I'm currently using an Alpine 9835 which for the most part has worked well for almost 3 years. The blue lighting on the front display buttons is starting to flake out ( which is bad because I am using the blue coloring to nearly perfectly match my Passat dash lighting ).
The rest of my system consists of an Arc 10 inch sub, 2 CDT ES series speakers in the front, and 2 Arc amps to power the sub and front.
Let me first say I'm 45 and NOT really into critical listening any more ( like I was when younger.. seems long work hours, kids, life, etc saps that desire a bit as well as other and more expensive hobbies ), so absolute perfection in terms of SQ is not my objective.
Aside from the lighting going out on my 9835, the rest of the receiver is working well. I'm fairly happy with the sound quality ( though it in no way sounds like my home system.. something I"ve only heard once before years back when using a Linear Power amp ). However, I would like the folowing options ( and want them to work easily and well ):
(1) Bluetooth capability ( spend time in car on phone and getting tired of searching for my bluetooth headset )
(2) Either USB or iPOD connectivity, preferably USB since I don't currently own an iPOD. Would be nice to easily store hundreds of songs in high quality mp3 format to avoid keeping large numbers of cd's in the car.
The 9887 seems to offer a lot of bang for the buck though I'm curious as to how well it's uSB conectivity works given the price tag is also somewhat steep. How well does the head unit control a USB device ( playlists, scrolling through osngs etc ), or is one simply better off buying an iPOD and going that route when using the 9887?
I could probably live with the CD5100 just as easily as the 7100 assuming the blue and red lighting are similar. Matching the dash lighting is somewhat important ( something the 9887 may not do a good job of ).
I'm also curious as to how the bluetooth works on each of these ( Eclipse and the Alpine ), as well as using a USB device such as a flash drive or if a portable 2.5 inch hard drive would work, with or without a power adapter.
I've read all I can find via the search function and most of the posts addressed the SQ issues, noise issues, etc, but none really discussed how well the bluetooth features worked, or the USB and/or iPOD features.
I'm asking because over the years one thing I have learned is this.. number of features, etc means little if they are a PITA to use, or if they simply do not work well. If I go the Eclipse route it will cost about $300 extra over the Alpine assuming I don't buy an iPOD for the Alpine ( can probably goe USB easier with the Eclipse assuming it owrks well enough ). I'm ok with the money if it is justified but am also getting ready to buy HID lights for my Passat, etc etc and would prefer to spend only what I need.
Any input on how well these functions work is appreciated. Thx