Car Audio

I bought a used Acura TL back in November of 2004 when the head gasket gave out on my 12 year old Acura Legend (for the second time… had already footed an insane bill once to repair the same thing). I immediately took apart the dash, put in an adapter that converted the CD changer input to a couple of RCA audio jacks which I then ran through the dash into a little cubby/storage slot. After adding a gooseneck PDA holder, I had an iPod-ready car.

For my birthday in January of 2005, I got a set of Polk Audio DB6500s on the cheap off eBay and installed them myself. This involved taking the doors apart, cutting out portions of the doors, and yes, sticking a knife in my leg. For the next year I had fantastic audio in the car minus any bass whatsoever. The car had come with a subwoofer, but it was horrific, so I disconnected it. Great music sans bass. Until my next birthday.

For my birthday in January of 2006, I got an Infinity Basslink, a self-contained small profile 10-inch subwoofer and amp combo thingy (again, courtesy the fine folks at eBay). This time I had Best Buy do the install, and they did a great job. Since then I’ve been enjoying a wonderful audio “experience” as I motor around town. The subwoofer takes up very little room in the trunk and provides a terrific sound, though it is designed more for quality rather than quantity. I can’t entertain neighboring cars with heavy beats.

I really do recommend the approach of putting a solid pair of tweeters and mids up front coupled with a subwoofer. I mostly fade out the back speakers so they are inaudible in the front seats and just provide a bit more sound in the rear seats. You end up with a great shape to the music and by putting all the sound in front it maximizes the illusion of the bass originating from up front as well.

4 Comments

  1. Peter Brunone
    Nov 10, 2006

    I’d forgotten about that knife story. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Scott Fraser
    Nov 14, 2006

    I have been wondering for some time how to get my iPod hooked up to the factory installed system in my car (Volvo S80). There is an option to get an adapter put in, but I would have to lose the CD changer in the trunk, because the adapter that Volvo makes apparently uses the line that the trunk CD changer uses. Since I already spent money on that, I couldn’t swallow disconnecting it, and spending more money to get my iPod hooked in.

    So I now tool around town with a little battery powered FM transmitter that works, well, just OK. It is good enough for most of what I am listening to on the iPod when driving, which is almost all people talking (tech news, interviews, etc…) If I want to hear good music, then I am using the CD’s, or I am in my office with a stereo I can plug the iPod into.

    But still… It is such a hassle with the FM dongle, and in some parts of Philly there is very little dead space on the dial for you to use – sometimes none. Plus, to get the reception to work the best trick is to hold the dongle in your right hand as you are driving. Combine that with coffee, cell phone, and operating the car, and its probably not the safest thing in the world.

    So I often wonder if I could do something like you did – break things open and just mainline in my own wires, but I don’t have the time and courage to take an x-acto knife to my car!

    I think there may also be some higher power/quality FM modulators out there, but I am not sure if they are legal or not. Not to mention how to get them hooked up in a car. For example:
    http://www.engadget.com/2005/07/20/the-ipod-stereo-fm-modulator/

    Or there’s this approach:
    http://www.idealog.us/2005/11/ipod_your_subar.html

  3. Jay
    Nov 28, 2006

    Hey Scott! I missed your comment…

    I think I miscommunicated. I actually did use the CD Changer adapter (it was about $15 bucks from Crutchfields). The only custom wiring I did was to hook up the OEM subwoofer to the aftermarket head unit I put in… but it sounded so bad I disconnected it. I found it well worth abandoning the CD changer for the iPod.

  4. andri
    Dec 29, 2006

    hey by the way, do you still have that factory bose sub? what year was your car? im interested in buying your sub since u said ur not gonna use it anymore.