Strengths: High output power
Good internal amp cooling
Many crossover options (but also, a weakness; see below)
5-band parametric EQ (but also, a weakness; see below)
Weaknesses: Xovers do not have enough options to allow a decent "midbass" bandpass.
5-band parametric EQ leaves large gaps in the frequency spectrum uncovered.
Summary: Many reviewers have already discussed the merits (high output power, 4v preouts, time correction, etc.) of the Alpine V-drive HU's; I will be specific about some of the technical merits (and shortcomings) I have NOT read about in other reviews of the CDA-9813 model.
First, some background: After using a CDA-7894 for awhile, I upgraded to a 9813 specifically for the improved Xover and EQ functions. Before getting to that, there are other significant improvements I noticed from the 7894 to the 9813:
1) Cooling fan in the back.
2) An aluminum plate behind the faceplate.
3) Large heatsink.
(These 3 contribute GREATLY to improved cooling of the internal amp in the 9813; kudos to Alpine for recognizing and correcting for this problem)
4) Metallized (rather than rubberized) buttons that do not wear easily.
5) No silly, distracting "dancing lights" displays (OK, so this is not a "technical" merit per se, but I simply am not into "bling").
(In short, the 9813 looks MUCH better, more professional, and more refined than the 7894).
6) Better MP3 folder search capabilities, with faceplate buttons specifically devoted to this.
Now, on to why I really chose the 9813:
-Crossovers: The 2-way / 3-way crossovers are very nice, with their adjustable frequencies, slopes, and dB attenuation. My complaint with them is that the high HPF xover does not go low enough (min 1kHz) nor the low LPF high enough (max 200 Hz) to effectively create a "midbass range" (a bandpass roughly around 100 to 400 Hz) using the middle range of the 3-way xover. So, even with all the power and the xover options on this unit, one would be forced to buy external amp(s) and crossover(s) to obtain a decent midbass bandpass.
-Parametric EQ's: This is where the unit disappoints somewhat. The manual (which I downloaded from Alpine and extensively researched before buying this unit) states that there are 5 bands of EQ, with adjustable frequencies between 20-20kHz. This IMPLIES that each individual band is infinitely adjustable from 20-20kHz; however, this is NOT true...what the unit REALLY has is 5 EQ's, each of which is adjustable within its OWN NARROW BAND of frequencies. This is an important distinction, and one that SHOULD (and easily COULD) be made more clear in the manual. Specifically, you have: BAND1 (20-100Hz), BAND2 (250-400Hz), BAND3 (1k-2kHz), BAND4 (3.2k-4kHz), BAND5 (10k-20kHz). Why is this so important? Mainly, because it leaves 4 big gaps in the frequency range. Well, guess where my only significant deviations from linear SPL response (i.e., "peaks" and "valleys") are? Exactly...right at 160Hz, 500Hz, 2kHz and 6.3kHz...each EXACTLY RIGHT SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE of the ONLY parts of the frequency spectrum these EQ's DO NOT COVER! I will grant that the existence of (most of) these particular peaks and valleys is likely due to inherent limitations of the front speakers (Alpine SPS-570a coaxial) this HU is currently hooked up to (I intend to review these speakers separately); however, this makes these EQ's LESS effective than the simple Bass and Treble controls the CDA-7894 had, since the Bass control on that unit could be centered as high as 180Hz (covering at least my 160Hz problem). Note that I will eventually be going to an external 4-channel amp and and some SPR-57ls components up front, so I expect most of these frequency deviations to disappear.
All in all, I am very happy with this unit, for the price I paid ($175). Once it is externally amped and hooked up to some proper component fronts, I expect to be REALLY happy with it!
Note that if I had paid closer to retail (around $400) for this unit, I would be far less impressed, as I would have been able to buy a lesser head unit, a used (but more powerful) external amp, and used (but more capable) external xover's / eq's for similar money.
Strengths: EQ Xover were nice worked well. Could play Mp3s and such. Overall a nice unit.
Weaknesses: Some MP3s it would decode them funny make like a hand clap sound really weird mess it all up like the speaker was distorting. Also the 4 volt preout I found to be not so much 4 volts... You really have to turn it way up to get the voltage output.
Summary: I have had this CD player for a while now. Its a great unit. It got stolen recently but hey what can I say. I had it in my truck. The internal amp is great puts out some real power. It had nice features the EQ and Xover were nice. Overall a nice HU.
Similar Products Used: I have used JVC, older Alpine units, Kenwood, Clarion.
Summary: Sweet deck!!! My entire music collection fit on 5 discs, and that's all I have to keep in my truck. Don't spend the extra $ for the 9815, the only signifigant difference is the color of the buttons. Awesome internal amp. Separate volume for Sub & F/R speakers. Bass engine allows you to direct the sound levels to the appropriate speakers. Smokin' head unit!!!
Similar Products Used: Alpine, Sony, JVC(which is crap!!!)
