Thursday, July 2The place for automotive information

Alpine CDE-173BT Review

N20 Audio looks at an Alpine headunit that can do almost everything you’ll need up front in your car…

Here we have one of the best-known head unit manufacturers in Alpine bringing us the CDE-173BT. This unit provides sound quality and the convenience of built-in Bluetooth wireless technology, you can pick these up for around the £130-£150 mark. Very impressive for the money how much this head unit can do.

The Alpine CDE-173BT CD receiver can play your iPod or Iphone via USB (you have to buy the cable as it is not in the box) and you can control your IPod/Iphone from the stereo control, with the headunit displaying the song names on screen. As this is the BT version it has a hands-free kit, thanks to the power of Parrot Bluetooth with many advanced features (BT Plus) built right into the head unit (microphone included). The convenient USB port and 3.5mm auxiliary input on the front of the unit allow you to easily hook up USB mass storage devices or an MP3 player, or even some sat nav too.

Featuring Bluetooth capability, giving you full phonebook access straight on to the stereo screen. It even tells you when your phone needs charging. The only negative point on this Alpine is the looks, it doesn’t look as nice as other Alpine headunits. Alpine headunits have a very basic layout but this one just doesn’t seem to meet up with the standards of others, but this is just our opinion.

N20 Audio would give the Alpine CDE-173BT a rating of 8.5 out of 10.


Spec on the Alpine CDE 173BT

  • Presets FM: 18, MW: 6, LW: 6
  • RDS tuner: TA, AF, EON, Radio Text
  • Built-in Bluetooth with microphone
  • Works with Nokia (requires KCU-230NK)
  • Made for the iPhone and iPod (requires KCU-445i)
  • Front USB port
  • AUX input on the front panel (3.5 mm jack)
  • Detachable Front Panel
  • Switchable Key Illumination: red, green
  • Favorite Source button
  • Support for remote control: RUE-4202 (optional)
  • Support for steering controls (optional interface required)

Made for iPod® / iPhone 

  • Compatibility for iPod/iPhone: Made for iPod touch 4th/3rd/2nd/1st Gen., iPod nano 6th/5th/4th/3rd Gen., iPod classic 160GB/120GB/80GB, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and iPhone
  • Connection: KCU-445i (sold separately) Required
  • Available Selections: Playlist, Artist, Album, Song, Podcast, Genre, Composer, Audiobook, Genius Mix
  • Alphabet Search
  • Percentage Search
  • App Direct Mode
  • Direct Up/Down: Playlist, Artist, Album, Genre Up/Down
  • M.I.X. (Shuffle) Play: Songs, Albums
  • Repeat
  • Battery Charging

Bluetooth function 

  • Audio streaming A2DP AVRCP
  • Simple pairing devices
  • Connect up to five phones (1000 numbers for a phone)
  • 6 customizable quick call
  • GSM signal strength indication and battery
  • SMS icon
  • Call Waiting
  • Microphone
  • Alphabetical Search by name


  • Maximum output power: 4 x 50 W
  • 2 pre-amp outputs: front, rear/subwoofer


  • Bass Engine Pro
  • 3-Band Parametric EQ: + / -7 dB
  • MediaXpander
  • Volume control for each source: + / -14 dB
  • 10 preset sound presets
  • High Pass Filter (front / rear) and the low pass filter (subwoofer)
  • Subwoofer level control: 0-15 dB
  • Sub Phase : 0 ° / 180 °


  • Matrix LCD display with white backlight
  • Dimmer


  • 1-bit DAC with a 0-bit muting
  • Compatibility with discs: CD, CD-R/RW
  • Music playback: MP3, WMA, AAC
  • Displaying: CD-Text and ID3 tags
  • Shuffle, repeat (disc / track)