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Alpine CDA-9851

CD player with MP3 / WMA playback

Item #: 500CDA9851

47 Reviews

This item is no longer available.

Original Price: $229.99

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Digital music playback, customizable controls, system expansion options, and great looks — Alpine's CDA-9851 CD player has it all.

This receiver's versatility is tough to beat. In addition to your standard CDs, it'll play MP3 and WMA files you've burned on a CD-R or CD-RW (up to 10 hours of music on one disc). Alpine also included Bass Engine® tone controls for sound shaping at its finest. Meanwhile, BBE® sound processing cleans up the sound for pristine delivery. Your music, no matter the format, will always sound spectacular.

The on-board amplifier delivers a stout 18 watts RMS (x four channels) to power your music. If you'd like even more gusto, you can add a full complement of amplifiers to the three sets of preamp outputs.

It's also compatible with Alpine's iPod ™ control interface, which lets you control your iPod right from the receiver (the adapter also charges your iPod's battery). Built-in satellite radio controls mean you can add a compatible XM or SIRIUS tuner (plus antenna and subscription) and enjoy over 120 channels of music, news, talk, sports, entertainment and more.

Note: Although the i-Personalize logo appears on the CDA-9851's faceplate, the player does not have this feature.

Product Highlights:

  • CD receiver with built-in amplifier (18 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels; CEA-2006 compliant)
  • motorized, detachable, fold-down face
  • plays audio CDs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs including discs burned with MP3 and WMA files
  • Bass Engine (bass center frequency, width, and level, plus treble center frequency and level adjustments)
  • BBE sound processing
  • source tone memory
  • XM and SIRIUS Satellite Radio-ready (you can add satellite radio for under $100, plus subscription)
  • compatible with Alpine's iPod interface adapter
  • CD changer controls for Alpine Ai-NET changers only
  • optional auxiliary input (adapter required)
  • front, rear and subwoofer preamp outputs
  • MaxTune tuner
  • 12 FM/6 AM presets
  • clock
  • wireless remote
  • CD frequency response: 5-20,000 Hz
  • CD signal-to-noise ratio: 105 dB
  • FM sensitivity: 9.3 dBf
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Why replace your factory radio?

Two good reasons - sound quality and cool features. A new car stereo offers power that's superior to most factory radios, along with more sophisticated tone controls. And most car stereos offer built-in or optional features that add safety and fun to life in your car, including inputs for your iPod or MP3 player, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free cell phone calls, satellite radio or HD Radio reception, and connections for building an audio system in your car.

Alpine CDA-9851 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

47 Reviews

1998 Silverado Install

Written by: Dan from Defiance, OH on May 10, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great head unit! I had originally replaced my factory door & rear pillar speakers with Alpine speakers and realized I could have a whole lot more potential. So I decided to get a new head unit, I had it narrowed down between Alpine & Kenwood. I decided to stay with the Alpine theme and plus I read several reviews on the Kenwood models from customers stating they wished they had purchased an Alpine instead.
The controls are easy, I love the MP3/WMA playing capabilities, and mechanized face is slick. I personally haven't had any problems reading the display in the sunlight (probably depends how it sits in different vehicles). The remote is very simple to use and doesn't have a lot of confusing buttons. My only gripe is I wish this unit was HD radio ready. It has everything else, so why stop there. Alpine has another head unit that is very comparable, but w/less options but is HD ready. I went with the 9851 in the end and so far I have no regrets.

Installation was a breeze with Crutchfields instructions and harnesses (took me about an hour total).



Alpine Head Unit

Written by: mark from DeKalb, IL on April 30, 2006

2004 Honda Civic SI
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This alpine head unit is great. I have no real complaints about it thus far. Radio reception is just as good as the oem radio and installation was a breeze. Alpine's bass engine is great and the built-in equalizer easily allows you to shape your sound as well as adjust frequency levels(hz). This head unit meets and exceedes all my expectations. Very sleek and clean looking. Fit and finish is outstanding, and better yet it doesn't have an annoying audible tone or beep when i shut my car off. The buttons feel very "positive" and have a good response, not loose and cheap like other companies can be. I love the motorized collapseable face. I previously had a Kenwood unit that i was pretty happy with, but this new Alpine unit is far superior. I'll never purchase another brand again. I'm very happy with this purchase, and would definately recommend Alpine to anyone over any other brand that Crutchfield has to offer.



One Excellent Head Unit

Written by: Gary from St. Louis, MO on April 17, 2006

This is an excellent head unit! All the sound settings allow you to fine tune your music just the way you want it. And for all you iPod lovers, just purchase the aux. input adapter and some high quality RCA cables for this unit and you iPod will sound just as good as your cd's. This way also allows you to control the iPod directly from the iPod rather than from the head unit which I hear can be a little troublesome. The 18 watts rms sounds great with my Alpie Type-S 6x8's in my Mazda 3. The head unit will only be at it's full potential with aftermarket speakers, however this unit will blow any factory unit away. And lastly, with a name like Alpine you know your buying high quality electronics that you will have for years and years to come. A must have for the person who loves good quality, clear music, oh yeah, and loud too!



Great receiver

Written by: Jace from Panama City , Fl on April 5, 2006

2000 Lincoln LS
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Oh man this thing is great. all i have is stock speakers in my 2000 lincoln ls and what a difference. looks alot better and sounds alot better. You really cant beat this unit for the price. i was kinda holding back on gettin a aftermarket unit because i had a 6 disc in-dash stock unit and now i wish i would have upgraded sooner. now its time for the upgraded door speakers and subs. great buy man.. and crutchfield is the best man. they even sent an installation manual specifically for my car. i was suprised when i opened the booklet and saw my dash on it. i was gonna get it done professionally but it was so detailed that i did it myself instead. i`m an alpine and crutchfield fan for life now.. :-) satisfied customer.



