Getting good quality sound from a car stereo is often a futile exercise - you're never sat in the right place to hear the music at its best. Glass, cloth, carpets and plastic all conspire to muddy the sound, and then there's that strange squealing noise your car makes every time you 'do a doughnut'. Not good.
Imprint works by using Audyssey MultEQ technology - as seen in hi-fi and home cinema systems from Denon, for one. This measures the acoustic properties of your car and then adjusts the Imprint's settings accordingly, so you always get the best sound - no matter whether you're hunched over the wheel or lolling around in the back.
Alpine says MultEQ beats other car calibration systems in five different ways:
- It is the only system that measures the entire listening area, capturing time domain information from each listening location and applying a proprietary method for processing it to represent all seat locations. This gives the people in each seat the optimal listening experience.
- It corrects both time and frequency problems, for an improved soundstage and smoother, more natural sound.
- It uses dynamic frequency allocation to apply hundreds of points of correction to those areas where the sound problems are greatest.
- It determines optimised blending points for low frequency crossovers.
- It provides, in minutes, vehicle sound tuning that generally takes skilled professionals days to accomplish.
Alpine Imprint CDA-9887R
It's just as well then that Alpine is now putting its first Imprint stereo on sale. The CDA-9887R CD receiver (£400) features a 24-bit Burr-Brown D/A converter, can playback MP3, AAC and WMA files, and has a built-in 4x 60W amplifier. It's compatible with Alpine's own KCE-422i Speed Connection for iPod cable (£20), and even offers Bluetooth hookup via the optional KCE-300BT adapter (£179).
All your dealer then needs to do is fork out for a KTX-100EQ Imprint Specialist Tuning Kit (£200), which comes with Sound Manager set-up software, a PC USB interface/ calibration kit and a microphone. This will enable your stereo to be optimised for your car, a tune-up process that takes about 45 minutes. Or you could just buy the kit and have a go yourself.