Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Pyle Audio's slogan is "high-end performance at an affordable price," which is apt in describing the Pyle PLR27MPBU. In comparison to the best car stereos on the market, it features one of the most powerful amplifiers at one of the lowest price points. However, some important features, like playback options and audio quality, are sacrificed in favor of high volume output.
The greatest value with the Pyle PLR27MPBU is the 320-watt power output. That means it's capable of putting out 320 watts, which is 100 watts more than some of the best car stereos, like the Kenwood eXcelon. The best car audio receiver that we reviewed, the Sony MEX, has an output of 220 watts. This means you're less likely to need an external amplifier if you have high-end front speakers that require a lot of power. However, Pyle doesn't list the RMS wattage rating, which is critical for knowing how much power it can handle on a continuous basis. Without knowing this specification, you're more likely to push it too hard if you like your music loud.
The PLR27MPBU only has two preamp RCA outputs, which means you can only send outputs to your front-right and front-left speakers. This isn't a problem if your car only has front speakers. However, if you want to send signals to rear speakers or a subwoofer, you'll need an external amplifier.
When it comes to the quality of the audio, the lack of a CD player and WAV compatibility is a major flaw. Since digital media has largely replaced CDs, Pyle left the CD player off and replaced it with a USB and SD memory card slot, allowing you to play digital media files instead. However, it only supports MP3 and WMA files, which are compressed audio formats that lack the quality you get from CDs or WAV files. The only way to get around this is to plug a music player that supports WAV files into the 3.5 mm AUX port. You can also stream music from your phone by using Bluetooth, but this compresses the audio even more.
The smartphone integration with the PLR27MPBU isn't as comprehensive as it is with the best car stereos. While you can connect to it wirelessly with Bluetooth to stream audio from internet radio apps like Pandora, it lacks an app mode to give you control over those apps, which means that you have to access your phone when you want to tag a song you like or skip a song you don't like.
More on Car Audio
The Bluetooth compatibility provides the convenience of hands-free calling. However, it lacks voice commands, caller ID, and effective noise cancellation or echo cancellation technology, which means your caller will struggle to hear you effectively over the road noise and the feedback from the speakers. It's good for the rare short call while you're on the road, but the poor call quality is too much to overcome if you often take calls in your car.
The Pyle PLR27MPBU has the highest power output of all the car sound systems we reviewed. It boasts a 320-watt, two-channel amplifier, which means that it has the power to reach ear-busting volumes, but only for the front speakers. It doesn't have a CD player and can't play WAV files, but you can stream audio from your phone and use a USB or SD card. It's a decent upgrade to your factory-installed stereo at an affordable price, but it doesn't compare to the overall convenience and audio quality of the best car audio receivers.