1.888.955.6000
 
 
1-888-955-6000
crutchfield.com
Crutchfield

Alpine KCA-420i

iPod control interface

Zoom
  • Alpine KCA-420i

    Front

Item #: 500KCA420I
 

Review Summary

DISCONTINUED
 
This item is no longer available to purchase.
 
Contact us for other options
 
Call   Email  
 
 
 
 
 

Our take on the Alpine KCA-420i

by Matt Freeman
Alpine

Why would I need an iPod® adapter?

An iPod adapter allows you to connect your iPod to your car stereo, then access your playlists with your stereo's controls - a great idea for several reasons. One, you can scroll through your song titles on your stereo's larger display, instead of squinting down at your iPod. Two, you can route the adapter cable to your glove compartment or center console, so your iPod stays safely out of sight. Three, the iPod adapter keeps your iPod fully charged, so it's ready to rock when you leave your car. And last of all, some adapters bypass your iPod's internal digital-to-analog converter, using your stereo's superior DAC to turn your files back into music.

Alpine Authorized Online Dealer

Forget about fumbling around with your iPod controls to change songs or albums while driving. Now, you can connect your iPod to a compatible 2004 Alpine in-dash receiver with Ai-Net connections (see below), and control all the functions right from the receiver! (Note: the adapter is compatible with all iPod and iPod mini models equipped with a dock connector and iPod software update 2004-04-28, or higher. )

The KCA-420i package includes a compact adapter module and two cables. Mount the adapter module in a hidden location in your vehicle, then connect one cable from the module to your Alpine receiver, and the second cable from the module to your iPod. Once connected, you can control virtually all iPod playback functions from your compatible Alpine receiver, including search (playlist, artist, album), track preview, and shuffle play (playlist, all tracks).

Alpine's Quick Search keys offer quick and easy navigation through your iPod's music menu, and you can set your receiver's Bass Engine controls to maximize the sound quality of your iPod tunes. And, best of all, the KCA-420i module automatically charges your iPod's internal battery as you drive.

Read a hands-on review of the KCA-420i at CrutchfieldAdvisor.com.

Compatibility Note: Be sure to check "Details" for specific iPod model compatibility with this iPod adapter.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • includes adapter module and two 78" connecting cables
  • for all docking iPods, including video iPods, iPod photos, iPod nanos, and iPod minis
  • access iPod with Alpine receiver's controls (compatible with 2004 Alpine Ai-Net receivers)
  • charges iPod battery while driving
  • artist/song info displays on Alpine receiver display
  • module dimensions: 5-9/16"W (with cables) x 1-7/16"H x 5-9/16"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

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

Features and Specs
General
Adapter Type
Loading...
iPod audio in w/ iPod control
Vehicle Specific
Loading...
No
Brand Specific
Loading...
Alpine
Parts Warranty
Loading...
1 Year
Labor Warranty
Loading...
1 Year
iPod Compatibility
Full-Size
Loading...
Classic/5Gen/4Gen/3Gen
Nano
Loading...
Nano4/Nano3/Nano2/Nano1
Touch
Loading...
Touch2/Touch1
Mini
Loading...
Mini2/Mini1
iPhone
Loading...
Phone
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • iPod interface adapter
  • 6.5' Ai-NET cable
  • 6.5' iPod connection cable
  • 2 Velcro strips
  • Four 5/8" self-tapping screws
  • Owner's manual
  • Quick Reference Guide

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

Overview: This adapter allows your iPod portable digital music player with a dock connector to be hooked up and controlled by a 2004 or newer Alpine receiver that uses the Ai-Net protocol. All the iPod buttons will be disabled when connected to this adapter and it will be controlled from the Alpine receiver. With this interface, you'll be able to play your iPod music files through your Alpine receiver and have all the titling information appear on the Alpine's display. Using the optional KCA-410C (item 500KCA410C), this adapter and a compatible Ai-Net Alpine CD changer can be connected to an Alpine receiver.

Note: The KCA-420i is compatible with all iPod models equipped with a dock connector and iPod software update 2004-04-28, or higher. It is also compatible with the iPhone version 1.0.1. This cable will not charge the iPod nano 4th generation or iPod touch 2nd generation without the Scosche passPORT (142IFWA).

Connections: The KCA-420i has the following connections:

  • Ai-Net Connection: located on the right side of the adapter. This connects directly to the Alpine head unit using the supplied Ai-Net cable.
  • iPod Connection: located on the left side of the adapter. This connects directly to the underside of the iPod portable digital music player, using the supplied interface connector cable.
 
Review this product
Great Gear Giveaway rewards card

Submit a review and then enter to win a $500 rewards card

Alpine KCA-420i Reviews

Average Customer Review:

51 people say:

Review this product:

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences about this product. Please be sure to focus your comments on the product itself. Read our Review Guidelines for more information.

Your email won't be visible. Please use the email address that is associated with your order.
(e.g., JohnD) Your review will be signed using the display name and location
(e.g., Charlottesville, VA)

Click on a star to rate the overall product on a scale of 1-5
1500 characters left
Attach a YouTube Review
Crutchfield Video Review Guidelines
  • Only submit videos that you made or are authorized to use.
  • Do not submit videos that contain music, video or visuals that are copyrighted and belong to someone else.
  • Please see our Review Guidelines for more information.
500 characters left
500 characters left
Filter by rating:
4 out of 5

Easy to use / Great sound / Requires Organization!

