Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
November 12, 2009
Photos By: Courtesy Of Crutchfield

Horse Sense:
While Crutchfield has been known for many years as the direct-replacement car-audio leader, the company's catalog and Web site also offer products aimed strictly at custom installations. These items are fully supported by the excellent Crutchfield technical staff. So, if you want to build a killer system with custom components, feel free to chat up one of Crutchfield's tech reps for ideas and information on speaker load, wiring, sound waves, and so on.

While our 3g GT has progressed in the handling and performance areas, it has sorely lacked in one crucial (at least for us) aspect-slammin' sounds from the cabin. Granted, the 3g came with Ford's decent MACH 460 system, but ever since we had the MACH 1000 carrot dangled in front of us by Ford PR in the way of an '02 V-6 convertible, we've wanted more.

The MACH 1000 system-featuring two 10-inch subs, eight speakers, and a multitude of amplifiers-puts out some serious sound to the tune of 1,140 watts peak. Unfortunately, it will set you back nearly $1,300 and requires you to order the better option package with the MACH 460 system in the first place.

We decided that kind of cash could go a long way toward something with more power and more features. The MACH Audio systems won't play MP3-encoded CDs. And although you can option an MP3 deck (non-MACH) when ordering your Mustang, you'll be hard-pressed to find one on a dealer lot. The most unfortunate thing about the MACH Audio design is that besides directly replacing the speakers, there's little you can do to the system. The head unit is not replaceable without removing all the amplifiers with it, meaning if your Mustang has the MACH Audio system ('01-'03), you can't simply slip an in-dash MP3 or DVD player in place.

For the 3g project, we wanted to install something with the power of the MACH 1000 but with much more flexibility. We gave our friends at Crutchfield a call to see if they could help us out. Since we've used them in the past for numerous drop-in replacement systems, we weren't sure what to expect. We were surprised when they jumped at the chance to help us. The custom market is growing bigger all the time, and Crutchfield wants to get involved as well. They've worked with other companies' project cars and have even built a few of their own in which to display their custom building talents, not to mention all the shiny goodies found within the pages of their catalog.

We brought our 3g project to the Crutchfield offices to fit it with an audio and video system complete with MP3, DVD, and satellite-radio capabilities. The heart of the system is Alpine's latest all-in-one, in-dash AM/FM/DVD/MP3/XM satellite receiver. We'll hazard a guess that this baby has more inputs and outputs on it than the soundboard at a Metallica concert-and with the Rockford Fosgate amplifiers, the Polk MOMO speakers, and the Kicker Solobaric L7 subs, it will no doubt sound just as loud.

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