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Alpine CDA-9856

CD player with MP3/WMA playback

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  • Alpine CDA-9856

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Item #: 500CDA9856
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Alpine CDA-9856

by Tim Sprinkle
Alpine

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 Authorized Online Dealer

Upgrade your mobile audio experience with the CDA-9856 CD player from Alpine. It'll play back all your CDs, including your MP3- and WMA-loaded discs. Hook up your iPod to the built-in Full Speed connection using Alpine's interface cable, and you'll be able to access and control your music collection with the CDA-9856's controls.

Bass Engine sound shaping gives you total control over the stereo's audio performance, and even lets you manage your subwoofer system from the driver's seat. The built-in BBE processor ensures lifelike sound from all your recordings. The CDA-9856 delivers in the style department too, with striking Alpine design, a detachable black flip-down faceplate, and blue button illumination.

Read more

If radio's your thing, you'll appreciate the sensitive AM/FM tuner, along with handy controls for an optional HD Radio or satellite radio tuner. Connect an Alpine CD changer to expand your entertainment options, or use the three sets of preamp outputs to hook up your amps and subs.

Highlights:

  • CD player with built-in amplifier (18 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
  • flip-down, detachable face
  • plays audio CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs (including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA music files)
  • Bass Engine (bass center frequency, width, and level, plus treble center frequency and level adjustments)
  • BBE processing
  • three sets of preamp outputs
  • Source Tone Memory
  • HD Radio ready (requires Alpine HD Radio Tuner)
  • controls for an optional XM or SIRIUS satellite radio tuner
  • controls for iPod with Alpine's optional Full Speed interface cable
  • CD changer controls
  • clock
  • CEA-2006 compliant amplifier
  • 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

Note: Sorry, Crutchfield cannot ship Alpine products to Guam or Puerto Rico.

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
General
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 Yes
Video Screen No
Preamp Voltage 2 volts
Display Color White
Key Button Color Blue/Green
EQ Bands None
Wireless Remote Optional
Steering Wheel Control Compatible ---
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year
Expandability
AUX Input Optional
USB Input ---
Memory Card Slot No
Bluetooth Compatible ---
Satellite Radio Ready Both
HD Radio Optional
Navigation ---
iPod Compatibility
Full size ---
Nano ---
Touch ---
Mini ---
iPhone ---
Tuner
FM Sensitivity 9.3 dBf
European Tuning No
Seek/Scan Seek
Radio Data System No
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

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

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 open the box, verify contents, 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.

Features
CD Changer Controls
Clock Display Note

Features

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.

iPod Full Speed: The CDA-9856 has an iPod Direct Connection mounted on a 6" pigtail on the rear panel. When used with the optional KCE-422i Alpine Full Speed Connection cable (500KCE422i), your receiver can interface with any Apple iPod with a dock connector. You can quickly and easily search through all of the music contained on your iPod through Playlist, Artist, or Album searches. You can view Artist, Album, Song Information and Song Number right on the head unit's display. The unit can be used with the following iPod versions:

  • Third generation iPod: Ver.2.3
  • Fourth generation iPod: Ver.3.0.2
  • iPod photo: Ver.1.0
  • iPod mini: Ver.1.3
  • iPod nano: Ver.1.0
  • iPod video

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. The unit is compatible with discs containing up to 510 files/folders, with a maximum of 255 folders. ID3 tags v1 and v2, and WMA tags are supported; track title, artist name and album name ID3 tag data can be displayed.

Text/File/Folder Quick Search: When you're playing a disc with CD Text, MP3 or WMA 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 Search button.

HD Radio Ready: The CDA-9856 can receive HD Radio signals when the TUA-T550HD HD Radio Tuner Module (500TUAT550) is connected via the Ai-NET connector. While receiving HD Radio, the unit can automatically switch between the analog and digital signals, or you can manually switch to the analog signals exclusively.

Satellite Radio Ready: There are several options for connecting an optional XM or Sirius Satellite Radio receiver to the CDA-9856. To receive XM Satellite Radio, you can connect the optional Terk XMD1000 Universal tuner and the Terk XM Direct Smart Digital Adapter for Alpine (700XMALPIN). 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 SkyFi2 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.

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 (default), 100Hz, or 120Hz
    • Bass Band Width: Select from 1 (narrow) to 4 (wide)
    • Bass Level: Select from -7 to +10 (-14dB to +20dB in 2dB steps)
  • Treble Control:
    • Treble Center Frequency: Select from 7.5kHz, 10kHz (default), 12.5kHz or 15kHz
    • Treble Level: -7 to +7 (+/-14dB in 2dB steps)
  • Defeat On/Off: You can reset the unit to its factory default bass and treble settings by turning the Defeat function on.

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.

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.

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/black Interrupt lead that needs to be connected to the device's interrupt signal connection.

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.

Wireless Remote Ready: The CDA-9856 can be controlled with an optional wireless remote control, such as the RUE-4202 (500RUE4202). The unit has a remote control sensor on the upper right corner of the faceplate.

CD Changer Controls

Ai-NET Compatible: An optional Ai-NET-compatible 6- or 12-disc CD changer (including MP3 and DVD Changers) may be connected to, and controlled by, the CDA-9856. With the KCA-410c Versatile Link Terminal (item # 500KCA410C), you can control multiple changers with this 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.

 
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Alpine CDA-9856 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

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2 out of 5

great sound auwfull ipod controls

Written By boeingman, Indianapolis on Thursday, February 03, 2011
 
The good:---- Sound is excellent. --Have had the unit for over 5 years and everthing still
works like day one.---- All the knobs and buttons are still tight.--- there are no burnt out
LED's.---- You can hook up an Ipod. ---The faceplate is removable and the unit looks
really good in your dash.

The bad: --- Ipod interface is absolutely terrible. The only way to enjoy this thing is to set
up playlists before you hit the road because it just is not practical to go around your
entirte menu searching for songs or artists or albums. Even after owning this thing for
over 5 years, I still have a hard time using the select functions for the ipod. This is
because it is so counter intuative. Forget about plug and play with the ipod. You
absolutely, positively , must read the directions to work the ipod controls. FM/AM radio
and cd player is easy to work but have I made my point yet--> The IPOD interface is a
nightmare!!! <---

The way I have adapted to listening to my ipod is to let this thing shuffle songs for me or
just play song after another for me or to select from a playlist I have created previously.

I wish Alpine would come out with an update to the interface program.

If this thing had a better ipod interface control i would give this thing a 4.5 out of 5 stars
but because of this I rate this thing a 2.

Again the sound is fantastic but the control for the ipod should be a deal breaker for
most.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Unit is great with an iPod. Install had one hitch.

