Alpine’s New iPod head units

Alpine iDA-X001Whilst I intend to focus on “real content”, I feel I’ve now found out enough about Alpine’s latest additions to the IDA-X range – due for general release in the UK around April – to offer a belated news item on them. Announced on 7th January, Alpine have advanced the “direct connect” aspect of the IDA-X001 to cover a range of three models, and have refined the user interface. Read more for details of the new models and commentary!


Alpine’s initial offering in this unique area of the market promised a lot – it’s an area I’ve often felt was lacking; though I am firmly of the opinion that a head unit replacing the traditional tape drive with an accessible and useful iPod dock would have been worthwhile, Apple’s revisions to the iPod form factor make this impractical. The spirit of the concept remains pure however, with a dedicated screen of similar type to the iPod, no optical drive, and a claimed “iPod like” user interface. However, the IDA-X001 was not perfect – it didn’t offer a significant upgrade in terms of “touch” control, and relied upon a slightly backwards arrangement of buttons and wheel inherited from the conventional head units. It was also very expensive at launch, costing £299 in the UK for a device with no optical drive – at the same time, Alpine’s conventional head units like the 9871R were offering an advanced and user-friendly iPod connectivity solution with an innovative “percentage” skip using presets that closed the gap between the flexible low-tech models, and the “flagship” unit.

The new range changes all this. The largest change is in the mechanical user interface; the centre of the wheel is now the enter key. This is far, far closer to conventional iPod operation than the IDA-X001’s separate key. The speed of the user interface is also improved significantly if video of early units sourced from Asia is any benchmark; the percentage skip function is retained along with an “Alphabet Search”. Sadly, this is still not quite as rapid access as I feel could be implemented, with a system mimicing the iPod’s own search function by narrowing down a title in sequence, but it does (see past reviews) skip a letter at a time! This is progress, and promises to make at least two of the new models very worthwhile (and safer for drivers to use).

Comments are welcome on this, especially from early users; unlike most news reports just repeating the press release, I have studied as much information as possible without having an actual unit to hand – including reading the manual to verify operation!

Alpine iDA-X100

• 2.2” TFT full color display
• 24-Bit Burr Brown DAC
• iTunes® Tagging for HD Radio
• Selectable Dual Illumination (Blue/Red)
• Sub Display Output for use with OEM sub displays
• 18Wx4 RMS power / 50Wx4 Max power
• USB Connection for iPod (cable included)
• Full Speed for iPod (using optional KCE-422i)
• USB Mass Storage ready
• Percentage Search
• Alphabet Search
• Ai-NET
• Remote Control ready
• Full Speed AUX+ input (using optional KCE-236B)
• High-Pass Crossover (selectable 80/120/160Hz)
• Bass Center Frequency control with Q, Treble Center Frequency control
• Large Double-Action Rotary Encoder Knob
• Spanish Language compatible
• Steering Wheel Remote ready
• IMPRINT ready (PXA-H100 required)
• 24-Bit Burr Brown DAC
• 3pr Pre-Out (2V)

For the US-market, an interesting new feature has been announced. “The iDA-X100 is one of three 2008 Alpine units to feature iTunes® Tagging through its dedicated iTunes Tag button and the separate TUA-T550HD HD Radio™ Tuner. The pairing of HD Radio with iTunes Tagging provides a new way for consumers to easily discover and purchase music. Users can easily Tag songs from HD Radio stations that are broadcasting with metadata. Information about these Tagged songs is stored by the TUA-T550HD and transferred to the iPod. When the iPod is connected to the computer, iTunes automatically presents the songs in a new Tagged playlist so the user has the option to preview, buy and download the songs.”

Alpine iDA-X200

• 2.2” LCD 2line color display
• 24-Bit Burr Brown DAC
• iTunes® Tagging for HD Radio
• Selectable Dual Illumination (Blue/Red)
• Sub Display Output for use with OEM sub displays
• 16W x 4 RMS power / 45W x 4 Max power
• USB Connection for iPod (cable included)
• Full Speed for iPod (using optional KCE-422i)
• USB MTP Microsoft Plays from Device compatibility
• USB Mass Storage ready
• Percentage Search
• Alphabet Search
• Ai-NET
• Remote Control ready
• Full Speed AUX+ input (using optional KCE-236B)
• High-Pass Crossover (selectable 80/120/160Hz)
• Bass Center Frequency control with Q, Treble Center Frequency control
• Large Double-Action Rotary Encoder Knob
• Steering Wheel Remote ready
• IMPRINT ready (PXA-H100 required)
• 24-Bit Burr Brown DAC
• 3pr Pre-Out (2V)

Alpine iDA-X300


• Full Speed Cable Included (KCE-422i)
• USB Mass Storage Ready
• Percentage Search
• 2.2” Display
• 24-Bit DAC
• Ai-NET
• Large Rotary Encoder
• Remote Control Ready
• Full Speed AUX+ input (using KCE-236B)
• 16Wx4 RMS power / 45Wx4 Max power
• 1pr Pre-Out (2V) – Selectable
• High-Pass Crossover (selectable 80/120/160Hz)
• Bass Center Frequency control with Q, Treble Center Frequency control

(Specifications for markets outside the USA may vary)

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