The Pioneer AppRadio is one of our favorite car stereos thanks to its ability to display and control certain car-centric apps with its 7-inch touch screen in your dashboard. While the list of supported apps is long, it's far from all-inclusive. The AppRadio app on your smartphone powers the on-screen interface for the car stereo and acts as the gatekeeper, deciding what apps on your phone can be displayed. But what if you want to use a navigation app that isn't on the supported list? If you're an Android user and don't mind tinkering with your … Read more
I recently met with speaker designer Andrew Jones at the CNET office in NYC to discuss his latest project, the new Pioneer SP-SB23W Speaker Bar. And after we finished, I picked his brain about the value of speaker specifications.
My take is that most, but not all, are nearly useless for providing consumers with information that could lead to opting for one speaker over another. For example, what exactly does "power handling" mean? When a manufacturer claims its speaker has a 100-watt power handling rating, can it be safely used with a 200-watt-per-channel amplifier? Or a 500-watt amp? … Read more
The Pioneer SP-SB23W ($399) may be in a class of its own for affordable sound bar performance, but it's not quite perfect.
Shortly after posting our review of the SP-SB23W, I noticed a couple of user reviews that mentioned issues with Bluetooth audio sound quality. Specifically, the customers found that when using Bluetooth audio, only the right channel of audio was being being decoded, resulting in mono (rather than stereo) sound.
It was an easy issue to confirm, simply by connecting a MacBook Pro to the SP-SB23W via Bluetooth and adjusting the balance control. There was no mistake: move … Read more
From the way things are going multichannel home theater speaker systems will be on the endangered species list in a few years. Sound bars epitomize the "good enough" direction the market has taken, and most folks are happy with them, mostly because they sound better than the speakers built into their TVs. That's easy, but how do sound bars fare compared with a bona fide 5.1-channel subwoofer/satellite system? For this shootout I wanted to keep the budget in check, so I used MonoPrice's 8247 sub/sat system, and compared it with a couple of … Read more
Last week I made the case for my theory that we are in a year filled with gadget fads. But really, I think it's equally true that we are living with a great number of mature technologies -- gadgets that have paid their dues, and may even be on the decline.
But before these staples of technology became inextricably woven into the fabric of our lives, they all started out as crazy, laughable ideas. Everything from the laptop to smartphone was once considered science fiction.
So to honor those pioneering gadgets that paved the way for the mundane, yet … Read more
Pioneer joins the all-too-short list of car audio manufacturers to support media playback and browsing on Android phones with the announcement and launch of its 2014 lineup of CD receivers: the DEH-X6600BS, DEH-X6600BT, DEH-X5600HD, DEH-X4600BT, DEH-X3600S, DEH-X3600UI, DEH-X2600UI, and FH-X500UI.
All eight models in the new 2014 lineup of Pioneer single-DIN DEH receivers (and the double-DIN FX-X500UI) are able to browse media stored on a USB-connected Android phone with the aid of the media transfer protocol (MTP), which has been adopted by the Android operating system as of version 4.0 to handle all file transfers. (Older Androids made use … Read more
I never heard of Lepai until about a year ago, when Parts Express sent over a Lepai LP-2020A+ amplifier for review. Well, it didn't take long to see it was a steal, and it has been my go-to amp for anyone on a super-tight budget, it's just $25, and for that kind of money the sound is pretty special. The 20-watt-per-channel stereo amplifier is a tiny thing, it's just 1.5x5.5x4.5 inches.
Vue Pioneer for Mac provides extensive options for creating 3D terrains that are useful for advanced users who need a rendering program or for those who have the time to decipher a complicated interface. Its feature-rich capabilities and useful operations overcome some speed issues.
The program's download and installation take time due to its 700MB size. The user is prompted to enter an account from the developer's Web site, but this can be bypassed for a trial, which places a watermark on output. Vue Pioneer for Mac also gives the user an option to view a tutorial video, … Read more
Andrew Jones has a degree in physics, but his real passion is speaker design. He started out as a research engineer for KEF in 1983, later moved to Infinity and now he's with Pioneer, and is chiefly responsible for their ultra high-end TAD Reference line of speakers that sell for upwards of $80,000! Jones not only designs speakers that sell for as much as a luxury Mercedes Benz, he's also made some of the world's best affordable speakers.
Jones, like most of the speaker designers I've ever talked to, started thinking about building speakers before … Read more
The pitch for Pioneer's VSX-823-K ($400 street price) is straightforward: six HDMI inputs, built-in AirPlay, and not much else. That's more HDMI connectivity than the similarly AirPlay-equipped Denon AVR-E300 ($400) offers, and AirPlay gives it an edge against other receivers that offer six HDMI inputs at this price, like the Marantz NR1403 and Onkyo TX-NR525.
Where the VSX-823-K falls short is wireless connectivity. There's no built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and adding those features later is pricey, with Pioneer charging over $100 for each of its accessories. The lack of wireless wouldn't be so glaring if it … Read more