REVIEW: Pioneer AVH-X3500BHS Head Unit

Discussion in 'Electronic Toys' started by NLXTACY, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. NLXTACY

    NLXTACY Mud Life Sentence

    Messages:
    10,525
    Location:
    West Hills, CA
    Had some time to kill and wanted to play around with Adobe Premier Pro so I strapped my iphone to the steering wheel and did a review of the Pioneer Head Unit I got, see what you think:



    [​IMG]
    For Pioneer: The AVH-X3500BHS multimedia DVD receiver features a beautiful 6.1" WVGA touchscreen display, Pioneer's own MIXTRAX™ technology, built-in Bluetooth® for hands-free calling and audio streaming, an HD Radio™ tuner, SiriusXM ready, and Advanced App Mode for iPhone® 4S and iPhone 4. The updated and innovative user interface makes direct operation of the unit stress-free by eliminating complicated layered selection displays, so access to desired functions is smoother and simpler than ever. A variety of multimedia options ensures that you will be properly entertained. Customizable audio and video functions make it easy to suit your mood.
  2. Marcus1983

    Marcus1983 SILVER Star

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I am in the process of installing the same unit. I know you had yours professionally installed, but do you know if they connected the dimmer wire (orange/white wire)? Does the unit dim when you turn on the headlights or change the dash light level? I am leaning towards leaving this disconnected.
  3. NLXTACY

    NLXTACY Mud Life Sentence

    Messages:
    10,525
    Location:
    West Hills, CA
    HAHAAHAHAH! 2000 views and you are the first to respond :D

    You know what, I'm not sure. I have never testes it to see if the dimmer is functional. I will say though, I found the LED lighting of the radio too stark a contrast with the incandescent bulbs of the LX. Once I switched over to LED bulbs I was very happy with the consistency. Also, you can choose any of a few thousand colors. None match the stock green due to the LED's brightness.
  4. Marcus1983

    Marcus1983 SILVER Star

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I'll post up a separate thread with install details. I am planning to put a rear-view camera in addition to a forward facing underbody camera so it should be pretty :grinpimp:
  5. NLXTACY

    NLXTACY Mud Life Sentence

    Messages:
    10,525
    Location:
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    Thats still in my plan but I didn't want to go down that road until my lift and ARB were done. Now that they are, I can start working on this again.
  6. ironhippy

    ironhippy

    Messages:
    323
    Location:
    NB, Canada
    This thread (http://forum.ih8mud.com/80-series-tech/531547-definitive-scion-hu-into-lx-450-setup-thread.html) should make it clear which wires you need to connect to get the dimming to work correctly. Just connecting to the aftermarket harness did not work, I had to cut and splice a wire.

    If I wasn't also splicing the power antenna line at the same time, I would have just tapped the tail light fuse with an add a fuse and used that wire for the illumination without splicing factory wires.
  7. Marcus1983

    Marcus1983 SILVER Star

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Head unit is in and working great. I hooked the orange dimmer wire from the metra harness up to the orange-white dimmer wire on the pioneer harness. I did not attach the orange-black or blue wires from the metra harness. When I turn on my headlights the radio dims into night mode. I believe this brightness level can be adjusted in the settings. Since I plan to install daytime running lights at some point, I like having the unit set up like this.

    Definitely disregard the scion hu instructions regarding dimming if you are installing this unit.
  8. ironhippy

    ironhippy

    Messages:
    323
    Location:
    NB, Canada
    or if you are installing on a Toyota and not a Lexus?

    My dimming did not work until I followed the Scion instructions, same with power antenna.
  9. Cracker

    Cracker

    Messages:
    200
    Nice review, Nlxtacy.

    I recently installed an AVH-X2500BT (next model down), in my '00 Tundra.

    I just wanted to add, for anyone else considering the Pioneer AVH series, is that I have a 500GB WesternDigital MyPassport hard drive hooked up to the USB.
    I dont have any Apple products, or any way to stream internet, so USB and Bluetooth functionality is what I need.
    I was afraid I couldnt get a drive this big to work, as most other HUs I've seen can only handle up to 250GB. Also, Pioneer fails to mention HD capacity in any of their literature. :(
    Anyway, with the 500GB, I have my WHOLE music library of just over 1000 CDs, and a couple hundred GBs of TV shows and movies, and STILL have a couple hundred GB left.
    I do have to say, though, with a drive this big, even after creating a database in the HU, it still takes a couple minutes to load up the Search screens. But I can live with that, if I can have my WHOLE music library with me.

    I also have the laptop with me alot, so I've been playing with connecting the laptop to the HU via Bluetooth. I got them to connect and see each other, and I can play files via Media Player on the laptop, which SEEM to be streaming to the HU. The file info shows up on the HU, and everything looks like its playing on the HU, but I get no audio. I havent played around with it yet since my first attempt. Hopefully I can get it worked out.
    The reason it would be nice if this works, is that I dont have headrest monitors, and my sons ride in the backseat and watch stuff on the laptop. Being able to stream the audio over Bluetooth thru the HU would be a nice plus for them, as the laptop speakers get drowned out with road noise, leaving them using wired headphones, which I dont like.

    And I noticed I also dont have dimming on the HU controls, even though I hooked up the orange wire. This is another thing I have to look into.

