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Create Big Sound Without Big Dollars

Smart Sound

Mar 10, 2016
Photographers: Jeremy Cook
Whenever we’re gearing up for an audio installation story, we ask ourselves what we’re trying to accomplish. Are we going for the down-to-earth install that the average truck owner could do at local installation center without breaking the bank? Or are we willing to toss all that out the window in the name of superior sound quality and massive bass?
What if we told you that now more than ever, it is not so tough to have the best of both worlds? Sure the highest of the high-end audio components are still pricy. But new technology and lower manufacturing costs have made some seriously nice equipment available for real-world prices. CT Sounds exemplifies this and the company’s line of digital amplifiers, component speakers, and sub woofers are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. We paired the CT Sounds equipment with a JVC Double-Din head unit that features all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from a high-quality universal head unit. Finally, we teamed up with SUBoxes to create a simple, yet extremely effective, sub enclosure that fits snugly under the rear seat of our Super Cab Super Duty and houses a pair of 10-inch subs with plenty of air space.
After rounding up all the necessary components, we bee lined it for Fontana, California, and California Sounds, to take advantage of their expert installation staff, knocking out the entire install in about four hours. California Sounds is also a dealer for every major audio company you can think of and has a massive showroom to prove it, so you know they’re trusted and respected universally. Read on for all the details and be sure to check out all the manufacturer’s websites to see what kind of a system you can put together for your truck.
Photo 2/39   |   01A CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Photo 3/39   |   01B CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Photo 4/39   |   01C CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
California Sounds in Fontana, California, offered its expert skills for this install. They’re a big fan of the CT Sounds product line. Check out the showroom, this is no ordinary corner audio shop.
Photo 5/39   |   02 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
We were simply replacing the four stock Ford component speakers in the doors and opted for CT Sounds Meso Co-axil 5x7s. At 120 watts of max power per corner, replacing your stock speakers with these components alone would make a night and day difference in the average truck.
Photo 6/39   |   03 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
We chose to run a pair of compact, but powerful, CT Sounds amps to power the system. These new amps are so new we didn’t have all the details at press time. What we do know is the 60x4-watt amp was perfect for powering the four coaxials, while the 1000-watt mono amp is just what the doctor ordered for driving the subs. We also ordered up the CT Sounds installation kits for each.
Photo 7/39   |   04 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
The CT Sounds Thermo shallow mount 10-inch subwoofers are perfect for the limited height and depth we’re working with under the F-250 Super Cab’s rear seat. And don’t let the 300-watt RMS fool you; these mild looking subwoofers really pack a punch. CT Sounds offers the heavy-duty speaker wire, as well.
Photo 8/39   |   05 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
We chose a JVC KW-V220BT DVD receiver to run the system. For starters, it’s a 2-Din and slips right in the dash of our Super Duty as a result. It also has all the cool features, such as a 6.2-inch touch screen; built-in Apple, Android, Bluetooth, and Pandora control; plays USB memory devices; and is compatible with SiriusXM. If none of that works for you, listen to the radio or pop in a CD!
Photo 9/39   |   06 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
The last piece of the puzzle was a sub enclosure, which was made to order by SUBoxes just for us. Once we gave them the specs of our truck, which was a ’04 Super Duty Super Cab with the light gray interior, they knocked out the matching, sealed box. It slid right into place.
Photo 10/39   |   07 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Even though it was still functional, the stock Ford head unit had seen better days. With none of the modern conveniences we like, it was time for an upgrade.
Photo 11/39   |   08 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Once in the shop at California Sound, the crew got busy removing the doorsill plates and fuse panel cover to prepare to install all the new cables.
Photo 12/39   |   09 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
The proper removal tool was all it took to relieve the stock head unit of its duties.
Photo 13/39   |   10 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
From there, the antenna and harness were disconnected.
Photo 14/39   |   11 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Before yanking off the dash bezel, there are a few hidden screws straight up under the opening.
Photo 15/39   |   12 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Now, the bezel can be popped off and out of the way.
