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Sean Penberthy's 1995 Mercury Tracer

Items installed:
  • Sony CDX-C680 CD receiver
  • Kenwood KFC-1386 3-way 5-1/4" speakers — front doors and rear deck
  • XTC 5-1/4" speaker baffles — front doors and rear deck
  • Two Kenwood KFC-W2503 10" "Tornado" subwoofers
  • Custom-made sealed dual subwoofer enclosure
  • Clarion ProAudio APA1200 mono subwoofer amplifier (200 watts RMS x 1 at 4 ohms)
  • Phoenix Gold 1/2-farad capacitor
  • StreetWires 8-gauge amplifier wiring kit
Sean Penberthy got a great deal on his 1995 Mercury Tracer, but he couldn't live with its broken factory tape deck and stock speakers. He began the healing process by installing the Sony CDX-C680 CD receiver — the Sony unit offers exceptional CD sound quality (thanks to its audiophile-quality Burr/Brown D/A converter), a potent built-in amp (19 watts RMS/45 peak x 4), and lots of options for system expansion (three sets of preamp outputs, CD changer controls, and built-in low-pass crossover).

He replaced the factory paper cone speakers in the front doors and on the rear deck with two sets of Kenwood KFC-1386 5-1/4" speakers. The Kenwood 3-ways boast superior construction (PPTA midrange, poly tweeter, and poly woofer with rubber surround) and crisp, full-range sound. The Kenwoods are powered by the CDX-C680, so their high efficiency maximizes the impact of the Sony receiver's built-in amp. XTC's 5-1/4" foam baffles protect the Kenwood speakers in both locations.

To add some bass to the bargain, Sean next purchased two Kenwood KFC-W2503 10" subwoofers, known as "Tornado" subs because of the swirling ridges in their blue Pearl Mica Injection-Molded polypropylene cones. He constructed a sealed custom subwoofer enclosure for the Kenwoods (1 cubic foot of air space per chamber) which fits neatly behind the rear seat, with the subs firing forward.

To power the subs, Sean mounted the Clarion APA1200 on the backside of the sub enclosure (which forms the wall of the trunk); this ProAudio mono amplifier kicks out 300 watts at 2 ohms to the two subs (wired in parallel). Sean used a StreetWires 8-gauge amp wiring kit to provide power and signal to the Clarion; a Phoenix Gold 1/2-farad capacitor (also mounted on the enclosure) maintains a steady flow of power to the amp.

Sean did all the installation work himself, and takes great pride in the clean, well-balanced sound of his system. Sean, thanks for the look at your majestic Mercury!

Sean Penberthy and his 1995 Mercury Tracer.

Sony's CDX-C680 CD receiver brings audiophile-quality performance and good looks to the Tracer's dash.

Stealth sound — the Kenwood KFC-1386 5-1/4" speakers are ready for battle behind the Tracer's factory grilles.

The Clarion ProAudio APA1200 mono subwoofer amplifier (with the help of a Phoenix Gold 1/2-farad capacitor) cranks out 300 watts from the back side of the subwoofer enclosure.

With the rear seat removed, you can check out the Kenwood KFC-W2503 10" "Tornado" subwoofers in their custom enclosure. The swirling pattern in the polypropylene cone helps to reduce bass resonance for a punchier sound.

The dual subwoofer enclosure forms the wall of the trunk, with plenty of space left for luggage.

Compare the sound