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Audio/Visual Electronics Wired up? Everyone's got some sort of electrical modification... let's hear about it here.

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Old 09-20-2010, 12:53 AM   #1
gregries
 
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Vehicle: 2011, Ford, Mustang GT
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Default Stereo upgrade: replace Sync entirely, or just speakers?

I have a 2011 Mustang GT with the Navigation/Sync system on order. (HURRY UP!) While I'm awaiting its arrival, I've been having fun researching and planning the improvements I'm going to make to it.

I am definitely going to upgrade the stereo system, but I haven't decided yet on which way I am going to go:
1) Replace the SPEAKERS in Shaker 500 + add a nice, sealed sub & amp to the trunk. (...and then attempt to calibrate the resulting hybrid system--crying for MS-8 or similar in this case.)
2) Replace the whole enchilada--in which case I would put in a touch-screen GPS like the Kenwood 9960, amplification (some--not overkill) for all channels, replace the speakers and add the same subwoofer as option 1). (...and then calibrate all the shiny, new equipment.)

I've been reading the other threads: one about adding a sub to Shaker 500 & one where somebody started upgrading the Shaker a bit at a time and was having trouble getting the quality of sound they were looking for from a "hybrid" Shaker system, which is what got me thinking about going all the way. :-) (I did a full head unit/amp/speakers/backup cam/quieting install on my current vehicle, so I'd like to match the performance, and am not worried about the technical difficulties of installing.)

I'm looking for help on two things:
1) Is there anything else I loose when I remove the Sync system besides "Sync", stereo, GPS, steering wheel controls, bluetooth, and backup cam? (Unless, of course, I add them back in with my install, where possible.) For example, the car has an automatic, thermostat-type air-conditioning controls--do they still work? Is there anything else anyone can think of that would go that's not related to sync, stereo, or nav? (power driver's seat, or getting silly--cruise control?) Or is it pretty much the same as ripping out a typical head unit?

Since Sync is a computer, you just never know what they're using it for...

2) If somebody has done this change (unSync'ed) themselves for a 2011--yeah, so new, but just asking--do you have anything to share about what worked out and what didn't for your install? (specifically with respect to replacing the Sync, harnesses/can bus, etc., not what amps/speakers sounded good) And what did you think of the end result as compared to Sync'ed one?

If I don't replace Sync, then I need to plan for efficient speakers that will do well when powered by the nav system. I hate using any of the craptastic Shaker amplifiers, though, having a HARD DRIVE in the car for a WHOLE 10GB of storage (genius idea, that--not), and then also having to put in more stuff to "unlock" it, add camera, etc. So, even though it's not a cost-effective move, the stench of the Shaker electronics has me wanting to rip the whole dang thing out...

Yes, it's a stench. (I'm not knocking the Sync software--just the Shaker electronics.)

Greg

.ps If I decide to leave Sync/Shaker partly in, there's plenty of info here about things to make it sound/work better; thanks for that!
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:01 PM   #2
pentavolvo
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IMO coaxial speakers alone amped or not will be a big upgrade... i would wait till u get the car and see what u think. there is a way to retain sync usage also fyi
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:36 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pentavolvo View Post
there is a way to retain sync usage also fyi
What do you mean? Do you mean running Sync through an after-market head unit?

I did see one article talking about that possibility if the sync was divided into 2 parts--computer and screen. You could replace only the sync screen with a touchscreen head unit, and then hook the sync computer in to a video input of the new touchscreen. That seems crazy to me.

Or were you talking about something else? :-)
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:53 PM   #4
starbai
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregries View Post
What do you mean? Do you mean running Sync through an after-market head unit?

I did see one article talking about that possibility if the sync was divided into 2 parts--computer and screen. You could replace only the sync screen with a touchscreen head unit, and then hook the sync computer in to a video input of the new touchscreen. That seems crazy to me.

Or were you talking about something else? :-)
Yes, The PAC MS-FRD1 - I'm learning more about this as we speak... anyone have any hands on experience with the Shaker 500 and this unit?
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starbai View Post
Yes, The PAC MS-FRD1 - I'm learning more about this as we speak... anyone have any hands on experience with the Shaker 500 and this unit?
i had a LITTLE bit to do with the r&d on the MS-FRD1.Most of the engineering was done by the others guys.All of the SYNC features are retained and you have to use a SWI interface for the steering wheel contols.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:00 AM   #6
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There are a bunch of good ways to go. I wouldn't fault anybody for installing a new head unit, but I decided I like the features of the 2011 factory navigation unit. So I ended up deciding to stick with the factory navigation head unit entirely.

