2001-2005 Mazda Miata

2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005


Jon Paulette

Jon Paulette is a veteran automotive writer who has spent a fair portion of his life hanging out at racetracks and talking to amazing people who make extremely loud cars reach ridiculous speeds. Despite all that, he still has enough hearing left to enjoy a stupidly large music collection. A native Virginian, Jon lives in the Charlottesville area, roots for the Nationals and would like a good BBQ sandwich right about now.

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This article is an overview of your vehicle's audio system and its upgrade options. If you're looking for step-by-step instructions on how to install a car stereo or speakers in your Miata, there's nothing better than our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™. This detailed, well-illustrated document is free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for $9.99.
2001 Mazda Miata

2001 Mazda Miata (Crutchfield Research Photo)



When you're driving a Mazda MX-5 Miata on a curvy, country road on a beautiful day, with the top down and the wind on your hair, music probably isn't all that important. You might be quite content to write your own mechanical symphony using the high-revving engine, the occasional chirp from the tires, and your own perfectly-timed downshifts. We totally understand. In fact, we'd like a ride sometime.

The second-generation Miata debuted in 1999 and received this mid-cycle update in 2001. The cosmetic changes were well-received, but country-road driving enthusiasts were much more excited about the bump in horsepower and the wider availability of the optional six-speed manual transmission. With or without the 6-speed, the sound of an enthusiastically driven Miata is a wonderful thing.

But, let's face it, into each life a little rain must fall and the only thing to do when that happens is put the top up and enjoy some music. You're still driving a great little car, so why not enjoy some great stereo sound?

Factory stereo system

The 2001-2005 Miata was available with several different stereo packages. The base package was a single-disc AM/FM/CD receiver and four speakers in the doors. Upgrade options were an in-dash 6-disc changer and a Bose® system with larger speakers and an external amplifier. From 2004-up, Mazda added two more speakers to the Bose system, behind the seats in the windblocker.

Miata factory radio

The Bose equipped Miata's factory radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing the factory stereo

No matter which stock system you have, removing the Miata's factory stereo is an uncomplicated process made easier by the detailed, step-by-step instructions found in the Crutchfield MasterSheet™ that's free with your stereo purchase.

You'll use a panel tool to pry off the plastic DIN-hole covers on either side of the radio. Once that's out of the way, insert either two DIN tools (for the Bose system) or four DIN tools (for the base system) into the holes on either side of the radio. (These DIN tools are included with most Crutchfield receiver orders.) Push the tools into the holes approximately 1", until you hear a click from each tool.

DIN tools inserted (Crutchfield Research Photo)

To remove the base stereo, insert the DIN tools, then pull back (Crutchfield Research Photo)

It's important to be patient and even gentle with your car during this process. Excessive force can damage the retaining clips, and you'll need those later. Once everything has "clicked," spread the tools apart just a bit and gently pull the radio out of the cavity. Disconnect the wiring harness, unplug the antenna cable, and you’re done.

Like the rest of the car, the Miata's radio cavity is rather snug. Still, a nice selection of single-DIN (2") or double-DIN (4") receivers will fit in the dash. Receiver depth can be an issue, but Crutchfield's extensive database will ensure that you purchase a receiver that fits into your dash. You'll need a mounting kit to trim out your new stereo, a wiring harness to connect the new receiver without cutting the Miata's factory wiring, and an adapter that connects the antenna. These installation parts are available at a very nice discount with your Crutchfield stereo purchase.

If you plan to keep the factory radio and upgrade your system with a Bluetooth®, satellite radio, or iPod® adapter, you’ll still have to remove the factory radio to connect any of those adapters.

The Bose system in the Miata includes a factory amplifier located behind and below the car's heater controls. When you install an aftermarket receiver in a Bose-equipped car, you'll need a special adapter, which is available at a deep discount with your Crutchfield receiver purchase.

Tools needed: Small flat blade screwdriver, panel tool, DIN tools

Shop for car stereos that fit your Mazda Miata

Steering wheel controls

It's relatively easy to retain the steering wheel audio controls when you install a new stereo in your Miata. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with your new receiver.