Rating Reviewed by: viriato(Unregistered User)
Review Date October 8, 2003
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Value Rating 4 of 5
Used product for 1 to 3 months
Visitors rate this review 4.95 of 5,
Review 4 of 9
Year / Model Reviewed: 2003 cda 9813r
Strengths: powerful sound adjusting features (EQ, time corr, xovers). For the experienced only, though, as one can easily ruin the sound by playing with it
no skipping on the CD
very good MP3 capability
powerful internal amplifier (at least on the paper, since I am not using it)
nice FM reception with RDS
overall impression of quality (very subjective opinion here)!
looks good in my car!
Weaknesses: Ground floor hiss
Average 1 bit D/A converters
I always think that something bad will happen with the swing face! So many pieces moving! It makes the CD ejection slower, also.
Summary: I bought this receiver to replace my stolen Nak cd45z. Unfortunately, nakamichi seems to be having a bad time and their products (namely the new cd400) are not available here in Portugal. So, I went for Alpine, based on the instaler's experience with the brand. I am very satisfied with the product. Lots of features, the most interesting being the flawless capability of reading MP3 files and the time correction, which allows (on the hands of an experienced person) a great improvement on soundstaging/imaging. I am yet to make the final adjustments using a RTA, but so far the sound is nice. I am using an external amp for the front speakers and the subs, and will later add the rear speakers run from the unit's internal amplifier (the xover feature is handy here, allowing the elimination of low frequencies to these speakers). FM reception is OK, better than the Nak in terms of sound quality. The sub level control is easy to access and a useful feature that the nakamichi had not. Also miles ahead of my old unit is the skiping of the CD: there is none, and, believe me, I´ve tried! The Media Expander, supposed to enhance the sound from compressed sources (MP3) doesn't sound that good, at least in my system: I would gladly exchange it for a more conventional "loudness", which is more common and simply enhances the lower frequencies at low volumes, to compensate for our natural earing deficits (and road noise in this case). Still, I miss the simplicity of the Nak's operation and the warmth and musicality of its 20bit D/A converters. Maybe Alpine will consider to use better D/A converters in the future, like Clarion or Nak. I also agree with a previous reviewer that there is a ground floor hiss, clearly noticeable on very quiet passages. Since the internal amps are shut down in my system, the problem does not relate to them.
Nevertheless, and even before I fine tune it, it provides a full and well balanced sound. I will try to update here when all the adjustments are done.
front speakers - DLS UP6 (actively driven by the amp's 4 main channels, superb speakers)
subwoofers - 2x Focal Utopia 5WS on sealed (6 litres) enclosures mounted under each front seat (great impact and fidelity but short extension on very low frequencies. Still, amazing capabilities for 5 inch subs)
amp - genesis five channel (a jewel!)
PS. to the previous reviewer (and others): I recently bought the latest Sting CD (actually a hybrid CD/SACD), which has cd text, and it is shown perfectly by the unit's display.
Similar Products Used: Nakamichi CD45z
Rating Reviewed by: Chris(Unregistered User)
Review Date September 18, 2003
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Value Rating 4 of 5
Used product for 1 to 3 months
Visitors rate this review 4.94 of 5,
Review 5 of 9
from Sound Shop, Colorado
Year / Model Reviewed: 2003 Alpine cda-9813
Strengths: Excellent mp3/wma playback
Decent internal power (4x26w rms) that can be turned off
Loads of tuning options (5 band eq, 6ch time correction, 2 or 3 way crossover.
Easy navigation of tracks/folders
An excellent remote that has enough size to feel good in your hand (i hate CC size remotes)
A large, useful display that isnt "blinged" out
Weaknesses: Slow ejection of CDs
Very hot display after extended use
Confusing audio controls at first.
Summary: This headunit was purchased to replace the old blaupunkt HU that was in my car. After many years of aftermarket HU's I found one that i like. The biggest thing for me was MP3/WMA playback and this unit is flawless in that respect. It loads mp3 discs just as fast as a normal CD, and track/folder switching is instant! The unit breaks down the directory structure very well also. Instead of giving you track1-200 it gives you a folder number and track # based on how many files are in the folder. The unit also features Random in folder or across the entire disc. The unit also reads CD text so your normal CD's have track name info, that is if you copyed or burned the cd and turned on CDtext (Aheads nero has this option) I have yet to find a commercially pressed cd w/ cd text on it.
Another big plus is the display, its very readable. The song name/album displays are large enough to be useful. The display is rather bright, but there is a manual dimmer option in the setup menu (hit the f button for 3 sec to access) if you dont have the dimmer wire hooked up to the vehicles headlights youll need to use this option. You can also black out the display, supposibly this makes the HU sound better but i cant tell the diffrence. Also this option only blacks out the display and not the buttons. My only complaint about the display is the heat is generates, it can get really hot. I avoid this by running in the first tilt angle so some airflow can get behind the display.
The sound options are excellent, but have a bit of a learning curve. Dont try to tune it while you drive until you know the HU well. I find the MX button works well as a traditional "loud" button for low volume situations. The built in crossover (2-way or 3-way selectable with a switch on the top of the HU) is a very useful tool especially if you run amp only. The unit also allows you to turn off the internal amp.
One thing i do miss from my old blaupunkt is the turn on volume setting. This allowed me to set the turn on volume so i dont get blasted out when i come back to the car.
Similar Products Used: Various Pioneer, Blaupunkt and Denon (wish they still made HU's) cd players.