Alpine

Alpine 9873 Head Unit

[8/10/2007] Reviewed by: Mike - mnelson@accuduct.com

Applicable to: '99-'05 1.8 liter

Alpine AM/FM/CD Player with ipod ready connector, purchased from Crutchfield. Total price including the harness, the dash bracket and Ipod cable shipped to my house was $199.

After talking to the Crutchfield rep, I decided to try the installation myself. The head unit was shipped with a single DIN/pocket bracket, a factory adaptable harness and a black box to allow the use of my factory Bose amp and speakers. Unlike the pre-99 MX-5 model installs I've read about, I was able to remove the factory radio without taking the console out. (Crutchfield included two Ford radio removal tools.) Using those, I had the factory radio and tape deck out in under two minutes. The bracket was simple to install. I spent the most time on the wiring. Crutchfield shipped a Scosche harness that wasn't wired correctly for my car. Fortunately, the Crutchfield tech rep had a Mazda wiring diagram and I was able to identify the correct wiring sequence. I modified the harness and had to modify the rubber fitting from the rear of the factory radio so it would fit the Alpine. The entire installation should take about an hour with the wiring harness wired correctl! y. Sound quality was vastly improved over the factory head unit. The black box has a variable gain control so you can tailor the gain to optimize undistorted volume with the Bose factory amp. I ran the Ipod cable into the glove box and the Ipod control works great. If you're looking for a good replacement head unit adaptable to control your Ipod, I would highly recommend the Alpine. (I chose the 9873 because I didn't want the flip down face.)

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Alpine DVA-5200

[3/2/2000] Reviewed by: Matthew Tucker - MattTucker@rocketmail.com

Applicable to: '99 + 1.8 liter

Well... it's a single DIN DVD player!

Works wonderful! EXTREAMLY easy to install. I use it in conjunction with the Eclipse 7001 LCD panel & Eclipse 5083. The unit plays DVD's, Video CD's, and audio CD's. Yes, it would probably be a bit easier to operate if I used the Alpine LCD panel but I spent about $2,500 on the current setup and didnt' feel like spendign an extra 1k for the Alpine panel. Installing it consists of connectiong the Audio & Video RCA connectors, and then connecting the included harness to the ground, Battery, and ACC. Very easy to do! Totaly reccomend it for anyone... especially those who tend to be on the road for long distances at a time. Is a great way to help passs the hours or to appease an unruly passenger.

There's nothing quite like popping Goldeneye or The Matrix in with the top down and seeing just how many people respond to your sheer presance!

Under 30 minutes to remove completely


Alpine CD/Receiver 5854 - Polk EX602a Speakers [3/6/2000]

Reviewed by: Marshal B. Hack - Hackmb@aol.com

Applicable to: '90 - '97

Reasonably priced:Alpine $199/Polk $99. Speakers are specifically made for rough life of a Miata. Installation and 4 year unconditional in store warranty - add another $200 (Circuit City). 40w x4 channels - 75-22khz. Speakers can handle 120W.

Easy to adjust settings on CD/Receiver. Speakers have a much more balanced sound than factory. However, when playing CD with real low bass (e.g. Pilgrim - Eric Clapton), car doors rattle.

I didn't have a built in CD before. I used a Philips portable with car kit. I have a '95 Miata with 58K miles. Since I plan to go at least another 60K, I decided to upgrade the audio. I am really enjoying the sound during my daily 50 mile roundtrip commute..

Over 30 minutes to remove completely


Alpine CDM-7833 In-Dash CD Head Unit

Reviewed by: Brian P. Van Lieu - bvl@ibm.net

The 7833 is the bare-bones model in the Alpine line. Its features a single disc CD player in the head unit, 4x35 power output, AM/FM tuner, and can control an Alpine 6 or 12 disc changer. There are no pre-outs on this head unit. The face plate is removable and ships with a plastic carrying case.

I purchased the 7833 from Bryn Mawr Stereo, a chain of stores in the PA, NJ and Delaware areas, for $199. I selected the alpine for 2 reasons:

1. The head unit is very simple and does not have a busy display. I think this matches the simple, clean dash layout of my miata

2. The head unit is relatively inexpensive and has a removable face plate. No need to put something too nice in a miata that is driven everywhere. I was going to go with an Eclipse head unit, but even with their 1 year anti-theft refund warrenty, its always in your dash and bait for a stupid thief.

