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How to Set up Pioneer Car Radio?

Pioneer stereos are one of the most famous in the world. However, if you just have purchased a new radio, then you have to take a couple of minutes to set it up properly.

To set up a pioneer car stereo correctly, you have to do initial and system set up. In the initial set-up, you set up speaker configuration, and the system set-up allows you to adjust stereo settings like language settings, clock, display, Bluetooth settings, etc.

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Tip: If you don’t like to use the stereo button, you can use the wireless remote with your pioneer stereo to do these settings. 

It does not matter whether your Pioneer car stereo is one din or double din model, the steps that I am going to explain are identical to all Pioneer head units.

In this article, I will show you the step-by-step procedure to set up a pioneer car stereo and look at some other necessary settings. 

To demonstrate the initial and system set-up settings, I am using a single din Pioneer MVH-S310BT. Here is a step-by-step process to set up this Pioneer in-dash receiver. 

Pioneer MVH-S310BT Digital Media Receiver with Smart Sync App Compatibility/MIXTRAX/Built-in Bluetooth (Renewed)

Initial Set-up

  • The first thing you want to do is switch the in-dash receiver off, but the power from the battery should keep coming, which means you either have to keep your car engine on or put it into ignition mode. To do this, press and hold the source button for a couple of seconds. It will switch the radio off. Now you might also see the clock on display, which is fine.
  • Press the volume control button, and you will see two menus. The First is System Menu, and the other one is Initial Menu.
  • Press enter to get into the initial menu. The first thing you see in this menu is a speaker and pre-out mode. The setting we make here will change how the audio comes from the speakers and the RCA outputs. The pioneer stereos are configured to operate two front, two rear, and a subwoofer depending upon your model in standard mode. In network mode, you can use a separate sub, tweeter, and mid-range.
  • Press enter to go into the speaker and pre-out mode. In this, I select Rear / Sub outputs which means that my rear speaker outputs are set to full range outputs, and rear RCA outputs are set to subwoofer outputs.
  • If you roll over to the next setting, it will display Sub / Sub, and you can also set both outputs to the subwoofer. If you roll once more, it will show Rear / Rear, which means both the outputs are set for speakers. If you select this option, then you cannot connect a subwoofer.
  • Now press back and roll the volume control button. It will display System Update, in which you can do a software update. Go back two times, and you are done. There are various other options like system reset, but you don’t need them at this point.

System Set-Up

  • From the initial set-up, go back one time to the main menu. Rotate the button, and you will see the system menu. Press enter here.
  • The first setting is the language in which you can select languages like English, Spanish or French. I am choosing English.
  • Now roll over to the following setting, which is for setting the clock, and you can choose the time format between 24 or 12 hours.
  • Rotate the button once more, and it will take you to Beep Tone, in which you can turn on/off the tone when you press the buttons of your stereo. For now, leave the beep tone switched off.
  • Roll onto the next setting, Info Display, and you will see several different things you can edit. Press the volume control button, and here you can choose the source to display, or you can display a spectrum analyzer, or you can completely switch it off. There are other options you will find here like source spectrum analyzer, clock spectrum analyzer, source and life effects, lights that will operate and react to the beat of the music, cock and live effects, so select each according to your need.
  • Now go back and roll over the volume control button, and you will see the following setting is Auxiliary Input. If you use the auxiliary input regularly, you should switch it on; otherwise, if you don’t use the AUX input, you can turn it off. If you turn off this setting, the auxiliary will not show up in your source list when you press the source button.
  • Let’s roll over to the next setting, which is Bluetooth Audio and is the same as the previous one meaning that you can turn it on or off. When this setting is turned off, the Bluetooth option will not be available in your source list. Therefore if you want to use Bluetooth, I recommend turning this on.
  • The next setting on the list is Spotify, and these in-dash receivers have a full Spotify interface for your Android as well as your iPhone. So if you use Spotify, then you can turn on this setting.
  • The next one is Bluetooth Memory Clear, so if you have several devices connected to your receiver and you want to clear them, you can use this setting to clear the memory.
  • Now go back and roll onto the next setting, your Phone Connection Type. In this place, you will see three options – Android, iPhone, and others. So, if you want to connect an android device, you should choose Android, and the same is the case with iPhone users. Based on the selection, other settings will change automatically in the system menu.
  • The following setting is to Automatically Prompt the app when you startYou can turn it on or off depending upon your requirements.
  • The last setting is USB Auto On, and in this, when you plug in a USB thumb drive into the USB port, the system will automatically go into USB mode and starts playing a track from USB. But if you plug in your phone to charge and don’t want your receiver switched to USB mode, you should switch USB auto-off.