Written By Mike, Wichita, KA on Saturday, February 21, 2009
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I have had no problems using this with my 1st Gen iPod Touch, Alpine IVA- D310 and JL amps/speakers/subs. The hookup was easy and functions immediately. The sound is excellent, especially if I use the MX settings in the head-unit, avoiding those too bass-heavy

The biggest change is how I need to manage my music...more playlists than in the past to assist in getting to where I want to be. Also, if you like podcasts you will need to make a playlists for those or have them playing when you connect the iPod to the adapter.

Overall, worth every penny....good-bye satellite radio!
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
3 out of 5

This does NOT work with iPhone 3G

Written By Keith, Kansas City on Thursday, July 24, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Bought this as a ipod playthrough/charging solution for my new iPhone 3G and while it will do all of the ipod functions it will not charge.

Checking around the web it seems apple changed the pin configuration and disabled firewire charging, I am going to sit tight for an adapter.
9 out of 10 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Dongyoung, Sacramento, CA on Saturday, April 26, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
easy install!
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Kyle, Blacksburg, VA on Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The product is great. End of story. If you're big on music and don't want to sacrifice quality, while being able to control the iPod from the head unit without worrying about depleting the battery, this is for you.

If you read online reviews and the reviews below, you'll see the same few arguments, which I have not seen to be a problem. With the CDA-9855 it's not difficult to search for Artists or Albums. The charge problem is a problem with iPods in general, so it's not something specifically related to the 420i.

To me, if you want digital quality, with control and the benefit of not running the battery down, this is for you. I rip my music lossless - quality is very important to me. If you're more casual about about how it sounds and how it plays in your car, then this might not be your first option.

It's digital, it's control, it charges and it's hidden, so it looks great if you do it right.

It's a win-win and worth the price if music quality is important to you. Even if it's not, it ends up looking really good.
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Great product

Written By Jeffrey, Zelienople, PA on Thursday, January 17, 2008
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I really enjoy the broad range of music I have in my car now, with my Ipod. Sure beats carrying around a boatload of CDs. Installed quickly. Works great in all aspects.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Greg, Richmond, VA on Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Amazing clarity, superb by far in comparison to any FM transmitters. This adapter was simple to install with my alpine head unit and works perfectly with my nano iPod. The only downsides are it can take a while to find the song you're looking for if you have a large library, but that can be solved with some practical playlisting. I would definitely recommend this if you're not looking to buy a new head unit but are tired of the static and poor quality of FM transmitters.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Better than I expected

Written By PJ Levesque, CT on Thursday, March 01, 2007
 
After all the negative reviews, I bought the KCA-420i anyway because it was the only option I had for integrating my iPod into my HU without buying a new one. I didn't want separate wires for charging and audio and I would be all over the road if I was looking at the thing while driving. WELL, as it turns out, all Alpine HUs made January 2005 up until the integration of the Alpine interface received an upgrade and this thing works GREAT! Install was a breeze, plug and play, and the hardest part was finding a good flat place to mount it inside my dash. Song titles and everything load quickly, if not instantly, sound quality is great, and I can scroll through lists at an acceptable speed. It's what I'd expect and hope from an interface that is NOT an iPod. All in all, the only thing I could ask for is faster scrolling through lists as it has to go one at a time, but there really is no lag. A-Z playlists, mix playlists and good tags on your mp3s are recommended to make it all smoother. If you care enough about your music to integrate your iPod in your car, you should put in the effort to have quality files to play anyway. I'm using an Alpine CDA9851 HU.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By John, Sioux Falls, SD on Saturday, January 13, 2007
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
If you're like me and you have an older Alpine deck and you want your iPod to run through your deck, then the KCA-420i is the way to go. There are some limitations (only seeing the first 255 song titles) but overall it works great. Easy to install and simple to use. Some people complain that it's slow but I haven't noticed any problems. The manual suggests to use playlists to make searching more efficient so that's what I do. Great product if you don't want to spend the money on a new Alpine deck.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Andrew, Sandy, UT on Sunday, September 03, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
The only complaint I have is that it is very slow to shuffle through songs. This is avoidable by disconnecting the ipod and choosing the song before hooking it up again. The sound quality is superb, and it is about the same price as a good fm transmitter. I would highly recommend it.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
1 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Grant, Apple Valley, MN on Sunday, June 04, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This adapter is very disappointing. While the sound is quite good and the convenience is great, the fact that it will leave the iPod running after the car is turned off and will not recharge a "dead" iPod battery really irks me. This is by far one of the poorest engineered products I've ever purchased.
3 out of 10 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
3 out of 5

Average

Written By Jake, Heber, UT on Wednesday, May 17, 2006
 
I bought this product with the Alpine IVA-D310 in dash dvd player. It has proved to definitely have its on and offs. It's so nice being able to have all my cd's on my ipod without carrying them in my truck. I have a 60 gb ipod with over 10,000 songs. Yes it is extremely slow shuffling through songs. You can just live with it, or as I would recommend make a playlist for every letter of the alphabet with the artist's last name. Some people have said that they can't shuffle or look for one song. I don't know what their problem is but I have not had any problem listening to shuffled songs. The very long cord that connects to the ipod is very nice. Being able to place the ipod where ever you want. One thing I've noticed is you have to disconnect the ipod before powering off the unit or turning your car off. Because I found it to keep the ipod on, and little to my knowledge I had my ipod going for days on end. If you have an older apline unit, and would like an ipod adapter I would recommend getting this unit. It had some cons, but the in dash controls and ipod charging are very nice. I just hope that with the new alpine adapter they fixed the few bad qwirks.
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Mike Koesters, Catonsville, Maryland on Friday, May 12, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I just purhased and installed the KCA-420i yesterday, but haven't had the opportunity to really "road-test" it yet. From my limited use, I'd say this is a keeper. While selecting songs is not as simple, or as fast as the iPod's incredibly simple interface, it does perform pretty well. It is certainly easier than finding songs on the iPod screen while you are supposed to be driving. I don't know if the newer interface is any better, or not. In any event, I was not about to replace my less than one year old radio with a newer one that is compatible with the newer interface. A better interface will not be on the market unless and until Apple designs it themselves!
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
1 out of 5

