car stereos & components?
2010-up Ford Mustang Coupe
2010 • 2011 • 2012
|2010 Ford Mustang with 8-Speaker Shaker 500 audio system (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
The latest version of the Mustang coupe has become popular for its retro styling, increased horsepower, and improved fuel economy. Ford offers several stereo systems for the new Mustang, many equipped with the SYNC interface system that a lot of owners love, but there is plenty of room for improvement. The aftermarket hasn't neglected the Mustang — there are options for everything from replacing a few speakers to adding a completely new system.
Replacing your factory radio
|Factory radio in Shaker 500 system (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
The factory deck is integrated into the dash, which makes replacement a little complicated. You'll need a special dash adapter that replaces a good portion of the dash and allows you to install a DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) radio. You'll also need a special wiring adapter that allows you to connect your new radio without having to cut the factory wiring, along with an antenna adapter that connects the Ford antenna to your new radio. (Crutchfield offers a 50% discount on the special adapters needed for this installation with most orders, but we include our step-by-step instructions for your Mustang free.)
The bad news is that it can quickly get expensive based on what you want to replace. The good news is that there are products to make this job easier for you, including a dash adapter that matches the factory colors of your interior and adapters that retain your steering wheel control features.
Ford was also kind enough to pack most factory systems with plenty of features and options, including stereos with integrated satellite radio tuners, as well as the ability to add more music sources like an iPod. If you decide to keep the factory head unit, you can still get great sound, as there are plenty of ways to improve the overall system by adding speakers, amps and more.
|Mustang dash totally disassembled (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Ford offers its long-standing Shaker system in the Mustang in one of two trims:
- the Shaker 500 system features powered 8" subwoofers and 2-way 6"x8" speakers in each front door, with 6"x8" speakers in the rear parcel shelf;
- the Shaker 1000 system adds another amplifier and two larger subs in the trunk.
You'll run into the same issues replacing the radio in your Shaker system, with the added complication of the SYNC system. SYNC gives you the ability to control several features of the Mustang, like audio settings, a Bluetooth mobile phone, climate controls and more, through voice commands and steering wheel controls. To retain SYNC functionality, you'll need PAC's MS-FRD1 interface (which connects your new stereo to the Ford's speaker system), and you'll want to pick a car stereo with a rear auxiliary input to handle the SYNC audio. You'll hear phone calls and SYNC voice prompts, no matter what mode your aftermarket stereo is in.
Steering wheel audio controls
Two companies (PAC and Axxess) make adapters that allow you to connect your Mustang's steering wheel audio controls to a new car stereo. The PAC integration adapter that you'll need to install a new car stereo in this vehicle is prewired to accept any PAC steering wheel control adapter, so you can plug it right in. And you'll definitely want to buy a steering wheel control adapter if you're using the SYNC interface we just mentioned.
Tools needed for installing a new stereo:
- 7mm socket
- Panel removal tool
- Small slotted screwdriver
Replacing your factory speakers
|Front door with Shaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
The Mustang's front doors hold 6"x8" full-range speakers, and most aftermarket speakers will fit. You can also use brackets to get most 5-1/4" speakers to work. It's a good idea to get speaker harnesses along with your new speakers. They'll allow you to attach the new speakers to the plugs that connect to the Ford factory speakers, and they make it easier to reinstall the factory speakers if you ever sell your Mustang. (Crutchfield includes these brackets and speaker wiring harnesses free with every speaker order.) Since most aftermarket speakers use higher-end materials to create a tighter, clearer sound, almost anything is an improvement.
|Ford 6"x8" speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Removal of the speakers is fairly straight forward — just pop off the door panels (requires removing eight 7mm bolts, and two T30 Torx screws) and replace the old speakers with your new ones. You can use speaker harness adapters to connect the new speakers to the Ford speaker plugs, or you can splice the new speakers' wires into the factory harnesses if you know what you're doing.
|Rear deck speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Rear deck speakers
The Mustang's rear speakers are also 6"x8"s, and again you have the option of round 5-1/4" speakers in speaker brackets. In most cases, you'll be able to use the same speakers front and back. You must remove several interior body panels as well as the lower portion of the rear seat to access the speakers, and you'll again need wiring adapters if you don't want to splice into the factory wire harness.
|Removing the rear deck speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
The Shaker systems offered on the Mustang came with pretty decent speakers, so you'll want to pick some good-quality speakers to replace them. Your Mustang will also have 8" subwoofers in the doors.