Written By Eric W., Durham, NC on Sunday, January 21, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I installed the Apline CDA-9856 in my Subaru Outback 2003. I was impressed with the detail of the installation instructions that Crutchfield provided, but there was one gotcha when I pulled my factory unit. My unit was a 6-CD changer/receiver as a double-DIN in-dash unit tied to a nine-speaker system (4 tweeters, 4 door mounted speakers, and one subwoofer in the back cargo area). I was provided with a Subaru wiring harness that matched up with the primary harness on the unit, but there was a second, black 6-pin plug with two wires coming out that was not documented anywhere. A call to Crutchfield confirmed at my unit was a Panasonic and not the McIntosh upgrade unit and the best guess was that these two wires went to the subwoofer. It was not clear whether these wires were line or speaker level because I was unable to locate a secondary amp anywhere in the car. I attempted fashion a wire to plug into the Alpine unit's RCA subwoofer out and crimp onto these additional wires. I was not, however, able to get the subwoofer to work.

Otherwise the unit works great. I ran the ipod connector (KCE-422i) to the glove compartment to plug into my 3rd gen iPod. With 8,000+ songs and over 40 playlists, I was concerned how difficult it would be to navigate the unit. While the Alpine controls are not as intuitive as the native iPod controls, they work surprisingly well. I will, however, need to start shortening the names of my playlists since these don't scroll as I dial through them. Scrolling on the artist/album/song info works nicely as the songs play. Based on the reviews I've read, Alpine has one of the better iPod interfaces.
6 out of 8 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

amazing value

Written By will, Dallas, TX on Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is the first Alpine that I have ever purchased, and it will be the only brand that I buy from now on. The 9856 is the third after-market deck that Ive put into my current vehicle, and the only one in the $200 or less price range. It also sounds better than the other two decks, hands down. I was blown away by the sound quality that this deck produces, I finally feel like Im getting my moneys worth out of my boston acoustic pros. Ive noticed that some other reviews have complained about a lack of an eq. The fact of the matter is that you simply do not need it with this deck; just minor adjustments to the bass and treble, and this deck sounds better than ANY pioneer deck that Ive ever owned (with incredibly complex eqs). Other people have mentioned the display as being "boring," and not being able to view the artist and time and whatever else at the same time; I find the display to be refreshing. It is not distracting (very important when driving) and not gaudy looking on the dash. A common trend in the reviews for this product is a general disdain for the ipod navigation system: this is a valid complaint. The navigation for the ipod system is extremely counter-intuitive. More than anything it takes practice and patience. The only problem that I have had with this deck is that the face release button in the top left corner (which is neccesary in order to change discs) no longer works consistently. It has to be pressed in just the right way and is nearly impossible to open when needed, so I mostly use my ipod instead. This is the first deck that I installed myself, and with the crutchfield directions it was a breeze, just a couple of hours.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

As to be expected

Written By Frank, Houston, TX on Thursday, January 11, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Great install. Soldered up the harness and left the remote lead for later. Have yet to try out the XM but so far the ipod hookup has been running two days straight and offers such clear music it makes FM sound like AM...Navigation through the menus required me to have the manual handy a few times but it pays to just play through the menus to find all the different setting. I have read concerns about eq's on this unit. In my opinion set it flat and let it work. Boosting the bass or treble all the way is not a natural sounding system. If one of these is lacking its not this head unit....BUY IT you will not be disapointed.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Jeff D, Paoli, PA on Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This unit is very good for the price and for what it does - allow you to control an iPod through the receiver. I deducted one star from my rating because the interface is not very friendly. It definitely takes a lot of practice to use it correctly and even now, almost a year later, I still occassionally mess up searches in my iPod.

The worst part however, is that to scroll through songs or artists, you have to spin the wheel on the head unit which then cycles through each and every entry (I've got over 3000 songs on my iPod). And unlike the iPod, it does not sense you are trying to speed through the songs so it doesn't skip any. As a result (and why I took away another star), it can take a couple minutes to find a particular song which is extremely annoying. And that's not to mention you're generally not paying close attention to the road while scrolling through songs so it's also dangerous

3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Great Unit; Mediocre Menu System

Written By Eric, CA on Friday, January 05, 2007
 
The Good: Easy install, all connections perfect, all functions operational. The iPod interface is great and with the receiver's flexible equalization I was able to fine-tune the sound quite pleasingly. I can queue up a song off the iPod and start it up fast, and when I shut down the car and return later it will go back to that song seamlessly. The iPod happily resides in the glove box.

The Bad: The Alpine control system must have been designed by an IRS accountant. Way too many controls needed for each function. Very confusing to adjust the system options. Instead of just displaying the artist, album and track name on one screen, it scrolls them, one after another, slowly and slightly annoyingly.

The Ugly: As is typical, the default install has the unit sticking out from the dashboard bezel half an inch, with the obligatory generic trim ring. Clean, but it screams Please Steal this Aftermarket Head Unit. I'm maybe gonna try recessing it this weekend and filling in the standard aftermarket-head-unit gap around the face with some black foam weatherstripping or some such.
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4 out of 5

Great Features but Slow iPod Controls

Written By Brandon, Springfield, MO on Thursday, January 04, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Overall, I'm very pleased with this unit. Installation was a snap and the features are all fairly straight forward. I've only had to peek at the owner's manual once so far.

I chose this Alpine over some other brands because of the high marks it received for its iPod controls. While I'm very pleased that all commands are immediate (no lag time), I am disappointed with one thing. When searching, whether by artist, song title or album, the unit ALWAYS goes back to the beginning of the alphabet instead of picking back up where it left off. This would be fine for Nano's or Mini's but I have a 30GB iPod with nearly 400 different artists (and still growing!). My eyes have to be off the road and on the display for far too long to find what I'm looking for.

I guess nothing can really replace the genius of the iPod click-wheel. At least my iPod is stored out of harm's way.

I also purchased the optional aux input and it works great. I simply had to navigate through the setup menu to turn the input on. I used it to patch in my XM Roady and it's a VAST improvement over the FM modulator setup I had previously!

This Alpine unit packs in a lot of great features and plenty of room to grow for a very reasonable price. And of course, Crutchfield got it to me quick and were very speedy in responding to the question I had for them.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Covers All My Bases

Written By Shane, Riverton, UT on Sunday, December 31, 2006
 
I purchased this deck when it first came out and I have nothing bad to say about it. It is extremely universal with its iPod and ai-net connections. The internal amp drives my 4"'s and 6"x9"'s well. Bass Engine and other sound controls give you lots of tools to tweak your sound.
This is an awesome deck and I would recommend it to any one along with all of alpines other products! FIVE STARS!
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Nice Stereo; Get the 422i iPod cable and you're set!

Written By Healymonster, Pittsburgh, PA on Sunday, December 31, 2006
 
Great stereo for $200 range. Crisp, clean, sound. Adequate power. Nice (not luxurious) display. Decent sound tweaking ability. Adequate connections for typical system (I'm running a separate amp / sub). Switching between sources (tuner, CD, iPod)very fast!!

Speaking of iPod (the reason I bought it), get the KCE-422i cable and you're golden. iPod control is flawless. I have 80G iPod loaded with 300 albums (about 3600 tracks). I scroll through that as fast as I can turn the volume knob. Near instantaneous searching. Can search on album, artist, playlist, or song, (why would you ever search for a single song among thousands??? Even on a computer that's pure torture). Display instantly shows all relevant track info from iPod. Some key points most reviewers don't mention is it shuts iPod off when engine off, and resumes playback at same spot when engine turned back on. iPod sound quality is perfect (224Kbps MP3's).

