Steve Baur
Former Editor, Modified Mustangs & Fords
January 29, 2007

Step By Step

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Mmfp_0504_01_z Sony_xplod_audio_upgrade_part_1 Sound_systemMmfp_0504_02_z Sony_xplod_audio_upgrade_part_1 Alternator_and_new_optima_battery
We went with Optima's Yellow Top battery as we run a multitude of power accessories including an electric fan, an extra fuel pump, and an ignition box (not to mention the hot stereo we're installing). The Yellow Top is a deep-cycle battery that can handle numerous discharges and charges, while offering extended life over a normal battery design. The Performance Distributors 190-amp alternator will make sure the Optima offers a full supply of current, even under the most demanding of circumstances. The Yellow Top retails around $170.
Mmfp_0504_03_z Sony_xplod_audio_upgrade_part_1 Connections
Connections are extremely important in a stereo system, and Crutchfield sent us a host of StreetWires products. Shown here are RCA cables for the low-output signal to the amplifiers, a 150-amp inline fuse link for the main power cable, a distribution block with terminal ends and fuses, and various other brass terminal ends.
Mmfp_0504_04_z Sony_xplod_audio_upgrade_part_1 Cables
All our wiring from Crutchfield is made by StreetWires. Included are four-gauge red (power) and black (ground) cable, and 14- and 16-gauge speaker wire. Crutchfield also included a wiring guide and one of its recent catalogs.
Mmfp_0504_05_z Sony_xplod_audio_upgrade_part_1 Interior
We begin the installation by removing the front and rear seats, along with the rocker panel covers. This allows us to conceal the wiring beneath the carpet and makes it easier to install the new components as well.

Music and Mustangs go hand in hand. Whether cruising to Jerry Lee Lewis in a classic convertible or jammin' to Metallica in the pits at the local strip, most Mustang enthusiasts have an affinity for good music.

The factory sound systems in our beloved ponycar have become better during the last decade or so, but there's always room for improvement. With help from Sony, Crutchfield, Optima, and Performance Distributors, we'll show you how easy it is to pump up the power of your car audio components at home.

We've broken down the installation into two parts so we can go into greater detail about installing and tuning your stereo. That's right-tuning. And you thought you only needed to adjust your air/fuel ratio.

The main reason we decided to do this story was because our project car's supercharged and stroked small-block makes quite a bit of music in its own right. And while we enjoy the wonderful notes played through its Bassani exhaust, we love our rock 'n' roll, too. Our '90 GT had been upgraded some years ago with an aftermarket CD player, but it doesn't always like to play our home-burned discs, and it definitely doesn't have the power to get the music up to an enjoyable level. Therefore, we sought more power while improving sound quality.

We looked to Sony mobile audio products and its Xplod line of stereo components. The Xplod line consists of high-quality pieces at affordable prices, and they're available at most retail stereo stores and department stores such as Best Buy, Circuit City, and so on.

Directing the audio signals is a Sony AM/FM CD receiver. The CDX-M8800 head unit retails for $349 and features Sony's Active Black Panel technology, which, when turned off, leaves the stereo face completely black for a nice, stealthy look. The CDX-M8800 is equipped with front, rear, and subwoofer preamplified outputs, CD/MD control, and BBE signal processing to sharpen the tunes.

We're using Sony's XS-V1640H ($99) door speakers that measure 6.5 inches across and feature a 131/416-inch mid woofer and a 71/416-inch dome tweeter. Replacing the factory 6x8-inch speakers located in the rear-seat area are XS-V6833 6x8 speakers ($99), which bolt right in the stock location. In the hatch area, we fabricated a subwoofer enclosure to house the XS-L121P5 ($109) 12-inch subwoofer. Sony sent us a 15-inch sub, but it proved too deep for the spare-tire well, which is where we intended to build the enclosure.

Powering all these components are the XM-2200GTX and XM-4060GTX amplifiers. The 2200 is a 1,200-watt piece that can be used in 200(watts)x2(speakers) or 500x1 configurations. So, whether you're using one or two subs, this amp has you covered on both accounts. The 4060 offers a maximum of 600 watts, which can be delivered in 60x4, or 60x2 and 150x1 configurations. Both amplifiers retail for approximately $199 each.

We contacted Crutchfield for all our wiring needs. We've used the company's parts for the occasional stereo receiver installation kit, and its customer service is amazing and can provide you with both the parts and the knowledge to hook up your automobile or home with full-blown, high-quality audio/video.

Our supercharged Mustang was already taxing its stock alternator and battery with its extra fuel pump and electric fan, so we called Performance Distributors for a 190-amp alternator with a one-wire hookup, and Optima Batteries for one of its Yellow Top units. The Yellow Top was preferred over Optima's more commonly seen Red Top because of its deep cycle nature. This deep cycle nature allows the Yellow Top to handle many discharges as well as recharges without losing significant capacity. This is great for the stereo enthusiast, as well as the automotive enthusiast who stores his or her car for the winter. The Yellow Top's low discharge rate means it can hold its charge for up to 12 months at room temperature or slightly below. Its lifespan is twice as long as conventional batteries, and its no-spill exterior means you can mount it in any position you like.

We had planned to perform this installation in the Mustang's home garage, but it has been resting at Crazy Horse Racing in South Amboy, New Jersey, awaiting its new custom rear axle assembly. The author performed the install at Crazy Horse, along with the help of proprietor Chris Winter. Having a helping hand when performing this type of install is a plus, but not necessary. Just make sure your plans are firm and that you have enough wire to get the job done.

In Part 1, we've handled the planning, wiring, and a portion of the installation. In Part 2, we'll wrap up the installation and talk about the tuning that is involved when using amplifiers with crossovers, and what can be accomplished by utilizing the signal proces-sing in Sony's CDX-M8800 head unit.

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