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Projects Music in cars: Stereos (MP3) and speakers- what works good?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Chris, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. I am wanting to add a MP3 system in my 46 Ford coupe, and do not want any of it to be seen. I have read a ton of options on doing this: stand alone units, modified original radios, etc. What do you guys like (or do not like) about some of these? Do some work better then others?

    For speakers, I really do not want them visible, I was thinking of doing two small speakers that would go where the single stock speaker went...or can I use just one? I am NOT a radio/electronic guru at all so please bear with me, has anyone ever found small speakers that sound decent? I am not looking at blowing the glass out of the car, just something that sounds decent and it will probably play oldies for the most part anyways.

    What about a complete stand alone unit that is wireless and charges in an outlet? You can just toss it in the car when you want it, nothing hooks up in the car.

    So I guess I am asking for help and opinions. What set ups did you guys like? How/where did you mount your speakers? I am not opposed to mounting two in the package tray, but DO NOT want any front speakers in the doors or kick panels. I have owned a lot of old cars, but never had one with a music system. I plan on taking this car on a lot of trips, and although hearing the engine humming is all some guys need, it would be nice to hear some music once in a while.
  2. upspirate
    Joined: Apr 15, 2012
    Posts: 2,196


  3. In my 37 I had my buddy (manager at a car stereo joint) mount 2 small coaxs up in the dash out of view (4" diameter if i remember) and he wired em to were its just a plug in for an aux cord where the dash rolls down and out of sight, i just plug an aux cord to it and then to my phone and cut on Pandora or whatever. Im no audio expert but i can get the exact info from him on what all was done.
  4. Reverbs are traditional.:D;)
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  5. Mrmeenyo
    Joined: Oct 9, 2016
    Posts: 19


    For now I just use this little Bluetooth speaker I picked up at Walmart for like $60. It works great all I play is oldies on it any way. I hear it clearly thru my duel glass packs with the windows down. Charge last up to 8 hours plus I get hands free phone calls on it as well. This is until I find the actual stereo I want to go with. [​IMG]

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    jeffd1988 likes this.
  6. Remember the "booming sound", from the reverb unit, when driving the car over the uneven railroad tracks ?:)
    robracer1 and lothiandon1940 like this.
  7. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,517

    seb fontana
    from ct

    In my youth a guy at work talked me into getting a reverb for my car, said the girls are impressed..First girl I tried to "impress" told me to shut that F'in thing off..
  8. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,262


    In this day and age there's no reason to hack up your car adding 50 year old technology. I use my IPOD and Smart Phone which contain hundreds of songs of my choice and play the through a JBL Flip ll bluetooth speaker. Its totally portable and can be removed in seconds.

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  9. LBCD
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 1,017


    Bluetooth speaker and phone or ipod..... make a small shelf and mount it under your dash to an existing bolt etc... use Velcro on the piece to keep it from moving around. Thats my plan for my 41 one of these days.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  10. millersgarage
    Joined: Jun 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,023


    Chris likes this.
  11. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,750

    from So Cal

    What about a motorcycle system? They make systems for bikes with small speakers that are designed to be heard above the wind noise and engine noise of a bike, the speakers are small enough that they should be able to be easily hidden under the dash. Combine them with a hidden amplifier that will accept a bluetooth connection from a smart phone.

    FYI, if you have an Android phone, you can upload your entire music collection to google Play Music and stream it from there while on the road. That way you don't have to use up all the memory on your phone with your music collection.
    Bandit Billy and Mrmeenyo like this.
  12. I'll text ya. I've done this a bunch for customers. It's been a little while. So I'll have to refresh on current parts lust. But I can just email you that soon. You'll like like it. Hidden and slick.

    Sent from my SM-G900T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    elmohowe and Chris like this.
  13. I've tried this. If the car has much road noise they don't work amazing. I've got a fairly nice blue tooth speaker. Its not loud enough for my A and they honestly don't last long at high volume. It's just not enough speaker.

    Sent from my SM-G900T using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  14. OMA_Turk
    Joined: May 2, 2011
    Posts: 43

    from Omaha, NE

    Post it for the rest of us too
    jeffd1988, 40ply and tomkelly88 like this.
  15. I used a really high quality Bose blue tooth speaker, with the idea I could use it in whatever car I was driving that day.
    It worked okay in town, but was never as satisfying as a good quality car stereo.
    On the highway it sucked, in my F100 it was useless.
    And the Bluetooth was kind of a pain in the ass. Every time I'd have to turn on the speaker, then the iPod, then wait for them to sync up... and it was a 75% chance that they would sync up...
    One day I ran into a friends house for a second and it was on the console of my thunderbird, and someone walked away with it. So now I'm back to the AM tube radio.

    A friend of mine put a motorcycle stereo in his 54 Chevy. Just runs off his iPhone, it works better than the Bluetooth speaker, but it's still pretty lousy sound quality.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  16. AndersF
    Joined: Feb 16, 2013
    Posts: 699


    In my 59 Dodge stw i have two 4inch speakers in front where the stock one was.
    In the back i have two 4X6 speakers hided behind the inner roof.
    The main unit is under the front seat on the floor.
    The 53 have allso two speakers in front stock location but in the rear
    they are visible couse the holes was allready done when i bought the car.
    Otherwise i had mount them behind the inner roof on the c-pillars.
    The main unit is in the glovebox.
    Theese units dont give great sound its more like stock units from the era.
    Just possible to play a bit louder.
  17. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,517

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Yes, please do!
  18. How good do you want it to sound? If you're happy listening to music on a cheap boombox, then a portable Bluetooth speaker may work for you. Small speakers, small sound as a general rule...

