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Pioneer vs Alpine – Detailed Comparison

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Pioneer and Alpine are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces high quality speakers, headphones, soundbars, and subwoofers. However, Alpine specializes in car audio equipment.  

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however, we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

Pioneer Quick History

Pioneer is a Japanese company whose full name is actually Paionia Kabushiki-gaisha. It was started in 1938 by Bozomu Matsumoto. The company started as a speaker, radio, and other audio equipment repair shop.

Since the company started, it has been a big part of making sound systems for homes, businesses, and other personal uses, like car stereos. Pioneer was the first company to develop a dynamic speaker (named Pioneer A-8) made of original parts for domestic use.

The Pioneer brand is the manufacturer of some of the major audio equipment today. This includes the first dynamic speaker for the home, which was also the first Hi-Fi speaker.

Another example includes the first professional LD player, which also became the foundation of today’s Blu-ray disc and DVD players.

Alpine Quick History

Alpine Electronics, Inc. was established in 1967 as Alpine Motorola. This was a joint venture between the Alps Electric Company and Motorola. In 1978, the company name changed to Alpine Electronics, Inc. when the Alps bought all the Motorola shares. It is headquartered in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The company makes amplifiers, speakers, subwoofers, and car tweeters.

Sound Quality

Pioneer Sound Quality

To be fair, Pioneer home sound systems are only good as entry-level audio equipment. Although they provide a decent listening experience, they are best for non-demanding listeners.

However, in terms of car speakers, Pioneer speakers offer a quality that is convincingly worth every penny. The sound calibration on most Pioneer receivers (like the one on the Pioneer VSX-932) makes the sound more personalized.

The Technical Audio Devices (TAD) from Pioneer were produced in 1975 with the view of delivering high-end professional audio delivery. But, it has continued to deliver quality sound and can be found in most professional speaker brands.

Pioneer has also partnered with the amazing Gary Stewart Audio to deliver some of the best-sounding club speakers that keep the party going.

Alpine Sound Quality

Alpine produces a good professional range of speakers. Though the cheaper end may occasionally lack clarity and suffer from minor distortion, most speakers from Alpine have a very low level of distortion. 

The bass is however not as much and those who need thumping bass may need to add a subwoofer. 

Features

Pioneer Features

For many good reasons, the Pioneer brand has been more popular in ‌car stereos and entertainment.

This is because of the continued research, development, and improvement of its features. Some of the major features of the Pioneer car audio system include:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Streaming features
  • Touch screen
  • Built-in navigation
  • Real-time traffic

But most of these features are also found on other Pioneer devices, with only minor changes to make them work better for this one.

The other features that are common to other Pioneer devices include Dynamic leveling, digital inputs, HDMI with ARC, Dolby Atmos, and DTS: X for a rich and immersive audio experience, and other features for ease of use.

Alpine Features

The speakers bear varied features. These are:

Here are the main features of Alpine amplifiers

  • T.A.R circuitry
  • Thermal management control
  • Compact design
  • Adjustable gain control
  • Variable subsonic filter
  • Speaker level input

Build Quality

Pioneer Build Quality

Pioneer products have a good build quality. This includes the use of aluminum panels and an excellent finish to protect them for a long time.

Even beyond the physical build, Pioneer audio devices have improved a lot on the components, which has improved their reliability over the years.

However, the fact that Pioneer makes different devices is a factor that cannot go without mentioning. While Pioneer AV receivers and car stereos are known for their powerful build quality, some of the other products from the brand are not so durable.

Alpine Build Quality

Alpine speakers have a premium and rugged build.

Alpine electronics

They use high-density polymers for speaker casing, and the cones are made from premium fiber instead of regular paper. 

Alpine stereos

Their car stereos are also used in some of the most popular and well-respected car brands across the world including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Skoda and VW.

Ease of Use

Pioneer Ease Of Use

One of the major features that make most Pioneer devices easy to use is the ability to connect to other devices easily.

This is clear in the car audio system, where they offer different levels of the device without making it hard to use. This includes everything from the touch screen on more expensive car stereos to the easy-to-use menu button on cheaper ones.

 Beyond the car stereos by Pioneer, their home theaters are extremely easy to use. It offers different setting options and sound changes that give it a more customized output.

But you don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to use these because everything is marked and there are manuals to help.

