, which means that most of the best video head units also fall into this category. But there are many excellent single DIN head units that have flip-out touch screens, so the choice of double din or single din is more down to personal preference.