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  #1  
Old 12-05-2003, 12:06 PM
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Will replacing stock radio improve sound?

I just replaced all 4 of my speakers with Pioneer TS-A5713's. It definitely improved clarity of sound. But I still have the stock Ford CD player. It does seem a bit underpowered for the Pioneers. My question is, will replacing the head unit further improve the sound? More clarity? More punch? I'm not looking for loudness; just improved sound. Opinions appreciated. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 12-05-2003, 12:19 PM
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It all depends on the amount of "clean" power the amp section is putting out...without frying the speakers.
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2003, 12:30 PM
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Hi-

Without question any quality after market head unit will out perform the oem unit. The converters for the cd player and the general electronics are going to make a positive difference.
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2003, 01:35 PM
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IMO yes.

I upgraded my HU using the stock "premium" speakers and it sounds better IMO. I only wish I had the money to buy speakers and an amp and sub...
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  #5  
Old 12-05-2003, 03:27 PM
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Well....

I don't know how to say this but... HELL YES!
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2003, 10:04 PM
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thanks for the input. here's another question. there are lots of nice decks for about $180 but they don't play MP3. MP3 seems to command a big jump in price. do you think that MP3 capability is critical?
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  #7  
Old 12-05-2003, 10:06 PM
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You can get a Pioneer deck that plays MP3 for about $180 from Etronics.com. I believe it is the 5500, but not sure. However, I would upgrade and get the 7500 if you want MP3. It is like $220. You can do the install very easily yourself
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Old 12-05-2003, 10:08 PM
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The only main (that I know of) difference is that you can cram a whole bunch of .mp3s on a CD if your player will read it.

Next best thing is to get a HU that will read CD-RWs, that way you can just get one CD-RW (or more) and change whatever music is on it if you decide to.

Although having 500+ songs on one CD sounds kickass....

http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/S...=N&search=&o=p

If I had known just what you could do with a mp3 HU, I would have made it a much bigger factor in my decision.

Last edited by Johngs; 12-05-2003 at 10:17 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2003, 11:02 AM
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acadianabob, The difference may be surprising to you. It more than likely will NOT be astounding. Ford HUs are not that bad as far as SQ in a set-up like you have. And any aftermarket HU will not have an amplifier section capable of producing a lot of difference to the things you mentioned. HU amps just aren't suited for anything other than ordinary tasks at ordinary volume levels. Changing your speakers made a bigger difference than a HU swap will. Just my opinion.
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2003, 06:15 PM
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HU Upgrade Pioneer MP5500 vs 7500

I have the Pioneer MP5500 that plays MP3's. For me it's worth it. The 7500 adds nifty graphics but I don't require those extra's. Only spend more to get increased HU voltage and additional outputs. IMHO a well ripped MP3 sounds very nice and is comparable for most casual listeners, esp. if you travel a lot. You can put many hours of music on a cd. Use http://cdexos.sourceforge.net/to to rip your CDs to MP3 and you can listen for days ! I like using the computer to make "custom" MP3 cd's for my ride.

Ricksta
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  #11  
Old 12-06-2003, 09:55 PM
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Re: HU Upgrade Pioneer MP5500 vs 7500

Quote:
Originally posted by Ricksta
I have the Pioneer MP5500 that plays MP3's. For me it's worth it. The 7500 adds nifty graphics but I don't require those extra's. Only spend more to get increased HU voltage and additional outputs. IMHO a well ripped MP3 sounds very nice and is comparable for most casual listeners, esp. if you travel a lot. You can put many hours of music on a cd. Use http://cdexos.sourceforge.net/to to rip your CDs to MP3 and you can listen for days ! I like using the computer to make "custom" MP3 cd's for my ride.

Ricksta

Leave the /to off and the link works.
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  #12  
Old 12-07-2003, 02:57 PM
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Thanks for all of the help and opinions. Based on your input, I just bought and installed a Kenwood MP222. It has definitely improved the sound. There is more base punch but the big improvement is in clarity and definition in the mid and upper frequency ranges. It plays MP3 and is Sirius ready. And thanks for the link on MP3. I have to figure that whole thing out.
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  #13  
Old 12-09-2003, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by screwdup
Hi-

Without question any quality after market head unit will out perform the oem unit. The converters for the cd player and the general electronics are going to make a positive difference.
Not True:


