Pioneer vs. Alpine [Head Units and Speakers compared]

Home » Car Speakers » Pioneer vs. Alpine [Head Units and Speakers compared]

When it comes to car audio systems, the competition boils down to Pioneer vs Alpine. After doing some research, I decided to compare Pioneer’s DMH-1500NEX head unit and Alpine’s iLX-W650 head unit, as well as their respective speaker series – the Pioneer D-Series and the Alpine R-Series.

I prefer the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX head unit due to its vast range of features and control options. As far as speakers go; if size matters more than anything else to you, then you should opt for the Pioneer D Series lineup; otherwise, go with the Alpines R series due to its superior build quality & sound fidelity at higher volumes.

Pioneer DMH-1500NEX vs Alpine iLX-W650

Pioneer DMH-1500NEX vs Alpine iLX-W650 [Head Units Compared]

Even though I gave the edge to Pioneer’s DMH-1500NEX head unit, it’s only fair that we compare both head units in detail so that you can make an informed decision.


When looking for a decent head unit, you need to ensure it offers the required features. The Pioneer DMH-1500NEX is loaded with various features, such as Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay, which are great for connecting your smartphone to the car audio system and controlling it from the head unit.

The High-res playback capability of the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX is also worth noting, as it improves the sound quality significantly. On top of that, you get a wide range of audio/video playback options, giving you the flexibility to enjoy media from various sources.

Additionally, the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX offers a 13-band EQ, which gives you more granular control over specific frequencies and allows you to tweak the sound to better suit your preferences.

The Alpine iLX-W650 is no slouch, either. It, too, offers Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay support, as well as a variety of audio/video playback options. However, the sound quality isn’t quite as good as the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX, especially when it comes to high-res audio files.

The lack of an AUX input is a bit of a bummer for the Alpine iLX-W650, as it limits the number of external audio sources you can connect. However, it compensates for that with an additional camera input, which is great if you want to install a backup or front-facing camera to increase your safety while driving.


The Pioneer has the edge when it comes to features, with its AUX input support and better sound quality. If you’re looking for a head unit that offers more control and customization options, the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX is the one to go for.

Design and usability

When it comes to design and usability, both the head units have an edge over each other. The Pioneer DMH-1500NEX has a sleek design with a responsive touchscreen display that makes navigating its various settings a breeze. It also includes physical shortcut buttons on either side, which make accessing your most used features even easier.

On the flip side, the Alpine iLX-W650 has a slightly bigger display and can fit into tighter spots in your car’s dashboard thanks to its shallow depth build. The navigation controls are intuitive and well laid out, making them easy to use even for those unfamiliar with audio systems.


It’s a close call regarding design and usability, but I prefer the Alpine iLX-W650 due to its capacitive display and shallower depth build.


The Pioneer DMH-1500NEX costs around $390, while the Alpine iLX-W650 comes in at just under $350 – making it a tad cheaper than its counterpart. However, the cost difference between the two is not very significant, and you should consider other factors before deciding which one to buy.


If price is your main factor, then go for the Alpine iLX-W650, as it is slightly cheaper than the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX. However, if you want better sound quality or prefer more features, then it’s worth spending a bit extra and opting for the Pioneer.


Pioneer DMH-1500NEX video review

Alpine iLX-W650 video review

Pioneer D-Series vs Alpine R-Series [Speakers Compared]

The next item we will compare is speakers – specifically the Pioneer D-Series and Alpine R-Series. When shopping for car speakers, build quality and sound fidelity should be your two main concerns. Let’s see how these two speaker series stack up.

Available Sizes

The Pioneer D-Series comes with 5 different speaker sizes ranging from 6.5″ all the way up to 12″, while the Alpine R-Series offers 3 different sizes starting at 3″ and going up to 6″ x 9″.