    But for the price of these units, and all the built in functionality and customization, and the fact that they are one of the best manufacturers out there, it seems its hard to beat these Pioneer units.
  10. Cracker

    Cracker

    Messages:
    200
    Oh, thanx NLXTACY. I didnt even think of uploading a different background, till you mentioned it in the video. Today I got about 50 different TEQ and Toyota logos I loaded onto my HD with all my music, that I can switch between now. :cool:

    Samples:
    1.jpg

    2.jpg

    3.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  11. Cracker

    Cracker

    Messages:
    200
    After using the HU a bit, I'm kinda disappointed that Pioneer has chosen a ridiculous way of reading/organizing music that is stored on a USB device/memory card. I'm not sure if using a dedicated MP3 player or iPod type device thru the Aux does the same thing or not.

    For example on mine, I have my folders organized by Artist, with a subdirectory for each album, with the song files in that. (So I use just a Level 3 system...the Pioneer supports up to Level 8 (eight tiers of folders/files)).

    WHen I went into the file name list, most of my top tier folders (Artist) were alphabetical, but I noticed the beginning of the list, which the Pioneer considered Folder #1, was Soundgarden....The first artist folder to start with "A" (which should have been at the top of the list, and folder #1), actually ended up being about 1/3 of the way down the list, and numbered Folder #93 or something close...

    Basically, when you copy the folders of music from your library onto the device to be read by the Pioneer, the Pioneer reads/plays them in order by the "Date Modified" or "Date Created" attribute of the folder. (I'm not sure which, as I found a fix quickly, and didnt bother to remember which attribute it was).

    Ok, so it reads them by the order of the timestamp that each folder is written to the device....OK, so if they are in alphabetical order on your computer, just drag and drop them to the USB device and they will be written in that same alphabetical order, and you'll be good to go, right?

    WRONG!....I found that copying more than 1GB of files, or more than maybe a dozen folders at a time, even using a newer computer and external USB Hard Drive that both support USB 3.0, and nothing else running on the computer, that "chunks" of folders will be written, and NOT necessarily in alphabetical order!! :mad:

    I did some digging online, and found a couple utilities that will quickly and easily fix this problem.
    First, there is DriveSort. You can use it to sort files/folders on just about any device that supports FAT/FAT32 file systems. It will NOT work on NTFS drives.
    You can sort by short, or long filename, (some devices read folders/files by this "hidden" name, and not the one you actually see in Windows Explorer), or, in the case of the Pioneer, you can manually change the "Date Modified"/"Date Created" attributes of individual folders/files.

    Just sort by either short or long filename first, then go down the list and make sure each successive folder/file has a timestamp at least a second or two newer than the one before it.

    So basically you're matching each folder/file's timestamp to its alphabetical name.

    So after about 15mins of manually changing timestamps on about two or three dozen folders, I finally got the HU to read 80GB of music in alphabetical order (1139 folders/11,692 files)...YEE-AAAAYYYY!!! :rolleyes:

    The 2nd utility I came across (which seems to only work for flashdrives/memory cards, I guess?...I know it told me it would NOT work with my external USB hard drive), is called MP3dirsorter.
    I guess its just a small app, that you dont even have to install on your computer, that you open, then just drag and drop a chunk of whatever folders/files you want in alphabetical order, onto its small window, and it just magically does it for you with no other user interaction... :)
    I cant say whether this one works or not, as I said, it wouldnt work on my USB hardrive.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013

  12. ripster

    ripster

    Messages:
    1
    Did you guys have to format your hard drives or was it just plug and play? I have a 1tb passport and im getting incompatible usb. Was thinking about reformatting but dont want to got threw the hassle if it a capacity issue.
  13. Cracker

    Cracker

    Messages:
    200
    Hmmm.. I'm not sure if 1TB is too big or not...I'm using a 500GB Passport...I have too much stuff on my other three Passports which are all 1TB to try one of them. I believe it should say somewhere in the Owners Manual if there's a size restriction or not.
    I do know the more stuff/space you have, the longer it takes the HU to read all of it on boot up. It takes mine about 3-4mins with just 60GB of music, till it can start playing anything...I havent used it enough, (and I keep rebuilding the database), to tell if making the database speeds up boot time or not.

    1st, you have to make sure there is only one partition. IIRC the Pioneers (and IIRC most other HUs also) will not read partitioned drives. Then you have to format the drive as FAT or FAT32.

    Took me 5 mins to unpartition mine, reformat from NTFS to FAT32, then about 10 mins to copy about 5GB of music on it to try it out...Worked the 1st time like a charm.

    EDIT: OOoppss.. I was incorrect...You can leave more than one partition on the hard drive, but ONLY the first, playable partition will be used. (ie I guess the 1st partition that is FAT16 or FAT32)

    Also, you have file/folder limits:
    "Playable folders: up to 1500 (up to 700 for DivX/MPEG-1/MPEG-2/MPEG-4)
    Playable files: up to 15000"

    AND I just looked thru my manual, and couldnt find ANY mention of a maximum size limit for a USB drive/device...What a PIA!...

    Ripster, as long as you dont have any data on the HDD, or if you can copy it to another drive, reformating to FAT so the HU can read a partition is pretty quick and painless, and I would say just go ahead and try it...Besides I would like to know if a 1TB Passport WILL work... :)
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013

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