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Old 09-24-2002, 06:02 PM   #1
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Stereo

My Airstream has had the original stereo, a Sony XR unit, with an
am/fm cassette head, sony EQ and a power amp, which is now located under the couch.
Question- I am replacing the head with a nice new Sony bought from a member of the forums, and I wonder whether it is worth keeping the power amp. It works, but then again is old like the rest of the system. Throw it away and run with the new Sony and no extra amp? Or add a new amp to the RCA jack out of the new deck.
I have 4 spkrs, two in dash, and two mounted in the living area. The rear bedroom has two that are disconnected, not sure where the wires are from them, and don't really need to hook them up anyway.
Thanks
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Old 09-25-2002, 06:36 AM   #2
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amp

Alan, if I remember correctly from my college days (took a course in music mixing - oh, I miss college sometimes!) if you run the amp, you are inputting into the amp from the "pre amp" RCA's into the amp - not from the speaker connections on the stereo head. In effect - you are bypassing the head units' amp in favor of the (presumably) more powerful amp unit. If the head unit has a more powerful amp unit then your old amp, then yes, I would junk the amp and go with the head unit. However, make sure you are judging apples to apples - Some stereo makers say "100 W output", but this decreases to 25W if you have four speakers (50 each if you have two). What is the Wattage of your old amp? If you like to listen to "volume," then I'd get a new amp (really not all that expensive, and you have wiring in place already). You are less likely to blow your speakers with increased wattage, as this eliminates the distortion being put through the speakers at higher volume. That said, your head unit might just be fine if lower volumes are all you need. I imagine it might get noisy in a motorhome at speed - never been in my trailer moving, but I know my van makes ALOT of white noise! Enjoy the the tunes!
Marc
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Old 09-25-2002, 11:37 AM   #3
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thanks Marc. Although I am pretty familiar with the wiring set up, I was curious as to whether the old Sony was still decent enough in quality compared to newer stuff.
I have some old stereo gear in my house that sounds way better than a lot of the new gear. Then again some of my car equipment was way outdated and easily replaced.
Either way I hope to have a better sounding system. I will play an MP-3 player through cassette slot with a converter. Tried it before , it sounded good and had no skips like a cd sometimes does.
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Old 09-25-2002, 02:45 PM   #4
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Alan, yep time marches on. MP-3's.......even my daughter comes home from preschool and wants to "go to Barbi.com." Haven't tried the MP-3's yet, I imagine that newer amps would have a cleaner sound. Some of the OLD stereo (you aren't talking tubes are you?) stuff sounds so mellow and full, but I doubt vintage car audio sounds the same as the old home stereos. I will say that some of the head units I've heard sound very good by themselves, but after hearing the same headunits with amps, I'd say it'd be hard to go back to the head unit alone. The sound is so much fuller.
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Old 09-26-2002, 01:15 PM   #5
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The only tubes I use are in my Fender guitar amps- 60's vintage i have owned a long time. Not much compares in sound to them.
I went ahead and disconnected the old Sony stuff in my Airstream, and I am waiting until I redo the mounting board before installing the new unit.
I am also open to ideas on the mounting for the radio, the board in there now is oak, and maybe 1/2" or more thick. It could be refinished, but I also am considering alternate ideas, like Aluminum or Plexiglass.
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Old 09-26-2002, 03:30 PM   #6
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Stereo

I favor old Stereos over cheap new ones, but i favor good new ones over the old ones. I favor tubes to transistors, any day, for most applications.
I have a vintage tube radio in my 1959 Mercedes, and it is a joy to own plus it sounds very warm, especially on AM. It can not keep a station to save it's life, but it always works and ONLY weighs 45lbs. I make a living with tube amplifiers for guitar and bass.
I also use tubes for my home stereo. It is 15 watts per side, no eq, just inputs for CD and Tuner etc. With good speakers and a well recorded CD, the clarity and positioning of the music is unbelievable. Of course this has nothing to do with Alansd's motorhome stereo. No one would hassle with tubes for a car stereo anymore.
Usually auxilliary amps have cleaner power stages, with real transistors and cooling fins. Sometimes older amps are built better than new ones. Most Car stereo heads have overrated processor chips to boost the output power rating to a short lived 45 watts per channel etc. I would use the amp with the existing system, and only upgrade things if you are going to buy new speakers or add TV etc. to the audio system.If it is possible and not much hassle, try and replace the speaker wires with good oxygen free copper wires, like monster cable etc. It does make a difference in the way the system sounds, although it's subtle.
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Old 09-29-2002, 03:56 PM   #7
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thanks have two for the ideas. (I have two 60's model Fender amps that I have played thru for years, can't beat 'em.- by the way I love those old Mercedes- which model is it?)

It was quite a chore figuring out the wiring for the original Sony system in the AS. Whoever did it or rewired it used speaker wire for power and ground, and weird multi-colored wires for all else. Those were spliced and taped into a big mess.
I ended up removing all the old components, running new wiring
and then tung oil finishing the mounting board, which really came out really smooth. The new Sony unit runs all 4 speakers, looks and sounds good, and now my annoying buzzes and engine whine are all gone.
Another productive day and an improvement done. Now where's my Michelob Black and Tan?ah yes here it is..........
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Old 09-29-2002, 09:21 PM   #8
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It's one of the old 6-cylinder Ponton ( round body) sedans, a 219 to be specific. The 219 was a stripped down 220S, basically. Same nose, but a little shorter wheelbase and the dash from a 190 of the same era. It's very fun old car, and quite practical, too. It's got 4 doors and big trunk, and it runs great. Had to get used to shifting with 4 on the column, but now it's like second nature. Wonder if it could tow a 59 airstream...........
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Old 09-29-2002, 09:46 PM   #9
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Great

Glad the radio/cassette player worked out well for you. Mine sure drives the speakers well with the same power rating.
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Old 09-30-2002, 08:26 AM   #10
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Thanks John. As it turns out now that I refinished the oak panel where the stereo sits, I may just have to go and do all the other oak trim. The tung oil looks so cool compared to the older glossy somewhat yellow finish.
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