Browsing Archive April, 2010

Different Types of Wiring Harnesses

By Chelsey P. – Product Specialist

Replacing your factory radio with a new aftermarket receiver may seem like a daunting task, but if you have the right accessories, it will be a cinch. Before installing your new CD player, make sure you have the right accessories including the correct wiring harness. You may wonder about the multiple wiring harnesses some companies carry and which one is right for your vehicle and application. Well, we can explain some information that may help you in determining which car stereo wiring harness to purchase. If your vehicle has an advanced sound system, there are special accessories that required in order for you to maintain certain functions in your vehicle. For vehicles that do not include these special systems, a basic wiring harness will fit your needs perfectly.

Basic Wiring Harness:

Scosche CR02B Basic Wiring Harness – Scosche CR02B

The basic wiring harness is the most popular and used in vehicles when installing an aftermarket CD receiver. They offer a quick and clean installation without cutting your OE Radio plug. These basic harnesses can be used in almost every vehicle that does not have any specialty functions. After connecting the harness, all you have to do is color-match the wires and connect the aftermarket receiver. It is as easy as that.

Price wise these harness are extremely cheap. They will allow you to install an aftermarket head unit but will not retain any advanced sound features. If you purchase a receiver from our company, these wiring harnesses will usually come with it for free.

Specialty Wiring Harnesses:

Scosche GM09SR Specialty Harness – Scosche GM09SR

These particular wiring harnesses are used in vehicles that either have advanced sound systems, OnStar, CAN Bus or when you want to integrate a factory amplifier into your new head unit.  Advanced sound systems include those with Bose, MACH and JBL and have become more prominent on newer vehicles. In order to retain the factory sound system, a wiring harness that has been made specifically for that vehicle is necessary. If you decide to use a basic harness like the one described above, it will not work. An example of a harness that is required for Bose or Non-Bose vehicles with factory OnStar is the Scosche GM09SR. This harness is needed in order to retain the OnStar while keeping the GM Safety and warning chimes functioning throughout the vehicle. All of these great features would be lost if you decided to use a basic harness. As for CAN Bus vehicles, Scosche introduced the CR06SR which is made for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles. This harness will provide a +12V accessory power wire for the aftermarket unit. It will also auto detect the factory amplified system and even turns it on digitally. Installing these harnesses is similar to the basic wiring harnesses. Wiring involves color-matching the wires and then installing the head unit.

Price wise these harnesses are more expensive than the basic but they do so much more. They keep your vehicle functioning properly and will allow your vehicles computer to receive the correct information.


Installing an Apple iPad in a Toyota Tacoma

The 12-volt industry is constantly evolving and looking for new ways to enhance the drivers experience in the car.  One of the popular styles of car audio installations included integration and OEM integration.  This means that the installer is taking aftermarket components and making them look as though the car came that way.  OEM integration will typically leave the stock car stereo and use other components to enhance the audio in the car.  Other types of integration include adjusting aftermarket items to look as though the manufacturer meant for them to be there.  Recently, a video on YouTube showed SoundMan Car Audio install and integrate an Apple iPad into a Toyota Tacoma.  At their shop in Santa Clarita, California, the installers at SoundMan used an Audison Bit One processor to play the audio from the iPad.  A special dock is used to convert the audio signal from the iPad to a digital optical signal, which is needed to connect to the Bit One.  After a lot of custom work and integration of aftermarket components, the iPad was successfully installed into the Tacoma.  The Bit One controller was installed to the left of the steering wheel and seamlessly integrated into the vehicles interior.  The controller allowed the audio of the iPad to be controlled, as well as the switching of audio sources.  Bluetooth was also connected so that the driver can talk hands free with a push of a button.  The final installation featured a custom dash kit with a suede back panel, which the iPad rests on to keep the back scratch-free and protected.

The video became an instant YouTube hit once people found out that an iPad could be installed in a car.   Both of the videos below show the installation process and some of the troubles that they encountered throughout the procedure.  Projects like this are what car audio installers dream of.  It encourages us all to think outside the box and do something that the world has never seen before.


Variable Color Illumination for In-Dash Car Stereos


By Chelsey P. – Product Specialist

There is no better accomplishment when installing a CD receiver than to have it integrate seamlessly with your vehicles interior. Most stereos come with two or three different color options that aren’t even close to matching your OEM lights. With new technologies coming out to enhance the look of your vehicle, it is no wonder why so many car audio companies have started giving consumers the option to change the colors on their head unit.

