Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
August 16, 2011
Photos By: Courtesy of Manufacturers

Horse Sense: With the plethora of wiring harness and line-level adapters available these days, it's easy for the average wrench to install a stereo and speakers. The one problem child is the '94-and-later Mustang equipped with the Mach Audio option. The Mach Audio is a strange beast, using separate amplifiers and a built-in amp in the head unit to power all its speakers. Installing most aftermarket head units or amplifiers requires bypassing the factory wiring or running your own wires, especially in '01-and-up Mustangs.

Personalization is a way of life for Mustang enthusiasts. Whether it's adding a custom paint job, a dolled-up engine compartment, or a wheel and tire package, these car owners like to make a statement. One area where a statement is heard louder-literally, in most cases-than any other is in the ever expanding and quickly growing car audio/video segment. It is quite common to see even the most mundane minivan running down the highway with an LCD screen hanging from the headliner or secured within the seat headrests playing a DVD movie to keep the kids from killing each other. Of course, many of these are factory installed, but don't let the illusion of high-tech hardware make you believe it to be tough to install. With the help of harness adapters and installation kits, it's easy to add high-powered audio to your Mustang.

Do you enjoy making your own MP3s? Install a new tuner with MP3 playing capability. Thinking about satellite radio? There are several ways to get your music from the stars, including add-on tuners, satellite-ready receivers, and more. Want to have so much hard-hitting bass it can propel your Mustang down the street? Heck, you can do that too. And don't forget the video system we previously mentioned. For a small car such as the Mustang, a nice in-dash monitor is the best setup. But-hey-if you want a 10-inch flip-down LCD for your rear-seat passengers, be our guest!

What we've compiled here for you is a starting point, if you will. We've gathered up the latest goodies from all the big names in car audio/video and a couple of Mustang-specific items to show you what's out there for your ride. Take a look at what these vendors have to offer, make a budget, and start envisioning the audio system for your Mustang. Once you have everything installed, it will most likely become the centerpiece of your ride when you display it. The super-sweet Alpine/ Rockford Fosgate/Kicker/Polk Audio system in our 3g GT project car certainly did. So read on, and then crank it up!

Alpine

Alpine's fresh-from-the-oven IVA-D300 is a Picasso in the art of mobile multimedia hardware. The IVA-D300 head unit features a 7-inch-wide screen monitor with an exciting new feature called PulseTouch technology. With PulseTouch you get the sensation of touching real buttons on the IVA-D300's touch screen. Using vibration, pressure, and sound to simulate the sensation of interacting with real controls, the IVA-D300 can simulate different styles of buttons to deliver a tactical confirmation to driver input so the driver need not take his eyes off the road during station seek, tuner adjustment, and so on. Of course, the IVA-D300 is more than just a pretty touch screen. The Alpine head unit is chock-full with technology and features, such as multiple audio formats (DVD, CD-R/RW, MP3/WMA), AM, FM, and XM satellite tuning, and on-screen control of up to eight amplifiers. With additional products, the IVA-D300 can control multizone audio/video as well. Look for it at Alpine dealers now for approximately $1,500.

If you have a sweet head unit in your Mustang's dash, you really should use an amplifier to power the speakers and subs. Alpine's V-Power line of amplifiers are built using a cross-vented chassis, offering speaker level inputs, MOSFET DC/DC power supply, and Alpine's Bass Engine with built-in crossovers and variable-level bass EQs. The amps are available as a 700-watt Class D mono sub amp (MRP-M350, $199.95), 360-watt four-channel amp (MRP-F240, $199.95), or 250-watt two-channel amp (MRP-T220, $129.95).

For those not looking for in-dash video, or for those with a more limited budget, fear not. Alpine has a CD-based head unit you can afford. The CDA-9820XM ($349) has many great Alpine features you'd expect in only the company's higher-end head units. The CDA-9820XM is the first of its kind with built-in XM satellite radio tuner. Instead of purchasing an XM-ready head unit and then the XM tuner, you need only purchase the CDA-9820XM, an XM antenna, and then subscribe to the XM satellite service. The CDA-9820XM also features two pre-outs for system expansion; a two-color, eight-character display; 50-watt, four-channel amplification; and Alpine's Ai-Net control. The unit is remote-control ready.

