Sony CDX FW570 – The best sounding car stereo receiver I’ve ever heard!

Sony CDX FW570 on eBay

In this article, I’m going to introduce you to my sound quality based car stereo set up. This is going to be different from the usual gear you see here. As in a car, things are a bit different. The Sony CDX FW570 is an extremely good sounding car stereo receiver. Sony back in the day knew what they were doing in the world of aftermarket head units.

The Car:

The car that the Sony is installed in is a 2002 Mercury Grand Marquis GS. This car is part of the shared Panther platform. This platform includes the Ford Crown Vic, the Mercury Marauder, and the Lincoln Town Car. My Grand Marquis has been the best daily driver I’ve ever owned. Due to the fact that I am an audiophile, I love being able to listen to high fidelity sound in my car. It really is an experience to be cruising down the road rocking to some good sound. Awhile back, my Dad had a Grand Marquis with this same head unit. It sounded great even with the factory speakers. As it turns out, the factory speakers that Ford used with the Panther platform are very good.

The Speakers:

Passenger door speaker grille.

In the doors of my Grand Marquis, a set of 6×8 full range speakers reside behind the door panel with a small grill focused directly on the center of the cone. This is good in the way that it allows treble resonating from the dust cap to easily enter the car interior while calming down the mid range. On the rear deck, Ford used a set of 6×9 woofers for the lower end. Ford however left a little to be desired with the factory head unit. The factory head unit was not showing the potential that these speakers actually had. Ford really did shock me with the factory speakers in these cars. I’ve never heard factory speakers sound so good.

The carpet covered grilles for the 6x9" woofers.

Where The Sony CDX FW570 Comes Into Play:

Being an audiophile, I knew what kind of receiver I wanted to install into my Grand Marquis. I could care less about features such as hands free calling, terrible sounding XM radio, a touch screen, or even a back up camera. None of these features matter to me. I just want a head unit with a lot of power and an emphasis on sound quality. Back in the days of the older Sonys, that was the emphasis. Nowadays, you’d be heard pressed to get this sound out of a modern unit. If you do, post the model number down below. I’d be shocked.

The FW570s capabilities – A recipe for good sound!

Let’s start with the amplifier section. Sony used this amplifier section on many head units. It was a proven amplifier that could produce 52 WPC out of all four channels. This is loud in a car (loud enough to mess your hearing up). It’s even loud in a big car like my Grand Marquis. Most modern car stereos fail to produce even half as much power as this. You could argue that installing a dedicated 4 channel amps is needed. But considering that this solution would take way more work, it wasn’t viable to begin with. In the end, I spent $45 on the Sony and $10 for the harness. I never even bought a mounting bracket. The head unit has been fine sitting the way it is for over a year. I have quick access to the aux in which comes in handy.

Dynamic Sound Stage Organizer (DSO)

This is an interesting DSP feature. The only way I could describe DSO is as a way to enhance the sound of your car’s speakers if they are mounted lower. Unlike “sound lift” which is found on most modern head units, Sony’s DSO actually works very well. Although my speakers in my Grand Marquis are located higher than most, I find DSO 2 to be the best. If I listen to a CD however, DSO 1 is the way to go as the DAC is very good. There would be too much treble DSO 2. Even with factory speakers.

Sony’s Famous EQ7

If you’re familiar with Sony head units. You’ll recognize their 7 band equalizer. Sony’s EQ7 has been a proven one that works very well. In fact compared to the head unit in my truck with it’s 13 band EQ, I find the EQ7 way better. It makes my Grand Marquis’s factory speakers sound really good. Sony also allowed you to use tone controls along with EQ7. Combining the two can really become a match made in heaven. You can increase 16KHz and decrease 6.3kHz while increasing the treble tone control. This allows you to extend the frequency response of your speakers. The bass tone control lets you also make quick adjustments to the amount of bass you want depending on your music. This is a good thing that keeps your eyes on the road. This Sony can overwhelm your car’s speakers with bass if your music suddenly calls for it.

The Display:

The display of the Sony CDX-FW570.

Just look at the display. This is a sign that Aiwa, a good audio brand bought by Sony had a little influence on this head unit. There’s a latency free spectrum analyzer for EQ7. There’s also a graphic showing which level of DSO you’re using.

The Sound:

For a car stereo, The Sony FW570 has the best sound I’ve ever heard out of a head unit. The FM tuner is probably the best I’ve ever heard even compared to my stereo receivers. Even the Sony’s CD player sounds extremely good. The DAC is just uncomparable to any head unit I’ve heard. External auxiliary sources sound very good as icing on the cake. By buying a good USB DAC, you could make the Sony CDX FW570 work with modern devices like your smartphone and a Tidal HiFi subscription. No matter what you listen to, you’re hit with a wide sound stage and a lush sound. This is the type of sound that’ll make you want to drive your car just so you could listen to it. The tonal quality makes you feel like you’re listening to a high end vintage stereo receiver in your car. Sometimes, I’ll just sit there in my car listening to the stereo. Thankfully, I have a good battery. Otherwise, I’d strand myself.

The Conclusion:

You know you’re an audiophile when you’ll sacrifice anything for good sound” – Rhett I’m sure that quote explains my conclusion very well. But just in case… As you see, I opted for a head unit designed back when car audio was designed with good sound in mind instead of something mean’t to do too many jobs. I believe new cars should be built with the stereo as a separate system from the infotainment system found in new cars. I doubt this will happen although I could dream. For now though, I hoped you enjoyed reading. Now enjoy listening to my car audio set up!

4 Replies to “Sony CDX FW570 – The best sounding car stereo receiver I’ve ever heard!”

  1. Come’on Rhett,

    I am still listening to Daf’Punk while I write this comment 🙂

    How cool is this, a very neat experience.

    Too bad the company that manufactured this stereo system did not persevere with

    this line of products.

    I appreciated your sharing this. Do you have any cool item you plan on reviewing on your publication ?

    1. My next post is going to be about a set of headphones that I bought new for $140 back in 2015. Now you can only buy them new for $2,000… I’m not going to spoil anything. But I do wish mine were still in the box.

  2. Wow, I’ve been so meh on Sony car audio stuff for years.  I had a Sony Xplod a while back and that scared me off of their car audio stuff.  So the DAC is better sounding than the FM receiver?  I never would have even figured that.  

    Any idea who made the factory speakers?  I know Ford had worked with numerous decent audio companies over the years, the decks however were generally pretty lackluster.

    1. All of the new Sony gear is pretty bad. This head unit was from back in the early 2000s. The speakers in my car might actually be Sony. They did surprise me with these speakers. But considering the Panther cars are built to last. Ford couldn’t skimp on the speakers. They needed to last with the car. As for Sony Xplod, this head unit is clearly piece of Aiwa . Sony has never been big on stuff like spectrum analyzers and cool graphics until they bought Aiwa. Aiwa got killed by Sony and then a guy by the name of Joe Born brought them back. Sony can’t even do anything about it. I’ve nocticed that their head units have been disappearing entirely now. The only modern head unit brand I would go with is JVC. Even their new stuff however is losing quality. For amplifiers and speakers, I highly recommend Skar Audio. Too bad they don’t make any head units.

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