Alpine Electronics, gone boating

Alpine iDA-X100M

Given yesterday’s Fusion stereo discussion, how about another new iPod-friendly marine system, from Alpine. This time we’ve got a lot of online detail on units like this iDA-X100M. But I’ll note that it is HD Radio “ready” though honestly I’m not really up on what means yet (and I’m out in LD boonies).

I’ll also point out the unit’s iPod audio interface, claimed to use “super fast” USB “along with the 24-Bit Burr Brown D/A converter, allowing for an incredible Signal to Noise ratio of 105dB.” Again I don’t know what the heck that means but Alpine’s Gary Bell hinted that Apple lets Alpine deep into the iPod for audio quality better than any competitor’s (and way better than using the headphone jack). I had a little trouble paying attention as I was like the guy below, transfixed by the show boat Bell and his team built and brought to Miami. Yeah, there are six 10” woofers in that cockpit, and twenty 7” 2–way speakers spread around 25’ of speed boat.
   If I were shopping stereos, I’d like to know more comparative info on the Fusion’s iPod audio and user interfaces, but I’m still keen on its unique garage and straight forward buttons and zone system. Then again, note that the Alpine marine head units are also “Bluetooth Ready” for hands-free calls, including phone book transfer (with an update of this). I’m not sure that this would work well on a boat but I’m on the lookout for cell dock options that would give a handset a safe home aboard while also hooked to amp/antenna, cordless phone and PC.


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

6 Responses

  1. Dan (b393capt) says:

    One word … Wow !

  2. Russ says:

    I bought an Alpine for my new boat. Not this model, a regular car model. The models change so quickly that it appears my CDA-9886 is already discontinued before it’s installed, but the functionality appears very very similar.
    I suspect the “marine” version is not much more than a marketing ploy. I’ve used a un-marinized Blaupunk car stereo in my current boat for almost 8 years with no problems; though it’s safely below and not on a fly bridge. I also plays the sound from my computer (iTunes and DVDs) and iPod, plus the usual AM/FM/WX radio bands.
    In any case, the Alpine doesn’t have a garage for the iPod, but it does connect directly to the iPod’d dock connector which is a USB connection. This means Alpine is picking up the data stream from the iPod, not the audio stream and that the D/A conversion is done in the Alpine unit, not in the iPod; Burr-Brown makes the best DACs and 24bits is a good thing!
    It has an optional Bluetooth dongle so you can play your iPhone through it wirelessly, or use it as a speaker phone. My favorite feature is that you can have it shut off all the face plate graphics and lights. And it has a wireless remote!
    I picked the Alpine solution so of course I think it’s a good thing. Thorough documentation and excellent support.

  3. Sandy says:

    Four words: Not in MY anchorage!

  4. DefJef says:

    That Alpine is UGLY!

  5. Bob Mueller says:

    I have a similar Alpine in my car. My Alpine is also HD radio ready, which requires the purchase of an extra black box to decode the HD signals. While the head unit may be “marinized”, I bet Alpine wants you to use their automotive HD radio black box. I picked Alpine for my car, because I like their ipod controls the best. It works the most like the Apple ipod interface. A few of the other manufacturers are terrible, like the Clarion in my boat. With the Clarion that I have on my boat, you must pre-configure 9 playlists on your ipod using your computer. Then you use the CD changer controls on the head unit to pick one of the ten playlists, exactly like picking a disc in a CD changer. You can not configure these 9 playlists with the ipod. And you can not use the ipods own controls, while it is connected via the interface to the Clarion head unit. I end up using the aux input on the Clarion with the headphone jack on the ipod, so that I can use the ipod’s own controls. I wish I had put the same Alpine that I have in my car, into my boat. But Alpine did not have a wired remote, and I don’t have line of sight to the head unit from my Helm to use an IR remote. I certainly like the ruggedness of the Clarion wired remote on my open helm.
    While I am certain that Alpine is being truthful in their marketing speak about how their d/a converter makes mp3’s sound better through their system. I don’t think I could tell the difference in my boat. Any boat is certainly less then an ideal environment for an audiophile!

  6. dameon keeler says:

    i was just wondering if u could email pictures of the alpine boat. cause i was thinking about putting something to that sort into my boat and i was going to have alpine audio for my speakers and subs so when and if u can send pictures of the boat please do and thank you.

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