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Pioneer CD-MC20 Microphone

Works with select Pioneer receivers with Auto-EQ

23 Reviews | 3 questions - 6 answers

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Our take on the Pioneer CD-MC20 Microphone

This CD-MC20 microphone connects to select 2010-up Pioneer receivers with Auto-EQ, allowing you to measure your vehicle's acoustics and create the optimum EQ settings.

The microphone was really simple to use to get my Pioneer AVH-4200NEX tunes in perfectly. However, it did take me a minute to figure out that I needed to have the parking brake engaged to get the automatic tuning feature to become available.

LBSypher, Hardy, VA

What's in the Box:

  • Auto-EQ microphone (with attached 6.5' cord terminated by a male 3.5mm connector)
  • Disposal note

Product Highlights:

    General features:

    Pioneer CD-MC20 Microphone

    Average Customer Review(s):

    (23 Reviews)

    Huge Sound for a small price!!!

    Joey D from Chicago, IL on 10/10/2016

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I have a Pioneer AVH-4200NEX head unit and four Infinity Kappa 62.11i, 6 3/4 inch door speakers. The microphone was extremely easy to use. Turn the "source off" from the home menu, go to settings, audio, scroll down to the bottom. Underneath where it says "timing" then "eq," it'll say "timing and auto eq not measured." Click that, the screen will go flat and you insert the 3.5mm male end of the mic. Sling the extremely long chord so the mic hangs down in the middle of your drivers seat head rest. Press your listening position and press start. It'll then count down from ten. GET OUT OF THE CAR!!! It'll measure white noise and tapping sounds from each and all speakers. For about 3 minutes. Then you're all done. Remove the mic and press the home button. Super easy process. Do it at night in a quiet garage with your engine and HVAC OFF. I didn't think it made a difference at all and was bummed UNTIL, I turned off the auto eq and was amazed by the difference. It measured the accoustics of my car and each speaker PERFECTLY. I have a 2014 mid size car. It worked great in a 2013 Jeep Patriot with stock speakers. It made the speakers come alive!

    Pros: BUY IT! For the price and the incredible sound I got, it's a no brainer. Don't get rid of it after one use either. If anything changes, like my head unit going bad after 3 months, you'll have it to do again. Not a problem though. It's extremely easy!!!!

    Cons: A little surprised Pioneer didn't just include this with the head unit. You're already paying top dollar for a stereo and the mic is only $25. You don't pay extra for the Bluetooth mic......

    Simple to use and great results!

    LBSypher from Hardy, VA on 9/12/2016

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    The microphone was really simple to use to get my Pioneer AVH-4200NEX tunes in perfectly. However, it did take me a minute to figure out that I needed to have the parking brake engaged to get the automatic tuning feature to become available.

    Pros: Worked great in my 2008 Subaru Impreza STI with my Pioneer AVH-4200NEX!

    Cons: N/A

    Really makes a difference

    Ghaith from Sacramento, CA on 8/23/2016

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I personally believe that this microphone should come with the stereo standard but I'll put that point aside. There was a noticeable improved difference in the sound quality when compared before and after the Auto EQ setup with my Pioneer 4200 nex. The process was easy and took only a couple of minutes.



    Pioneer CD-MC20 Microphone

    JR from Memphis on 4/4/2016

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Like others have said, it's Pioneer's mic for measuring Time Alignment, etc. if you want automatic TA, you need this. I'm glad I bought it as the auto TA from my new AVH-4200 really does help to create and shape a decent sound stage. It's not perfect but it does make a BIG difference in the sound. Use auto TA, and EQ your cabin to a flat response and you will have a very decent sound stage w/o tons of fiddling.

    Pros: Enables auto TA

    Cons: Should come with the NEX units

    Brief review

    DP82 from upper marlboro, MD on 3/16/2016

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    A necessary tool to use for auto adjusting sound in a given space through the receiver's guide.

    Pros: Plug and play simplicity!

    Cons: Cord too short, needed an extension.

    Expensive, But Worth It

    Kevin from albuquerque, NM on 3/9/2016

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Auto-EQ and don't look back

    Pros: Auto-EQ makes the price more than worthwhile

    Cons: Expensive

    Not really sure it's worth it

    Joe from hendersonville, NC on 2/21/2016

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I really don't know if this thing is doing much of anything. Sure the head unit goes through all of the sounds and looks as though it's setting stuff up. Although I have to admit I don't hear much of a difference in the sound, it could be just me.