What I did:
- tapped off pre-amp signals from the factory nav unit harnesses (FL, FR, & Sub)
- ran those three channels into a JBL MS-8
- put 8" Kicker CompVT subs in the 8" door locations
- put some Focal components into the 6x8 locations and flush mounted the tweeters high in the door panels near the 6x8 locations
- put the Focal passive xovers inside the arm rest under the window switches
- put a JL audio stealthbox in the trunk
- used 7 channels of the MS-8
* 2 for FR (1 to Focal passive xover, other to 8" CompVT, together treated as a 3-way)
* 2 for FL, 3-way (sub: 20-80Hz, 8": 80-300Hz, Focal: 300-20kHz)
* 2 for rear package tray speakers (still stock)
* 1 for the sub in the trunk
- the rear speakers use the speaker-level outputs from MS-8; they are only used for logic7 audio cues. That's why I didn't bother upgrading them.
- the other 5 channels from MS-8 are still pre-amp outputs and go to a HD900/5 class-D amp
- tuned the system with the MS-8 & am using the Logic7
- also added a backup camera in the license plate frame; couldn't get the factory one with my spoiler choice

Some of that is overkill. What can I say. I'm an electrical engineer and like to geek out the project. :-)

I did the install during my time off over the holidays. The mustang didn't mind staying in the garage the whole time because it rained at least every other day. I *barely* finished by the end--man that was so much work, and it took me a while to figure out where the amps for the door subs and nav unit were located.

All the wires are hidden behind the kick panels, door sill, rear quarter panels, and trunk trim. The MS-8, the HD900/5, and a power distribution block/fuses are all attached to the back of the driver's-side, rear seat, side by side by side--just enough room. That way I can just fold the seat down if I ever want to adjust a gain or check distribution fuses or whatever.

The amp isn't screwed directly down to the seat back. Instead I ran a 1" wide by 3/4" thick piece of wood under each side; I bolted the wood to the seat back and the amp to the wood. So the amp has air on all sides.

The system sounds awesome (to my taste). The stealth box hits hard like everyone has said. Overall the sound now has better highs than the Shaker 500, more clarity, and tons better bass. The Logic7 really does provide a great sound stage--but it's only perfectly centered for one seat at a time since I didn't customize the dash to add a center speaker.

All of the project info and pictures people posted here helped out, both in deciding what to do and figuring out the best ways to run the power cable, etc. Thanks!
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:28 PM   #7
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Default Help! Same install (2012 Mustang GT w/Shaker500 Sync-Nav retention, MS-8, amps)

Hey Greg,

Thanks for the helpful post about your MS-8 install! Like you, I have similar goals of sound quality for my '12 Mustang GT Convertible, but I love the factory radio (aside from buggy iPod integration) and have no desire to lose any of the integrated functionality. So, I've gone to great lengths and through much mental anguish to research the heck out of this project, in search of near-perfect sound quality from this car. I feel like I'm almost there, but here's the problem.. I'm not much of a DIY'er (because frankly I'm out of my depth when it comes to tearing my car apart), so I took my car to a local, very reputable car audio shop to get the job done. I've had the following equipment installed:

- JBL MS-8 for sound processing
- JL HD600/4 for front soundstage
- JL HD900/5 (4ch bridged to 2ch for rears; 1ch to sub)
- Polk SR5250 Vifa tweeters and crossovers (not using the 5-1/4" woofers)
- JL C5-570cw 5x7" woofers in the front door locations
- JL ZR800cw 8" midbass drivers in the doors, even with factory appearance
- JL C5-570x 5"x7" coaxials in the rear-seat side quarter-panels
- Alpine SWR-T10 Thin Profile 10" Subwoofer
- Stinger Power-series battery

I've finally got everything installed and sounding *pretty good*. However, something seems off with low-end bass.. I feel like it should be tighter and cleaner, and I'm detecting some bass roll-off when I turn up the factory radio a bit louder.