What are you waiting for? Just get it!!!

Written by: monica from Rockford, IL on April 3, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've had this alpine stereo for a few months now and I couldn't be any happier with it. It sounds as good as it looks, I get compliments all the time. I just recently made a mp3 cd and was surprised on how many songs I could play with a single cd. Now I can go for hours without changing cds. This stereo is packed with so many features you wont be disapointed and at this price you wont find a better deal!!!



Worth the investment

Written by: Chris from Montclair, NJ on March 27, 2006

2002 Honda S2000
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I wanted a head unit that would put out superior sound without a lot of bells and whistles. Since I have an S2000 that has a hidden door, I don't need, nor want, the fancy LCD screens. I usually drive with the door closed and use the dash controls. If you have an S2000 you might want to invest in the modifry adapter instead of the SWI-ALP. It is the size of a matchbook and the commands are instantaneous. The SWI-ALP has a perceptible pause and is much larger in comparison. I tried both.




Written by: Tony from Florida on March 26, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Perfect radio at a great price. The Alpine sound is and has always been unique. it is very clean and very distinctive. Crutchfields instal instructions, wiring harness, dash kit, anytenna cable and such were all 1st rate and perfect fit pieces. the instuctions from crutchfield were first rate as well. There is nothing better than instaling your unit youreself and knowing your vehicle crutchfield made this so easy. The head unit is packed full of features and the bass field control is excellent. the only gripes i have is that i really could have used a 12db boost at 45hz feature for the sub control and i would have liked to have been able to personally title the aux input.



Alpine - still the best sounding head units available

Written by: Richard from Cherry Hill, NJ on March 25, 2006

Ive owned Alpine head units, speakers and amps before. Thats why I bought this one. I was expecting great sound - and to be sure - I got it.

The CDA-9851 is supurb in every aural aspect. My reason for giving it only four stars is because of its visual shortcomings. And for me, that really is the rub. I specifically bought this unit for its display. I went to car stereo resellers in my area to check out all the displays of the Alpine head units I was considering. The display on the 9851, IMO, blew all of the others away. It was colorful w/o being gaudy. It was clear and easy to read. It just looked wonderful. Imagine my surprise and utter dismay the first sunny day in the car when I discovered it was very difficult to see the display through the glare coming off of its cover -- and the fact that the display is almost invisible when Im wearing sun glasses!!! Very poor. Tilting the display did nothing to help. I seriously considered returning the 9851 to Crutchfield... but, to tell the truth, just didnt feel like uninstalling it. I guess Ill make my peace with it. My other problem with the display, and this is nit picking I know, is that the default amount of dimming at night is next to nil. Its not a problem so much as a matter of choice. I would personally like it a bit less bright at night.

The ease of use of the menus and controls is great. Very short learning curve before you can just whip through the functions w/o thinking. I especially like the separate tone setting for each source - just like my older Alpines had.

My system consists of the CDA-9851, SPS-171As front, SPS-170As rear and my trusty OLD Alpine 3531 four channel amp. Sounds fantastic!



Love it!!!!!

Written by: Jeffrey from Zelienople, PA on March 23, 2006

1999 Honda Civic
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I can't say how pleased I am with this purchase. I started out by buying Sony Xplod speakers for my front doors, then got them for the rear deck. I was pleased with the improvement over the factory speakers, but knew I needed more power. After a lot of research on your site, I chose the Alpine. I am having a ball with it, making mp3 and WMA discs, etc. I didn't know 18 watts could sound so potent. I couldn't be happier with it.




Written by: Nick from New Jersey on March 16, 2006

I got this unit about a month ago and have absolutely no complaints. The sound was noticeably better on my stock speakers, which I didnt really expect (will be replacing those with some 6.5" Polks soon). I'm still playing around with all the tuning options; I can't wait to see what I can do with the sound when I get some good speakers in there.

As far as looks, I'm really glad I spent the money on this one for the text display. Everything is easy to read even in the sun and it is quite bright at night (which is when it looks the best).

A lot of people have mentioned this doesnt have great radio reception. Although I'm not a big radio listener the reception doesn't seem any worse than my stock radio.

5 stars....highly reccommended.




Written by: ERIC from Saint Marys, GA on March 15, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Yeah I'm back and am glad and satified with this product.
I wrote before on this site about the Alpine DVD 9860 and i was okay with the cd part but the dvd part wasn't dual mode and there was nothing to make it so i shipped it back and got this and i am glad too.

This radio is tight!!! I installed it in my 04 jeep grand cherokee aka the ground banga.. The sound is so clear and the feature is all good, it can tilt and the diplay colors are so smooth, the ipod featuyre is the best , i never have to chance a CD but the best of all is the bass control, i ran myphoenix gold amp and 2 12' punch subwoofers to it and man, you can hear me miles away.. i recommend this to serious music lovers and those starting their sounds upgrade..



I-Personalize? What I-Personalize?

Written by: Michael from Canyon Lake, Texas on March 7, 2006

2005 Chevrolet Cobalt
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Well, it's stamped on the front, I-PERSONALIZE but when you go to the definition of I-Personalize on the ALPINE web site, is the CDA-9851 listed in the I-Personalize? No :( it's not. Go to alpines website and look, go ahead look for the CDA-9851 on their I-Personalize website. I couldn't find it.

It would have been nice to adjust my levels of my sound on-line but this model just cant do it. It is NOT I-Personalize-able on-line, Alpine is committing a small form of fraud by placing this badge on the front.

Other than that, the unit sounds great. It was very easy to use as I have had Alpine's in the past since 1986. They always outlast my cars. Great sound. yada yada yada.

