Escort Redline 2024 Mercedes G Wagon

Escort Redline Ci 360C

This week in the shop we had a 2024 Mercedes G Wagon that was in need of a premium Escort radar detector. When I say “premium” I mean the standard window mount Escort Redline series was not going to do justice for this vehicle.

2024 Mercedes G Wagon Escort Redline Ci 360C

Our client opted for the Redline Ci 360C which is Escort’s top of the line built in radar detector featuring:

  • Front Radar
  • Rear Radar
  • 3 Laser shifters in front (2 VX transceivers + 1 VX transmitter)
  • 2 Laser shifters in rear (1 VX transceiver + 1 VX transmitter)
  • OLED Display with directional indicators
  • Control Pad (example below)
Example of Escort Redline Control Pad installed in a 2024 Bentley Continental GT

Example of Escort Radar control panel mounted in a 2024 Bentley Continental GT. Location is directly to the right of the driver’s seat, left of the center console.

The performance of the Escort Redline Ci 360C is hard to beat. The range is exceptional featuring Dual M14 antennas and a Blackfin DSP. In addition, the accuracy is impeccable thanks to top of the line filtering intelligence. Overall, the technology Escort deploys in their Redline series is superior to their competitors in many ways. This advanced tech and performance is truly what makes their radar detectors so desirable.

Escort Redline Ci 360C Display Installed in 2024 Bentley Continental GT

Example of Escort Redline Ci 360C OLED Display installed in a 2024 Bentley Continental GT. John spent hours carefully notching out the plastic panel above the rear view mirror, then gently heating it and molding it into place.

However, most installers will tell you they prefer the slightly stealthier installation available with K40 which utilizes small and simple LED indicators that can be discretely mounted in a variety of locations on a vehicle interior vs the OLED Display and Control Pad included with the Escort Redline. The reason for this? For one thing, not every vehicle has a great place to mount these components. Secondly, they do admittedly alter the look of the interior slightly. Lastly, depending on how creative you get with your installation method, integrating these 2 accessories can easily add hours to your total labor tab. Solution? Enter Mid City Engineering.

Mid City Engineering Cluster Integration for Escort Radar

For those of you that haven’t heard of this little gem, Mid City Engineering is a niche company in the mobile electronics industry that specializes in OEM integration. They are a talented group of engineers that develop products that make it easier for us to install the cool gear our clients want in their vehicles. Their main focus is on Mercedes, but they do also offer some products outside of that including the cluster and steering wheel control integration piece we used to install the Escort Redline in this 2024 Mercedes G Wagon.

Escort Radar Detector Integrated with Mid City Engineering in Cluster 2024 Mercedes G Wagon

Escort Radar detector integrated using Mid City Engineering Cluster Integration MAX-INT213. Escort Redline Ci 360C installed in 2024 Mercedes G Wagon.

This cluster integration module enables the technician to hide the main display and control pad, keeping the appearance of the interior unaltered in any way. Radar and laser alerts come straight through the instrument cluster. Basic controls and settings can be made using the vehicle’s steering wheel controls. How cool is that? To see how it all works, check out the video below.

This Escort Redline cluster integration module is available for the Redline Ci 360C platform and Escort’s earlier MAX Ci series. Mid City offers this nifty accessory for select Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Porsche, Bentley, BMW, Infiniti, Lamborghini, Jeep, Acura and Ford. If you are interested in having an Escort Radar detector professionally installed in your vehicle, reach out to our shop Sounds Incredible Mobile. We serve clients from Fairfield and Litchfield county, CT as well as Westchester and Dutchess county, NY. Call, text or visit us today for more details!

1987 Porsche 911 Stereo Upgrade

1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Stereo Upgrade with Blaupunkt Frankfurt 82 DAB

To upgrade or not to upgrade?

This is often the dilemma of our clients that own a classic Porsche. You wait until the nice weather finally breaks before pulling your 1987 Porsche 911 out of the garage for a pleasure ride. The sun is shining, there’s a nice breeze in the air and you remember exactly why you fell in love with this car.

1987 Porsche 911 Carrera - stereo upgrade

But as time passes you start to realize this could be better. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a decent stereo? Ah, but you don’t want to jeopardize the value or integrity of the vehicle. So you suffer through. Here’s the cool thing though – you actually don’t have to.

Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera Blaupunkt Frankfurt stereo upgrade

We recently had the pleasure of working on this 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera which had been equipped with the stock premium audio package. It still had the original radio in the dash, paper cone components in the front doors and rear deck with the original amp under the passenger seat. It was pretty mint! But not functional.

1987 Porsche 911 Stereo upgrade parts list

To do this stereo upgrade, it was important to use speakers that would fit with the original speaker grilles. In the rear this meant going with a set of Kicker KS coaxial speakers which feature a low profile tweeter and low profile magnet. I also wanted to make sure we included a compact, high powered amplifier to drive the new speakers. The more powerful the amplifier, the louder and clearer the speakers will perform. This is key to overcoming engine, wind and road noise. It was also extremely important – to us and to the client – to do this upgrade without modifications. To accomplish it all, we used the following parts and equipment:

Installing the new amplifier

Using the amp bypass harness and vintage speaker harness, John was able to install a new amp in the factory location without modifying any of the original speaker wiring or connectors.

1987 Porsche 911 amplifier upgrade

He was even able to re-use the original fuse holder and fabricated a nifty platform to mount the amp. How cool is that?

Alpine KTA-30FW amp on custom made amp rack using OEM style connectors in Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera

Perfect fit front component speakers

Aftermarket component speakers always have an external crossover network. It’s typically a small box that has an input side and then a woofer and tweeter output. In simple terms, the crossover is taking in a full range signal and then divvying up and directing the appropriate frequency range to the tweeter and to the woofer.

Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera factory crossover vs Morel crossover

Most factory crossovers are quite simple consisting of a small inline capacitor on the tweeter. In this 1987 Porsche 911 however, they were of considerable size. This worked out in our favor. The factory crossover was installed in the door panel. It was as if these Morel speakers were made for this car. The Morel crossover was almost the same exact size and fit nicely in the exact same location. This wasn’t planned, just a happy coincidence.

Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera with aftermarket Morel crossover and speaker mounted

Not only did the crossover fit perfectly in the original location, the mounting points for the Morel speakers were spot on. Once again, no modifications were needed which is a beautiful thing!

Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera with aftermarket Morel tweeter mounted

With the front door speakers mounted, John took it up himself to touch up and freshen up the faded speaker grilles. The front speaker installation came out looking quite sharp.

Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera with aftermarket Morel speakers installed

Rear speakers installed

The Kicker rear speakers fit perfectly under the original grilles. John did have to work his magic here fabricating a new mounting plate. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pics of him in action. Here you can see the outcome of his craft and expertise.

Rear speakers upgraded 1987 Porsche 911

Blaupunkt Frankfurt RCM 82 DAB

With such care to attention to detail in maintaining the integrity of this vehicle, it was only natural to use a retro style radio. And here is the pièce de résistance – the Blaupunkt Frankfurt RCM 82 DAB. Although this radio appears period appropriate, it contains modern features like Bluetooth and even a USB port hidden behind the fake cassette cover. How clever! To see that in action, check out our YouTube short below.

Blaupunkt Frankfurt RCM 82 DAB installed in a Classic Porsche 911

When you use quality equipment, have it professionally installed and tuned, it will deliver the kind of eye popping audio upgrade that leaves you pleasantly surprised. The end result is a classic Porsche look in a classic Porsche vehicle with high fidelity output. You can have the best of both worlds. If you’re interested in an audio upgrade for your classic Porsche, check out our shop for more details, Sounds Incredible Mobile in Brookfield, CT.

Sony XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 Review

Recently Sony released 2 new Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto models, the XAV-AX6000 and XAV-AX4000. I’ve always been a huge fan of Sony. John and I have had a few different Sony models in both our vehicles throughout the 20+ years we’ve been working together. Sony has always been big on quality and value which is a hard combo to find – especially these days! I recently took the time to break it all down in this Sony XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 review on YouTube. But some people, myself included, prefer to read about these things. If that includes you this is your post!

Sony XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 – Similar features

Let’s start by reviewing what these models have in common.

  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Wireless Android Auto
  • iDatalink Maestro Compatible
  • SiriusXM Ready
  • Reverse Camera input
  • AM/FM Radio (no HD)
  • USB C input (extension cable included) with 3 amp charging
  • 6.95″ touch screen
  • 14 Band EQ
  • Digital Time Alignment – either preset or manually adjust
  • Built in crossover adjustments up to 48 dB per octave
  • Subwoofer phase adjustment – love that!

Finally – iDatalink Maestro Compatibility

I was really happy to see this feature finally added into the Sony line up. Now, it may not be the prettiest integration, but if you’re mainly using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto that aspect looks the same regardless of what head unit you have.

XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 review
2016 Jeep Cherokee with factory 8.4″ UConnect – OEM HVAC display can be maintained when using an iDatalink Maestro compatible radio.

Previously if you wanted wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and you had a car that needed an iDatalink Maestro like a 2016 Jeep Cherokee, you were spending beaucoup bucks to get both features with Kenwood or Alpine ($750 – $800). Now with the XAV-AX4000 (with a regular retail price $599.99) you can get into these features at a much more reasonable price.

XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 review
Sony XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 Review – iDatalink Maestro HVAC display for select models such as the 2016 Jeep Cherokee

As mentioned, it’s not the most esthetically pleasing graphic user interface – I think Alpine does a better job with their Maestro HVAC graphics, BUT this is definitely practical. It gets the job done and you’re able to retain features and functions which is the main point of the Maestro.

XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 – What’s missing from both?

I was surprised to see that neither of these models features HD Radio. However, that could be considered a luxury feature and these are value priced models. Besides – who needs FM/AM Radio anyways when you have wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? Exactly. If you are the type of person who still listens to FM/AM radio you will be pleased to know the reception in both models is quite impressive which is typical of Sony. However, they do have scrolling presets. Not a fan of scrolling presets!

XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 review
Sony XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 Review – XAV-AX4000 pictured

Aside from missing HD Radio, the other potential drawback to be aware of on both of these models is this – reverse camera input only. I find that most clients are totally fine with this. They’re usually just looking to retain their factory reverse camera and not necessarily add a front park assist camera. However, there are those clients out there. You know the kind with young new drivers behind the wheel for the first time. Deep down in their hearts if they could, they would wrap their kid in bubble wrap and strap a helmet on their head before they leave the house. These parents want every possible safety feature added to their older cars such as a front camera, park sensors, blind spot sensors, etc. Alas – there is no front camera input on either the XAV-AX6000 or XAV-AX4000 so if you are that parent, consider an Alpine or Kenwood receiver instead.

So what’s the difference?

I thought you’d never ask. For one, there is a subtle difference in the screens. The XAV-AX4000 has a resistive touch screen whereas the XAV-AX6000 uses a capacitive touch screen. From a functionality standpoint (which you can see in the YouTube video here), they are both similarly responsive and accurate to touch.

XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 review
Sony XAV-AX4000 – Resistive touch screen

I find that the XAV-AX6000 is only slightly more vibrant and saturated in color. I expected a more dramatic difference in the contrast, vibrancy and saturation. Perhaps due to the matte finish, it’s a bit muted.

XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 review
Sony XAV-AX6000 Capacitive touch screen

Other than the actual difference in screen type, the XAV-AX6000 has what they call an edge to edge bezel-less screen whereas the XAV-AX4000 has a small frame/trim around the screen. See below.

XAV-AX6000 on the left with Bezel-less screen – XAV-AX4000 on the right with traditional trim around the screen.

What else?

There are 3 other major differences between these two models. One of which I consider kind of a bonus feature, but some clients will really appreciate it. The XAV-AX6000 features an HDMI input. Keep in mind, it is a micro HDMI input so there is a little bit of cable adapting to actually mirror your iPhone or Android, but it can be done. To learn more about that, check out the short video below where I wrestle with an Android to get mirroring working thru a nice flush mount HDMI adapter. Turns out I needed to turn off Bluetooth on the Android in order to get the HDMI working properly.

As for the other 2 major differences? A whopping 3 year warranty is included on the XAV-AX6000. The XAV-AX4000 includes a standard 1 year warranty. Lastly, the XAV-AX6000 boasts 5 volt pre-amp outputs for front, rear and subwoofer – perfect for building your hi-fidelity aftermarket sound system. The XAV-AX4000 on the other hand features a standard 2 volt pre-amp outputs, also for front, rear and subwoofer.

But is the XAV-AX6000 really 5 volt?

