Review 2 of 3
, from Ann Arbor, MI|
features, actual knob, 3 4v preouts
TINY, recalcitrant buttons, cheezy amber lighting, garish graphics
This unit sounds great but the controls leave a lot to be desired. My number one peeve is that if you press a button too fast repeatedly, it won't work. So, if you want to get to the subwoofer level control, for example, you have to press the knob 5 or 6 times slooowly. It is quite frustrating. I used to have a Ford with green lighting and it looked fine, but now I have a Honda with red lighting and the amber lighting on the 7844 is GHETTO! In an obvious cost-cutting move, they made only the left half switch colors. I thought it might be defective, so I called Alpine and they confirmed (after a long, long time on hold at my expense) that only the left half of the unit switches colors. To add insult to injury, the "amber" is more like Pontiac bright orange; it is not a pleasant amber at all. I run mine in the green mode now, and even though it clashes with everything else in the car, it looks better than 2-tone electric orange and green.
The station preset buttons are insanely small. They were apparently designed for midget elf toddlers with unusually small hands. I don't have fat fingers, but it is hard to hit one button on this thing. It isn't like there are that many buttons; they could have made them larger and they still would have all fit.
The changer control is cool, as is the separate subwoofer level control, except for the annoyance in accessing it, as mentioned above. I paid $400 for this unit (it has been replaced by the nearly identical CDA-7845), and I wouldn't pay any more than that. It just isn't worth it. It seems like Alpine has resorted to cost cutting and sloppy design. Had they actually tested this unit between design and production, the small but annoying interface issues would definitely have popped up.
All that said, the build quality seems top notch and it has worked without a hitch in 2 different cars since I got it. However, I will go with a brand with better thought out controls next time.