[Editor's note: Although the i-Personalize logo appears on the CDA-9851's faceplate, the player does not have this feature.]



Awesome H/U, couldn't be happier. Have to hear it to believe it!

Written by: Dan from APO, AE Military Overseas on February 22, 2006

2000 Ford Ranger
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

First of all I've been listening to my stock radio in my Ranger for about 2 yrs now and finally decided to upgrade. After a couple of weeks checking out head units and reading reviews the Alpine CDA-9851 caught my eye. Every thing about it sounded awesome: price, looks, reviews. It was all five stars. Also once I place my order via USPS priority I recieved it in 3 days (I'm military in Europe) and that was quick!!! I installed it my self including the indash mounting kit in came with for free. The whole installation including mounting the kit, wiring the two harnesses together took maybe an hour and a half; and it looks great, also it was pretty easy.

Once I installed it and it was time for the test. Previuosly I upgraded my door and rear speakers to 6"X8" pioneers. I turned it on and boy let me tell you I'm still trying to figure out all the neat little options but it sounds awesome. Nice crisp Hi's and lows. The sound details are awesome... Alpine, I knew had a reputation for being good but this was more than good it was great. Great job alpine. Read my review on the Alpine Type S 12" 1242D Subwoofer. 5 Stars all the way



Shakes rattles and rolls!!!

Written by: Ed from Fairfax, VA on February 20, 2006

2003 Ford Ranger
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My bad choice...the head does not fit snugly and rattles with every bump of the road. May B a great receiver, but I don't need any additional rattles. Check it out carefuly before you choose Alpine!!!.



Looking for iPod control?

Written by: Whiskey Robber from Alexandria, VA on February 17, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Looking to control your iPod?

Don't get this model as it relies on the $99 Alpine KCA-420i Ipod Control Interface.

The new Alpines, like the CDA-9856, use a cable (Alpine KCE-422i Ipod Control Interface Cable) for only $30. This is a much cleaner system-no extra box. Only an additional cable.




Written by: Scott C from Pittsburgh, PA on February 16, 2006

2003 Chevrolet Blazer
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

First off, Steelers!!
I just finished installing this head unit the other day and it blow me away. Thats with the stock speakers. Once I slapped in the JL's (6.5,6x9,1" tweeters) in there, I never wanted to get out of the car. It sounded so good that I actually looked foward to going to work! Well may be just the drive in.

Anyway, this unit packs some power. I was thinking of going with the kenwood or a pioneer because of their RMS ratings (22 and higher). Glad I didn't. Having owned all three brands, Apline has alway sounded the best. Kenwood don't last (check a stores recondistioned items, loaded with Kenwoods. As far as Pioneer, display is too busy and god forbid you lose the remote. The 9851 has many options and if your thinking of hooking up a coulpe of amps, this is the ticket. You can control everything from the head unit. Everything. Radio reception is great. The only thing that could make the unit a tad better, 4-5volt preouts instead of the 2volts.

Overall this is a great unit, you won't regret it! Believe me.




Written by: zero2dash from Fenton, MO on February 13, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is the 2nd Alpine head unit that Ive purchased and just when I thought their products were excellent - theyve outdone themselves and blown the roof off.

This head unit reeks of awesomeness.
Originally, I was going to purchase one of the 2006 model head units with the full speed iPod interface (specifically, the CDA-9856). After a little comparing with other models, I decided to check out this one here (the CDA-9851) especially after seeing that pretty screen. I quickly decided to go with the 9851 based on the screen and the overall look of the unit; this is one beautiful head unit. From the silver color to the multiple colors on the display (blue, white & orange), the green around the dial, the blue-ish buttons...all of it looks like a million bucks. Then, the sound quality - A #1 perfect. After selling my old car (including my CDM-7857 deck) and driving around in a 2003 Focus with a factory radio for a year and a half - I forgot how good Alpine sound was.

Tons of features, excellent upgradability...Im very pleased. I would have liked to get the full speed iPod interface, but the only problem with that is that you have to use the head unit to navigate through the iPod; with this unit, you can get the Alpine KCA-121B Male Ai-Net to Female RCA Adapter and connect your iPod and then youd be able to use the click wheel on the iPod for navigation - which is what Id rather do anyway. As for radio signal, I havent had a problem with weak radio reception or finding my radio stations...everything works great for me.

I never thought Id like a flipdown faceplate - but after using this one and seeing the automatic motorized close - its great.



i was a little worried

Written by: tberd99 from Nokomis, IL on February 10, 2006

2004 Chevrolet Malibu

I was a little worried reading some of the reviews about how alpines decks got horrible reception, but i'm haveing no problems whatsoever, so far so good i get every station that i like clear as a bell, i was also a little worried with the unit because i replaced a t.v. dvd unit and i didn't know how i would like going back to a regular deck, i'm happy with the choice i made with this unit and i feel everyone else will too, i looked at the 9853 & 9855 the whole glide touch really didn't appeal to me i checked them out but this one was by far the best in being user friendly, along with the 9851 i replaced all my factory speakers the sound is unbelivable i'm very happy with alpine



Another great Alpine

Written by: Nathan from Michigan on February 8, 2006

1999 GMC Jimmy
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

When deciding upon an aftermarket radio to replace my half-lit, over-sized buttoned GM Delco radio, I knew first and foremost I wanted to buy from Crutchfield. Best service, shipping and prices are great. No other internet electronics retailer comes close in my opinion.

With that said, I chose to go with this Alpine. I bought Alpine before and was very pleased. At first I was tempted to buy a receiver with animated displays, but after being in a car with one of those recievers, I quickly changed my mind. Too bright and a pain to access features. Who can watch an animated screen while driving anyways?