I’m about to find out this weekend when I break out the old Fluke 123B Oscilloscope, but you’ll have to check out my YouTube channel for that. I am curious to see how it performs! With most head units, when rated at 4 volt for example, I expect to see a measurement of 4 volts on each side: 4 volts on the front left RCA pre-out and 4 volts on the front right RCA pre-out. Since the XAV-AX6000 has a mono RCA pre-out – should I expect to see 10 volts when I measure the single mono pre-out? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

Wireless Sound Quality

The other really interesting tidbit I discovered during this Sony XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 review is the fact that the Apple CarPlay connection is done entirely wirelessly! That USB C is just there for charging (3 amps) and establishing the initial connection. Sony has implemented their proprietary LDAC technology in both of these receivers enabling high resolution audio streaming up to 990 kbps at 24 bit/96 kHz.

14 Band EQ included on both the XAV-AX4000 and XAV-AX6000

I did spend some time listening to the XAV-AX6000 and I must say, I was quite impressed with the sound quality. For this listening test I used a couple tracks: “Old Man” by Neil Young and “2 Be Loved” by Lizzo. The audio was piped thru some Focal Flax series components running off an older Alpine PDX-F4 amplifier.

Sony XAV-AX6000 vs XAV-AX4000 Review

I used Apple Hi-Res Lossless for this A/B comparison. The audio coming from the Sony XAV-AX6000 was almost indistinguishable to the audio coming from the Kenwood eXcelon DMX709s which features a wired connection and is capable up processing audio files at 24 bit/192 kHz.

Value That is Hard to Beat

The value on both of these wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto iDatalink Maestro compatible head units is pretty phenomenal. We’ve sold quite a few of both and so far all clients are happy. You really can’t go wrong with either model, but the XAV-AX6000 clearly has a few perks that are worth the extra $100. Many clients opt for the XAV-AX6000 just for that 3-year warranty. What do you think? Which wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto model stereo are you putting in your car?

Porsche Apple CarPlay Retrofit

Porsche Apple CarPlay

Upgrading the PCM 3.1 Radio

This week in the shop we had the pleasure of working on this mint 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. Our client explained to us her kids were finally all grown up and out of the house so she got rid of the big family car and traded up. Now it is her time to have and enjoy the sports car she’s always wanted.

2014 Porsche 911 Carrera 4s
2014 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Except this sporty little convertible had some serious blind spots when backing up as it lacked a reverse camera. And although it had Bluetooth and navigation, the PCM 3.1 navigation was extremely dated. Luckily we were able to address that with a Porsche Apple CarPlay upgrade.

Porsche Apple CarPlay Upgrade - Factory PCM 3.1 Radio
Porsche Apple CarPlay Upgrade – Factory PCM 3.1 Radio

This Porsche Apple CarPlay upgrade was completed using an interface from ZZ-2 which is just one of many manufacturers that we work with for these kinds of retrofits. It does require a bit of expertise to install. It’s not a simple plug and play module.

Intricate Install

In order to utilize the factory touch screen controls, John had to open up the OEM radio and add a few components. This type of work is very delicate and not for the faint of heart. Luckily he has experience in this type of work as you can see in the pic below.

Porsche Apple CarPlay Retrofit – Requires radio disassembly and ribbon cable connections similar to the work being done on this Range Rover radio

Once John successfully added the new hardware, he reassembled the radio and began preliminary testing. This Porsche Apple CarPlay retrofit kit utilizes the factory microphone which is great. Not only is it a clean look, the OEM mic performs quite well.

Along with Apple CarPlay we also added a reverse camera complete with Dynamic park assist guidance lines

Along with Apple CarPlay, John also installed a reverse camera. We used the Rydeen CM-HD4 which is a surface mount style (no drilling!) reverse camera featuring high resolution (960 lines), 170 degree viewing angle, .1 Lux with a standard composite video connection. The reverse camera is triggered automatically when shifting into reverse. It also features dynamic park assist lines which is courtesy of the ZZ-2 interface – not the camera.

What to be aware of

Whenever we add Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to a factory stereo, there are usually some functional limitations to be aware of. In this particular vehicle, accessing the Apple CarPlay is actually pretty easy. Number one, you have to select the AUX input source on your radio. Then simply press and hold the info button to prompt the ZZ-2 menu/Apple CarPlay. At that point you can connect and enable wireless connection. Once that connection is established, Apple CarPlay will launch automatically upon vehicle start up. The trick is you must be on the AUX input to hear and use the features of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. If you are listening to another source such as SiriusXM or FM/AM Radio, you will not hear GPS directions or text message notifications.

To learn more about adding Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to your vehicle, contact us today. Call/text, email or stop in the shop. We’re happy to explain the options for your particular vehicle.

Alpine iLX-507 Review

Alpine iLX-507 Review

It’s been a few months since we received our first shipment of the Alpine iLX-507. Now that we’ve sold and installed a few, I feel I’ve gotten to really know it intimately. It’s time to share my thoughts! For those not familiar, the 507 is essentially the direct replacement for the iLX-207 which we used to have in our old 2013 Wrangler.

Alpine iLX-507 Review - Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Alpine iLX-507 Review – Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Where is it made?

One of the first things I always like to look at when a new product arrives at the shop is the outside of the box. Where’s it made? It’s predecessor, the iLX-207, was made in Japan. For comparison, the wildly popular iLX-W650 and subsequent iLX-407 are both made in Korea and the previous Halo models, iLX-F409 and F411, were made in China. I was intrigued to see the Alpine iLX-507 is made in Thailand. Fun fact. I recently had a client ask me where every radio we sold was made. He based his purchase off of the country of origin. As I rattled off the names when I finally got to Indonesia (Kenwood) he stopped me and said, “I ain’t got no problem with them, that works”.

Alpine iLX-507 - Made in Thailand
Alpine iLX-507 – Made in Thailand

HD Screen Quality – But is it really?

Once I got the unit unboxed and wired up, the HD quality of the screen immediately stood out to me. The Alpine iLX-507 features a 1280 x 720 HD screen with a 2,764,800 pixel count. Not bad. Check it out against this Kenwood DMX1057XR on display right next to it. Keep in mind, the Kenwood is physically closer to the camera because it’s floating away from the display board.

Although this new style screen is much more vibrant and aesthetically pleasing than previous models, sadly, I don’t think it’s as accurate/responsive to touch. For example, just playing around with the iLX-W650 and iLX-407 on display, I find their touch screen is more accurate and responsive than the iLX-507. The Kenwood right next to it blows it out of the water in terms of touch reactivity and exactness .

Screen Sensitivity

Check out the drop down tab on the top of the screen. This is supposed to be a quick and easy short cut to get to basic audio controls – which I do appreciate! The Alpine iLX-507 features an incredible amount of audio control such as a 13 band parametric EQ (per channel), BUT there are a lot of clients out there that just want a quick easy bass/treble adjustment.