Alpine Ease Of Use

Alpine speakers are generally small in size and easy to install. The SPR-60C, for instance, focuses a lot on improving performance in a compact size. As a result, they are built with neodymium magnets that are much smaller than regular magnets and deliver better sound quality. 

Cost

Pioneer Cost

Denon products are distributed between low-cost, average-cost, and high-cost devices. They have some of the best products at a low price as well as elite high-end devices.

However, when the chips are down and we compare the device with an equal device from other popular brands, you might realize you get the best value for your money.

Here are some price ranges for different devices from Pioneer:

Stereos: $100 – $500

AV Receivers: $250 – $1500

Soundbars: $250 – $800

Speakers: $100 – $800

Headphones: $50 – $400

Alpine Cost

Alpine speakers fall into the mid-range and the expensive category, with very few Alpine products falling within the bottom prices. While you can easily get a cheap speaker with offers well under $50, even under $20 from JVC and Sony, Alpine speakers generally cost around $40 or higher.

Space Requirements

Pioneer Space Requirements

Pioneer audio devices vary from size to size, but Pioneer AV Receivers are known for having a bulky build. This factor makes space consideration a serious business when considering a Pioneer AV receiver.

AV receivers are made to last for a long time, but if they get too hot often, they may break down sooner than expected.

Different devices will always require different amounts of space to function properly. This is because the space will depend not only on the size of the device but also on the amount of ventilation it can provide.

The home theater is another Pioneer product that might need special attention when it comes to space. Pioneer home theaters are quite tall and require as much space as possible.

Alpine Space Requirements

As we mentioned already, Alpine speakers are compact and easily fit in small spaces. You can therefore enjoy music from Alpine even in small rooms without worrying about speaker placement.

Remote Controls

Pioneer Remote Controls

Most Pioneer devices come with a remote control that makes it easier to operate across the room. This remote can also be easily replaced by getting another one from the popular audio store in case of damage or loss.

Pioneer also has a digital remote control app that can be downloaded from your app store. However, to use the remote control app, the device must be compatible with it and they have to be connected to the same wireless network.

Alpine Remote Controls

Remote controls make listening to music a fantastic experience. Alpine remote controls such as Alpine’s compact RUE-4360 remote control give you wireless command of your Alpine stereo system from any position and distance.

Some of the actions you can perform with the remote control include: 

  • Audio processor adjustments 
  • Track repeat and random playback of audio files from USB
  • Subwoofer level up/down 
  • Defeat on/off to be able to apply tone controls using a separate EQ
  • Phone functions; include hanging up, picking up, or rejecting calls from paired smartphones 

Connectivity Options

Pioneer Connectivity Options

Here are the main connectivity options compatible with most Pioneer speakers:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • RCA
  • HDMI

Alpine Connectivity Options

The speakers are built with various connectivity options that support different use scenarios. For instance, some speakers accept RCA wiring with older brands, while others, such as the Bluetooth Alpine speakers, can easily connect through Bluetooth pairing. The other connectivity options available include USB.

Power Range

Pioneer Power Range

Most Pioneer products are power efficient, i.e., they deliver the best audio quality with minimum power consumption. For example, the mid-range Pioneer elite VSX-LX303 AV receiver is rated at 100 watts per channel.

Alpine Power Range

The speakers have a significant power handling ability for the price. The power output on the high-end Alpine speakers is 300 watts or 100 watts RMS. The low and mid range speakers deliver up to 150 watts RMS.

Frequency Response

Pioneer Frequency Response

Most Pioneer sound systems have smooth frequency responses and a rich sound output that lets them send out sound in a wide area. For example, the frequency response for Pioneer TS series speakers is something around 34Hz to 42Hz.

However, the frequency response differs according to each device, which means you might have to check the user manual for each device to understand its frequency response.

Alpine Frequency Response

The type-S speakers operate within the frequencies of 80 Hz to 22 kHz while the R-Series respond well between 65 Hz to 29 kHz. 

Conclusion

Pioneer products cut across audio equipment for home, professional, and car use. However, they are more popular for the production of car stereos that are affordable, easy to use, and meet industry standards. If you need an audio device that’s well-affordable and with good build quality, you might consider Pioneer devices. However, you might have to overlook the sound quality a little bit. Alpine makes great stereos and a force to beat when it comes to mind-blowing head units. Its speakers offer quality and reliability even in the cheaper range. Also, the subwoofers have a good frequency response, good power handling, and are easy to install.

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