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Test Report: Sony CDX-GT660UP Multimedia Receiver

You want a radio with Pandora internet radio control that can also be connected to a SiriusXM tuner. You want a radio that’s iPod/iPhone ready, and will also play digital music from a USB drive. You want a radio that can be customized to perfectly integrate into your dash with an easy-to-read, high quality display. And finally, you want a radio that sounds great, has powerful built-in tuning tools and can be used with or without external amplifiers. If that’s what you want, the new Sony CDX-GT660UP is what you need.


The Sony CDX-GT660UP is a single DIN-sized AM/FM/CD receiver, and comes with a ton of useful and innovative features. The Pandora-capable unit will provide complete access and control of your favorite Pandora stations via your Internet-connected iPhone. Or if you prefer to be your own DJ, simply connect your iPod/iPhone or USB thumb drive to the front mounted USB port, and use Sony’s Quick-BrowZer function, or search for a song by listening to short previews of tracks with the Zappin function. But if you want to get even more involved in how tracks are selected, the CDX-GT660UP is also equipped with Sony’s innovative and proprietary SensMe feature which, via software in your computer, automatically groups tracks by tempo and mood, always ensuring the tracks played are what you’re in the mood for. Maybe you’re a fan of satellite radio, and if so, you’ll be happy to know the CDX-GT660UP has direct connection compatibility with the SiriusXM tuner, eliminating the need for any complicated or costly adapters.

If you like to personalize things, you’ll love the Dynamic Color Illuminator function, which not only provides quick and easy selection of 12 preset illumination colors, but with the RGB adjustability, the color selection extends to 35,000 colors! You can even synchronize the timing of the color changes with the audio source!

On the audio side of things, there is a built-in high power “Dynamic Reality” MOSFET amplifier rated at 17 watts x 4, and three pairs of RCA pre-amp outputs. A powerful DSP processor called an “Advanced Sound Engine” provides all sorts of tuning capabilities, including a 7 band EQ, adjustable delays for tuning the soundstage to your listening position, adjustable high and low pass crossovers and more.

There are five different crossover frequencies available for both the high and low pass filters, with selectable crossover slopes at -6/12/18 dB/octave. A phase inverter is also available for the sub channel, or if you don’t have a subwoofer, a feature called Rear Bass Enhancement applies a low pass filter to your rear speakers to substitute for a subwoofer. Still another feature, something Sony calls DM+ improves the sound quality of highly compressed tracks, restoring much of the lost fidelity.

Controls and Ergonomics

I immediately liked the Sony’s controls and display. The easy to grasp rotary volume control has its circumference wrapped in a nub covered rubber ring, making it nice to operate, and gives good tactile feedback. Track up and down buttons are found on the left upper and lower edges of the removable faceplate, and although they are not very tall, they are wide and can easily be operated with gloved fingers. The source and back buttons are also to the immediate left of the volume knob, and can be operated easily. All controls are logically placed and reasonably intuitive. This is a head unit that you won’t struggle to learn how to operate, or constantly need the owner’s manual for. But by all means, read it, because it does
a great job explaining how all the functions work and you may even discover
a few you didn’t know were there!

The negative image LCD was very easy to read under most conditions, but does tend to wash out a bit under direct sunlight. With two full lines of scrolling text, your track artist and information is always available and, of course, the display can be configured in many different ways, to suit almost any taste.

On the right side of the faceplate a USB port is hidden behind a small door, and a standard 3.5mm Aux input jack is mounted just below the USB port. Although I personally prefer a rear-mounted USB port so I can hide all the wires and leave my iPod semi-permanently connected, the front mounted method does make it quick and easy to take your music player or thumb drive with you. CD loading and unloading is quick and smooth, and an illuminated eject button behind the faceplate allows easy operation in the dark.

The preset buttons serve double duty as album, repeat, shuffle, and pause controls when you are in CD or MP3 playback modes. My only gripe was the font used to identify them was quite small and lacked good contrast, which made the desired function hard to find until the placement has been committed to memory. A nicely designed small infra-red remote control is also included.

Test Report: Sony CDX-GT660UP Multimedia Receiver


With the CDX-GT660UP connected to my reference system in my quiet and comfortable listening room, I played selections from all the available sources. I listened to the radio, several CDs and, of course, to MP3s via my iPod. Regardless of the source, the Sony exhibited excellent sonics, with very good tonal balance, crisp brilliant detail with any harshness, and strong, tight bass. Stereo imaging was also very good, with a very well defined phantom center image on tracks like Michael Ruf’s “Eyes of Love”, and Jennifer Warnes’ “First We Take Manhattan”. The image was not only good left to right, but also had more depth than I expected from an inexpensive automotive head unit.

After a few very enjoyable hours of listening, I came away quite impressed with this very modestly priced units sound. I’ve heard a lot worse, from much more expensive players. I liked having several different methods available to search for my selected tracks, and the speed of the search function was nice and quick. The remote control also worked great and, most importantly, it was easy to use without looking at it.

My only quibbles were the amount of button presses and knob rotations to adjust things like the balance and fader settings, and once in a while I found myself wishing that the subwoofer level adjustment was easier to get to in the menu, because I would have used it more often.

On the Bench

Back in the lab, as I expected after having listened to it, the Sony’s tech specs proved to be exemplary for a unit selling for about $150 (US). Frequency response was extremely flat on both the amplified outputs and the RCAs. Source impedance, a spec important to noise avoidance, was also commendably low at less than 100 ohms. Measured signal-to-noise in CD mode was better than advertised, and the internal amplifier actually produced more power than it was rated at. I applaud Sony and other manufacturers for using the CEA-2006 amplifier ratings on their headunits, and publishing factual information. And in this case, even understating the actual performance!

Test Report: Sony CDX-GT660UP Multimedia Receiver Test Report: Sony CDX-GT660UP Multimedia Receiver

Test Report: Sony CDX-GT660UP Multimedia Receiver

Test Report: Sony CDX-GT660UP Multimedia Receiver Test Report: Sony CDX-GT660UP Multimedia Receiver


It never ceases to amaze me how companies like Sony can cram so many high tech features and great sound into a product that virtually anyone can afford. The DSP features, three sets of pre-outs, a great CD transport, an excellent AM/FM/RDS tuner, iPod/iPhone/Pandora/SiriusXM compatibility. I don’t know how they do it, but I’m glad they do, and if you pick up one of these astoundingly good units for yourself, you will be too.






CEA-2006A Power per channel (all channels driven,@ 4 ohms)20.1 watts/ch x 4

A Wtd S/N Ratio (ref to 2V/1W @ 4 ohms) Amplified output

-86.3dBA (CD)

THD+N @ 2V/1W @ 4 ohms 1kHz


Frequency Response (-3.0dB)

better than

20Hz – 20kHz


Max Usable RCA Output Voltage

1.9 Vrms

A Wtd S/N Ratio ref to full output voltage


Output Impedance

96 ohms

Frequency Response (-3.0dB)

better than

20Hz – 20kHz

Sony CDX-GT660UP

Power vs THD+N @ 14.4 V Batt