Review of Head Unit: Pioneer AVH-P4300DVD
Price at time of review: ~$400
I bought this after getting a 7" Power Acoustik that was, despite good reviews, akin to polished excrement. There were so many things bugging me that I decided to return it and go with something reputable. HOLY ***** am I glad I did!
I love this thing so much. The fit is perfect and the tolerances are amazing- when I first mounted it in the kit I thought - "There's no way it's going to open- it's gonna hit the top/bottom" but it does not. Amazing thing works perfectly and looks so clean.
I plan to continually add to this review as I play with it more and more. Here are some things I love about it:
SD Card/USB slots+Aux. jack
...are hidden behind the screen and on the back of the HU. My old Power Acoustik had the USB on the front and looked bleh. This looks so clean, even if you have a flash drive/SD card in you'd never guess, as you can route the USB cord to glovebox/center console/wherever.
...is, so far, vastly superior to the Power Acoustik, which used to get the audio and video out of sync alarmingly often. I have had no such issues yet with the Pioneer. Also, the Power Acoustik had a higher resolution than the Pioneer, and I was worried about feeling like I downgraded, but the resolution is in fact quite good - no complaints. BTW, it DOES play avi files, despite it not being mentioned anywhere. I would've raged if it didn't. I used a relay for the parking brake bypass - it was very simple and has worked flawlessly. You can use a relay or a switch - with the relay you just wire it up and forget about it. With the switch, every time you want to watch a video while driving, you must flip the switch on/off twice. I have made a diagram for how to wire the relay at the end of this review.
This is perhaps what I love the most about this HU - it is so effortless to navigate. The buttons on the bottom for commonly-used things (Menu, Mode, Source, Volume, Mute, Eject, etc.) make it easy to quickly change settings, tweak the awesome 8-band EQ, adjust volume... these were tedious chores on the Power Acoustik. It is extremely intuitive, and you can easily change the background to your own pics and set the button illumination to the color of your choosing.
This HU's iPod interface really is incredible. It requires you to buy an extra cable (I bought this because it's $15 cheaper than the Pioneer version) but it is definitely worth it IMHO. Yes it eats the AUX and USB, but dayum it charges the iPod and you can access everything from the HU - playlists, artists, albums, genres, blah blah... it even displays the album art when playing! I have it set up so that the iPod sits in my glovebox and chills and charges in there. The HU also has an "app" feature... haven't fully explored that but should be interesting.
The thing does not have octupus connectors in the back for RCAs, etc. (they're just plugs on the back - no little leads). However, I am very happy with the 3 sets of 4V pre-outs and the myriad of other connectors on the back- this HU allows for a great deal of expansion. I bought the iPod cord that plugs into the USB and aux. jack and allows control of the iPod. I am going to test this later today, as I used the SD card on the way to work this morning. You can buy the bluetooth adapter (which I've read is meh), HD radio, navigation, and sat. radio with different bits from Pioneer. The badassery that caught my eye about this HU's iPod interface is that it charges the iPod whilst communicating with it. Brownie points for Pioneer.
The instant you load an SD card, 0.03 seconds later it starts playing the first song on there. I thought that was b/a. And I love the way it displays the information about the song - different titles for artist, song, and album. Also, this HU plays AAC files, which the Power Acoustik couldn't and was MAJOR FAIL!! So woot for Pioneer. It is extremely easy to navigate through your folders and files on the SD card, which I will be using for most of my media. I am toying with the idea of using an external with the USB port, as I read that someone had succesfully done it on the previous model (4200DVD). However if anyone tries to do this, make sure the HDD is formatted as FAT32. I don't believe it will recognize NTFS.
My setup as of this morning is:
Said Pioneer HU
Stock speakers (not terrible)
Blaupunkt THb-200A active sub
The Power Acoustik made my stock speakers sound WORSE than through my stock HU (which was made by Clarion). I thought it was because of Subaru's silly external EQ which I'm not sure they still use now. However the Pioneer makes everything sound better. The speakers sound better than stock - more defined and greater clarity. The sub sounds more accurate than it did through the Power Acoustik (which also had 4V pre-outs). Apparently in the premium system, Subaru put speakers in with cones made of a Kevlar blend, and I gotta say they sound decent through HU power.
Small update: A few nights ago I installed my Zed-built CR-150 for my front speakers, and HOLY OMGOODNESS. Through the stock speakers, the sound is pretty impressive. The highs are unbelievably clear and not harsh, everything just sounds very good. The stock speakers are rated for 40 RMS and are getting "75" (but I'm sure is more than that) from the amp, and as such frequencies below 50-ish hz cause the speakers to distort a bit even with the gain turned all the way down. So I turned on the 50 hz HPF on the HU. Will do until I get my components in. The HU drives the amp very very well; I'm very happy with everything.
So, yeah, so far I've been blown away by this HU. My only gripes so far are below:
- One USB port - which the iPod cable takes! I'm going to try and get a splitter or hub so I can use a flash drive and the iPod cord.
- No faceplate security. Which I understand as this is a **** Double DIN 7", but wah. I live in a high-crime rate area for half of the year, and now I must rip apart an old DD OEM HU and make a fake faceplate. Which should prove exciting.
- HD Video playback - I read that the 4200 did not like 720p or 1080p. I am going to try and test this tonight and see if this one doesn't mind it.
I will try to post pics up when I get home tonight. I really am amazed at how close the tolerances are and how excellent the fit is. I hope this review helps someone out - if anyone has questions about it they can PM me or post in this thread (I think that's allowed - ?). I would recommend it without a second thought to anyone who can afford it. Well worth the money. Here are some pics:
And here is a diagram I made for how to do the parking brake bypass:
Hope that helps