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Old 24th September 2005, 16:04   #1
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Default SO....Just how good is Pioneer?

Before the audiophiles start wheezing, I come from the audio illiterate and mumbai-autoshop-exposed-only-to-pioneer upbringing.

How good is Pioneer? Head units? Amps? Speakers? I currently use ONLY Pioneer in all my cars (save for the 220) and am extremely happy with the sound, performance and long term reliability. That said, my exposure to other brands has been limited. Heres my Vtecs Sound system (My Vtec's Sound system!)

Go ahead - Let the brickbats flow

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Old 24th September 2005, 16:16   #2
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I've been using Pioneer myself but our Audio Gurus (or Audio Nuts as they sometimes call themselves, depending on their state of inebriation I guess) have deemed them unworthy of consideration and even suggested I go back to the OE Blaupunk Head Unit on the Safari.

I am in the process of making this crossover...I will know which is better when I do.
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Old 24th September 2005, 16:18   #3
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Khallaas. You've opened a stinky can of worms. Bad boy GTO.

Well let me be the first to react.

I dont hate pioneer products. Pioneer, true to their name have often set standards, in terms of gimmicks and features and many big companies have played catch-up.
I do not like the signature sound of Pioneer. There are people that do. I find the sound, harsh. (Thats the simplest way to put it I guess)
Big words from the JBL guy, but the sound of Pioneer is too coloured for my liking. Also the fact that they have so many different setting regualar users can muck up.

And for god's sake, what with the blooming dolphins???

My strongest bone of contention is the lack of warranty support. Other than that i leave it to a personal choice.
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Old 24th September 2005, 16:53   #4
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Hey GTO

Contrary to what you have been led to think, Pioneers dont suck.

In fact, I think they offer immense VFM and make great Head Units. I dont think they sound harsh, I find their sound smooth and better than Alpines. Of course, I disable the loudness, eq, bbe or any such sound altering modes. I have tried them with more speaker & amp combinations than I care to remember and they are only harsh if you dont know how to use them. The same applies for Alpines.

Of course, It is very subjective and you should only trust your ears. But in a system where everything else remains same, more people like the softer, warmer sound of a Pioneer than the upfront, bassy sound of the Alpines. At the end of the day, Its how your system sounds 'as a whole'. You would be surprised how much the small things matter. It can change from harsh to smooth just by upgrading your interconnect cables.

I am sort of 'sitting on the fence' when it comes to Pioneer speakers, amps. They have some decent amps and speakers, but nothing exceptional in their regular range. Still, I would pick Pioneer amps and speakers over Sony's anyday.
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Old 24th September 2005, 19:42   #5
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In our experience with different head-units from various brands. I would rate pioneer no.1..of the mass market head units. Though now we have in cars the legends like Clarion HX-D2's and McIntosh MX5000's. We still remember the Pioneer Headunits.

They have good build quality, very very user friendly menu's, all the functions one can think of are available.

The pioneers are not harsh sounding though you can be mislead by your other equipment in the car and what you are hearing can be the traits of the associated equipment. They are very balanced and with the introduction of Burr Brown D/A Convertor (only in 8650 and 9750) the sound has got much much better. As Gunbir said avoid using the lucrative sound enhancement functions and you cannot point finger at Pioneer's sound.

I can still remember an incident..there was a guys car Hyundai Accent with Pioneer 2090's at the back and some 6.5" Pioneers in the front running of a Blaupunkt MPA4 amp. The headunit was some 15K Alpine don't remember the model. The Alpine HU was giving some problems in the playback so as a replacement we installed Pioneer 4650 (Basic HU). All the harshness and tizziness in the highs were gone which were there with Alpine.

It was not my observation everyone who listened to the car at that time said that. And owner never reverted back to alpine.

As far sony, blaupunkt and kenwoods are concerned they are far behind of offering the flexibility which pioneers and alpines do.

