Flawed, but good price and needed dimensions.
Revisado en Canadá el 21 de diciembre de 2016
There is a lot of mixed reviews here so I thought I'd put a more detailed review of the product to explain a few things. This review will be done in parts as I continue to test it as I just received it yesterday, and hooked it up today.
Why I purchased it?
Honestly, after reading some of the reviews here, I was very skeptical in purchasing this product. However it's the only product at its price point with the dimensions that I needed. I decided to put this in between joists under my loft in my garage to conceal it. Also, this is one of the only mini-stereo's that have both AM/FM radio. Even the "updated" Pyle PDA6BU does not have AM, and when you want to listen to a hockey game or talk radio while working in your garage AM is the only way of doing that.
What's in the box?
The unit itself
AM Loop Antenna
Remote (2xAAA batteries not included)
Manual (If you could call it that).
This thing comes with *ahem* a manual, but it's utterly useless, don't even bother opening it. I'm actually surprised Pyle didn't elaborate on any of the receivers functionality. Its a joke really It in no way tells you how to use the amp.
On the back of the unit, you will find 2 speaker outputs (more on this later), connections for the AM and FM antennas, a DVD RCA input, an Line Out RCA output and an already attached Bluetooth Antenna.
Speaker Connections - Be careful with this!
The connectors allow for banana plug connection, or bare wire that can be securely fastened.
The manual states to use 4Ω speakers only, however on the back of the unit it states you can use speakers from 4Ω - 8Ω. As there are only 2 speaker connections, theoretically you can put 4, but you must be careful on how you hook it up. Hooking speakers up in parallel could fry the amp. Hooking them up in series may reduce power (still plenty), but will not cause damage to your amp.
If you wonder what the difference is, parallel connection means giving each speaker a dedicated pair of speaker wires connected directly to the amp. Series is hooking the positive connection of the amp to the positive of one speaker, take the negative of that speaker and connect it to the positive of the 2nd speaker, then the negative of the 2nd speaker to the negative of the amp.
So why be careful on this? As stated the amp is rated for a minimum of 4Ω. If you were to hook up 2 speakers to the left output jack in parallel, it would drop the impedance of those speakers to 2Ω and will put more strain on the amp then what its designed to handle, which can cause the amp to smoke up. However if you were to hook up 2 speakers to the left output jack in series, it would increase the impedance of those 4Ω speakers to 8Ω, which is within the range of the amp.
Series drops the power output, but if you wanted to connect 4 speakers, then may I suggest buying 8Ω speakers and hooking them up in parallel. This will drop the ohms to 4Ω and you'll be in the safe impedance range.
I've tested a couple of speakers here, and I do believe the sound quality is pretty good, but a quality speaker will deliver better sound then a cheap speaker, and this is not the fault of this product. You will just have to see for yourself if your pair sounds good. The unit has bass/treble adjustments, + a loud feature for better sound.
Pyle screwed up here, another surprise. While both the FM/AM radio works, it's strangely implemented.
FM Radio, there is no way to direct tune to a specific station. You can't even incrementally go through the range of frequency. There is only an auto tune button that scans through the FM radio range storing the stations with strong signal. Then you have to scroll through each found station until you find your favourite, hoping that it actually stored it. Beyond this, there is no way to store only the channels you want, nor the order in which they are stored. Reception is good, but I can't for the life of me figure out Pyle's thinking on this one. Especially since:
The AM radio side does not scan with Auto. It simply gives you an "Error" on the screen when you press the auto button. However, and whats weird here, is that you can, via the remote, incrementally go through the range of AM frequency. Not direct tune, but slightly better than the way the FM was impemented. Another thing the AM side does that the FM doesn't is you can store your channels into memory via the remote, but its done in a weird way. First you have to scroll left or right to the memory position you want to store the station to, then do the incremental thing with the remote until your on your station and hit the memory button on the remote. Odd way of doing it.
Finally, and this contradicts other reviews, but the unit does actual keep the stored channels when unplugged or turned off. You do not have to scan again. But whats weird here is, once you've selected the Mode to get to AM or FM, nothing comes out of the speakers even though the display shows you're on the correct station. You have to use the arrow keys, one left then back right for the station to come in.
Honestly the implementation of the radio is why I knocked off a star thus far. Pyle needs to fix this in future models.
I've seen many reviews that the range on Bluetooth is bad, especially through obstructions. While I can't say the experience of all bluetooth devices will be the same, what I can say is that my Nexus 5 paired fine and had good range to all corners of my garage. What I did notice though is the position of the antenna made a slight difference. When the antenna was turned away from the speaker terminals, I found that the phone would disconnect on a regular basis. However if the antenna is pointed straight up or slightly turned in towards the speaker terminals, bluetooth did not drop at all. So not sure what happens internally to the antenna when its twisted away.