This Alpine has a gorgeous display with appealing colors. The text is an easy to read size with a bigger display than most other Alpine's. The remote is great. It's compact with only the essential buttons on it (unlike other manufacturers who puts so many TINY buttons on their remote, you have to search for the one you want while driving). I was immediately able to adjust my settings, rather easy. My speakers vastly improved as well with this receiver.

I've read two prior reviews on this reciver that state the station reception is horrible and it does not "text label stations." That was one of my only setbacks prior to buying this Alpine. I've had neither problem though. My prior factory radio only picked up 4-5 stations when you pressed seek. With this Alpine, it now stops on at least 20 stations. Reception is remarkable and is rated better than most recievers if you look at the specs. As for text labeling stations, it allows you to manually text label up to 18 stations.

Awesome radio, awesome price. Highly recommended!



Bad Radio Reception is an Understatement

Written by: Dylan from Orange County, CA on February 7, 2006

1992 Chevrolet G Series
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I read all the reviews and looked at the unit in the stores before purchasing. This unit has a nice screen and nice features. I ended up passing up on the Alpine KCA-420 iPod Control Interface for the Alpine KCA-121B Male Ai-Net to Female RCA Adapter because you cannot use your iPod in shuffle mode and everything has to be played off a playlist which I am glad I did now, plus I saved $100. But back to my title. right off the bat I installed a brand new power antenna (this system went into a van with no stereo) and a FM/AM signal booster. Now that I have had some time to use the unit, I can honestly say that the radio reception is still horrible. It is sure a good thing that I have an iPod with 5885 songs on it.



Alpine CDA-9851

Written by: albin from Puerto Rico on February 7, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Este CD receiver es excelente, tiene muchos "features", la pantalla se ve fenomenal, lo recomiendo.

Translation courtesy of Crutchfield's Spanish Sales & Support team: This CD receiver is excellent, it has a lot of features, the screen looks phenomenal, I recommend it.

Be sure to check out our Spanish site.



Great deal!

Written by: avidlistener from ME on January 21, 2006

1997 BMW 5 Series
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I recently replaced the stock head unit in my 1997 BMW 540i with the Alpine 9851, and it made a significant difference in sound quality. Next would be a speaker upgrade. I could have purchased the same deck from ebay, but I would not have received the free installation kit, antenna adapter, and wiring harness, as well as the technical support that made my install a breeze. The 9851 was an excellent recommendation with no regrets.
Thanks Crutchfield, there's a reason I keep buying from you!!!!!



Alpine CDA-9851

Written by: charlie from phoenix, az on January 19, 2006

this is by far the best deck ive heard for the price. i had a sony deck in my truck earlier, i replaced it with the 9851 when it broke after only 7 months. the alpine exceeds the sony in every way. the sound is much crisper and cleaner, and it works well with the 2 12in type r subs and the type r s 6 1/2 speakers i have. my system is all alpine and im very happy with it.



best deck ive ever owned

Written by: Sam from Shakopee, MN on January 17, 2006

this is got to be hands down the best deck i have ever owned it sounds awsome and give enough power to my amp and subs 2 alpine type r 10's sounds great and alpine has done great in the past and is getiing better alpine is deffinetly one of the best brands out there and the price is unbeatable for the quality you get



Alpine Head Units are second to none

Written by: Eric from Sacramento, CA on January 13, 2006

2003 Chevrolet TrailBlazer
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have had many other brands of head units in the past, Pioneer (3 Stars), Clarion (4 Stars), and Kenwood (2 Stars), but the Alpine far exceeds them. The sound is incredible out of this head unit. The Bass adjust features are fabulous, and I love the BBE. The display looks great and the tilt face is a very cool feature. Just a fantastic head unit.



Alpine Rocks!!

Written by: Hector from Coral Springs, Florida on January 11, 2006

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I recently had my Alpine CDA-9827 stolen from my car,
and had to find a new radio/cd player to replace the one I lost;I looked at several other brands like Sony,
JVC,Pioneer, etc..Let me tell you there is nothing out there that looks as good and sounds as awsome as my new Alpine;just the clarity of the fm reception alone compared to the static and hissy sound from the others convinced me to look no furher.I also just installed my xm tuner to my xm ready receiver and I'm just thrilled at the seamless combination of the the two.
I'm running the unit thru a Profile 4 channel amp and Infinity Kappa speakers.The sound is AWSOME.You could spend more for less quality, but why?



Sounds sweet in the F150

Written by: Kalani from Woodbridge, VA on January 11, 2006

For the price, can't beat it. I replaced the stock F150 CD player with my Alpine that I got for Christmas and it rocks unreal. I love it.

I also burned MP3 CDs on my Mac just like sacman, New York, NY, but my MP3 text shows up fine. I had to put the display on the right setting to do it, but it works great.

I already had a XM FM modulator installed in my truck, so I just unplugged the antenna and stuck it in the new deck and it works 100% better. My old deck didnt have the power to listen to the XM at any good volume. Now it cranks.

I also got the Polk DB 570s. Changed out both front and rear pair in about 5 mins per speaker. It was easy even for me.

My only advice is to take your CDs out of your old unit before you put the new one in. I forgot to. :)



Alpine does it again

Written by: Ter from Music City, TN on January 6, 2006

2003 Ford Mustang
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've been missing my old Alpine cassette deck for years. No big-name head unit could replicate the crystalline sound of that player, and after spending hundreds of dollars, I thought perhaps my hearing had become impaired over time. I gradually gave up on system tweaks, settling for whatever indistinct, semi-acceptable sound came from the doors and rear deck.

Then I installed the CDA-9851 with Crutchfield's wonderfully clear instructions. Joy of joys, there it was - that awesome, powerful music I used to love - coming from STOCK speakers, no less!

