Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
August 30, 2011
Photos By: Courtesy of Manufacturers

Horse Sense: If you’re the type that doesn’t hold onto a car for long, you might want to keep your stock audio components boxed up in the attic. This way when it comes time to sell your ride you can put the stock components back in and transfer your high-end gear to your new ride. Of course, the easy way to do this is with installation kits and wire harness adapters to prevent any cutting of the factory wiring or dash.

Going fast, braking quick, handling well, and styling the whole time you're doing it is part and parcel of what owning a Mustang is all about. While every Mustang isn't a daily driver, for those that are, a decent audio system is a must to make the trek to Cubicle City one that doesn't have you on a Thorazine drip by the time you get to the office. In all reality, in the age of navigating six-lane highways and hour-long commutes, it's imperative to receive up to the minute traffic information (do you really want to wait on the DJ's lame "traffic report" every half hour?) or be able to reroute your drive to avoid construction, closed roads, or accidents. With today's technology it's quite easy to do these things, and more, with in-dash or remote-mounted hardware in just about any price range.

The 5.0&SF editorial cave has recently relocated from a small town to "the big city" (Tampa, Florida) and having to deal with a 70-mile daily highway commute, instead of 22 miles on surface roads, really nails the point home that having the right information at the right time really helps with the chaotic drive to the new digs. Editor Turner rolls with XM satellite radio and its Instant Traffic & Weather (available in 21 markets, including the Tampa area) so whether he's driving his '98 SVT Cobra or his '04 SVT Focus, he can get updated information instantly on road conditions. Meanwhile, I've got a nine-year-old Kenwood cassette deck with CD-changer in my '90. It sounds great with the Kenwood amp, Polk Audio speakers, and Kicker Solo-Baric sub, but all it can do is play music while I'm stuck in traffic, which is better than Johnson's ride, which had no tunes in it at all until just a few months ago when he decided to tie-wrap a CD-changer into the trunk!

Going one step further was our recent experience in Ford's '05 Escape Hybrid which was on loan for our evaluation. Equipped with the optional Hybrid Energy Audiophile Navigation System, the built in GPS and navigation software allowed us to recalculate our travel route from work to home one night on the fly after being detoured off of the highway due to an accident. The navigation software quickly recalculated the route and, while we were on unfamiliar roads, the system safely got us to our front door using surface roads. Without the system we would have been sitting on the highway waiting for a lane to clear.

The only thing sweeter are the new real-time traffic/navigation systems just coming onto the market now. So, while having an audio system that can play your favorite Metallica CD is important, modern upgrades like navigation, satellite radio, and even mobile video are becoming increasingly popular. We've gathered the latest gear from the top names in car audio and video entertainment for you to get glass-eyed over, so check 'em all out and then do yourself a favor and put some rock in your ride.

Audiobahn

Audiobahn [(800) 488-8595; www.audio-bahn.com] has one of the most versatile new head units on the market right now. Introduced at the '05 CES show, the A1250N head unit ($269.99) not only features all the normal bells and whistles like multiple-format CD playback (CD-R, CD-RW, WMA, and MP3), 18 FM and 6 AM presets, XM satellite ready, 20-watts-per channel internal amplification, wireless remote control, and station name display, but this new model also allows direct connection of an Apple iPod through the unit's rear chassis connector. Utilizing the iPod's 30-pin docking connector, the A1250N allows full access to your content on the iPod. The A1250N even display's iPod screen information, allowing the user to completely hide the iPod in a console or glove box. This same rear chassis connector can also be used for portable XM tuners and can even encode and decode USB, allowing the connection of other storage and playback of MP3 devices as well. Audiobahn also has the muscle to shake your windows too if that's your idea of fun. From 4,000-watt amps (yes, that's three zeros) to hard-hitting subs, Audiobahn has what you need. Its latest subwoofer, the ALUM10N is just such an example with dual 6-ohm voice coils (designed to be used in sets of three and wired to 1-ohm or 4-ohm loads) and a six-leg, high-pressure-cast-aluminum basket, this sub can handle an earth shaking 800 watts of bass. The sub is topped off with an exclusive crown, which hovers over the woofer cone to protect it during cone excursion.