For your listening pleasure, Alpine has also released extended applications of its Type-S line of direct-fit speakers, component speakers, and subwoofers. Depending upon model and application, these units feature swiveling tweeters, large woofer magnets, external cross-overs, and more, and are priced from $70 to $200. The subwoofers have dual 4-ohm (or 2-ohm, depending upon model) voice coils and are available in popular 10- and 12-inch sizes. The Alpine Type-S subwoofers also feature Nomex spiders and a unique perimeter venting design and are priced from $130 to $200.

Coustic

For 2004, Coustic debuted a new line of amplifiers, performance tuned for the discriminating buyer. Available in mono, stereo (two-channel), and four-channel models, these new amplifiers feature a state-of-the-art power supply, fully adjustable bass boost, and a patented Smart Engage Auto turn-on for easy installation with factory head units. Remote subwoofer-level controls allow the user to control the amplifier's output right from the driver seat. Two-ohm stable and bridgeable, Coustic amplifiers are ready to take a pounding. Choose your weapon with a choice of several Class-D sub-amp, four-channel-amp, and two-channel-amp models.

Delphi

The Delphi XM Roady is an ingenious way to get XM satellite radio in your Mustang. For $120 (plus monthly XM Radio access fees) you can connect the Roady to your factory or aftermarket head unit via its cassette transport adapter. No cassette? No worries-the optional FM modulator ($30) will get the job done for all those CD-based head-unit owners out there. With three changeable face plates and six different background illumination options, the Delphi XM Roady is sure to blend in with any interior decor.

JL Audio

JL Audio's line of Stealthbox subwoofer enclosures offers a model for the '94-'04 Mustang. Two part numbers (SB-F-U94+/ 10W3 and SB-F-MUCONV/10W6) cover coupe and convertible applications, respectively, and can be found for $500-$525 at the retail level. The Stealthbox is covered in gray trunk-mat material to match perfectly, giving an OE look to the installation, while offering a 10-inch JL sub that can take 300 watts of power.

JVC

JVC's Arsenal line of head units takes audio reproduction seriously and features many new and interesting capabilities. The OEL display allows for true color reproduction and can display just about any image or short video clip on the head unit's display screen. The top-of-the-line KD-AR7000 ($579.95) also features Sirius satellite radio tuning, MP3 playback, digital seven-band EQ, and 200-watt output. Other Arsenal models include the KD-AR5000 ($479.95) with voice feedback/ support and unique touch panel, as well as the KD-AR3000 head unit (shown here) at $299.95, which is also Sirius satel-lite ready, MP3/WMA compatible, and has of gold-plated line-out terminals.Coming soon to your JVC dealer is the new KD-SHX900 ($849.95), JVC's first head unit with a built-in High-Definition radio tuner. Using In Band On Channel technology, HD radio provides higher clarity in AM and FM broadcasts on par with CD-quality audio. With more than 280 HD radio stations online and dozens more coming up this year, HD radio is probably one of the big-gest advances in radio technology in decades, paving the way for music on demand, emergency text broadcasting, and more. Features include displays for the artist and song title informa-tion (much like an MP3). Of course, the KD-SHX900 also features JVC's OEL 256-color display for your favorite images, 50-watt-by-four-channel amplification, a Digital Signal Processor with sevebiamodes, Sirius satellite radio readiness, and compatibility with all major media types, including MP3/WMA/CD/CD-R/CD-RW media.

JVC's new HX speaker line features such advanced technology as pure aluminum diaphragms and olefin/aluminum woofer cones. Neodymium magnets offer more power than standard ferrite magnets and allow for a smaller structure and less weight. The butyl rubber surround allows uniform woofer excursion without the short lifespan of standard foam surrounds. Priced from $69.95 to $149.95, depending upon speaker size, the '94-and-up Mustang 6x8-inch application is shown here.