below standard

Written By Jim, Tulsa, OK on Friday, February 17, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought this unit to hook up my brand new Ipod to. I had read the other reviews, so had my doubts, but was desperate to find the best hook up for my truck. This thing is not the solution. The good stuff -- you can hide the ipod in the glove box etc, charges the battery, excelent sound -- but that's all that is good. I really wanted the onscrean titles on my moblie video screan, it does that, but it takes atleast 12 seconds to show. It is pretty much impossible to find a specfic title, some people said that shuffle dosen't work on theirs but mine worked fine when set to shuffle on the ipod. But you cannot choose a specific song to hear when shuffleing; that is all you get shuffle, or skip to the next random song. I already had a Changer hooked up and Sat radio on the AI NEt, so I was out of inputs, meaning I had to buy the input expander too so I had to spend $150 for an input that should have been able to "piggyback" like the Sat Receiver. Hopefully the new Ipod full speed that Alpine is releasing right now will solve many of these issues, but it is too late for any of us shopping for this product. I am pretty frustrated with many of the controll shour commings and expandabilty on my first Alpine system over all. I ithink that I will be going back with Kenwood on my next system (after I have spent over 2 Grand on this ALpine stuff that won't do everyting I want.) Needless to say that I am returning this item and going with the old standby of RCA cables. Crutchfield is great though, best place to buy stuff period, catalog, in store, or internet.
1 out of 4 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Very Happy

Written By J Wett, Millville, NJ on Friday, January 20, 2006
 
After reading all of the reviews for all of the ipod to aftermarket radio solutions I decided on Alpine. Alpine's reputation for excellent sound quality did not dissapoint me. 2005 CDA-9853 with the glide bar and KCA-420i. I have no complaints with search times or the time it takes to play or display information. Even though it doesn't control the ipod "exactly" like the click wheel I couldn't be happier. My 40GB is about half full so searching for a single song on the ipod can be a long process even with the click wheel. All you have to do is spend a little more time making useful playlists on the ipod to make searching easier. Plenty of cable to mount the adapter and find a nice convenient spot to keep the ipod out of sight because the last thing I want to do is constantly have unplug the ipod and put it somewhere to feel safe.

Goals achieved - 1)Control ipod through head unit that displays song title, album, artist.
2) Quality sound
3) Hide ipod and adapter.

Downfall - The only downfall for me is when a song is playing I can't search for the next song while the current song is playing. I can live with that small downfall because you have to remember what is happening: You are trying to control a hard drive with a radio not a computer.
7 out of 7 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Very good option for the money

Written By Jeff, Orange County, CA on Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I typically don't ever write reviews but after using this product I was compelled to respond to the other reviews.
At first, I was very skeptical about purchasing this after reading some of the initial reviews. However, since I installed the unit and started to use it (about a month now) I have been quite satisfied with the overall results. This interface may not be perfect but I do think this unit does a good job for what it was meant to do.
My main 3 objective for this unit were:
1) Something that would allow easy installation to my aftermarket Alpine head unit
2) Provide audio quality better than the FM alternatives
3) Allow my head unit to control my IPOD mini (4G maxed out)
4) Head unit control interface to be somewhat user friendly with regards to controlling the ipod
Many people complain that it takes a long time to search for songs. I typically search by Artist, Album or Playlist and I don't have any issue with the unit being slow. Perhaps if I were using a 30G ipod, maxed out, the interface would be slower. However, for me, the interface to the ipod seems to be fairly responsive - but I have learned to be patient in life too.
Using my head unit to control the ipod is fairly straight forward and simple once you get the hang of it and I think it works relatively well. My Alpine isn't an IPOD so I don't expect it to work like an IPOD so I am cutting it some slack.
I strongly recommend this unit for anyone looking for a good solution to interface your ipod with your head unit. It's not perfect but I think the PROs, by far, out weigh the Cons (lag in searching for songs) I hope this review helps!
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Great, but not Perfect

Written By Jeff, Texas on Wednesday, December 28, 2005
 
Overall, I have been very please with the iPod adapter. Hopefully future head units and adapters will correct the obvious shortcoming of the adapter (it's slow).

PROS:
1) Sound Quality - the iPod sounds great! This is the main feature I was looking for in the adapter and it delivers. It is difficult to distinguish between a CD and the iPod.
2) Text/Titles - all info from the iPod is sent to the head unit's display. I have an 8-character display which is limiting, but newer model head units will correct this. I agree with several other reviewers that it would be nice if the titles were visible while changing songs instead of reverting to showing track numbers.
3) Battery - keeps it charged, but it would be nice if it could charge a dead iPod
4) Out of sight - mounted the adapter under the driver's seat with connection to iPod in same location

CONS:
1) Slow - I have 40 GB iPod which makes finding songs virtually impossible. I actually unplug the iPod, use the click wheel, and then plug it back in. The adapter picks up with the song you just selected. I do get tired of constantly unplugging it. Playlists helps but again I have almost 4,000 songs on my iPod.
2) The adapter forgets that you are in random mode often and forces you to start over at "A" when you want to select an new album/song/playlist.

