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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Recently changed out my Alpine CDA 9856 to a Pioneer DEH P8300UB for a couple of reasons.

1) USB play
2) better FM reception
3) better remote control (the 9856 remote only works well when pointed directly at the unit)

Observations:

USB play is very slow with 3.6gb of WMA lossless on a 4gb memory stick. Slow as in 10 - 15 seconds to play a song. I've converted some music to 190 kbps mp3 format to see if this makes a difference.

FM reception with the DEH P8300 is slightly better than the CDA 9856.

Remote for the DEH P8300 works much better than the CDA 9856. Sadly, when a USB stick is plugged in, it somewhat blocks remote reception from the driver’s side and you have to hold the remote out around to the right side of the unit for it to work well.

User interface knob (called the Multi Control / M.U. by Pioneer) is very poorly designed and is tricky to work while driving.

Wiring – I noticed the Alpine deck had lower gauge (thicker) wiring. The Pioneer deck seemed to be about 22 gauge.

My old Alpine deck seemed to play a little louder and cleaner though it has a lower watt rating (18 watts RMS vs. 22 watts RMS for the Pioneer). Certainly, this won’t matter to folks running an amp and I hope to add an amp later. Just my subjective listening experience with the same music played on both units (set to flat) on the same stock speakers.

Of note, vehicle is a 2000 Toyota Tundra 4x4 with stock speakers (4 speakers, not the JBL amplified system).

Would I recommend the 8300? It definitely has some pros over the Alpine. However, for an old school audio-fool coming back into the game, I think I’ll go back to Alpine and spend the extra bucks for an amp + the imprint. I don’t think anyone (new or old) would appreciate the M.U.
 

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I have had the 8300UB for about 4 months now and although i have learned to live with the user interface knob I do still get tripped up by it.

i came from an alpine CDA 117 which had poor FM tuner sensitivity- and when a station was experiencing multipath distortion the static from this unit was like digital arrows- very sharp and downright harsh. also the alpine sound was very thin, not robust. i am happy with the 8300 pioneer overall- great sounding CD player, good FM reception, nice flexibility with the high pass, low pass and subwoofer controls.

i am thinking about getting the HD radio module but i just learned about pioneers new deh-80prs- which sounds extremely interesting and offers a better variation of the user interface control knob- but sadly it does not seem to support the HD radio add-on module.
 
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