Auto Meter

Entering into a new arena for Auto Meter [(815) 895-8147; www.autometer.com], the gauge gurus have come up with a great way to monitor all that high-end gear crammed into the trunk of your Mustang. Auto Meter now has audio gauges in its Cobalt line to protect your investment. Available in the Cobalt Audio Gauge line are these 211/416-inch digital gauges that will help you easily keep tabs on amplifier temperature, amplifier current, and audio system voltage. The Cobalt line features a black face with vivid blue LED numbering surrounded by a bright-anodized bezel. They can be mounted with your audio gear for competition use or mounted within the driver's eyesight for daily use.

Boston Acoustics

If you're looking for a direct-replacement speaker for your Mustang's audio system you might want to check out the new S Series line of component and coaxial offerings from Boston Acoustics [(978) 538-5000; www.bostonacoustics.com]. The S Series (ranging from $75-$220) features a compact design for easy installation while utilizing top materials like copolymer woofer cones, rubber butyl surrounds, and 31/44-inch Ferrofluid-cooled dome tweeters for excellent power handling and reliability. The S Series applications include 311/42-inch coaxial (perfect for Fox dash locations), 611/42-inch coaxial (and component), and 5x7-inch coaxials that are direct drop-in fitments for the Mustang. The S Series also features several popular universal sizes if you want to do something custom with your audio system.

Boston Acoustics has also released the G5 high-performance subwoofer with its companion GTR TunableRadiator. The unique design of the G5 subwoofer allows for installation in small enclosures-just one cubic foot for the 12-inch model and a half a cubic foot for the 10-inch model subwoofer, while the GTR TunableRadiator provides additional bass without extra amplifiers or enclosures. Boston Acoustics' patented RadiaVent cooling technology uses the woofer's own piston action and integrated cooling vents to re-circulate fresh air around the voice coil. What's more, the G5 subwoofer is the first automotive subwoofer to offer in-field stripping to replace a damaged voice coil and woofer cone. Available in 10- and 12-inch applications in dual 4-ohm models with pricing ranging from $349-$399 while the GTR TunableRadiator is also available in 10- and 12-inch sizes, priced between $99-$119 respectively.

Clarion

When it comes time to upgrade your factory in-dash stereo to something with a few more features why not look into Clarion's line of head units that feature CD/CD-R/RW/MP3/WMA playback, internal MOSFET amplifiers, high-quality displays with screen savers, remote controls, and more? Its top of the line model, the DXZ955MC shown here ($899), has all these features and more you'd find in a Clarion [(800) GO-CLARION; www.clarion.com]. Clarion has added its two top technologies to this new unit, Music Catcher and Optimedia. The Music Catcher feature allows the user to press an onscreen "record" button to save up to six CDs worth of music to the head unit's internal storage allowing skip-free playback at the touch of a button. The Optimedia technology includes a high contrast touch screen positive display that produces multiple background colors, screensavers, and wallpapers in a 4.2-inch full color TFT display. The DXZ955MC also features six channel line level outputs (three pairs of 4-volt pre-outs) and is CeNET ready, allowing users to connect third generation and newer iPods directly.

If you're thinking about adding a navigation unit or maybe a mobile video system to your ride, why not do both with Clarion's new N.I.C.E. transportable navigation system ($1,399). Clarion's new 7-inch touch screen system gives users point to point visual directions while also getting turn by turn voice guidance to their destination. Automatic route recalculation helps with routing to your destination should you need to take a different route than the one recommended by the unit. Easily moved from vehicle to vehicle, the N.I.C.E. is simply mounted with a suction cup glass mount. The unit can also be used for MP3 storage and playback, video playback (via A/V input or downloaded through its USB port), and is Sirius satellite radio ready. The built-in FM transmitter will allow stored content to be played back over the existing audio system.

Speaking of Sirius satellite radio, Clarion also has its new Calypso plug and play Sirius player out for those looking for portable satellite radio in the car, at home, or on the go. The Calypso has a compact design and features a blue positive LCD display with multiple preset station buttons for one-touch music listening. The Calypso is just $199 with the car kit and home kit priced at $99 each and the boom box kit priced at $229.

