The Pit

Sound Bites | Pioneer AVH-X8850BT & TS-D1730C

BY Joel Tam

Our company MPV finally gets some awesome in-car entertainment kit from the good folks at Pioneer.

Two months ago, due to a growing family (both at work and at home), we traded our lovely VW R36 and Lotus Elise for an ... MPV! Yes, it was a painful decision at first, but surprise surprise, it turns out everyone seems really happy with the new 8-seater. Well, everyone except the driver.

The car came with a new coat of paint and brand new leather seats. But a good in-car entertainment system was sorely lacking. No Bluetooth function, an out-dated interface and a DVD player that wasn't working meant that it was a pain to live with day-to-day. Especially for a music lover like me!

So we reached out to Pioneer Electronics and shared our problem with them - they were really nice and offered a solution we could not resist. It involved testing and reviewing the latest double-DIN AVH-8850BT head unit and a set of TS-D1730C speakers in the Estima and sharing our honest reviews with our readers. Needless to say, the answer was a enthusiastic "Yes!" Incidentally, this is not the first time we're working with Pioneer. A few years ago, they also allowed us to review the AVH-8550BT in our company Skoda Octavia Kombi. It was a system so well-loved by my wife and myself that we were so tempted to dismantle it from the car when we sold it. Alas, it was part of the deal with the new owner to keep it in.

Well here we are again, blessed with the chance to try the latest flagship model. Installation was to be done at the renowned Chuan Sing Auto Accessories, a leading Pioneer dealer situated at Serangoon Gardens. The friendly team from Pioneer Electronics were also on hand to make sure that the installation process was a smooth sailing one.

First to go in was the AVH-8850BT. This is Pioneer's top-of-the-range unit. It's a smart system with full Apple CarPlay™ compatibility that features apps like Spotify, SIRI (for voice commands) and Apple Maps. Pioneer’s proprietary AppRadioMODE and AppRadioLIVE that allows mirroring of your phone via a HDMI cable is also standard. It also features a new clear resistive touchscreen that provides bright and vibrant colours and sharper resolution.

Next was the TS-D1730C from the D-Series speaker range. Replacing Kevlar, the cones are now made from a newly developed material called Twaron™. This offers stiffer dampening with quicker response, resulting in a more accurate sound reproduction and a wider frequency range for deep and bold bass sound.

Along with some other external upgrades to the car's rear-view camera and soundproofing material, the whole installation took about five hours. We've already begun to enjoy the system as I write this. But for the full story, you'll have to wait for the next part of our story where we share some really awesome features this system has to offer. Stay tuned!