When you make the adjustments, you can press the back button and then press the source to fire up the system.

If you prefer, watch this short video for the visual explanation:

How Do I Get My Pioneer Stereo Out of Demo Mode?

When you have a newly installed pioneer stereo, and it is going crazy, and nothing seems to be working correctly, your installer has forgotten to turn off the demo mode.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to revisit the shop as the steps below will save your ride to the mechanic and get your stereo out of demo mode:

  • First, turn off the stereo by pressing and holding the source button.
  • Go into the menu and then select the system.
  • Turn the dial, and you will see DEMO OFF. Hit enter and select Yes.
  • Now go ahead and press the Source button, and your demo mode is turned off.

How Do I Set My Pioneer EQ?

The difference between average sound quality and excellent sound quality is how you have tuned your pioneer stereo. Pioneer stereos come with a very powerful 13 band EQ built into them.

To set EQ settings in pioneer stereo, play any audio source, go to EQ settings, and select the preset that you feel gives good quality output.

Once you are satisfied with the preset selection, you can make EQ adjustments by experimenting with sound output at different frequencies.

The steps are the same for single din, double din pioneer models, or models with built-in cd players.

In this tutorial, I am using a double din PIONEER FH-S520BT.

  • Go to any music source on your stereo and press the volume control button.
  • Keep rotating the button until you reach the Audio Menu and press enter. Next, roll the volume control button until you find EQ settings and press enter.
  • When you go into EQ settings, you will find several factory presets EQ curves. You will see Super Bass, Powerful Curve, Dynamic, Natural, Vocal (great for talk shows or games), Vivid curve, Custom 1, Custom 2, and Flat curve.
  • So, if any one of those presets sounds good in your car, go to that option and press enter. For example, if you like the super bass curve and it sounds good in your car, go on it and press the volume control button. Now you have set the super bass curve as your EQ curve.
  • The same is the case with other curves. Try them one by one and set them as EQ curves.
  • Now suppose you like the Dynamic curve but want to make tiny adjustments to make them sound more tuned. Go to Dynamic and press and hold the volume control presets for a couple of seconds. This will open up the equalizer.
  • In the equalizer, you can see several different frequencies to choose from, starting from 50Hz to 12.5 kHz. Just select one of these and go back.
  • When you go back, the stereos will display Custom 1. So you started with prest (Dynamic), and you made adjustments that will take you to custom number 1. You can also make adjustments to custom 2 instead of 1 by selecting Custom 2 at this point.
  • Make adjustments in frequencies in custom 2 and go back to escape.

Congratulations, you have tuned your stereo and now enjoy the high-quality sound output.

Note however, that while adjusting EQ settings, experimentation and trying different adjustments are crucial to achieving the best results. 

How Do You Change the Color on a Pioneer Radio?

Customizing colors on your pioneer stereo is fun. If you are looking for a more fancy look, you can turn your car into a disco club using the color adjustments provided by pioneer stereo. 

To adjust color on your pioneer stereo, first turn on the radio. Then go to the illumination menu, and into this, you can change color, brightness, phone color, illumination effects, and more. Adjust them accordingly, and you are good to go.

The onscreen and button operations are identical for most pioneer models, and in the tutorial below, I use the same double din PIONEER FH-S520BT.

PIONEER FH-S520BT Pioneer FHS520BT Double Din Bluetooth in-Dash CD/Am/FM Car Stereo Receiver W/USB, Smart Sync, Amazon Alexa Compatible

