We then discovered that a lot of early technical divers were choosing this regulator for use with their bottom gas.
That model was combined with a simple piston-type first stage, but because the reg is often bought by first-time buyers who might be doing their initial training in the cold fresh water found at inland dive sites, Oceanic UK later wisely decided to supply it to its dealers only with a diaphragm-type first stage, the CDX.
The latest version of this regulator is called the Alpha 9. It comes coupled to a CDX first stage by way of a modern super-flexible braided hose. The product is a triumph of convention over innovation, in that there is nothing surprising about it apart from its performance.

First stage
The CDX looks inexpensive but it does the job. It has four medium-pressure and two high-pressure ports arranged around its barrel, and there is plenty of room to fit a transmitter for a computer, an element that some other manufacturers are not so careful to include in their designs.
It‘s telling that Oceanic also makes and sells wirelessly integrated computers.

Second stage
The second stage does not look like an expensive item, and it isn’t. It’s a basic valve with no personal adjustments whatsoever. There’s no venturi plus/minus switch, so you have to be quick to grab it if it freeflows when you first jump into the water.
It did this for me because I was using it alongside another regulator, but simply turning it so that the front face was up instantly stopped any tendency for an exponential free-flow.
The Alpha doesn’t have a breathing resistance adjustment knob either, but if you feel it breathes too easily, you just need to inhale with less gusto.
This absence of controls does mean that if it hasn’t been set up correctly in the first place there is little you can do about it when at sea and about to jump in the water.
It shouldn’t be a problem when the regulator is new, but might be if it’s wrongly set up later by the technician when you get it serviced.
If you have one and get it serviced, I would suggest that you check it out in good time somewhere local before setting off for a long-haul destination.

In The Water
There’s not much to say about this regulator other than that you put it in your mouth and breathe from it. When things are so good, they leave little room for words of criticism.
This has to be one of the best-performing regulators available in its price range.
I used it with air at depths of up to 40m and it was sublime to breathe from. I couldn’t fault it.
It was almost comparable with the Atomic Aquatics T2x, an all-titanium piston-type regulator that costs four times the price and would always be my favourite for diving in sea water, when I get the choice.
The Alpha’s big soft front concealed a purge button that was gentle yet progressive in its action. The exhaust-T was big enough to direct bubbles away from my face, but without being big enough that it sat on my chin in an annoying way.
The flexible braided intermediate hose meant that I could fix it to the left tank of my independent twin-set without it tugging, because its flexibility took care of the routeing.
It gets 10 out of 10 in my book, when you factor in its price.

Scubapro MK17 R395: £250
Seac X5 Ice: £250 (inc. octopus)
Cressi Ellipse Balanced MC9: £304

PRICE £250
FIRST STAGE Diaphragm-type
PORTS Four mp, two hp
SECOND STAGE No diver adjustments
CONTACT www.oceanicuk.com
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