Delphi

One of the top-selling satellite radio receivers on the market today, the Delphi SkyFi [(877) GO-DELPHI; www.delphi.com], has been updated with the first ever replay/pause feature for portable satellite radio. Called the SkyFi2, it automatically saves the last 30 minutes of programming, even from multiple XM channels for playback within 30 minutes by the owner. The new SkyFi2 also features wireless FM modulation and can display personalized stock ticker and sports scores as well. Delphi didn't rest on just upgrading the SkyFi, no sir-it went one step further with the all-new MyFi (shown here). The MyFi is the first personal XM satellite radio that can be used right out of the box as a personal audio player. The MyFi comes with a rechargeable battery, antenna, remote control, headphones, and home and car kit adapters, allowing you to listen to your XM subscription just about anywhere. The MyFi even has the capability of recording up to five hours of XM broadcasting at the press of a button for playback any time. Car installation kits are available for both the SkyFi2 and the MyFi.

JL Audio

Sometimes people like to retain the stock head unit. Often it's for simplicity sake, or maybe because they don't want some flashy stereo sticking out of the dash. They do however want quality sound reproduction and/or the ability to add components to their factory system (satellite radio, MP3 player, and so on). For those people, JL Audio [(954) 443-1100; www.jlaudio.com] has introduced the CleanSweep, a revolutionary device that can be connected to any OEM head unit audio output signal, level-match and correct the frequency response, and output high-quality signals for aftermarket equipment (speakers, amps). The CleanSweep ($399) is about the size of a paperback book and can be installed almost any-where. A rotary volume knob is mounted within the driver's reach to control the system and to control the auxiliary source. Now, no matter the system, be it Mach, Shaker, or something else, you can easily add speakers and amplifiers, bypassing the factory built in EQ settings of the head unit and factory amps.

Of course, once you're ready to add that thumping subwoofer to your Mustang, JL Audio will have you covered here as well. Just check out its new line of W1v2 subwoofers designed for compact sealed enclosures. The W1v2 subs offer enhanced power handling with JL Audio's patented cooling technology, one piece butyl surrounds, six-layer copper voice coils, injection molded and mica-filled polypropylene speaker cones and feature more woofer excursion with less mounting depth requirement than previous W0 JL subs. All of this is assembled into a proprietary stamped-steel and powdercoated basket and topped off with a metallic finish dust cap with the JL Audio logo. JL Audio's W1v2 subs are available now in 10-, 12-, and 13.5-inch applications starting at $119.

JVC

If you're looking for a full-color TFT display for your Mustang's dash but don't want to bring yourself any extra unwanted attention with a huge 7-inch display, then you should check into the killer looks of the KD-AVX1 from JVC [(800) 526-5308; www.jvc.com]. The KD-AVX1 ($649) has all the top features you'd expect like CD/DVD playback, fast folder navigation of MP3 and WMA files, gold-plated subwoofer, line-out, and video terminals, optical digital output, and a digital seven-band equalizer, but the 3-inch monitor built right into the front face of the head unit displays video, television, JPEG pictures, or can even monitor a rearview camera. What's more, all of the KD-AVX1's functions are easy to control via the onscreen menus and the two cross-key buttons right on the face of the unit. You can now directly connect your iPod to this and other '05 model JVC head units with JVC's new KS-PD100 adapter that connects via a J-Link cable and the head unit's CD-changer control connector as well.

JVC, of course, has amps and speakers galore to get the rest of your Mustang's audio system in shape. For '05, JVC has released four new amps, featuring Class AB circuitry, MOSFET power supply converters, variable input level control, variable crossover networks (two models only), high- and low-pass filters, gold plated terminals, and much more. With power output ranging from 280-1,000 watts, there's a JVC amp for your system. The KS-AX5500 shown here ($299) is rated at a maximum of 800 watts and is bridgeable as a two, three, or four channel amp. JVC also has four new subwoofers on the shelf for you to complete your sound system. Two high-end models, available in 10- and 12-inch sizes, feature aluminum diaphragms, die-cast aluminum frames, dual-input voice coils, butyl rubber surrounds, and nickel-plated screw terminals. The 12-inch model (CS-DX30, $189) can handle 1,400 watts and the 10-inch model (CS-DX25, $169) will take 1,200 watts of punishment. JVC's second pair of subs, also available in 10- and 12-inch sizes, feature carbon-fiber composite cones, foam surrounds, and gold plated terminals. These subs will take 600 watts (12-inch) and 500 watts (10-inch) of bass hitting power. The CS-GD4300 ($129) 12-inch sub is shown here while the 10-inch sub, CS-GD4250, will retail for just $89.

