Living in Southern California has its perks, but it can also have its problems, namely traffic. Since I spend at least an hour every day driving to and from the office, I needed to up my car stereo game.
Luckily, Pioneer had the product that was the answer to all my prayers. Instead of being forced to listen to the same six radio stations day after day from a busted head unit that came with the Subaru Legacy, they suggested I go with their new DEH–X8500BH deck. That also means I would be getting to enjoy some pretty amazing features, such as HD Radio, Bluetooth integration, Mixtrax, Pandora support, and, best of all, the deck is iPhone 5 compatible!
It’s so nice when technology works seamlessly together, and that’s exactly what Pioneer achieved with their new line of head units. Since the DEH-X8500BH will be pumping out a whole lot more power than my old janky head unit, they also suggested I switch out the speakers to units from their TS line. These babies can withstand up to 300 watts of power, so if I decide to take my audio cravings to the next level in the future, I’ll have the speakers to back it up.
Let’s move onto the install.
I enlisted the help of the one and only Charles Trieu to help smooth things along—which basically meant he would do all the work while I took photos. We started with the head unit; this way we could immediately test each speaker afterward.
Since the Pioneer unit is Bluetooth compatible, it gave us the option to run an external mic in the car that would allow me to receive phone calls while sitting in traffic, keeping me in compliance with the “Hands-Free” law in California. The best place for the external mic was on the very top of my A-pillar. This made it as discreet as possible but it also ensured the microphone would be close enough to my face to pick up every bit of road rage with crystal clear reception.
The DEH-X8500BH offers plenty of customization, from lighting to interface to sound options. The five-band equalizer allows us to fine-tune the perfect sound for any kind of music.
We cut a tiny access hole in the bottom of the center console and ran the iPhone extension wire through. The USB port is now in the console like in new cars and your iPod will be out of sight of potential thieves.
The head unit also communicated with our iPhone 5 seamlessly via both Bluetooth audio and via cable allowing access to Pandora, Mixtrax, and stored music. We can go for that.