2013 Mazda CX-5 sound system, what do I need to keep the Factory head unit?


Silvercx5123

CarAudio.com Newbie
Jul 19, 2020
5
0
Australia
I’m absolutely so lost with this, I’m confident I can tackle most of the sound system myself, it’s just making it all work with the factory headunit wiring that’s confusing the hell out of me. I’ve been researching and there’s a t harness that’s needed? And also line output converters? I have no idea what I do and don’t need. Another thing is this amp mentions it includes speaker level inputs? What does this mean? Does this mean I don’t need a LOC?

i will be running 6.5 components in the front. 4 channel pioneer and a 10” sub and mono amp.
 

Lasherž

CarAudio.com Elite
Apr 27, 2020
1,236
284
United States
I’m absolutely so lost with this, I’m confident I can tackle most of the sound system myself, it’s just making it all work with the factory headunit wiring that’s confusing the hell out of me. I’ve been researching and there’s a t harness that’s needed? And also line output converters? I have no idea what I do and don’t need. Another thing is this amp mentions it includes speaker level inputs? What does this mean? Does this mean I don’t need a LOC?

i will be running 6.5 components in the front. 4 channel pioneer and a 10” sub and mono amp.
There are two ways to tackle this, either by replacing the OEM head unit which can get complicated and confusing as you try and reclaim all of the features that come with the car, or by using a LOC. You don't need both.

Assuming you want to keep your OEM head unit you don't need an adapter harness except for 2 speakers. Step 1 will be selecting which speakers you're going to tap, the more convenient ones are usually the rear speakers since you have easy access to their wiring and don't have to worry about fishing wires through the door HOWEVER, it may be better to use them.
Download a 50hz test tone and play it through your radio at a decently high volume, not damaging to the speakers but loud enough to be annoying, then use the fader to get rid of the front and then the back paying attention to the volume of the tone. The speakers which give a louder response to this tone are the ones you want to tap, but if they're the same then I'd do the rears. It will be obvious if both the front and the rear aren't playing the tone.

Step 2 is actually tapping them, use something like this:
Splice the wires with cables long enough to reach the amplifier and plug the terminal ends into the speaker.

Step 3 is different depending on what you do. If you want to use your amp's speaker level inputs that's fine, but you'll be missing out on bass response. Modern cars lower the bass as the volume gets higher in an attempt to avoid damaging the drivers and the internal HU amplifier. Your aftermarket amplifier won't compensate for this at all, so you'll always have a bass response a bit weak on the high volume end or a bass response that's too strong on the low volume end. The way around this is to get a LOC like the LC2i.
What this does is restores the bass signal as the volume increases, giving you a much more aftermarket sound than you could get using a regular "passive" LOC or your amplifier's internal high level inputs. I would highly recommend this solution, since you'll be missing out. Wire the speaker wires that you spliced from the adapter to either the LOC or your amplifier, making positively sure that you've got the wires going to the right terminals (L+, L-, R+, and R-), otherwise it can cancel itself out and that's always bad news.

Powering the LC2i is simple, you'll just borrow the power of the amp since it only uses like 25W max. Setting it all up is less simple, but the instructions are clear and there's a million videos about it on Youtube. You're going to want to invest in a multimeter if you don't have one by the way, it's invaluable for setting gains unless you have an oscope or purpose-built equipment for it.
 

Silvercx5123

CarAudio.com Newbie
Jul 19, 2020
5
0
Australia
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
There are two ways to tackle this, either by replacing the OEM head unit which can get complicated and confusing as you try and reclaim all of the features that come with the car, or by using a LOC. You don't need both.

Assuming you want to keep your OEM head unit you don't need an adapter harness except for 2 speakers. Step 1 will be selecting which speakers you're going to tap, the more convenient ones are usually the rear speakers since you have easy access to their wiring and don't have to worry about fishing wires through the door HOWEVER, it may be better to use them.
Download a 50hz test tone and play it through your radio at a decently high volume, not damaging to the speakers but loud enough to be annoying, then use the fader to get rid of the front and then the back paying attention to the volume of the tone. The speakers which give a louder response to this tone are the ones you want to tap, but if they're the same then I'd do the rears. It will be obvious if both the front and the rear aren't playing the tone.