The manual says to simply tap the blue tab on the top of the screen to display this easy sound set up menu. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately it usually takes me 2-3 tries to get it to actually show up. Super frustrating. Especially when I’m trying to show a client how easy it is to use. Imagine trying to do that while you’re driving and hitting bumps and potholes.

Wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto plus iDatalink Maestro compatiblity

The most attractive feature of the Alpine iLX-507 for most clients is the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. On top of that, this receiver is also iDatalink Maestro compatible which is a critical feature for a lot of different vehicles. Although not required for every car, even something like a 2012 Ford Escape will benefit from the iDatalink Maestro ADS-MRR which can retain OEM features like audio controls on the steering wheel, factory amplifier if equipped, park distance sensors and even the separate radio display that is mounted above the factory radio.

Alpine iLX-507 - Wireless Android Auto
Alpine iLX-507 – Wireless Android Auto

Two USB ports – Optional GPS Navigation

In addition to wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, there are TWO USB ports for this receiver. Bonus points – the main USB features 2.4 amp charging. That is huge. I was super surprised this wasn’t covered in an earlier product training when the question was asked, but I’m happy to report the main USB finally has a decent charging rate.

Another super attractive feature is the secondary USB port. This can be used for an additional device such as music files on a thumb drive or for future unit expansion. Eventually Alpine plans to release an optional satellite based GPS navigation add-on (release date TBD – keeps getting pushed back).

Optional GPS

I think optional GPS is a no brainer for radio manufacturers and I really don’t get why more companies don’t offer it. Although the Alpine iLX-507 includes a GPS antenna, which helps to improve accuracy on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can still run into coverage issues in dead zones. And trust me, there are still plenty of areas especially in New England with zero cell service. That is the drawback of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. No cell service? No GPS. For many clients driving in more densely populated areas, this isn’t a concern, but for folks still out in the country, it’s nice to have satellite based GPS navigation. Keep in mind if/when you decide to add that optional GPS when it becomes available, it will occupy that secondary USB input.

Optional Volume Knob

Speaking of options, would you like to add volume knob? Well luckily you can and the best part about it is you can stick it wherever you want on your dash. The Alpine RUX-H02 is an optional Volume/Subwoofer control knob that works via Bluetooth with the iLX-507. By pushing the knob in you can toggle between master volume control and subwoofer level control. How clever!

Alpine iLX-507 - Optional Volume Knob/Remote Bass Knob
Alpine iLX-507 – Optional Volume Knob/Remote Bass Knob

I do love this accessory. It is such an awesome add-on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into a clients car to show them how to use their new stereo and they immediately start reaching for the volume knob that is no longer there. People like knobs, what else can I say?

HD Radio – Scrolling presets

Personally I am not a fan of FM/AM radio, but there are some clients that still like to listen to local radio for music, news, traffic and weather. If you’re in an area with a lot of coverage, you may appreciate the added benefit of HD Radio compatibility. What might peeve you however, is how you access those presets.

Alpine iLX-507 - Scrolling presets
Alpine iLX-507 – Scrolling presets

This is another design aspect I don’t understand. Scrolling presets! Fixed presets 1 thru 6 on the bottom of the screen with a clear band button (like the iLX-W650) is the way to go IMO. It’s just difficult to scroll and select while driving especially if the screen responsiveness isn’t 100%.

Hi-Res audio playback

You may have noticed that the Alpine iLX-507 features Hi-Res audio playback. It’s compatible with higher resolution audio apps like Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon HD or tracks downloaded from HD Tracks and capable of playback at 96kHz/24Bit. This may be a very important feature to a lot of you out there. You might be surprised I haven’t made a bigger deal out of this feature. Practically speaking, most of the clients that have bought this unit are not purchasing it for this reason. Hi-Res audio isn’t even on their radar.

Alpine iLX-507 - capable of Hi-Res Audio
Alpine iLX-507 – capable of Hi-Res Audio

In general, many of my clients don’t really understand that the music they are streaming from Pandora, Spotify and SiriusXM is wildly compressed. Whenever possible, I take the time to let them hear a track off their playlist from their phone using their preferred app and then I let them hear the same track from my phone using Apple lossless. They’re usually blown away by what they’ve been missing. If you are using high res audio apps, you will totally appreciate this feature. If you’re still rockin’ with a free Pandora subscription, it’s time to upgrade and try a higher quality app.

Control up the Wazoo

As nitpicky as I am, one thing I really love about this unit is all of the control it has. There are SO many settings. You can get lost in the settings for days. Telephone/Notification volume settings. Mic gain and echo cancellation/noise reduction settings. Key feedback tone settings. Camera image settings. Source volume settings. Background image/color settings. 13 Band parametric EQ adjustable per channel. In depth crossover settings.

Alpine iLX-507 - Various menu settings
Alpine iLX-507 – Various menu settings

Just look at this. Not only can you adjust Low Pass Filter and High Pass Filter separately for front, rear and subwoofer, look at the frequencies you can choose from. LPF: 4k, 5k, 6.3k, 8k, 10k, 12.5k, 16k & 20k. HPF: 80 Hz, 100 Hz, 125 Hz, 160 Hz, 200 Hz or 250 Hz. Slope: 0, 6, 12, 18 or 24 db per octave plus level adjustment from -12 to 0 dB. Holy crossover control Batman!

In addition to your standard time alignment controls, you can even select whether you want to enter that information based on milliseconds, inches or centimeters! I’m telling you, the Alpine iLX-507 has settings and options galore. They are seriously giving Kenwood a run for their money with all the audio control tools.

But don’t let all that control overwhelm you. For those that find these kinds of options and settings far too advanced, Alpine does include a basic preset EQ section shown here:

What can’t you control?

Unfortunately there are a few things you cannot control such as the blue color on the buttons. You can change the screen color, but not the button color. Go figure. The other thing that kind of drives me batty is automatic front camera control. There isn’t any. Even though the iDatalink Maestro supports automatic front camera control, Alpine does not offer this feature on any of their models right now. You want to use the front camera input, hit the camera button and tap the screen to alternate between the rear camera input and front camera input. On some higher end Kenwood models, the front camera can be automatically triggered for 10 seconds when shifting from reverse to drive. This is what clients expect when they see a stereo features front camera input.

But wait – there’s another catch!

