My Jeep has been without music ever since I put in my custom dash about 2 years ago - so for christmas I asked for a new sound system for the Jeep. I didn't want to use a conventional set up however - I wanted to skip the head units all together because 1) they attract thieves 2) the last me two weeks before my CDs don't come out 3) they skip 4) they're just not durable enough for Jeeps, and the amplifiers are too weak to support high volumes.
So I got the idea of just using an amplifier, and using an MP3 player to drive the input. This would mean that everything is pure, rugged, solid state technology. It would have the ability to go as loud as I want without distorting (the cause for 90% of distortion at high volumes tends to be the shitty amplifiers/power regulation circuits in head units - not so much the speakers), it would be durable, low profile to prying eyes, and it would give me the flexibility to do whatever I want with the input. I plan on buying one of those new Helix MP3 players with satellite radio - and they also support napster subsciptions which I absolutely love and subscribe to currently - unlimited LEGAL music downloads and transfers to a capable player for 15 bucks a month. I intend on building a mixer circuit as well, so that both my CB and ham radios can share the same speakers as my MP3 player.
So today was the day to install it. I picked up some molex connectors, and a tool to crimp the individual pins (one that folds over the tabs, not just your typical 'smash' crimper from the Auto store), and made a wiring harness to smoothen out the install. I think the install turned out pretty clean - I wish I wisened up and started pre-wiring all my electrical stuff earlier, but oh well - now I'll know for next time.
I'm satisfied with the results! All I have to show I have music is a power switch for the amp, and a 1/8" audio jack for my MP3 player in the dash. Driving down the freeway, even with the gain on the amp at 50% and the volume a bit below half on the mp3 player, the music is LOUD, clear, and easy to hear - I can turn it up much higher still, however there is just no need for it. Audio quality is good - as far as 6.5" speakers go, the bass response is really great, however the bass becomes harder to hear at higher speeds as would be expected - at a standstill it sounds really good though. Adding a small sub with another amp would remedy this - perhaps in the future? The total cost for the project was about 150 bucks - about the price for an entry level head unit, with much better results IMO =)
I agree, cool set-up. It would be nice if Jeep would come up with a factory digital set-up for the wrangler. Then they could just turn the hole it left into a locking security box.
Did you do a write-up on the dash? Is the AC/Heater under there or did you have to remove it?
I used to have a write up for the dash on my website - however since the database server crashed I dont think its up anymore. I'll see if I can bug Dave to give me a backed up copy.
I currently don't have AC - however I did install a Mojave heater which is adequate down here in the winter months. I plan on installing a full HVAC kit from hot rod air this summer - this is basically the air conditioning units they throw in fully custom rigs, and they supposedly work real well. I actually plan on redoing the entire dash at that time as well - since I now have access to laser cutters and CNC mills for next to nothing (they're part of the Architecture college I go to) producing trick parts will be no problem; but I'll keep you guys posted on that process as well once I get to it.
I'll be switching to all overhead controls, mounted between the streamer bars on a roll cage, with a more pleasant design for the 'lower' dash, which will house digital gauge panels, sound of course, navigation, and a few other doodads. If I have enough money left over I plan on buying an IC-706MKIIG and mounting the radio (which will replace my 2M, as well as CB) inside a water/dust tight surplus rocket box in the back area (along with the existing amplifier and battery) - then mounting the control head overhead in front of the driver's seat.
throw in some fiberglass while ur at it Looks cool when everything goes with the flow.
example in this car.. maybe you might not like it since it goes in the center but it gives the idea of what i mean by goes with the flow
Seems like u have only 2 speakers though, gotta get a 4 ch amp otherwise will never sound as crisp as a quality headunit. My pioneer might not be loud to make your ears bleed but just listening to music and hearing the special effects in it go from front left to right rear speaker in a circle or whatever pattern the song is encoded in just makes you want to listen more
Something I've noticed.. when i replaced my stock soundbar speakers with 2 6x9s (custom box) it didnt make much of a difference but once i got a quality headunit...WOW... check out my speaker setup on my cardomain liky