This week in the shop I received a couple of long awaited Alpine iLX-407’s. Actually, what I received were the i407-WRA Restyle kits for 2011 – 2018 Wrangler JK. But inside that box was an iLX-407 which I immediately pulled out and wired up so I could write this Alpine iLX-407 review.
For those unfamiliar with Alpine’s Restyle kits, the i407-WRA is the Alpine iLX-407 plus a very nice Wrangler dash kit, iDatalink Maestro module and a pre-wired harness with all necessary install parts. It’s a very nice plug and play sort of kit Alpine has put together for 2011 – 2018 Wrangler JK. Additionally all Alpine restyle kits have a 3 year warranty vs the standard 1 year warranty.
Why the delay?
After numerous delays due to the chip shortage, raw material shortages, global shipping challenges and the nightmare that 2020 was and that 2021 continues to be – I am grateful to Alpine for their support. Like everyone else in our industry, I have a ton of backorders. However, they have been great about staging releases, allocating the limited inventory that is available and even air freighting in product (at a much higher cost to them) in order to support their strong independent dealers and keep things rolling. It seems like right when I’m about to be completely sold out with no ETA in sight, they release another backorder so I and our team at the shop can continue to do what we love.
Let’s talk about the radio
All gushing aside about the company itself, I am super stoked about this unit. It has an attractive and sleek, minimalist design – similar to the iLX-W650 (which will continue to be a part of the Alpine line up). There are some major key differences and upgrades over its predecessor. One of the major differences is this model is iDatalink Maestro compatible.
Key distinctions between the iLX-W650 and the iLX-407:
- iDatalink Maestro Compatible
- HD Radio
- HDMI input
- Multiple background colors to select from or upload your own splash screen
- 5-band EQ
Shallow mount is where it’s at!
Interior automotive design has changed a lot in the past couple of years and there are some vehicles out there – like the 2014 Ford Explorer in my garage right now – that are only going to be compatible with a shallow mount, mechless iDatalink Maestro radio. That’s assuming the client doesn’t want to lose anything when they “upgrade”. If they want to retain the features of the vehicle like the climate controls, reverse camera and access to vehicle settings while adding new technology like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, then the iLX-407 is going to be a perfect fit. You can also put 2018-up Wrangler JL into that category. Shallow mount, mechless is the only style that will pass muster. My point being this radio will be perfect for a lot of vehicles on the market that have these kind of space and technology restrictions.
Unlike the iLX-W650, the iLX-407 has more screen customization controls. You can easily press and hold a source icon and drag and drop it to another page. I love this feature because I like to be able to organize icons in the order that makes most sense for the client. Usually what I do is place what they need on the home page and leave the sources they will rarely access on the 2nd and 3rd pages.
Not only are the icons easily rearranged, but the colors can be changed. There isn’t a creepy blue iris staring at you like there is on the iLX-W650 home page. Instead you have a few different color splash screens to choose from or you can even upload your own.
Sound quality features
Although I didn’t have the ability to wire this up to my display board to listen to it with speakers, I can tell you looking at the chassis and specs, I suspect it sounds just as great as the iLX-W650. It appears to be the same exact chassis and like the iLX-W650, the iLX-407 is also made in Korea. However, there are some key differences in the audio control.
The iLX-407 includes features we’ve grown to expect from Alpine such as:
- Time Alignment
- Easy audio controls like bass/treble plus more advance EQ controls
- 4 Volt front, rear and subwoofer pre-amp output
- 24 bit DAC
However, the graphic EQ is a bit of a disappointment for me with only 5 bands of equalization. At the same time, from an ease of use standpoint, I totally get why they did that.
End users can easily be overwhelmed when they see a 9-band parametric EQ or 13 band graphic EQ. For many, less is more. Yet even a car audio novice can appreciate that 5 bands is definitely better than 3.
If they provided more than that, it might get confusing for someone just looking for some basic mid range adjustment. With 5 bands, they’re kind of in that goldilocks zone. In addition to the 5-band graphic EQ, the iLX-407 features several preset EQ curves making it even easier for the less than tech savvy to adjust.
Those that are more technologically inclined will appreciate the time correction menu. This is probably a feature the average user will overlook, but for anyone setting up a high fidelity audio system, this is a great tool to have.
