Depending on the type of media you use most, you'll want to consider the different options available for each combination of audio type.
* Want to listen to tapes? CDs? Or maybe both?
** Car Cassette Receiver
*** This type of receiver plays tapes and the radio.
** Car CD Receiver
*** If all you want to play are CDs then this is the way to go. Keep in mind that a CD receiver will only play one CD at a time. However, if you want the ability to load several CDs at once then you will need a Cassette/CD Combo
*** If you have both old tapes and new CDs, you will want a combo receiver.
** CD/MP3/WMA Receiver
*** Do you listen mostly to CDs and MP3s? Do you want to be able to hear WAV and WMA files? These receiver will playback different types of music formats.
* Do you want to hook up your iPods/ MP3 player to the receiver?
** iPod ready receivers will allow you to hook up your iPod to your receiver as well as other fun options.
** Also look for FM transmitters for MP3 players.
* Or are you all about the satellite radio?
**buying guide to find out more.
What to Look For
* '''Sound Quality'''
** A high signal to noise ratio means better quality sound with less distortion and interference, especially when playing the radio.
** For optimum radio play also look for FM sensitivity specifications. The lower the number, the better the reception.
** Fourdash receivers.
** Look out for preamp outputs for power expansion (i.e., adding an amplifier and/or subwoofers) so that you can have clear sound with less distortion.
** RMS wattage is a power measurement and you want it to be as high as possible.
** Keep in mind though that your system's wattage is only as good as the quality of speakers you buy, so you might want to leave room for upgrading.
* '''Tone Controls'''
** Volume control on the interface is a given.
** Bass and treble should have their own controls or be accessible from the receiver's menu.
** Audiophiles will want additional equalizer functions for super-sharp, precise sound control.
** The average consumer will just need the basics and maybe a button for bass boost, which can help fill out the sound even at lower volumes.