View Full Version : Pondering Replacement of Factory Radio -- Recommendations?

01-17-2006, 10:15 AM
I am considering replacing the stock radio in my 1995 525 with a new head unit that has a CD and will playback MP3s. I know there are a bunch to choose from.

I know some models offer customizable color displays. I would really like to find one that I can set to amber to match the look of my other BMW displays. Sony and Alpine have these types of units, but I don't have any experience with either.

Has anyone else out there swapped out their head unit, and if so, what brand/model would you recommend?

Thanks for any suggestions.


01-17-2006, 01:48 PM
I currently have the Alpine CDA 7878 - it was the first generation CD/MP3 player from alpine, and I still love it. The modern version, and my recommended model, is the CDA-9857 CD/MP3/WMA.


It was easy to find a mounting kit that perfectly matches the dash in my E-46 323 - the standard Din-1 size is very different from the BMW factory stereo - and I'm sure that they are available for the 5 series. I am highly partial to Alpine, so you'd have to ask someone else about the Sony models. Good luck, and happy listening.

01-17-2006, 06:41 PM
I've got an Alpine CDA-9815 (http://www.crutchfield.com/S-QszYSBa8itH/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?I=500CDA9815) (a 2003 model) in the E30 and a CDA-9835 (http://www.crutchfieldadvisor.com/ISEO-rgbtcspd/reviews/20040921/in-dash_displays.html?page=2) (a 2004 model) in the E24. Both have KCA-420i iPod Adapters (one of which, I'll probably be selling soon) and they share a TUA-T020XM XM radio adapter that moves between the cars. I'll be honest, it was the ability of the head units to directly interface with and control an iPod that convinced me to choose Alpine.

Both head units are solid, sound great and, in the case of the 9835, can be adjusted to match the stock amber illumination. The both fit in the stock DIN-1 mount and Crutchfield (and most other car stereo shops) sells a wiring harness that will connect the factory wiring to the aftermarket head unit.

Honestly, it may be a year out of date, but if you can find a 9835, it's worth considering.

01-17-2006, 07:16 PM
Also check out the Audio & Electronics forum on www.bimmerforums.com. You can get a lot of info on what works and what doesn't. Searching the archives should pull up a lot of options.

01-27-2006, 09:14 AM
Alpine has new units coming out with a direct Ipod connection which will not require KC-420i adapter. I think all you need is the $25 cable. Crutchfield shows them expected on 2/6