Kicker

Kicker is known for its award-winning line of subs but did you know that Kicker [(800) 256-0808; www.kicker.com] also sells direct replacement and component speakers for your car as well? Kicker's new line of direct-replacement speakers, the DS-Series, features a new basket design with a polypropylene cone, UV-treated ribbed surround, and an upgraded voice coil. Even the half-inch tweeter has a super strong magnet and DuPont Mylar dome. Available in all popular Mustang sizes, the DS-Series range in price from $49.95 for the 3.5-inch DS35 to $89.95 for the 6x8-inch model DS68 shown here.

If you want to kick your audio up a notch with the Kicker brand, then check out Kicker's RS-Series component speaker systems like the RS65.2 ($499). These bad boys have a 6.5-inch woofer with high-power handling and a bullet-shaped tweeter made from DuPont Tetron. The tweeter can be mounted in the center of the woofer to make a coaxial fitment if desired. The two-way crossover supplied with the component speakers also allows for three levels of tweeter attenuation. Of course, we couldn't check Kicker's latest and greatest without mentioning its subs. Kicker's Comp line of subs still have the features they've been known for like double stitched surrounds, coil-cooling perimeter venting, and broad application use in free air applications as well as vented and sealed boxes. The Comp subs have been updated with new top plates, larger voice coils, and the cone has back bracing now. The Comp sub is available in 8-, 10-, 12-, and 15-inch sizes ranging in price from $99-$199.

Kenwood

When it comes to doing it all and doing it well Kenwood [(310) 639-9000; www.kenwoodusa.com] has been winning over people with its KVT series of in-dash DVD players. Its latest model, the KVT-915DVD ($2,800) features an integrated DVD receiver/monitor that plays DVD-Audio, DVD-Video, CD Video, and CD, MP3, and WMA discs too with crystal clear sound that only 24-bit digital to analog converters can provide. Its 7-inch motorized color LCD touch screen monitor is fully automatic and features adjustable angle control to clear any dash obstructions. 5.1 channel Dolby Digital and DTS playback means having the movie theater right in your car's dash. The built-in amp is stout with 50 watts per channel with a separate 47-watt center channel and even features Dual Zone audio, which allows the receiver to play to separate programs simultaneously for the front and rear seat occupants.

Kenwood has also jumped on the portable satellite radio bandwagon with its new Here2Everywhere Sirius tuner. Available as a three-in-one system for car and home (H2EV, $199) or a two in one system with a car docking kit (H2EC, $149), the portable Here2Everywhere tuner features a large six-line LCD display, more station presets, and easy to use controls. Other smart, new features include a built-in FM-transmitter, and Song Seek, which lets you know when your favorite jam is playing on another channel. Simply attach the mounting bracket to the windshield, set up your antenna and power cords, and you're ready to get your music from the heavens.

Lightning Audio

It's not uncommon to walk past an open trunk at a car show and see nothing but subwoofers. Those huge 15-inch speakers often weigh 50 pounds or more so imagine all that extra weight you're carrying around. That's exactly what the speaker designers were thinking at Lightning Audio [(480) 967-3565; www.lightningaudio.com] when they designed the new LA Storm Modular subwoofer. Weighing half of a typical ceramic stacked magnet structure by using 38SH Neodymium combined with a CNC machined top plate that's only 1.3-inches tall, the new subwoofer is 30 percent stronger with a powerful and focused magnetic field. The LA Storm Modular sub also features such top of the line build quality as cast aluminum frames, dual-4-ohm, four-layer, copper-clad aluminum voice coils, composite and aluminum cones (depending upon model), and more. The new LA Storm Modular subs are available in 10-, 12-, and 15-inch sizes with standard ceramic magnet structures or the lightweight Neodymium magnet structure and range in price from $625-$925.