One of the most common ways to access satellite radio service is through a portable device. Such devices allow the user to access the service at home, in the car, even at the beach. JVC has thrown down the satellite radio gauntlet by releasing the all-new KT-SR1000 Sirius satellite tuner. The KT-SR1000 has a bargain-basement price of just $99.95, but it has penthouse-level features, including a PDA-style interface with a large, easy-to-read, backlit display for driver safety. The unit allows the user to set up to 30 stream preferences, and the built-in Memory Capture feature can store up to 20 favorite songs, search for them on incoming streams, and then play them. With available accessories, the KT-SR1000 can be connected to your car's head unit via the cassette adapter or wireless FM connectivity. The home kit allows use of the KT-SR1000 through your home stereo or freestanding speakers.

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Kenwood

If you own an '01-or-newer Mustang with the large double-DIN-style Ford stereo, Kenwood has something new for you. The company's Excelon DDX7015 ($1,700) is the world's first double-DIN head unit featuring an in-dash, 6.5-inch, color touch-screen LCD. No more motorized screen to get in the way of your HVAC controls-just instantly take in the splendor of the screen's video reproduction and on-screen audio controls. The DDX7015 plays 16:9 DVD videos, MP3s, and WMA audio. It can also utilize Kenwood's optional plug-in DVD navigation system, CD changers, Sirius satellite radio, and HD radio tuners. There's even an optional TV tuner for watching broadcast TV signals. The DDX7015 has a 50-watt-by-four-channel built-in amp and Dual Zone audio controls (front and rear speakers accessing different sources), and it can even be the basis for a 5.1 Dolby Digital/DTS system with Kenwood's optional KDS-P901 decoder ($550).

Kenwood's new HD radio tuner, the KTC-HR100 ($500), works with more than 24 '03 and '04 model Kenwood in-dash DVD and CD head units to offer the listener the improved quality of HD radio broadcasts from almost 300 radio stations in more than 100 markets. Connecting to an HD radio-ready Kenwood receiver allows users to hear all stations-whether analog or digital-with the HD radio tuner auto-detecting the digital signal and decoding it to the head unit.

If you're looking for an amplifier that will blow your socks off, then take a look at Kenwood's new KAC-X811D ($600) 1-ohm stable, 1,600-watt Class D sub amp. All this power is packed in a housing with a cooling system that uses a wind-tunnel design. Two fans blow air across the power output devices, while a third fan cools the power supply. Kenwood's new Amplifier Management System allows the user to control amplifier settings right from a Kenwood Excelon head unit. Up to 8 amps can be daisy-chained together and controlled through the A.M.S. A new 60-watt-by-four-channel amp ($600) and two new two-channel amps (125-watt-by-two-channel and 150-watt-by-two-channel; $350 and $500, respectively) round out the new Kenwood amplifier line.

With all the new Kenwood hardware, you wouldn't get far without some great-sounding speakers to complete your system. Kenwood's line of "P" and "S" series speakers, as well as its line of Typhoon subwoofers, fill the bill nicely. The P series ($180-$200) are component- based speakers (shown here) and are available in 5.25-inch, 6.5-inch, and 7-inch round sizes, all using titanium-oxide-embedded speaker cones for light weight and rigidity,with a UFLC Image Enhancer tweeter. They come with component cross-overs. The S series of two-way speakers ($50-$80) feature larger magnets than their predecessors, a two-way tweeter configuration, and a dimpled woofer cone for a strong yet light cone. The S series are available in 6.5-inch, 5.25-inch, and 4-inch round applications.

The new Typhoon subwoofers are available in a 10-inch ($110) and 12-inch ($120) size and feature a parabolic-shaped woofer cone for high-power handling and lower distortion. A high-roll, one-piece rubber surround and redesigned woofer seal provide increased strength and less vibration. The new Kenwood Typhoon sub-woofers can be used in sealed or ported enclosures, or in a free-air mounting application.

Kenwood also has a selection of CD-based head units ranging from the $280 KDC-X579 to the $700 KDC-X979. Most of these units feature built-in 50-watt-by-four-channel amps and 3D MASK Pro faceplates for security. All models are Sirius satellite radio- and HD radio-ready. The KDC-X979 also features a DSP chip for digital SRS WOW audio processing and Dolby Pro Logic II. Shown is the KDC-X679, which features a motorized slide-down face instead of the MASK face.

