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Retrosound Malibu

Digital media receiver for 1969-73 Ford Mustang

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Our take on the Retrosound Malibu

by John Pollard
Retrosound

Why replace your factory radio?

Two good reasons - sound quality and cool features. A new car stereo offers power that's superior to most factory radios, along with more sophisticated tone controls. And most car stereos offer built-in or optional features that add safety and fun to life in your car, including inputs for your iPod or MP3 player, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free cell phone calls, satellite radio or HD Radio reception, and connections for building an audio system in your car.

Old school looks, new technology

Retrosound's Malibu digital media receiver brings the modern world to your vintage vehicle. Now you can cruise in style and still enjoy iPod® control, Bluetooth® hands-free phone calls, and other amenities. Retrosound designed the Malibu receiver to mount directly into 1969-73 Ford Mustang dash openings — no dash kit is needed. Retrosound went to great lengths to make the Malibu look like the old Ford radio by including knobs and buttons that match the original look, all while giving you the modern features that'll make driving even more enjoyable. (Note: this receiver does not play CDs.)

Read more

Hands-free calling and digital sound

The Malibu looks like an old-fashioned radio, but it offers all the modern conveniences. You can talk hands-free or stream audio programming to the receiver with your smartphone, and you can connect your iPod or USB thumb drive to the two rear USB ports. You'll find two auxiliary inputs on the rear of the receiver for other sources, like a satellite radio tuner. The Malibu also offers excellent AM/FM reception, and will display song titles from any radio station that's broadcasting text information.

Installation options

This Retrosound receiver features three sets of preamp outputs that make it easier to add amps and subs to your vehicle. You can adjust your bass from the driver's seat using the subwoofer level controls and variable low-pass crossover. Here's another cool feature that Henry Ford never could have imagined — you can choose from 32,0000 backlight colors so the adjustable-angle LCD display will look just right in your dash.

Free vintage-look screen protectors included

Your RetroSound Malibu order includes three clear plastic screen protectors with old-school "radio dial" numbers. They'll add style to your receiver while still allowing you to see the digital numbers behind the graphics. They're easy to apply, they look great, and they'll help prevent scratches and everyday damage. You'll get three distinct designs that blend right in with your car's interior.

iPod/smartphone note: If you're going to use your iPod or smartphone with this receiver, be sure to check "Details" for compatibility information.

This digital media receiver will not play CDs. If you want to play CDs in your vehicle, we offer a wide selection of CD receivers.

Highlights:

    General features:
    • digital media receiver with black control face designed for 1969-73 Ford Mustangs (no built-in CD player)
    • built-in amplifier (25 watts RMS/45 peak x 4 channels)
    • built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming
    • plays MP3 and WMA music files from external sources (no internal CD player)
    • adjustable-angle LCD display with 32,0000 backlight color choices
    Audio features:
    • AM/FM tuner with 18 FM/12 AM presets
    • 4 EQ presets plus user-controlled bass/treble adjustment
    • subwoofer crossover and level controls
    Expandability:
    • iPod/iPhone direct control and charging via USB input
    • inputs: dual rear auxiliary and USB inputs
    • outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (2.85-volt front, rear, and subwoofer)
    Other features and specs:

    Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

    Features and Specs
    General
    CEA-2006 Compliant No
    RMS Power Output 25 watts
    Peak Output 45 watts
    RMS Power Bandwidth 20-20kHz
    Preamp Outputs 6-channel
    Sub Preamp Outputs Yes
    Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs No
    Video Screen No
    Preamp Voltage 2.85 volts
    Display Color Variable
    Key Button Color N/A
    EQ Bands 3
    Wireless Remote No
    Steering Wheel Control Compatible No
    Parts Warranty 2 Years
    Labor Warranty 2 Years
    Expandability
    AUX Input Rear
    USB Input Rear
    Memory Card Slot USB
    Bluetooth Compatible Built-in
    Satellite Radio Ready No
    HD Radio No
    Navigation ---
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size Classic/5Gen
    Nano 7/6/5/4/3/2/1
    Touch 5/4/3/2/1
    Mini No
    iPhone 5/4S/4/3GS/3G/2G
    Tuner
    FM Sensitivity 12.5 dBf
    European Tuning Yes
    Seek/Scan Seek
    Radio Data System Yes
    Product Research
    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • Shaft-style radio
    • 2 Infinimount shafts with a 9" harness attached to each one
    • 2 Infinimount metal brackets
    • Power/Ground harness
    • Speaker harness
    • Knob kit
    • Microphone w/ integrated bracket (attached 8'cable terminated by 3.5mm connector)
    • 2 Rubber shaft boots
    • 10 Machine screws
    • Self-tapping screw
    • 10 Large metal flat-washers
    • 12 Medium metal flat-washers
    • 3 Small metal flat-washers
    • 4 Large plastic flat-washers
    • 6 Small plastic flat-washers
    • 3 Lock-washers
    • 2 Thick spacers
    • 2 Thin spacers
    • 2 Plastic cups
    • 12 Large nuts
    • 1 Small nut
    • Metal backstrap
    • 3 Vintage-style screen protectors
    • Installation/Owner's Manual
    • "Important" note

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Shaft-Style Radio
    Variety of Sources
    Audio Section

    Shaft-Style Radio

    Direct Fit For 69-73 Ford Mustang: The RetroSound Malibu shaft-style radio is designed to directly fit into your 1969-1973 Ford Mustang without the need for any extra faceplate or kit. Knobs are included.