Autosound 2000 Test Lab Report on OEM vs. Aftermarket Head Units


Car Audio in the 21st Century
By David Navone

I started installing car audio components back in the early 1960s when most of the stock vehicle sound systems (OEM or Original Equipment Manufactured) consisted of an AM radio. A few OEM systems featured AM/FM tuners with a trendy Front – Rear fader control that allowed the sound level to be shifted to the full front, full rear, or anywhere in between. The first aftermarket sound-enhancing component I installed was a Motorola spring-operated reverberation unit that hung under the rear deck and added “jazz hall” DSP effects. With installation, this accessory could cost as much as the OEM radio and speakers.
When the OEM tuners were upgraded to play 2 channel stereo, the aftermarket added under-dash 4-track tape players. This was around 1965 and really launched the car audio industry. The only speakers that were available were replacement speakers for elevators, grocery stores, TVs, and home stereo systems. By the 1970s, aftermarket speakers were added to our sales counters and the 8-track tape player made its debut. The OEMs tried to catch up by delivering in-dash AM/FM-Stereo/8-track players and Quad Surround systems, but then the Japanese designers figured out how to drastically reduce the size of their audio components. This meant that more features and benefits could be jammed into the cavernous dash cavities of American vehicles. So the aftermarket ruled through the 1970s.
There were times of great concern for aftermarket car audio. For instance in 1977, the very popular Dodge van added a teardrop to the right side of the dash cavity. How could the aftermarket fit a rectangular head unit into a teardrop hole? The answer was an installation “fit-kit” and the entire accessory industry was jump-started. Around this time General Motors added a CB radio to their AM/FM-Stereo/8-track player. This would be a very difficult system to upgrade. However, GM soon figured out that this head unit could be very expensive to repair. So the aftermarket breathed a sigh of relief and began yanking these chrome boat anchors and replacing them with aftermarket decks such as the very high quality Blaupunkt 2001.
In the 1980s, the OEMs consistently lost out to the aftermarket in the features and benefits department. Many car audio shops traveled to dealerships to replace factory decks with aftermarket components. My shop was called Rolling Sounds because we rolled our vans out to dealers – including Japanese Datsun and Toyota dealers – and installed upscale aftermarket components. Our average installed price was around $250.00, (about 1 K in todays money) which got tacked onto the price of the car. My shop is still in business today, but there are no longer any Rolling Sounds installation vans. The business has changed.
The 1990s brought us OEM systems that are integrated into steering wheels, air conditioning systems, warning lights, factory anti-theft systems, etc. Not only that, but the features and benefits of some OEM systems cannot be easily duplicated in the aftermarket. For instance GM’s Driver 1 or Driver 2 preset preferences and steering wheel controls make swapping head units a difficult decision. Also many OEM in-dash decks can play a CD and a cassette. Upgrading such a deck can be a really tough decision. In fact, many OEM head units are being left in the vehicle and aftermarket system designers are interfacing components to the factory deck. There are shops that lament the fact that they can’t upgrade the factory deck, but with many new vehicles, the OEM deck will probably remain in the car until it hits the wrecking yard.

A2TL Tests New OEM Decks

But is replacing a modern deck with an aftermarket deck really an “upgrade?” We’re nearly into 2001 and our Car Sound Forum’s have been alive with questions about interfacing new OEM decks with aftermarket components. Questions about “sacrificing quality by using an OEM head” have prodded our Autosound 2000 Test Labs into examining the electrical differences between aftermarket decks and OEM decks.
For our tests we chose a new Visteon OEM deck, a new Delco OEM deck and a mid-line priced Japanese deck. (We recently reviewed this popular deck in Car Sound). The Visteon deck utilizes a 6-CD changer (CD-6) and the Delco deck is the 4185. We tested the OEM decks with a high quality interface attached in the same manner they would be used in a typical OEM upgrade. We chose Soundgate LOCHVA OEM interface devices for the tests because Rob Putman at Soundgate is our AutoMedia OEM Interface Editor. The tests were our standard specification measuring programs in the Audio Precision System II.
As we all realize, an important spec is the Maximum Undistorted Signal Level, which was 2.5 volts in the Japanese deck, 3.4 volts in the Visteon deck and 3.9 volts in the Delco deck. These readings were taken just under clipping and notice that the distortion figures are 1% or less. Distortion of less than 2% on musical program material is impossible to hear so the 1% spec is excellent.
The useable dynamic range is the difference between the noise floor and the maximum undistorted output. The Japanese deck yielded a specification of 93 dB, the Visteon deck came in at 82 dB and the Delco deck measured 93 dB. The maximum theoretical dynamic range for a 16-bit CD is 96 dB. This means that these specifications are excellent – especially for a car audio component that must contend with road – wind – vehicle noise.
The last specification we measured was the output or source impedance. The Japanese deck measured a respectable 300 ohms. Both the Visteon and Delco decks had very low output impedance measurements (less than one ohm) because of their speaker level outputs, but with the OEM interface devices installed, the specs were a little over 1000 ohms for each deck. Is this a bit high for car audio?

Output Impedance Specs

In Noise Troubleshooting 101, we learned that a high output impedance could be a source for noise. The output impedance can be thought of as a resistance (actually impedance) in series with the signal. For those readers who hate Ohm’s Law, we have can say, “The highest voltage will be developed across the highest resistance.” This means that a high source impedance could allow a higher noise level to be produced across that resistance. This last statement is also the key to the potential problem for noise.
Since the output impedance of the speaker leads of the OEM decks themselves is certainly very low, there will be very low noise levels produced on the signal path leading to the OEM interface devices. The only possibility for noise appears at the OEM interface device and on the output of the OEM interface device. This means that the speaker level signal should be routed close to the input of the aftermarket amplifier. (We recommend Unshielded Twisted Pair signal cables for this task.) Then the OEM interface device should be installed at the input of the aftermarket amplifier. If the installation is done correctly, a source impedance of 1000 ohms over a short path of 6” or so will not present a problem.

Conclusions

The specifications of the OEM decks, connected to the OEM interface devices, proved to be as good as a mid priced aftermarket deck. It’s important to correctly install the OEM interface devices, but once in place, the electrical differences are certainly not noticeable.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2003, 05:29 PM
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My guess is that blind listening tests would prove what Norm points out. And in this example, Pioneers that sell for about $40-$50/pair may sound "different" than stock, but how much "better" could they possibly be? And with those speakers and an average aftermarket HU, the AUDIBLE differences are next to non-existent. Anyone is kidding themself to think otherwise. It's a psych job.
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  #15  
Old 12-10-2003, 02:36 AM
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Just today, I installed a set of Pioneer 6x8, Ts-6980R( I think that was the part #) and a 2 year old Pioneer cd player, DEH-2300 in my 2003 Supercrew. I left the rear speakers alone for now. I could not believe the difference in sound. It was much fuller, more powerful sounding. It is by no means a reference system but it by far out performs the stock set up.
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Old 12-10-2003, 02:36 AM


 
 
 
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