Clarion is known for its high-quality, affordable products. The DXZ435, from the company's entry-level line of products, continues that trend splendidly. The removable faceplate has blue illumination for the buttons and the volume knob, with a high-contrast LCD display in the center that uses white text on a blue background. The display is uncluttered and easy to read in daylight, with a large eight-character text section as the main source of information, and eight selectable levels of contrast. CDs are loaded through a slot at the top of the faceplate. Releasing the faceplate from the deck is a little difficult on first attempt, but after a couple tries you can get it off easily. Controls are laid out intuitively, although the button illumination is uneven enough that it's tough to read the ones with small text. The volume knob is large and has a rubber grip ring making it easy to find and use. On the opposite side, a paddle provides up and down level control for the subwoofer output -- a unique and welcome feature.
[Two sets of RCA pigtails provide either front/rear line outputs or front/subwoofer line outputs. The choice is made on the menu by selecting one of the low-pass filters (50Hz, 80Hz, or 120Hz), effectively changing the full-range rear output into a subwoofer output.]
For AM/FM reception, the unit has the Magi-Tune+ technology, which includes automated stereo/mono selection (based on signal strength), enhanced multiple AGC (automatic gain control), impulse noise reduction circuits, and multipath noise reduction for better reception in town. Three FM bands and one AM band each have six presets that can be accessed directly from buttons across the bottom of the faceplate. Along with manual storage, an auto-scan function picks out the strongest stations and saves them to the presets in the current band. A novel feature called ISR (Instant Station Recall) lets you store your favorite station and recall it at the touch of a button, no matter what source is currently selected. It's very handy to be able to switch from a CD or Aux source directly to your main station with a single button. Support for Sirius Satellite Radio is included when you purchase the optional Sirius Satellite tuner. If you don't already know, Sirius is a system of satellites broadcasting 50 channels of commercial-free digital music and 50 more channels of news, sports, and entertainment. (If you haven't heard of Sirius, you really should get out more often!)
The CD player handles CD, CD-R, and CD-RW discs and displays CD-Text titles. Standard CD controls are all present, including scan, track repeat (disc repeat is automatic and always enabled), random, and fast-forward/fast-backward. Custom eight-character titles can be stored for up to 50 discs. With some of the compatible CD changers, an additional 100 disc titles can be entered. Support for an MD (MiniDisc) changer is al...