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Head unit is another name for the CD player or tape deck in your new car stereo system. It's best to have a head unit that is of equal or better quality than the rest of the components in your stereo system. If your signal source is bad, then the rest of your system won't perform up to par. Major manufacturers such as Sony, Pioneer, Clarion, and Panasonic all make good quality head units that can be obtained for between $100 and $250.
*When selecting a head unit, pay attention to ergonomics. It doesn't matter how good your head unit is if you drive off the road trying to adjust the bass.