You would think getting on up into the middle aged bracket that a man would eventually grow out of some of the things
that excited him so much in his teens and twenties. Obviously not in my case... nearing 50 and still having fun with this
ever changing car audio hobby. I got started in car stereo before I was out of high school. In 1977 I was excited to have
an old hand me down eight track tape player to play my 2 or 3 eight track tapes in my 1972 Gran Torino. In 1980 my dad
let me inherit the $106 payments on his 1979 Datsun 310 Hatchback. I finally had a cassette tape deck and added an IDI
EQ/Booster with a pair of Jensen 6 X 9's in custom made boxes. Later I upgraded the headunit to a Kraco. I was jammin'.
I remember in 1984 I installed an Alpine cassette deck, a 15 inch sub on a piece of plywood mounted behind the rear seat,
a JVC amp, and a pair of ribbon tweeters from Radio Shack on the dash... all in a 1984 Cavalier. Now I really had some
The years to follow would have me getting rather serious about car stereo and even eventually competing in car stereo
contest. In 1985 I met a fellow by the name of Walter Barno, a good friend who I stay in contact with to this day. In 1985
he completely customized a 1984 Chevy Van for us (from just a hull) with a nice customization package along with an
awesome Nakamichi/Zapco system. He also got us started with our first home stereo system in 1985 with a complete NAD
system. Walter and CKR are mentioned in our Stereo Review "Systems" article from the August 1996 issue. Walter has been
with CKR Automotive for several years now and works in their Montgomery, Alabama store. We installed an 18 inch
Kicker competition sub underneath our home in the mid 90's... that thing shook our entire house. Walter and I have worked
together on our vehicles for a number of years. I managed to place 1st and "Best of Show" in one competition (1988 Nissan
King Cab in 1988) and placed in several others over the years. Eventually I had to quit the competing as it was getting a
little on the ridiculous side monetarily. The motorized this and that phase was getting popular and people begin to spend
upwards of 10 grand on car stereo just to win a few hundred bucks and a plaque or trophy... too much for my blood. Far the
last 18+ years or so it has been much smaller systems, but always good sound quality and plenty loud enough for me. I
would say we have put together over a dozen systems in various vehicles throughout the years.
For the last several years I have done more of the do it yourself installs with help from Rodny Alvarez, also of CKR in
Montgomery. Rodny does a great job on the more tidious areas that have to be so precisely finished... not to mention he is
just plain out the brains when it comes to ideas.
My most recent install is in my Hyundai Sonata. Factory headunits are getting rather advanced these days and the car
manufacturers are not making it any easier on the diy'er to swap out headunits. I happened to get a navigation unit in this
Sonata because it was all they had available in the silver four cylinder. It was not until after I purchased the car that I
realized the headunit was a DVD player as well. Fortunately, car audio manufacturers are coming out with some very
sophisticated processors that will connect to the factory system and allow the addition of aftermarket amps and speakers.
I chose the Rockford Fosgate 3sixty.2 so that I could keep my factory headunit and factory look. This headunit has everything
a man could need anyway... AM/FM and XM Satellite Radio... DVD and CD player along with USB connections for and iPod or
similar storage device. The large display is really nice and much more that I was expecting initially.
The ride... an 09 Hyundai Sonata Limited...
The aftermarket equipment for this install:
- Rockford Fosgate 3sixy.2 Processor controlled by a Palm TX Handheld via Bluetooth.
- Phoenix Gold Xenon 200.4 (200 watts RMS x 4) actively powering the front stage composed of Dynaudio MW162GT 6.5's for midbass and MD102's for the highs.
- Phoenix Gold Xenon 1200.1 (1200 watts RMS x 1) powering a pair of Infinity Kappa Perfect 12VQ 12" subs ported and tuned to 25Hz.
First things first... rip out the insides and prepare for Dynamat Extreme deadening.
Here is the before...
And the after...
Another before... Taking out the seats, carpet and center console has gotten rather tricky on
some of these new cars, but a few hidden screws and unexpected snaps later, it all comes out.
And another after... Tedious work to say the least... and very time consuming. I spend a few
hours here and there over a couple of weeks to get all of this done.
There is lots and lots of Dynamat... a little over 5 bulk packs and 100+ pounds.
Moving on in to the workshop... what mess. There you can see the door baffles that I just
painted for the Dynaudio MW162GT midbass speakers.
Here's a close up of one baffle. These are simply a couple of pieces of 3/4" birch routed the
proper size to mount the 6.5" midbass speaker so that the door window will not collide with the
rear of the speaker.
This is where the baffle will mount. You also see Dynaxorb by Dynamax. I really do not know if
this works as prescribed, but it supposedly diffuses the door speaker backwaves, which generally
cause issues with door speakers. They are fairly cheap, so I figured why not.
Rodny has the factory tweeter pods performing surgery to accommodate mounting the Dynaudio
MD102 tweeters. They will look similar to the factory pods when finished... except obviously a
Can you believe that the Hyundai dealership wanted $200 for EACH one of these pods? When I
almost choked on my coffee, the parts manager exclaimed, "They come with the tweeters!" How
comforting to know. Needless to say, I did not purchase an extra set.
Here is some of the equipment... the two Kappa Perfect's and the Dynaudio door speaker kit.
I have always enjoyed building sub boxes. This one ended up being about 2.7ft^3 net volume
with dual port tuning to 25Hz. The subs will down fire into the trunk... behind the rear fold down
seats. Here is the box turned up on its back.
Here is a close up of the dual ports. 3.75" x 3.75" x 19.625" each. They fire out the side where
there is the most air space.
This is the back of the box as seen in the trunk. If possible I will mount the X1200.1 sub amp on
top of the box and design a beauty panel wall to conceal everything. Otherwise, I will mount the
amp on the back of the box and install a beauty panel to cover all the wires.
On the front of the box, behind the rear fold down seats, the X200.4 front stage amp will be