Magellan

Let's face it, everybody gets lost at one time or another. While we can all agree that there are various "degrees" of lost, it's the times where you end up in another city or drive by the "Next Exit: 63 miles" sign that are the more memorable ones. If you've ever rented a Hertz vehicle and popped the extra coin for the Hertz Neverlost system, you know how easy it is to get used to having a navigation system in your car for even the simplest trips in unknown territory. Well, now you can have that same technology in your car (hell, any car, these systems are completely portable) with Thales Navigation's Magellan RoadMate family of products [www.magellangps.com, (800) 123-4567]. Up first is the Magellan RoadMate 300. The RoadMate 300 ($699) uses a 3.5-inch TFT color touch screen display to show route information. Easy to use, the RoadMate 300 offers automatic routing with turn-by-turn directions and voice guidance, plus the ability to store up to 600 addresses. The unit is packed with just under 2 million points of interest (you can search for burger joints, hospitals, and so on) and has up to 110 megs of storage for maps. The RoadMate 700 shown here ($1,199) takes navigation to the next level with even more power, a larger screen, infrared data exchange (beam an address from your PDA), internal disc drive with preloaded maps, 3D TrueView directions, and much more.

MTX Audio

Everybody wants some "boom" to go with their "vroom" these days, and wouldn't it be cool to put some Ford Racing boom along with your Ford Racing vroom? Well, thanks to the hard-working crew at MTX Audio [(800) 225-5689; www.mtx.com] now you can. MTX has designed a series of its ThunderForm vehicle-specific subwoofer enclosures with the Seal of Love and Approval from the audio fans at Ford Racing. Each Ford Racing ThunderForm features a 200-watt Class D amplifier and a powerful MTX Thunder 4500 subwoofer. For Mustang, applications include '94-'04 coupes (10-inch sub) and '05 Mustang coupes (12-inch sub) as well as F-Series model trucks. "Smart Engage" circuitry means you don't even have to remove your factory head unit to wire the Ford Racing ThunderForm into your Mustang. Check with your favorite Ford Racing dealer for ordering.

Of course, if you don't have a '94 and up Mustang, MTX can still hook you up with its new line of direct replacement coaxial speakers called Thunder Dome-Axial. Designed with a shallow mounting depth for easy installation, they provide crisp, clear audio reproduction with swiveling soft-dome tweeters and aluminum deposition cones. You'll find sizes from 311/42-inch up to 6x9-inch models, with the popular Ford 6x8-inch model (for '94 and up) in there as well. MTX also has a line of component speakers if you are looking for that step up in sound reproduction and tweeter placement for proper imaging and phasing. Itscomponent line, called Thunder Axe, has all the best features you'd expect like glass-fiber woofer cones with aluminum deposition and 25mm Tetron tweeters, two-way, bi-ampable crossovers with five level tweeter tuning and off-axis woofer compensation.

MTX can also amplify all those speakers for you as well if your head unit's built-in amp isn't enough for you. With 15 new models of Thunder amps recently released, there is sure to be a model that fills your needs and your budget. In the new Thunder amp line you'll find such features as different styles of equalization processors, six different crossover configurations, subsonic filters, and more. The amps use StreetWires connections to ensure efficient current and voltage transfer and Xtant Technologies' thermal management systems. Lastly, the amps are equipped with PrizmEfx for the ultimate sensory experience. The PrismEfx lighting allows unlimited color illumination of the front panel and can even be switched to pulsate with the music beat.

