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.