Alpine CDA-7897 CD Player In Dash Receiver Reviews
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Alpine CDA-7897 CD Player In Dash Receiver

3 ratings (2 Epinions reviews)
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Excellent unit that trumps the new Alpines

Aug 24, 2003
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Sound Quality:
  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:

Pros:Large faceplate, clear legible display, variable viewing angle, many options, nicely sized remote

Cons:Many options, motorized faceplate, gimmicky phone option, expensive XM option

The Bottom Line: If only the best will do this is an excellent contender for your dollar.


I really loved the CDA-7998 but, after much debate, I simply couldn't justify the $200 that separated them and opted for the CDA-7897. I'm not disappointed although the unit could've been more than it is.

Construction is excellent. It is well made and few corners were cut in materials or fit and finish. The gearing and drive table for the motorized faceplate is all metal and feels very sturdy. Speaking of the motorized faceplate, that is truly a mixed bag. The "ooh" factor is definitely a personal thing (I admit I like it and it does impress) but, on a more practical level, motorizing the faceplate and having it slide into the unit allowed them to create a slightly (say 1.2x) larger than din faceplate in a single din unit so controls are more legible and they could pack more on without making it too unfriendly. It also allows the viewing angle to be set based on your seating for maximum readability, another nice touch. On the downside, it's not removeable and it only takes a cursory inspection for someone to realize it. Not a very good theft deterrent.

The display itself is a large, two line dot matrix affair with a graphical display to the immediate left. The main display can be set to readout time, mp3 titles, radio call letters, time remaining, elapsed time, or a combination depending on source. The graphical display to the left can be a crude spectrum analyzer, a speaker info panel, vu meters, or tone controls. There is more but these are the primary duties of both displays. They also do temporary duty when setting up the EQ, crossovers, etc.

There are adequate presets for most areas although you might want more if you live in an area with a truly large number of listenable stations. The controls on this unit range from incredibly useful to incredibly useless. On the useful side, you have variable crossover frequencies to the 3 4 volt pre-outs, a 5 band parametric equalizer, variable time delay to correct the soundstage to your seating position, Bass engine pro, and mp3/cd-r/cd-rw playback. On the less than useful side - the mobile link phone option. It is a Nokia only option and I have yet to see any available units to take advantage of it... wasted silicon in my opinion.

The downside to all of these fuctions is that anything other than the most cursory of adjustments simply aren't feasible while driving. It has 4 pre-set EQ curves and allows for 6 user defineable ones to help but, otherwise, have the passenger do the fine adjustments. The built-in amp is not mentioned simply because it is completely unexceptional. Nothing against Alpine though, it simply is not possible, at this time, to produce a good built-in amp. I've never used it. It's rated at 22w x4 RMS and 50w x4 max.

I know I've missed a few features here or there and that is a testament to the extreme versatility of this unit. I could easily fill 5 or 6 web pages if I were to attempt to go into detail.

Sound output is top notch, mine plays through JL Audio speakers and JVC amps and it sounds incredible. Excellent detail and very clear and defineable soundstage. Alpine quality of both sound and construction are legendary and this unit is ample proof that the reputation is well deserved. After inspecting the new line in detail I can safely say that they have yet to surpass the CDA-7897 or CDA-7998.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 400


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