Alpine CDA-9886 Review and how Crutchfield Rules posted

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 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)


  • Great review!! Just what I need to seal the deal!!

    Jeff posted

  • you sure like to buy a lot of stuff.

    Miguel posted

  • nice. how many hours did you put into the total install?

    Jordan Muck posted

  • probably an hour or so for the deck. the major problem was that i blew a fuse and didn't have a manual for the truck... so i had to search through them all.

    my speakers took longer because i had to make mounts for them, remove a lot more panels, etc.

    as for further review on the ipod control. it's definitely slower than the ipod, and navigating through several hundred artists can take quite a long time. however, if you have good playlists setup like i do, it really helps. but if you're constantly scrolling through artists, you may want to just use the aux-in connection and navigate with the actual ipod.

    derek posted

  • Thanks for the review. I did alot of research and the trend with ipod connectivity through car receivers seems to be delayed and prolonged scrolling through ipod menus. All except this alpine.

    Adam posted

  • I have this deck also and have had some problems.

    1. My 5th generation 80 GB does not work, I get a no song error, they say a patch is coming from Apple to fix this, but who knows, very frustrating.

    2. I get no AM reception. My installer even installed an AM reception booster and still no AM whatsoever, how is your AM reception?

    3. I wish the iPod controls had a back button so when you pick your song and you press "search" again it just went to the folder you were at like when you press "menu" on the iPod it goes back to the artist and folder you were on.

    Jordan posted

  • Thought I'd contribute to this review, and I'll also be posting this on Crutchfield's website as well.

    I've been an Alpine fan for a long time now, and although they no longer produce ultra high-end decks (no internal amplifier), the CDA-9886 sure comes close to it.

    I installed this deck last night, and was very pleased with the layout of the controls and functions. In typical Alpine fasion, all buttons are firm and solid, not sloppy feeling like some other brands, and the rotary knob is smooth with well incremented detents so you can "feel" the ammount of rotation.

    Now for the best part... Ipod?? NO!! satelite radio NO!!! USB is the way to go with this deck!.

    No, I'm not talking about the wimpy 1-4GB thumbdrives.. I'm talking about using a portable, USB HDD!! (hard disk drive)

    I couldn't find any real info on using computer hard drives with Alpine decks, so I decided to give it a try. As of now, I have a 40GB drive hooked up to the USB port with 5GB worth of MP3's, and it works like a charm.

    I'd have to say though, the only drawback to this is that you can't use playlists, and if your mp3 collection is really large, it may take some time to find a song or album you want to listen to, as I doubt the usb port was never intended to be used with a 2.5" HDD.

    I know some manufacurers put limitations on the ammount of files you can have and the depth of the folder structure, but I have not tested this one the CDA-9886 yet.

    Anyhow, if you're like me, you'll be picking up a 320GB Western Digital Passport drive and taking a massive MP3 collection on the road with you.


    Kevin posted

  • Kevin,

    What 40gb hdd did you use. I bought a Maxtor Onetouch 4 Mini 120gb and I keep getting "Device Error" on the usb setting.

    I've tried an 8gb usb flash drive and that works perfectly... but I bought the 120gb for the new Alpine deck, so I am quite disappointed.

    I've even tried formatting the drive to FAT32, and shrinking the partition to 8gb, but still no luck.

    I think I will go out and buy a 40gb drive tomorrow to see if that one works.

    Let me know if the WD Passport drive worked for you!


    Chris posted

  • Need help with bluetooth. I installed a compatable Alpine 300bt. Every things works great other than whomever I call can hear me but can not hear them throught the car speakers, The Crutchfield guys are great but we can't locate the problem. The Alpine techs are great but once agine no help. We have switched out modules and headunits, checked cables and all is good. THE INSTALLATION IS IN A BMW 328I W/ A CRUTCHFIELD WIREING HARNESS.

    Allen posted

  • Ok I figured I'd add my 2 cents here. If you're wondering how to get your hard drive to work, make sure it's formated for FAT 32. It won't work if it's formated as NTFS. Apparently, Windows 2000/XP/beyond will only format HDD's up to 32gb in FAT32. The format process was failing at the 100% mark. I downloaded a program called SwissKnife, used it to format the drive into FAT32, loaded some songs real quick, and it worked IMMEDIATELY. I'm currently running a 40 gig hard drive with a power cable. I had to buy a power inverter from Radioshack to supply the electricity but I've got tunes on my CDA-9886. Hope this helps people looking for a hard drive solution.

    Brian posted

  • Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the comment!

    I've recently purchased a Maxtor Onetouch Mini 120gb 2.5" external drive and a WD Passport 120gb 2.5" external drive, and neither of them work.

    There goes AU$260 worth of hdds...

    Keep getting the error "Device Error".

    I'm going to go and buy a WD Elements 320gb 3.5" External Drive and a 12v power inverter within the next couple of days.

    Hopefully that will work.. if not, then Alpine will be getting a call.

    Brian, what wattage power inverter did you get?