I also purchased a Metra wiring harness, and a Metra universal mounting kit model 99-7501. Both kits were $15 respectively. Do not get the 99-7500 mounting kit as that only works if you have the rare single DIN stock head unit. The 7501 has a cubby hole and a 1/2 DIN spacer to fill the front panel properly with a single DIN head unit. I was unable to locate a Metra kit with a 1.5 DIN cubby hole, but it probably would snap right into mounting kit I have should I ever locate one.

I have a ' 92 with a base radio. Installation with the wiring harnesses was fairly simple. I began by popping the eye vents out (3 and 9 o'clock with a tiny flathead screwdriver). The stock radio comes out fairly easily, with the one exception being the ground wire attached to the rear of the head unit. Its a tight fit to get your hand back there with a stubby screw driver to undo the one phillips head screw. Small hands are good here. The challenge here came in the re-assembly. The Metra kit is functional, but it is universal. I highly recommend having a Dremel on hand, as *many* little plastic tabs must be trimmed off the Metra kit for the Miata. Additionally, my kit did not quite fit in the space vacated by the stock mounting harness. I had to use the Dremel to round the lower corners a bit and force the harness in so that it would mount flush against the dash.

My final problem was the head unit itself. The Alpine does not have that wide of a face plate, but it still was too wide for the Miata's dash cover to fit over it when it was installed with the Metra kit into the dash. So I had to pull the head unit out, unclip the wiring harnesses, and reassemble the dash without the head unit in the mounting harness. When everything was complete, I slid the head unit in and it locked nicely, mounting just about flush with the dash. I will say its possible that the reason I could not get the dash cover around the head unit the first time was that I had not rounded the lower edges of the mounting harness enough to get it to lay flat against the dash, so the angle was preventing the dash cover from returning to its proper position. Considering there is no room to reach behind the miata dash from the floor, I also did not use any rear mountin bar as is sometimes used with car stereos. The Alpine fits extremely snugly into the 7501 mounting kit.

My patience did reward me with a head unit that outputs clean CD and radio sound with a better power rating then the stock head unit. I have stock door and head rest speakers in my '92. The Alpine outputs cleaner sound, a bit more bass, with a richer overall sound then the stock head unit IMHO. Speakers are still a weakness of the overall system, but its not a bad as it was with the stock head unit. For now, I don't see myself needing new speakers as I can hear my tunes just fine with the Alpine :)

Don't forget to re-attach the wiring harness for the hazard and head light pop up switches. This will cause your headlights not not work at all. I was quite shocked when I realized I forgot this small detail, and a bit annoyed since I had to disassemble the entire dash to get at that switch (you can not get at it any other way). The switch has very little slack, so its easy to forget its there in the excitement of putting it all back to test out your new system.


ALPINE 3DE-7886S IN-DASH CD CHANGER/RECEIVER

Reviewed by: Christopher H. Robertson - crobert561@aol.com

Alpine 3-Disk, In-Dash, CD Changer/Receiver w/ detachable face, 40Wx4 channels amp, and wireless remote control.

I purchased the deck from an audio shop 2 months after purchasing my Miata with a stock radio that did not have a CD player. The deck is a new product for Alpine but is living up to the $349+ tax cost. The convenience of a 3-disk, in-dash changer can not be overemphasized. Instead of constantly changing single CDs in typical in-dash CD changers or having to stop and change CDs as in most 6+ CD changers mounted in the trunk, this system handles 3 discs at a time in it's disc cartridge. Additional cartridges can be purchased for about $15 apiece which readily expands the convenience of the system, especially since trunk space is a premium in the Miata! The unit face is well organized and easy to read with a large face, green-light display. The remote control unit makes changing discs, tuning channels, and adjusting volume controls very easy. I use the ash-tray to hold the remote. Only short-coming with the system is during disc-change. The cartridge slides out from the system as it changes discs. If you have your hand on the shifter in 1st, 3rd, or 5th gear during the change, the cartridge hits your hand. A great system to replace the stock radio provided in the Miata!!!


Back to Product Reviews 30 September, 2007


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