Replacing the factory speakers

When you're planning to add a new stereo to your Miata, it's important to think about how, and how much, you're going to use it. A new receiver is always a good first step, simply because the additional features (Bluetooth calling, iPod connectivity, etc) can make a big improvement in the fun and functionality of your car. If you're obsessed with great sound (Since you're reading the Crutchfield website, that’s a distinct possibility!), you'll definitely want to upgrade your speakers. But if you're happy enjoying the sound of the engine and the feel of the wind in your hair, there's no need to rush.

Miata front door speaker

The Miata's front door (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Front doors

The speakers are easy to get to, at least. You'll need to remove the door panels, but that's a straightforward process that shouldn't take very long at all. The ease of installing new ones is largely dependent on which version of the Miata stereo you have and how skilled you are at basic fabrication work.

The factory Bose speakers are a rather interesting 8" in diameter. As you might expect, exact replacements are about as easy to find as a Miata competing successfully on the demolition derby circuit. You can replace the Bose speakers with a wide variety of 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" speakers, but you'll need to fabricate your own mounting brackets. If you're not comfortable doing your own fabrication work, you might want to leave the job to a car stereo installation professional. Or you could just leave them where they are. They're Bose, and for this particular application, they're quite good. A new receiver will make them sound even better.

Miata speaker cavity

The 8" Bose speaker cavity (Crutchfield Research Photo)

The base stereo, on the other hand, comes with a pair of perfectly normal 6"x8" speakers in the doors, so it's a lot easier to find and install their replacements. Some 6x8's fit right in, but with others, you'll need to cut out the back of the plastic factory cup (or mounting bracket) to create some extra depth for your new speakers. The word "cut" can be scary, but all you're really doing is snipping away at plastic. Work carefully, take your time and all will be well. Of course, if you simply don't want to cut anything in your car, you can always install a pair of 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" speakers.

Tools needed: panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, small flatblade screwdriver

Mazda Miata tweeter

Tweeters (if present) are in the upper front of each door panel (Crutchfield Research Photo)


The Miata's tweeters are mounted in the upper front of each door panel near the mirrors. In terms of sound staging, these 2", 4-ohm tweeters are in about the best space they can be in a car like this – up near your ears. Once you have the door panel off, they're not hard to remove, but replacing them will involve fabricating a new mounting bracket. On the upside, you won't have to splice wires because there are wiring adapters available for this location.

Windblocker speakers

In 2004, Mazda added the Windblocker panel, located behind the Miata's seats. This handy panel, designed to reduce top-down bead buffeting, contains two full-range speakers. We have not yet had an opportunity to research speakers for this location, so we're not comfortable making recommendations at this time. The good news is that the Miata community is full of active, enthusiastic DIY enthusiasts, so you may want to consult your area Miata club, or visit one of the many Miata forums online.

Shop for speakers that fit your Mazda Miata

Bass in your Miata

If you want to hear serious thump coming from somewhere other than the expansion strips you're driving over, you'll want to add some bass to your Miata. How much bass is up to you of course, but if you've spent any time with these cars, you know that even a second-gen Miata's trunk is only large enough for weekend's worth of duffle bags.

Sure, you could install a custom-built sub box in the trunk (37" W x 10" H x 21" D on non-Bose models, slightly less with Bose), but that depends on how your passenger feels about a lapful of luggage. We've seen it done and it's pretty cool, but unless your Miata is primarily used as a show car, we'd suggest a small powered subwoofer instead. You'll get the bass you want and retain at least a smidgen of luggage space.

mazda miata trunk

The Miata's trunk is big enough to hold some bass (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Other options

Here are some other ideas to help you get even more enjoyment out of your Miata:

Speaker baffles

A set of these waterproof foam baffles can help you get the most out of a new set of speakers. The soft baffles compress easily within the Miata's doors, forming a seal that reduces panel vibration and improves sound. If you cut a hole in the bottom of the baffle, or remove the entire bottom, you'll maintain good bass response while still protecting your speaker.

iPod® and satellite radio adapters

If you don't want to replace your Miata's factory receiver, you can still add versatility to the system. We offer several adapters that will allow you to use an iPod, MP3 player, or satellite radio with your Miata's factory system. With a car like this, anything that allows you to leave that bulky CD album at home is a good thing.


Installing a security system in your Miata isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.