    Cons: The fact that they aux plug is on the back of the unit means that you have to pull the dash apart in order to redo the set up, just not easy.

    Great Microphone!

    Kyle from Texas on 1/17/2016

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Past car stereo experience I learned to purchase microphones while offered with head units before they become extinct! This microphone made a HUGE difference in sound quality on our AVH-4100NEX!! Very impressed and results were rather close given several separate tries (meaning the mic is rather precise). I would advise picking this up for your Pioneer car AND home stereo final tuning; its well worth it!!!

    Pros: Repeatable results and simple to use. Can be used on both car and home receivers by Pioneer

    Cons: none!

    Works well

    Mike from Andover, Kansas on 1/7/2016

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Ordered the CD-MC20 Microphone to use with the Auto EQ feature on my Pioneer AVIC-5100NEX. The microphone and feature worked as expected. There is a definite improvement over the stock and personal settings I initially applied by ear after receiving the mic and running the Auto EQ feature. This microphone and Auto EQ will do a better job tweaking the system than the majority of users will be able to do manually. I would recommend unless you plan on using an external processor, an RTA, etc. Apart from that after running the Auto EQ feature you can still make adjustments to the user adjustable settings such as the built in EQ, crossover, time alignment, speaker levels, etc. So if you don't like the results that Auto EQ applies, it will at least provide you with a good baseline, and then the ability to further tweak the unit's settings.

    Pros: Balances and equalizes the sound better that most will be able to do on their own.

    Cons: None, works as expected

    I was skeptical but it works!

    West Coaster from California on 6/9/2015

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I used this with a Pioneer AVIC-8000NEX. Luckily, the head unit has a jack for it near the CD slot in front, so I didn't have to remove the radio and connect it to the rear. I ran the Auto-EQ tests and at first, I didn't think much of the results. A few days later, I found where I could turn off the Auto-EQ settings. I was floored to hear the difference! Without it, my factory speakers sounded fuzzy, with a fair amount of distortion. With it, they actually sounded decent. I'm sure that they're not as good as speakers from Crutchfield, but they're OK until I get the money to upgrade them. Note: With the AVIC-8000NEX, you have to find and press the buttons on the screen while it's tilted all the way up. In full sunlight, they're hard to see, so running the tests took more time than it should have. Next time, I'll park in the shade.

    Pros: Made my factory speakers sound decent.

    Cons: I wish that I could run its tests with the engine on and the interior fans running. That would be more of a "real-world" test.

    Good tool

    Basic user from Ca on 5/5/2015

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Worked good. Helped dial in my sound for my listening.

    Pros: Easy to use

    Cons: Had to have the radio out to plug in the mic


    P from Bulverde, TX on 4/14/2015

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Easy and awesome

    Pros: Easy and great

    Cons: None

    Mic is good but Pioneer RTA system isn't

    Bullitt5094 from Houston, TX on 1/16/2014

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I'm sure the microphone is fine but I have Pioneer head units in two cars that utilize their automatic RTA systems. After performing the RTA in both cars, they sounded awful. I used a test CD and did the set-up manually and it sounded MUCH better. I wouldn't waste your money on the microphone. The best car automatic RTA system I've used is Alpine's system. It works very well.

    Pros: Mic works

    Cons: The Pioneer RTA system you attach it to is stupidly bad.

    A Must-Have item

    MarkAfterDark from Uxbridge, MA on 1/12/2014

    Okay, first, the documentation doesn't state that the process begins with the unit "off" but with accessory power turned on. I finally found a youtube video stating that the unit needs to be off. I installed my AVH-X3500BHS in my '07 Santa Fe yesterday. The sound quality was much better going through the factory component speakers, but the bass was muddy, highs harsh and mids were nothing to get excited about. I stretched a fleece headband around the top of the headrest and dropped the mic through into place at the center of the headrest and started the process. Afterward, the unit was quite insistent that I unplug the mic before I can continue. Fortunately, I left the dashboard storage off so I could reach behind and unplug the mic. The results were amazing. even the factory speakers now sound decent. They do not sound like $500 Focals, but they sound decent. The bass is tightened up and the highs are smooth. Now I can turn the music up without ear fatigue.

    Pros: Creates a smooth response curve and does what only an expensive audio analyzer could normally do.

