Pioneer’s Appradio makes your dash even more dashing.

It was inevitable. It had to come eventually and now it has. In car audio has officially gone mobile. Pioneer, never one to shirk its responsibilities, has been the first out of the blocks to fully integrate a smart phone into an in car audio system.

App-Radio

The Appradio is a WVGA 6.1” touch screen radio that fits flush into your car’s dashboard to provide all your in car entertainment as usual. The fun part is it more or less mimics your iphone 4 screen display and control system, letting you operate the capacitive screen as you would your own iphone 4. So, simply launching the Appradio app from your iphone, will let you call all your usual mobile features like iPod operation with all the music info, AM/FM radio, and Bluetooth hands-free talking and phonebook transfer directly from your dashboard.

The standard Google maps GPS navigation app is available which saves you shelling out for a sat nav device particularly when you discover there is an external GPS receiver bundled with the Appradio to make the iphone navigation system more responsive and you can use the Appradio 800X480 display to watch video, look at photos and surf the net. In case your now thinking you can catch up with all your You Tube videos whilst you’re on the road, forget it, you can only watch video once your car has stopped moving!
There’s also a rear camera connector available to provide you with a rear view for parking and a steering wheel remote adapter too.

Currently, there are only four third party apps that are supported through the AppRadio due to the limitations of the iOS; Pandora Internet Radio, Rdio, MotionX GPS Drive navigation, and Inrix Traffic but the potential is there for developers to utilise this ingenious platform.

The AppRadio is due to launch this autumn and will retail at around £300.

Pioneer’s slim line HTP-SLH600 is match fit for the new season

With pre season training under way for the new football season it’s the time when armchair managers get in training too, thinking about a new TV chair perhaps or a different brand of beer. Then just in the nick of time comes Pioneer with a new surround sound home theatre system tailor made for all armchair managers who want to feel they’re right in there on the park with the lads.

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The HTP-SLH500 and HTP-SLH600 come with an ultra slim AV receiver, the  VSX-S300, which has more than a few slinky moves in its repertoire; no less than four 3D enabled HDMI inputs, multi channel acoustic calibration (MCACC) which measures the size of your room and adjusts the Quality Class D audio accordingly and  integrated Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio. A quality midfield engine room for any team, but then when you add the new Pioneer ‘sound wing’ speakers down the flanks, you’ll be experiencing realistic, in the stadium, 360 degree sound.

These use something Pioneer calls ‘horizontal-vertical- transforming’ which enables speakers to be made much thinner without any loss of surround sound quality. In other words you can place them anywhere in the room and still get the full 360 experience. The 500 offers satellite speakers whilst the 600 uses a multi speaker integrated bar. There’s also a slim line sub woofer which tucks away neatly under the unit.

To cap a fine team performance, both units are Bluetooth enabled, so you can stream music from your favourite mobile device without the need for docking.

Will these units be up for the rigours of a full season? Only time will tell.

The HTP-SLH500 is available at £699.99 and the HTP-SLH600 at £749.95.

Pioneer Sound Wing: Revolutionary speaker technology?

Pioneer makes a lot of home theatre devices. Really, a lot. This one, however, lives up the company name – new, innovative: pioneering. It’s a called a ‘Sound Wing’, and it brings surround sound into a single, beautiful speaker bar.

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Aside from great aesthetics, the Sound Wing uses what the company call a “revolutionary and breakthrough new speaker technology”. Officially known as HVT (Horizontal-Vertical-Transforming), it allows speakers to
be made much thinner while still creating a full 360 degree soundscape.

The Sound Wing uses the technology to create an immersive audio experience while taking up almost no room – it’s just 25.5mm thick. You could probably even put one in front of your computer monitor without losing too much desk space.

It’s not limited to sitting in front of a device, however – the omni-directional speakers can be placed anywhere in the room and still provide a wide “sweet spot” to enjoy the full sound experience.

To better explain the experience, imagine that normal speakers fire sound directly at you, widening as they extend. The Sound Wing is different – it emits a sphere of audio, pushing sound in every direction. Wherever you are in the room, sound surrounds.

