Pioneer doubles down on MixTrax for new car stereos

The MixTrax software is able to automatically generate continuous music mixes from your media library and it's built into every new Pioneer stereo.

Pioneer AVH-X5500BHS
Pioneer's multimedia receivers also receive a physical and digital interface restyling for 2012. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

LAS VEGAS--At the 2012 SEMA Show, Pioneer announced all-new lines of CD and DVD/multimedia receivers. The changes for this new generation are sweeping, encompassing nearly every product Pioneer makes; subtle, consisting mostly of moderate upgrades; and significant.

Starting with the 6.1-inch AVH-X1500DVD ($300), MixTrax compatibility comes to Pioneer's line of DVD/multimedia receivers. MixTrax, Pioneer's automated DJ and playlist software, analyzes your music library and creates custom mixes that play back while you drive. Compatibility with those mixes and control over how they're played is now baked into every Pioneer receiver with an "X" in its model number, as in AVH-X1500DVD.

The AVH-X2500BT ($350) adds Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming to the mix and the AVH-X3500BHS ($400) further adds HD Radio tuning and compatibility with the latest generation SiriusXM SXV200V1 tuner. The 7-inch AVH-X4500BT ($450) and AVH-X5500BHS ($500) offer the same upgrades, but with larger, 7-inch screens.

All of Pioneer's multimedia receivers in this new line will feature the Advanced App Mode for iOS, which basically incorporates a first-generation AppRadio into the receiver's firmware. The unit is compatible with iPhone 4 and 4S models.

Pioneer is still working out the issues caused by the iPhone 5's new Lightning connector's lack of a video output. Android app compatibility continues to be an AppRadio 2-exclusive feature.

Pioneer DEH-X8500BS
Pioneer's naming convention is simple. X is for MixTrax, B or BT is for Bluetooth, and S designates SiriusXM readiness. Other units may also have an H for HD Radio tuning. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Further down the line, in the world of Pioneer's premium single-DIN CD receivers, a similar product reshuffling is taking place. All of the new receivers announced feature compatibility with MixTrax, starting with the DEH-X7500S ($150) which also boasts SiriusXM-readiness as indicated by the S at the end of its model number. Next, the DEH-X8500BS ($190) adds Bluetooth to the feature set. The DEH-X7500HD ($170) and DEH-X8500BH ($210) mirror the previous two models, but exchange their XM Ready status for internal HD Radio tuners. At the top of the line, the DEH-X9500BHS ($260) offers it all, along with an improved monochromatic screen.

All of the new premium CD receivers feature improved illumination, Pandora Radio compatibility, and a USB port that will read an iPhone, iPod, or portable storage device full of MP3s.

Pioneer/Five:Axis Scion FR-S
The 2012 line of Pioneer audio components was showcased in a new Scion FR-S designed by Five:Axis. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

In addition to the new receivers, Pioneer also showcased a new line of external amplifiers, speakers, and subwoofers that feature better performance and updated styling. Expect the new generation of Pioneer products at your local 12-volt shop in November.

 

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