    I installed two 6.5" round speakers in the package tray on my long-door avatar, and there was just enough room. I bought these...
    Kicker 41KSC654
    6-1/2" 2-way speakers
    ... from Crutchfield. Good sound for the size, and while they are visible if you look for them, they're really not noticeable. I used a conventional head unit in the dash to drive them (I'm not into I-stuff... LOL), but you want at least 20 watts per channel with these speakers regardless of your source (more would be better). I got the JVC AM/FM/CD (with a USB port for your I-stuff)) head unit and the speakers for about $200. Sounds as good as my GFs Honda CRV radio, not as good as the 'Shaker' radio in my Mustang.

    There's not really any good places to 'hide' stuff in these cars, and those 'stereo-in-the-stock-speaker-hole' speakers generally sound like crap IMO. A package tray install is one of the best places to mount speakers for sound quality...
  19. Thanks everyone for the input. I am not after modern day premium sound...just decent sound and that I can hear on the highway. Another dumb question...stupid actually...does being 6V throw all these ideas out the window? I am going to convert my 46 to 12V, but my 53 will probably stay 6V. I do have an idea for 6V however...
  20. xpletiv
    Joined: Jul 9, 2008
    Posts: 938

    from chiburbs

    JBL Extreme Bluetooth portable speaker: small, plays for a long time, can go loud, but more importantly, it plays clearly and it reproduces the full spectrum and not just highs and low(like Blows, I mean, Bose).
    Demo one at store and be surprised.
    jeffd1988 likes this.
  21. jeffd1988
    Joined: Apr 12, 2016
    Posts: 537


    If you dont want to deal with a system in your ride. Get the bluetooth speaker called (ue boom) you can play tracks off of your phone like iheart radio and plays all the oldies. It is recharchable it does get loud if you want. And it plays for hours. That is the best way. No wires. And take anywere.
  22. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,549

    from Woburn, MA

    I'm in the Bluetooth speaker camp too. I was researching these recently. All you really need to fool with is a way to keep it and your phone or other media player charged if need be. Some of the speakers are fairly artsy or at least fairly easily overlooked in a period car too.

    jeffd1988 likes this.
  23. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,643



    Music inside of old cars gets better with a full sound system. But, if the concert quality is not what you are looking for, then those smaller wireless set ups are easy and simple. Some of them have good sound and transmit throughout the cabin of a coupe or sedan. Back in 62, we had a small Sony handheld am radio. The sound inside of a 40 Ford Sedan Delivery was loud and hollow, due to it being empty behind without any upholstery. But, this little Sony played music for us on our surf trips up and down the coast. Ten years later on on our second version of a 40 Ford Sedan Delivery, it had full upholstery and upgraded built in stereo with 4 speakers. The sound was outstanding. But, it was handy and money well spent. Some cars are very noisy and some aren’t.

    For convenience, it is hard to beat those Ipods and wireless bluetooth speakers. They are handy everywhere. We have separate Ipods with a ton of music, they all go through the car’s speakers. When those batteries go down on long trips, it gets charged with a myriad of portable backups. No need to use our phone’s batteries. Phones are phones…Ipods are a no hassle set up. Agreeing with others that have said with more power and good speakers, you get quality sounds. It is not contest for suggestions, but for your case of not wanting to mess up your original dash configuration, maybe a wireless system or that cool suitcase is your best bet.
    One last thing, I personally like the sound that a radical motor makes when accelerating away. It must be the drag racing upbringing, but that soothes me just as much as a rocking out song. So, most of the time, the music is off and I listen to the smooth sounds of power.

  24. elmohowe
    Joined: May 2, 2007
    Posts: 24


    Did you ever post what you were going to show on how to do this slick install of sound system? Thanks.
  25. CowboyTed
    Joined: Apr 27, 2015
    Posts: 340


    You asked about what NOT to do, and I have a failure to share:

    I noticed that my computer's speakers use a power supply that steps down 120 volts alternating current to 6 volts DC. I found another set that use the same power supply, cut the plug off the power wire and wired the speakers to the ignition switch in my Studebaker. Then I just plug the input plug on those speakers into the headphone jack on my phone or a portable MP3 player. The speakers are small and hide under the front edge of the seat. The system works, but sadly, they are just not loud enough to hear at highway speeds. They only really work around town.

    Now I'm looking for the same solution you are. I'm considering a simple console that would hide a head unit, two speakers and a 12 volt motorcycle battery. But I haven't built it yet, so I'm reading the suggestions here with interest. Someone on another forum suggested that they have such a console, and the motorcycle battery lasts for months before it needs to be recharged.
  26. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,647


    Just a little input here,I have a couple of friends who have put a complete stereo system in a older suitcase. with a simple plug on it .change it between cars sometimes.looks cool.
  27. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 2,907

    Flathead Dave
    from So. Cal.

    I don't like the reverb. It sounds cheesy and tinny. One vendor at Pomona always plays his loud to the point that it's obnoxious as hell.
    Bandit Billy likes this.
  28. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 2,907

    Flathead Dave
    from So. Cal.

    Good idea. I might use your idea. I think I'll check it out.

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