View Full Version : Pure cd vs cd/mp3 head unit

09-04-2011, 08:52 PM
Hi all

I currently own an Alpine 9825 cd player (does not support for mp3) and it sounds great.

Initially I bought the 9826 (cd/mp3 model) but ended up returning it for a 9825 because cds sounded better (clearer, tighter sounding with more bass impact) with that unit. Since both units came out at the same time I doubt the difference would be in the QUALITY of components used. Perhaps the 9826 uses a different laser which isn't as accurate as the traditional laser used in the 9825, or maybe it overprocessed the cd sources.

A few years later I bought a newer Sony (and another Alpine cd/mp3 head unit) mainly for the USB support. The Sony was the biggest pile of junk I have ever heard - fidelity was terrible, the newer Alpine (9883?) was definately better than the Sony but no where close to my 9825 in terms of sound quality so back it went! But the older 9826 model definately sounded better when playing mp3s compared to the newer 9883 unit.

Has anybody else found cd players sound better than cd/mp3 players? I know a huge proportion of car audio people have mp3/dvd compatible players in their cars.

I would like to add that I didn't change any other component in my system apart from the H/U when comparing the sound quality.

Also the speakers I am using are Alpine DD Linear 6.5" coax connected directly to the H/U but that is not the main point here.


09-05-2011, 12:20 AM
It was some time ago but Eclipse used to sell their MP3 decoders as add-ons for their higher end HUs. The reasoning was that the processing could not be done in the HU without a loss of fidelity. Not sure how true that is but your thinking could have some merit. The only HU's that make MP3s sound somewhat bearable would be Pioneer, but overall I think all but the uber-expensive HU's sound terrible. So MP3 compatibility may just be a coincidence as everything is a lot cheaper sounding today.

My problem with modern HU's are the on-board DSPs (EQ, T/A, X-over, etc) - they just don't sound as good as the old CD only radios and I usually end up selling/returning it and going back to what I used to use. I've tried to like them, but I just can't.

FWIW; I only own CD-only HU's, Eclipse 5303r & CD3422, and those sound awesome even when using an iPod as a source...so MP3s are not the problem as I sold my CDA-9835 b/c the CD3422 I picked up for $35 kicked its rear.

09-05-2011, 12:44 AM
Honestly I have flac and I've used CDs and it's impossible to tell the difference..

09-05-2011, 01:07 AM
Interesting. That could explain what I have been noticing.

How exactly did you use an iPod as a source for your CD-only HUs?

09-06-2011, 04:40 AM
Interesting. That could explain what I have been noticing.

How exactly did you use an iPod as a source for your CD-only HUs?

The CD3422 has an aux input & you can buy cd-changer to RCA pigatils for almost any HU with CD changer capability effectively turning it into an aux input. Comparing the cheap Eclipse HU with the higher end Alpine was night & day despite playing the same material. Sold the Alpine HU shortly after.