Alpine iDA-X100 Digital Media Receiver review: Alpine iDA-X100 Digital Media Receiver

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.7
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Alpine iDA-X100 features a full-speed USB/iPod connection for speedy browsing of songs with the large search knob. Percent Search mode allows for quick scrubbing through long lists. Alpine Imprint audio processing allows drivers a great deal of freedom to adjust audio for best possible sound.

The Bad The iDA-X100 occasionally forgets that an iPod device is attached if the vehicle is started or stopped while a podcast is playing. The lack of an optical disc player can be a bit of an inconvenience for some users.

The Bottom Line The Alpine iDA-X100 is a great receiver for people who transport all of their music on an iPod or MP3 player. The unit offers fantastic digital-audio integration without the need for a separate adapter, but should you ever want to just play a CD, you'll be out of luck.

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When was the last time you walked into a store and purchased a CD? If it takes you a few moments to come up with an answer, you've probably made the jump to digitally distributed and stored audio. If so, Alpine may have the car stereo for you, the Alpine iDA-X100 digital media receiver.

The iDA-X100 eschews physical media in favor of a purely digital approach. Music is played back over a USB pigtail that features full-speed iPod connectivity. An intuitive interface makes it easy to find the song you want, and advanced audio controls ensure that your digital music sounds as good as the day you ripped it.

Design
The first thing you'll notice about the Alpine iDA-X100 is the huge knob in the center of the faceplate. The Double Action Encoder, as the instruction manual calls it, is twisted to adjust volume, navigate menus, and choose songs. Pushing the large select button in the knob's center makes selections in menus and enters the search mode when a digital-audio source is selected. The outer ring of the knob can be pressed and rotated for the Percent Search mode, which is used to quickly jump through long lists. If, for example, you want to quickly get to an artist beginning with the letter Q, you can press, twist, and hold the outer ring to quickly jump from A to B and so on, instead of endlessly rotating the dial and scrolling through all of the artists on the device. The Percent Search is also used to jump between radio presets and MP3 folders and playlists when not in search mode.

A full color LCD display fills the right third of the receiver's face. Here you'll find song and menu information and, if connected to an iPod, album artwork. Buttons flank the center knob and fill the left third of the front panel. The Alpine iDA-X100 cannot display video content from a connected device, but at 2.2 inches diagonal, it's probably too small for comfortable viewing anyway.

The iDA-X100 lacks an optical media player, so if you're the type of user who listens to many CDs or burns MP3s to disc, then this is not the player for you. In place of the disc slot, the iDA-X100 gains a full speed USB connection for lightning quick access to music stored on MP3 players, iPods, and other USB mass storage devices. The iDA-X100 plays back MP3, WMA, and AAC files and can even handle DRM protected digital audio.

Alpine has curiously decided to make the faceplate only partially detachable. The user is able to remove the left two-thirds of the faceplate, which includes the buttons and the center knob, but the LCD screen stays in place. The faceplate's buttons and the LCD screen feature blue edge illumination and backlighting, which can be changed to red illumination through the menu.

Features
Outputting an average of 18 watts into four discrete channels (50 watts per channel max) the Alpine iDA-X100 represents a notable upgrade in volume and sound quality over most stock car stereos. For those wishing to further tweak the sound, the receiver features three 2-volt full-range preamp outputs with a third dedicated subwoofer preamp output with level controls for adding additional amplifiers and speakers.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Alpine iDA-X100 Digital Media Receiver

Part Number: IDA-X100
MSRP: $399.00 Low Price: $9.03 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Color gunmetal black
  • Type radio tuner
  • Car Audio Type digital receiver
  • Type USB
    audio line-out
    audio line-in