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Subliminal
01-15-2004, 09:17 AM
About a year ago, I bought a 9811 strictly for the time correction feature. I was using a Panasonic MP3 headunit at the time, and I just couldn't tune my system to my liking.

So, I bought the 9811. This headunit features lightning fast MP3 playback, as well as a whole world of tunability. Time correction, 2 band parametric equalizer, media expansion, etc. It even featured an internal amp that was head and shoulders above the competition. It seemed to power my 2 pairs of Focal Access line coaxials rather nicely, and I could even change the image around a bit if need be.

Well, about a month ago, the 9811 started to do weird things. Every now and again, a speaker would pop, and then as time progressed, the internal amp would just shut off at random. Bad news for Damon, I suppose.

So, what did I do? I bought a 9813. Why? Well, because of V-drive of course. Since I use the internal amplifiers, I wanted to get the head unit with the biggest dawg-gone internal amplifier I could. Enter the 9813, with its 27 watts rms.

Installation was pretty easy. I could use the cage from the 9811, as the mounting system is the same, but the wire harness was different, due to the larger constant power wire. Well, no biggy, it still only took about 10 minutes to wire it all in and have it staring at me from the dash.

One of my favorite, stupid features of the deck is that it tilts. All the new mid-upper line Alpine's have this feature. Which is nice, because in my Pontiac Grand Prix, it seems like the head unit is facing slightly towards the floor…not condusive to good viewing of the display.

Anyway, it was time to fire it up. I must admit, at first the new features available with the bass engine pro (vs. the plus in the 9811) were confusing (after all, I AM just a simple caveman)…but as time passed and I became a little more familiar with the benefits of setting up the system properly, it dawned on me….this is fantastic!

First of all, the features that are the same are those like:

Time correction, (allows you to delay the sound from the speakers closest to you, so that the sound from those further away reach your ears at the same time, and thus make for nicer imaging)
MX (Media expander…there are 4 settings on this one, and I think they basically just select some eq curves, (1 seems to be more on the top end, 2 seems to boost everything at a reasonable level and 3 just sounds gay…grin))
MP3 playback (lightning fast…when deciding on a head unit I brought in a disc with 10 albums sorted by folders and just started playing with the navigation. At this time, it is impossible to beat Alpine's MP3 playback, IMO)

Now for the features that, in my opinion, place the 9813 in an entire different category than the 9811…AKA…bass engine pro:

Crossovers. The crossovers in this thing, while rough at first, are just fantastic. Until yesterday, when I figured them out, I didn't have any idea this type of control was available. The way I've got the toggle switch on the chassis setup is for 2 way. This allows the front and rear channels to be high passed at anywhere from 20 hz up to about 200 hz, independent of each other (Basically, in my case, since I have 6.5s in the front and 6x9s in the rear, I can cut my 6.5s at 63 hz and my 6x9s at 50 hz) and of course a subwoofer crossover of like freq. points, but in low pass. Also, the crossover points can be adjusted between slopes of -6,-12,-18, and -24. Pretty snazzy, eh? Even snazzier is the fact that the crossovers work on the powered outputs as well as the RCA outputs

Another feature of the crossover, that I WISH I would have known about before I bought component speakers is the fact that when the switch on the chassis is set to three way mode, your front channels are considered your treble, the rear channels are considered mids, and the sub channels are just that. In this way, you have all the selection between crossover points and slopes, all active in the headunit, and at your fingertips. Why do I wish I had known this? Well, because my other car would currently be sporting snazzy new DIY drivers and active crossovers instead of the Vipers I should be getting in the mail today. As a matter of fact, the ONLY reason I didn't buy DIY comps was because of the necessity to use crossovers that might or might not be a good match for the components…but this solves that. Again, pretty snazzy, eh?

The 5 band parametric EQ is nice too. It has a few pre-sets in it (news, rock, pop, classical, etc.) as well as a manual setting.

The only downside to the 9811 and 9813 that I can see is the display. You've got a deck which almost allows you a perfect view of your music source, but then Alpine did something I cannot say I can endorse. There are icons ALL over the thing. Underneath the text readout is a bar with an arrow that tells you how far along the progress of the disc you are. On the 9811 there was a series of icons on the right with an arrow pointing to them which told you what information the screen was reading out. For example, if you were looking at track title, this little arrow would point to an icon that indicated track title, if you were looking at the bitrate, the arrow would point to the bit rate icon. On the 9813 this series of icons was moved above the text. On the 9813 there is a little bar graph that tells you how wide your frequency is set for the eq and at what level your speakers are set at. Again, this is totally pointless, as it only changes when you are adjusting it, and at that point you can see exactly what you are doing thru the text readout.

So, Alpine, if I could give you a little advice for making a great product perfect, get rid of the icons, give me more area for text than 8 or 10 charecters.

Anyway, thought someone who is looking for a head unit might want a heads up.

damon