Cons -
- blue button LEDs a bit too bright (distracting).
- selecting artist, album uses different button than selecting song (minor inconsistency, deal with it).

I read dozens of reviews on other iPod connections. They're all bad(including Alpine's 1st attempt). They either have dumb limitations on # of tracks or info displayed, buggy, iPod loses place when car shut off, or SLOOOWWW. The Alpine "full speed" solution just works.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great Player!!!!

Written By Evan, Marshall, Mn on Friday, December 29, 2006
 
I got this cd player for x-mass and i am very impressed with it! I installed it im my 2003 Grand Prix SE and it went in allmost wihtout a hitch. The only problem was that the adapter for the new sterio was a little to big for the slot in the car so i had to take a file and file off some of the plastic so that it would fit in. Otherwise the instalation was flawless. I didn't even have to bend the tabs to secure the radio it fit in so perfect! And the sterio itself is awsome. i hook it up to my ipod nano and i have all my songs and it is so nice not having to deal with the cds. i have allmost 500 songs at my fingertips! the controls however could be a little easier but you get used to them really quick! And i wish it would allways display the clock wile cycling though the song info. Other wise this was a great sterio for someone who has a ipod! and the styling is great. it looks really sharp and clean in the car! But i don't have any real complaints with this sterio! it is a Great sterio. don't hesitate to buy it. you won't regret it!
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4 out of 5

Good Head Unit nice Ipod Interface

Written By Matt, Yo Philly on Thursday, December 28, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I installed this unit into my 2004 Honda CRV. This is the first time that I installed a head unit into my car. This is part of my system which includes Polk 6500 (fronts), Polk 650 (rear), Alpine 40W amp, Sirius Sporster, and a 30 gig iPOD.

I got this unit so that I could use an Auxilliary input for my Sirius and the iPod interface for my iPod. Sirius sound great - CD quality Stern and the music stations sound terrific.

The iPOD interface is great I give this 4/5 stars just because it would be great if you could operate the iPOD directly rather than use the Alpine. Having said that though. Once you read the manual and practice it becomes simple and quick and very servicable.

The sound is terrific many adjustments to determine exactly what you listening preferences are. Installation was easy, I called tech support once or twice but the installation was simple and it was all done in about 1.5 hours.

The price is great. If you want more graphic features and multiple lines of text pay the extra $$ but I am pleased with this.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Just what I expected from Alpine - Great sound quality

Written By Doug, Springfield, VA on Sunday, December 24, 2006
 
For those of you who are thinking of purchasing this headunit (H/U), look no further because this H/U will please your ears. I've owned Alpine before and the 9856 is my 4th. This H/U is connected to an after market amp and speakers/sub, so, the overall quality is excellent. I can't really comment about other reviews where this H/U is running on factory speakers, but, generally, from experience, it should improve the sound quality of your car audio system.

Spend some time reading the manual and it will be much easier to go thru the process of adjusting your H/U. Overall, it's fairly easy. This unit has the basic functions and can do more. The extra features will require additional component installed to this H/U, such as Bluetooth, HD Radio and few others. I purchased this product for iPod compatibility.

iPod usage: 2 options in hardware for connection. 1-Alpine Full Speed Connex'n Cable (KCE-422i) OR 3.5mm RA-Stereo RCA cable. I'm using the RCA version. This works just fine IF (a BIG IF) the user sets the iPod to "shuffle" play and go. This cable does NOT do the following: charge the iPod, use the H/U as a controller for navigating thru your iPod.

As I said before, it's my 4th Alpine. That should say enough about this H/U.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Nancy, pittsfield, ma on Thursday, December 21, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
good deck!
3 out of 6 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great in 04 Honda Accord LX

Written By bobh344, Dover, NH on Friday, December 15, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
OK, I was somewhat nervous about putting a second radio in the car, as this installs in the pocket below the combination radio, climate control. Well, I am very impressed. The installation kit fit like a glove and don't need to bother with the $150 dollar trim/climate control unit. The stock radio/clock still has power, so all is good.

Now - the deck works great. It looks great, great display and the installation was very easy. The Ipod function takes some getting used too, but I am learning the ropes. The full speed cable is very functional and works great.

The sound is far better than the stock deck, no comparison. Excellent bang for the buck.

Crutchfield tech support was great and helped me through a problem that turned out to be a simple problem with the my car's interior.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Excellent product

Written By jaredgreenleaf, Kansas City, MO on Friday, December 15, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is my first after market cd player and needless to say I read threw a lot of reviews before deciding on the Alpine CDA-9856 and it was a great decision. It was everything I expected and more and at a great price. I couldn't be happier!
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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1 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Travis, San Diego, CA on Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Crutchfield has done me well in terms of its service and offering so this is no means a slam to Crutchfield. I bought this unit expecting HD radio. It will with an additional fee to buy the additional tuner.

I had 9815 before I absolutely loved the unit. The 9856 is a lesser version of 9815. Alpine is going the way of Sony in terms of its quality and product.

I should have bought the JVC instead. Ohh well I will do better next time. Remeber if you buy this expecting HD you need the additional tuner to go with it.
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5 out of 5

AWESOME

Written By TOMMYD3UCE, Vancouver, WA on Saturday, December 02, 2006
 
This deck is just great. I can't find any flaws about it. I remembered how to operate it within the first day of getting it, although ive always been able to do that. The sound quality is amazing, makes my Infinity's sound so nice its unbelievable
4 out of 6 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

Not awesome, but probably the best IPOD solution

Written By tsombrero, Seattle, WA on Monday, November 27, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I agree with most of what others have said but the user interface is really poor. To scroll forward through a menu, for example, you might have to press ">>", the "up" button, or turn the "rotary encoder" (knob). It all depends on which menu you are in.

To select, you might have to press the button with the funky pages button on it, "func", "mode", or ">". They could easily have cut the number of buttons on this unit in half and made it much more intuitive.

That said, once you learn the ins and outs, it is a nice unit. I chose it for its ipod integration and based on what else is out there I would choose it again.

It could use more power. I was hoping to get by without an amp.
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

wow...

Written By Jeff, Washington, NJ on Sunday, November 26, 2006
 
Wow... That was the first word out of my mouth when i finished installing this unit and listened to it... It was totally amazing. I got this head unit along with the Full Speed iPod cable for my 2001 Nissan Altima and it works like a dream. Like others have said, the menus are somewhat tedious but just read the manual and you'll get used to it... Even with my stock speakers (which are being replaced next week), it sounded so much better than my factory setup. I couldn't wipe the silly smile off my face for like two days straight... One thing to be careful with though.. the faceplate is kind of tough to put back on the unit after taking it off to put it away. But besides that, definatley get this unit and you wont be dissapointed..
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Awesome Head Unit!