Bypassing the animations that play on the screens of other head units, I compared specs. In objective comparison, those are intriguing but I don't watch the radio while driving, so S/N ratio and frequency response matter more than does the ability to entertain nonexistent tykes in the back seat. The numbers are superior to many other HUs in this price range, and equivalent to some Alpine decks costing much more.

There are abundant customization options for practical things like subwoofer control, scrolling ID tags and BBE road noise compensation. For times when reaching the dashboard is just too much of a stretch, there's even a remote. The CDA-9851 can also navigate through selections on an iPod with the optional controller (ordered separately).

This head unit has reawakened my love of concise, powerful bass and clear treble. It's time to start puttering around with upgraded speakers and amps again. I can't wait to hear what the CDA-9851 will do for those. Thank you, Crutchfield.



Great Value for Cost and Perfect for a Mini Cooper

Written by: sacman from New York, NY on January 2, 2006

Bought this unit and the Sirius and iPod adapters and they work like a charm. The only issue I am having is the receiver isn't reading the text of my MP3s from the CD-R. It's probably because I burn them with a Mac, but with Sirius and my iPod I won't be burning to many CDs in my future.



Competition quality

Written by: Dan from Sarasota, Florida on December 30, 2005

If your planning on doing mobile audio competition, this is a great "starter" unit.
Key notes to notice, the 105 s/n ratio is outstanding.
3 Preamp outputs add flexibility. The ability to turn off the sub preamp output makes SQ judging a breeze, so your subs dont pull the soundstage to the rear, then turn it on for SPL competition.
You can compete against the big guys, and not break your pocket in the prossess.
4 first place and 6 second place wins for me, all being led by my Apline 9851.



Can't beat it for the money!

Written by: James from Putnam County NY on December 27, 2005

2004 Hyundai Sonata
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My first Alpine.. what was i waiting for! This is a very user friendly interface with all the necessary controls plus some for those who like to dabble. I am using stock speakers for the time being i plan on upgrading soon . Don't hessitate it's great !!!



Could be better

Written by: Juan from Dickinson, Tx on December 5, 2005

This Alpine radio is ok. The thing i did not like about it is it did not have a high pass filter to eliminate the bass from the main speakers. When your playing the music the music sounds crisp at vol. 20 but after you start turning it up more it just loses it sound quality.



Best Bang for the buck!!!

Written by: 2005f250diesel from Cincy, Ohio on November 21, 2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have always been a fan of Alpine car stereos and this is my third one. I have had Kenwood and Pioneer and I always seem to come back to Alpine! This time around it was the CDA-9851, which for the price is an outstanding unit! It has remote control capability, which with the addition of a "PAC SWI-X" kit I could keep the steering wheel control capabilities. I also purchased this unit because of the XM-Radio hookup/control, which I found later I needed two extra pieces of gear, which I was not happy about. I would have much rather had the tuner included inside the head unit and not as an addition which I have found issues with as far as space to hold the extra attachments and the problem with synchronization with the XM-Radio receiver. (See my review XM Satellite XMD1000 and XMDALP100) The CDA-9851 is a snap to setup and I really like the fact I have crossover control to my speakers and my subwoofer. This is a top-notch unit and there are really to many features to list/review so simply put this unit is probably the best bang for the buck.



Best addition

Written by: Nick from Atlanta on November 19, 2005

I have a 2nd generation explorer and had first decided to replace my speakers, thinking that was what was lacking. So I replaced my factory speakers with the Infinity reference 6x8 component speakers. Sound was better but it was still all midrange. This is when I decided to purchase this Alpine. I installed it the same night it was delivered (took only 2 days to ship) and it took me about 2 hours (half of the time was in the dark with only a flashlight). The interface is amazing, i love the ease of use and tilt function. Sound is louder, more detailed and its mp3 supported, so you can put 100-200 songs on one disc then scroll through the songs on this Alpine to select the one you want. Sound is detailed at any volume, and it just looks cool. The FM reception is amazing compared to factory, and this thing gets loud. The only thing I would recomend is getting some high quality spakers with a high RMS wattage so you don't have to worry about blowing them with this powerful system. This system makes driving that much more enjoyable, and can't wait to play around with all its features some more.




Written by: Kirk from Madison, WI on November 18, 2005

2001 Dodge Grand Caravan
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Well i just installed the Alpine in my wifes 01' Dodge Caravan. Super easy instructions to follow and very easy install and i'm not really a do-it-yourselfer. I had already replaced the factory speakers and it sounded good, now w/the Alpine it's just KICKS. It sounds as good as the Factory Bose system in my GMC Sierra. Can't wait to hook up an Ipod w/the Alpine Ipod receiver!

Thanks Crutchfield....exceeded my expectations again!!!!




Written by: Bill from Denton, TX on November 12, 2005

I recently bought my first Alpine, and WOW is it cool. 6 or so weeks ago I ended up with a Pioneer and it was stolen out of my car. The pioneer was ok, it was certainly cheaper, but the difference in the Alpine is worth the little extra cash. Needless to say I've started taking the faceplate with me everywhere I go, it's a real pain but thats the price you pay for an aftermarket stereo. Anyway, i had replaced all my factory speakers, put in an amp, and all that good stuff but when I plugged the Alpine in you would not believe the difference in sound quality, it totally blew me away. I'm definetly looking forward to playing with this some more.

On a less that positive note, there is a "mute" button on this reciever, however it's not really a "mute" button. It lowers the volume by 20db is all. Kinda goofy but whatever.



Can't go wrong with ALPINE

Written by: felipe from El Paso, Texas on November 9, 2005

This unit is great! Looks really sweet and all feautures are awsome.



good stuff

Written by: christopher from dandridge, tn on November 6, 2005

2000 Ford Mustang
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

i think this deck is awesome and works great



CDA-9851 with iPod adapter: Nice system

Written by: L M from The Great White North on September 28, 2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I love everything about my 2004 Jetta 1.8T wagon except the VW (Panasonic) stereo. The midrange was boosted way too high; it was like listening to AM radio. Yuk.