The Sound Wing comes bundled as part of the HTP-SLH600 AV package, which also includes the VSX-S300 slim AV receiver. Like the Sound Wing, it’s also smaller than you’d expect, but equally big of features – including four 3D compatible HDMI inputs and Pioneer’s Advanced Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration.

It can fully equipped to decode all mainstream HD audio formats, including DTS-HD Master Audio, as well as Dolby True HD. You can also add Pioneer’s AS-BT200 Bluetooth Adapter to enjoy wireless (omni-directional) audio from any A2DP Bluetooth-enabled mobile device or personal computer.

For more info visit www.pioneer.co.uk

Port-land: Pioneers new connect-anything AV receivers

Have you ever seen any domestic technology with over 100 ports? Well, say hello to Pioneer’s new range of AV receivers, where studio-quality sound, HD video and extremely versatile connectivity options are just a few of the many features on the new SC-LX85, SC-LX75, VSX-LX55 and VSX-2021 models.

Pioneer-SC-LX85

The SC-LX85 is the flagship device, with more ports than the average user would know what to do with. Along with the SC-LX75, the two offer a number of unique features:

Direct Energy HD amplifiers offer a true multi-channel, continuous power output of 810 watts over 9 channels (720 watts in the SC-LX75). While you can listen to all nine channels at once, you can also set the device to play five channels in one room, and stereo sound in two other rooms at the same time. Madness.

THX Ultra 2 Plus (SC-LX85) and THX select 2 Plus (SC-LX75, VSX-LX55 and VSX-2021) certification means the device has been super-approved for home cinema listening. Remember the big THX logo that comes up at the start films in the cinema, before the sound explodes your glasses and ruptures your ear-drums with sonic awesome? That’s these guys, and they approve.

The Hi-bit 32 and hi-sampling audio processing promises to revive the original sound of audio files by smoothing out distortion. We’re always dubious of these technologies, however, and would recommend giving it a listen before being sold on this feature.

All four AV systems have impressive Apple integration. They’re all “Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad”, and include a USB/video cable for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, enabling plug and play capability with no dock required.

Users can then playback audio, video and photos stored on their devices, while charing them. There’s also full support for the iPad, including 2.1A battery charge facility via the USB port – making the Pioneer range the only AV systems on the market to do so.

There’s also full Apple AirPlay support, which lets music be streamed from iTunes or iDevices straight to the system. Album art and song information are displayed on a connected screen. You’ll need an adapted to do this on the VSX-2021, although a wired connection is supported straight out the box.

Streaming music content to the new Pioneer receivers can also be done through Bluetooth or DLNA – the AV receivers can play music up to 192kHz/24-Bit, and there is special software to improve the sound of Bluetooth-streamed tracks.
Pioneer has also developed two iPhone apps for the product, the first being social-playing Air Jam. The app allows up to four users to cue songs for playback from their phones (AS-BT200 Bluetooth adapter required). Each device displays the list of songs added by all users and the device each song will play from.

The other app, iControlAV2, lets users control of volume, bass, balance and room settings – as well as equaliser information – from a mobile device.

Each device also boasts vTuner Internet radio, accessible from the on-screen display. Then there’s the HDMI (v1.4a with 3D and ARC) connectivity for 3D playback, HDMI Standby Through for passing audio and video from a set top box through the AV receivers without the need to turn on the component, and auto level control technology to ensure a consistent listening experience, compensating for fluctuating volume levels across digital audio tracks, television channels and commercials. We’d buy it just for that.

Father’s Day: Gifts for gadget geek dads

Father’s Day is on June 21, and the good news is that gone are the days when you poor dads had to look delighted when you unwrapped yet another tie, pair of socks or cufflinks. In these high-tech times, there are loads of ideas for dads, whatever your budget. So, if you’re looking for your own dad, or are a dad hoping to drop a few heavy hints, we hope we have something for everyone.