I remember being really excited about this model when I found out it would support a front and rear camera. It’s about time. It always blew my mind that the more basic iLX-W650 supported 2 cameras, but yet the higher end models did not. Unless of course you dropped bank spent more than the cost of the receiver on their HD cameras: HCE-C2100RD, HCE-C2600FD and don’t forget the fancy camera switcher control module KCX-C2600B.

Alpine iLX-507 Review - Camera connections
Alpine iLX-507 Review – Camera connections

Alright, so the Alpine iLX-507 supports a front and rear camera and it doesn’t have to be a proprietary Alpine direct camera. You can use a composite camera using the included adapter in the box. Great! Except they only supply you one adapter. So let’s say you are like my client here the other day with your daughter’s 2017 Subaru Forester that has a factory reverse camera and you want to add wireless Apple CarPlay, retain the steering wheel controls, factory reverse camera and add a basic front camera. Guess what – you will need to buy another part! Available from PacParts.com – 82076-85781C78. I must say that kind of shit drives me crazy. Clients don’t want to be nickel and dimed or surprised to find out they need another part mid install.

Chassis Design

It’s also important to note the chassis design. Unlike Alpine’s other mechless models iLX-W650 and iLX-407, the iLX-507 does not have a shallow chassis. Full single DIN on bottom with a double DIN screen. For most installs that will still leave you some extra space for wire management. All things being equal, I prefer the chassis design of the iLX-W650 and iLX-407 because quite honestly they will fit a larger variety of vehicles. There are some Ford’s on the market (2014 Ford Explorer, I’m looking at you) that simply will not accommodate a full depth chassis like this unfortunately. So just be aware of any depth limitations, if any, in your particular application.

Alpine iLX-507 Review - Single DIN chassis
Alpine iLX-507 Review – Single DIN chassis

Overall – Amazing value and feature packed

I know I can be real nit picky on certain features and aspects, but it’s largely because of feedback from clients. I’ve learned what they like, what they don’t like and what they absolutely can’t stand because let’s face it. If I sold it and they don’t like it, I’m the one that’s going to hear about it.

Alpine iLX-507 Review -  Home screen
Alpine iLX-507 Review – Home screen

At the end of the day, the Alpine iLX-507 has a ton of fantastic features and very few drawbacks which is why it’s such a popular choice amongst our clients. Alpine, let me count the ways I appreciate you:

  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • iDatalink Maestro compatible
  • TWO USB ports
  • Main USB 2.4 amp charge
  • Secondary USB 1.5 amp charge
  • Optional GPS navigation (connects to USB 2)
  • Included GPS antenna
  • Bluetooth settings galore – regarding notification volume, GPS volume, echo cancellation, noise reductions, mic gain, etc.
  • An extravaganza of audio control – 13 band parametric EQ per channel, digital time alignment and a plethora of crossover adjustments
  • Simple preset EQ option along with basic bass/treble, balance/fader controls
  • Hi-Res audio compatible – playback up to 96kHz/24Bit
  • 4 Volt pre-amp
  • HDMI input
  • HDMI output (great for rear seat entertainment systems that accept HDMI input)
  • AUX input
  • SiriusXM compatible
  • HD Radio
  • Front and Rear camera input – includes one composite adapter – a second one can be purchased from PacParts.com
  • Compatible with optional Alpine dash cameras
  • Direct connection for optional HD Cameras – HCE-C2100RD & HCE-C2600FD – no switcher required – on screen control for various views – top down, panoramic, corner, etc.
  • Optional Volume Knob RUX-H02

Did you install the Alpine iLX-507 in your vehicle? What has your experience with this stereo been like? Let me know in the comments below. And as always – thank you for visiting and reading!

Alpine iLX-507 Review
Alpine iLX-507 Review

Sony XAV-AX150 Review

Sony XAV-AX150

Is the Sony XAV-AX150 the best value Apple CarPlay and Android Auto radio for 2022?

Now more than ever, consumers can appreciate the great value of the Sony XAV-AX150. As we hurtle towards a dystopian new normal, consumers are waking up to the greater effects of high gas prices, limited resources compounded by the weakening dollar. Inflation has entangled its tentacles into nearly every facet of our lives. Car stereo is in no way immune to this ugly beast. In 2019, the best value Apple CarPlay and Android Auto stereo that I sold was the Alpine iLX-W650. Just 3 years ago, you got a lot for your money with the iLX-W650: 4 Volt pre-amp, glass capacitive touch screen, 9 band parametric EQ and more. That deck is a work horse and is still a staple product at our shop. Yet, in the past few years, we have seen the price of that model climb from $299.99 to $349.99 and then to $399.99. Next week it will be $449.99. Yikes!

Sony XAV AX150
Sony XAV-AX150 – Best value Apple CarPlay Android Auto 2022

In this day and age, deals are harder and harder to come by which is why I love the Sony XAV-AX150. When consumers are getting hammered by inflation everywhere in their lives, I love seeing a quality brand like Sony hang in there and continue to offer consumers an awesome value.

This deck is perfect for someone who has purchased an older vehicle and looking to upgrade the tech features. It’s extremely difficult to buy a new vehicle right now. So many of our clients are buying used (and paying dearly for it I might add). On top of the inflated used car price, they are spending additional cash up-fitting to add Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Sony XAV-AX150 won’t be right for everyone, but it’s a perfect fit for anyone with a basic used vehicle simply looking to add modern features.

Why the Sony XAV-AX150 is awesome

This deck has a ton of great features for the money. It’s super easy to use and super reliable. What you see is what you get. You’re not paying extra for features you don’t want or need.

  • AM/FM Radio (NO SiriusXM compatibility)
  • Resistive touch screen
  • Bluetooth
  • Wired connection for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (rear USB)
  • Reverse camera compatible
  • Steering wheel control compatible
  • 10 Band EQ
  • Front, rear and subwoofer pre-amp (2 Volt – not the cleanest on the sub channel though)
  • Built in crossovers – adjustable HPF and LPF

This unit is mechless so no CD player. Although it is meant for double DIN ISO mount installation, the rear chassis is only single DIN which leaves you some room to work with in the dash in case your installation involves a large module to retain things like Onstar/Bose or steering wheel controls.

Sony XAV-AX150 - buttons on the lower lip.
Sony XAV-AX150 – mostly touch screen but with hard buttons on the lower lip

In addition to the 6.95″ touch screen, this unit also has a small lower lip with hard buttons. Here you find functions like Volume up/down, Track up/down, Home screen and an Option button which doubles up as a shortcut to source/audio settings OR as a voice activation button (press and hold to prompt Siri or Google Voice). You cannot rearrange the icons on the home screen, but I don’t see a need to – they are laid out in a nice logical, easy to see manner.