I also wanted to play my iPod mini directly through my car stereo. I had used AUX adaptors in the past, but since I was going to get a new car stereo anyway, I figured Id get a nice iPod adaptor, too.

First I tried the Blaupunkt Bermuda. It was a perfectly fine system, but their iPod adaptor wasnt released yet. After Crutchfield told me thered be an additional delay, and after I went to Blaupunkts UK site and saw that their iPod adaptor didnt show song names on the Bermuda, I decided to try something else.

Crutchfield took my Bermuda back at no cost (not even shipping), though it was slow. I upgraded to the Alpine CDA-9851 with Alpines iPod adaptor. I really like the large, easy to read screen. (But why cant a car stereo look as sophisticated as an iPod?)

My dad always said that the speakers were the most important part of any stereo system, so I was surprised at how much better the Alpine sounded even with the stock VW speakers! Truly a night and day difference.

The iPod adapter is the cats meow. It charges the iPod, turns it on and off automatically, and scrolls through the playlist names and displays your option of title, artist, or album. Display/selection speed is fine. Even displays characters with accents on them (diacriticals).

Minor issues: too-bright display at night; no steering wheel volume control integration.

If you want a moderately priced, high quality system for your iPod and/or MP3s, put this Alpine at the top of your list!



Awesome Deck By Alpine Once Again

Written by: K_Smith from Holland MI on September 24, 2005

I put the Alpine 9851 in my 1995 GMC Jimmy and was a breeze it put install. This deck looks great and it performs almost just a well. There is one thing I think could have been improved on it - the radio reception on the deck is not the best. In fact my stock deck was better. The Alpine is rather fuzzy when on the FM or AM bands. I dont subscribe to XM so i dont know how well that comes in. But if you listen to alot of CD's this deck is sweet. it plays all kinds of formats with no problem and they sound really good. I also really like how the 9851 is really good for sound tuning and customizing. There are so many settings to change how everything sounds to just the way you want it. All my friends say they wish they would have gotten an Alpine over their JVC or Pioneer or whatever even though it is on the more expensive end of the spectrum. But overall the Alpine 9851 is an amazing deck and I would definately buy again



First alpine

Written by: Ian Steele from Gainesville, FL on September 14, 2005

I have been very pleased with this unit so far (had it about 3 weeks). I went with this model because it doesn't have the glidebar (which it seems a lot of people don't like) but it does have a nicer screen then the lower end models.
I picked it up off the scratch and dent section of this website - what a steal. There was only a mark on the box - the HU was completely new. With Crutchfield great return policy it wasn't much of a gamble anyway, but I saved some dough.
I installed it myself, first car install and it was relatively easy. Wiring time (on desktop out of car - 30 minutes) and installing time (30 more minutes).
Really nice sound (compared to previous owned Sony and obviously factory stereo)
Nice looking
A whole lot of customization
Best ipod interface (still not perfect, but the best out now). This was the main reason I bought this unit. I tried out a lot of interfaces. Most are bad - this one is decent - there are no great ones yet.

2V outputs (not a problem for me, but maybe for others)
No equalizer
Expensive (but lowest priced alpine with a decent screen)
Wish it had a setting to scroll through all the data on MP3 disks or ipod not just song title or album title or artist. It would be nice to see song title sroll, then artist, then album name. Not that big of a deal.

BTW - No problems with radio reception here. Maybe my factory radio had bad reception so I have nothing to compare it too, but no noticible difference.



Alpine installed in 2005 F150 xl supercab work group

Written by: 2005f150sc_man from Charlotte, NC on July 30, 2005

Bought this radio for my new 2005 Ford F150 XL Supercab work truck. This truck came with just a standard FM/AM Radio, no CD player. I did not have the option via FORD to get the SIX disc MP3 player. They say that model only is available with XLT model or better. I guess it is do to the wire harness. I ordered the FORD single CD disc player with NO MP3 capibility but changed my mind before delivery when I found out they wanted $485.00 to add their cheap radio/cd player. I have stock 6x8 speakers both in front and back of truck. This truck is a work truck with vinyl seats and vinyl floor. I have been an Alpine guy since the early 80s and continue after hearing this unit :)
I never thought this after market player would look and sound so good.
This unit is way under rated for power. The volume will go as high as 35, I run it normally around 8!!!
I had this system professional installed. I did not want to play in doing it myself. It was worth the $50.00 to have someone do it for me. I could easily blow the stock speaker in my Ford with this Alpine. The guy that installed it for me recommended that I stay with the stock speakers until I fry them. I can honestly say it sounds SO much better than the cheap Ford stock radio I had in there. I would have given this unit 5 stars, but I would have liked to see Radio station call information automatically displayed. This unit does not do that.
The display is very clear, and easy to read, programming is fairly simple. Radio station pick up is slightly above average. CD Sound is much better than expected for still being played through the cheap stock speaker. I will write a follow-up review when I change them out someday.



Alpine Quality

Written by: Mike from Mooresville,NC on July 19, 2005

1997 Dodge Ram 1500

The only head units I buy now are Alpine. This will be my 5th Alpine head unit I've owned. This one is definately the nicest looking and has the most features so far. This unit has some nice features you can actually use and isn't difficult to figure out how to adjust everything. I chose this one cause I read about everyone not liking the new units with the glide-touch. I'd recommend this headunit to anyone that wants a nice looking unit with useable features.



