High-quality receiver with reliable Pioneer components.
Value For Money
High degree of functionality at a mid-range price tag.
Full smartphone integration and Bluetooth compatibility.
Ease of Use
Can take some getting used to, plus installation tricky.
What I Like
What I Like
For this review, we’ve looked at the Pioneer DEH-X6900BT aftermarket in-car receiver. It’s one of the middle-of-the-road stereo systems produced by this brand, who are known for their high-quality audio entertainment products. We’ve examined the positive and negative points, as well as providing a brief overview of the features you can expect.
This is one of the newest in-car stereo systems to hit the aftermarket, meaning you can be sure that the latest integration options have been taken into consideration. Despite its recency into the market, it still manages to achieve a relatively inexpensive price point.
Shying away from the touchscreen interface that so many modern receivers now opt for, this stereo instead has a deep menu system that provides extensive control over the audio functionality built in. All this is packed into a unit that doesn't feel cheaply built and has an attractive faceplate and digital LCD.
Who is This Product For?
If you don’t want to go for the cheapest product on the market, but don’t want to break the bank with a new receiver, then this model could be for you. Perhaps you’re a newbie to the world of aftermarket in-car stereo systems, or perhaps you’re just looking for something that will do the job without having unnecessary frills. This stereo system can play a vast number of file formats and integrates into your smartphone for Bluetooth streaming.
However, if you love your tech and want everything to be using the latest components, then you might get frustrated with the lack of a color touchscreen. Everything is controlled via the physical buttons mounted on the front of the device, with the exception of voice control. There’s no tapping or swiping like you’d expect from your iPhone or Android device.
So that you can get this unit installed into your vehicle, you're going to need a number of components. The most important part is the wiring harness, which comes as standard in the packaging, along with the 8 required ISO-mount screws and some other pieces. There's also a pair of extraction keys for removing the stereo should you ever need to. It's also worth noting the stereo has a lithium battery, but it comes per-installed, so you don't need to worry about that missing from your box.
Once you’re installed, you will want to set up the various configurations for the first time, including the custom audio settings, time, date and so on. This is most easily done with the included wireless remote control. You will also want to set up your microphone, which controls the voice-activated features. If you’re stuck at any point, the included owner’s manual should prove useful.
In addition to what's included, there are other aftermarket accessories that you can pick up, though they're not strictly required. For example, you might want to get a steering wheel control adapter, which lets you hook up the receiver's functions directly to the controls built into your vehicle's steering column.
Overview of Features
Smartphone integration on this model works well and is seamless, with direct access to your music possible from the Pioneer receiver. The receiver will allow you to perform searches for songs, albums or artists directly through the interface, while also integrating directly with the popular Spotify music application. Streamed tracks can be played directly over a Bluetooth connection, doing away with the need for an AUX cable.
A 3-way network mode feature gives you up to three external amplifier connections, which means you can drive low, mid and high-frequency ranges. This results in a clearer separation of frequency ranges, producing fuller, more natural sounding audio. This is particularly useful in vehicles using a multi-speaker sound system.
This stereo also has FLAC Codec Support built-in. FLAC, or Free Lossless Audio Codec files are around 50% smaller than typical WAV files yet can retain the original sound integrity of the source that they came from. With FLAC audio playback in your car, you'll be able to enjoy your music at its original quality directly from a USB thumb drive.
Building on some of the popular features of the slightly cheaper Pioneer DEH-S5000BT model, this receiver adds in MIXTRAX functionality and slightly more control around smartphone application integration. If you’re not bothered about having a full-color touchscreen, then this stereo is one of the better digital aftermarket receivers that you can get for a mid-range price.