Written By sergioc, Napa, CA on Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I installed this head unit in a 2003 Toyo Taco, and I could not believe how easy the installation was. The wiring harness provided by Crutchfield takes all the guess work out. The physical install is extremely easy on this model vehicle, literally only seven screws and about two hours of your time unrushed. I installed this H/U with the optional IPOD cable and then used the Alpine KCA-121B cable to install a XMRADIO Roady XT, so its all hard wired for optimal sound. I must say the sound is amazing compared to original car stereo. The IPOD controls are slightly difficult to get used to but would not not recommend this deck for this reason. I currently still have stock speakers and it sounds great.
6 out of 6 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Excellent deck

Written By Per, Seattle, WA on Thursday, November 02, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is a great deck for the ipod. I had been using an fm adapter with my old alpine deck and the signal was very prone to interference. The sound quality of this setup is excellent. I love the ipod controls on this deck, even if they are a little tedious. The ipod control is very fast and I was able to figure it out without the manual, so they must have done something right. This is a very well designed deck and I would highly recommend it.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Looks very nice, menu is not bad

Written By Oli, Washington on Monday, October 30, 2006
 
I got this deck for my VW corrado earlier this year. I like how it looks alot, and it is much better than my previous stereo, but there are certain fetures that I dont really like about it. The first main one that I noticed was the scrolling through the songs for the ipod. It takes a really long time to scroll down the list especially if you have tons of songs. Another thing I noticed is that when the sun is out its sometimes hard to see what the deck is showing at all.
Overall I like this alot, but navigating through the menus could use some improvement.
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4 out of 5

Great price and great item !

Written By Eric, California on Saturday, October 28, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
great item, i wish that you could change the color. together with free kit and easy instruction you cannot go wrong.... dont forget the full speed ipod cable is wonderful!
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5 out of 5

Excellent

Written By Javier, Miami. FL on Saturday, October 28, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
First of all I think Crutchfield did a great job helping me pick out a radio based on my needs. Delivery was fast. I only had one minor problem. I emailed tech support and they gave me an answer the next day. I asked another question based on their email and they responded within minutes. I discuss the problem in my review, it was not that big of a deal.

This radio was installed on my 2006 Mustang GT with the Shaker 500 system. According to Ford you could not replace the hu without changing the whole system as it would not work together with other components. Not only does it work, it sounds a lot better than the stock radio. The improvement is quite noticeable. I have read reviews were people complained that the reception for the tuner was worse than their factory radio. That is not the case with me, I have no problems with FM radio reception which was a problem with my pioneer. By the way I think the sound of this Alpine is so much better than my old pioneer from my previous car, at least with my current setup.

One thing to look out for if you have the Shaker 500 system, is that the factory amp comes with 5 volt turn on and the hu sends the signal at 12 volts causing a popping sound in the speakers when you turn on your car. I was told by tech support that all that is needed to fix the problem is to add a 12-5 volt regulator.

Overall I think this radio was a great purchase for me. It has improved the quality of my sound system without replacing the speakers. The XM signal is clear and loud, and the ipod connection is a
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Good HU

Written By Jeremy, California, PA on Friday, October 27, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This head unit is Good for the price. Has everything you need. THe iPod controlle is great just make sure the MIX IS TURNED OFF! or u cannot access the folders or playlists. Took me awhile to figure it out because the manual doesn't tell you. The radio reception is just ok but i dont listen to it that much. Love the subwoofer controll though. I have a 92 oldsmobile Cutty ...(Thanks Crutchfield)
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

great head unit until it was stolen

Written By Alexander, huntersville, nc on Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
i installed this head unit in my toyota pickup truck and i loved it. i installed it in less than 30 minutes. the i pod controls were great. i had the head unit for about 6 months, then when i walked out to the student parking lot at my high school after school and i had a broken window and no cd player.
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

very good

Written By chris, kansas on Sunday, October 15, 2006
 
This is a great hu and one of the clearest sounding out there. I purchased this about a month a go and wanted something a with a little more flash so I purchased a Pioneer 680 premier. Well I got more flash and fancy but lower quality sound. Alpine sounds better than pioneer hands down- for my set-up anyway. The 9856 is so much better sounding. Don't make the same mistake I did because in this price range it can't be beat. I know some people are not happy with with the features that Alpine cut out of this years units but all I can say is--maybe they don't need all that sound shaping. Just my two cents. Buy it and don't look back. Great product. 4 stars-could use a little more power.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Excellent Unit - Easy Install!

Written By Mike, Milton, GA on Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I installed this unit into a 1999 BMW 528i. It fit like a glove! Sounds wonderful, as well! The iPod controls took a bit getting used to, but now I can maneuver through the playlists and artists with ease. The display is easy to read, even in bright light. Radio sounds much better than the factory unit - I can now get stations that I was unable to get on the old unit! I highly recommend this receiver. Cruchfield's install guides are the best, and, other than a few user errors, I had everything installed in about 3 hours. Great product!
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3 out of 5

Okay

Written By Paul, Oakland, CA on Saturday, October 07, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought this unit mainly for the ipod interface and overwhelmingly positive reviews. Even though this was my first installation, it was pretty straightforward on my 2001 Passat. The ipod controls are quick and sound fine, but are a bit awkward to use. For instance, you can't shuffle and pick a playlist. You must first turn off MIX, then select playlist, then hit MIX again. The best attribute of the unit is the BBE processing. Normally I eschew tone controls, but this made a real improvement on the sound. The CD works well, but the radio is a real disappointment. I get static on AM everytime I go under the slightest overhead obstruction, like a bridge, the sensitivity is worse than my factory radio, and the sound on the radio is a bit thin. (The CD sounds fine) Although the blue buttons match my console lights, they are really hard to read. Bright blue light with white letterings is horrible on the eyes. (You can manually dim, but then you don't get the auto adjustment feature) Overall, I would say this is an overrated product. Not bad, but there are a bunch of shortcomings.
2 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Very Pleased

Written By Evan C, Santa Barbara, CA on Friday, October 06, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
After sending my HDR1 JVC CD Player back to Crutchfield free of charge I came across this Alpine and decided to switch my newly purchased JVC with this. Shipping took only 3 days and I was able to put this CD player into my Honda Civic with no problems what so ever. The display on this CD player looks wonderful and I have not had any trouble reading the display during the day. The sound is also wonderful, really clean and enjoyable. Although the CD player navigation was somewhat of a mystery at first, I kept the pamphlet in my car and after learning what does what, I can easily use this CD player. With Green/Black/Blue/ and White display this CD player is really good looking, especially if your car interior happens to be black. I feel like I definitly got my money's worth with this Alpine CDA 9856 and highly recommend it. Props to crutchfield for such excellent customer service over the phone. I was never put on hold and found the customer support people to be really helpful. Overall great CD player, great company, and I'am indeed very pleased wityh my purchase.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Unbelieveable

Written By Henri, Charlottesville, VA on Wednesday, October 04, 2006
 
This is the greatest head unit. Ever. I am running it in a 97 F150 extended cab with infinity Kappas up front and Polk MOMOs in back, pushed by an MTX Blue Thunder 50x4 amp and 2 12" Infinity 1242s pushed by a pair of Profile HA700s. This head unit manages all of those systems, and seemlesly blends them together. The extra two preouts (for a total of 3) are well worth the 20 extra over the CDA9852, and the control for subwoofer volume is great and time saving. THe iPod controls work very well, only I am dissapointed there is no genre search (easy fix: make your own genre playlists). DO NOT drop another 150 on the next model up - the only advantage is the Dot-Matrix display and its not worth it. Buy this and you will not regret it.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Excellent Choice...fit like a glove!