Sony XAV-AX150 background color options.
Sony XAV-AX150 different wallpaper options.

The bottom lip buttons will always illuminate in a neutral white tone. The background color can be changed, but you cannot upload your own. I don’t think the background color will matter for most clients as they are purchasing this unit for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. These interfaces appear exactly the same regardless of what model radio you are using.

Sony XAV AX150 - Apple CarPlay Android Auto
Sony XAV AX150 – Apple CarPlay Android Auto

Who this deck is for

The Sony XAV-AX150 is perfect for anyone looking to upgrade an older basic vehicle with a name brand Apple CarPlay/Android Auto stereo that won’t break the bank. Examples of vehicles this would work well with include 2012 Honda Civic, 2013 Toyota Corolla, 2011 Subaru Legacy or a 2014 Chevy Express Van. Mostly older Japanese vehicles without integrated electronics or basic GM or Ford models without things like a rear seat entertainment system.

Sony XAV AX150 EQ section
Sony XAV AX150 EQ section

Who this deck is NOT for

I wouldn’t recommend the Sony XAV-AX150 for anyone looking to build a full aftermarket audio system with amplifiers. It does have a front, rear and subwoofer pre-amp, but it’s low voltage. Plus the signal on the sub channel is not clean. I measured it with an oscilloscope which you can see in the video. Regardless of volume level or sub level, the signal was not a uniform wave. There is definitely some distortion there, perhaps just harmonic distortion. Either way, between the low voltage pre-amp and funky sub level signal, it’s not an ideal deck to build a system with. It’s perfect for clients looking for a great value, easy to use, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto head unit for their older, used vehicle.

Additionally, I would not use this in any vehicle that would benefit from an iDatalink Maestro compatible radio. For example, I wouldn’t use it in a 2015 Silverado or 2016 Ford Edge or 2018 Ram Promaster. All of these vehicles have data flowing through the factory radio. In other words, the radio is part of the operating network in the car. In situations like that you’re best off using an ADS-MRR and iDatalink Maestro compatible radio to retain vehicle features, access to vehicle settings and in general keep information flowing through the network in the car. To check iDatalink Maestro compatibility, check out this product feature look up page where you can plug in your vehicle info and radio info to see what features would be lost or retained.

My only complaint

The only thing that is a bit quirky about the Sony XAV-AX150 is the way that Sony maps their steering wheel control functions. They sort of lump functions together. Although there is an option in the radio to remap these functions, I’ve had hit or miss results with that.

Best Apple CarPlay Stereo 2019 - Sony XAV-AX1000 Steering Wheel Control Functions
Example of Sony steering wheel control functions mapped out for a 2014 Wrangler

The default option for the “Source” button is a double function. Tap “Source” (or “Mode” on your steering wheel) to cycle between sources like Bluetooth, AM/FM Radio or CarPlay/Android Auto. If a call comes in, pressing “Source” rejects the call. If you have a “Phone” button that button does 3 functions: Voice activation or if a call is coming in it will be “Answer call” and when you want to end the call, you press the same button again. This means if your vehicle has a separate “Phone”, “Answer” and “Hang up” button, they will not function that way anymore. The “Phone” button, would do everything. Which is not a big deal, but it’s just something to keep in mind for finicky type A people like myself.

Sony XAV-AX150 Best Value CarPlay Android Auto stereo 2022

Current pricing on the XAV-AX150 ranges between $248.99 – $299.99 which is a great deal IF you can get your hands on one. No telling how long Sony will keep this model at that price. If you can find one and you’ve got an older, basic vehicle, this is a great option for anyone looking to upgrade their vehicle with modern technology at an uninflated price. Do you have the Sony XAV-AX150 in your vehicle? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below.

Sony XAV-AX150 - Best value Apple CarPlay Android Auto stereo 2022
Sony XAV-AX150 – Best value Apple CarPlay Android Auto stereo 2022

Alpine i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK

Alpine i509-WRA-JL
New Alpine Jeep Stereo Models for 2022

Alpine recently announced two new Jeep Wrangler specific models for 2022: the i509-WRA-JL and the i509-WRA-JK. These two models are very similar to their predecessors, the X409-WRA-JL and X409-WRA-JK, but with some key differences.

Alpine i509-WRA-JL revealed – includes pretty much everything that was missing from the X409-WRA-JL

Although I’ve always been a fan of the X409-WRA-JL, there were several features missing and others that could have been executed better. Thankfully, Alpine appears to have listened to the community and addressed a lot of the pet peeves many users and dealers had with their X409 series. I’m eagerly awaiting arrival of these two new models. Once received, an i509-WRA-JL will promptly be installed in our 2019 Wrangler (currently has a Stinger HEIGH10 which I’ve discovered through testing is not truly 4 volt as advertised – see here).

Optional GPS navigation

I’m always the first to tell clients not to pay for features they won’t use or need. Put that money towards better quality speakers, amps, subs, sound dampening, etc. That’s why I’m super stoked about is the OPTIONAL GPS navigation with off road maps. This helps to cut down on costs for features that may be of no benefit to some and allow those that see the value in sat based GPS to go ahead and pay for it.

Two USB ports because two is better than one

Both the i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK feature dual USB ports. When you’re spending over $2k on a head unit you kind of expect more than one USB. This was a major complaint of ours with the X409-WRA-JL. Some of us like to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but some of us are in areas without consistent or reliable cell service and we don’t always store music on our phone.

Alpine i509-WRA-JL Review – uploaded 11/26/22

We have a USB stick loaded up with music for those times that we’re out of range. With two USB ports you can have both devices connected and easily switch sources on the radio rather than fumbling around while driving as you attempt to disconnect one device and connect another. Having said, that there is one important thing to note – if you do go for the optional GPS (KTX-NS01) it will occupy that secondary USB port. But that might be resolved with the next feature.

Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto – finally

The other expectation many of our clients had with their X409-WRA-JK and X409-WRA-JL is that these models should have been equipped with a wireless option for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Most were shocked it wasn’t a standard feature, again, when considering the price – and that shock was before the inflation and shrinkflation of 2021 descended upon our nation. We’re happy to see this sought after feature is included with the i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK.

