Pros: Clean signal, multi-function and features.
Cons: Only 4V, too many functions you need to spend hours!!
I have been using Alpine 7982JW (3 Disc Shuttle) since 1997 on 2 different cars in 2 different countries. I bought it in Japan for Yen56,000 with external mini-amp MXE-F130. It was a superb head unit, clean output, fast optic pick-up. It was a mistake to send it for service with ordinary "electronic service center" (after some initial skips), the optical parts screwed up and died.
It left me 7 months of misery with only FM radios. No CD playable.
Let's back to real story. Last Saturday, i finally bought CDA-7998R!! This is the ONE!!
It cost me USD650, but it was well worth it. The packing box is still like the ordinary the other Alpine players, but with "Fabrique au Japon". (I was told that almost all recent Alpine models are made in China).
As soon i opened the box (right at the shopping carpark), i knew that this is really serious thing. Many tiny buttons, copper-plated chasis and 3 pairs pre-out. Again, I just paid USD650, man!!
I fixed it on my own since it was rather a standard wiring colors and guides. Fix it and push the tiny button on the back face, the XL FantomFace comes out and shows it all.
The set-up was really a mess. It took me about 2 hours to understand how to do a complete system set-up. Alpine says you can fix all these mess at www.alpine.com/e/i-personalize/index.html with some downloads and uploads. Yet it took me another hour to understand why the setting (after saved into a CD-R) never fed into the system. I finally printed out the calculations and fed it manually.
The result; CLEAN, ACCURATE, SHARP, DETAILED, SUPERB, WONDERFUL and all the other 1000 words you may think of.
It also has mobile phone function, which allows you to listen to the other party by the car speaker and speak freely. It also has few other functions i have yet to study and understand. It had my whole weekend, maybe another weekend soon.
Other features, are rather standard nowadays, 4V pre-out (they should'ave invented 8V), MP3 playback, aux input (but must buy the accessories) and beautiful display.
Cons, maybe the oversized faceplate (but i like it), 4V pre-out (I wished it was 8V, or at least 5V), too complicated settings, hide-in faceplate (new idea, but professional thief can't be fooled though), in-direct aux input (Wish the have direct RCA jack for VCD player or Playstation).
I have used Alpine CDA-7909 (right before i purchased CDA-7982JW - but sold it to some competition freak) and Ec**pse 8061 (recently - but it skipped so terribly i had to ask for refund after 2 weeks).
I would say, CDA-7998R is the best.
You can forget the old Ec**pse line-ups, Na**michi or others and buy CDA-7990 or DENON or MacIntosh.
But if you don't have pocket big enough for these 3 brands, just look for 7998R (it sold as 7998 without R in USA). It handles just as fine and you'll love it.