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Alpine is known for their quality products, but which deserves the title of best alpine head unit? We have used a lot of these car receivers and can attest to the fact they’re not equal. That is why we have looked them over to find the top 5 car receivers the company has manufactured.
Quick Look: Our Top Picks
What are the Benefits of an Alpine Head Unit?
These head units/CD receivers serve as all-in-one solution for your car’s audio needs. Among their benefits are the following.
- Alpine head units provide you with full control over the sound tuning, and many have
Android and iPhone apps so you can control it via your mobile.
- These head units make it easy to balance the audio quality, and user defined presets can be saved.
- These units have equalizers that give you full control over the sound quality.
- Alpine CD receivers have Bluetooth support.
- These units allow for hands-free calling, which makes for safer driving.
- These devices have support for Facebook notifications and audio streaming.
- Alpine head units have USB ports, so you can power-up your mobile device.
Whether you call it a head unit or CD receiver, their purpose is the same as it serves as a sound control center while providing audio enhancement. Alpine head units also let you customize the crossover and various effects.
Many of these head units have an 18W x 4 RMS power, but they can be upgraded to 45W x4 RMS. Some of these Alpine head units are SiriusXM compatible and can be hooked up to the SiriusXM SXV300 Connect Vehicle Tuner Kit. This is a separate option and not necessary, but it’s good to know it’s available if you’re into this stuff.
What Should I Look for in an Alpine Car CD Receiver?
The first thing you should do is make a list of features you want and look for the Alpine head unit that has them. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are the major factors that you may want to consider.
Alpine models consist of MP3s, CDs, FLACs, WAV and other music audio formats. There are also units that support Blu-ray discs, DVDs, and CD changer controls. Some also have support for WMA, AAC and other files, so choose one that can play the music format you need.
High-end car CD receivers also have support for Bluetooth and mobile devices so they can play music directly from your mobile device, SD cards, and USB sticks. Alpine units also have support for live audio streaming, AM/FM radio, satellite and HD radio. You don’t need an Alpine that supports all these formats, of course, only the ones you need.
Ease of Use
All those features won’t mean much if they’re difficult to use. Look for an Alpine that has an intuitive interface so you can use it right away. The head unit serves as your vehicle’s sound control center, so you’ll be using it on a daily basis. Given this fact, the controls or the app must be easy to use.
The more powerful the amplifier, the better the sound will be. Those with RCA line inputs and a head unit amp built-in are good choices. If you’re putting together a sound system for your vehicle, power output needs to be sufficient. With this unit, you’ll get quality sound and can still add an amplifier later on.
What Other Features Should You Look For?
This is a matter of personal preference and the audio system you’re putting together, but here are some features you’re going to find in Alpine systems. It is up to you to decide if these are essential.
- Auxiliary inputs
- Remote control
- Steering wheel controls
- Preamp outputs
How Does an Alpine Head Unit Work?
This video gives you an overview of what an Alpine CD receiver can do. This is only a general guide as there’s more information in your user guide.
The 5 Best Alpine Head Units
The Alpine CDE-164BT is a CD receiver that makes it easy to balance audio via the TuneIt app or the bass button. Its Bass Engine SQ comes with 5 profiles so you can fine tune the sound. The unit is also Bluetooth compatible for hands-free calling, and you don’t need any special adapters.
The CDE-164BT supports live audio streaming, and it can access and play your iPhone’s music library via Bluetooth. The CDE-164BT also comes with a microphone to reduce feedback and noise interference, ensuring sound is at the optimum level. The CDE-164BT also lets you make and take calls, and music is muted automatically when a call comes in. Vehicles with Bluetooth steering wheel support can control the CDE-164BT from the steering wheel too.
- Adjusting sounds is easy
- Allows audio streaming and hands-free calling
- App for Android and iPhone available
- Interface is a bit confusingBUY THIS ONE
The CDE-143BT is a Bluetooth receiver and all-in-one music receiver with support for audio streaming and hands-free calling. For many drivers, the hands-free calling feature is the most important, as it means you don’t need to take your hands off the wheel.
Its audio streaming supports iOS 7, so you can listen to your iPhone music collection without plugging it in. The included microphone has been tuned so you get the best sound possible.
Its call taking function includes call waiting and info on received, dialed, and missed calls as well as caller ID. The unit supports the iPhone 5, and it has a USB cable so you can charge your mobile device. Its App Direct Mode provides additional control for your music.
- Remembers your phone automatically
- Mic and wiring included
- Very easy to install
- EQ control is a little hard to figure out
The UTE-62BT is compatible with the Alpine TuneIt app so you get the best audio out of your vehicle. The app is available for the iOS and Android, and with the app you can adjust the crossover, EQ and save up to 200 unique settings. Apart from the app, you can use the Bass button to control the power and balance.
Like other Alpine head units, the UTE-62BT supports hands-free calling, and its Bluetooth support lets you stream music from your mobile. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to control the UTE-62BT from the steering wheel. Its support for FLAC gives it an advantage over other units. The UTE-62BT has a USB cable for connecting to your computer, and it’s also useful for charging iPhones.
- Compatible with FLAC audio files
- App Direct Mode gives you more control
- Alpine TuneIt App compatible
- The display could be brighterBUY THIS ONE
The Alpine Advanced CD receiver comes with an AM/FM tuner, plus it has a tuner kit for SVX200 SiriusXM (subscription required), and it has 100% support for the iPhone and Bluetooth. Because it lets you take calls, you can focus on driving and not take your eyes off the road.
The CDESXM145BT also has support for streaming audio, so you can listen to the songs on your mobile. It also has App Direct Mode, allowing you to control apps that stream music, and you can even use it to play discs with mp3s.
The CDESXM145BT equalizer has 10 presets, and you can customize it to get the sound you want. The unit is also compatible with several Android phones with no change in audio quality.
- Hands-free calling
- Plug and play installation
- Great audio
- Doesn’t have a dedicated subwoofer output
The Alpine CDE-W265BT uses sophisticated Bluetooth technology for superior audio quality. If you have a mobile device, download the TuneIt app and adjust sound settings from your mobile device. The app also has several presets which you can try out.
You can create up to 100 unique sound settings, which is great if you like to use specific setups for different types of music or radio. The CDE-W265BT app has Facebook notifications and you can share those user settings.
The CDE-W265BT has an upgraded database of subwoofers and speakers, allowing you to fine-tune the audio. Its bass engine SQ also lets you adjust the crossover, sub level, and the EQ. Like the other Alpine units, you can do hands-free calling, and it has full live audio streaming support.
- Plays CDs with mp3s
- Has a MOSFET amplifier for superior sound
- Installation is easy
- Comes with just one USB port
Our top pick is the Alpine CDE-W265BT, as it has the features which you need from a car receiver, plus a little bit more. It has many features similar to those of other Alpine head units, but the Alpine CDE-W265BT is easier to use and has better support for the app.
When it comes to Alpine head units, you want it to automate tasks as much as possible. With the CDE-W265BT, that is precisely what you get. There are plenty of options for those who like to tinker, but it also automates audio streaming and other functions if you’d rather just focus on the music.