So who makes the best CarPlay stereo? Alpine or Pioneer?
Well, this past Saturday I spent a few hours comparing these two models side by side. I made a video for everyone interested in seeing and understanding the key differences between these two models. I even connected two iPhones and played the same IASCA demo album for true side by side comparison.
Upon my initial comparison, I HAD to have had a setting off on the head unit. We turn our board off every night and most of these stereos will default to some pretty yucky audio settings (like having bass boost defaulted On or preset EQ set to “Powerful”).
I make it a habit to check all audio settings before demonstrating equipment or doing these types of listening tests. However I think in my excitement to check out the iLX-007, I had to have missed something on the AppRadio 4 because during that initial listening test, there really was no comparison. The iLX-007 sounded clean and clear and the Pioneer sounded muddy. Well, that’s what Bass Boost or a “Powerful” EQ setting will do.
So for this extensive comparison, I was extremely thorough in checking my settings and and also used an IASCA album for the audio comparison.
The difference is so minute it’s hard to even describe. They’re incredibly similar in sound quality.
During a blind listening test, I think my average customer would find it extremely difficult to pinpoint the difference and then decide which one sounded better.
My co-worker Joe couldn’t tell the difference at all. My husband John and I could barely hear a difference and what we did hear was an ever so slight difference in detail with Alpine having the edge.
I cannot stress how slight this difference was. In fact, I do not think sound quality should be a factor in choosing between these two models. It was that slight. Consider function, screen size, flexibility and ease of use instead.
Screen size does make a difference when using navigation. Check out how Apple Maps displays differently on the Alpine CarPlay stereo vs the Pioneer CarPlay. This is where you can appreciate the larger screen size in Alpine.
Contacts are also displayed differently. I think it’s actually easier to see in the Pioneer AppRadio 4 CarPlay mode due the sharper contrast between white and black vs white and gray in the Alpine CarPlay iLX-007.
Same idea in the keypad area of the phone.
And the winner is?
I want to know what the readers think. A lot of people have been following my posts on these two models lately, so I’m interested in everyone’s feedback. Since the sound quality is so similar between these two, based on the video and information I’ve posted on this blog, which model do you all prefer?
Personally, and if we’re strictly talking about CarPlay here, I like the Alpine better. That Siri button makes the iLX-007 the easier to use CarPlay stereo, especially while driving.