Kicker

Kicker's new line of KX amplifiers shows the company means business. With eight two-channel amplifiers to choose from, ranging from 50 watts to 425 watts per channel (that's 100-800 watts in mono), there's an amp for the system you are designing. Priced from $159.95 to $779.95, these new amps feature top-mounted controls for boost, gain, and crossover frequency adjustments, and many have variable crossovers and KickBass boost. Shown here is the 1,200-watt KX1200.1 ($999.95) from Kicker's Class-D sub amp models. Kicker also offers four-channel amps ranging from $249.00 to $779.95, as well as three-channel and five-channel amp models.

Kicker's line of Solo-Baric subwoofers is legendary in car-audio-competition circles. The third generation of its famous L7 square subwoofer brings the latest in speaker technology to the end user. Features include a one-piece aluminum vapor-deposit cone, combined with a new cast-aluminum speaker basket for the ultimate in rigidity. Dual voice coils with high-temp, copper-clad ribbon wire allow for extremely high-power handling. Kicker says these are the loudest and lowest L7s ever. The SoloX subwoofers take the L7 design to the next level for pure competition output. The S12X and S10X (shown here) are rated at an absolutely astounding 2,500 watts RMS and 5,000 watts peak! This is made possible by oversized 3-inch voice coils, a Perimeter Venting system, and stitched surround to prevent separation at high excursions. The subwoofers are further cooled by Kicker's Aluminum Rapid Cooling Thermal Induction Centering and X-Vent technology.

While it may seem so, car audio isn't just about subwoofers and ultra-low-bass reproduction. That's why Kicker introduced the SS-Series of component speakers for the rest of us. The midrange drivers feature Tri-Tech speaker cones (a sandwich of carbon-poly weave, Rohacell foam, and a carbon-poly backing), making them super light with superior response and sound quality, and being shallow enough to install in most any car door. The included dome tweeters measure 30 mm and are made from DuPont Tetoron-a cutting-edge, super-light synthetic material. The system includes high-pass crossovers and is available in two sizes, 6.5 inches (shown) and 6 inches. The SS-Series includes separate 30mm tweeters and 6-inch and 8-inch midrange drivers as well.

Lightning Audio

For those familiar with the Lightning Audio line, the Strike component speaker systems fall somewhere between the company's entry-level Bolt speakers and its top-of-the-line Storm speakers. The Strike speakers feature the best technology gleaned from the Storm line, while acting as a natural progression up from the Bolt line of speakers. Got that? But you want to know details, right? Well, the Strike has quite a few nice details to talk about, including a front-mount Neo Motor midrange with a 1-inch voice coil, an aluminum former, and a flat spider in a stamped basket. The tweeter is a 1-inch dome tweeter with satin-blue anodizing, while the crossover features a 12dB octave with tweeter gain/attenuation. The Strike component systems are available as a 5.25-inch model for $199.95 or as a 6.5-inch model (shown here) for $249.95.

MB Quart

If there's one name synonymous with ultra-high-end car speakers, it's MB Quart. Winner of hundreds of sound competition and industry awards, MB Quart spent the last 18 months designing its new Q Line of amplifiers for the discerning audio listener. The three amps in the series consist of the QAA1000, a 1,000-watt mono-block amp ($1,199.99); the QAA2500, a 500-watt-by-two-channel dual mono full-range amp ($1,199.99); and the QAA4250, a 250-watt-by-four-channel full-range amp ($1,399.99). All three amps feature regulated power supplies with selectable rail voltage, separate power supply and output circuit boards, dual fans, a front-end bypass for outboard processor use, and MB Quart's READ board. The READ device allows adjustment of key features such as crossover frequency, gain position, bypass options, system temperatures, and more via an LCD display.

MB Quart amplifiers are for the discriminating buyer with deep pockets, but the sound reproduction is unmatched.

MTX

MTX has added three new lines of subwoofers and advancements to its current offerings. The first in the new line of subs is the High-Performance line, featuring 10-inch and 12-inch woofer sizes with 300-watt power capabilities. The second line of subs is a variation of the company's Superwoofer. Here you'll find an upper level product with cast-aluminum frames, rubber surrounds, spider plateau venting, and more, for $219.95 to $269.95. Superwoofers are also found in 10-inch and 12-inch sizes. Original Superwoofers can be found in 10-, 12-, and 15-inch sizes and are capable of handling up to 600 watts. Prices are from $199.95 to $549.95. MTX's new Thunder Series subs are the best the company has to offer for its High-Performance line, and they are available in 8-,10-, 12-, and 15-inch sizes, ranging in price from $109.95 to $199.95.

