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Keep 1988 stock stereo add great sound

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  • Keep 1988 stock stereo add great sound

    I want to keep my stock head unit, because I don't want to mess with the stock look of the car (I like it, and it's not about to be stolen anytime soon). However, I'd like higher quality transmission from my mp3 player and computer than a wireless FM modulator, I don't want to use a tape deck convertor, and I would like it all to be very subtle. I'm leaning towards wired FM modulator, but I've read that it might not be any better than a wireless.

    Also, I plan on upping the stock speakers - my plan is to install a cheap amp with high level inputs, and replace the stock speakers (two 4x6s in front and two 6x9s in the back). Down the line, perhaps add a small sub or too - I don't need all the bass i hear from my friends' cars with subs, but I'd like better quality, "crisper" sound than they have, if possible.

    Any suggestions on how to accomplish this?


    On another note, hi all! I've bounced around the internet looking for the best place to ask these questions, and kept ending up here, so I know that someone out there can help me out! thanks in advance!

  • #2
    where to start...

    A four channel amp will usually have two sets of RCA inputs (or line level inputs in your case), one for the front speakers and one for the rear. There will be four sets of outputs, each with a (+) and (-) terminal which you will want to connect to each of your four speakers. This means if you are running a 600 W rms four channel and have all four speakers hooked up you are delivering around 150 watts to each speaker (this is probably way too much power). If you want a subwoofer too, you are going to need either a five or six channel amp (I don't know if anyone makes these anymore, but I'm running a 6ch I bought about 3 years ago), or a second amp that will power your sub(s). Alternatively, you could just use the four ch to power one set of speakers and bridge the remaining two channels to power a sub.

    Amps can be complicated because the power output actually depends on the load (resistance) each channel has. Make sure you match the resistance specs on your speakers/subs to the specs on your amp. Ideally you want to provide each channel with 60-90% of the stated power the speaker can handle for the load. For example, if you have 4 ohm speakers that say they they can handle an rms power of 100W, you want to find an amplifier that will provide 60-90W rms power to each channel at 4 ohms. Always look at the rms (not the peak) power values when buying an amp.

    A wired fm modulator will give you substantial benefits over a wireless one. It's not going to be as good of sound quality as RCAs/digital input, but that shouldn't be an issue for you since you are using the high level amp inputs anyway.

    Hope this helped some. Keep researching your options. I highly recommend you go to a best buy or circuit city or some other store like that and talk to the roadshop guys about your options. They might try to sell you something, but they really are knowledgeable about what you're trying to accomplish.
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    • #3
      bump! i deleted the rambling post i left when i was short on sleep and left something short and sweet. c'mon, take a minute from your day and help me out!

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      • #4
        FM limits itself nomatter what. A wired one will be better than a wireless one by eliminating static, and dead zones when a higher powered frequency comes over.

        But does your stock radio have inputs?

        Are you any good with soldering? You could get a little amp with low level inputs and run a cable to the front that plugs into your mp3player. then you can put relays on the speakers and a toggle switch between sources.
        Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
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        • #5
          my stock stereo doesn't have aux inputs, or any inputs of any type, as far as I know, other than the antenna and tape deck.

          i can solder well enough to get the job done. so my mp3 player's output is "low level" to a car amp?

          I was planning on purchasing or building a pocket amp for my mp3 player, to lengthen its battery life - but using that with a car amp would be silly, right?

          relays? i don't know all the terminology, but i'll understand it if you can define it in about a sentence

          toggle switch between the stereo and the amp, or the amp and the speakers? meaning, am i getting a larger amp for my stereo and a separate one for my mp3 player, or running both my stereo and mp3 player to the same amp? the latter makes more sense to me, but i'm rather inexperienced in car audio.

          also, what would i have to solder?

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          • #6
            Well I dont know about different amp topologies, but I think most are either high level or low level inputs, not both... But I havent even looked. My amp cost $40 shipped and can be found for $13 now.

            Anyways, yes your mp3player, the computers we put in our cars, even your stock HU outputs a low level signal (internally for the HU). The stock HU goes through its own little amplifier and what you see on the back are high level outputs. You cant mix the two.

            So you need to amplify your mp3player to go through the speakers. How you do that is where the options are. And you will need a source selector. If you can solder you can make your own out of simple relays. If you cant, you can get audio switchers.

            The toggle switch would be what throws all of the relays. So every speaker has 2 wires going to its amp (currently to the back of your HU which is where your current amp is, the internal one). Your mp3player amp will have 2 wires for each speaker. So 2 amps both with signals to give to 1 set of speakers. You need to mux them. (Its been a while since I have said the real word for mux, but I think it is multiplexer?) Basically combine the 2 amp outputs to 1 for the speakers. If you just physically connect the wires, that can be a bad no-no. So you need a middle man. That is where the relays come in.
            Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
            1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
            30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
            15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
            Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

            Comment


            • #7
              ok, so i can buy a regular car amplifier, put in a source selector, and wire my mp3 player to the source selector, as well as my hu (but through something that converts the high level signal back down to a low level signal)?

              would it make more sense to purchase an amp that can handle high level inputs and simply amplify my mp3 player before going to the amp (through the source selector)?

              thanks a bunch... you're a whole lot more agreeable with the idea of keeping the stock hu... i know it's silly, but when i went to my local car audio place, the guy gave me a look and was like... "that's a dumb idea. buy my hu, mounting kit, antenna converter, etc. that's a good idea." i know it's a dumb idea, i just want a solution that doesn't drastically change the stock look of the car - old as it may be i like it!

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