    Cons: The big one is the documentation. It took some time and research to get the "Auto EQ" function to light up. These are more considerations than cons: If you prefer "Boom & Sizzle" this is not the product for you. This creates tight bass and very smooth mids and highs. The response curve is not suitable for analog FM and analog stations sound flat.

    Simply Awesome

    Taylor from Morristown, NJ on 7/11/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I hve Focal KRX2 6.5 in my front doors. I am a bit of a newb when dealing with car stereo. I was having a problem tuning my system. The tweeter was overwhelming the music with harshness. I purchased the Pioneer CD-MC20 from Crutchfield, plugged the microphone into the Pioneer deh-80prs and the difference is AMAZING!!! No more tweeter harshness. The speakers sound spectacular now. Don't hesitate to purchase...especially if you are not sure about all the settings and the intricate programming of a car stereo head unit. Be sure to hang the mic midway on the driver's headrest.



    Pioneer CD-MC20 Microphone

    Anonymous from Mission Viejo, CA on 4/19/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Easy to use, surprised how wild the EQ settings came out. Also, wonder how much they change when the vehicle is in motion rather than sitting in my quiet garage.

    Pros: Simple to use

    Cons: None that I can think of

    Setup made simple!

    Onurneez from Goodyear, Az on 3/26/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This mic is pretty awesome! Perfect for getting your stereo to sound perfect in your car. Very easy to use, just plug in and push a few buttons on the stereo and let it take it from there.

    Pros: Ease of use, price, and quality.

    Cons: Should be included with all Pioneer stereos equipped with auto EQ.

    Didn't get to try it.

    Anonymous from Indianapolis, IN on 3/9/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I bought this speaker to "optimize" the sound of the new Pioneer TS-A1675R speakers and Pioneer AVH-X5500BHS head unit, but I still haven't figured out how to get the Auto-equalize function on my head unit to work... So I'm just going to give 3-stars.



    Used for Auto EQ on Pioneer AVH P8400BH

    wudbuchr from West Tennessee on 2/24/2013

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    I guess that it did what it was designed to do but did not improve the sound to my ear. After using this to set up the Auto EQ, I was not happy with the audio curve. I prefer to manually adjust the audio to suit my ear. I hadn't considered using the Auto EQ setting as a baseline, but will try it again and see if that improves the audio.

    Pros: Small May save some manual adjustment time

    Cons: muffled the rear speakers too much attenuated higher frequencies

    Used for Auto Eq of AVH-P3400BH

    GaryV from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana on 12/18/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Works as advertised. Didn't sound like I thought it would. A little hollow and tinny. I will work on Custom equalization for my own ears. I do like having a "correct" baseline to work from.

    Pros: Does it's job, still worth the money.

    Cons: You must hook up wire from head unit to parking brake or system thinks it's moving and will not proceed. Grounding wire also works.

    Nice idea - simple to do

    ChuckE from Saratoga, CA on 11/22/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    Wasn't sure if this would make a difference in my truck but I am thrilled that I bought it and used it to improve the sound quality. A "must do"!

    Pros: Works very well, very easy to use.

    Cons: Should be standard equipment with the receiver - it makes such an improvement.


    Aaron from Vacherie, LA on 1/21/2012

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    This takes the guess work out of adjusting the EQ manually. Simply connect the microphone and let the head unit do the work. Made a drastic improvement in the quality of the music versus the preset EQ. Makes your listening position feel like center stage. I have factory speakers and now I cannot wait to get my aftermarket speakers and sub to complete my system. Bottom line; the best $30 I ever spent.

    Pros: Fool proof.


    Worth every Penny

    Z from VA on 3/13/2011

    If you want a noticalby better sound with more body and depth get this. It takes just minutes to get the optimal sound vs fiddling with the manual eq. Bottom Line: Get it!




    Hands-on research

    Product Research


    Compatibility: The Pioneer CD-MC20 is an Auto-EQ microphone for use with select 2010-up Pioneer DVD, digital media, & navigation in-dash receivers which feature an Aux input. Compatible Pioneer receivers include:

    • NEX series
    • AVH-X series
    • SPH-DA (AppRadio) series
    • AVIC-Z series
    • AVH-P series
    • MVH-P series

    Function: The CD-MC20 Auto-EQ microphone automatically measures your car's interior acoustic characteristics, and allows your compatible Pioneer DVD, digital media, or navigation receiver to create an auto-equalizer curve based on that information.