To power all those subs, you need an amp that can put out the power under load and not fold like a house of cards. MTX's line of two-channel, four-channel, and Class D sub amps will get your system thumping in no time. Take your pick from seven different amps (two two-channel, two four-channel, and three Class D mono). Prices range from $199.95 to $499.95. The amps feature Intelligent Surface Mount technology and a high-density chassis that moves heat away from the power devices.

Phoenix Gold

For all you Phoenix Gold fans out there, the audio gurus at PG haven't been resting. Take a look at their latest component speakers, the Phoenix Gold Xenons. These new speakers can pull double duty as either component speakers or as coaxial speaker assemblies by a simple tweeter placement, either separate (including flush-mount and surface-mount options) or within the midrange driver housing. These speakers come with various mounting plates to fit traditional 5x7-, 6x8-, and 6x9-inch openings. The speakers are made from a cast-aluminum basket and feature forced air cooling and oversized voice coils. The 25mm, soft-silk dome tweeter is connected to a 24dB-per-octave passive crossover. Available in two models, the X5.0 (5 inches) and X6.5 (6.5 inches) each cost $399.99.

If you have component speakers, you need subwoofers to go with them, right? No worries there-PG has you covered with its line of Xenon subwoofers. These subs feature injection-molded poly-propylene cones; a four-layer, 2.5-inch voice coil; an injection-molded rubber mounting gasket; a heavy-duty aluminum speaker basket; a computer-optimized Conex spider with Symmetrical Motor Drive; and more. The line consists of two part numbers: X10D2 ($274.99) and X12D2 ($299.99), capable of handling 800 and 900 peak watts, respectively.

Further additions to PG's new Xenon line include a full spectrum of multi-channel and mono-block Class D amps. These amps feature PG's exclusive Xe.Load speaker-sensing circuitry for foolproof speaker wiring. This means a 600-watt amp will put out 600 watts, whether it's attached to a 4-ohm, a 2-ohm, or a 1-ohm load. The Xenon amp line includes forced air cooling, richly tooled aluminum housings, and hidden wiring connections. The Xenon Class D sub amps are available in three power ratings: 400 watts (X400.1; $399.99), 600 watts (X600.1; $599.99), and 1,200 watts (X1200.1; $899.99). Xenon's multi-channel lineup includes four models: two four-channel and two two-channel, with power output ranges from 100 to 400 watts (bridged) and prices from $399.99 to $749.99.

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Pioneer

To get killer sound, tons of options, and dynamic vehicle information all in one sweet-looking unit for your Mustang's dash, performance-minded enthusiasts need look no further than Pioneer. The company's AVIC-N1 is an industry first, utilizing a 6.5-inch touch-screen monitor the user can tune into AM, FM, or XM satellite radio signals, pull up a DVD movie to watch, use the navigation system, or review vehicle performance via onscreen gauge readings.

Even more outrageous is the AVIC-N1 responds to voice commands for all these functions as well. In the navigation mode, voice prompts tell you where to turn, and because Pioneer's navigation system uses two separate processors, the AVIC-N1 is faster and more accurate than other systems. Since the route is stored in memory, you can still play an audio CD or DVD movie for rear passengers while the navigation system is operating. Twelve million points of interest are listed, so whether Editor Turner is looking for a Hard Rock Cafe, Associate Editor Johnson is looking for a Supercuts, or Publisher Shiver is looking for the closest Buick dealer, they can find them quickly.

The Vehicle Dynamics Monitor allows the user to view acceleration forces, lateral G-forces, angular velocity, and more in real-time analog or digital gauges, with a "peak and hold" feature. Of course, under all this technology beats the heart of a true Pioneer head unit with a MOSFET 50-watt-by-four-channel amp, three pre-amp outputs, three-band equalization, Pioneer's famous Super Tuner circuitry, and the ability to add CD or DVD changers, rear camera input, or a TV tuner. Retail pricing will be set at $2,200.

