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.