Ahoy All

Rob Edmunds

CarAudio.com Newbie
Aug 19, 2022
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0
Ahoy All, I come to this forum as a new member after several months of searching for an answer to an unusual problem after looking at lots of responses. I date back to when an aftermarket head unit with 2.5 watts was an upgrade, ran a commercial PA business for years, currently am a part time lighting tech, and know which end of a soldering iron to hold. In the 1980's I had jacks in the back of my cargo van and could plug in Gauss 15 inch speakers in big cabinets (with that mighty 2.5 W Sanyo) so guess I was early to having subs... My daily drive is a 2008 Chevy Impala with the factory head unit, a Kicker KEY 180.4 amp with DSP, Hertz Dieci DSK 165.3 front speakers, Polk DB690 rears, and a Sony XM-N502 amp in the trunk driving a Polk DXi104 sub in a closed box. The remote power amp is fed by a line level adaptor from the rear speakers, and it's power lead goes through a switch on the dash. I listen to a lot of radio and some stations just use too much bass boost. I have played lots of live music and at one point was an AM top forty DJ and studio engineer.
I will post my question elsewhere but it is about using a pulled factory head unit to make a boom box and defeating RAP. Thanks, Rob
 

1aespinoza

Junior Member
May 22, 2013
2,079
635
I will post my question elsewhere but it is about using a pulled factory head unit to make a boom box and defeating RAP. Thanks, Rob
Welcome. I thought the retained access power was just a timer relay on the car itself. You saying it is in the radio?
 

hispls

CarAudio.com Veteran
5,000+ posts
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Sep 10, 2009
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Welcome aboard. Not sure anybody here can help you get an old factory radio doing any other duty for you. You're in a place where most of us toss those in a dumpster. Factory radios are known to be dubious quality and very good quality aftermarket options abound for very reasonable prices.
 
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Rob Edmunds

CarAudio.com Newbie
Aug 19, 2022
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0
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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Welcome aboard. Not sure anybody here can help you get an old factory radio doing any other duty for you. You're in a place where most of us toss those in a dumpster. Factory radios are known to be dubious quality and very good quality aftermarket options abound for very reasonable prices.
Yes, I'm in an odd place. It's something I had wanted to try for some time, and in my experience factory radios will pull in stations that other radios won't. For example, the factory head in my 2008 Chevy Impala picks up a classical station from Charleston, SC, 90 miles away. And before they went dark, a 45 watt classical station that was 15 miles away that I could not get with a roof mounted antenna and premium FM tuner at home.
It doesn't sound bad, it's much better than my boombox and vastly superior to the 1960's radio which was the official pool radio. I like the pushbutton preset feature for hanging out in the kiddie pool. With fiddling about the GE will get the oldies and beach stations, but then it drifts while I float...
Thanks for reading my question and responding. DSCN1125.JPG
 

hispls

CarAudio.com Veteran
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10+ year member
Sep 10, 2009
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factory radios will pull in stations that other radios won't.
I used to have very good luck with Pioneer brand head units back when I did more driving and pulling a couple low power college stations was priority. They always seemed to have the best tuner section.

Now if this is just a project you want to do on general principal, I can respect that, but just know you're breaking new ground since most DIY audio people will remove factory head unit first thing.
 

Rob Edmunds

CarAudio.com Newbie
Aug 19, 2022
6
0
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
Yes, I'm in an odd place. It's something I had wanted to try for some time, and in my experience factory radios will pull in stations that other radios won't. For example, the factory head in my 2008 Chevy Impala picks up a classical station from Charleston, SC, 90 miles away. And before they went dark, a 45 watt classical station that was 15 miles away that I could not get with a roof mounted antenna and premium FM tuner at home.
It doesn't sound bad, it's much better than my boombox and vastly superior to the 1960's radio which was the official pool radio. I like the pushbutton preset feature for hanging out in the kiddie pool. With fiddling about the GE will get the oldies and beach stations, but then it drifts while I float...
Thanks for reading my question and responding. View attachment 41886
Sooo I've been thinking about this and have realized that over the years my impressions of factory radios blended in my mind. I'm still experiencing FM reception with my Impala system that is very good, and I have not actually installed a new aftermarket unit since maybe 8 years back. But the real case I want to make about factory head units is their superior AM reception. When I lived in VA there were still some interesting stations on AM where one could find niche formats. And I have never experienced an aftermarket radio with outstanding AM reception. It's there, yeah, but not very good. But I moved to South Carolina four years ago and AM is almost non-existent. As in, one station and not a format I enjoy and lousy sound. (AM can do OK if properly set up, I am an extra class ham operator and used to work on broadcast AM stations decades ago).
 

Rob Edmunds

CarAudio.com Newbie
Aug 19, 2022
6
0
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8
I used to have very good luck with Pioneer brand head units back when I did more driving and pulling a couple low power college stations was priority. They always seemed to have the best tuner section.

Now if this is just a project you want to do on general principal, I can respect that, but just know you're breaking new ground since most DIY audio people will remove factory head unit first thing.
Thanks for your understanding that I'm just doing a project that I wanted to try out. Only spent $15 on the radio and used a lot of stuff I had around. The last aftermarket radio I installed was a Pioneer, and it even had a signal strength meter. But I would still contend that a Factory Delco unit will do better on AM - although a good AM station is very hard to find these days.
I started out at one of those low power college stations (WUVT-FM, Blacksburg VA, Virginia Tech) - we pumped out 10 Watts mono in 1972. Everybody listened to the AM side which dumped RF into the power grid for the dorms.
 

hispls

CarAudio.com Veteran
5,000+ posts
10+ year member
Sep 10, 2009
12,979
1,308
Thanks for your understanding that I'm just doing a project that I wanted to try out. Only spent $15 on the radio and used a lot of stuff I had around. The last aftermarket radio I installed was a Pioneer, and it even had a signal strength meter. But I would still contend that a Factory Delco unit will do better on AM - although a good AM station is very hard to find these days.
I started out at one of those low power college stations (WUVT-FM, Blacksburg VA, Virginia Tech) - we pumped out 10 Watts mono in 1972. Everybody listened to the AM side which dumped RF into the power grid for the dorms.
I can't imagine anybody is throwing R&D money into better AM reception in their radios these days.
That said, my dad has a small portable AM/Shortwave boombox type that is extremely nice and I don't think he paid all that high on it. I think if AM is your white whale you should shop a product specifically marketed to people looking to reel in those niche radio bands like that.

Also if you've hit a wall in figuring out what sort of connections your factory radio will need to operate, vehicle specific forum or even asking a tech at a dealership would probably be better sources of answers than here, as I said, the lion's share of DIY car audio guys scrap the head unit as soon as they buy a new car and never look back.
 

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