Polk Audio

Polk Audio's new MMC5250 and MMC6500 component speaker systems ($349.95 a pair) feature a carbon-fiber woven speaker cone attached to a cast-aluminum driver basket, for tight bass and quality sound reproduction. The components also feature 25mm liquid-cooled silk/polymer-composite dome tweeters that are positional for optimum imaging quality. To top it all off, Polk Audio dresses up its MMC series with MOMO-designed "wheel" grilles and an unheard-of three-year warranty.

Following right alongside are the Polk/MOMO Dual Voice Coil (DVC) subwoofers in 8-, 10-, 12-, and 15-inch sizes, available as part number MM2XX4-DVC (replace the XX with speaker size), with prices from $109.95 to $219.95. These new subwoofers feature such details as dual voice coils for system design flexi-bility, air-tight rubber surround for long life and extended linear motion, and a triple venting system (vented coil, vented spider, and vented pole piece). They're assembled with laser measurement technology to perfectly align the center of the subwoofer's voice coil within the magnetic field for lower distortion and improved bass reproduction. The Polk/MOMO DVC subwoofers feature a three-year warranty as well.

Rockford Fosgate

Rockford Fosgate made a name for itself many years ago with the now famous Punch subwoofer. RF has completely redesigned the Punch for 2004, claiming it is the best Punch sub in the company's history. Available in three lines-the P1, the P2, and the P3-the subs can handle extreme power levels due to innovative Parabolic Triangular cone geometry, oversized surrounds, dual voice coils, and large custom cast speaker baskets (on P3 models). The P1 line of subs with single voice coils and polypropylene cones is available in eight models in 8-, 10-, 12-, and 15-inch sizes, with prices from $59.99 to $119.99. The P2 models-also in eight models with the same sizes-feature increased power handling, linear spiders, and more features, and are priced from $89.99 to $179.99. The P3 models are available in 10-, 12-, and 15-inch sizes with prices from $199.99 to $299.99. They feature top-quality internals such as a cast-aluminum basket with spider venting and high-power handling capacity up to 1,000 watts peak.

Scosche Industries

Celebrating 24 years in the car-audio business, Scosche has been busy with new product announcements. Known for its huge line of car-audio installation products (such as the '01-'04 installation kit shown here) and wiring adapters, Scosche has branched out through the years to include speakers, amplifiers, cabling, and more. The company's new EFX amplifiers offer such innovative features as adjustable bass boost, adjustable electronic crossovers, soft start on/off control, adjustable gain control, and more. Available in sub amp, four-channel, and two-channel configurations, with power outputs of 500-1,200 watts peak, the EFX line has something for every listening type.

The Scosche subwoofer line features dual 4-ohm voice coils, a metalized polypropylene speaker cone, and 750 or 900 watts of peak power capacity (10- and 12-inch sizes, respectively). Also available are EFX coaxial speakers in the most popular sizes, including 6x9-inch, 5x7/6x8-inch, 6.5-inch round, 5.25-inch round, and 8-inch round.

Scosche's newest audio product, the Spinner Grille, doesn't amplify or reproduce your favorite audio, but it will turn heads. Available as SSG10 and SSG12 for 10- and 12-inch subs, respectively, the Spinner Grille is made of chrome-plated ABS plastic and mounts directly on your speaker enclosure like a regular speaker grille, only this one is wired to the sub's source. When the sub gets power and the speaker cone moves, the spinning grille begins to spin like those famous spinning wheels on high-end SUVs. Priced at only $29.95, the Spinner Grille is sure to be included in Associate Editor Johnson's next project car.

Sony

Sony's Xplod line of audio gear has been vastly updated and improved for 2004. With 17 new models of head units, there's definitely something for everyone. Xplod CD receivers feature high-power internal amps; MP3 playback; CD text; flip-down, motorized, or removable faceplates; pre-amp connections; and more, including the CDX-F5505X shown here for $189. Several models also feature high-pass and low-pass filters, aluminum faceplates, full motion displays (such as the CDX-F7000 also shown here for $249), and are XM Radio ready.

