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With its monochrome display and blue backlighting, the Pioneer DEH-P6000UB is a sharp-looking head unit. Adding to the appeal of the faceplate, the stereo features a plain control interface consisting of a seven-way "multicontrol" jog wheel and six other hard buttons, for selecting audio source, radio band, and random playback mode, and for programming the display, the subwoofer, and the Sound Retrieval audio customization feature. Three other buttons on the right of the faceplate (clock, list, and eject), complete the picture, leading to an in-dash system with an economical--but intuitive--design. The absence of preset buttons is conspicuous at first, but also suggests that this is a device designed more for the playback of digital audio sources rather than for skipping between radio channels. (Radio presets are available, but have to be accessed using the jog wheel). While the rotary commander is a useful solution for packing a lot of control features into a single interface, we found it at times to be a bit fiddly and loose for our liking: there is a lot of travel and very little resistance in the wheel as it tips over in the four compass directions, and we found that we often unintentionally selected the wrong function when attempting to push the commander in.
Features and performance
The DEH-P6000UB's various sources are selected using a coverflow-esque menu, which lets drivers select sources using simple identifier icons. The stereo's name gives some indication as to its feature set with the "UB" showing that the device has USB compatibility. Its USB 2.0 port can be used to connect USB-enabled digital audio players and mass storage devices. However, it is while connected to an iPod that the DEH-P6000UB is happiest. The DEH-P6000UB's menu structure and control interface are designed for navigating iPod content. With an iPod connected, there are two options for car occupants: either they can opt to transfer all control of the iPod to the stereo faceplate (as with most other iPod-specific stereos), or they can select "Passenger control mode," which enables control of the iPod's music using the player itself--a feature that shows that Pioneer has really thought about the design of the DEH-P6000UB from the perspective of those in the car.
With control devolved to the stereo inputs, navigation of iPod files is straightforward and intuitive. Upon selecting the iPod as a source, drivers are faced with the familiar Apple category menu--comprising Playlists, Artists, and Albums--on the stereo's LCD. iPod options can be navigated using the multicontrol interface as a proxy for the iPod control wheel, which mimics the iPod's menu flows. The DEH-P6000UB does not feature the variable speed scrolling of the iPod player, but does come with a very useful alphabet search function, which lets drivers skip to a chosen place in a list of songs or albums by entering the first letter of the entry: this is achieved by pressing and holding the List button while in the chosen category. Another sophisticated option for refining iPod searching is the DEH-P6000UB's Link Search function: by pressing and holding the List button during playback of a track, drivers can prompt the stereo to search for other albums by the same artist. We also like the presence of a dedicated Random button on the stereo's faceplate, which presents an extremely easy way of shuffling iPod tracks.