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Feature packed and compact, the X-HM50 Micro Hi-Fi system from Pioneer has a CD slot, if Dad has not managed to upgrade to digital music just yet, but if he’s a bit more ‘down with the kids’, the built-in iPod Dock will let him listen to his tunes from his iPod or iPhone and control them from the comfort of his sofa with the remote control. The system also has two powerful 50-watt speakers and a DAB/FM radio tuner for listening to the football. The price? £299. More at http://www.pioneer.eu/uk/products/42/202/227/X-HM50-K/index.html

If he loves his car and his iPhone, Oxygen Audio is offering a chance to integrate the phone with the car stereo with its O-Car, which makes the phone the central control unit for the stereo system. The integrated head unit lets you control functions through the iPhone’s touch-screen. The iPhone fits directly into the system and offers four 55W amp links to the car’s speakers so that you can listen to music via the phone’s iPod, and make and receive hands-free calls or pair with a Bluetooth headset. Find out more at www.oxygenaudio.com.

SQOOM

If you think dad should start taking care of his appearance, perhaps he’ll be persuaded by this latest techno-beauty product, which comes from Germany. SQOOM is a skin treatment system that is being sold online at Harrods and claims to make the skin look, brighter, tighter and more radiant. The handheld sonic device delivers specially developed gels into the skin, using a mixture of ultrasound and ionisation to massage deep into the skin. A number of gels are available to treat problems such as sports injuries, acnes, dry flaky skin, and scars. The device comesi n black or silver and costs a rather eye-watering £529 for a set including two gels. But hey, surely your dad is worth it? Buy online at www.harrods.com

For anyone who has an iPad a chance to turn it into an 80s arcade machine must be tempting. Step up the iCade, which lets you choose from 200 original Atari games – nostalgia-tastic! The price? £79.99 from www.firebox.com. Another goodie from the same site is Vertical Vinyl. It will play all of dad’s old records, and this record player will also save valuable space in the living room. Again, it comes in at £79.99.

If you’ve got considerably more to spend – just short of four grand to be exact – how about treating a cycle-mad dad to the latest in bike technology? Just released is the a new range of high performance electric bikes, including a special model called the Storck Cosworth EFV – the result of an ongoing partnership between Cosworth and the German bike manufacturer. This carbon-fibre bicycle sports a Shimano Deore XT groupset and hydraulic disc brakes alongside a high performance 250W motor, which produces 60Nm of torque, powered by a 25.5V Lithium polymer battery. Ian Hughes, UK distributor for Storck Bicycle said the product launch was hugely exciting for Britain’s bicycle industry. “The timing is perfect for this innovative product to be launched to the market. There has been enormous growth in the use of electric bikes in mainland Europe, and the time is right for the product to take off in the UK,” he said. Find out more at www.cosworth.com

Cycling is always fun, but the good thing is that some big boys’ toys can make rather tedious jobs more enjoyable too. That’s why Karcher has come up with The Beast, its most powerful pressure washer to date, which will have dad itching to clean the car, the patio, anything at all in fact – don’t stand still too long, that’s all we can say! The K6 features Karcher’s famed “Plug ‘n’ Clean” system with in-built regulation for the quickest and most practical way to apply detergents. Simply select the right detergent for the job, slot it in and get cleaning. “The Beast” can deliver a huge 150 Bar maximum pressure, which is approximately 40 times as powerful as a garden hose, and costs £499. See www.karcher.co.uk for more

Pioneer AVH-3300BT in-car entertainment system: Busting the boredom of car journeys

“Mum are we there yet?”, “Dad I need the toilet!”, “I feel sick going round these windy bends!” It’s an unfortunate but well-known fact that children and long car journeys do not go well together, with the scenario of siblings starting to whinge, becoming restless and fighting, even before you have reached the motorway, being a common situation in most families embarking on a car journey. This relentless restlessness children feel obliged to execute when their exasperated parents are trying to drive and navigate is a toxic mix of excitement for the holiday and the boredom of sitting in a car for hours. Whilst we would never want to ease our little darlings’ pre-holiday excitement, the latter affliction can be seriously reduced, if not eliminated entirely, with the Pioneer AVH-3300BT in-car entertainment system.

