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Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

Lean, green, and sounding mean

Dominic J. DeVito has been a member of the Crutchfield A/V writing squad since 2006. He was born and raised in Staunton, Virginia, and attended the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a degree in chemical engineering. During that time he developed a passionate obsession with experiencing music, both live and recorded, which he parlayed into a 15-year stint in record retail (much to the chagrin of his very patient parents) and a long-running tenure as a rock DJ at WTJU. His expositions can be found in back issues of Plan 9's 9X Magazine as well as Schools That Rock: The Rolling Stone College Guide. He's been to more concerts than he can remember.

More from Dominic Devito

Don N. from Ann Arbor, MI, took a look at our Custom Car Showroom page to get stereo ideas for his bright green 2014 Ford Mustang. He liked what he saw in James G. of Bentonville's 2012 Mustang, so he decided to follow suit with a hard-hitting system that incorporates an amplifier mounted on the underside of the rear deck. He also took things a bit further by adding a form-fitting trunk sub enclosure. He chose a DVD receiver from Axerra that allows him to incorporate his smartphone into his drive more conveniently.
Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

Items installed:

Stirring, not shaken

Don tells us how he arrived at his decision to upgrade the sound: "When I ordered this car, I wanted the Shaker 500 system, just like in my 2006 [Mustang]. However, this time I could not get it and the cloth seats. So, I got the seats I wanted and went for the big sound from the aftermarket." We appreciate that he chose the more fashionable option, because in our opinion it's a lot easier to upgrade a stereo than to have your car reupholstered.

Choosing the right gear

Don gives us the scoop: "After much consideration, I built the system around the amp — powerful, but small enough to mount easily. Then it was picking the right speakers to complement: Alpine coaxials in front, because I decided to not make holes for the component tweeters. And the Rockford Fosgate PPS4-6 in the deck."

Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

Don's 5-channel Alpine amplifier is the centerpiece of this system, and it sits safely under the rear deck between his new Rockford Fosgate speakers.

The pursuit of power

Don was a bit apprehensive about getting the juice where it needed to go. "This was the scary part before I started — getting that monster cable through the firewall. In the end, it was easy." At right, you can see that he got the cable through just fine, allowing him to fuel his system with all-important power for his speakers.

Don did mention that running the wire under the door sill caused a small amount of damage during the installation, which he fixed with some double-sided tape.

Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

Speaker removal and upgrade

Speakers are the business end of your audio system, and most factory speakers aren't built to handle the power an amplifier delivers for clean sound. Don removed his Mustang's 2014 stock speakers (at left) from the doors and installed Alpine Type-R 6"x8" speakers, which he tells us deliver "clean, clear sound at all levels, with awesome highs."  Then he replaced the rear deck speakers with powerful midrange drivers from Rockford Fosgate.

He also notes that he's not sorry he didn't go for a component system.

Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

Stock door speaker in the 2014 Ford Mustang

Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

Alpine's SPR-68 Type-R 6"x8" speaker makes Don's door sing

Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

The Rockford Fosgate Punch Pro 6-3/4" midrange speakers dropped into the rear deck

More bass in less space

Don insists that "the sub was key, especially the Mustang-specific enclosure," and we're in full agreement. Low bass notes give your music needed definition, and in some instances they can provide a gentle massaging effect while you drive. Don paired a Rockford Fosgate Punch P3 12" subwoofer with MTX's unloaded Mustang enclosure and installed the combination in the passenger side of the trunk, right behind the rear wheel well. It takes up less than a third of the trunk space, and Don can still get to his spare tire if needed. He added a grille to protect his sub, but had to screw it on separately because it wouldn't fit into the inset. He says it still works fine and looks good.

Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

Big and small changes up front

Don's passengers often can't believe his Axxera DVD receiver and accompanying Metra kit are aftermarket gear. "The head unit and HVAC control system looks factory — better actually." He gets to keep a familiar feel to his dash, while adding the ability to "mirror" his phone's screen on the larger display, so he can use his phone's navigation app to get around. The Axxera's DualMirror functionality is dependent on a phone's MHL compatiblity, so be sure to check that out before ordering, like Don did.

Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

Regarding the Axxera's performance, Don tells us: "The Axxera unit took some time figuring out, especially convincing my phone to send sound down the HDMI cable — you have to turn off the Bluetooth on the Samsung Galaxy S4 for that." He's also into the fact that he can use a microSD™ card to play his music through the receiver — it's convenient and he doesn't have to worry about a USB drive sticking out of his dash.

Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

The Axxerra's DualMirror feature allows Don to see his phone's screen on his stereo. He wishes that it filled up the whole screen, but is pretty satisfied otherwise.

Don tells us that the iDataLink Maestro integration kit enabled control of four of his car’s five steering wheel buttons at first, but after some trial and error with the wiring setup, he was finally able to get all five buttons working correctly.

Don N's 2014 Ford Mustang

Don N., the Ford Mustang enthusiast

Don really went all-out on this project and we think it looks fantastic. We know there are other Mustang owners out there, so feel free to share your installations with us as well.

Vehicles in the Custom Car Showroom are submitted by customers and fans, and edited by Crutchfield writing staff. You can find more of these articles on the Showroom main page.

More Mustang info

If you enjoy great-running Mustangs and great-sounding car audio systems, join our Mustang Sound community on Google +. It's a great place to share audio installation tips, post photos, and connect with other Mustang enthusiasts. We'll see you there!

Last updated November 03, 2016
  • Taylor from Stephenville

    Posted on 10/29/2015 10:48:49 AM

    Hey Don, this article and what you've done with you mustang has given me some motivation and inspiration. I'm going to travel down the same route as it looks to be working well for you! I'm going to start out easy with the car speakers first.

  • Don from Ann Arbor

    Posted on 4/7/2016 7:22:09 PM

    Hey Taylor, hope it is going well for you. Almost 2 years in, the only thing I would change is the head unit. The amp and speakers remain awesome. At some point, I will move to a Android Auto capable unit.

  • Courtland from Raleigh

    Posted on 9/8/2016 2:23:56 AM

    Very nice set up. I did something similar. I am using different equipment. Kenwood HU, Arc Audio 5 channel. Image Dynamics ID Max 12, Hertz Hi energy 3 ways.

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