The only sony HU I think is good is the new 7715X. Sony headunits used to be very good in the past at the time of legendary C90. Now those days are gone.
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Old 24th September 2005, 20:24   #6
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Sam

what kind of coloration are you talking about...can you please elaborate.

Sound related criticism has the degree of difficulty when dealing with the different equiment of the audio chain.

In certain cases ears are enough to judge while in some case only high tech measuring instruments can come across abnormalities. And in lot of cases both contradict in results

If talking about only ears (as everyone has got a pair), the following is the list of equipment along with the difficulty in identifying the coloration, abnormal frequency response etc etc.

1. Loudspeakers - Easiest
2. Amplifers & Cables - Difficult
3. Playback - Toughest

You will hardly be able to distinguish the frequency and coloration related problems between CD players (though can prefer the sound of one over the other) and amplifer but can easily judge the two loudspeakers.

So the last member (loudspeakers) has the most noticable effect on sound reproduction when changed, then comes amplifiers, cables and playback in no particular order.

As far as the OEL display and those "dolphins" are concerned Pioneer has given a button to switch to the normal display in case you don't like them.

But in India people like them and the company is making for them. In India people drool over the looks...thats why even car companies boost their sales just by changing the lights and grille of the particular car model...and people want to buy that so called "New Model". You can't help it.

I can show you cars with Pioneer DSP's installed...where the DSP is doing nothing in the audio chain but the owner has got it installed just because it looks good.

I have even come across people who sat in car staring eagerly at McIntosh MX-5000 HU with MPM-4000 Power output meter...asking me next moment, what other displays have you got in that HU.

Last edited by Autophile : 24th September 2005 at 20:31.
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Old 25th September 2005, 00:36   #7
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I listened to both the Pioneer and Sony HUs before I bought it. I felt the Pioneer sounded better. I have several people tell me that Pios are very reliable. Their marketing strategy is something else.

And I have always believed in having good speakers rather than worrying too much about the HU or the amplifier (car or home audio). And most people who are serious about audio will go in for a good amp for their cars. So, chill.

By the way, would it be too much of a bother to replace the op amp on my 5750 with a Burr Brown?
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Old 25th September 2005, 08:22   #8
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Default Asthetics

Guys there should be equal points to astetics and usability of HU not just the sound as sound is subjective to listener



I have heard lot of cars and Lot of HU in my stints in Singapore/Malasiya/Brunei/Sri Lanka.

In terms of Usability

Pioneer-
Alpine( almost same)
Clarion
All European makes

Surprisingly I never ever got a single sony.HU . First time I saw a sony was on my sisters Alto - 2210 and I was disappointed.



Sometimes some units from a same company are tricky to use

I had a Pioneer KEH 2250 and took me 3 weeks to figure out how to change time on that

(BTW I am that kind of fantic who eeven goes to hotel tomm does the first thing as retuning and arranging the favourite channels. So U can Imagine me going through each feature of all the HU I encountered)

Last edited by pranil : 25th September 2005 at 08:26.
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Old 25th September 2005, 12:00   #9
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Good to see such honest opinions from the experts, and that Pioneer is not scoffed at even by high-end players.

The Pioneer sound is my kind of sound (my listening volume level is always above 50%). I do agree that the settings are too many and its a pain when the car comes back from service and you have to tune it all over again. But for me, the Pioneer interface is all about familiarity. A lot like computer users and the windows operating system - It seems the most intuitive to use.

Relatively speaking, I find them to be incredible value for money but this may be a component of their being grey market goods while others pay taxes and custom duties through the official route. Long-term reliability and after-market repair support are some other strengths.

Whats stopping them from coming officially into India?