Written By Thomas, New Britain, CT on Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchased this HU based upon experience with Alpine and it definitely brings out the potential of my factory speakers in my 1998 Honda Accord. It gives multiple options to provide the best sound and navigating is a breeze. I didn't give this unit a 5 because it doesn't provided the power comparable to other HU's but still is an Excellent Choice!!
Secondly, although I didn't order directly through a Crutchfield representative I have to provide feedback on the stellar service Crutchfield has provided. Shipment couldn't have been any quicker and all accessories provided made installation a snap. I am currently in the market for aftermarket speakers and when you call Crutchfield they are more than happy to assist and provide guidance.
Thanks Crutchfield!
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Flawless!!!

Written By William, Decatur, GA on Saturday, September 30, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I just install my Alpine CDA-9856 this afternoon and all I have to say is, Flawless!!! This head unit is exactly what I wanted. No more, no less. It is perfect so far.

I may sound like a broken record but, Crutchfield's service, support and install guides are top notch. No other electronics store can touch their attention to detail. I even called tech support and they were great too. I could not be happier with my experience with Crutchfield!!!

The unit itself is great. I just bought a new video iPod a week ago with every intention of hooking it up in my car with this deck. So far I am extremely happy with the iPod integration. Alpine's implementation of the iPod intergration is A+.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

excellent product

Written By michael, Lander on Friday, September 29, 2006
 
this unit sounds great. I installed it in a 2004 Subaru Forester. I actually ended up taking it to a professional installer to resolve a wiring issue that made display lights flicker, but it was minor. Ipod controls take some getting used to but work fine. Excellent service from Crutchfield.
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5 out of 5

Great Stereo - Great Company

Written By Walter, Huntsville, AL on Friday, September 29, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I recently ordered the CDA-9856 and installed it just today. So first things first. Crutchfield was wonderful. While shopping, I had a question so I sent an e-mail message to customer service on a Saturday night. They got back to me on Sunday with just the information I needed. Ordered Sunday night and got my shipment on Wednesday.

Instructions were easy to follow. After checking their included list to make sure I had all the tools I needed, I removed my factory head unit and cd-player and replaced it with the CDA-9856 and a pocket in about an hour. Everything fit beautifully and everything I needed came in the package.

The unit itself sounds wonderful. I didn't replace my factory speakers, and this unit makes them sound so much better I don't think I need to. Sound is crisp and clean and rich and it looks great in my car (a 98 Toyota Camry).

I bought this unit mainly because it had (for me) the best method for connecting to my iPod. I punched a hole in the pocket insert I got and threaded the cable through that. Now I can plug in my iPod through the dock connector, charge while I'm listening, and control the iPod through the unit's interface.

I will echo what other's have said. You do need to read through the manual, as what button to press when is not always intuitive. But after a quick read-through, it does everything I need and I got the hang of it in no time.

Nothing bad to report at all!
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By erick, Middletown, DE on Sunday, September 24, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This HU is very nice and good looking. I've owned many HU's, and this is definitely the best bang for the buck! Radio reception isn't as good as my factory HU though...But I would still reccomend this product to anyone.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Gary, Chicago, IL on Friday, September 22, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchased this for the ipod control and the additional aux in for a portable sat radio. The ipod scrolling is nice because you can start to scroll in either direction quickly but the display information lags and doesn't show up until after the song is already playing. Selecting how to scroll (artist, playlist, etc.) is a little cumbersome. I also use a Harmon Kardon Drive and Play in another vehicle which I think has the best controller and display (thou the display housing could be smaller). The Alpine is sharp looking and sounds great!
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5 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Tyler, Hawaii on Thursday, September 21, 2006
 
Much better compared to the factory HU and I will recommend this product to all my friends. Crutchfield was very quick with shipping. I will always purchase Alpine products from crutchfield from now on.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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3 out of 5

good unit, bad for daily commuters

Written By tommy9un, NJ/NY on Thursday, September 21, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 

The fist unit that I got was Sony CDX-GT300. It had some integration issues with the iPod and the Sirius receiver, so I had to get something else. Alpine CDA-9856 is pretty slick and worked as advertised in every way with the rest of the components. However, I miss my Sony. Now, I know Alpine is better quality. But you don't get any frills. I never thought I would miss preset equalizer settings from the Sony unit, but along with DSS, the Sony unit made the sound come alive in my car with the stock speakers. The Sony comes with remote, which this unit does not. Sony's remote has more function, where as the optional remote on Alpine just has the basic volume up and down, forward backwards. No control for the channels, no way to punch in the satellite channel. Just trying scrolling from channel 11 to 148, really annoying. The display on this unit is worthless in bright sun light. I have to block the sun with my hand to see the display. Try doing that in bumper to bumper traffic or going 80 mps down the freeway and see how long it takes you to get into an accident.

I'm just a regular guy that spends 2-3 hours in my car every day. I swapped my stock head unit because I wanted iPod and Sirius compatibility. I don't plan to put in any more money into my car's audio after this upgrade. If you are like me, Sony or Pioneer will be plenty. The no frills functionality of the Alpine really hinders the units overall performance in my application.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Best I-Pod Player Period

Written By Chad, Birmingham, AL on Thursday, September 21, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchased the CDA-9856 for my 2005 Honda Accord. I chose this head unit primarily for its built in, full speed I-Pod controls. Without a doubt, this is the best head unit available to control your I-Pod.

This unit really does control the I-Pod at "full speed." It is VERY nice to be able to scroll through your song list or artist list with NO delays. You simply scroll through until you find what you are looking for, hit the button and you are in business. The ID3 tags can either scroll through artist, album, and song name, or you can have it set to not scroll (default)-- if you only wanted to show song or artist name.

I strongly disagree with others about the "complicated controls." First off, I sugest downlaodng the user manual from Crutchfield and read it a couple times while you wait on your shipment -- that really helped. Either way though, after reading the manual, it is very easy to control the I-Pod. You can search by playlist, album, artist, or song. You can then search for specific songs or albums under each artist, etc.

Here is the "complicated" part. If you are only selecting a playlist, artist, or album, you scroll to it and press play. If you search for a playlist, artist or album, THEN a specific song for that list or artist, you press mode instead of play. Big deal. What so hard about this??

As for the sound, etc, no problems here. This deck stacks up against other on its sound quality alone. But if you have an I-Pod, there is no other choice out there that can come close to this.
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Exceptional value....Fabulous Sound and Features

Written By MICHAEL, Chattanooga, TN on Friday, September 15, 2006
 
Taking a step into the iPod age, I purchased the Alpine CDA-9856 and an Apple 30G iPod Video from Crutchfield. I replaced last year's Sony 7715X (also purchased from Crutchfield) with this Alpine. Nothing wrong with Sony, but I could not be more pleased with the results.

