Direct XM tuner (alpine)
that's is the kit i got for my alpine 9835. it's a direct plug-in for alpine headunits with ai-net.
what i got was the tuner, which is a universal tuner. this tuner can be used with an adapter for basically any headunit with xm capability. also included was the digital adapter made specifically for alpine headunits. they also make adapters for pioneer, kenwood, jvc, etc.
the tuner is very small and light in weight. the adapter is even smaller.
to hook it up you take the tuner and run your antena outside onto the roof. it's a magnetic antena so just plop it on your roof and run the wire into your car. the antena wire simply plugs into the tuner. next you have to hook up the adapter. on the side of the tuner there is a cable that connects into the tuner and into the adapter. it looks like a cd changer cable. then you have a set of rca's that is connected to the tuner and to the adapter.
now coming out of the adapter you have to plugs. the one plug plugs into the ai-net on your alpine headunit. you are now ready for xm radio.
the units are small and can mount anywhere, but they provide very short wires. you have to mount both units rather close to each, as the rca's and cable are only a couple inches long. with all these different wires, and having to mount the units so close, the install could look rather messy. also the ai-net cable is pretty short and you must mount both pieces rather close to the headunit. finding a good place to install it can be rather complicated. i was originally gonna install it under my seat, but given the short cable, i had to change my plans. what i did was drop this plastic panels under my glove compartment and mounted both units onto that and re-installed it and they are totally out of view. then it was a matter of just running the ai-net cable to the back of the headunit
the second cable on the adapter is an input for another device. it can be used as a pass-thru. you can hook up a cd changer, or a kca-420 (ipod adapter) and be able to control both with the headunit. there is no need for a kca-410 (the 410 allows you to hook multiple devices to an ai-net) this is really nice because it saves you $150.
now after that i got the unit activated. the sq is top notch. i can not tell a difference between a cd and xm. i have used the delphi plug and play kit through an fm modulator and aux inputs, and this by far is much better. the sound is detailed and crystal clear. if you were blindfold and i flipped between xm and cd, you would not be able to tell the difference. the alpine also features a couple different display modes. i can choose between artist, and channel, clock and artist, etc. there is about 10 different display options. you can also cycle by category and station just like the delphi plug and play. what also makes this better is you do not need to mount a tuner on your dash and have wires running everywhere. the only drawback i see now (limited experience so far) is that i cannot seem to find a way to simply press in the channel number. i like to check in on my sports channels but i cannot simply press in 140 or 141. i can however, set 1 of the 6 presets so that helps
i live in northern michigan where it gets as rural as it can get, and i experience no loss of signal.
long story short, i would definately recommend buying this if you are interested in adding xm radio to your vehicle. the sq is top notch, and being able to control your xm through your headunit is definately nice
the cons are the supplied wire are awfully short. you may be able to order longer wires between the tuner and digital adapter (not positive about this) but the wires from the adapter to the headunit are fixed to the adapter. in some cars this can be a pain in the *** to find a place to mount as under the seat or the trunk is not an option.