Pros / It has 10 equalizer presets and a TuneIt app for extremely customizable sound.
Cons / It lacks WAV and AAC compatibility.
Verdict / The Alpine CDE-154BT has some of the best audio available but lacks some key playback options.
Editor's Note: The Alpine CDE-154BT has been discontinued by the manufacturer. If you click on the buy button, you'll be redirected to a link for the Alpine CDE-164BT, which is an updated version. Both stereos have the same specifications, features and performance.
The Alpine CDE-154BT is the best car stereo within the Alpine CDE series. While the power ratings are only average, the audio quality rivals the best car stereos on the market. It gives you a lot of control over how your music sounds, even providing customized sound for your specific vehicle. However, it's lacking a few key playback options that you'll find in the best car audio receivers.
The maximum power output is 200 watts and the continuous power output is 72 RMS watts, which is average for most car stereos without an external amplifier. The pre-out voltage for the audio signals is 4 volts, which is among the highest. Only the Sony MEX and Clarion CZ stereos have higher voltage outputs. This means that the audio signal has very little unwanted noise or frequency distortions as the signal is sent to speakers. The signal-to-noise ratio for the CD player is 105 dB, which is among the best we reviewed.
To help you get the best audio quality possible, the CDE-154BT has 10 EQ band presets. Each EQ preset has 9.1 dB of leeway to enhance or diminish the frequency band. This gives you a lot of control over how you want to shape the sound to the acoustic landscape of your car. It also comes with the TuneIt app, which gives you even more control, with up to 100 sound settings that you can save to your account. The app also features specific premade EQ settings for your car. If you're proud of your car sound system, the app also allows you to share your EQ settings so that others can try them out and rate them.
The downside to the Alpine CDE-154BT is the lack of comprehensive playback options. While it features an excellent CD player, a USB port, standard radio and Bluetooth connectivity to stream internet radio apps, it lacks compatibility with WAV and AAC audio files. It doesn't come with an HD Radio receiver either. However, it is compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio. You just have to purchase the receiver and subscription separately.
The smartphone integration is comprehensive. Not only can you control Pandora from the faceplate, but you can also take calls. It uses an external microphone, which has a long cord that allows you to place the microphone in an ideal location. The microphone also features noise-canceling technology to eliminate echoes and reduce road noise for your caller.
- Max Power Output
- Continuous Power Output
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio
- Pre-Out Voltage
- Equalizer Band Presets
The Alpine CDE-154BT produces some of the best audio available in a car stereo with a high signal-to-noise ratio, high pre-out voltage and 10 EQ presets. The TuneIt app is a great resource for finding the best audio presets for your specific car, which is a unique feature. It has all the common playback options, though it's not compatible with WAV or AAC files played through the USB port. It also lacks HD Radio but is compatible with SiriusXM radio.