I've been following many of the radio replacement threads on this forum and I decided that rather then replace my head unit, I will add a 4 channel amp with high level inputs to power my four new door speakers I recently installed. See photos here.
After replacing the stock front speakers with a set of Focal 165A1's the sound is now incredible, but only now limited by the stock headunit amp, which sounds great at normal levels, but doesn't have the muscle to handle loud peaks in the music or louder volumes, plus, it can be dangerous to the health of the new speakers if it's driven into clipping situations.
I would have to spend at least $200 to get a head unit that has blue-tooth and XM ability then another $60 for a steering wheel button interface, then, depending on the model, another $50 for the satellite package, etc., so I'm probably looking at around $250 to $300
In this price range all of these only put out about 20 watts RMS/4 ohms per channel
I'm limited in my choices to only a few makes like the JVC that allow the ability to match the color look of the stock lighting.. I really don't want bright blue or red colors glaring out at me or something that looks like a space ship consul.
There only seem to be a few models now that still have a simple control layouts with actual buttons to choose and set stations. You've got to hand it to Toyota, their radio controls using simple, big buttons are really easy and user friendly and it's an attractive unit, blends into the style of the car. Many after market units now require a series of button pushes to get to the station presets and then you have to toggle through them, you can't get from preset 1 to preset 5, etc., like you can with real buttons.
Every install I have seen here, uses an install kit (Cruchfield's American, Scosche, etc.) that doesn't match the color and texture of the stock dash very well and leaves big gaps between the panel and the stock dash. They all look cheap and flimsy to me and are free or cost up to $30. The best looking one I have seen is the OEM one, but then you're out another $80 or so.
I want to keep the use of my AUX input on the dash (you loose it with all the units I've seen). I want to keep the use of my convenient existing Bluetooth buttons and already installed mike set up. I want to keep my existing antenna setup and I think with a new head unit it would have to be replaced, or I would need to buy some other adapter?
I can buy any number of good quality, 40-50 watts 4 channel amps with line level inputs for only about $150
The questions for those of you who have had the dash open and maybe dealt with an amp install is this:
- Is there room to put the amp under the dash behind the existing head unit, or will it have to be wired to a location, like under the drivers seat, etc.?
- Are there any pre made connectors that split off the speaker outputs so I don't have to cut and solder everything and figure out which wires are which?
- What is the best way to get power to the amp and where is a good ground located?
Thanks for your help
Incidentally, doing searches, a lot of the links to similar subjects don't seem to work on this forum.