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Pioneer DEH 80PRS 108U Review

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS features audiophile-grade components, which is one reason why it's the most expensive car stereo we reviewed.

Our Verdict

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS is a high-end car stereo with a high-end price, but its audio quality is worth it, especially if you plan to expand your system.

For

  • It has three 5-volt pre-outs.

Against

  • The front lacks USB and AUX ports.
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The Pioneer DEH-80PRS features a standard remote, which will inevitably get lost between your driver's seat and the middle console.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS features a standard remote, which will inevitably get lost between your driver's seat and the middle console.
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The Pioneer DEH-80PRS’s display received an A- for quality.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS’s display received an A- for quality.
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While the Pioneer DEH-80PRS doesn’t have an outdated digital clock face display like most stereos, the pixel density is still much lower than on competitors’ displays.

While the Pioneer DEH-80PRS doesn’t have an outdated digital clock face display like most stereos, the pixel density is still much lower than on competitors’ displays.
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The Pioneer DEH-80PRS has an easy-to-access AUX port on its front faceplate, but it lacks a USB port.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS has an easy-to-access AUX port on its front faceplate, but it lacks a USB port.
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The Pioneer DEH-80PRS’s interface received an A- for ease of use.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS’s interface received an A- for ease of use.
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The Pioneer DEH-80PRS has 16 EQ settings.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS has 16 EQ settings.
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As with most car stereos, the Pioneer DEH-80PRS allows you to adjust the colors on its display.

As with most car stereos, the Pioneer DEH-80PRS allows you to adjust the colors on its display.
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The Pioneer DEH-80PRS lists the artist name and song title.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS lists the artist name and song title.
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You can play music from a variety of sources with the Pioneer DEH-80PRS.

You can play music from a variety of sources with the Pioneer DEH-80PRS.
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You access the CD player by flipping the Pioneer DEH-80PRS's faceplate down.

You access the CD player by flipping the Pioneer DEH-80PRS's faceplate down.
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Because it has a single-din design, the Pioneer DEH-80PRS fits most vehicles.

Because it has a single-din design, the Pioneer DEH-80PRS fits most vehicles.
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The Pioneer DEH-80PRS’s maximum power output is 200 watts.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS’s maximum power output is 200 watts.
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Like most stereos, the Pioneer DEH-80PRS has three RCA outputs, but their 6-volt rating is the highest.

Like most stereos, the Pioneer DEH-80PRS has three RCA outputs, but their 6-volt rating is the highest.
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The Pioneer DEH-80PRS’s front doesn’t have USB ports, but there are two in the rear.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS’s front doesn’t have USB ports, but there are two in the rear.
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The Pioneer DEH-80PRS received an A for audio performance.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS received an A for audio performance.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS features audiophile-grade components, which is one reason why it's the most expensive car stereo we reviewed. In addition to having 16 EQ bands, which provide unparalleled control, it comes with an auto time alignment feature, which is the best way to optimize the audio to your car. It also has an excellent display and an easy-to-use interface. This is why it's our pick for the best single-din car stereo.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS received an A in our audio quality test – only the Pioneer AVH-501EX and Kenwood eXcelon KDC-X998 received higher grades. The DEH-80PRS earned a few low marks for its high-range frequency reproduction, but most people won’t be able to tell the difference between it and stereos that received higher scores. Overall, it sounds well balanced and consistent.

However, it isn’t FLAC-compatible, which is bit disappointing for a stereo marketed to audiophiles since they are the most likely to listen to music in FLAC format. That said, this stereo features 16 EQ bands, which, when combined with its auto time alignment feature, give you unparalleled control over how music sounds in your car.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS’s interface received an A- for ease of use. Its design is a little unorthodox, primarily because the repeat and skip buttons are swiveling levers under the volume knob, and there's nothing labeling them. However, once you become accustomed to the controls, it's very easy to use while you keep your eyes on the road.

One downside is it doesn’t have a USB or AUX port in the front, though there are two USB ports and an AUX port on the back. So, you either have to install a cord from the back or have a car with built in ports elsewhere on the dash to connect your smartphone.

The display also received an A- for quality. Rather than using the digital-clock text that most car stereos have used for decades, this one has a small 192 x 48-pixel display. Other single-din stereos, such as the Boss Audio BV7260B and the Axxera AC536Bi, have bigger displays with higher pixel densities, but the DEH-80PRS’s screen is far easier to read than those on most car stereos. And it can display 210,000 colors.

Like most car stereos, the max power output is 50 watts per channel, or 200 watts overall. The continuous power handling is 22 RMS watts, which is also standard. It may be average, but that’s still plenty of power to drive speakers to ear splitting levels – I was able to reach over 100 dB during testing.

One specification that stands out is the 5-volt output on the stereo’s three RCA pre-outs, which you use for an amplifier; most car stereos have pre-outs with between 1.2 and 4 volts. The higher the voltage, the clearer the audio signal the stereo send to the amplifier. This is one reason why the Pioneer DEH-80PRS is our pick for best single-din stereo – it has the best voltage if you want to expand your sound system.

The Pioneer DEH-80PRS is our pick for the best single-din car stereo because it produces high-quality audio and is easy to use. With 16 EQ bands and time alignment, no other stereo gives you as much control over how your music sounds. The display wasn't the best we saw, but it's better than most.