WISH LIST:
I would like to see an adapter (or head unit) with a remote that mimicks the click wheel. Also I would like to see the layout of the iPod's menu system replicated. The iPod is king for a reason. Alpine needs to immitate it as much as possible.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Very slick interface if you read the directions first

Written By Dave, Connecticut on Friday, December 23, 2005
 
I have to say I can't see why people are confused about how this works. It took me about 20 minutes to install (piggybacked to my XM direct) and after reading the quick reference guide I was up and running! I have a 2gb Nano so I don't have a ton of songs but I find the interface very user friendly after you use it for a few minutes. Scrolling speed while in quick search mode, while not perfect, is really no slower than on an MP3 CD. Definitely don't plan on searching in album mode. That would take forever. With alot of artists I could also see how that would be a bit of a pain, but I have about 150 on my Nano and it didn't seem too bad.My one real complaint is that you can't display artist name and song name at the same time but you can't do that with XM on the 9830 either so I think that's more the headunit than it is the adapter.
All in all, if you're looking for a sleek and intuitive way to use your iPod with an Alpine stereo, this is the way to go.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Rocks

Written By sparqs, Lawrence, KS on Saturday, December 03, 2005
 
I've always been an Alpine fan and they are always #1 in my books, I love this Ipod interface, the clarity is awesome, the bass really kicks, the highs and separations are tremendous (as always from Alpine) the FM transmitters are a joke, there is no comparison. The hook-up was clean and simple, I have the XM-Radio(external TUA-T020XM) that has a pass through AI-Net for the changer, I was listening to the Ipod in 5 minutes, I highly recommend this to anyone with Alpines, no one else comes close in simplicity of hook up, now, What would be really cool is if Alpine (and all others) would put a plug-in on the front of their units, straight through cable.................hmmmm, Merry Christmas Everyone
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Alpine Interface

Written By Dean, Concord, CA on Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
Well first off, I was a little worried to buy the interface at first. As soon as I got it hooked up and the Ipod kicks on, I just got a little gitty. I will admit that the controls on the headunit is a little hard to get use to. Im using the CDA- 9807, I already loved my headunit, but this just added to it once you get a hang of the controls. It is a little slow when it comes to searching for songs, artist , playlist. Etc... But The sound is great, and if you can get past the slow search speed I believe you will love this interface. I have my system hooked up to Two 12's and one 2000W 2/ch, So I needed the Clarity which this interface brings to you. After I installed the interface I did notice a little bit better Bass from my Subs. The nice thing about the interface is that It uses all your Preset EQ settings that you have giving to a song on Itunes, For the Ipod. This is a great interface for those of us that use there Ipod none stop, and enjoy listening to there music clearly in the car, Without the Fm transmitter (which never get good reception anyway).
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Alpine's Ipod interface

Written By Rick, Chicago, IL on Saturday, October 22, 2005
 
I've been using my Ipod through the Alpine interface in two cars for about four months and this week the Ipod would not sync up with either Alpine head unit. I had to back-up and restore the Ipod back to factory to get it to work. A simple reset on the Alpine head units did not correct the issue! Over-all the interface is well worth the money.
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
2 out of 5

Other Options

Written By go4x4, lexington, ky on Tuesday, October 11, 2005
 
i got one of these in hopes that all the reviews werent true, but i found that they are. the biggest problem was that you cant choose the songs u want to hear through the ipod and that doing so through the radio was slow and a pain. (of course, after i bought it)i found a Ai-net cable that hooks right into your alpine and gives you the ability to hook your ipod up to that through a/v jacks and it still allows you to control the songs through your ipod. and its made by alpine, heres the id number KCA-121B.
7 out of 9 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
2 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Drew, Cedar Hills, UT on Wednesday, September 28, 2005
 
Not recommended unless you dont get clear sound from other solutions for all the reasons stated as well as the following.

It displays time, song time, artist, song and album, but only one at a time and the button to change is small and in an akward postition above the dial (maybe not a problem with other head units). I have to buy a clock for my car because it is so akward.

It takes 6 seconds before showing the song info after a new song starts. If you change the volume or other settings during this period it adds to this time so it usally takes around 8-10 seconds to show the song info I want. When display is set to one of the song info settings it shows "No Title" or "No Text" when source is CD or tuner, which makes it look broken when listening to the radio.

It does not remember settings like random mode. Everytime I get in the car I have to hit the random button twice to get it in "random all" mode.

It does not charge or recognize the iPod when its battery is low. The iPod can generally handle being left in the car, except that the battery sometimes runs down over night just enough to not be recognized by the Alpine. I have to get it out of the glove box and turn it on manually for the unit to then recognize it, unless the battery is completely down, which it sometimes is for some reason.