Tools needed for installing new speakers:
- 7mm socket
- Torx T20 and T30 drivers
- Panel removal tool
- Small slotted screwdriver
Adding bass to your Mustang
If you want to preserve your trunk space, you'll find a number of specially-made subwoofer enclosures available for the Mustang from brands like JL Audio and MTX that fit neatly in the out-of-the-way corners of the trunk. If you want competition-level bass, you'll find plenty of room in the Mustang's trunk for a custom installation.
|Shaker system 8" sub in the door (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Shaker 500 system
Due to the low impedance (1.8) and odd size of the 8" subs in your front doors, there are very few options for replacing them with aftermarket 8" woofers, and the 3-1/4" mounting depth in the door makes it especially tough. You can keep these subs along with their amps, or remove them entirely to use this space for component speakers, crossovers and more. You can get better sound from an amplified midrange speaker in a nice component set, so you won't be losing the low notes by going without these shallow subs.
|Subwoofer removed from the door (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Shaker 1000 system
The biggest difference between the Shaker 500 and the Shaker 1000 systems is the addition of powered subwoofers in the trunk. We recommend installing some of the Mustang-specific sub enclosures we carry, as they require less room than the Shaker 1000 subs while delivering more of a kick, so you'll save space and get more bass.
|JL Audio's Stealthbox® fits beautifully in the Mustang's trunk (Courtesy of JL Audio)|
Adding an amp, even to the Shaker systems that include small factory amps, will increase the sound output and clarity of your music; it will get louder and it will sound better. Since some of the factory speakers have odd impedance levels, you'll want to upgrade those when you upgrade your amps.
If you don't want to replace your Mustang's factory radio, Kicker has come up with an interesting way to upgrade the audio system. The Powerstage package consists of a 4-channel amp/processor, a powered subwoofer, a T-harness, and assorted hardware. Kicker has created a sonic profile of your vehicle, which is downloaded into the amp/processor. Once set, the processor corrects for all the deficiencies in your factory speakers, then uses time alignment to make sure the sounds from all the speakers reach your ears at the same time. The amp sends 50 watts per channel to your front and rear speakers, while the bass is routed to a 200-watt powered sub that fits your vehicle perfectly. The T-harness connects the Powerstage into your speaker system, so no splicing is required. It's an ingenious way to get impressive sound quality without removing a single door panel.
Digital Signal Processor
If modifying your ride just isn't in your DNA, Helix offers another option for vehicles without factory amplifiers. You can use their PP50DSP processor to make a dramatic improvement in the sound of your factory system. It works like this: you buy the processor, along with a vehicle-specific cable and a plug-in powered sub. The cable plugs into your factory radio's plug, connecting the processor/amp to your factory speakers. Next, go to Helix's site, download your vehicle’s audio parameters onto a microSD card, then load that info into the amp/processor. The PP50DSP is now ready to use equalization and time alignment to make your factory speakers sound great. Add in the bass from the optional Helix sub, and you've got a total system upgrade with minimal work.
Many Mustangs come from the factory with a satellite radio tuner. If you're replacing your factory radio, you can switch over to an external tuner and simply transfer your subscription. Just call SiriusXM for details.
If your Mustang didn't come equipped with navigation, there are some easy add-on units that you can move between multiple vehicles. If you're replacing the factory radio, you'll find that almost any car stereo with integrated navigation features will fit.
If you're installing a security system, you won't need any additional module. If you're installing a remote start system, you'll need the XpressKit PKTX interface (available soon), as this Mustang uses Ford's latest 80-bit key.
Three ways to get better sound in your Mustang
Basic: Quick & Easy
The simplest way to improve the sound in your Mustang is with new speakers. Front speakers are the easiest to change and will make the biggest difference; rear speakers are not as audible and a little harder to get to, so you can probably spend a little more on a nicer set for the front doors.
Better: More Power & Factory Looks
An aftermarket amplifier can really wake up the entire system, but adding an amp or two could get complicated if you have a Shaker system. You'll need a sound processing device in order to add amplifiers into your factory system, but the cost will still be much lower than replacing the factory dash and you will retain all the steering wheel and SYNC controls. Amps adds more juice to power aftermarket door speakers and aftermarket subs, with some great low-profile sub enclosures that are custom made to fit in the Mustang's trunk.
Advanced: A Whole New Bag Of Tricks
If you're a true audiophile, you know the value of a great high-end head unit and the refined controls it offers. In order to use an aftermarket deck in your Mustang, you will need a special dash adapter that allows you to add a single- or double-DIN stereo. If you want to retain your factory SYNC system and steering wheel controls, you'll need added adapters, as well as potentially needing an external satellite radio tuner depending on which aftermarket stereo you choose. Once your head unit is in, your best move is to remove all the factory speakers and subs, and replace them with better amps, speakers, and subs, as well.
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