Unfortunately, I don't think my installers are believers in tapping directly into the factory harness to grab a pre-amp signal for the MS-8. Instead, they have tapped into the amplified speaker line level wires coming out of the factory amplifier in the trunk to drive the MS-8. They cited the risk of cutting into my factory harness since my car uses a "CAN-BUS" system to throw codes when electrical components in the vehicle are acting up.

From your post over a year ago, it seems you were able to tap into wires behind the head unit and get a clean, full-range signal to your MS-8. Could you offer any further details on what wires were spliced to do this? Did you fashion your own harness to plug right in, or did you cut into the factory wiring itself? Did you use a multimeter to measure the line level signal voltage going into your MS-8, since JBL's specs say the limit is 2V.

I've read on another forum that the best place to grab a full-range sub signal is from the J4 harness on the back of the radio. Supposedly, the wires marked "AUX1 +" and "AUX1 -" serve as an effective SUB signal, and there's another wire called "AUX ENABLE" that a forum writer used as his remote turn-on wire into the MS-8's "REM IN" terminal. Did you do something similar?

Any advice or details you could share about your installation would be a huge help? I'm definitely a sound quality guy, and the current setup is driving me nuts because I know it could be better..

Thanks!
Marc
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:32 AM   #8
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I guess I don't undestand the installer's reluctance to tap into pre-amp signals in the harness. It's not a big deal and won't cause error codes on the CAN-BUS or interfere with the CAN-BUS. That baffles me.

I never verified the pre-amp signals I tapped were actually full-range. For all I know, Ford is doing some digital filtering inside the radio, as opposed to doing hi/low-pass filtering in the amplifiers. I fed the L/R along with the sub to the MS-8 so that I was assured of having everything. If the L/R aren't full range, there is nothing better available without ripping out the nav unit, which I didn't want to do because of its integration.

I did splice to my factory harness. I have the navigation/shaker 500, so the wires were (@C290D connector):
GN : LF SPKR+
GY : LF SPKR-
VT : RF SPKR+
YE : RF SPKR-

Ignore the name having spkr in it--these signals go to the front/rear channels amplifier, not to speakers.

No, I didn't measure the amplitude. It would be inconceivable, to me, to find >2V peak-to-peak in OEM pre-amp signals. Feel free to measure if you want. I don't detect any clipping on my system as I turn up the volume past my comfortable listening levels.

I did use the AUX1+ and AUX1- signals for my sub hookup. I haven't used the AUX ENABLE since it worked for me to just use the accessory switched voltage rail for REM IN. I remember reading about needing to convert from 4V to 12V for the OEM enable, so I didn't mess with it. If there is a 12V signal available, I would have rather used that.

Greg
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:18 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input, Greg! I confirmed that my MS-8 is currently getting a factory-amplified, speaker level signal from the LF/RF/RL/RR speaker wires in the trunk, and I'm certain that I hear bass roll-off at high volumes with the current setup. No matter how many times I tweak the settings on the MS-8, it sounds like the mid-bass drivers and the subwoofer are being compromised by the signal.

I brought my car back into the shop today and explained the "J4" Sub-output harness to my installer. I also reiterated that I want to cut the factory amps completely out of the equation and to instead splice into pre-factory amp high/mid signals. Here's hoping this solves it! Question for you: did you run your factory-spliced signals as Speaker Level inputs into the MS-8, or did you have to wire them up with RCA ends at the MS-8's Low-Level inputs?

I had another question regarding your "REM IN" setup on the MS-8. Do the MS-8 and your amp continue to play when you turn off the ignition/accy *AND* remove the key? With the way my equipment is wired right now, the audio cuts out as soon as I remove the key from the ignition but the Nav/Radio screen is still on (as it should be). Do you have this problem? If not, how did you overcome it? You had described that you used the "accessory switched voltage rail for REM IN". Where is this located in the vehicle?
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:36 PM   #10
superdutyfan
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Question

I to would like to keep the factory nav/dvd. But i have a kicker amp out of a previuos truxk and two 10 inch excil3 low profile subs.
will the subs fit in the back seats in the sides ? i want to keep as much trunck room as possible the car is a 2011 5.0L GT convertible.

Thansk sdf

any more suggestions would be very appreciated.

Thnaks SDF
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:36 PM
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