The bods at Alpine have been leading the way in car audio for about as far back as we can remember. In fact, most of us FC monkeys grew up using (or at least dreaming of using) their gear and it’s all for one reason – the serious amount of high-quality tech they’ve always managed to cram in.
Today the only difference is the price. Whereas a few years ago, a top-of-the-line single-DIN would cost you upwards of 400-nicker, nowadays the most serious bit of technology can be had for just £250. But is the CDE-178BT any good I hear you ask? Oh yes! Just check this out…
As you’d expect from Alpine, the finish and build quality is nothing short of exceptional. Along with the extra large hi-res display, it also comes with a couple of other trick features including the new, and thoroughly sexy, Quad Illumination feature. This gives you a choice of red, blue green or amber for the screen and buttons – particularly useful if you want to match your dash illumination for a more unified interior scheme.
For us, this particular work of multimedia genius is all about how it interacts with other devices. First up there’s the super-highspeed USB port, perfect for all you iPhone/iPod users. Combined with their awesome App Direct facility, you can even listen to all the sounds of your favourite Apps and streaming services through your stereo system.
Then there’s the built-in Bluetooth Plus, which is where this product seriously comes into its own. As well as the usual hands-free phone operation and AD2P audio streaming, the CDE-178BT utilises its Bluetooth connection to hook up to your iPhone or Android smartphone and latch on to its internet connection. Basically, this means your headunit is now online and ready to take advantage of the World Wide Web through two of the cleverest free Apps we’ve ever seen…
Arguably the most jaw-dropping technology has to be the integration of Alpine’s new TuneIt App. This transforms your phone into a sound-tuning interface enabling you to customise all the system settings and get the sound exactly how you want it. Sound tuning choices include 6-channel digital time correction, 9-band parametric EQ, centre frequency, and crossover cut-off. Once you’ve tuned your system you can even share your settings (or download someone else’s) on Alpine’s massive cloud server.
The TuneIt App also acts as a Facebook interface allowing you to receive messages from your friends and display them on both the phone and the display. Very clever!
GET YOUR OWN SOUND
Alpine are world-renowned for installing their very own brand of high-end sound customisation and tweakabilty into every unit they produce. With the CDE-178BT being the flagship unit it gets more audiophile-pleasing gubbins than just about any other on the market. A built-in 9-Band Parametric EQ, factory EQ presets, crossover, a 24-Bit DAC and three 4 volt preouts make sure there’s everything you need to set up a serious system. Their award-winning BassEngine Pro offers a comprehensive set of processing functions to get that bass spot on too. Music to our ears, quite literally.
The other amazing app is perhaps the most obvious – Internet radio at your fingertips. Search for your favourite stations through your phone or the headunit display and, with thousands on offer worldwide, hopefully you’ll never get bored.
For more info see Alpine Electronics