Since its introduction, Alpine CDM 7874 CD Player
is a excellent head unit. Starting with the fact the liquid crystal display
shows the levels of bass, treble, and subwoofer. The deck sounds really
good just hooked up to car speaker, but when I hooked it up to an amp
and two 12" subs it was really banging. I like the fact
that is plays all my CD's, the ones I bought and the ones I made.
I also like the fact that the face removes and re-installs really easy so when I want to take
it with me it's no sweat. All in all it worth every cent.
Ergonomically fairly well-designed. The Alpine CDM 7874 sounds great with the BBE processor
Relatively expensive. The display is hard to read in bright sunlight.
The Bottom Line:
This is my first Alpine player. The controls are mostly well thought out, although the display is poor. The CD doesn't skip. The BBE processor helps it sound great.
Over the years Ive heard a buzz that Alpine is one of the better car audio makers. I suspect its because Alpine is heavily advertised.
Nevertheless, being a mountaineer of sorts I like the name "Alpine". I leaned towards the Alpine models mostly on the basis of their appearance.
The most obvious difference is that the volume control on the Alpine CDM 7874 is rotary
while that on the 7870 and 7872 is digital.
An analog dial is a more natural implementation, its quicker to adjust and less likely to beep.
The other significant difference, as far as I am concerned, is that the Alpine CDM 7874 offers a BBE processor.
Mechanics and Installation:
The Alpine Alpine CDM 7874 is a standard DIN player so it is easily installed in most dash boards.
The faceplate, like that of all Alpine players, is detachable. I dont much care for
detachable faceplates as I figure the odds of my losing or breaking
the faceplate when it is out of the vehicle are significantly higher than the odds of a thief breaking into my car.
I like the fact that, unlike many car CD players, you dont have to swing the faceplate down to insert and remove CDs.
There is no remote control which I cant see much use for other than to annoy the driver.
Alpine CDM 7874 Display and Buttons:
The display is an attractive green and orange with a rather superfluous red power LED.
The display looks good in a showroom, but is lacking in actual use. In
bright sunlight its almost impossible to read, especially when youre wearing sunglasses.
At least it isnt polarized so you can still almost read the display when youre wearing polarized sunglasses.
At night, the display is overly bright (brighter than any other light on the dashboard). Its so bright at night
that you can plainly see the non-illuminated components of the display. Unfortunately, theres no facility to
adjust either brightness or contrast of Alpine CDM 7874 . It really should have a light-sensitive diode automatically adjust the display brightness.
You can toggle between three different display modes, "off" displays basic station or track and time info.
Mode 1 adds volume and peak music level readouts. Mode 2 adds Bass Engine readouts to mode 1. Curiously,
though, even when you set the mode to "off" the display reverts to mode 1 for several seconds
each time you change the volume.
I find the buttons white lettering on green background easy to read during the day, but rather more
difficult at night despite their bright illumination. Fortunately, the buttons are fairly intuitively arranged so
youll quickly learn to find the one you want simply on the basis of its location.
When you get down to the nuts and bolts the Alpine CDM 7874 offers all the standard features you would expect to
find in a car FM/AM/CD player. There are the usual volume, bass, treble, balance and fade controls and
these are all fairly easy to operate. However, to turn the player off you have to hold the power button for
3 seconds. Alpine clearly means for this radio never to be turned off. The on/off switch should have been
incorporated in the volume control as a pushbutton, but this function was reserved for turning on and off the
BBE processor even though this should always be turned on (see below).
Alpine advertises the Alpine CDM 7874 as having 50W per (4) channel power, but thats nonsense.
The RMS (i.e., the honest root mean square) power output is 22W per channel. The ability to sustain
peak power is important, however, because the amplifier will clip (i.e., grossly distort) at peak output
unless it has good peak output power handling capability. Such distortion could also be caused by poor
quality loudspeakers. A 2-fold increase in peak power handling capability over RMS power isnt impressive at all.
Fortunately I never have the volume anywhere close to max.