I can always trust Alpine

Written by: Tolkien from Honolulu, HI on May 7, 2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

To make it short, Alpine has always made attractive yet conservative styled headunits. This is the 4th Alpine I've owned. This deck would be perfect if it had 3-4v preamp outputs.



Great CD sound....horrible radio reception...

Written by: sloppyart from Boulder, CO on February 23, 2005

2002 Honda Civic SI
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Installing this unit in my '02 Civic Si was a breeze. I just soldered the harness to the unit and pulled my dash. The directions to pull my dash were a bit vague, but the peep's in technical asst. had done an install on another Civic Si and told me exactly what I needed to know.

That being said, I'm not sure I'm going to keep this one. Playing CD's sounds incredible, even through the crappy stock speakers which I still have installed (thats another story...don't ask). BUT...The RADIO RECEPTION IS HORRIBLE. I need my Jim Rose on Sports Talk radio. I live 20 miles from the antenna for the station that broadcasts his show. I'm pretty sure it's a 50,000 watt AM station (950 am in Denver). With my stock radio the station came in great even 100 miles away during the day. Today I was driving past the antenna (1 mile away tops), and the station STILL didn't come in crystal clear (although it was at least listenable at that point). I also tried the FM reception (since the AM only worked for about 10 minutes of my 2 hour drive today). The FM reception wasn't too great either. I usually don't listen to FM (my musical tastes don't seem to be what most people want to listen to). The only station I could get in was a country station (yeck). I was always within 70 miles of Denver and couldn't really get any good reception on FM or AM. Maybe I have a defective unit, but if you listen to the radio at all, I would avoid this one.

I will give this unit 5 stars for the CD player and ZERO stars for the radio. That averages out to 3 stars. If you don't listen to the radio or are planing on getting SAT radio this thing rocks, otherwise beware.



Excellent and versatile head unit

Written by: Alan from McKinney, TX on February 23, 2005

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've been holding off getting a new head unit to replace my factory unit in hopes that the 2005 Alpine models would address some of the issues with the KCA-420i iPod interface. Even though it was apparent from discussions on the Web that some issues still exist (slow scrolling, 255 song limit), I decided to go ahead and take the plunge. I haven't regretted it for a minute (5, maybe 10 seconds tops :-).

It took me a bit of tweaking the sound settings, but I now have them pretty much optimized to my vehicle. Being able to reshape the bass and treble filters is a big plus. I briefly experimented with the BBE settings, but they introduced too many undesired harmonics in my coaxial Alpine speakers. I've come to the conclusion that BBE is really only useful for vehicles with separate bass, treble, and/or midrange drivers.

I'm really happy with the extra control and display real estate that the swing face affords. I also like the dot-matrix text characters that are not available on the lower end models; even diacritical marks are faithfully reproduced (at least those in my current iPod library). I also like the fact that there's a dedicated iPod mode that forces the preset buttons into FUNC mode (no more needing to press F/SETUP to get at the M.I.X. and Repeat controls like on the 2004 head units).

I decided to let a professional install my 9851 through the InstallCard network because of past difficulties with getting the factory head unit out of the dash. Other than difficulties that the shop was having getting and processing the InstallCard purchase order, the install went smoothly.



Very Nice stereo, high quality

Written by: Christopher from Cape Coral, FL. on February 19, 2005

This is the first Alpine head unit I have owned, and so far it has outdone my expectations. It's great, nice display, the adjustable tilt for the face is one of the best things ever, without it it would have been a pain to see in my Camry due to the low placement of the stereo in that model. It has easy to adjust sound shaping(maybe a bit difficult to beginners).The sound is unbelieveable, clear, clear, clear. I have always been a Pioneer user, I still love Pioneer, but I was time for a change, well I made a great decision. Like the last reviewer said though, do follow all installation directions. I don't see anything written in the manual about the "always on" wire having to go to the battery, but the negative MUST be attatched to the body.
If you plan on using an XM Direct satellite tuner with this unit, good luck. I bought one the night I bought the 9851, and it would not work, I figured I got a defective tuner, nope I got another, same problem. I found out there is a compatibility issue. So I just hooked up a AUX input with the optional Alpine AUX input cable,which only CRUTCHFIELD HAS, and linked my Delphi Roady 2 up to it. Saved me from 2 XM bills...
All in all this is an excellent stereo, no complaints at all... I would recommend it without hesitation.



Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • CD/MP3/WMA receiver
  • Wiring harness
  • Sleeve
  • Trim ring
  • Face
  • Hard plastic face case
  • Wireless remote control (RUE-4202)
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 4 Countersunk ISO-DIN screws (M5 x 8mm)
  • Face fixing screw
  • 2 Radio removal tools
  • Owner's Manual
  • Manual correction sheets
  • Customer Care Registration card

Features and Specs

CEA-2006 Compliant Yes
RMS Power Output 18 watts
Peak Output 50 watts
RMS Power Bandwidth 20-20kHz
Preamp Outputs 6-channel
Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs No
Video Screen No
Preamp Voltage 2 volts
Display Color Multi-color
Key Button Color Blue/Green
EQ Bands None
Wireless Remote Yes
Steering Wheel Control Compatible ---
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year
AUX Input Optional
Audio/video Input
USB Input ---
Memory Card Slot No
Bluetooth Compatible ---
Satellite Radio Ready Both
HD Radio ---
Navigation ---
iPod Compatibility
Full size ---
Nano ---
Touch ---
Mini ---
iPhone ---
FM Sensitivity 9.3 dBf
European Tuning Yes
Seek/Scan Seek
Radio Data System No

Product Research

CD Changer Controls
Clock Display Note


CEA-2006 Compliant: The specifications given by Alpine for the built-in amplifier comply with the CEA-2006 mobile amplifier power testing and measurement standards from the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association). All manufacturers who comply with the standard can display the CEA-2006 logo on their product.

