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Dual XMDA761 CD Review
Value can be defined as follows: “The worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged.” Making use of this description, the Dual brand of car audio is all about value.

Take the XDMA761 CD receiver – this single-DIN chassis unit not only includes Pandora functionality and iOS compatibility, it also includes a 3-inch QVGA LCD for only $119.99 US! For anyone looking to replace their OEM radio or that 1995 aftermarket unit, this remarkably low-priced unit removes all your financial excuses. Check out the rest of the features as we put one through its paces here in the lab.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS
We’ve got a very cool, full-color 3-inch LCD display with awesome graphics, and scrolling artist and track information on the removable faceplate. You can connect your Apple device, or a USB thumb drive to bring your music collection along for the ride. iPhone users can also connect and control Pandora internet radio channels, and even use the thumbs up and thumbs down functions right on the faceplate. That right there is your 120 bucks worth, Skippy – and then some. But there’s more. 

Cool features like a front- and rear-mounted auxiliary inputs, two pairs of RCA outputs that can be configured as front and rear, or front and subwoofer; there’s a three band parametric EQ, with selectable center frequency, and a separate variable crossover and level control for the subwoofer output. A built-in CEA-2006 rated 18 watt per channel amplifier provides plenty of power until you can afford external amps, and there is a credit card-sized wireless remote control. There’s even an input for a steering wheel control interface! Wait, you want even more?

To prevent large volume differences between the various sources, each available source has its own level adjustment, and the LCD screen can be adjusted for color intensity, contrast, and brightness.

Dual XMDA761 CD Review Dual XMDA761 CD Review Dual XMDA761 CD Review

CONTROLS AND FUNCTIONALITY

The DUAL XDMA761 has a fairly-well laid out front panel, with large easy to use buttons and a nice rotary volume control with a rubber grip ring to make it comfortable to use. The encoder is detented (mechanical resistance), but only slightly, so the control does not have the notchy, clicky feel like some others. The LCD display is fairly easy to read except in very bright direct sunlight. It displays the usual information and allows you to rapidly search for artists or songs, etc. on your iPod or iPhone. Button illumination can be any color you want as long as it’s blue, and the front USB port is covered by a hinged door that also is illuminated blue.

The operation of the controls is fairly logical, but there are a couple of gripes that I find immediately. First, when changing sources, the XDMA761 makes you scroll through all available inputs, whether they are connected or not. When you finally pick the source, you have to press the select function to actually engage the source you scrolled to. This isn’t a fun or safe process when you’re driving down the road and you want to switch from tuner to iPod or CD.

Pressing the menu button brings you straight to the audio adjustment section which is great. Subsequent presses of the menu button bring up other areas of adjustment, such as general setup, source gain setup and screen setup menus. Navigating the menus is done via rotating the volume knob and then pressing it in to make your selection. I notice you have to be careful when pressing the knob to avoid rotating it and changing your selection. Again, not something you will want to do while driving.

LISTENING
In my listening room, I set up the XDMA761 using the RCA outputs to drive my full range and subwoofer amplifiers. I use the subwoofer crossover control to limit the sub output frequency range to 80 Hz.

As I go through my usual list of evaluation tracks, I find myself continually impressed at the sonic quality that is available for less than some folks spend on a pair of jeans. Quite amazing when you think about all that is going on in there. 

The sonic performance proved to be just fine with a nice flat response, great stereo separation, and negligible amounts of noise. I find the top end slightly on the “polite” side, but there was no loss of detail nor did the sound lack brilliance. Tuner performance of the FM section pulled in the usual stations just fine, while AM reception wasn’t quite as good as I usually experience. Another minor gripe, there is a lot of difference in output level from one step to the next on the encoder, particularly when you get into the higher levels. A bit finer adjustment here would be nice. But again, it’s only $119.99!

ON THE BENCH
The next morning I connect the XDMA761 to my test bench and run the standard barrage of tests. My measured data proves what I heard the previous day and also underlines the real value of the unit; the response curve measures quite flat, within 3 dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and signal to noise comes in at almost -78 dBA for the RCAs. The information I was given indicated the RCA outputs were limited to 2 volts, but I measure a very healthy 4.1 volts unclipped from my test unit. Output impedance is average at 215 ohms.

Dual XMDA761 CD Review Dual XMDA761 CD Review
Dual XMDA761 CD Review Dual XMDA761 CD Review
Dual XMDA761 CD Review Dual XMDA761 CD Review
Dual XMDA761 CD Review Dual XMDA761 CD Review

MEASURED SPECIFICATIONS
AMPLIFIER

CEA-2006A Power per channel (all channels driven @ 4 ohms) 18.0 watts/ch X 4
A Wtd S/N Ratio (ref to 2V/1W @ 4 ohms) Amplified output  -75.1 dBA (CD)
THD+N @ 2 V/1 W @ 4 ohms 1 kHz  0.39 %
 Frequency Response (-3.0 dB)  20 Hz – 20 kHz (CD)/ 20 Hz – 20 kHz (Aux)

PREAMP SECTION

Max Usable Output Voltage 4.1 Vrms
A Wtd S/N Ratio ref to full output voltage -77.9 dBA (CD)
Output Impedance 215 ohms
Frequency Response (-3.0 dB) 20 Hz – 20 kHz (CD)/ 20 Hz – 20 kHz (Aux)
Dual XMDA761 CD Review Dual XMDA761 CD Review Dual XMDA761 CD Review

CONCLUSION
With far more features than anyone has a right to expect, and audio performance that’s almost no different than units at two or three times the price, the word ‘value’ really makes a lot of sense when describing the Dual XDMA761. The dictionary should just add a picture of it next to the definition. For more information on this unit and all of the other Dual gear, you can visit them online at www.dualav.com.