Alpine iLX-407 – Best Value Apple CarPlay Android Auto radio 2021
I think it’s safe to say this is going to be the best value Apple CarPlay Android Auto radio of the year. For not much more than the iLX-W650, the iLX-407 packs in the features:
- 6.95″ glass capacitive touch screen
- Wired Apple CarPlay
- Wired Android Auto
- 4 Volt front, rear and subwoofer pre-amp output
- Built in crossovers
- Time alignment
- HD FM/AM Radio
- HDMI input
- iDatalink Maestro compatible (ADS-MRR)
- Shallow mount flexible install (and KTA-450 or KTA-200M power pack ready)
- Reverse camera input
- Front camera input
- SiriusXM Ready (requires SXV300v1 tuner)
- Multiple display options or upload your own background
- Customizable source icons
For those interested in using the HDMI input for Apple, you will need an HDMI Cable and a lightning to digital A/V adapter. Readers interested in buying an Alpine iLX-407 should note most dealers have not received them just yet. Although it’s still a good idea to contact your local Alpine dealer since most already have them on order and perhaps they can notify you once they arrive. What do readers think of this model? Please let me know in the comments below.
Hello I just got the 407 ilx and have no clue what else I need. Iv put in $1000 into alpine speakers with my 2020 Jeep Wrangler unlimited and have got no improvement of sound quality at all. I was so frustrated and think it’s because my head unit isn’t outputting enough power. I want to do this right and will buy what I have to but what parts do I need to install this thing to maintain all controls and maximize the most volume possible!? Any help is much appreciated I really don’t understand the car audio industry at all
Hi Nick, are you working with a local experienced shop? Or trying to do this yourself?
I have a lot of posts on the Wrangler upgrades on this blog. I wouldn’t have recommended the iLX-407 on its own because there isn’t anything direct to retain the camera. OR if you bought the i407-WRA-JL BUNDLE from Alpine, that comes with everything you need to retain all features. Not sure if you just bought the iLX-407 on its own, if you bought the Wrangler specific bundle that includes everything you need.
If you just bought the iLX-407 by itself, there is a 3rd party company that makes a camera retention interface you can try – I would contact Linkswell to confirm the part # and availability, but it might be the JDCAMADPT19. We usually keep the factory radio and do the PAC AP4-CH41R pre-amp adapter or if the client wants to upgrade the head unit we do the Alpine i509-WRA-JL or Stinger HEIGH10 with SRK-JW18EH. We use the Metra JP-1014 to put 6.5″ in the front, SSV Works, Metra or MB Quart adapters to put 6.5″ or 6×9 in the sound bar.
Got to have a high powered amp pushing everything, the power in the aftermarket head unit is not sufficient. You may want to check out some of videos on the Wrangler upgrades we’ve done to see what works best. The key is larger speakers and a LOT more power. I usually like to see our Wrangler clients with at least 100 watts RMS per channel. If you really want to make that head unit work, you’ll need an amp and you’ll need a Maestro RR and CH3 harness plus either an aftermarket camera or a camera retention adapter from Linkswell. We do also recommend a subwoofer. We usually do the JL Audio Stealthbox, but there are some other options out there too from MB Quart and SSV Works.
Here’s a link to a video we made in 2021 that has a good break down on what it takes to make these vehicles sound great. And here’s a more cost effective package I really like from MB Quart. This is a great kit for do-it-yourselfer’s and it’s available with or without the PAC AP4-CH41R2.
It seems the handsfree microphones that come with each unit are different. The iLX-650 is a bit smaller and has a different mount. My question: Is there any significant sound-quality differences between the two?
The iLX-407 looks like beefier version of Alpine’s previous cylindricl design.
Good eye – the mics are different, but I have not noticed any difference in sound quality for call quality. Happy clients with either model, no complaints that I am aware of. Initially there were some call quality issues with the 407 with certain Apple/Android devices, but that was resolved with a software update.
The headunit of my ILX207 when kaput after getting caught in the rain. Already having the WRA kit will the 407 headunit be an easy swap?
Hi Dusty – that’s a bummer! I think so – you’ll need to flash the ALP-MRR maestro with the new radio model # and serial #. I don’t think the harness will plug right in though, but it’s still straight forward. Basically you’re just going to have to cut off the iLX-207 end of the harness and just color match it to the harness that comes with the iLX-407. And I’m only saying I think they’re not the same plug from memory (it’s been awhile since I’ve had/sold an i207-WRA/iLX-207) and also from what I see on PacParts.com which is Alpine’s parts website. They list two different part numbers for the main harness for this radio. But it’s just a basic head unit install, so yeah, pretty easy.