    Variable-Color LCD: The RetroSound Malibu features variable color display illumination. You can choose from one of 32 preset colors, have the unit scan through all 32 preset colors continuously, or customize your own color (RGB; 0-9). The custom setting allows you to individually adjust the intensity of Red, Green, and Blue (from 0-9) to better match your vehicle's interior lights. You can also adjust the brightness of the display from High or Low. The unit's front-panel display offers an enhanced viewing angle and is daylight compatible. The LCD will display clock, audio settings, tuner stations, and song/artist information from discs, USB, and iPod/iPhone.

    Variety of Sources

    Built-in Bluetooth: The RetroSound Malibu is equipped with built-in Bluetooth (HFP/A2DP/AVRCP) allowing you to make and receive phone calls wirelessly through the receiver; as well as stream music wirelessly from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone to the head unit. Before using your Bluetooth enabled device, it must be paired to the Malibu. You can only pair one device at a time with this unit. Once paired, when your Bluetooth device is in close proximity to the RetroSound receiver, the auto connection function automatically connects the two units. The Malibu is compatible with most Bluetooth enabled mobile phones, including the Apple iPhone, Blackberry, and Android smartphones.

    • Hands-Free Communication: The Malibu allows for wireless communication between the head unit and your Bluetooth enabled cell-phone. You can answer an incoming call from the head unit's front-panel control knobs. Incoming phone call information will be displayed on the unit's front-panel LCD and your music will be pause or muted. You will still use your phone to dial a phone number and then the call will transfer to the RetroSound radio. Use the included external microphone to speak into during your phone conversation, while the other party will be heard through your vehicle's speakers.
    • Wireless Audio Streaming: The Malibu also allows you to play back stored music and  music apps from your Bluetooth-enabled phone or personal music player using a paired Bluetooth connection. Playback controls included Play/Pause, Stop, & Next/Previous Track. This unit does not display song/artist information from Bluetooth audio devices.
    Note: Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some Bluetooth enabled devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the RetroSound Malibu.

    Dual USB Ports: The RetroSound Malibu features two USB (type-A) ports connected to its rear chassis by a 40" pigtail. The USB ports enable connection of  portable USB mass-storage class (MSC) devices; such as your Android smartphone, portable digital audio player, or USB thumbdrive. Once you've connected your compatible USB device, the Malibu will find your songs instantly and automatically start playing them. You will be able to control basic playback functions of your music files such as Play, Pause, Skip Track, Intro Scan, Repeat Track, and Random. This unit supports MP3 (128 kbps +) and WMA (64 kbps +) in format FAT and FAT32. The unit can recognize a maximum of 999 songs/files (files will be read in order of creation and not alphabetically or numerically). The Malibu also supports ID3-tags/WMA-tags for song/artist information.  USB portable audio players that can be charged via USB will be charged when plugged into the receiver's USB port (max. 0.5A), and the vehicle's ignition switch is set to ACC or On.

    Note: You cannot connect a USB device via a USB hub or Multi-Card Reader to this unit.

    iPod Direct Connection w/ DAC Bypass: Either rear-panel USB port can act as an iPod/iPhone high-speed direct connection when used with the USB/iPod cable that came with your iPod/iPhone. The USB connection allows your iPod/iPhone's stored music and music apps to be loaded instantly to the unit and sound quality to be maximized through the head unit's 1-bit D/A converter. The RetroSound Malibu supports audio playback of stored music or music apps, music navigation, information display, and charging of select iPod/iPhone models.