To connect it takes two hands and seems somewhat fragile, so leaving the iPod the glove box looks like it would be natural. They also do not provide a way to hang it up like they show on the Alpine website and even if it is showing, the iPod only displays "Alpine" and you cannot interact with it while connected.
4 out of 5 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Ian Steele, Gainesville, FL on Wednesday, September 14, 2005
 
Just bought this for my 9851 model. This is the best interface out there. Could definately be better, but it gets the job done. I think its good for those who have a playlist that they want to listen to, or those who want to shuffle. Trying to find a specific song is too time consuming, especially when you are talking about having 3,000 songs. Truth be told that is why the ipod is so popular though, because they have figured out a way to navigate such large libraries. So until there is a head unit (or a remote) with a scroll wheel, this is the best option. By the way install was easy. Drilled one hole through the bottom of my center console, and now I have my ipod out of site and songs scrolling on my HU.

I'm happy with it, but my goals were -
1) Good sound - which it does well - sooooo much better than radio transmitter which I had before
2) Out of sight ipod - so I don't have to lug it everywhere
3) Be able to see songs on headunit

Do not buy this if you think you are getting an ipod version of your car stereo - you will be disappointed. Otherwise give it a try, Crutchfield is great about returns.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

(1) Creating a virtual CD Changer; (2) fixing probs with shuffle mode.

Written By Alan, Houston, TX on Monday, August 22, 2005
 
This Alpine Ipod interface makes conventional CD changers obsolete. My goal was to use my Ipod as a "virtual" CD changer, which, thanks to the Ipod's relatively large memory and small size, is superior to old-fashioned changers.

Unfortunately, the 1st generation of KCA-420i Ipod Control Interface has a number of limitations, as identified in previous reviews. In particular, scrolling thru artist names or song titles can be extremely slow if all of your tracks are lumped into one giant playlist. To overcome these problems:

(1) Create a virtual CD in iTunes(tm) software by dragging an album name to the Source column. This creates a playlist corresponding to each album you drag;

(2) with your iPod connected to your PC, drag each "virtual cd" (playlist you created in step 1) to the Ipod.

This way, switching between playlists will be like switching between CDs on a conventional changer.

NOTE: I often like to listen to my tunes on shuffle mode (random order). A big problem with the KCA-420i is that once you turn off your engine, the iPod forgets that it was on shuffle, and it starts playing thru songs in order the next time you start your car. I experimented with this and I discovered a big TRICK(!) to overcome this. I hope it works for you: (1) unplug your iPod from your car stereo; (2) using the iPod's own control, set the iPod to shuffle; (3) scroll thru a few songs using the iPod's own control; (4) now plug the iPod back into your car stereo. For some reason, the car will continue to recognize that it is on shuffle play, even after you have turned the engine off and on.
6 out of 6 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By TKD, Bradenton, Fl on Friday, July 29, 2005
 
Simple to use if you read the instructions first. Better then the FM modulator i was using by far. Though searching can be a little slow and the head unit (cda9825) doesnt pick up where it left off on it search mode like the Ipod does. Otherwise a great addition to my stereo.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Rick, Long Island, NY on Tuesday, July 19, 2005
 
Hands down, an awesome addition to your car audio system. I used to have the Pioneer adapter with the 7700 HU, and it was a pain. Too many button pushes, too many submenus- it was an accident waiting to happen. This unit- I push two buttons, and I'm in shuffle mode. It also displays the full title to the songs, which the Pioneer couldn't do.
I wanted to clear up a few things I read in other reviews that could be misleading. I'm using the CDA9853. So far, it has displayed every song's title and every artist, from AC-DC to Zebra. I have over 1600 songs on my iPod, so that 255 song limit doesn't seem to hold water, at least with the 2005 HU's.
So far, it's very easy to use the menus, shuffle all, find an artist, a song, etc. Only had it a day, but far and away a better choice than the Pioneer system.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Works fine

Written By Mike, Wenatchee, WA on Friday, July 15, 2005
 
The interface works fine. The only problem I had was finding the right place to put it. Once I did, installation was easy. I'm still learning how to easily access all my music, but that's the function of the head unit, not the interface.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
2 out of 5

Severely disappointed...

Written By Jason, Youngstown, OH on Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
To start with the good, it was very convenient to have the iPod controls directly on the stereo. Also, the sound quality was great. Finally, it was nice to just plug it in and have it start charging the iPod.

Now for the bad...
1) Browsing albums/artists takes forever. Turning the wheel (volume knob) will scroll through 1 artist/album per second. This is extremely distracting while trying to drive! Your only hope is to create playlists and keep the number of playlists very small so you don't have to scroll through those too.
2) I dont' like to think of myself as stupid, but navigating the interface made me feel that way. In the 4 months I've had it, I STILL can't get it to randomly play all the songs on my iPod. Also, "Quick Search" is a joke... a very mean joke.
3) After selecting an artist with multiple albums, there is no easy way to switch to another of their albums without browsing again. You'd think one of the quick search buttons would allow you to switch between albums with a single button press.
4) Once the iPod is plugged in, there is no way to control it from it's own interface. You must use the Alpine stereo. This wouldn't be a problem if it were easier to navigate using the stereo.
5) There's a nice little bug in the firmware where once you do a search, if you search backwards without first searching forwards, the screen will blank and you will have no idea what you are on until you select something.

It's a great idea, but just wait another year for them to refine it. Unfortunately, after my experience with this and the CDA-9851, I'll never buy Alpine again.

Still, Crutchfield's support team is second to none!
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
3 out of 5

Alpine ALMOST there with a perfect interface for Ipod to car stereo.