Photo 16/39   |   13 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Next, we tackled one door at a time, starting with the rears, removing the necessary screws before pulling off the upper panels.
Photo 17/39   |   14 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Once the uppers were out of the way, they removed the lower panels.
Photo 18/39   |   15 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Now, the four screws securing the stock speakers can be removed.
Photo 19/39   |   16 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Since the factory plugs are not reused, the wires are simply clipped to detach the speaker.
Photo 20/39   |   17A CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Photo 21/39   |   17B CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Even without examining the speaker construction, the magnets alone speak to the improvements the component speakers alone can make—120-watts capacity, instead of 25-watts, helps too.
Photo 22/39   |   18 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
After splicing and extending the factory wires, they were attached to the CT Sounds coaxials and screwed into place.
Photo 23/39   |   19 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
The same process was repeated on the other side and front doors, too.
Photo 24/39   |   20 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
High-quality installs are what they do all day long, The California Sounds crew attacked the wiring portion by creating a harness using the CT Sounds installation kit, the JVC harness, and a few of their own pieces. The wires were taped up to run down each side of the dash and doorsills to the amps. Once in place, the factory speaker wires were connected to the ones that will run to the amp.
Photo 25/39   |   21 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
We carefully fed the wires through the dash and along the doorsills.
Photo 26/39   |   22 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
With the amps being placed under the front seats, we had to cut a slit in the carpet and terminated the wires there. The blue CT power wires were run from each battery in the engine compartment to here.
Photo 27/39   |   23 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
The ground wire simply runs to the doorsill and grounds to the body. This shot shows everything buttoned up in the driver’s side sill.
Photo 28/39   |   24 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
We were ready to hook up the subwoofer amp. Shown hooked up are the power, ground, sub wires, and remote turn-on.
Photo 29/39   |   25 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
The RCAs were plugged into the other side before the wires were taped up and the amp was mounted under the seat. It was simply secured to the seat frame with self-tappers.
Photo 30/39   |   26 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
We repeated the process on the other side, with the obvious addition of all four component speaker wires.
Photo 31/39   |   27 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Before the JVC head unit can be installed, there is a small lip on the top of the dash bezel that must be trimmed away.
Photo 32/39   |   28 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Once the dash bezel was reinstalled, the install kit was mounted, which for this application was simply two thin sidepieces that were secured to the head unit. Then the wiring harness, the RCA cables, and the antenna were plugged into our new head unit.
Photo 33/39   |   29 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Now the head unit was ready to lock into place.
Photo 34/39   |   30 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
We powered up the head unit and played around for a bit before turning our attention to the subs.
Photo 35/39   |   31 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
The sub enclosure was ready to go, so we got to work wiring up the subs for mounting.
Photo 36/39   |   32 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Then, we screwed them into place in the enclosure.
Photo 37/39   |   33 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
Without even a test fit, we connected our sub wires and slid the enclosure into place. SUBoxes hit the nail on the head, as the color and fitment were perfect.
Photo 38/39   |   34 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
From here, all that was left to do was reap the rewards. The expert staff at California Sound did some fine-tuning of the head unit, as well as both amps, and within minutes our minds were being blown.
Photo 39/39   |   35 CT Stereo Install 2004 Ford Super Duty
We found some appropriate test music and cranked it up. What a difference four hours makes! We had clean, crisp sound, even at extremely loud volume and the bass extremely impressive for a pair of 10s. Mexico trips in our hard-working Super Duty will never be the same! Thanks again to the CT Sounds crew for setting us up with this stellar combo.

Sources

JVC
Wayne, NJ 07470
800-252-5722
http://www.jvc.com
CT Sounds
832-610-2040
http://www.ctsounds.com
California Sound
909-355-5510
www.californiasoundfontana.com

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