The Alpine CDA-9856 fit like a glove in my 2005 Honda Pilot. As this was my second time in the dash, installation was easy with the supplied harness, kit and instructions from Crutchfield. I also purchased the iPod connection cable ($30 for full iPod control) and the Alpine remote ($20).

I disabled the internal Power IC on the Alpine, as I am using a 4-channel MTX amp and do not need the internal power (less heat and better sound according to Alpine).

I didn't expect better sound from the Alpine, as the Sony was pretty good. But I was surprised at how much better and less fatigueing the sound is from the Alpine. I also expected to miss the Sony's 7-band EQ....nope.

The Full iPod control is fabulous. Great sound from the iPod from MP3's at 192k using BBE setting '2' on the iPod. I love it! My wife even commented on how much better the sound is now than with the Sony.

I now have 1000's of songs at my fingertips and am not fumbliing around with my CD's while driving. The artist, album, song title all scroll across the display while playing. It is a little confusing to navigate the playlist features intially, but I seem to have the hang of it now.

The tuner is pretty good, but not as sensitive as the Sony. Overall, I can't believe you can get this basket of features, convenience and sound for $199. Incredible and very pleased.
5 out of 5 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

This thing is absolutely fantastic!!!

Written By Tom, Titusville, FL on Friday, September 15, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
First I want to commend Crutchfield once again on the great service and deal. I did find this unit a few bucks cheaper on other websites, but when you factor in all the extras you get with Crutchfield (install kit, harness adapter, tech advice, even stuff I didn't need) it's a no-brainer. Now, about the unit. I've owned Pioneer, Blaupunkt, Panasonic, and JVC, and hands down this is the best sounding out of the lot. It is priced like an entry level unit, but is packed with features that make it the best value in the market. The Bass Engine lets me set the EQ curve where I want it, and gives me way more flexibility with the whole dynamic range of the unit, not just the bass. Now for the BBE. For those who don't know, BBE's are used by professional sound techs to add depth and clarity to music productions, and that Alpine has added this feature to a $199 HU shows they are truly trying to give the best sound experience possible. Another plus, I went direct to the battery with the main power leads and am getting zero engine noise without a noise suppressor. As for the review that said the radio reception was terrible, I am getting 3 FM stations from Jacksonville (130 miles away) with this unit. So, all in all I am very pleased with this unit and definitely will purchase Alpine again from Crutchfield.
6 out of 6 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Satisfied with the Alpine CDA-9856 Stero

Written By Shy, Hanover, MD. on Thursday, September 14, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is one of the most productive investment that I've made in a long time. This radio has a very clear sound in my 4Runner truck. I was thinking about investing in some aftermarket speakers but after listening to this radio I am completely satisfied. The iPod cable added an even more fantastic feature of playing my iPod while driving. This radio is the Bomb.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

AMAZING X2 !!!

Written By xhippy, RICHMOND, VA on Monday, September 11, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
FIRST MY COMMENTS RE CRUTCHFIELD: AMAZING SERVICE. I PLACED MY ORDER AT APROX 2PM ONE DAY AND IT WAS HERE BY 1 PM THE NEXT DAY!!!
RE THE ALPINE HU: PRO: GREAT SOUND! NOW I KNOW WHAT OTHER'S MEAN WHEN THEY SAY IT IS A VAST IMPROVEMENT OVER THE STOCK HU, CRYSTAL CLEAR SOUND, ETC... I SEE NO NEED TO UPGRADE MY FACTORY SPEAKERS, ADD A SUB, ETC..BUT I MIGHT DO IT ANYWAY. VERY IMPRESSIVE! CON: COMPLICATED, MULTI-STEP ADJUSTMENT MENUS. TINY, DIFFICULT TO READ BUTTONS. OVERALL A WINNER!
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By John, Eldersburg, MD on Friday, September 08, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is a great stero. It is simple to use and the ipod hook up is great. It sounds good and looks good to. i think this is the best stero in this price range that you can buy.
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Niiiice!!

Written By Michael, Macomb, MI on Thursday, September 07, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
My son recently installed this head unit in our 2002 Beetle w/ Monsoon. The fidelity is awesome. There is no need to swap out factory speakers. The entire installation took less than an hour.

I had to give this one 4 out of 5 stars because the AM band is in fact, useless. We don't use AM stations so, it's not a big deal to us.
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2 out of 5

Pathetic Radio Reception

Written By James, Houston on Monday, September 04, 2006
 
The FM and AM reception is horrible. I've tried this model and the 9857, in 2 different cars, both new models are bad. Everything else works as advertised, but Alpine has traded off Ipod integration for radio reception. Or is it Alpines way of making you spend another $250 on HD radio?
2 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Kevin, San Diego, CA on Friday, September 01, 2006
 
WOW!!! This Head Unit is great!!! I just had it installed on my 2005 Hyundai Elantra. It was the first modification i had done to my stereo system so the speakers were still stock but the sound was still great but it could use some improvement. So I did improve it. I added some polk speakers to go along with the head unit. It is so loud with that combination. My next project is a 4 channel amp then a woofer. Some of the pros about this system is the led lights. The Blue is sleek. There are many more but I really recommend you trying this system out for yourself in whatever kind of car you have!!!
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5 out of 5

Really Great Deck

Written By jimithed, Virginia on Wednesday, August 30, 2006
 
I recently purchased this - upgrading from a Pioneer and i Really Like/Recommend this Deck. First off, just the cosmetics of it are great - the sleek black face w/ blue illumination is just awesome - and the rotary nob is wayyyy better then seperate buttons. I personaly LOVE the audio features - bass, treble, subwoofer control, etc.. & so far one of the best features is the ipod connection. Also, for only $200 you really cant beat that. Alot of great features for customization but not too many bells and whistles leaving you scratching your head saying what the heck? Now, Pros of this HU are definitly design, features/options and the IPOD connection (and the cable is real inexpensive - i paid like $31 after tax) and the great thing about that is you dont have to use the ipod itself - its all controlled thru the HU. Now, the cons are basically what everyone else says - the biggest one is the scrn. In the day - when its sunny you can barely see the lcd. If the suns directly on it forget it. But @ night its cherry. The 2nd (which only applies if you have the ipod cnnctd) is trying to scroll thru everything and the diff. playlists and artists to get what you want - take everyone elses advice and just make one or two folders of like 75+ songs you like and leave it on that. The third con - whichll only last like one day - is trying to navigate thru the menus. At first youre constantly looking down from the road trying to see what your doing, but like any deck thisll go away when you memorize the buttons/pressing and youll know exactly what to press how many times without even looking down. So all in all this is a GREAT DECK! Sound quality is awesome, & its great!
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Very Impressed

Written By Richard, Georgetown, TX on Friday, August 25, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I have been using mostly Kenwood for 20+ years but was a little disappointed in my last one (granted it was not as high-end as I have bought in the past, but I have to think of college funds these days). I have used other brands also but never Alpine. This time around I just wanted a good factory replacement head unit (using stock speakers) that could play MP3's and has decent, clean reception, as well as allowing for future expansion. I was trying to decide between a Sony and this Alpine, so just to be sure I went to a chain store to listen to both through their cheapest speakers. This one sounded far better than the Sony or any of the others I tried, but I was still concerned about using stock speakers.