    Chris posted

  • 75 Watts was plenty. I'm thinking of trying a usb powered hard drive so I don't have to use a bulky power inverter. my hard drive is just a cheap drive in a $30 dollar external enclosure. I never tried the external hard drives but they should work the same way. Hmm I wonder why you're getting a device error. I found out on another forum that alpine imposes folder limits. I followed this when I was setting up my hard drive. I haven't used all 40 gigs yet.

    community.crutchfiel...spx />

    "The reason that I couldn't just hook this thing up and use it are the folder limitations that Alpine imposes on you (most likely to save on mem space in the HU). Those Limitations are: 100 Folders in the root dir (max), 8 folders deep (max), 100 files per folder(max) and 500 total folders(max).

    If the drive is formatted as fat 32, You might try fixing your folders and seeing if you get any more errors. Hope that helps.

    brian posted

  • Can anyone verify that it will charge an iPod with the USB connection? Someone else was complaining about it. I have a mini. Thanks.

    Jake posted

  • Mine charges my ipod perfectly...but I have a 5th gen ipod and it gives the "no song" error everytime I leave my car. Im now using a 120 gig portable hd with it. At first I was getting an "error" message until I formatted it to fat32 and added a power adapter. The alpine usb didnt supply enough power on its own.

    Dan posted

  • I have buy a IDA-001 from Alpine and work with a USB drive from Western Digital Passport 120Gb.

    This working fine! Use the power from de usb voor feed my harddisk.

    I have format the drive with the software tool from Western Digital.

    (You can Restore original factory FAT32 partitiom)

    This works perfect full 120Gb with IDA-X001.

    But there is one problem, when i play a song. and turn of the radio with the engine contact. the song not come back in the last play status!When i turn the engine on. The radio go play always by the first song on the disk.(Who have fix this problem??)

    Tom posted

  • my Maxtor 80GB one touch powered by a Staples 1:4 and AC adapter doesn't work even when FAT32

    Device Error

    Real disappointed

    Tried both cables of Maxtor to the Staples 1:4 powered and tried just the power to 1:4 and datapower cable to HU.


    daver posted

  • IPOD

    I just bought one too, and I also have a 5th gen 80 GB hard drive, but it works perfectly, so I do not know whats up with your Ipods guys. It does charge, but if you leave you ipod plugged in and lets say go to bed for the night, it stays on for a certain period of time and looses power while it is sitting in the glove box jamming out.

    Sifting through the songs does suck, but compared to other's this Headunit is leaps and bounds better.

    To Fix Problem= Make playlists.


    I am still trying to figure out how to take advantage of this USB thing. I only have those little thumb drives.(where does it hook up?, external or internal?)


    got some sweat JL's to go along with the head unit, driving my maxima has never been this fun.


    No radio reception???? going back to the store to get a booster, I need the radio sometimes, I hope it works.

    Jon posted

  • Thanks for the review and the comments. Very helpful.

    Jon posted

  • Great deck but just a heads up, I talked to Alpine and they said from their own tests, using an external HD should be good up to 80Gb anything more you'll run into issues

    Mark posted

  • I had to power the 2.5 external with a cigarette usb adapter. Data USB goes to deck, power usb goes to adapter. i have a 40 gig drive. Only Problem is folder structure cant get it like a cd does with mp3s on it

    Juan posted

  • WD passport drives wont work..

    joejjeman posted

  • Here's a little update to my review.

    I've since bought a new ipod and switched back to just using the AUX in - instead of the actual ipod control.

    Navigating with the ipod is just so much easier.

    My old ipod is hooked up to the ipod control and stuck in the glovebox as a spare (in case i forget my new one)

    derek posted

  • was wondering if anyone has tried expanding the usb functionality using a 4 port usb hub?

    i was thinking it would be pretty sweet to have capability to hook up the iPod, but also have flexibility to hook up my treo 650 running pTunes, or a thumb drive at a moments notice.

    if anyone has tried this, did you need external power or did it run ok through the usb to the hub?

    also, does bluetooth run natively through this device or do you need an additional adapter to make it work?

    thanks for all the great reviews!

    madmax posted

  • I'm using a 250GB Samsumg 2,5" SATA HDD with a common case, and it works very well without external power supply.

    I think some IDE HDD doesn't work becouse its start motor current.

    The only problem is the limit of 500 folders. I have much more, and its boring me.

    I need to store many files in same folder, destroying my organization.

    Who knows if Alpine have any firmware update for 9886s?

    Thanks for all.

    Rafael (Brazil) posted

  • I can't figure out the zune connection to the 9886 alpine. It won't read in the usb port and when in the Aux cable, it shows but doesn't play. Any thoughts?

    Co_Dizzle posted

  • you need to go into setup and enable the aux input to you can play your zune

    to co dizzle posted

  • I have tried and believe it is just a setting. The major question is that it should work, right. Rather a setting or a cable? I want to make sure before I give in and take it to a shop to have them push one button and it works.