    Placement: The Pioneer CD-MC20 Auto-EQ microphone should be placed in the center of your vehicle's driver seat headrest facing forward.

    Connection: The Pioneer CD-MC20 Auto-EQ microphone features an attached 6.5' cable terminated by a male 3.5mm connector which plugs into an auxiliary input on your compatible Pioneer DVD, digital media, or navigation receiver.

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Q & A

    Customer Q&A

    Crutchfield asked  
    Why did you buy this?

    Wanted to check out my Pioneer deck's auto-tuning abilities... [ Carl  Aug 08, 2016 ]
    wanted to try for the amount it costs hopefully it will work [ Richard  Aug 05, 2016 ]
    needed to set the auto t/a and equalization [ CARL A  Aug 03, 2016 ]
    To better configure the Pioneer headset. [ James  Aug 01, 2016 ]
    because it adjusts the sound eq [ Scott  Jul 30, 2016 ]
    To set up acoustics [ L  Jul 02, 2016 ]
    Hard to find and have the best price [ David  May 03, 2016 ]
    I bought these to tune my Pioneer Avic-8000NEX [ R  Feb 25, 2016 ]
    Ordered the CD-MC20 Microphone to use with the Auto EQ feature on my Pioneer AVIC-5100NEX. The microphone and feature worked as expected. There is a definite improvement over the stock and personal settings I initially applied by ear after receiving the mic and running the Auto EQ feature. This microphone and Auto EQ will do a better job tweaking the system than the majority of users will be able to do manually. I would recommend unless you plan on using an external processor, an RTA, etc. [ Mike  Jan 07, 2016 ]
    For my AVH-X3600BHS. Crutchfield had the best price [ JOSE F  Jan 05, 2016 ]
    to automatically calibrate my equalizer settings [ Tyler  Jan 05, 2016 ]

    3 questions already asked

    If I remember right the connectors are different and won't work through Bluetooth. I bought the auto eq but don't hear a big difference in sound quality. [ Travis  Feb 05, 2016 ]
    In my opinion it gets a fair result but I always have to tweak from there. Apparently it is programmed to get a perfect flat curve or something that does not correspond with my hearing perception ( or my son who has a fairly talented ear). If you have a good ear you will likely end up tuning without it. After trying several times my son and I both have our own custom EQs which are slightly different from each other likely due to my older ears and slight mid-upper range loss. Also it is not permanently installed in the head rest, at least not when used with my headunit. In my headunit, the autoEQ is initiated, then the face plate is motorized down and the microphone is plugged into a plug exposed during the above. The microphone rests on the headrest while the program runs. The faceplate cannot be returned to the normal operating position until the microphone is unplugged at the completion of the Auto-EQ operation. Therefore even if you do like the results of the auto EQ there is no reason to permanently mount the microphone. [ RAYALND K  Jul 20, 2014 ]
    I've used this twice and really enjoy it. Not only does it adjust the 8 band eq, it also time delays the speakers and subs. The eq is set perfectly for a flat response to a microphone and computer but obviously it won't be completely flat to your ear and a audiophile will probably use the eq that the mic comes up with as a baseline and make small adjustments from there like I did. As for installation you just put it in the headrest to run the test. Once it's complete you unplug the microphone and store it in your glove box. The instructions have you run a AUX extention out the back on the unit and tuck it away somewhere so you have an easier time making future measurements without having to take the stereo out and plugging in the mic again. I feel like the time delay function alone was worth the 30 bucks. Plus if you don't get the mic to will probably always wonder if you music would sound better if you had. Christian [ CHRISTIAN  Jul 19, 2014 ]
    Yes you should definitely use it. Our ears can't hear the frequencies like a mic does. You don't leave it installed, you plug it in, place around where you usually sit in car, and let the auto eq run through the frequencies. You will hear a series of tones. That's it listening to the acoustics of your car, and about 5 mins later it's done. Unplug it and put it up until you change speakers, radio loses memory, etc. in other words once it runs the auto eq you are done. Don't have to leave the mic installed. Enjoy! I know you'll see the difference. [ JOSEPH  Jul 19, 2014 ]
    My system requires it to be plugged in to the front of the unit so I can't say much about installation. It does a great job as long as you have a full range of speakers. If you're say missing a sub it doesn't do any good. If you know how, tuning it by hand is a much better option IMO. [ BRONSON  Jul 19, 2014 ]

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