  • Arno Vosk from Williamsport, PA

    Posted on 5/14/2015 11:00:46 AM

    Hi, I have a 2001 Mazda Miata, and would like to know about options that would make it possible to play music stored on my iphone through the Boze factory stereo. That stereo has radio and cd player, which I use, and a tape deck, which I no longer use. Best would be a bluetooth receiver that wouldn't take up much space in the car's small cockpit, that could hook directly into the stereo unit. Do you have anything available, any ideas?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/14/2015 12:51:58 PM

    Arno: I sent your question to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. There isn't a vehicle-specific adapter for your Miata, but there are a number of universal adapters that work similarly to what you've described. Some require access to an AUX input on your receiver, some use an FM modulator to channel sound through your radio, and some have their own built-in speaker. Depending on your preference, it may be worthwhile to consider making the jump to a Bluetooth-equipped aftermarket receiver. Start with our vehicle selector to get a list of stereos that will fit your car. You can use the "Filter" option at the top of any product listing to narrow the selections by brand, price, general features & more.

  • Wynn Whittington from Greenville, NC

    Posted on 5/15/2015 2:46:29 PM

    I have a 2001 Mazda Miata with the BOSE system installed. Single DIN. I need a Factory BOSE amplifier. Do you carry one?

  • TomTom from South Carolina

    Posted on 6/26/2015 8:32:14 PM

    I have a 2003 Miata NB and am taking a different approach to my base sound system. I previously added Yamaha tweeters to the built-in door mounting locations and replaced the factory door speakers with a pair of Pioneer TS-G6844R two-ways. I drilled large holes facing down and rearward to improve bass in the plastic speaker "backer" that prevents water intrusion. Then I removed the rear shelf and cut holes with tin snips for a pair of Pioneer 4 inch 2-ways. I had to add the speaker connector pins to the factory stereo plug (ordered a wiring harness and removed the pins with wires and inserted them in the vacant stereo plug for the head unit). For the final phase I ordered two 5 & 1/4 inch subwoofers that I'll mount in the front downward pointing portion of the rear shelf so they will be behind the seats, mounted behind the mesh "gear stowage" that stretches across the back. Bass will go right through and you shouldn't even be able to see them and there won't be any loss of seat travel. The subs will be powered by a Nitro 800 watt 2-channel amp that I'll mount in the trunk. The amp will either go just below the trunk lid spring rods or in the pocket on the left side of the fuel tank. I won't have to put up with a diminished trunk space with it in that location. I additionally loaded my car with sound deadening self-stick foam strips 5 inches wide in the doors, under seats, behind the seats and lined the spare tire recess too. Expanding foam under the door sills.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/29/2015 10:54:58 AM

    Tom, That's a pretty nifty install! When it's all done, please send some pics to our Customer Car Showroom.

  • Steve K. from Los Angeles

    Posted on 7/3/2015 2:27:46 PM

    This article discusses disconnecting the Miata amp connector on the drivers side below the dash - and plugging in they integration adapter there. I believe this to be incorrect and know of no integration adapter that plugs into the amp connector. All the wiring adapters I know of plug into the head unit harness, the cars wiring harness that goes into the head unit, and is higher up in the center dash. You might want to correct this misinformation, or point out where this note is incorrect.

  • Thomas Elliott from United States

    Posted on 7/5/2015 10:43:58 AM

    I put two 5-1/4 inch Peerless subs in the front-facing part of the removable parcel shelf, pointing toward the seat backs. I previously added 2 Pioneer 4 inch coaxial speakers facing upward in the parcel shelf (unobstructed with the top down), driven by the Non-Bose factory stereo. The subs are driven by a line-level connected NITRO amp in the trunk. No alternator whine! The NITRO comes with a bass level remote control I mounted in the front of the console compartment. This is exactly what the system needed and I gave up no trunk space, the amp sits at an angle in the right side tunnel-cubby of the trunk.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/6/2015 11:03:08 AM

    Steve, Upon further review....you're absolutely right. Thanks for the tip!

  • Drew from Turner

    Posted on 10/6/2015 11:46:17 AM

    I have a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata with the factory Bose system. I'm looking to replace the head unit and door speakers. Is there anything I need to do to either bypass the Bose amp or use the Bose amp with the existing wiring to the door? Are the OEM tweeters (4ohm) that are in the Miata wired to the Bose speaker in the door or are they driven by separate wires? My plan: New head unit New 3 way 8" speaker in the doors New tweeters in the doors I'd like to use the existing wiring if possible. Any help would be great.

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