    • iPod Control: You can control your connected iPod/iPhone from the head unit's front-panel control knobs. You can browse your iPod/iPhone's music by Playlist, Artist, Album, Song, Genre, Composer, or Podcast.  In addition, you can activate Repeat playback modes (all/track). Most iPod/iPhone device's clickwheel or touchscreen will be locked during connection (Apple devices w/ iOS 6.0+ will stay unlocked).
    • iPod Display: The Malibu will display your iPod/iPhone's music file information from stored music. The head unit will display Track number, Elapsed playing time, Artist name and Song/Album title.
    • iPod Charging: The unit's USB connection provides 0.5A of current to power and charge your connected iPod/iPhone when your vehicle's ignition switch is set to the 'ACC' or 'On' position. This unit does not charge the iPad. If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.

    iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The RetroSound Malibu is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 7/31/2013):

    Apple Device Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Display Type Bluetooth Charge
    Audio Video Head Unit iPod/iPhone Artist/Song Text Track Info Phone Audio
    iPhone 2G 3.1.3 Y N Y N Y Y Y N Y
    3G 4.2.1 Y N Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    3GS 5.1.1 Y N Y N Y Y Y Y Y
    4 6.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    4S 6.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5 6.1.4 Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    touch 1st 2.2.1 Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    2nd 4.2.1 Y N Y N Y Y N Y Y
    3rd 5.1.1 Y N Y N Y Y N Y Y
    4th 6.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y N Y Y
    5th 6.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y N Y Y
    nano 1st 1.3.1 Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    2nd 1.1.3 Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    3rd 1.1.3 Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    4th 1.0.4 Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    5th 1.0.2 Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    6th 1.2 PC Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    7th 1.02 PC Y N Y N Y Y N Y Y
    classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    120GB 2.0.1 Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    160GB 2.0.4 Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    video 5th 1.3 Y N Y N Y Y N N Y
    iPad 1 5.1.1 Y N Y N Y Y N Y N
    2 6.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y N Y N
    3 6.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y N Y N
    4 6.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y N Y N
    mini 6.1.3 Y N Y Y Y Y N Y N
    Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the head unit and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to wait until a newer software update is available.

    Dual Auxiliary Inputs: The universal shaft-style receiver features two 3.5mm auxiliary inputs connected to the rear chassis by 7" pigtails. The Aux inputs provide a connection for portable external audio sources such as a MP3 player or  CD player.

    RDS AM/FM Tuner: The Malibu features a built-in RDS AM/FM tuner. The Radio Data System (RDS) feature displays radio broadcast information such as artist & track information when listening to compatible AM/FM stations. The unit's tuner features 3 FM bands and 2 AM bands. A total of 30 AM/FM presets can be stored manually or automatically. Select between Local and Distant settings can aid in listening to weak FM radio stations or compensate for stations that have too strong of a signal. This unit's tuner can be set to USA or European tuning.

    Audio Section

    22W x 4Ch Amplifier: The Malibu is equipped with a 22 watts x 4-channel RMS/60 watts x 4-channel Peak amplifier.

    6Ch/2.85V RCA Outputs: The universal shaft-style receiver features front, rear and subwoofer 2.85-volt RCA outputs. The front and rear speaker RCA outputs are balance and fade adjustable. The subwoofer RCA output is non-fading.

    Subwoofer Control: When the subwoofer RCA output is active, you can adjust the output level (0-12) of the sub output. You can also set the low-pass crossover to 80, 120, or 160Hz.

    Equalizer: The Malibu features the following preset EQ curves (Classic, Pop, Rock, or Off) to customize your music listening. The Off mode activates a 3-Band EQ which lets you adjust Bass, Midrange, & Treble manually.

    3-Band EQ
    Frequency Level
    Bass 60, 80, 100, 200 Hz -7 to +7
    Midrange 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.5 kHz  -7 to +7
    Treble 10.0, 12.5, 15.0, 17.5 kHz -7 to +7

    XBAS: This function boosts bass & treble at low listening volumes, and should be turned off at higher listening levels.

    Balance & Fader Control: The Balance adjustment function allows you to adjust or pan the stereo sound from the left or right; this is helpful to compensate for the position of the driver in relation to the speaker locations. Adjustment range is 0 to 12. The Fader Control allows you to fade the sound from the front pair of speaker to your rear pair of speakers. Adjustment range is 0 to 12.

    Turn-On Volume: You can set the Malibu to power-on to the same volume level (0-46) every time, or let it default to the last volume when turned off.

    Key Beep: When this function is enabled, every knob turn or button press will output a beep tone.

     
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    Retrosound Malibu Reviews

    Average Customer Review:

    2 people say:

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    5 out of 5

    Awesome Radio

    Written By Nate, Belleville, MI on Monday, July 28, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This radio looks amazing in my 1970 Mach 1 it looks like it belongs in the car not like the other radios in the past and it has every modern feature that one could ever want in a car today.
    Pros:
    Easy to install Customer service is the best to deal with Looks and sounds amazing
    Cons:
    None
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
    "Coolness Factor"
    Build Quality
    Ease of Use
    Sound Quality
    Value
     
    5 out of 5

    RetroSound Malibu

    Written By DouglasL, Mid-Missouri on Monday, August 19, 2013
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Classic look; modern technology (i.e. bluetooth, USB port, iPhone compatible).
    Was this review helpful?    Yes | No
    "Coolness Factor"
    Build Quality
    Ease of Use
    Sound Quality
    Value
     

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    For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Retrosound Malibu, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_068M6973MU/Retrosound-Malibu.html ).