Once I had it installed in my '06 Tundra (stock 6-speaker system), I was not disappointed. Radio reception is crystal clear without any hisses or pops, much better than stock or any of my previous systems. CD's and MP3's also sound great. Basically this deck lets my stock speakers reach their full potential. It won't get real loud, but with all the pre-amp outputs my options are wide open. The display is not too flashy, easy to read, and compliments my interior well.

The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is the user interface, which is not very intuitive. Most systems I can figure out without digging into the manual too much, but this one takes some getting used to.

Great product!

3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Dante, Raleigh, NC on Thursday, August 24, 2006
 
I bought this HU to replace one in a Porsche Boxster S. The Alpine is truly superior and sounds much better than the factory HU. The optional iPod connector is well worth the money and gives you instant access to 60 gigs worth of music while charging the unit. At first I was concerned about iPod song/playlist navigation, but Alpine makes it easy and effortless.

As for the install - I would recommend professional installation. I did the installation myself, only to find that the VW harness would only connect to 1 of the 2 factory harnesses. The speaker harness had to be cut and hardwired. The other problem that I ran into was alternator noise/whine. I grounded it every way imaginable - but could not get rid of it. After a pro stereo shop worked on it for 1.5 hours, they were able to eliminate it.

Crutchfield, as always was top notch with fast shipping and incredible technical support.

If you are looking for a great sounding HU at a great price, then this is the unit.
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5 out of 5

Major Improvement

Written By George, Albany, Ny on Thursday, August 24, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This was a replacement for a stolen JVC and being that the jvc was my first aftermarket reciever i thought the sound reproduction from it was superb. I was totally wrong the Alpine 9856 is incredible. At first the sound is rather distant but once you calibrate it, you really see where your money went. On my jvc i had no real perception of sound it felt like it was just a stereo with two speakers. ON the Alpine you hear the music coming as if it were a surround system. The highs are clear and so are the mid ranges. The bass on my system which consists of 3 way pioneers in the front and factory 6x9's in the back is definitely causing a bottleneck for this reciever. I also bought the aux output cable and the monster cable connection that makes the rca into miniplug and the sound reproduction for my mp3 player is clear unlike any of those cassette adapters or wireless transmitters. This unit is the same as the more expensive 9857 without the whole biolite display and this picture does not do it justice the display is clear and looks very sharp unlike what the picture shows. Got it from the outlet for cheaper then the retail and no regrets.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Better than buying an Aux. Adapter!

Written By Hyghgynx, Fresno, CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I wanted a better HU in my Scion tC that provided me with Artist, Album, and Track Name info while playing my iPod. This HU does not disappoint! For the $$, it doesnt get any better than this! Sound is hawt! Even with my factory speakers. Be sure to pick up the Alpine KCE-422i iPod cable when you purchase this HU. Its only $30! The cable also charges your iPod so youre good to go when you take it out of your car! For some of you with issues about finding songs, may I suggest "Smart Playlists". It groups ALL the albums (and songs) by a particular artist in one grouping accordingly. Makes finding artists/songs A LOT easier! Thank God the dial on the HU goes backwards though the alphabet as well!

For Christmas, I received SIRIUS Satellite Radio. (SIRIUS S50) I really didnt want to spend $150 on the Alpine KCA-410C Aux. Adapter. (Eventually. I will.) Did Alpine leave us out in the cold? NO! I used the Alpine KCA-121B Auxiliary Input Adapter instead and its a STEAL at $15.99! True, my HU doesnt display Satellite Radio info but thats what the S50 is for. The sound is amazing! I didnt know Satellite Radio had such clarity!

In my tC, I had both of these hooked up to an Aux. Adapter and my stock HU. Let me tell you that this Alpine HU sounds 100Xs better! So if youre looking into getting an Aux, Adapter, you might just want to look at this HU. This HU has many features (just read the Overview, I dont want to bore you here) and the Bass Engine and BBE processing are very nice! Kudos to Alpine!

THANK YOU Crutchfield for making the install process a snap! Shipping was quick and the Master Guides were a really big help! Now thats what I call "Customer Service"
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Kevin, Racine,WI on Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I would have given it 10 stars but i'm only allowed 5. I'm 99.9% satisfied with my purchase and i'm glad i changed my mind from the panasonic i was looking at. the only thing i'm disappointed in is the radio's reception. At certain times of the day since the "oh so dazzaling" HD Radio came out i have lost reception, not completely just a little staticky. i also reconnected my old subs to this deck and didn't relize how powerful they are. The music clearity has definately improved since installing the deck and i still have the stock speakers in(i wonder how much better aftermarket speakers will sound).but my next add on will have to be an IPOD because frankly i didn't buy this to listen to the radio(but there are times i don't mind radio) but i bought it for the love of music and my endless lists of cd's an ipod surely will complement this deck.

P.S.- CHEVY owners the Metra VT-GMRC-01 is a must but is VERY LOUD follow instructions to lower the volume before you completely mount/install. i did not and don't have the time to pull my dash apart just to adjust the volume.
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5 out of 5

9856 + Ipod Adapter = Best Deal & Sound Hands Down

Written By Anthony, Texas on Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is my 2nd Alpine Deck... the 9856 sounds great, it really woke up my stock speakers and gave the 12" sub i added a cleaner sound. very user friendly, they got rid of that glide touch finally, the lookds and sound of this stereo is hard to beat for $199. the ipod adapter cord is fairly long, giving you room to decide where you want to route it to store your ipod. only gripe is that it doesnt come with a remote, but the remotes are only $19.99... the alpine sound is well above any other make!
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5 out of 5

2003 Silverado Z71

Written By Jeff, Torrance,CA on Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This head unit and Crutchfield are as good as everyone says! BUT, for anyone with a late model Silverado get the METRA VT-GMROC-01 as Crutchfield recommends. I wanted to eliminate the door chime altogether and din't buy this. I bought 3 different wiring harnesses at 20 bucks each, and none of them are able to supply the 12v switched power. I talked to a few people and this is a known issue. As for controlling the iPod, I have 15 gigs of tunes and controlling them from this Alpine is as easy as doing it directly from the iPod. And I have a 2nd generation with the old 2.0 and it still works! Trust me, you can't go wrong with this.

I also bought the Punch 75 and bridged it with a single 10" P2, left the stock Bose speakers up front and this thing hits hard.
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5 out of 5

AWESOME!!!

