February 21, 2018

Review of Alpine CDA-9887R

Although the quality of in-car audio has steadily increased over the years – for some – the pursuit of in-car entertainment (ICE) is an important enough consideration for them to replace the manufacturer’s standard-fit unit in favour of an aftermarket version. This latest offering from Alpine may just well be on their shopping list.

Alpine’s CDA-9887R is a technologically advanced, high quality yet affordable audio head-unit.

Visually it is an attractive design, not having that tacky Halfords look that afflicts so many cheaper models. The facia is ergonomically laid out, with clean lines, and more importantly, is packed full of features.

The 9887R comes with an advanced Audyssey MultEQ XT equaliser. This coupled with ‘Imprint’ technology, enables optimum acoustics to be achieved in the vehicle.

Other features of the unit include Bluetooth compatibility and full speed iPod control, so you are able to safely use your mobile with hands free facility (requires a bluetooth kit at an additional £80) and enjoy your entire
music collection in the car.

A supplied cable goes from the iPod directly into the head unit, with no additional box required. Full information about the artist, album, song and genre is displayed directly on the head unit, all while charging the iPod battery.

I found it relatively easy to scroll through the different iPod playlists, and navigating tracks is as simple as with CDs. Talking of CDs, the 24 bit Burr-Brown Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) gives an impressively coherent, yet smooth presentation – a considerable improvement over cheaper CD head units, which have a tendency to sound harsh at higher volumes. The Alpine impressed sonically and when matched with Pioneer TSQ172C component speakers, gave a dynamic and open presentation with wide sound staging. The multi-layering of vocal, drumbeat, bassline and synthesiser, could all be clearly heard on Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga’. On Bob Thompson ‘The Present’, the warmth of the acoustic recording was immediately apparent, with the piano, drums, guitar and bass all having space to breathe within the recording.

If the present sound equalisation is not to your tastes, you can tailor the sound with the digital 6-channel time correction and adjustable 2 or 3-way crossover.

One particular disappointment was the detachable front plate, which is rather fiddly to remove and replace. On one occasion, it took me a least five attempts to correctly line up the mechanism before it would clip into position.

This doesn’t detract from a thoughly capable all round head-unit. The Alpine CDA-9877R is an excellent way to get the best possible sound in any system, without spending a fortune.

Prices from £260

Available online

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