Unlike the 7870 and the 7872, there is no loudness switch. Instead, the Alpine CDM 7874 sports a BBE (Barcus-Berry Electronics)
processor that can be switched in and out. The BBE processor is said, in the manual, to correct the phase distortion
inherent in loudspeaker designs and augment the low and high frequencies.
The Bass Engine replaces regular bass and treble controls. I think (its not clearly described) that it allows
you to emphasize or attenuate the bass starting at frequencies around 60, 80, 100 or 200 Hz and change
the slew rate (dB vs. frequency) of the emphasis onset in four steps from shallow to steep. Presumably the
tangent to this curve is near the aforementioned frequencies. This feature also covers the treble, allowing
you to emphasize or attenuate the treble in steps centered around frequencies of 10, 12.5, 15 or 17.5 kHz. Ive
only seen these kind of controls on my British QUAD stereo equipment. This provides a lot of customization potential.
Theres no Alpine CDM 7874 spectrum equalizer.
The Iridium Satellite Series 9505 Portable Phone is their latest rugged, weather-resistant phone that is smaller and lighter
than previous generations of Iridium's Satellite Series Phones.
The Iridium 9500 offers clear voice and data services through Global Satellite technologies.
This rental phone is ideal for those who regularly drift in and out of the reach of cellular service.
Theres a mute switch that decreases the volume by 10 dB or so (my guess), that is useful for taking phone calls
in the car or for turning down the volume when a "peace" officer pulls you over.
In the back of the player there is one DIN auxiliary input for a CD changer and two pairs of RCA (left and right)
preamplifier outputs for amplifiers together with control facilities. The 7870 has only one pair for a rear amp., whereas
the 7872 and the Alpine CDM 7874 have two pairs of RCA outputs for both front and rear external amps.
There are 12 FM (arranged in two groups of 6) and 6 AM presets. So thats FM1, FM2 and AM. Switching between
manual and automatic tuning (with the additional option of choosing between strong or strong and weak, i.e., DX,
signals) isnt easy.
There is no mono switch. This is a very useful feature of Alpine CDM 7874 when you want to listen to a weak FM station as the signal
requirement for mono reception is 12 dB less than for stereo, which makes all the difference between being able
to listen to a weak station and not listen at all. Since there isnt a mono switch, you will probably want to stick
to using the presets along with automatic tuning for strong stations. The six frequency preset buttons are
conveniently arranged along the bottom of the player, but rather annoyingly displayed as F1, F2, etc.
There is no facility to listen to satellite radio.
The CD player offers the usual pause, fast forward and reverse, skip forward and backward, random play
and preview (plays the first ten seconds of each track) modes. Along with commercial CDs, it will also play
home-brewed CD-R and CD-RW audio disks.
There is no built-in MP3 playback facility. However, there is control for an Alpine CD changer. The CHA-S634
changer holds 6 disks and will play MP3s. Thus, for "only" an additional $250, Alpine CDM 7874 can store something up to 45
hours of music in your car. Im not very excited by the prospect of converting 45 hours worth of music to MP3
files, nor of shelling out another $250 on my car stereo. Id prefer to keep the CDs up front in a folder and choose
whatever music suits my mood, or my passengers mood, at the time.
The CD player remembers to pick up where it left off after you stop the car. Unfortunately, the player has to
be turned on in order to insert or remove a CD.
Alpine CDM 7874 CD Player:
M.I.X. (Random Play)
Music Sensor (Up/Dn)
Alpine CDM 7874 Regulated 1-Bit DAC
Zero Data Mute (0 bit Mute)
Alpine CDM 7874 DIN Size 1 Din
DVD Playback No
CD-R/RW Playback Yes
MP3 Playback No
Wireless Remote No
CD Text No
Anti-shock Memory Yes
Preamp Voltage 2Volts
Display Color Green/Amber
Key Button Color Green/Amber
Continous Power Output 4x24Watts
Maximum Power 4x50Watts
Alpine CDM 7874 Signal-to-Noise 105dB
Frequency Response 5-20KHz