Written By Rafael, LA, CA on Tuesday, July 05, 2005
 
I just got this connected and hooked up so I could play my entire Ipod collection in the car. (60 GB ipod photo + CDA-9847 w/KCA420i).
The sound is great. (as it should be for direct line) and the 9847 is a great head unit. BUT (and here's the BUT...)
They need a better interface for HUGE libraries of songs/artists/albums. To all those people that say it's really fast, try scrolling down to find artist U2 and time it. Using the knob I gave up at "H".

A simple solution would be to use the 1-6 buttons to jump faster to starting points on the alphabet. So that say I could push ARTIST SEARCH then "6" to get T-Z and then scroll to "U" using the knob.

But since there isn't a quick way, AND since you CANNNOT control the ipod from the ipod when it's plugged in (??? why not have both?) You really are limited to using playlists.

That's great, unless of course you HAVE a great song by Tom Petty or the Velvet Underground and it's sitting right there in your glove compartment, but you just can't GET to it.

3 out of 3 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
2 out of 5

Unhappy music lover

Written By raul, Denver, CO on Saturday, May 28, 2005
 
I was looking forward to the simplicity of having my music collection at my fingertips but it is so slow going to find the album or artist that i get very frustrated. So, i made more playlists and go with that. The other problem is that i don't have access to my full music library. If i choose an album it may only play the first 5 songs on it. It only allows 250 or so songs to be available. Quite frustrating. the use of the ipod wheel would make it so much easier and to have all of my music available was expected but not delivered. I wish i could return it and tell Alpine to do a better job with a simple xfer of music for $100
5 out of 5 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Awesome interface, easy to use

Written By Alex, Cupertino, CA on Tuesday, May 24, 2005
 
I was hesitant at first about getting this because of the reviews that said the unit was slow. This last weekend I did about 13 hours of driving and have to say that it is not slow at all. Every once in a while it stops for a second, but otherwise it is just as fast as changing tracks on a cd.

My guess is the newer version is much better as far as speed goes. The only reason I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars is because navigating songs within a playlist is not intuitive. If you have an Alpine head unit, this is a nice addition!
6 out of 6 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
3 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Jason, Seattle, WA on Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Bittersweet. It's great because I now have access to over 4,000 songs in my truck, WOO HOO! I'm using the CDA9830 and it's pretty simple to access songs (although it takes a while to scroll through all the artists). The playlists are there, that's all great. It charges the ipod's battery. Bonus!

Here comes the "BUT" and it's big for me.

There is only ONE way to shuffle!!! If I want to shuffle my "Metal" playlist while on a road trip with a bro, I have to hit a series of buttons BEFORE THE FIRST SONG OF THE PLAYLIST PLAYS. If I hit play, wait a sec, and then say shuffle playlist, it does not happen. I have to select the playlist and then immediately hit "Function" and "Shuffle". Then it shuffles the playlist. What happens when I stop (turn the power off)? I have to start over from the top. Seriously, it doesn't continue where it left off like the ipod does.

That's a big sore spot for me. I'm not going to return it, but I REALLY hope the product managers at Alpine fix this in the next rev.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Great adaptor for Alpine

Written By mktgwrx, Milwaukee, WI on Saturday, May 14, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This adaptor gives me a huge playlist with my Alpine 9851. The playlists are a tad cumbersome to navigate at times, but it has made me organize my music for iPod. I like the radio information in the radio display.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
2 out of 5

Meh

Written By Christopher, Duluth, MN on Wednesday, May 11, 2005
 
I think this has more to do with the software in the CDA-9855 but if you have an iPod with a lot of songs the limitations are quickly noticed. You can see up to 512 artists, albums, or playlists and I believe 256 songs in any playlist. Using Glidetouch for iPod navigation is bad - a text search would be great. Also it doesn't remember your MIX settings. The unit itself is pretty small but the plugs make it just as wide as it is long so I haven't found a place to mount it yet.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
3 out of 5

Okay

Written By Matt, Lexington, KY on Monday, May 02, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I have this connected to a 9855. The interface is pretty bad. Searching with the glide touch bar is almost impossible. While switching the songs is very quick, displaying the text is pretty slow (~5 seconds or so once you track up or down). It's nice that it connects to the radio and all but I would almost rather just control it with the ipod itself.

The unit is small and light and easy to mount almost anywhere. Hooking up the ipod and leaving it in my glovebox is nice. Plus it will charge it while plugged in.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
2 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By JOHN, Murfreesboro TN on Sunday, May 01, 2005
 
What I like about this unit, sound quality is good, it is nice to see titles on my Alpine CDA-9583.

What I dont like, it's large and with the input and output cables on opposite sides it takes a very large amount of space, nearly as much as my receiver. I have yet to find a place to mount it in my jeep. Its is slow takes me forever to find songs, and it resets everytime I turn off the ignition. After getting it to MIX(shuffle) it resets to single song play everytime the ignition is turned off. Difficult to put in Mix mode and a real pain to have to reset your interface everytime you enter the car.

