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Alpine surround systems

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500 Club - QQ All-Star
Since 2002/2003
Mar 13, 2002
never never land
For years I have been meaning to write this post.

Do you want surround sound in your vehicle but don’t have an Acura? Alpine and Sony had some answers years ago. This post is about the Alpine setup. Sony had the XAV-W1 7” dvd and the Sony MEX-DV2200 (Single din no screen) which are tougher to find but still out there thanks to Amazon and eBay.

Alpine DVD head units starting in I believe 2005 had an answer! They had systems that did Dolby Digital, DTS and yes DVDA but it’s a stereo mix down. The systems turned stereo into 5.1 with Dolby ProLogic II. But here was the catch; the decoders were built into the amps not the head units.

What, WOW! Ya that’s crazy right?

The Alpine IVA-W203 and 205 were probably the best, I have the 203 (I had the 203 installed in my F150 back in 2009) featured 6.5 inch dvd screen in a 2 din HU. DTS was transferred to the amp via a fiber optic cable just like your home theater system.

(Here is a full list of compatible Alpine head units for the amps below: IVA-D100, IVA-D105, IVA-D106, IVA-D300, IVA-D310, IVA-D900, IVA-D901, IVA-W200, IVA-W203, IVA-W205, IVA-W505, DVA-9860, DVA-9861 and DVA-9965.) Not all of these were screened HU’s.

The amp models were the MRA-F350 (I have one w/AI-net cable as a backup NOS in the box) rated at a conservative 50 wpc x 5 and the MRA-D550 60 wpc x 5.

My 550 tested out at a real 80.1 wpc by Alpine. These amps come up on eBay often but here’s the catch; in order for the head unit to talk to the amp you have to have the AI-net cable attached to both units. The amps w/o this cable are useless. The amps could be mounted anywhere with the 19’ AI-net cable and long optic fiber cable.

These amps connected with the AI-net cable, open up a great deal of options for the head unit.

Bass Engine® features:

variable center-channel high-pass crossover (20-400 Hz in 1/3 octave steps, 6/12/18/24 dB per octave)

variable front left and right high-pass crossovers (20-200 Hz in 1/3 octave steps, 6/12/18/24 dB per octave)

variable rear left and right high-pass crossovers (20-200 Hz in 1/3 octave steps, 6/12/18/24 dB per octave)

sub channel preamp output (20-200 Hz low-pass filter, 6, 12, 18, or 24 dB/octave)

variable subsonic filter (20-50 Hz in 1/6 octave steps, 6/12/18/24 dB per octave)

subwoofer phase control (0/180 degrees)

time correction adjustment x 5 (0-20 mSec in 0.1 mSec increments)

17-band parametric EQ (five bands for front, rear, and center, two bands for sub channel)

STAR Topology (minimizes internal noise and prevents ground interference)

My system has a 6.5” Alpine mounted on the top of the dash for the center channel, Alpine 2 way components in the front doors and Alpine 6x9’s in the rear doors. My sub is a shallow throw 12” MTX in a box made by MTX for the F150 that goes under the back seat powered by a bridged to 300 watt amp. Behind the HU is a satellite receiver. The MRA-D550 is also behind the back seat, a very clean install!

I have the switch installed that allows the dvd screen to be seen while driving and for the back seat is a 14” monitor that swivels 90 degrees so when we are camping we can open the doors and watch movies.

So this means that all my straight DTS and DD stuff, commercial and conversions play in my ride and the HU dvd allows me to access the menu screens. All resolutions are supported up to 192.

Yep no SACD but all stereo stuff to DPLII 5.1.

VERY COOL! THIS IS THE BEST CAR AUDIO SYSTEM I HAVE EVER HEARD!! But still could not hold a candle to the Acura for functionality and the setup is very wonky!!!

Someone could persuade me to give up my back up MRA-F350 with AI-net cable but you would still need a head unit.

Here are links to the stuff above.