So I got this thing finally installed last night and this thing is a freaking work of art. It has a little learning curve and I had to sit there with my manual in hand for the first hour which is the first time Ive ever had to do that. However, after the initial hour, I can cruise thru all the audio tuning. The only one thats weird is the crossover. That one will take me a lot longer to get used to that one. You push one way to move from HP to LP, then push something else to change the crossover point, push something else to change the slope, something else to change the level and if you push the wrong thing then it moves you to the next thing which is either time alignment or the position setting.
The EQ is very easy to use and it DOES have the invaluable feature of where you can level match left and right, then lock them both together. Other EQ's when you do this, it splits the difference of the Left and Right level pretty much wiping out all your level matching. The P99 locks them at the settings you left them so if you have 1KHz at -2 on the left and -4 on the right, lock them and move 1K up 2b, itll have left at 0 and right at -2. That is perfect! I can level match before I tune which is the most preferable way to tune because with both sides level matched, youre not having to tune around humps in the frequency response. Love it! Because of this, Ive noticed that my EQ curve has a LOT less cuts in it than the ones on my old Alpine. This means more volume and dynamics. Its got 5 EQ memories which is cool but I wish those memories would also include the crossover settings at least. Not that big a deal but wouldve been nice.
Oh, and Arun, I dont hear a straight up difference in .5db steps on a given frequency BUT it does help in level matching when you can go +1.5db and -1.5 on the right which does make a difference as opposed to +2 and -2 or +1 and -1 believe it or not. So Ill begrudgingly admit that you were right on this one. It does help.
The crossover while being a pain to use, it better than the Alpine. Its 1/3 octave instead of the Alpine's 1/6 octave but I never used those odd settings anyway but the P99 goes down to 36db/oct which is kinda nice and should let me cross the sub up a little higher
The time alignment pisses me off. It works well enough but I hate the whole inches thing. Its ridiculous and for the life of me I dont understand why they wont just let you add delay like the Alpine. It makes much more sense. I want to delay the left speaker, so its stupid that I have to adjust the RIGHT speaker.
The display is beautiful and classy. I wish it were a little bigger but thats not big deal and probably because Im getting old and going blind. The knobs are a little too short to work easily though. The remote works everything which is awesome! I can sit there and lean back and tune and while you cant change the track while in a EQ menu, its only a 1 button push to get out of the EQ and knock the track back then a 2 button push to get right back to the exact same spot you were at in the EQ. My only gripe is the remote is TINY. It barely fits in my hand! One cool thing though is that it comes with a mount that you can attach to your steering wheel so you can control everything there. Pretty cool.
As for the dreaded noise issues I was having - none. Zip, zero nada. This thing is graveyard quiet even at full max volume and paused CD. Nothing! It also has a cool feature thatll help my turn off pops maybe. When you eject a CD, it turns off the amps. Why this is cool is that my turn off pops are slight so the CD mechanism masks the sound of them. Also, the pops seem to be associated with heat of a charge build up of some kind because if you turn them off and they pop, turn them on and back on again they wont pop. A lot of judges look for turn on pops when they turn the ignition off. Theyll do this after theyve ejected the CD so while this wont cure my turn off pops, it may help me get away with them on a few judges anyway.
So yeah, I love this thing! Its not quite as easy to use as my old Alpine but its not that hard once you get things figured out and Im pretty certain that in a few weeks Ill be able to bounce around all the menus with my eyes closed.
So yeah, this is the coolest thing Ive ever owned and I feel comfortable claiming that this is the greatest audiophile CD player in history. Im gonna have a lot of fun playing with it the next couple seasons.