Available sizes for Pioneer D-Series:

  • 6.5″: TS-D65C and TS-D65F
  • 6” x 8”: TS-D68F
  • 6” x 9”: TS-D69C and TS-D69F
  • 10”: TS-D10LB, TS-D10LS4, TS-D10D4, TS-D10S2, and TS-D10D2
  • 12″: TS-D12D4 and TS-D12D2

Available sizes for Alpine R-Series:

  • 3″: 30MC
  • 6.5”: R2-S65, R2-S65C, R2-S652 and R2-S653
  • 6”x9”: R2-S69 and R2-S69C

The extra size options available with the Pioneer D-Series means you can choose a speaker that best fits your car’s acoustics, whereas, with the Alpine R-Series, you may have to settle for a smaller size if it’s not compatible with your vehicle.


If the size is important to you in terms of fitting into certain spaces in your car, then the Pioneer D-series has more options available and should be your go-to choice.

Build Quality

The Pioneer D-Series speakers are constructed with a multi-layer mica matrix cone and feature a rubber surround to reduce any distortion. On the other hand, the Alpine R-Series speakers use a polypropylene cone with UV protection and an improved motor structure for better sound performance. Both series speakers also have grilles that help protect them from dust and debris.

When it comes to personal experience, I’ve owned both sets of speakers over the years and found that the Alpine R-Series had slightly better sound quality overall. The bass was more prominent, which gave my music some extra punch while still maintaining clear mids and highs when playing.


The Pioneer D-Series speakers provide excellent sound quality and are built to last, but if you’re looking for a bit more ‘oomph,’ then the Alpine R-Series speakers are a better choice.

Sound Quality

What’s the point of having good speakers if they don’t sound good? Sound quality is the most important factor when it comes to car audio, and both these series offer great quality.

The Pioneer D-Series speakers are capable of producing powerful bass with crisp highs while still maintaining clean mids. I found that this was perfect for any type of music, from rap to rock.

The Alpine R-Series speakers also do a great job in terms of sound, but what really makes them stand out is their ability to produce clear, full-bodied sound even at high volumes. For example, I found that the bass was much more powerful and loud when playing rap music.

Also, if you’re looking for some extra sound clarity, the Alpine R-Series speakers come with active crossovers. This allows you to adjust the frequency range and better tailor your music to your preferences.


For a more powerful bass response and overall better sound quality, the Alpine R-Series is the clear winner here.

Price Range

The price disparity between the Pioneer D-Series and Alpine R-Series speakers is quite significant. The Pioneer D-Series starts at $150 for its 6.5″ model and goes up to $200 for the 12″ model. On the other hand, the Alpine R-Series starts at around $200 for its 3″ model and goes up to $600 for its 6″ x 9″ model.

When considering the price range, it’s clear that the Pioneer D-Series is more affordable and, therefore, a better value overall.


Is Alpine Better Than Pioneer In Terms Of Product Quality?

At the end of the day, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both Pioneer and Alpine are known for their high-quality products and have a long history of producing great-sounding car audio systems. I do believe that Alpine has a slight edge in product quality and sound clarity; however, this comes at the cost of a higher price tag. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what your priorities are and which brand is best for you.

Related articles:

Alpine vs. JBL [Speakers compared]
Pioneer vs. Kenwood [Head Units Compared]
Alpine vs. JL Audio [Speakers Compared]
Alpine vs. Rockford Fosgate [Speakers Compared]
Pioneer vs. JVC [Head Units Compared]
Alpine vs. Sony [Head Units Compared]

Hey, there mobile audio lovers! My name is Vincent Talbot, founder and chief editor at Ask any mobile audio fanatic, installer, or company rep what makes a good car speaker, sub, or amp, or, better yet, why he or she prefers a certain brand over another, and be prepared to endure a litany of opinions, viewpoints, and passion-fueled perspectives. To be honest, mobile audio shopping can be a daunting task without a guide, so I’ve assembled what I feel are the best products to consider to make things easier for you. More.

Why you should trust me?

Mobile audio is my passion, so before I put anything in front of you I exhaustively research a broad range of products, review all the available information on them and ultimately make a curated list of recommendations. As a result, I want this site to be a trusted resource that you can rely on and that is not rigged by brand sponsorship, so you can use this information when you are planning your new mobile audio upgrade.