Variable color illumination has become prominent on many of the 2010 Receivers. Choosing your perfect color with this new feature has never been so easy. It already offers 30 preset colors and has over 30,000 customizable colors for you to choose from. One company that has introduced this illumination idea is JVC. The KW-XR810 is part of the 2010 head units and comes with over 30,000 customizable color options providing you with a great look while matching your vehicle’s interior. A few months ago, JVC came to Sonic Electronix for product training and brought these amazing head units with them for our employees to test out. Not only does the head unit have a variable color illumination, but it has a separated variable color option. This will allow you to change the button color and display color. The display and buttons can either have the same color, or you can change each one to a different color. This come in handy if you have two favorite colors and want both to show at the same time for a fun and cool vibe. As if the customizable colors and separation colors isn’t enough, this CD player lets you change colors for day and night time modes. All you have to do is program colors for day mode and night mode, than switch them over as you want.

JVC is not the only company to come out with a variable color options. Other manufacturers such as Pioneer have also jumped on the band wagon with optional colors combinations. The Pioneer AVH-P3200DVD is just one of Pioneers new 2010 receiver that will also provide you with this cool technology. Although it doesn’t have as many color combinations, the 112 button lighting colors are just enough to make your vehicle perfect. Along with being able to change the button colors, you will have the choice of choosing a display color to match.

With the right to choose your own color, your receiver will match your style perfectly and will be like no other on the market today. Be creative and show off your personality through your vehicle!


Hifonics Brutus and Zeus Amplifiers are now CEA-2006 Compliant

Hifonics Brutus and Zeus Amplifiers

By Seth Wilde – Product Specialist

The CEA-2006 Standard is an official testing and measurement method for amplifiers established by the Consumer Electronics Association.  In order to standardize the power ratings of mobile amplifiers, the CEA-2006 compliancy ratings where established to inform the customer that they are getting the wattage that they paid for.  In defining this standard, CEA tests and rates the ”performance of amplifiers designed for use in mobile (vehicle) applications”.  This statement found on the CEA website continues to define the types of amplifiers that they will test.  It is applicable for single channel and multi channel amplifiers that rely on the vehicle’s primary electrical system and have a power output of greater than 5 watts.  When an amplifier is tested, CEA uses the following method to ensure that the ratings are consistent.

For RMS Power Handling of Amplifiers
1. Tested at 14.4 Volts
2. 4-ohm Impedance load
3. <1% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion)

When looking for an amplifier, it is important to see if the manufacturer has received a CEA-2006 compliancy for the amplifier.  If so, then the ratings can be trusted at the advertised wattage.  If they are not CEA certified, it could mean one of two things. First, the manufacturer has not submitted the amp for testing and it may or may not perform as advertised.  Second, the specifications of the amp are not considered to be CEA-2006 compliant.

Recently, Hifonics has submitted their Brutus and Zeus series amplifiers to CEA to be tested for the amplifier power standard.  The wattage that they advertise and have listed in their manual under the CEA-2006 compliancy section are true ratings that have been tested.  This means that when one of these amplifiers is purchased and installed, the installer can be confident that the amplifier will produce the power that Hifonics says it will.  The knowledge of this rating system is helpful when putting together a car audio system correctly.  Matching the power handling of speakers to an amplifier becomes easier when considering CEA compliant amplifiers.  Some of the trusted companies that have compliant amplifiers include: Kicker, MTX, Rockford Fosgate, Kenwood, Hifonics, and others.


Direct OEM Integration

Lexus OEM Integration

By Chelsey P. – Product Specialist

Purchasing a new vehicle can be exciting, until you take a look at the stock stereo that comes with it. Many of today’s new cars have advanced integrated stereos that make it a hassle to replace.  Upgrading to an aftermarket car stereo can end up taking a lot of time, effort, and frustration to install. And with most aftermarket receivers, the factory style that most people love, ends up being lost with a new and sometimes hard to use interface. Direct OEM replacement receivers will become more and more popular because they provide you with everything you need in a stereo, including a factory feel. Most of the time, these receivers will come with even more features than a stock head unit such as built-in Bluetooth, GPS navigation, and iPod integration. So I ask you, Why not replace your receiver with a feature-packed headunit while keeping your vehicle looking clean and new?

A company that has done all of the above is Fly Audio. They have created a head unit that looks stock, but comes with more options and features than you may know what to do with. The Double DIN Receivers have a 6.5”, 7” or 8” TFT-LCD Screen with CD, DVD, VCD, DivX and MP3 Playback. Fly Audio has integrated Bluetooth for hands-free calling as well as iPod direct connectivity. The USB Input allows you to charge, control and playback your iPod straight through the receiver. The Fly Audio E8039NAVI-2 is great example of a head unit for a vehicle that you would want to maintain the stock look in. It is a 7” Receiver with a touchscreen display made for the 2009 Lexus IS250/350. It has all of the features mentioned above along with built-in navigation. This may be one feature that your stock stereo did not have before. The navigation has voice prompts, traffic lane guidance and destination searches so you always know where to go. Fly Audio makes these head units for just about every car out there, not just the Lexus. These OEM integrated receivers will become increasingly popular over the years with the addition of new cars.