I was wondering if there was anyway to but the wiring needed for install that comes in the box separately if I already have the unit and power chord?
Can you elaborate? I’m not following your question. If you need a replacement part for this they are sold separately at pacparts.com.
My head is about to explode. Not my head unit, my actual head…from information overload. I’m looking at installing the Alpine iLX-407 in my 2006 Tacoma and just need to know if adding an iDatalink Maestro is helpful to me in any way. The two things I’m unsure about are maintaining steering wheel controls and adding a backup camera. One minute I think I got it, then the next minute…I don’t got it. Any help? Thank you in advance. I appreciate your site!
Hey Scott, for the 2006 Tacoma you could benefit from the ADS-MRR. If your vehicle has JBL, it will retain the stock amp. Not only will it retain the steering wheel controls, but it will also give you some vehicle information like gauges, battery voltage, the ability to read/reset check engine error code and even tire pressure monitoring (if equipped). It also provides reverse light output making it easier for you to add a reverse camera. I hope that helps!
This was really helpful. I was hoping someone could help answer this question!?
I have a 2018 JL Wrangler Unlimited and wondering if the Alpine iLX-407 will work with the default factory back-up camera? I was told by Crutchfield that the Ilx-407 will not work with my wrangler and that I would need to buy an after market camera…. Apparently if I spend an extra $700 (includes all the wiring) I could buy the i407-WRA Restyle JL, which will work with the reverse factory camera. But I am so confused because isn’t the Ilx-i407 and the i407-WRA Restyle JL the same?!
Hi David. What Crutchfield told you is true. The iLX-407 on its own is just a double din iDatalink Maestro compatible head unit. You would still need a mounting kit, wiring harness, iDatalink Maestro module, USB retention adapter and OEM reverse camera adapter to go from the stock LVDS camera (low voltage differential signal) to a composite image the Alpine can understand. The i407-WRA-JL includes all the parts to do that. It’s a complete kit. Additionally, the wiring is all pre-terminated, making it a much easier/quicker install for a do-it-yourselfer. Technically you could buy all those parts separately, but not easily. In fact, I haven’t opened the box yet, but I think Alpine actually includes a new USB/Media hub so you just pop out the old one and put one in that works with the Alpine radio. I haven’t seen that part available separately, which means you have to then figure out where you would route the USB if you just bought the iLX-407 on its own (it will not just connect to the stock USB hub).
Also, if the i407-WRA-JL is purchased and installed by an Authorized Alpine dealer, you get a 3 year warranty too. Whereas the iLX-407 just has a standard 1 year warranty. The radio is exactly the same, it’s just that they bundle it with everything you need making the install nice and easy.
Hello, my question is, with the ilx-407 wra-jk kit, will I still have steering wheel control functions or will I need a separate interface?
Hi Dylan, when you buy the bundle i407-WRA-JK kit it comes with everything you need including the steering wheel control module. The only additional parts to consider adding are a way to flush mount the USB port (we use the PAC USB-DMA3 and put it inside the center console near the OEM USB port) and the SXV300 tuner if you want SiriusXM and maybe an HDMI cable if you want to use that feature.
The difference in price between the Alpine iLX-407 and the Alpine i407-WRA is nearly double. Can you install the Alpine iLX-407 in a Jeep Wrangler without buying the i407-WRA? Will it look correct? What are you missing out on?
Hi Chris, yeah, you can definitely buy it separately. The dash kit just isn’t as fancy, it’s a matte black. You would need:
–SAT1 (if you’re using an SXV300 tuner)
–USB-DMA3 to flush the USB port or an HDMI-USB-CBL for combo USB/HDMI port
So you need about $300 in parts and then you’re doing the wiring yourself on the harness whereas the Alpine is already prepped for you. Also the i407-WRA-JK is a “Restyle” Radio so it comes with a 3 year warranty whereas the iLX-407 on its own has just a 1 year warranty. That’s the other big difference. Great question, thanks for the comment!
Basically it comes to about $250 just for the wiring harness. Is wiring it that difficult that an amateur couldn’t do it? I’m an IT professional and have a little wiring experience (I previously had the Alpine X209-WRA-JK and installed that on my own, but that was with the custom wiring harness).
Any help would be greatly appreciated as I want to replace the crappy 430N in my new jeep soon!
