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From Monsoon to Alpine CDA-9885 - A Bitter Ordeal

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  • From Monsoon to Alpine CDA-9885 - A Bitter Ordeal

    Hi everyone.

    First, some background: I had a 2003 Volkswagen Passat, which came with the Monsoon system. That system produced an incredibly warm and rich sound that I really enjoyed. I'm not sure what exactly made the sound so good (I'm not a technical guy) but recently I found some confirmation of this on the web. For example, the article below confirms that Monsoon is for "music lovers who want to be immersed in sound" and that it "envelops the cars' occupants in clear, crisp, high-performance sound." The sound was warm, thick, and pleasant.

    For various reasons, I had to get rid of my Passat, and got an '08 Toyota Camry LE. The Toyota stock system was awful so I immediately replaced everything there. I got the following:
    - Alpine CDA-9885 head unit
    - Polk speakers: POLK AUDIO MMC6500 and 690
    - Alpine 4-channel external amp, ALPINE MRPF550

    This was supposed to be a top-of-the-line setup; I spent $1500 on it. I was recommended the Alpine CDA-9885 as "the best in sound quality." But after I hooked everything up (including the external amp), I was disappointed. The CDA-9885 produces a very clean, loud sound, but it's not warm. I'm really missing the warmth and presence of the sound, especially after the Monsoon. It could either be the Alpine head unit, or the acoustics of my Camry (the positioning of the speakers), or something else.

    So my questions are as follows:

    1) What was it about the Monsoon in my VW-Passat that made it so rich-sounding and warm;

    2) What is it about my current setup (particularly the Alpine CDA-9885) that's responsible for the hollow, cold sound? Don't get me wrong, the sound is all all right and very clean, but nowhere near the warmth that I had with Monsoon. Is it an issue with Alpine products? I've read that Alpine focuses on "accurate reproduction" but not necessarily warmth. Is it the fact that my rear/front speakers are far from each other in the Camry? How come that even after spending $1500 the sound is worse than the $300 Monsoon audio?

    Thanks a lot for your comments!

  • #2
    Who did the install? By warm, what exactly do you mean?



    • #3
      I think the article you posted has the answer

      Using proprietary software programs and trained listeners, Monsoon
      customized its system for optimal performance in the 2000 Volkswagen models by
      specifically tuning it to the acoustic environments of the Golf, Jetta and
      Passat individually. Monsoon's goal is to envelop the cars' occupants in
      clear, crisp, high-performance sound with a strong bass response and no
      unwanted resonance, even at high volume.
      Eight premium speakers deliver premium sound. Each is positioned and
      aimed for optimal sound: four woofers for powerful low frequency sound and
      four tweeters for clear, crisp high frequency sound.

      That system was specifically designed for the acoustics of your car to give the driver a specific experience. Even if you got the exact same hardware, you would have to have it tuned to your vehicle to get the same experience you did in your Passat.