I just installed my Alpine CDA-9886 last night and since it's so new, there's a serious lack of online reviews, so I thought I'd contribute.
First of all, let me outline what I was looking for.
- A deck that would let me play my iPod in some way, either via AUX in, or actual iPod connectivity/control.
- If the deck should have iPod control, it couldn't suck horribly like most of them do.
- It has to somewhat match my interior. I've got a clean looking tan/black interior, I didn't want some ugly silvery/grey deck dirtying it up.
- It has to be versatile - just in case I want to amp everything up, etc. I need pre-outs, maybe bluetooth, etc, etc.
- It has to be a noticeable upgrade from my stock deck and also from my last Alpine.
- It can't cost a fortune.
So first of all I started looking for cosmetically pleasing decks - decks that would look semi-stock. This is impossible. Automotive head units are some of the ugliest things ever created. Seriously. Why do they have to look so futuristic with shiny bells/whistles all over them? What car interior were these decks intending to match? It's ridiculous how ugly they are.
So I first started out looking at Double DIN touchscreen decks. It's hard to make your deck look ugly when the entire unit is a touch screen. I did my research, there are some great ones out there if you want to spend a G. The Pioneer AVIC-D3, Sony XAV-W1, and Alpine IVA-W200 all met my criteria. Plus they had good options for navigation, reverse cameras, bluetooth, etc. However, they're all around $1000 so I ruled them out.
So I started looking again... I've always had Alpine products and have always loved them, so I checked out their models. The CDA-9885 got great reviews and met most of my criteria, but it's silvery and has like 4 different light colors on it. Man it's ugly. So after more searching I found and bought its replacement, the CDA-9886. Same price ($299), nearly all black, only 1 light color, and great specs. Plus it had USB, AUX in, iPod control, etc.
This deck rules. I absolutely love it. It gives me so much versatility. I can play nearly every medium you can throw at me. CD, MP3 CD, WMA CD, iPod, Zune, Walkman. Shit, you could bring a loaded thumb drive into my truck and we could browse/play your songs.
The iPod controls on the CDA-9886 are pretty sweet. It's one of the best I've used. The jog dial navigates quickly so that you can browse playlists, artists, genres, etc. However you don't get that fancy iPod feature where if you scroll consistently fast it jumps through the alphabet. Instead, you can use the the 1-6 preset buttons to jump through your playlist certain percentages. It's quite nice. Plus you can toggle shuffle and other settings. I really like it... and if I get tired of navigating through the deck, I can always revert to the aux-in/headphone jack thing.
The only thing that I would change about this deck is the blue lights. I really like blue lights, but if they were green it'd match my truck seamlessly. The controls and biolite screen are super readable in both bright daylight and also at night.
Alpine has always, always delivered for me and this receiver doesn't break that trend. I love this deck. There's so much control over your sound. I haven't even began to touch it. If you're considering one of the new Alpine decks be careful with the CDA-9887 if you want to upgrade. It's reliant on imprint sound tuning, which means you don't even have bass/treble control. You'll have to go in to pay for a vehicle specific "tune"... which will yield amazing sound quality but still... there's a little bit of control that you'll lose. I've also heard bad things about the (seEmingly awesome) Alpine IDA-X001.
Anyway, I ordered my deck from Crutchfield.com. It's my first order to ever come from there and omg Crutchfield rules. I ordered my deck for the same price it would've been anywhere else (except I couldn't find this deck anywhere local yet), but it came with all sorts of accessories. Crutchfield threw in the mounting kit, wiring harness, and vehicle specific instructions for free. They even sent me the tools needed to pull out my factory deck. That's like $50 of stuff that I would've had to buy anywhere else.
I sort of wish I would've had a problem with the order or install so that I could call them. I heard their phone support is even better. But... they got everything perfect. My advice to you - go preview car audio stuff at a local store, then buy it from Crutchfield. Also, buy Alpine decks.
P.S. if I've persuaded you to order from crutchfield, you should use my referral code: p56ft-b4f6s-u1dkz)