I would much rather have an compatible aux input for my ipod that allows me to conrtol the ipod from itself.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By deltadango, Queens Village, NY on Sunday, April 24, 2005
 
I'm using the Kca-420i with the alpine Cda-9855 reciever. Ive heard alot of people complaining that this adapter is slow. Ive been using it for about 4 days now and i really cant offer up a complaint, scrolling thru playlits and songs seems adequate, it takes a little less than a second to scroll from one to the next, maybe it has to do with the reciever more than the adapter. You can browse thru playlists, artists, and albulms. Theres also a folder with your ipods name so that u can browse through every song from a to z. I cant tell as of yet if there are any limitations in finding songs, i have about 4800 songs on a 40g ipod and they all seem accessable. BTW it also sounds amazing.
7 out of 8 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Dennis, Longview, WA on Saturday, April 23, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I recently purchased this unit with the CDA-9847 receiver. Fortunately, I had not read the prior reviews that were critical of its ability to control an I-pod. Contrary to the experience of other reviewers we have been able to access the music in our I-pod by playlist, artist, album or song-title from our receiver. We have also been able to do a random shuffle within all these categories including all the music in our I-pod. There is a slight delay in the response of the I-pod to commands from the receiver but this requires only a slight adjustment on the part of the user. The sound quality is exceptional (even with a 128 bit rate) and our I-pod can be placed in a secured place in the car where it essentially serves as a hard-drive for storing our music. For anyone who wishes to use their I-pod in their car this is without question the way to go.
6 out of 6 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
1 out of 5

Disappointing

Written By Gregory, Bay Area, CA on Thursday, April 07, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I have a 60gb iPod. On my Alpine 9830, I have something worse than a DOS command line prompt; not even a song name. Some of the reviews comment on sound quality. Big woo. It's a line in unit; it ought to sound good. The ONLY thing this unit has going for it is ease of installation. But as another reviewer noted, the interface is horrible. I am actually better off using my Sony head unit and its multilink adapter, because at least with that, I can use the iPod as the interface. I am going to try the Pioneer, but it looks like it's getting the same criticism. The big Clarion DVD unit is interesting, but why go to all that trouble just to mimic the iPod's interface? Please, Apple, make a car head unit!
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Abe, Northern NJ on Tuesday, March 15, 2005
 
It took no time to install sound quality is excellent. I was using the Griffin Technology charger/fm modulator and had to really turn up the radio. This is the way to go. Only gripe is when you have set the head unit(Alpine CDA-9847) for shuffle (mix) and disconnect the iPod it shows on the iPod repeat mode. Not a problem though. I think if you try it you'll like it. Mounts real easy and in 02 Escape hiding the unit and the wiring was a snap.
4 out of 5 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Best iPod adapter on the market

Written By TR, Westlake Village, CA on Tuesday, March 08, 2005
 
This is by far the best iPod adapter on the market. With the new 2005 Alpine head units, you can control the searches by artist, album, song, etc. The old units use the unit like a cd changer, you have to select cd 1-6 and then hit list and it will pop the songs up. For example, 1 then list shows playlists, 2 then list shows artists, and so on. Sound quality is great, charges while its hooked up, easy one Ai-Net wire for connection, and is a small unit that can be hidden inside a dash or center console. The downsides are that it won't charge your iPod if the battery is really low or dead, its slow scrolling through the songs (especially if you have more than 20 artists), and the Ai-Net and iPod cords aren't very long. If you have an suv and have a Mobile Multimedia Station with the brain in the back, you won't be able to run the iPod all the way up to the front, unless you buy another Ai-Net cable that is longer.
8 out of 8 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Fantastic--read the manual!!!

Written By Steven, Fairfax, VA on Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is a fantastic product, and I'd encourage anyone who has problems with the usability to go back and read the manual. I, too, scratched my head trying to search for songs, or even artists, until I took one more look and realized the step I was missing: set the search mode FIRST with the preset buttons, and then begin searching.

I love the way it charges the iPod while the iPod is safely tucked away, the sound quality, and the bragging rights over all my friends with iPods, but who don't have Alpine head units.

My only gripe is that there is no display mode that includes any song text information plus the time of day, but that's really grasping at straws.

Finally, the installation couldn't be easier. It's plug and play!
5 out of 6 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
1 out of 5

Needs a lot of work...

Written By Boulderguy, Colorado on Friday, March 04, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Here's the opportunity to put my entire music collection permanantly in the car. No more CD's, lots of choices. I was really fired up about this when I first found it. I've had it installed for a few days now & CAN'T WAIT TO GET RID OF IT!

The problem is searching for music. It's SLOWWWWW. It's made me appreciate how great the Ipod touchpad really is. Imagine if you had to scroll thru 20GB of music on your Ipod with a button. You'd be pushing it for days. And even tho the head unit uses a dial, it's that slow. If you have more than 50 artists, you'll go insane using this thing.

The new Alpine decks with the touchpad may improve it, we'll see. Also, the display leaves a lot to be desired, but that's another issue. Simply put, the sound is good, the interface not so good.

It's too bad the Ipod controls are locked out when it's connected. If you could use those to search, it'd be golden. As it is, I have to pull over to try & find something.

For now, I'm going back to the AUX input.
12 out of 21 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Superior Product

Written By Patrick, Colonial Heights on Monday, February 28, 2005
 
A great product from Alpine. I currently use this with an Alpine IVA-D901 DVD in-dash monitor/receiver. No problem in scrolling through songs or titles. Charges the iPod with no problem. Simply set your iPod out of the way, plug it in and GO! No wires, no mess. One distinct advantage of using this is with an Alpine monitor/receiver. It will display the track, folder, song title, artist and album title. Not to mention all of the fuctions are fully accessable from the head unit. The only drawback that I know of is that there is no "pass-through" Ai-Net connection. In other words, to connect another source like a cd-changer or an XM tuner with this unit, you will have to purchase an Alpine KCA-410C versitile link adapter. Once connected to this, the diplay on the head unit will read either "changer 1" or "changer 2" instead of "iPod" depending on what Ai-Net input the iPod interface is connected to. Aside from that it's still a great product.
12 out of 13 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

No, it's not the iPod, but Apple has not made a car stereo...yet!