Navman

Transferable vehicle navigation systems are quickly becoming the rage and if you travel a lot, having one of these systems in your car, or ready to go with you in your rental car or company car is a real safety feature. Navman [www.navman.com, (866) 9 NAVMAN] has several choices for transferable vehicle navigation systems including its Pocket iCN 510 ($499) and the iCN 650 ($1,199) shown here. The Pocket iCN 510 features a 3.5-inch screen to display full 3D maps, turn-by-turn navigation with icons, multi-stop route planning, points of interest, and much more with male or female voice instructions. The iCN 510 even has internal battery power to get you to your exact destination on foot, useful for when you have to use a city parking garage and walk those last two blocks. The iCN 510 can be loaded with maps via the SD/MMC card slot, or a Navman Drive-Away preloaded map memory card can be used for plug-in-and-drive simplicity. The iCN 650 takes the next step by including an internal 2.0 GB hard disc drive to store the map data and SmartST software for instant out-of-the-box use and also features a larger 3.8-inch landscape mode LCD screen and even comes with a remote control. Once you've used one of these you'll wonder how you made it through your travels without one.

Panavise

It's 2005 and everyone has a cell phone, radar detector, satellite radio, or iPod in their car (some of us probably have all four) and we're betting that console is getting pretty crowded with all those devices just sliding around. So why not securely (but not permanently) mount your personal audio devices where they can be easily read or accessed? We stumbled upon the line of Panavise Window Mount systems at last year's SEMA show. Panavise [(800) 759-7535; www.panavise.com] is famous for those split-ball pivoting mini-vise tools used by hobbyists (not to mention its whole line of industrial-level tools) and have recently designed a series of brackets that use its patented adjustment systems that suction-cup-mount to your windshield. Available in several models to work with T-slot, AMPS, and stud mounting of electronics, plus another model that has adjustable grips to hold phones, iPods, and so on.

Pioneer

If there's a name synonymous with aftermarket car audio it's Pioneer. From the classic days of the SuperTuner to OE head units for Ford and others, Pioneer [(800) 421-1404; www.pioneerelectronics.com] has been installed in countless millions of cars. Today, Pioneer's new line of Pioneer and Pioneer Premiere CD head units lead the pack in features such as iTunes AAC and iPod compatibility, brushed aluminum trim, motorized faceplates, MP3 support, satellite radio support, 50-watt-by-four-channel MOSFET power, three-band parametric equalization and more. With 14 models available and starting at just $120, there's something for everyone. The DEH-P7700MP shown here ($300) has a stunning blue OEL display, three pre-outs, a remote control, seven-way rotary commander controls, EasyEQ, and two-way crossovers.

If you've got an iPod you want to hook up, then listen up. Pioneer makes it easy to hook your digital music collection to recent Pioneer head units with the new CD-IB100 adapter. If your Pioneer head unit (models sold in the past few years) has the IP-Bus system, the iPod adapter connects to this bus to allow direct access of the iPod from the face of the Pioneer head unit. What could be easier? The CD-IB100 adapter even charges the iPod when it is connected to it.

If in-dash video and navigation are more your desire, Pioneer can still take care of you like nobody's business. After the success of the release of last year's AVIC-N1 multi-function navigation system, Pioneer didn't rest. Instead, the company stepped it up, added new features, and re-released this bad boy as the AVIC-N2. Now with XM NavTraffic as part of the AVIC-N2, you'll have satellite-based traffic information at your fingertips. XM NavTraffic displays accidents and road flow conditions on a motorized 6.5-inch touch-screen monitor. The system graphically communicates road conditions and events relative to your position and even suggests alternate routes around the problem area. Of course, the AVIC-N2 is a full-featured navigation system with turn-by-turn directions and is crammed with over 11 million points of interest displayed on standard or 3D view maps. The Vehicle Dynamics Monitor returns from the previous version, showing the user g-Forces, angular velocity, incline, vehicle voltage, compass, and more. The AVIC-N2 of course is a fully featured audio and video entertainment system as well with the capability to play DVD video, CDs, MP3 CDs, XM satellite radio, and more with the killer sound of a 50-watt, four-channel MOSFET amp.

Pioneer, of course, has the speakers and amps to pump up the volume if the built-in amp of its head units aren't enough for you. From massive SPL subwoofers to two- and four-channel amps (and mono amps for those subs as well), Pioneer has a huge list of new products. Its popular REV line of direct-replacement speakers has been improved this year and now features 611/42-inch two-way speakers (great for the doors on Fox Mustangs) and 6x8-inch two-way models which are direct fit for the rear of most Fox Mustangs and for all '94 and later Mustangs. Prices range from $180 to $220.

