So… It has happened once again folks. My compulsive shopping personality took over and bought another new car stereo. The Pioneer AVH-P4400BH. Why you ask? Because you can’t have last year’s model stereo now, can you? This is one of the benefits/curses about working in the car audio industry. They come out with newer and better models almost every year and you always have to have the most up-to-date and coolest car audio equipment. Now I will admit that in the past, there wasn’t always a very good reason to upgrade. Sometimes it just “looked” better (i.e. better aesthetics). I know, lame and a waste of money.
This time I don’t feel so bad. The new AVH-P4400BH comes with a host of new standard features that are more of an evolutionary mutation, rather than leap.
The last generation of this stereo, the Pioneer AVH-P4300, had the option of Bluetooth, but it was around a $200 accessory. This was out of the range of most people’s budget (mine included). Now Bluetooth 3.0 is standard with the AVH-P4400BH and it even has audio streaming.
PRO: It comes with an external microphone for talking on your cell phone and it actually
works. I ask everyone if I sound clear, because there’s nothing I hate more than when you’re talking to someone and they sound like they’re in a land far, far away. When asking a friend if it sounds good, he said “I thought you were talking into the phone.” I own a Subaru with an exhaust and I was very happy that I didn’t sound like I was sitting in the back of a jet boat. Also, the A2DP Audio streaming is reliable and sounds great.
CON: The interface for the phone could be a little more intuitive and include an “All Calls” feature instead of just “missed calls” or “dialed calls”. Another thing – stop asking me if I’m sure about what I want to do when making calls. I understand they do it for unintentionally dialed calls, and it will probably save my butt one day, but it gets kind of annoying.
HD Radio (Hybrid Digital) is a digital radio signal that carries information and vastly improved sound quality. As of 2009 over 1,900 stations broadcasting in HD and covers approximately 84% of the United States, according to iBiquity Digital corporation. So, if you’re part of that 16% that don’t have it, sorry.
PRO: I love HD Radio! It sounds as if you’re listening to an MP3 or podcast, but way better. Some people may find it a waste to include HD radio, but when you live in a big city like Los Angeles almost every radio station broadcasts in HD. I’m actually listening to radio again. Surprise, surprise.
CON: As with most aftermarket radios the reception is never as good as the OEM stereo. A lot of this also has to do with the type of antenna your vehicle has. In-window antennas are always a reception killer and so are shorty aftermarket antennas. Just warning you now.
Sonic Center Control
This is a sound processor that changes the sound staging depending on your preference. It changes it between the driver, passenger or both.
PRO: When you change it to the driver or passenger it sounds amazing for either occupant. This gives you the perception of the music coming from your head/ in front of you. This gives you a similar effect of the JBL MS8, and it comes with the stereo. The AVH-P4300DVD did come with it, but it’s a lot more accurate in in this new model.
CON: Of course it doesn’t give you all the benefits of the MS8, such as time correction, but it gives you the illusion of it without spending lots of money and install time. It is truly a great feature and gets my seal of approval.
Is the new AVH-P4400BH a truly worthy successor of the last model year AVH-4300DVD? I can give you an emphatic YES! It still comes with all the goodies such as, Pandora Radio, 2-way iPod control, 7” screen, Sirius or XM ready, steering wheel remote ready, Navigation Ready, 8-band graphic equalizer and variable color illumination. I think most people would find it an awesome alternative to the more costly units and you get Pioneer’s great build quality, reliability and the “New aesthetics” aren’t bad either. Actually they are way better. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.
So, if you’re in the market for a new headunit, I highly recommend the New AVH-P4400BH. It’s not perfection, but it is as close as you can get at the price point. Check out our website at www.sonicelectronix.com or give us a call. Even if just to say hi. We have them at a great price and you get to talk to our knowledgeable and awesome Customer Commitment Team.