    Co_Dizzle posted

  • My problem had to do with the file system. the harddrive i was using was NTFS and the cda9886 can only recognize FAT file systems so you might want to try using a program called Partition Magic to revert the file system to FAT

    thomas posted

  • thomas has a good point, do you have anything else you can use besides your zune? even an old walkman would do the trick to see if you get sound.

    if you get sound, then you need to convert to FAT, if still no sound, its a setting, goto and download the manual, the one that comes with it is a joke

    to co dizzle again posted

  • I'm really interested in buying the Alpine CDA-9886 But I'm a full time college student trying to cut corners when it some to cost! I want to install the deck in my 2006 Mitsubishi eclipse, but I'm not too mechanically savy! I was wondering how difficult it is to install, and how easy the directions are to follow!

    I don't have a ipod but an iPhone and I was wondering if anyone has had any problems with using an iPhone hook up and how easy it is to navigate?

    Also about the blue-tooth, if I get the module KCE-300bt will it work with my iPhone if it is plugged in and playing as an ipod?

    so many questions!! LOL ;)Thank you!!

    Rochelle posted

  • hi rochelle, i can only really answer the first question.

    crutchfield will send you everything you need for you install. they even send vehicle specific parts and vehicle specific instructions. all you do is enter your car's information on the site and they will hook you up.

    also, give crutchfield a call about your other questions. from what i hear, their phone support is amazing - they may be able to help.

    derek posted

  • Rochelle,

    I have this headunit and it freakin rocks! I have it installed with the KCE-300BT and the call quality is really good and it mutes the music and puts the call through when you receive a call. Having said that, make sure that the serial number starts with 807... anything below that 807 you will get noise when you play music from your iPod or iPhone if it works.

    I hope this helps you.


    Hector posted

  • Rochelle

    I had connected the alpine CDA 9886 with iPhone via KCE-422i cable everythings work fine,play search song-album-artist ect... but no sound come out from stereo system only sound from iPhone.

    any1 here had this problem?

    kicker posted

  • Rochelle,

    Turn on you IC control in the setup menu

    mike posted

  • Nothing

    Anonymous posted

  • Just a quick question, can't find this answer anywhere, can you turn the rotating icon off? Or at least stop it from rotating?

    Thank You =)

    Steven posted

  • Tanx dats the information i needed 2 become convinced in Buying The Alpine CDA-9886.

    Beto posted

  • I just bought this unit and had it installed in a 97 MBenz E420. Not crazy about the look of it or the blue lights but really wanted iPod connectivity. Three issues (1) Cannot get the volume down real low. Sometimes I need it low, not muted just very, very low. (2) Hearing an audible background hiss on all functions. (3) Not experiencing sound richness as I had before with my stock Mercedes unit. (I have factory Bose speakers) Spoke to the installer and he suggested I come back and let him bypass the factory preamp and that shoud take care of the sound quality and hiss. Do you agree? (My stock MBenz unit sounded fabulous, might have it put back in.)

    Vik posted

  • how do you hook up your zune to the alpine cda 9886

    mark posted

  • My iPhone 3gs will not charge via the iPod connector. I get an error saying the device is not compatible. Also my phone doesn't display the album art during playback.

    Also for those using a thumb drive, there are 32gb drives available nowadays. I have a bare 30gb Samsung 2.5" HD at home so I'll try that out this weekend.

    Thanks for the great review. I replaced my 9813 with the 9886 and love it.

    Cowo posted

  • does anyone know if the 9886 will work with a iphone??

    Cliff posted

  • I'm using a 2.5" ATA/IDE disk drive with no external power for my 9886. The trick here is to get a drive with operating current of

    Arnold Z. Cruz posted

  • I used a scosche-charging-adapter to fix my newer generation iPhone.
    Works great!

    Tip: put adaptor on phone before connecting the cable. It still gives the warning, but it works and it charges

    And all you have to do is to start the iPod playing and then switch in the streaming and you've got a great set up!.

    Gary Said posted

  • I can get the ipod information on the deck and I can control the ipod but I cannot get any sound. Any ideas?

    tim posted

  • Can anyone tell me how to get music on USB drives to display in alphabetical oder? It takes forever to find what I want on the 9886 because it's not in order. My Pioneer unit in my other car does it automatically with no problems, but the Alpine does not. Any remedy for this? Thanks!

    Bill posted

  • How do I hook up an aux input with a mini plug. I want to plug in my sirius through an aux input and still use my i-pod adaptor. Is this possible or do they use the same input on the back of the unit. What is the mini plug input for on the back of the unit. I thought this was an aux in but it must not be.

    johnson posted

  • You might have already found the answer elsewhere since your comment is like 6 months old. Anyway, there is an AUX input for this head unit. If you look at the back of it, there are red and white line in connections. You just need a simple cable with red and white audio on one end and a mini jack on the other. Then navigate through the menu's to AUX to start listening.

    Brian posted

  • I just bought the Iphone 4 and hooked it up into my truck's 9886 Alpine. I can't seem to scroll through individual files. Instead it give me a (ex) 1-114 display of my music not the 1-12 on individual tracks.this happened with my 1 gen nano but after searching for a song it would resume playing and allowing me to scroll ...anyone who can help?

    Louis posted