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Old 25th September 2005, 12:29   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
Whats stopping them from coming officially into India? GTO
See post #122
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/showth...806#post120806
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Old 25th September 2005, 13:15   #11
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Let me try and venture an opinion,, a good Alpine head unit ,,with bose speakers,,good wiring and interconnects,,would give an adequate sound quality with minimal THD,,obviating the need for crossover,woofer,amp just make sure that the output rating of the speakers is enough,try CROSSROADS for the bose showroom for the speakers ,, and www.kjaudio.com for the Alpine head unit,,they also have a claasy range of MAGNAT speakers from germany,,in fact for car and home audio,,they have some good advice for people who are on a budget,,now u may wonder how i can include bose speakers for anyone on a budget,but if u dont need subs/amp/crossover,,it will be chaper
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Old 25th September 2005, 13:28   #12
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Thanks Gunbir - Interesting discussion.

Quote:

It is really not Pioneer's fault. They understand how our market works.. How many of you would buy a 7750 with B&W for Rs 15000... Maybe a few will. But look at the majority out there who would rather buy a higher model in grey than a lower one with B&W.

Plus, Pioneer doesnt import their products in India. Our "Grey Market Operators" do!! When they buy bulk quantities from the distributors in Dubai, Thailand and Malaysia, they forfeit the warranty for a better price. Its their choice, not Pioneers. Moreover, It is up to the India Distributor to provide a service network. Not the mfr. Alpine service is provided by Supreme (not Alpine). Alpine provides back to back support to Supreme because they pay for "warranty".
But who is stopping both - the grey and official market - from coexisting? Look at the mobile phones market. Both give each other a hard time, and that leads to better prices / support for the end consumer. So in the end, its the consumers choice whether he wants to pay extra for an official warrant"ed" product or wants to save money and go for the grey market offering. I think that the move with Autocop is a half-hearted approach with unrealistic prices.

The opportunities for Pioneer to come officially into India could be tremendous if they leverage their advantages:

1. My father (like many others) would never buy an electronic good without a proper bill and warranty. There are many like him, including the huge corporate segment.

2. They can tap the burgeoning OEM market where almost every car now has a variant with stock systems. Throw in some dealership presence too.

3. Installation!! Imagine Pioneer outlets with trained technicians and and the right tools for installation.

4. Finance! If you can buy phones and refridgerators on finance...you certainly can buy an ICE on a loan. Increased market penetration, higher average sale value etc.

Just thinking out loud for some seconds. I am sure a proper marketing study could yield many more advantages for what is probably the most known name in India for car stereos.

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Old 25th September 2005, 17:44   #13
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Thats the point. Companies that represent a big brand in India, bend over backwards to please the Indian consumer.
Electronics fail and for every 20 satisfied customers of brand X, there will be one with a problem.

Companies in India specialize in screwing the customer over, making huge profit margins and providing little or no backup. Hence distributors are changed often, for lack of sales and failure to meet targets. I do not see this as the consumers fault.

Pioneer refuses to "marry" an indian partner, freely selling to who they wish and at prices they like. In fact Pioneer Gulf often competes with Pioneer Singapore, quoting against and competing for the same product.

Frankly pioneer is only interested in the number of units sold. And refuses to offer exclusivity to any company in India. Pioneer fuels the grey market and depends on that for their targets. They also train a few service people with a full business model on the money making structure of repairs and offeres no commisiion or pay-back for repair as they expect the service centre to make a killing.
Trust me.... I am in a very good position to claim this. I was trained by pioneer gulf fze for service 8 years ago.
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Old 25th September 2005, 22:59   #14
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GTO... I totally agree. You make sense. And though Sam makes some valid points too, I ask you this...

Why does Pioneer single out India for this treatment? When they officially do business in Australia, Europe, America, Rest of Asia... Why do they refuse to come to India.

Think about it...
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Old 25th September 2005, 23:16   #15
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For headunits I think Pioneer is the best pick for me cause of their interface. Even though at first it is complicated but for having used them for over 10 years now I am accustomed to them.... its Nokia and me... i just cannot but another brand besides Nokia. And besides pioneer does make really good HU, they are pricey but there is always something good that will fit your budget and HU can be re-used for years.. will atleast go through two to three of you cars before you trash it.
But when it comes to AMPS, Speakers and stuff I am more oopen to other brands........even though pioneer i may have a soft corner for pioneer i will still test the other before makin a decision.
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