What we have here is as cute as a baby pangolin. An adorable little puggle of a unit, it has a tiny three inch TV screen. This is still a 1080p job, despite the small size and shows images with astonishing, if tiny, clarity. It also means that all the functions and controls have gorgeous Graphic User Interfaces. Cute GUI aside, what the thing has in its guts is plain bonkers for the money. To find out more about why this car stereo stole my heart, scroll down for my detailed Grundig GX-4308 review.
RRP: £150.00. Buy it here.
Setup and operation
I have a selection of USB sticks made for these reviews and so I tried them all in the front. They have mp3, WAV, m4a and FLAC files in both 16 and 32. I connected the analogue aerial, the DAB+ antenna and the Aux socket got the Panasonic voice recorder up it. This has ancient recordings of my son as a toddler. He is 27 now. I played with the controls and listened to FM radio, AM and tunes from a USB stick. Everything was so easy to navigate because of the TV screen graphics and looked so cool.
I love the ‘RADIO’ icon. It depicts a huge 1950s valve ‘wireless’ set, with a wooden cabinet. One fun thing was an old credit card style USB. It has a TV pilot show file on it. Called ‘The Tackle Room’. It was a pilot I made with Greenlight TV, who gave me permission to use it on screen for YouTube.
The DAB+ radio scanned really fast. Way quicker than the Blaupunkt did. The FM radio was easy to set scrolling and was good at grabbing stations. No fancy sensitivity settings but oh wow is it a world-wide unit! You can choose between all the territories of the planet. Oceania, Europe, Latin and N. America, Middle East and Asia all have their own FM radio bands. Japanese cars with domestic radios still in them can not tune to all UK radio stations. This whole-planet radio thing is getting very common as the chips have the space to hold all the data needed.
Bluetooth connection was rapid and simple and what it lifts from say, YouTube, for titles on the screen is excellent. The system has a DSP of HiRes capability, it happily eats and plays FLAC files from the front USB socket. Compared to the ROOT/FILE scrolling displays of units I have tried so far, this was a doddle to navigate. You get pretty pictorial album lists and then track lists. If there are album art images, it will play you a slideshow of them. If you pile heaps of stills onto a USB, I am sure it would simply slideshow those, too.
How well does it work?
The Grundig GX-4308 rose in popularity during the pandemic when supplies of other brands dried up. It was a keen seller but now is getting more rare as the JVC KD-X561DBT gets more famous. The GX-4308 does everything it says and a slice more.
The control of the RCA outputs is vast. You can highpass or lowpass them and the crossover slopes have four levels of adjustment. This is epic. ‘Slope’ refers to how steeply frequencies are filtered. At a 6dB slope, a crossover will make frequencies an octave away from the one you pick, half as loud. So a high pass filter set at 120Hz means that by an octave higher in tone, it is half volume. But where others I have seen on head units so far, offer 6dB or 12dB, this goes two further. You can set them to 18dB or even a ‘brick wall’ 24dB per octave. That’s awesome. Especially as you can apply these crossovers (up or down filters) in all corners, as well the subwoofer output.
You can thus spank a set of 4in speakers via an amp that has no crossovers of its own, safely. You keep the stuff below 160Hz out, at 24dB per octave. And even if you haven’t made that step to amplification, the GX-4308 can help.
The Grundig ‘Virtual Subwoofer’ feature means your rear speakers can be set to play only bass, via the MOSFET amp. The most out-there feature used to be a huge and expensive thing. Time Alignment or microscopic speaker time delays. This is just tucked into the processor that can do ‘HiRes’ audio too. There’s very little explanation in the manual, which is heavily pictorial (brilliant) but it works. You virtually ‘move’ speakers away from your ears.
It really is hard to grasp how this thing is so powerful for so little cost. But it has always been a Grundig thing to sell their electronics at a keen price. Time Alignment is a high-end feature. It convinces your ear-brain system that the stereo sound is in front of you rather than skewed to one side. Because you are not in a McLaren F1, you don’t sit in the middle. The speaker nearest to you has its sound delayed. It is done just enough so it arrives at your ears simultaneously to the sound from the furthest one. And that’s psycho-acoustics! It’s all about perception and you really can hear the sound as if it came from beyond the car.
It takes very fancy and technical application to get it perfect. But to see it on a cheap head unit to make the stereo sound more like it is in front of you, in-car, is incredible.
I absolutely was blown away by this unit.
For all the features, power, ease of use, looks and fun, it’s my EDITOR’S CHOICE. Though if you want to check out its competition, do have a read of our Single-DIN car stereo group test.
- 1-DIN mech-free DAB+/FM/AM radio with USB/Aux/Bluetooth (V4.1) streaming and calls
- Classic anti-theft removable front panel with hard case
- Onboard Power: 4x50W MOSFET, FM settable to Europe, Asia, M. East, Oceania, Latin & N. American frequency bands/steps
- 2V Front, Rear and Sub RCA out, front USB and Aux, rear camera input, panel case, DAB antenna and wired microphone included
- 0in 1080p TFT TV screen, 24 bit ‘HiRes’ DSP audio processor with time alignment! DAB Antenna inc.
- Plays MP3, FLAC, WMA and video files via USB, has ‘virtual subwoofer’ setting for rear speakers