Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
December 1, 2002
Photos By: Courtesy of Manufacturers

Horse Sense:
The latest trends in mobile audio and video are satellite radio and surround-sound-capable DVD video. In the future, expect to see broadcast and satellite television added to the list of available choices.

We Mustang enthusiasts like our tunes as much as we like horsepower. While too much is just enough when it comes to tire-frying rear-wheel horsepower, the same can be said for audio systems. Electronic crossover, watts, and dual voice coils are to audio fanatics what horsepower, stroker, juice, and slicks are to horsepower junkies. Typically, when you come across a really clean Mustang with lots of horsepower, it will have an outstanding audio system in it as well. We often see in-dash DVD systems, multiple amps, a couple subwoofers, and so on, all nicely installed in custom enclosures.

Our goals for this article were to peruse the audio/video aftermarket, see what's out there that's Mustang specific, and then report our findings back to you. We surveyed some of the biggest players and got quite an eyeful of the latest technology for in-car audio, video, and navigation. After all, what's the fun in having a 500hp street car if you can't pop in the new Korn CD and crank it while you cruise?

Head Units
It was just a few years ago that the head unit, or receiver, part of the audio system was nothing more than an AM/FM tuner that also had the ability to play cassettes or maybe CDs. The basic functions-such as bass and treble adjustments-were covered, along with a few "premium" features including changeable display colors to match your factory illumination or a single set of pre-outs for an amplifier. How times have changed.

Today's head units have so many features and options, you could spend days figuring out what everything does. Not that that's a bad thing. In today's head units you will find built-in equalizers; bass enhancers; multiple pre-outs for front, rear, and subwoofer speakers; and the ability to play CD-R audio discs and even MP3 CDs. But that's not all. Many have motorized controls and antitheft features unheard of a few years ago. There's even the availability of head units with built-in DVD players and navigation systems. The choices are just about endless.

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