High-res Display

The 9″ capacitive screen found on the X409-WRA-JL and the X409-WRA-JK was definitely a great screen. We had no complaints. We never had any trouble seeing it in bright glare and we drive exclusively with the top off as long as it’s not raining from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Yet, there is always room for improvement, right? The i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK are equipped with a higher resolution touch screen with 4x the resolution of the previous models. The new models feature a WXGA High-Resolution, Anti-Glare Display (1280 x 720).

Improved DAC and a LOT more audio control features

The i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK are loaded up with two types of EQ control. Users can select from a basic 5-band EQ – similar to what we see in the iLX-407 – OR you can really sink your teeth into the details using the glorious 13-band parametric EQ – and check this out, that’s per channel!!!

No need for a separate DSP with that kind of control. In addition to the 13 band parametric EQ, there are also all the standard audio features one would expect such as digital time alignment and built in crossovers for front, rear and subwoofer. Plus with the improved DAC, these new Alpine Jeep models for 2022 are capable of high resolution audio playback at 96 kHz/24 bit.

What’s not to love?

Edited – 4-9-22

My only complaint based on features/specs thus far is the camera situation. The i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK still only have two composite camera inputs. One of these inputs is going to be used to retain the OEM camera in the JL or to add a reverse camera in the JK. If you’re looking to add a front camera as well, you’re good, but if you want side cameras too, then you’ll need some type of external video switcher. This could be either something that is turn signal activated or something with a separate activation button kind of like the what you see with Alpine’s HDR cameras in the video below.

If you’re considering adding cameras to this kit, it’s a good idea to consider HDR cameras due to the screen size and resolution. When you take a basic reverse camera and connect it to a large, high resolution screen, the reverse camera image can get kind of washed out. This product design kind of forces you to go big or go home which I can appreciate, but sometimes it’s difficult explaining that to clients. I find seeing it in action, makes it easier to understand why. Just look at this comparison between a Kenwood HD camera and the OEM reverse camera in this 2018 CRV. It’s easy to see why the HD cameras are most costly, they’re much higher quality.

How much and when?

Pricing is always subject to change lately, but as of publishing time, the i509-WRA-JL will set you back $2,399.95 and the i509-WRA-JK set you back $2,199.95 – plus installation of course. Both models are considered a March 2022 release. When will they actually begin to ship? Only time will tell. I’ve got mine on order and once installed, I will make a follow up post and video. What do you Wrangler owners think of these new Alpine Jeep models for 2022? Are they worth the splurge?

Kenwood CMOS 740HD Comparison

Kenwood CMOS 740HD

How does the CMOS 740HD high definition camera compare to your typical reverse camera?

This week in the shop we installed a Kenwood CMOS 740HD camera into a client’s 2018 Honda CRV. We actually installed two of these bad boys. We added one as a dedicated front park assist camera and the other as a high definition reverse camera. The vehicle was already fitted with a Kenwood DMX1037s which we had previously installed.

Kenwood DMX1037s installed with CMOS 740HD front and rear park cameras - 2018 Honda CRV.
Kenwood DMX1037s with CMOS 740HD front and rear park assist cameras – 2018 Honda CRV.

In addition to the two cameras, we also added front and rear park assist sensors. With the new and used car market totally out of whack, upgrades like this are becoming more and more common. Although this vehicle was already equipped with a factory reverse camera, the picture quality just wasn’t up to par with todays standards. As you can see, when compared to the Kenwood CMOS 740HD, the picture quality difference is pretty remarkable.

Kenwood CMOS740HD vs Standard OEM Reverse Camera

Here is the Kenwood high definition reverse camera. This picture was taken at about 4:30 PM in late January, sun beginning to set. Note – I had not set up park guidance lines yet.

Kenwood CMOS-740HD reverse camera with DMX1037s
Kenwood CMOS 740HD connected to Kenwood DMX1037s – 2018 Honda CRV

And here is the original Honda reverse camera. Yikes! We retained it as a secondary camera and labeled it “Left” because you are only alotted one “Rear” camera label in the head unit. Technically the factory camera is to the left of the CMOS 740HD so it kind of makes sense.

Factory camera compared to Kenwood CMOS 740HD
Standard factory reverse camera connected to Kenwood DMX1037s – 2018 Honda CRV

The image quality difference is tremendous. Granted part of that could be due to that fact that the Honda reverse camera was designed to operate with the original 5″ radio display. It easily gets washed out in the DMX1037S’s big, beautiful, 10.1″ high defintion display. Having said that, I can tell you from experience that the Honda camera is pretty darn close to what you get with any entry level aftermarket reverse camera. Sure – you can see if there is a person, car or object in your path, but not in very high definition. It works, but it could be much better and the Kenwood CMOS 740HD is that much better.

Kenwood CMOS 740HD reverse camera compared to factory camera 2018 Honda CRV.
Kenwood CMOS 740HD Front Park Assist Camera – 2018 Honda CRV

CMOS 740HD Front Camera Activation

The other added perk in this install is the front camera is activated automatically when you shift from reverse to drive. This feature is typically supported when used with any iDatalink Maestro compatible vehicle and iDatalink Maestro RR or R2. Alternatively, there is also an easy camera shortcut button on the face of the radio. Simply tap that and select which view you want to see.

Forgive any camera shakes – I was definitely shivering while recording – it was only 6 degrees out when I woke up that day!

CMOS 740HD – Compatible with Select Kenwood Models

The only snag about this high definition park assist camera is it only works with a few select Kenwood models. Before you go out and buy one, make sure you have one of these compatible models:

  • DMX957XR – eXcelon series mechless 7″ double din
  • DDX9907XR – eXcelon series with CD 7″ double din
  • DNX997XR – eXcelon series with CD/Garmin GPS double din
  • DMX1037s – Regular Kenwood series 10.1″ floating screen
  • DMX1057XR – eXcelon series 10.1″ floating screen
  • DNR1007XR – eXcelon series 10.1″ floating screen with Garmin GPS

Each one of these head units features a high resolution capacitive touch screen with 1280 x 720 display. That translates to a 2,764,800 total pixel count. Compare that to your typical aftermarket head unit which is usally equipped with a 1,152,000 pixel count and 800 x 480 display. That’s a lot more saturation and clarity if you put it to good use. Like anything else – garbage in equals garbage out. So why not use a high definition camera with your high definition display?

Kenwood CMOS740HD front park assist camera.
Kenwood CMOS740HD used as a front park assist camera in a 2018 CRV.

After seeing the difference in quality, I don’t think I can use any other type of camera. It’s a shame it’s only compatible with a few select models. It may finally be time to upgrade my old DMX7704s just to get the Kenwood CMOS 740HD camera. If you’re interested in a high definition reverse or front park assist camera for your vehicle, contact us today to learn more.

