Of my many passions in life music ranks among the top few. As such I've grown
tired of years of mediocre stereo systems in cars. So what better
project to take on next than a DIY stereo overhaul?
As of now I've
completed only the first step in what will be quite a bit of work. The
goal? Depth, beauty, a total transformation of the auditory experience.
It was exam week when I received word from home that my first package had arrived and I was eager to begin. Yesterday was the day I installed (for the very first time) my first aftermarket head unit. I'm in the work force again this summer, so I have some money for decent parts. My head unit sported favorable reviews, plenty of features, and a decent built in amp, 22W RMS x4 channels (at least to hold me over until I can shell out the money for a dedicated amp). With all this in mind, the amp still did not break the bank. At just about $105 I ordered the Kenwood KDC-138 stereo receiver, complete with wiring harness, factory removal tools, manuals, mastersheets, all the documentation I could ever need, and the commendable Crutchfield service. Sure I could have bought this on Amazon for $75...but it would be just that, a bare unit. And this being my first stereo install, I didn't know what accessories I would need...Needless to say, I was very pleased with my purchase.
After unpackaging (and stopping to admire) the new gear, it was time to remove the old unit!
But first...disconnect the battery terminal to avoid electric shock or shorting during replacement.
Now for the extraction...
Now that that has been taken care of, time to prep the new wiring. I opted to solder the wiring harness to the adapter rather than crimp.
After soldering the wires, I utilized my newly purchased heat gun to shrink the heatshrink insulation I had placed over each wire. (Forgot to take pictures of this step.)
With the new wiring in place...
And the ground wire hooked to the chassis...
...it was time to mount the unit!
And thus concludes the first phase in my extensive summer project. (See initial thoughts and comments -->)
- The single largest improvement over my last receiver is the clarity in the high-mids and mids. Anything with a percussive bite is now much sharper and stronger. As I listened to Slipknot this morning, I thought to myself, "damn, Joey's drums sound a bit meaner now! I love it!"
- Despite the boost in clarity, there is a drawback, a rather double edged sword at that. The new unit in default settings produces less bass than my stock unit. (Yes, I'm aware 22W RMS will not get the job done in the bass department especially coupled with factory speakers). On top of that, the newly acquired enhancement to the upper mid frequencies in itself draws increasing attention to the lack of bass...Quickly I found the bass boost button and basic EQ. I set the bass boost to its medium setting and increased bass and mid +1 on the EQ. While it did mitigate the problem to some small extent I am now gnawing on my hand for my subs as well as the rest of the package!
Hope you enjoyed the read! More to come.