So far I'm looking at the all popular CDA-9887, the Eclipse 7100, as well as the Kenwood X991
It seems like all of these have the key ingredients for going active: Time alignment, built in equalizers, 3 preouts, high preout voltage (4v, 8v, and 5v, respectively)
It looks like the 7100 is at the top of the list with 11 EQ bands, next is the 9887 with 7, and the kenwood only has 4.
One thing I don't know about is the differences between their "Sound shaping" abilities. Alpine uses Media Xpander, Kenwood calls theirs System Q EX, and Eclipse has the 24-bit DSP, SRS Circle S.
They basically have all the same abilities for compatability / formats playback, but the kenwood has a nice security code feature. Alpine has the worst display of them, with the generic white grid, whereas the other two have high quality OEL displays.
I'm leaning towards the Eclipse. Hopefully someone can inform me on the differences between each of the sound processing systems.