Well, I bought a used Nakamichi cd 400 off of ebay just to try it out as there isnít a Nakamichi dealer anywhere near me. Iíve been running an Alpine cda-9815 for about 3 months now. Itís an awesome deck but I was just a little curious about the supposed God Like sound quality of the Nakamichi Iíve heard so much about. Iíve got to admit I was a little skeptical at first about how much a head unit could really improve sound quality. It just seemed to me that cd players have been around for so long that all they could really do is add more functions. At least thatís the philosophy that alpine seemed to take. There is somewhere in the area of 17 million functions on the alpine 9815. This can be kind of imposing when you first get your deck. After you get everything figured out, though, it can be an awesome sounding unit. But back to the Nakamichi!
First off all the equipment stayed the same from one deck to the other. Iím running diamond hex 4.5Ē components with silk tweeters in stock locations in my 94 maxima. Iíve got a single Magnum D2 in a 1.25 cubic foot box stuffed with polyfill and powered by a Kenwood amp (460 watts x 1 @ 4 ohms). The components are powered by a Rockford Fosgate 201s (50 watts x2 @ 4 ohms).
After I got the Nakamichi installed I ran through essentially my complete cd collection. Everything from Metallica S&M to the new Nickleback cd to Hootie and the Blowfish.
One thing that immediately impressed me was the cd insert/eject. I donít know why but it just seemed a lot smoother and faster than the motorized face plate of the 9815. It also looked like the install wires were silver which is pretty cool in and of itself.
Listening to music just on default settings was very similar to the sound quality of the 9815 when the alpine was equalized with time correction, cross overs AND using the mx feature. When I adjusted the Nakamichi to my tastes it jumped a fair ways ahead of the 9815. I was really astounded that a head unit could make that much of a difference, but it did. It just seemed like the music was clearer with a better extension to the highs and the lows.
Some of the pros I saw after fiddling with it for a while:
-Radio plays when cd is ejected
-Very simple to use
-Oversized volume dial is kind of nice
-Very solid machine
Some of the cons:
-Does not play mp3s
-No time correction, cross overs or equalizer- sounds just as good or better than those with so I donít know how much of a con this is.
-You can not scroll through the cd. ĖSay there are 11 tracks on a cd you canít scroll from track 11 to 1 or from track 1 to 11. This one bugged me the most, it just a stupid thing but something youíd expect out of a high end unit.
-Doesn't play scratched CD-R's as well as the 9815 does
After all was said and done I was extremely impressed with the Nakamichi, my stereo has never sounded as good as it does now with that deck. I plan on selling the 9815 and maybe buying a portable mp3 player with some of the proceeds. Itís an all around awesome cd player for those of you that donít like the flashiness and overwhelmingly functionality of the new players but still want great cd player with excellent sound quality.