  • Touch the volume control button on the radio, and rotate it until you find the illumination menu and press enter.
  • The first setting you see is color, and press enter.
  • There are three options available: display color, color, and key color. As the name suggests, display color only allows you to change the display’s color. Key color settings will enable you to adjust the colors of the keypad only, and both color enables you to change the color of both keypad and display at the same time.
  • Let’s start with both colors. First, press enter, and you will see several preset colors that are already set into the system.
  • Choose Scan, and you can choose available colors by just rotating the volume control button. Find the color you like and press enter. You can set key colors, display colors independently by following the same steps.
  • If you want to adjust the color more precisely, go to any color, say Blue, and long-press the volume control button. This brings up the stereo’s RGB (Red Green Blue) values.
  • If you want to highlight the green color, lower the R number, B number, and increase the G number using the volume knob. You will get more precise color adjustments by adjusting these numbers.
  • Once you have adjusted colors, go back, and you will see the custom option on the screen. The colors have changed from one of the preset colors to the custom color.
  • Go back two times until you get back to the color menu.
  • Next, roll over to the Brightness Control setting and press enter. In this place, you can control the brightness of the stereo.
  • After adjusting the brightness control, the following setting is Phone Color. The function of this setting is to change the screen illumination if you get a phone call. In this setting, you will find several flashing effects to choose from, and if you don’t want any flashing effects, you can turn this option off. Again, the role of this setting is to get your attention through flashes if you get a call or text.
  • Go back, and the next setting is Illumination Effects. When you turn on the head unit or when we change sources, you can see illumination effects (if you turn this setting on). Press the back button two times to the main menu. 

These are all the settings that you need to adjust the color of your pioneer stereo.

How Do I Connect My Phone to My Pioneer Car Stereo?

Do you want to enjoy your favorite songs, audiobooks, and podcasts stored on your mobile device on your pioneer stereo? 

There are multiple ways to connect your smartphone to your pioneer stereo. For example, you can pair your Android or iPhone via Bluetooth, use an Auxiliary port or USB port.

You can also install the Pioneer Smart Sync app on your mobile device, and it allows you to access all apps on your smartphone.

A double din car stereo with a touch screen is more convenient for connecting your mobile than a single din because you can access GPS navigation apps, YouTube, make calls, reply to messages from the screen, etc. 

If you want to connect your phone using the AUX port, you need a 3.5 mm AUX cable, but since the latest iPhone models do not have a port for the AUX pin, this mode of connection is suitable for only older mobile phones. 

Syncwire 3.5mm Nylon Braided Aux Cable (3.3ft/1m,Hi-Fi Sound), Audio Auxiliary Input Adapter Male to Male AUX Cord for Headphones, Car, Home Stereos, Speaker, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Echo & More – Black

You can use the USB port for charging your device and connecting it to stereo in USB mode. 

However, Bluetooth is a preferable way to pair your mobile device with your pioneer stereo as it is easy to connect, and there is no need for wiring. All of the Pioneer head units support Bluetooth connectivity. 

How Do I Connect My Bluetooth to My Pioneer Radio?

Pioneer stereo is seen as synonymous with high-quality for its engineering and sound.

In addition, Bluetooth in these stereos has provided more flexibility to the user when he wants to pair his device wirelessly.

Connecting the Pioneer radio on Bluetooth is easy. Take your mobile, turn on the Bluetooth and search for new devices. You will notice that the name of the stereo appears, click on it, and the stereo will start pairing with your mobile device.

While pairing on Bluetooth, make sure that the stereo is not already paired to some other device, and also, in some stereo systems, you may have to stop your car to pair it on Bluetooth. 

Here is the step by step process to pair your mobile on Bluetooth:

  • Before starting, you should check a setting on the in-dash receiver to ensure it is ready for pairing.
  • With the receiver ON at AM/FM source, touch the telephone button, and it brings up the phone menu. Next, roll the volume control button until you find Bluetooth Settings and press enter.
  • Under Bluetooth settings, look for Visibility and turn it on. This makes sure that the stereo is visible to our pairing device.
  • Open the Bluetooth setting on your device and turn on the Bluetooth. Search for new devices, and it will display your radio name onto it. Touch on the name and wait for pairing.
  • To complete the pairing process, you have to enter yes from the car stereo or enter the pin, like 0000 or 1234.
  • Once both devices are paired, you will see a Bluetooth logo on the screen.

The second way to pair a phone is to connect it from the in-dash receiver. 

  • Start searching your phone from the in-dash receiver by pressing the telephone button.
  • Go to the Bluetooth Settings and press enter. In this place, look at the Add Device setting.
  • Press enter and your car stereo will start searching for the nearest device ready to pair on Bluetooth.
  • On the phone, make sure the Bluetooth is turned on too. When your stereo displays your device name, press enter to confirm that you want to pair with the device. This may generate pairing requests, and you have to confirm requests on both devices. Now two devices are paired. 


Pioneer stereo is an excellent choice for all who want to enjoy the best sound and functionality.

It offers various customization options when you set up a stereo for the first time.

If you correctly set up your Pioneer radio by following the steps listed in this article, you will be able to utilize all the features installed into your pioneer car stereo.