The pairing process was simple, just set the mode to bluetooth and have your device discovery it. It showed up as Pyle on my phone. If the unit is turned off, it will find and pair to your device with no issues. However I think this is a function the phone does more than the receiver as there is no security code needed to pair.
I've read other reviews that state the display is hard to read given the grey lettering on a blue background. I seem to think its fine, although the viewing angle is not as wide as I would like it to be. The remote has the ability to turn off the LED lights on the buttons and volume control, leaving only the display illuminated, but this is not a remembered feature. In other words, if you have the button lights off, they will re-illuminate on the next power cycle. More on the LED in the Standby Mode area.
At first glance, the remote appears to be fully featured. Alas, it doesn't do much. The numbers on the remote should be for direct tuning to for radio, but does nothing for it. There is a "Loud" button on the remote that gives you deeper bass, which cannot be done from the receiver itself, so that's about the only good thing about it. I also find the distance the remote can communicate with the receiver is poor, and it has to be at a specific angle in order to operate. Batteries may be the reason here, I'll update this portion should I find anything different.
Update: it would appear the remote was designed specifically for USB/Mp3 connections. The number pad will let you go to a specific track, forward/reverse and all that. Its a wonder why Pyle wouldn't also allow the number pad to direct tune radio stations.
Not sure why there are numbers surrounding the volume knob, as they don't match what's displayed. The display goes from 0db up to 62db's, so I don't pay attention to what the knob says at all. Those numbers on the knob make the front look slightly cluttered. Here's an odd thing about the volume as well. On the remote there is a DSP mode button (Digital Signal Processing). From what I gather this is a set of preconfigured equalizers to adjust the sound. The weird part is, if you start the unit with this feature off at a certain volume level, then scroll through the DSP modes, it seems to adjust sound. However if you turn the DSP function off, the amount of volume you had with DSP off to begin with is definitely not as loud, even though the volume on the display hasn't changed. You have to turn the unit off and on again to get your full range of volume back. Not a big deal as I won't use this feature, but if it doesn't work properly, then why implement it?
Here's another flaw, if not a huge one, of this receiver. When powered on, it does not go to your last used input/mode. It reverts back to DVD all the time, and for some reason it will increase the volume to 25db each time its turned on. Not a big deal if you don't have anything hooked up to the DVD input, but it still shouldn't do this, especially on the volume side. In my opinion it should turn on at 0-5db, or at the very least the last volume used before turning off.
This is weird and the first I've heard from any receiver. Its almost as if the speakers are the last thing shut off by this device. Most receivers cut power to the unit instantaneously only hearing and sometimes feeling a click on the power button. This unit turns off with a somewhat "zap" heard through the speakers, like you would get from old tube style radios.
This is another useless feature and should not be used. Standby should essentially turn off all functionality of the receiver, except the infrared to allow the remote to turn it back on. With this unit, standby does not work as it should. Sure, the sound is eliminated, the lights on the buttons turn off, and the letters on the main display go away. Whats odd is the blue light on the display remains on, and the USB port remains active (and the unit is still accessing data from it). This to me is not standby.
This input is shared with the iPod/MP3 port, its not a mode of its own by the looks of it. This seems to work, but only with a USB stick, and not my Nexus 5. That's not a far stretch however as not many devices out there work with Androids implementation of its USB connection. It does play music through the stick, but it only goes through the time elapsed of the song and the song number. There are no mp3 tags or information displayed.
Not tested as yet
Microphone jacks and the echo effect, 3.5mm input jack, and Line In/Out. Will update this review once tested.
So far I can't say I'm overly pleased with this unit, and if there were alternatives to this unit at this price range, I'd probably try it. With that said, I'm keeping it because it does enough for me. Pyle however, should have done a little more work on the GUI/features prior to bringing this in to Prime Time. I grew up with Pyle products, and way back when they used to be a high-end company. No way would a product like this would ever make it to production with the Pyle I knew.
Somewhere down the line Pyle lost it's way.
*UPDATE* - I have reduced my rating from 4 to 3 stars because this unit just doesn't seem finished and should have received more testing from Pyle's R&D department. With no proper manual, terrible radio implementation, standby mode not operating as it should, and an equalization (DSP) mode that will not turn itself off once on, these are all pretty easy things to catch on the development floor but somehow found their way into production.
I'm still keeping it because of its size, but the way I look at it, Digital Receiver/Amplifiers have been around for over 20 years at least, you shouldn't be seeing flaws of this nature from a receiver that was introduced in 2014.
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