When the original iPhone was released I had no problems charging it on any iPod designed dock or device I had already owned. Now that the new 3g iPhone has come out and is USB charging only. I had the need to go searching for a new Source Unit for my car that would not only interface using Apple’s proprietary connector, but would also allow charging. The other requirement would be that I have to have a Cd player. Cd’s just sound more full and rich and add more emotion to the listening experience. This could be that our brain has to do less work to fill in the gaps of compression, or it could just be me. Either way that was my requirement I had set for myself.
There are only a few pre-existing Source Units that provide charging via the USB pins on the connector. Alpine makes the X001 and current revisions which I have read charge the iPhone and I have confirmed in testing. There are also a couple of offerings via other companies such as JVC that have USB 5v charging. I decided to settle with Pioneer as my choice for iPhone 3g compatibility. At first it was unsettling as I have had mostly used Alpine’s since I can remember. I am happy to say I made the right choice.
The Pioneer Premiere DEH-P600UB (DEH-P6000UB is the same non-premiere version) is the choice I decided to go with. The DEH-P600UB offers a CD player, USB connection for almost any USB storage device and also offers an iPod adapter, all included in the box.
The DEH-P600UB plays MP3, WMA, WAV, and iTunes AAC and uses a 1-bit D/A Converter files from the USB or CD player. The unit has six 4-volt pre-outs, front, back and subwoofer for connection to an amplifier. It also has a 50W x4 power output.
The overall design is simple and pleasing to the eye. It is much better looking in person than even the best pictures can portray and this I find true of most companies offerings. Pioneer offers most of their Source Units with a bright blue display and the DEH-600UB is no different. It uses a Full-DOT OEL Display and has adjustable brightness when it is just too bright on the eyes as I had found. There is a rotary commander which is quite intuitive once you learn your way around. The Premiere unit also comes with a remote that does most functions and allows for quick change of your preset stations. When you need to insert a CD you push open and the face slides down and out automatically. The face also does this on its own when you turn off your car and offers you the faceplate for removal to stow in the provides case. This feature can be turned off if you have no such need.
The control of the unit took a little getting used to coming from an Alpine. Th main rotary controller can be spun for volume or selections. It also can be pressed up, down, left ,right and directly in, in order to make your selections. There are only 9 face buttons which helps keep the face clean and simple. There are 2 buttons on the far left for changing your source from Tuner to CD or iPod. There is also a Band, Random, and Subwoofer adjust button. There is also a S.Rtrv button which I will explain later. The 3 remaining buttons are self explanatory; clock, list and open.
Regardless of your opinion on 1-Bit or 24-Bit decoders the DEH-600UB delivers superb sound of your lossy or lossless music. Built into the player is what Pioneer calls the “Advanced Sound Retriever”. The idea behind this technology is not new, but what it does is try and fill the gaps where the sound starts to sound lossy. This is done by restoring music all the way up to 20kHz. This is the function of the S.Rtrv button. When pressed there are 3 settings; off, Level 1 and Level 2. Each incrementing level brings the highs back to life and in testing it seems to function better than most others I have heard.
The setup and navigation of your music and settings work well. When an iPod is connected, all you need to do is hit the list button. This will display your normal iPod list that includes Artists, Playlists, Podcasts, etc. You simply turn the rotary commander like you would scroll an iPod and push in to select or go right in the menu you by push right. To go back you push left. To make your final song or podcast selection you do have to push in on the rotary commander. The rest of the options function in the same way and when you have an advanced menu a little up, down, left, right arrow appears on the screen in the upper right. The filled in arrows show you your options as far as going deeper into the menu. One of the best features is the ability to control your iPod or iPhone from its own interface with what Pioneer calls passenger mode. The remote also offer a similar rotary dial, only without the spinning.
The interface of the iPhone 3g is no different from any other iPod when plugged in. The iPhone 3g is charged when connected and when you receive a phone call the sound fades and you can use a headset or the optional bluetooth adapter to answer. The one good or bad thing, depending on your view, is if your phone is pass code protected you must unlock it prior to use. I found that it would find no content until it was unlocked. The other nice thing is you can use all functionality of the phone when plugged in, such as GPS. The Pioneer connection does not lock down the whole player, only the iPod menu.
There are many adjustments and menu options to customize the display and sound to your liking. The background can be changed from a graphic equalizer to jumping dolphins to palm trees on an island. You can turn off your internal amp to save power and boost the signal to the amps via the RCA outs. You can also set the levels for each of the spectrums of sound for Lows, Mid and Highs.
The build quality of Pioneer is top notch. The rotary knob on front has the nice rings left from the lathe machining and adds a touch of quality and craftsmanship to the face. The buttons feel solid and very tactile. The plastic is as good as any other and so far seems quite scratch resistant.
The sound quality of the DEH-600UB is as good, if not better than any I have heard. The menu offers many adjustments for your own taste. The bass is spot on and highs sound great as well. I know some will differ in opinion, but for this price range of this player at $270.00 Suggested Retail, It is definitely at the top of the list. That being said it offers great value without having to purchase a separate cable for your iPod or USB device as some other companies force you to do.
There are many options you can connect to the DEH-600UB. The options range from Bluetooth, Sirius and XM modules to fit whatever you listen to. There are other options as well totaling 10 different accessories all for extra cost.
The only downsides I can find for the DEH-600UB is there is no pause button directly on the unit itself. I find myself using pause a lot when listing to podcasts or audiobooks. When I do not want to miss something and have to make a quick stop or answer a call I pause the audio. Instead you have to go into the menu to access the pause feature, although it is only 2 clicks away. The remote does offer the pause feature and also presents the downside of having the only quickly accessible presets for your radio. Other than these two minor issues I can find no fault in the DEH-600UB.
If you are looking for a great value, iPhone 3g charging and great sound, the DEH-600UB should be on the top of your list.
For More Information visit Pioneer [Here]
I really do have the DEH-600UB in my Car. A 2003 Toyota Corolla S. Taken with my iPhone 3g while plugged in and playing music.