Moreover, Pioneer has delved into the portable XM player market with its new AirWare XM2GO player. The AirWare XM2GO features a built-in XM antenna and receiver, RCA cables, car adapter, mounting brackets, and more to make it the complete portable XM listening solution for the home, car, or on the go. With 128MB of internal memory, listeners will even be able to store up to five hours of music for later playback during inaccessible signal times (great for the gym or the train ride home). The AirWare XM2GO will be available by the time you read this for $350.

Polk Audio

If you're looking for some serious bass output but don't want the expense of having a custom enclosure made to fit your ride, then a pre-loaded sub enclosure is what you should be looking at and the new dual 12-inch sub enclosure from Polk Audio is just the one for you. Loaded with two single voice coil 4-ohm 12-inch drivers, wired in parallel for a net 2-ohm load, which is optimum for today's Class D sub amps, these subs feature polypropylene cones with Santoprene surrounds to combat extremes in temperature and exposure to sunlight. The stylish box is built from internally braced 31/44-inch MDF carpeted in black automotive grade carpeting and has a stylish ABS trim and wheel style speaker grilles for protection and great looks. The db212-2 should be available by the time you read this and will be priced at $429.

Q Logic

Now here's a cool idea that will help you out no matter who makes your favorite subwoofer. The new Q-Logic [(800) 762-0351; www.qlogic.ws] Q-Enclosure line is a unique new way to mount your subs. The Q-Enclosure will accept 8-, 10-, or 12-inch subs but what's even more enticing is that the Q-Enclosure will work with traditional round or the newer square and triangular shaped subs on the market via the use of interchangeable baffles. No longer do you have to purchase a new enclosure when you upgrade from your two 8-inch round subs to a pair of 12-inch square subs, just swap out the baffles and drop your new speakers in and wire them up. It's that easy. The enclosure can even be converted from a sealed enclosure to a vented model in seconds with removable port plugs. The new Q-Enclosures will be available in several models but the enclosure shown here is the QLH-1.2512DS and accommodates two 10- or 12-inch subs for $199.

Rockford Fosgate

Serving a 25 to Life sentence is usually a bad thing, but not if you're Rockford Fosgate. The folks at Rockford Fosgate [(480) 967-3565; www.rockfordfosgate.com] have been amplifying music since before many of you were born and to celebrate 25 years of rocking out the company has taken its Punch line of amplifiers and have created a couple of limited edition models with limited release availability throughout the year.

In other RF news, the Power series of amps gets two new models with high- and low-pass filters, RCA inputs, cast aluminum heatsink, military spec PCB (printed circuit board), four-gauge power and ground connectors with built-in ATC fuses, thermal management controls, and, of course, the remote Punch EQ bass control. These two amps, the Power T3002 and T4004, can put out up to 300 watts depending upon channel output and ohm rating (300 is one channel at 2 ohms). The T3002 will sell for $449 and the T4004 will sell for $599.

Of course, RF isn't just amps and subs, no it's got the drop in two- and three-way full-range speakers you'll need to finish off your Rockford-based system too. The new Punch full-range speakers feature mica injected polypropylene cones, polyethermide dome tweeters, full mounting hardware and newly designed grilles. Applications range from the 311/42-inch dash speaker, 511/44- and 611/42-inch door speakers, to the 5x7- and 6x8-inch rear speakers for any Mustang. Of course, the 5x7 and 6x8 speakers also fit the door locations on the '94 and later Mustang. Prices range from $69-$149.

Scosche

People like things made easy and if there's one thing that is getting harder and harder to do it's upgrade a factory audio system. Every year, the OEMs make it harder and harder for Joe or Jane Average to simply add a bit more sound to their ride. Aftermarket mobile audio is still a huge desire for many people and the propeller heads at Scosche [(800) 363-4490; www.scosche.com] have been trying to make things as easy as possible for Joe and Jane as they can. For decades Scosche has been at the forefront of installation kits, wiring adapters, and more. Of course, it goes without saying Scosche already has an '05 Mustang installation kit ready. But now Scosche is working on its new line of Direct Connection harnesses. Just look up your vehicle and brand of aftermarket head unit and grab the harness that will connect them both together and leave the wire crimpers in the toolbox. If you need it for installing a stereo, Scosche has it-from the battery itself to all the wiring, connectors, fuses, and more. Scosche even markets a full line of direct-replacement speakers, subs, and amps through their EFX product line (EFX 611/42-inch coaxial shown here). The big news this year has to be Scosche's '05 Mustang sub enclosure kit however. This bad boy tucks into the right corner of the new Mustang's spacious trunk and houses an EFX 12-inch sub with an impressive 600-watt power handling capacity. Wire in an amp and for just a few hundred bucks your new Mustang can be thumping down the boulevard.