Satellite Radio Ready: There are several options for connecting an optional XM or Sirius Satellite Radio receiver to the CDA-9851. To receive XM Satellite Radio, you can connect the optional Terk XMD1000 Universal tuner (209XMD1000) and the Terk XM Direct Smart Digital Adapter for Alpine (209XMDALP1). To receive Sirius Satellite Radio, you can connect the optional Sirius tuner for Alpine (item # 607SIRALP1) directly to the head unit. A portable satellite radio receiver, such as the Delphi SkyFi or Sirius Sportster, can be connected to the head unit via an auxiliary input adapter. A compatible antenna and a subscription are also required to receive satellite radio programming from Sirius or XM.

SwingFace Mechanism: The CDA-9851's SwingFace mechanism provides an extra large multi-colored display area for ease of viewing. The motorized faceplate not only slides down to let you insert or eject CDs, but gives you a choice of three viewing angles or fully closed.

Dimmer: This unit is equipped with an illumination dimmer lead. When the unit's dimmer mode has been set to "Auto" and the illumination lead has been connected to your vehicle's headlight circuit, the display and button illumination will dim to a fixed, preset level whenever the headlights are turned on. If preferred, you may choose the "Manual" dimmer mode setting, so the display and button illumination is dim at all times.

Bass Engine: Bass Engine functions provide control over your system, so you can tailor the sound to your personal tastes. Bass Engine includes the following functions:

  • Bass Control:
    • Bass Center Frequency: Select from 60Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, or 120Hz
    • Bass Band Width: Select from 1 (narrow) to 4 (wide)
    • Bass Level: Select from -7 to +10
  • Treble Control:
    • Treble Center Frequency: Select from 7.5kHz, 10kHz, 12.5kHz or 15kHz
    • Treble Level: -7 to +7

Subwoofer Output: In addition to front and rear preamp outputs, the CDA-9851 features a dedicated subwoofer preamp output. The subwoofer output has an independent volume control, and can be turned on or off.

BBE: BBE makes vocals or instruments sound distinct regardless of the music source. You can select the level of the BBE effect (1, 2, or 3), or turn BBE off. Note: You can set different levels of BBE for each source. BBE is not available for AM radio.

Interrupt Feature: When a device having the interrupt feature (such as a cellular telephone) is connected to the receiver, the audio signal will be automatically muted whenever the interrupt signal is received from the device. The supplied wiring harness contains a pink Interrupt lead that needs to be connected to the device's interrupt signal connection.

MP3/WMA Playback: This unit can play CD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-RW discs containing MP3/WMA files recorded using the ISO 9660 Level 1 or Level 2 formats. MP3 files with constant and variable bit rates from 8 kbps to 320 kbps and WMA files with constant and variable bit rates from 48 kbps to 192 kbps are supported. Discs recorded using Joliet, Romeo, or other ISSO 9660 compliant formats can be played, but file and folder names will not be displayed correctly. Discs containing both standard CD audio and MP3/WMA data can be played; the unit may be set to play only the CD audio tracks or both types of tracks. ID3 tags v1 and v2, and WMA tags are supported; track title, artist name and album name ID3 tag data can be displayed.

Disc and Station Titling: Titles of up to 8 characters in length may be entered for up to 24 radio stations and 18 CDs.

Text/File/Folder Search: When you're playing a disc with CD Text, or MP3 tags, you can easily search for a track or file by its title. Once you have activated the search mode, you can use the rotary encoder to quickly scan through the titles to locate the desired track, and select it by pressing the rotary encoder.

Frequency Search: In the tuner mode, you can easily and quickly tune to a desired station by performing a frequency search. When Frequency Search is activated, you can "dial" in the frequency using the Rotary Encoder.

Power IC Off: When an external amplifier is connected and the built-in amplifier is not used, removing power from the built-in amplifier will improve the sound quality.

Remote Control: The receiver comes with the RUE-4202 wireless remote control. The remote can control volume, source selection, tuner and disc functions, as well as CD changer controls.

Steering Wheel Remote Compatibility: The CDA-9851 has a "steering remote control" input on the back panel. When used with the optional SWI-ALP interface (item #127SWIALP), you can retain the use of your factory steering wheel and/or rear seat radio controls when replacing the factory head unit in select vehicles. The SWI-ALP is compatible with over 95% of the vehicles made from 1986 to the present. Compatible vehicles include many Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hummer, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Suzuki, Toyota, and Volkswagen vehicles and Harley Davidson motorcycles. Please consult "What Fits My Car" to see if your vehicle is compatible.

CD Changer Controls

Ai-NET Compatible: An optional Ai-NET-compatible 6- or 12-disc CD changer (including MP3 Changers) may be connected to, and controlled by, the CDA-9851. With the KCA-410c Versatile Link Terminal (item # 500KCA410C), you can control multiple changers with this unit.

iPod-Ready: An iPod or iPod Mini can be controlled from this unit when connected via the KCA-420i Alpine Interface Adapter for iPod (item # 500KCA420i). While connected to the head unit, the iPod's battery is charged, and the artist/song title information is displayed on the face of the head unit. The unit's Quick Search feature allows you to search by playlist, album name, artist name, or song title. Random and repeat play functions are also available.

Optional Auxiliary Input: With the optional KCA-121B Ai-NET/RCA interface cable or KCA-410C Versatile Link Terminal, you can input audio from an auxiliary source unit, such as a TV, VCR or portable unit.

Clock Display Note

Clock Operation: This unit allows you to choose "keyed" or "unit on" clock operation. When the clock has been given display priority and the unit is turned off, the clock will be displayed whenever the ignition key is in the "on" or "accessory" position. If the clock is not given display priority, the clock is not displayed when the unit is off.

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.