Hi Matthew, it’s really not that difficult, color matching, read the maestro instructions and install guide, it shows you exactly what wire goes to what. The other key difference is the i407-WRA is part of their Restyle line so it comes with a 3 year warranty whereas the stand alone iLX-407 has just the standard 1 year warranty. That definitely has some value to it as well.
This was really helpful, I was wondering if the Alpine iLX-407 then will work with the default factory back-up camera? I was told I would have to get the i407-WRA-Restyle-JL which like Chris said the difference in price is more than double.
https://www.crutchfield.com/p_500ILX407/Alpine-iLX-407.html (Plus about $300 for wires/kit etc )
Good Article. Would you happen to know if I can connect a laptop to this unit via HDMI? Or to put it another way, can the HDMI input be used in the same fashion as a normal TV would? could I plug my Xbox into it, for instance?
Hi Andy, glad you enjoyed the write up. That’s the idea. I haven’t tried an Xbox or laptop in particular, but it’s designed just like an HDMI input on your TV. Whatever you connect to it you have to launch/control from the device, but the audio/video would be piped through the radio when you select the HDMI input. I know there are certain limitations on devices due to copyright law. For example, there are certain apps on the iPhone that won’t display. I think one that I tried on my iPhone that didn’t work was Comcast or Xfinity, but Netflix and YouTube works. If whatever you’re using works when you’re connected to a TV, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in the car unless it also needs to be connected to a specific internet provider to function. Also, don’t use anything other than a straight HDMI to HDMI cable for connection.
So.. which unit would you go with? 650 or 407? Best Buy has 650 at $349 right now
Hi Mike – that all depends on the application. Me personally for my 2014 Wrangler? The iLX-650 because of the sound quality control, 9 band parametric EQ. But in reality I’ve got a Kenwood because 9 bands isn’t enough for me and even 13 doesn’t always cut it. For a client, however – I always look at the year, make and model and how it’s being used – just a nice tech upgrade or are we building out a full system? Does the car have a stock amplifier? Is it a vehicle that would be better matched with a Maestro compatible radio?
If you had a Wrangler JKU with the stock premium sound and all you’re doing right now is the head unit, you’re better off the the iLX-407 because of how the Maestro interfaces with the stock amp – we have gain control, fader control, etc. Whereas with the iLX-650 you lose fader and there is no ability to adjust the input signal from the factory amp unless you add in a separate line level adjuster like a PAC LP7-4. There are some vehicles where if you don’t use a Maestro you lose access to vehicle settings.
For non amplified, non maestro compatible vehicles, and for someone who doesn’t need HD Radio or HDMI, the 650 is the better way to go because of the better EQ and because you’re not paying for features you won’t use. I expect the 407 to sell for much higher than MSRP with the limited availability. And $350 is a steal right now for the 650. What’s the year, make and model and do you plan on just doing the head unit or a full system? And are you using Apple or Android? Just heard from someone that the charging on the 650’s USB is only 1 amp which will keep an iPhone slowly charging, but is not quite enough to really charge an Android. The 407 is 1.5 amp.
Wow thanks so much for this detailed answer! Which kenwood do you have?
I have a non JBL 2015 Prius. I’m going to change out all the speakers… sub is a maybe depending but I do have a brand new 10” Type R laying around 😉
My pleasure. I have a Kenwood DMX7704s in my Wrangler. Today’s equivalent would be a DMX7706s or DMX706s. Use the sub, you already have it!
I’m disappointed. You have gone backwards. This is the ilx-207 with a 5 band equalizer instead of a 9 band parametric eq. You could have at least make this unit wireless caraway and Android auto! I’m so happy that I was able to find a ilx-207 before you discontinued it. You didn’t even make the presets 5 volt! I don’t get it!
Thanks for the comment Salvatore. I agree Alpine makes sometimes weird choices, but I think they saw the run away success of the iLX-W650 and knew they had to make something like that but that was Maestro compatible. However that Maestro licensing, I’m sure costs them quite a bit, so I think to do that, they had to cut back elsewhere and decided to use the same style operating system on their successful line of Halo units. I am glad to see they included HD radio and the HDMI, a lot of clients like having those features. I too was disappointed about the 5 band vs 9 band. Next time we get the chance, we’re actually going to test the pre-amp and see if it’s really 4 volt. I think largely due to the semi-conductor shortage and just the general increase in costs of raw materials and global shipping costs (which have quadrupled in the last year) we are going to be seeing a lot of manufacturers skimp on certain features in an effort to keep the retail price as palatable as possible. Just another form of shrinkflation I guess.