Sony's Xplod line includes amplifiers, direct-fit coaxial speakers, and subwoofers. New this year is the XM-2200GTX two-channel amp that puts out 1,200 watts of peak power ($199). Sony has also released its XM-2100GTX two-channel amp ($149) and XM-4060GTX four-channel amp ($199), both with 600 watts of peak power. The P5 design (five-sided shape) amps are all Class D mono sub amps-the 800-watt XM-DS1300P5 ($249), the 1,100-watt XM-D500X ($199), and the 1,600-watt XM-DS1600P5 ($349). All Sony amps are equipped with MOSFET power supplies and variable high-pass/ low-pass filters. The Xplod line of subs feature 8-, 10-, 12-, and 15-inch sizes in the P5 design, with power handling of up to 1,400 watts. There are two models in standard 10- and 12-inch round designs as well. Prices for Sony Xplod subs range from $79 to $349.

StreetWires

So you have a killer head unit, a zillion-watt amp, and enough speakers to frighten away small animals and children in your neighborhood. Now you're all set to install your gear, right? Almost! To get everything hooked up and sounding its best, you need quality cabling, interconnects, terminals, and more. The heart of any car-audio wiring system is the power distribution block. The StreetWires DBR44 and DBR30 distribution blocks ($39.99 each) are crafted from solid brass and then plated with Diamond Plate Nickel for maximum power delivery. Fuse access is through the quick-lift-off transparent cover, and ring terminals allow connection of components with any size gauge wire.

When it comes to wiring amplifiers, StreetWires knows its stuff too. Take the new PS00R amp wiring kit shown here, for example. This bad-boy amp-wiring kit is full of the good stuff-18 feet of 1/0 AWG power cable, 5 feet of 1.0 AWG ground cable, a 200-amp fuse with holder, 18 AWG remote turn-on wire, ring terminals, cable ties, and more are included. The kit will handle up to a 3,000-watt amp.

StreetWires has amp wiring kits for just about any amp you want to install in your Mustang. While not always required in a system install, interconnect adapters can be lifesavers. Don't be fooled by low prices, though. You want the StreetWires Zero Noise Interconnect Adapters. These adapters allow you to extend current RCA cable lengths, change the gender of a cable, or send the same signal to more than one device. Shown here is the ZNARL long-right-angle adapter for $19.99.

Terk

Known in home-audio and TV circles, TERK specializes in antenna signal quality, packaging, and design for audio enthu-siasts. Now TERK has turned its attention to satellite radio and has released not only an antenna for satellite radio service, but also a complete XM Radio receiver as well. TERK's new XMicro antenna is the most compact XM Radio antenna available. Measuring just 1 inch in length, the XMicro is compact enough to sit anywhere on your Mustang's roofline, hatch, or trunk. It includes 23 feet of thin antenna cable to route through the cabin and easily connect to your XM tuner. Best of all, the XMicro is just $29.99.

TERK's first product outside of antennas and signal accessories-the XM Commander Universal Satellite Radio receiver-works with your existing radio to receive XM Radio satellite broadcasts. For $159.99, the XM Commander includes the controller, an XMicro antenna, and all wiring to connect to your car. TERK will soon be releasing the XM Direct Universal Tuner Box Modules that will allow Kenwood and Pioneer XM Radio-ready head units to receive XM Radio using the Tuner Box Module and a TERK Smart Digital Adapter cable. The Tuner Box Modules and Smart Digital Adapter cables should be available shortly after you read this.

Tools Of The Trade

It's hard to believe it's been 30 years since Bill Crutchfield started his company and published his first mail-order catalog of car-audio equipment. Bill's company philosophy and his treatment of customers has helped Crutchfield Corporation endure three decades of car audio (and now video) imagination. Today you can find everything from $119 basic CD head units to $3,000 A/V systems for most any car on the road. The company's huge database of technical facts makes installation a breeze, with assistance only a phone call away. How do you get all this help? You have to buy your audio gear from Crutchfield, of course. But with competitive pricing, free installation instructions and wiring kits, and lifetime product support, it's really a no-brainer.

One often-overlooked aspect for the first-time installer is having proper tools. There's no need to buy a 300-piece tool set when some wire crimpers and a multibit hand driver are basically all you need to install a component. But if you need more, such as door-panel removal tools, a wire stripper, and so on, Crutchfield can set you up with these tools as well. Everything you need is right in the catalog.

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