Renault Sport Clio V6

Renault Clio Sport V6

This week in the shop

When you have clients that are car collectors, you get to see and work on the occasional unicorn like this Renault Sport Clio V6. This particular Renault made its way to America from Japan. At the moment, this is the only one here legally in the country. It was marketed and sold as the Lutecia due to Honda owning the rights to the name Clio in Japan.

Renault Sport Clio V6

Jeremy Clarkson famously once stated, “In my perfect ten car garage I would definitely have one of these – no question.” Yet, there were only 1,309 production vehicles made between 2003-2005. Finding one, especially in such great condition, is incredibly rare.

Rear Mid Engine – Renault Sport Clio V6

This rear mid engine, rear wheel drive hatchback boasts 255 horsepower with an impressive 0-60 second time: a mere 5.9 seconds. Which doesn’t sound like a lot in todays world of electric vehicles capable of launching to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, but for a 6-speed manual made 20 years ago, that’s exceptionally fast.

Renault Sport Clio V6 – Freshly installed Sony Bluetooth receiver

This Renault Sport Lutecia V6 made its way to our shop as it arrived stateside with a hole in the dash where the radio should have been. For some unimaginable reason, whoever removed the previous radio felt it necessary to hack off the harness rather than simply disconnecting it from the radio (why????). Identifying wiring and installing a new radio was no problem for our skilled technician.

Hot Hatchback – Renault Sport Lutecia V6

This particular client has an impressive car collection with many rare and exotic models. He could drive any number of vehicles from Lamborghini, Porsche, Acura, Mercedes etc. Yet more often than not, he stated this is the car he prefers to take out and I totally get why.

Renault Sport Lutecia V6

As the owner of a 2013 BMW 135i M Sport 6-speed manual, I understand exactly what this client means. I know my old BMW isn’t the fastest and it would surely lose in any race against the Clio Sport and any number of newer cars out there, but I would still choose to drive it any day over a newer BMW model. Some cars simply have the power to stir up a special kind of nostalgic and simple joy. The kind of joy you used to get as a kid in your friends go kart tearing it up and down and around the cul-de-sac on your neighborhood street. Sometimes what makes a car great isn’t how fast it is or how attractive its styling, but simply how it makes you feel when you’re driving it. The Renault Sport Clio V6 definitely falls into that category.

Alpine UTE73BT Bluetooth Pairing

UTE73BT Bluetooth Pairing - demonstrated on CDE-172BT

Phone says connected, but there’s no audio streaming

Are you having a hard time figuring out your Alpine UTE73BT Bluetooth pairing? Whether you’ve got the Alpine UTE-73BT, CDE-172BT or the CDE-175BT this post covers how to set up a new phone, clear out an old phone and resolve most Bluetooth connectivity issues.

Out of all the stereos I sell – single din, double din, touch screen, CarPlay, Android Auto, Alpine, Kenwood, Sony, Pioneer, Boss, Jensen, Stinger, Grundig, etc. – these 3 Alpine models are the ones that seem to trip up the most clients when it comes to resolving Bluetooth connection issues. Unlike most head unit models on the market, the UTE73BT, CDE172BT and the CDE175BT have just 2 banks for Bluetooth devices.

Alpine UTE73BT Bluetooth Pairing - Demonstrated on Alpine CDE172BT
Alpine UTE73BT Bluetooth Pairing – Demonstrated on Alpine CDE172BT

Device 1 is for your main phone. This profile covers handsfree and audio streaming functions. The Device 2 bank is strictly for handsfree functions only. Additionally, unlike many Bluetooth devices on the market, this unit is not always ready to be paired with a new device.

Pairing a new device – first time powering up

If you’ve just powered your UTE-73BT up and this is the first time anyone has tried to pair a device to it, follow these instructions.

  • Press and hold the sleep button, which looks like a back arrow, below the volume knob. This puts the radio into a Standby mode.
  • Next you want to press and hold the music note which is also labeled “Setup”
  • The first option that pops up says “General” – turn the knob until you see “Bluetooth”
  • Select “Bluetooth” by pushing the knob in
  • Scroll the knob to “Pairing” then push the knob in to select “Pairing”
  • The first option that pops up should say “Device 1” – push the knob in again to select “Device 1”
  • Now the Bluetooth icon on the radio should start blinking and the radio model number should become visible in your list of devices on your phone.
  • Simply tap the radio model number on your phone and follow the prompts
  • Pairing should complete

When clients usually run into trouble

Usually I see clients run into trouble when they’ve already had a device paired to the radio and they’ve gotten a new phone or perhaps they’ve done a software update on their phone and now their Bluetooth connection is intermittent. When this occurs it’s important to clear the memory from both devices. In your phone, you want to forget the device and in the radio we need to clear Bluetooth memory.

Alpine UTE73BT Bluetooth Pairing - Clearing Bluetooth Memory demonstrated on Alpine CDE172BT
Alpine UTE73BT Bluetooth Pairing – Clearing Bluetooth Memory demonstrated on Alpine CDE172BT

To clear Bluetooth memory from the radio, we have to go back into that same menu. So again you’ll put the radio in Standby.

  • Press and hold the sleep button, which looks like a back arrow, below the volume knob to put the radio in Standy or “Sleep” mode.
  • Press and hold the music note icon labeled “Setup”
  • Next, scroll the knob until you see “Bluetooth” and then push the knob in to select “Bluetooth”
  • Scroll the knob until you see “BT Initial”
  • Push the knob into select “BT Initial”
  • The default option that pops up says “No” – turn the knob until you see “Yes” then push the knob in
  • The radio will now clear Bluetooth memory and you can go back to pairing and set Device 1

What if you’re still experiencing streaming or connection issues after clearing memory?

If you’re still having trouble with your UTE73BT Bluetooth pairing, it’s possible you may need to do a software update on the radio or a software update on your phone. Make sure the operating system and all of your apps are up to date in your phone. Also, if you haven’t restarted your phone in a while, it’s a good idea to simply restart your phone. Lastly, if you’re having trouble with one particular app where it crashes whenever you try to stream it, try deleting the app and reinstalling it. This usually resolves any app specific streaming issues that pop up.

Pairing a new phone to your Alpine radio shouldn’t be too difficult, but sometimes the instructions you find in the owner’s manual leave a bit to be desired. Hopefully these instructions fill in any gaps and help you with your UTE73BT Bluetooth pairing.