Step 2 is actually tapping them, use something like this:
Splice the wires with cables long enough to reach the amplifier and plug the terminal ends into the speaker.

Step 3 is different depending on what you do. If you want to use your amp's speaker level inputs that's fine, but you'll be missing out on bass response. Modern cars lower the bass as the volume gets higher in an attempt to avoid damaging the drivers and the internal HU amplifier. Your aftermarket amplifier won't compensate for this at all, so you'll always have a bass response a bit weak on the high volume end or a bass response that's too strong on the low volume end. The way around this is to get a LOC like the LC2i.
What this does is restores the bass signal as the volume increases, giving you a much more aftermarket sound than you could get using a regular "passive" LOC or your amplifier's internal high level inputs. I would highly recommend this solution, since you'll be missing out. Wire the speaker wires that you spliced from the adapter to either the LOC or your amplifier, making positively sure that you've got the wires going to the right terminals (L+, L-, R+, and R-), otherwise it can cancel itself out and that's always bad news.

Powering the LC2i is simple, you'll just borrow the power of the amp since it only uses like 25W max. Setting it all up is less simple, but the instructions are clear and there's a million videos about it on Youtube. You're going to want to invest in a multimeter if you don't have one by the way, it's invaluable for setting gains unless you have an oscope or purpose-built equipment for it.
thanks very much for all your help. Atm I’m just going to keep the factory head unit. So I have to use LOC then? Also how many will I need?
 

Lasherž

CarAudio.com Elite
Apr 27, 2020
1,236
284
United States
thanks very much for all your help. Atm I’m just going to keep the factory head unit. So I have to use LOC then? Also how many will I need?
Yes, you'll want to use either an audiocontrol LOC or another "active" one. I don't know which to recommend besides audiocontrol, but you definitely don't want anything "passive."

This depends on if you'd like to maintain the functionality of your fader. If you'd like to be able to fade front to back you'll want to use either 2 of those or the upgraded 6 channel version:

Even if you do want to maintain the fader I should stress that the ability to maintain it without losing quality is contingent on all speakers in the system being able to produce a 50hz tone. If for example the rear speakers aren't able to produce it then the fader just isn't worth a drop in quality. You never want to be forced to amplify an almost dead signal which is what you'll be doing restoring bass on speakers that aren't given enough signal to produce it.

You'll only have 2 RCAs for the 4 channel amplifier if you decide not to keep the fader, so you'll need to use the 2 channel mode switch instead of 4 channel mode.
 

Silvercx5123

CarAudio.com Newbie
Jul 19, 2020
5
0
Australia
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
Yes, you'll want to use either an audiocontrol LOC or another "active" one. I don't know which to recommend besides audiocontrol, but you definitely don't want anything "passive."

This depends on if you'd like to maintain the functionality of your fader. If you'd like to be able to fade front to back you'll want to use either 2 of those or the upgraded 6 channel version:

Even if you do want to maintain the fader I should stress that the ability to maintain it without losing quality is contingent on all speakers in the system being able to produce a 50hz tone. If for example the rear speakers aren't able to produce it then the fader just isn't worth a drop in quality. You never want to be forced to amplify an almost dead signal which is what you'll be doing restoring bass on speakers that aren't given enough signal to produce it.

You'll only have 2 RCAs for the 4 channel amplifier if you decide not to keep the fader, so you'll need to use the 2 channel mode switch instead of 4 channel mode.
So will i need 2 LOC's if im running a 4 channel amp and a mono amp?
 

Lasherž

CarAudio.com Elite
Apr 27, 2020
1,236
284
United States
So will i need 2 LOC's if im running a 4 channel amp and a mono amp?
Only if you decide to feed the 5 channels from 5 inputs, which I wouldn't recommend unless your speakers are all capable of producing a 50hz tone audibly as played from your OEM head unit. This will also require you to tap all 4 speakers rather than just 2 of them. Your amplifier (the 4 channel one) has a switch that says 2 channel and 4 channel on it. If you flip it to 2 channel mode you can feed all 4 channels from just 2 inputs from the LOC without needing cheap splitters. The LC2i has 4 RCA outs: 2 for main which is full range, and 2 for bass frequencies for the mono amp.
 

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