Sony

Sony is a big company with arms that reach into many different parts of our lives. Computers, television, gaming consoles, video, audio, and more-it's hard not to have at least one Sony product in your household. Sony [(888) 222-SONY; www.sony.com] has unleashed a barrage of new car audio this year, including new CD head units, amps, subwoofers, and full range speaker systems in price ranges for everyone to like. Sony's latest CD head units feature an auxiliary input that allows users to easily plug in a portable music device while several models offer "Synchro Flip" detachable faceplates that allow users to maintain control and have full visibility of the head unit while inserting or ejecting a CD. The CDX-F7715X CD receiver shown here offers increased sound performance with 24-bit Burr-Brown DAC and a zero-bit detection circuit for an improved signal-to-noise ratio, all for around $270.

Sony's Xplod series subwoofers feature its unique five-sided "P5" design as before for increased strength and rigidity. The aluminum cones offer heat dissipation and come with dual 4-ohm voice coils for installation flexibility and amplifier output. Sony's new Xplod amp line has been refined with a "stream" design and all amps carry a common size and appearance for clean system building. The new amps carry a price tag of around $250-$400, depending upon output. Sony's new SQ speaker line includes two- and three-way models as well as components (the XS-S680CX 6x8 two way is available for $130). Best of all, Sony has extended the warranty of its entire Xplod line of head unit and amp products to two years. Check 'em out now.

TomTom

Bringing a slightly different approach to the portable navigation device, TomTom [(978) 287-9555; www.tomtom.com] offers the TomTom GO as an all in one box solution to your navigation needs. Simply pull it out of the box, hook up the power cable, switch it on, and go. There's no buttons to push, simply select your route right there on the touch screen display. The TomTom GO even has a built-in battery to get you there for uninterrupted navigation and the combination of 32 megs of internal memory and an SD card slot will give you plenty of space for maps. The TomTom GO will even estimate arrival time and total distance too. Pretty cool.

Xtant

Xtant Technologies [www.xtant.com, (888) 449-8268] markets some of the most powerful and innovative amps on the planet and the company has really outdone itself with its all-new Xe Series line of amplifiers. The new Xe model's goal was to skip the "base model" amp idea and offer an amp with everything the user would need on the first purchase. The model X603e and X604e both put out 600 watts of power with the X603 being a three channel model and the X604e being a four-channel model. Both amps feature true, fully adjustable parametric equalization with individual frequency, Q/Bandwidth, and boost or cut of up to 18dB of gain controls. Remote gain controls, and resistor controls to activate the passive speaker terminals with either 12dB or 4dB of attenuation are part of both amps. The third amp in the new series, the X1001e delivers in excess of 1,000 watts of power to drive your subs with Class D power. Of course, with an amp like that Xtant has built some serious subs to handle its power in its new X2 subwoofers. The hex shaped cone provides 10 percent more cone area than traditional round subs and the cast aluminum basket transitions to a standard round shape for easy fit. With 600 watts RMS and 1200 watts of peak power handling these subs will hit hard and long. Your neighbors will be so happy.

The Crutchfield Catalog

Whether you prefer to shop at home with a catalog, at the kitchen table, or in front of your computer on the Internet, Crutchfield's great catalog and Web site can help you find what you're looking for. Many of the companies listed in our guide even use Crutchfield [(888) 955-6000; www.crutchfield.com] as their official online store, so check into their product lines, see what fits your ride with their database software, and then install those tunes yourself with the help of their installation sheets and wiring adapters. Do it, your ears will thank you.