Pioneer-AVH

Boasting an ample 5.8inch screen means that all your brood will be able to see the screen, immediately abolishing the “I can’t see the picture” quips that often occur when parents are desperately trying to pacify their kids on journeys by placing a portable DVD player in front of their noses with such a tiny screen, it invokes frustration and irritability instead of eliminating it, on both sides of the car.

In featuring iPhone/iPod connectivity, squabbling over what CD to put on is also diminished, as the whole family can enjoy listening to music via USB from any iPhone or iPod. This highly sophisticated in-car entertainment system, when put into ‘App mode’, enables you to listen and watch video content from your apps on the huge touch screen monitor. Games can also be played – a definite child nullifier – likewise YouTube footage can be watched.

In featuring Parrot Bluetooth technology means you will stay on the right side of the law by not grappling with a phone set whilst driving when the eagerly awaiting family or friends you are visiting make that inevitable “where are you now?” call.

With Easter and – thanks to the Royal Wedding – the additional bank holiday looming, many families, up and down the country, will be planning an Easter escape. With thoughts of in-car boredom perhaps determining how far you are willing to travel with your brood, Pioneer could not have got the launching of the AVH-3300BT more spot-on, as even the prospect of forking out £339.99 on this innovatory in-car entertainment system will not put off many desperate parents, who would do anything for a quiet drive.

Pioneer’s new MVH-7300 and MVH-8300 BT join app bandwagon

Pioneer has jumped on the App bandwagon with a pair of state of the art in-car digital media receivers that make in car movie watching a breeze. The MVH- 7300 and MVH- 8300 BT have been designed to combine the best of today’s new technology by offering dedicated support for iPhone, iPod, USB and SD media. The 3 inch TFT colour screens provide album artwork, video and a fully customised display to match your dash, whilst Pioneer’s highly rated seven-way rotary commander will let you get to where you want to get to in a flash.

Pioneer-EW5

Both units offer MP3, WMA and iTunes AAC music, whilst the MVH-7300 will play back DivX video from a 32GB SDHC card and via the front loading USB slot.

A new App mode will let you experience music and video from iPhone apps such as games, video and internet radio, providing your Apps support analogue audio and video output.

There’s more good news too, because Pioneer has also included an 8 band graphic equalizer and an advanced sound retriever with pre-amp outputs for front, rear and subwoofer to really squeeze the best out of your compressed digital library.

Both units offer exactly the same specs, but the MVH 8300 BT has an additional integrated Parrot Bluetooth module for hands freedom communications using the included external microphone and your cars own speakers.

Both units will available from February 2011

By Andy Mossack

Pioneer CD Tuner DEH-9300SD

When bad really means good and dope means cool, it’s no surprise that we seem to have adapted to using things that are labelled for one thing but do something entirely different. It’s a funny thing this world we live in. Pioneer, no slouch when it comes to innovation, has launched a flagship version of its new in car CD tuner, the DEH-9300SD and positively revels in telling us about all the other things this CD tuner does other than playing CDs.

Pioneer-CD

There’s an SD card port (which is also SDHC compatible) discreetly hidden behind the front panel which will play a host of file formats including WAV, WMA, AAC and of course MP3, a front loading USB input which will, once it is connected via an optional CD-IW cable, play your iPod/iPhone music and charge it at the same time. Marvellous.

And the good stuff just keeps on coming. The DEH-9300SD’s built in software has a music browser function which will automatically read the music from all the connected media and list it alphabetically by artist, album, track or genre. Not only that, it will also let you tag music on your iPod or iPhone as you listen to FM, so you can buy your tagged tune and download it when you’re next online. To take this cutting edge technology even further, you can use the ‘App’ mode to listen to sounds and music from your apps including internet radio, as long as the app supports analogue radio output.

The DEH-9300SD with its built in MOSFET 50×4 amp, 5 band graphic equalizer and full dot OEL display is a generous piece of kit for any car audio devotee, but what of the humble CD? Fear not, for buried deep in the bowels of the DEH-9300SD, behind the flip-open front panel (so no one will spot you being so retro), the CD slot lies waiting for its disc. Sadly, I fear it is for a long wait.

The DEH-9300SD and the smaller DEH-8300SD are available from January at Pioneer Car Audio Dealerships.