Regardless of whether you own a Polaris, Can-Am, Honda, Kawasaki, Arctic Cat or any other brand of UTV, listening to your favorite music while you work or play makes the ride much better. There are many marine grade radio head units out on the market today that are compact enough to easily mount in the limited space of your SXS. If you’re looking for high end features or just sound on a budget, there are options for you.
Most UTV radios, regardless of shape, use a standard 3″ diameter hole design for the rear of the radio. While some radios offer a UTV model specific mounting solution, generally as long as you have a greater than three inch wide surface on your dash or other desired mounting location, you will be able to fit the source unit. There are exceptions to this, which we will make note of further in our reviews.
Rockford Fosgate PMX-3
We’ve had an opportunity to test our Rockford head unit for going on three years now and regardless of environment or abuse, it works as well as the day it was new. No matter how much dust and mud is thrown at it, no matter how many times it has been soaked with water during the after trip clean up, the Rockford Fosgate asks for more.
This all-weather powerhouse gives you a huge variety of entertainment options in a compact package that fits into a standard 3″ marine radio opening. You can even connect a back up camera to the system. You can stream music with built-in Bluetooth connectivity, check weather and news on the AM/FM/WB radio or connect a music player or thumb drive to the USB input. You can even work with your Pandora playlists with the unit. You can also add an optional SiriusXM tuner.
Whatever you’re listening to, it’s easy to see on the 2.7″ TFT color display. The white, backlit controls are easy to see, day or night. For riding at night and you’re not wanting to hurt your vision, you can dim the display with a simple push of a button. And it’s easy to activate an action or rear-view camera with the external trigger.
The built-in amp puts out a max of 50W per channel and 25W RMS. You can adjust the sound and make it your own with the 7-band equalizer. With two full-range front channels and selectable rear/sub outputs, you can easily build the system you want. And if you add a sub, the front panel control makes it easy to tune your bass without the need for a separate bass controller.
The Rockford PMX-3 comes with a two year limited warranty from the manufacturer.
JL Audio MediaMaster 50
This is one of the best sounding UTV head units that we have heard on the market today. Despite only having a three channel built in equalizer, the JL Audio MediaMaster 50 rivals the sound of even the top Rockford Fosgate.
JL Audio designed the MM50 to perform in the outdoors. Marine-grade components and IPX66-rated weatherproofing ensure long life, but when you look at this receiver, you can tell it was designed by people who know what it’s like to change music sources or tracks while bouncing down a rough trail.
The MediaMaster 50 features an intuitive interface with large text that’s easy to read while you’re in motion. The big, bright, full-color 2.8″ display offers adjustable day/night lighting modes that will give you the level of brightness that works best for you.
The JL Audio MediaMaster 50 features 50W max on four channels and 25W RMS for clean and powerful sound. Bluetooth® v2.1 audio streaming, USB 2.0 direct-digital connection for your iPhone, Android or USB storage device and an AUX input for connection to a wide range of audio sources all come standard.
JL Audio backs the MediaMaster 50 with a standard two year limited warranty on all units.
JVC KD-MR1BTS MotorSports Digital Media Receiver
The KD-MR1BTS MotorSports Digital Media Receiver is the latest from JVCKenwood Corp and they have knocked this one out of the park in terms of sound and features. We’ve long been a fan of JVC and Kenwood head units in our full size vehicles and now that they are playing in the powersports sector, they have our attention once again. This unit could move a spot or two up on the list depending on how well they last in the rough conditions of going offroad, but initial showings are impressive.
The KD-MR1BTS is equipped with a weather-resistant, UV-stable face and controls that will stand up to sun and the worst of the elements. A conformal coating protects the radio’s electronic circuits from moisture to ensure your equipment is protected. A 2.7″ color display makes it easy to dial in stations or weather band info on the radio’s global tuner. The screen is bright enough to daytime play and can be dimmed at night with the push of a button. The display also can easily be attached to a rearview camera to make your radio even more versatile.
JVC incorporates a USB input so you can access your favorite music files, while built-in Bluetooth lets you stream music from your smartphone. The KD-MR1BTS sports two sets of preamp outputs (including a switchable sub output), so you’ll have lots of options when you’re ready to build a system. You can also listen to your favorite sounds via an aux out, USB storage device, Android, iPhone, Pandora or with an optional Sirius/XM tuner. All of this sound is powered by 50W max on four channels with a 7-band equalizer with a built in subwoofer control to shape your sound how you want.
The JVC KD-MR1BTS MotorSports Digital Media Receiver is backed by a one year warranty.
MB Quart GMR-LED
Great sound and the largest screen size of any powersports radio on the market is what the MB Quart GMR-LED offers. The massive 3.5” color LCD screen gives you a great view of what you’re listening to or what your rear-view camera is able to display.
The MB Quart offers 40W max on four channels with 20W RMS with an 8-band equalizer to shape your sound. Bluetooth connectivity, AM/FM/WB channels, USB storage readability and of course listening to your library of music on your Android or iPhone are all standard features.
The GMR-LED includes an innovation equalization system. First, in the classic definition of an EQ, the engineers have included traditional 8-band equalizer that you can customize with different settings. Beyond that, you have Dual Zone Mode operation. Think of the different areas of your vehicle. In an UTV, it could be the front seats vs the rear seats in a four seater. Or for you sound junkies that have speakers facing both passengers and facing outside of your rig for other people to listen to your music. You can operate the volume of those zones independently. It’s something similar to the Fader function on traditional radios, but more application specific.
We also really like the rotational source controls. Changing the source is a two step operation so that you don’t accidentally bump a button while riding and the semi-circle in the lower left hand of the screen takes up little real estate. Other than that, the controls are very simplistic and functions are deeper into the menu than some other head units, however the features used most often are right at your fingertips.
The MB Quart GMR-LED comes standard with a one year limited warranty.
SSV Works MRB3
The SSV Works MRB3 doesn’t look fancy, but if space to mount a radio is at a premium and you don’t have a lot of depth available in your chosen spot, then this little radio may be the best option for getting premium sound into your UTV.
The SSV Works MRB3 is actually two separate components designed to maximize the versatility of the installation process. The faceplate controls all the functions of the set up, however the brains and power source of the system is a secondary piece that can be installed in a different location and out of sight, which works great if space is at a premium.
There are a lot of features available. You can connect to Bluetooth, listen to AM/FM radio stations, or plug a device into the optional AUX input. The built-in amp produces 50W max over four channels, so whatever you’re playing will sound great. Want more sound? There’s a set of RCA preamp outputs for sending signal to an extra amp or a powered subwoofer. The package also includes a panel mount charging USB input. This USB port is charge only, so unfortunately you won’t be able to read off a USB storage device if you prefer to listen to your music that way. SSV sells an optional USB/AUX adapter that allows you to both charge a device and use a standard mini-aux cable though.
The MRB3 has six Preset EQ options which allow you to fine-tune the audio to your liking. It also features a 4V RCA low-level pre-output so that you can run it in conjunction with an additional amplifier and powered subwoofer. The controller features a large hyper-white LED backlit display designed to be visible in all conditions while controlling volume, track, and play/pause functions with glove friendly, backlit rubber-coated buttons.
The SSV Works MRB3 is backed by a one year manufacturer warranty.