Written By richter-scale, COLORADO on Wednesday, February 23, 2005
 
This is by far the best car stereo to iPod interface out there! I can finally listen to my files as they were meant to be listened to. NOT through an FM modulator! Alpine has some things to study on iPod's navigation, or Apple will have to just start making car stereos. In the mean time, you will just have to create playlists for your road trips, and CRANK-UP the tunes!
9 out of 11 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
2 out of 5

great idea, poor control of songs

Written By Clinton, Las Vegas, NV on Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
When I read about this, I thought it was a great, no more having to find a place to put my ipod where I could control it, no more mess of wires, and ease of control. The idea is great, but the execution of the product is less than desireable.

After I hooked it up, put the ipod in my glove box and no more mess of wires or cup holder taken. But try to scroll to any song, or artist is almost impossible, it would take over 2 minutes and I would only be at "blink 182", I wanted to get to "metallica". Don't even ask how long it would take to find a song. Needless to say, I never made it. I have around 600 or so artists. and over 3,000 songs on my ipod.

I have returned my ipod interface, as I was fairly disappointed with it. Maybe in the future they will improve on the scroll feature and it's ability to make other options to choose what you want. Until then I will just use the audio input adapter to my alpine reciever, power adapter and dock.
9 out of 11 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
3 out of 5

Great interface, with limitations

Written By Mark, Phoenix, AZ on Wednesday, February 16, 2005
 
I'm using this with an iPod mini and Alpine IVA-D300. It's a great 1st generation device in terms of sound quality and the ability to charge the battery - albeit, if the battery is fully discharged, it won't work.

My complaints are the following:

1) If iPod's battery is completely depleted, the interface won't work. It provides a low charge.

2) It's backwards engineered from a cd changer perspective - meaning you control it via your cd changer controls. Kind of hokey and difficult to navigate through album, artist or song title (only options) - especially if you have a ton of music. I usually find myself, unplugging the iPod, using the click wheel to make my selection and plugging it back in.

3) You can't control the iPod via the clickwheel when it's plugged in - safety feature. However to defeat this you can unplug it, make your selection, then plug it back in. Seems redundant.

In all I still think this product is great. It beats frequency modulation or cassette adapter.

If your stereo has audio input capability, you might be fine with getting a car charger and hooking it up that way.
10 out of 13 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
5 out of 5

Fantastic!!!

Written By Doug, Simi Valley, CA on Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I've been using this for the past several months and I love it. I have my entire CD collection at my disposal without having to fumble around loading a single CD at a tune. It integrates seamlessly with my Alpine (9835) headunit which only enhances the sound quality to a point where you can't tell the difference between a CD or the compressed files. The controls are intuitive and are simple to use while driving. If you have an iPod, you need this device.
7 out of 10 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
3 out of 5

Limitations, warnings and benefits

Written By Colyn, South Florida on Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
If you have or are contemplating the purchase of a compatible Alpine head, IMHO this is worth the $$ if you're an ipod fanatic.

BUT ... indeed the display character limitation is frustrating (even in scroll mode) and sometimes makes it impossible to find what you're looking for, so spring for the fuller display. It'll be worth the extra $s.

AND ... it's a good idea to always unplug the ipod from the unit. Mine has discharged the battery completely on two occasions (even though Alpine says it should turn off after 2 mins., it doesn't always) and on one of those I had to call ipod tech support to get the thing to wake up again.

ON THE OTHER HAND, the sound is fantastic, and not having all the interference from everybody else on the road sharing the same FM frequencies for their ipods, XM, Sirius and other sundry devices has really been the kicker for me.
9 out of 9 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Alpine KCA-420i

Written By Travis, Orange County, CA on Saturday, February 05, 2005
 
This is a must have for all iPod users! Easy installation, although the AiNet cable is too short for most cars or SUVs. If you are purchasing an Alpine headunit at the same time, check the display for maximum character spaces. Some units have 8, others have 12, it makes a big difference when trying to find the song you're looking for.
16 out of 16 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 
4 out of 5

Whether to buy?

Written By David, So. California on Friday, February 04, 2005
 
*IF* this cost $50 instead of $100 (with purchase of a head unit from Crutchfield), I would buy it. Problem with the iPods is that the voltage output from the iPod is too low, thus you have to raise the volume significantly when you jack this into a headunit--unless you buy this unit, which also shows the iPod's song titles on your Alpine headunit. $One hundred dollars is too much for a little tiny amp between iPod and headunit; and I don't care if the titles show up on the headunit or not.
280 out of 406 people found this helpful
Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
 

Add accessories for the Alpine KCA-420i

Get more info about having your new receiver put in by a qualified professional in your area. See all categories & accessories

InstallCard: iPod®/MP3 Interface Prepaid professional iPod/MP3 interface installation
6 people say
Your Price: $79.99
Add to Cart

Why choose SquareTrade?

The #1-Rated Protection Plan

Thousands of people have reviewed SquareTrade Protection Plans — and made us #1.

5-Day Service Guarantee & Free Shipping

We'll repair or replace your item in five business days or less after we've received it, or your plan is free. And, as always, we pay for all shipping.

Protection from Normal, Everyday Use

Repairing your average mechanical or electrical failure can cost as much as buying a new device. With SquareTrade, you're covered — including parts and labor.

For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Alpine KCA-420i, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_500KCA420I/Alpine-KCA-420i.html ).