Written By Jeff, Ivor, VA on Sunday, August 20, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I have nothing but good things to say about crutchfield and Alpine. This reciever is top of the line. I bought it to listen to my Ipod in my car and upgrade from the Factory Infiniti Stereo in my 95 Grand Cherokee. It has FAR exceeded my expectations and I am very content with it. Simple to install with all of the crutchfield instructions and kits, and pretty easy to use.
Good Job Crutchfield and Alpine!
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5 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Eddie, Chi-City, IL on Saturday, August 19, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This headunit is awesome. I recently purchased this unit along with the iPod connection & all I can say is WOW!!! The display is bright & clear. Now with my iPod connected I no longer have to carry around my cd cases I just connect and go simply as that. I can't wait to get aftermarket speakers to hear this unit @ its best. Thanks Crutchfield
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5 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Ramon, Tucson,AZ on Thursday, August 17, 2006
 
This head unit is impressive! the bass engine lets me adjust my speaker bass seperately from my sub bass! I upgraded from a clarion. The sound coming from this head unit compared to the clarion is lots better the highs are crisp and clean and it is a good bang for your buck!!!
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5 out of 5

Incredible!!

Written By Rich, Maui, HI on Thursday, August 17, 2006
 
The Alpine CDA-9856 is just wonderful. Best sounding car stereo I've ever had. I replaced the top of the line VW "Monsoon" system (which was very good) due to a smashed faceplate. So this was my oportunity to get something that would integreate with my iPod. I don't know how I could be happier. The sound is WAY better than the Monsoon system, and the connection with the iPod is fantastic. Full control over the iPod is via an inexpensive adapter, and the song and playlist info scrolls across the screen on the stereo. It's slick, and even better than I had hoped for. Get this one and you won't be sorry!
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1 out of 5

Randy

Written By Randolph, Baltimore, MD on Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Great stereo. Sound is fantastic, for $200 I do not think you can do better. As always, Crutchfield was wonderful to deal with. The stereo was delivered the day after I ordered it, with all required accessories. I have yet to find another mail-order store that gives the customer support that Crutchfield does.
1 out of 26 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Alpine v. Kenwood Excelon

Written By skocis, Centerville, OH on Sunday, August 13, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Very nice head unit, I replaced a Kenwood Excelon 969 (with CD playing problems) that has more features than the Alpine unit. The Alpine has impressive sound clarity but wish it had more than bass/treble adjustments; however the sound is much cleaner/clearer than the Kenwood unit.

I'm using this head unit in a 94 Accord with a Profile 4 channel amp that drives Infinity Kappas 6x9 two way in the rear deck, and Infinity Kappa 6.5" component speakers in the front door. The highs are extremely crisp and most people are surprised I'm not running a sub with the low-end the 6x9's produce!

I don't think the extra $ to get A-9857 for better screen resolution, remote, etc. was worth it. Alpine has my business.
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5 out of 5

awesome

Written By Troy, sealy, tx on Thursday, August 10, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
took me two hours to install this, along with the ipod 422 cable and the terk xm adapater and antenna in a 2004 f250. crutchfield rocks.
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4 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Sz, PA on Friday, August 04, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Very good headunit for the price. At any price range more and you're just buying features that aren't necessary. If you have the money get one of those nav/dvd headunits. This though does all the things I want it to. Mp3 cds and iPod control are exactly what I need and all for only 230. Other headunits charge and addition 100 on top of their 200 dollar models for the iPod adaptor. The 9856 only charges 30 dollars. Really good deal and you get complete control over the iPod. I probably wouldn't recommend iPod headunit control if you have a large library and that pretty much goes for ANY headunit because a knob will never be faster than the scroll wheel on the iPod. I use playlists so that makes it more simple.
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5 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Evan, Boulder, CO on Friday, August 04, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchased this replace my venerable Rockford-Fosgate RFX8220 25W X 4 deck so I could take my iPod on the road. First let me say that Cruthfield rocks! I got this in 3 days from the east coast and it installed easily. There are a lot of signal processing features on this deck, bass/treble center frequencies, bandwidth, BBE processing, etc. Yeah all that is great but I would rather have Alpine put the extra money into an amp with 7-8 more RMS watts. My RF deck sounded better than this one. But for the 4 6.5 inch speakers I'm driving with this, and the iPod features, can't beat it for $200. I'll take it! I've got a separately amplified sub and it really makes the system. Good deck if you are upgrading your factory system and not looking to blow your doors off.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Great Stereo

Written By Alex, Hoover Alabama on Tuesday, August 01, 2006
 
This is a great Stereo for the Money. I got one of these mainly for the mp3 CD compatibility. Still have yet to try the Ipod yet. There are 2 Complaints i have about this, my radio static actually increased since getting this.. i have heard of problems like this with this model but i am unaware of how to fix this. Also all you 03 Civic owners out there i have a terrible glare for the way mine was mounted, the screen look really washed out. I'm trying to find some anti-glare stuff for it without decreasing the screen brightness. all in all it's a great stereo with the exception of a few minor gripes but for a cheap upgrade for your car it's the best
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5 out of 5

Sticking with Alpine after this purchase

Written By Jonathon, East Lansing, MI on Friday, July 28, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This Alpine is my fourth HU in 8 years. The sound quality is top notch and the display is easily legible and attractive. I've previously owned Kenwood eXcelon, Sony and Pioneer and the Alpine is far and away the best in nearly every regard.

I have this unit mated with the Alpine MRP-F250 4-channel amp pushing Infinity Kappas and the Alpine MRD-M1005 pushing a JL Audio 12W7. The clarity is incredible and most people are surprised to hear how good car audio can actually sound when in my 2000 Accord. After 2 months with this unit, I have only praise.
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5 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Joseph, Atlantic Highlands NJ on Thursday, July 27, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Installed this unit along with XM tuner pack to my 2005 Ford Escape with MACH audio system. Outstanding performance, total package teamed up with an IPOD with the interface cable. For the money its the best you could get. Sound is awesome even with factory speakers and factory subwoofer. Haven't had any problems with the display. I only wish the time was always displayed in all modes. Something that I can live with considering the outstanding sound.
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4 out of 5

Alpine CDA 9856 / iPod

Written By Chad, Thomasville, GA on Wednesday, July 26, 2006
 
ISSUE: Alpine HU cannot find iPod. It just says "searching" and the iPod jumps from the main menu to a screen with a check mark and the words "OK to disconnect." I called Crutchfield tech support and they told me to reset the HU - That didn't work. Told me to disconnect iPod cable from back of HU - That didn't work either. Told me to back out the latest iPod update - I didn't try that. Here is what does work for this issue - RESET your iPod. It's really easy. I have a 30g video unit. All you have to do is slide the Hold switch to the Hold position, then turn it back off. Then, Press and hold the Menu and Center (Select) buttons until the Apple logo appears onscreen (about 6 to 10 seconds). If you don't see the logo, repeat this step as necessary until the logo appears. This will take care of the error and the iPod and the Alpine will become friends again.

I really like the Alpine HU and all of the features it offers for the iPod. Crutchfield tech support was very friendly and helpful about this issue. However, they said they had never heard of it before. It is a known issue because I found some people in forums having the same problem. I hope tech support puts this one in the database for future help.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

Alpine CDA-9856

Written By Mark, Omaha, NE on Sunday, July 23, 2006