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Thread: Delorean Radio Upgrade Decision

  1. #1
    Member TripleZeroFilms's Avatar
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    Question Delorean Radio Upgrade Decision

    Hello all,

    I'm getting ready to do some pretty heavy interior restoration and one of those jobs is a new sound system (as mine is completely stock). While I've not yet made a decision on speakers front or back (suggestions are welcome), my main issue has been the radio itself. The way I see it I have 3 options:

    1. Buy the $200 DIN plate from DMC and then install a modern radio. The simplest solution, but not the cheapest or the most original looking (which would be nice to maintain).

    2. Find/buy a Reto Radio and install it in the current plate. It should be noted that the "model 1" radios that matched our car have been discontinued and replaced with new ones that don't look right. In addition, some on this forum have expressed displeasure with their longevity.

    3. Find someone who can completely gut and/or modify my existing Craig (the oldest style) with new tech and an AUX port. It's LCD screen is currently nonfunctional, but it otherwise functions fine (for 30yo radio).

    I'm curious about any thoughts or experiences of those who may have experience with this topic. I'll be ordering parts shortly, so I need to decide if I should spring for the DIN before I do.
    When this baby hits 88 miles per hour...your going over the speed limit.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mluder's Avatar
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    Dave Graham has had pretty good success in refurbing both old Craigs and ASI radios. He has a guy he uses in Vancouver BC where he lives. As part of this he has an AUX input installed for plugging a media player in-line using the devices headphone output. The schematic for how to do this is available somewhere on this message board. I might be able to find it in my records as well.

    That being said, the Craig radios only output like 10 watts per channel (I'm sure someone will correct me) which is pretty week for any real volume. The amp starts to distort pretty quickly at higher volume. Also, the stock speaker sizes, including the rears are the wrong size and shape to get any real bass response. Some have added sub-woofers and an amp to the cubby behind the driver's seat and gotten good results an improved bass response. I suppose you could modify the Craig deck to have the amplifier stage removed. In other words diver the preamp signal to a separate outboard amplifier to get better available power to drive the speakers.

    What it really boils down to is what you're after... Original appearance or quality sound.

    In my car, I have the original Craig deck and have replaced all the speakers with the Infiniti Kappa line that was the choice de jour a couple years ago. Does it sound great? No. It's functional. I am thinking of adding a cubby sub and amp this summer and upgrading the wiring to heavier gauge and providing separate negative speaker leads (stock uses a common negative wire) to see if it improves. I like the stock look of the Craig so I don't really want to replace it and I can't bring myself to have the internals modified.

    So... I don't have any real answer, just a couple more things to think about.
    Good luck with your endeavor.

    Cheers
    Steven
    Cheers
    Steven Maguire
    #4456


    IT'S A TRAP!!!!!

  3. #3
    Member TripleZeroFilms's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input Steven!

    I really do appreciate the look of the stock Craig, and would like to keep it as close to that as possible. I'm by no means an audiophile, but I also don't want to spend a ton of $$$ and wind up with a weak system. I'll look for the AUX diagram on here as that does sound promising, but I bounce back and forth on doing such a permanent modification (part of the reason I solicited for advice). If I were to continue to use my original radio (modded or not), I'll still have to get the display fixed as its impossible to find a station blind.

    Truth be told, if I could get some decent sound quality and an AUX input while maintaining my originality I'd be happy. Bluetooth functionality would be nice too, but I feel that might be out of reach for anything but a new radio. As I said, I'm in the decision making process and welcome all advice and experience on the subject.
    When this baby hits 88 miles per hour...your going over the speed limit.

  4. #4
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    I installed the Retro Sound radio and quite frankly not satisfied with the sound quality of the unit. Almost like I am missing something, and adjusting the bass, treble, and loudness settings does nothing. I'm using good quality speakers (the name escapes me but they were ones that were highly recommended on here) and rewired everything.

    One thing to note, if you are going to install a Sirius/XM unit, the antenna will sit nicely on top of the metal piece for the center dash before you reinstall the dash cover. And the signal goes through just fine!

  5. #5
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    You can keep the stock head unit in there and still be modern. Likely it is better to just buy one from someone that doesn't want their old one. Then you have a few choices for how to modernize your radio. The simplest way, under $100, is to use a FM integration device like these. Then you can just run your Pandora/mp3/hands-free from your phone.

    Wired: http://www.amazon.com/iSimple-IS32-U.../dp/B004613FCE
    Bluetooth (w hands-free kit): http://www.amazon.com/iSimple-ISFM23...A18CQ5FFITKTLU

    If you want to build a "system" while retaining your stock head, then I'd use a DSP like a Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty ($120). This will let you balance inputs from various devices and drive your amps with minimal signal loss. You can also get the new 3Sixty.3 that will give you an EQ to correct the ancient electronics in that 30 year old beasty. If you do go this way I'd highly recommend having a pro shop give you an estimate first. Some are not familiar with brands that they don't carry. I'm always amazed at how fast car electronics evolve, so it really does pay to run into a local shop with a good reputation. This would be the $1000+ option.

  6. #6
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    Keep the Craig unmodified - get the display fixed if you want, but other than that, leave it alone and use it solely for a tuner/cassette player.

    As you want better sound, you'll need an external amp to drive whatever speakers you end up getting - just make sure that you get one that has an auxiliary input. That way, you can run a DAP without having to go through the Craig at all.

    As for speakers, if you're sticking to the stock/factory locations only, the quality of the Infinity Kappas are tough to beat, and the Polk db series are a great value.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tomcio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mluder View Post
    [...]the Craig radios only output like 10 watts per channel (I'm sure someone will correct me) which is pretty week for any real volume. The amp starts to distort pretty quickly at higher volume.
    Steven, here I come to correct you
    The specs for the power amp in the Craig unit are:
    Po = 5.8W (typ.) at Vcc = 13.2V, RL = 4Ω, THD = 10%
    There is another thread about speaker choices and I did some calculations there. In short, the Craig unit is pretty much useless. We can expect about 4W max per side (two speakers) at 10% harmonic distortions. 0.5% THD at 0.5W. If you care about the quality of the sound get a decent head unit. Even with an external amp the Craig will not give you ANY quality.
    Greetings from Poland!
    Tom
    http://www.deloreana.com

    Please excuse my typos... and watch this: Ben Champion - That Auto-Correct Song

  8. #8
    Senior Member DavidProehl's Avatar
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    If you aren't an audiophile, I'll throw in another vote for keeping the stock radio. I replaced my stock speakers with Inifity Kappas and installed the iSimple FM Modulator ($25 shipped) for aux in.

    Yes it isn't super powerful, but at 75% volume it hurts my ears anyway so I don't need more power. I also bought the DMC-CA kicker subwoofer and enclosure to balance it out though I haven't installed my amp yet.

    It doesn't sound as perfect as a modern unit, but for a very subtle difference in quality I personally thought it was worth maintaining the original appearance of the Craig.
    David Proehl

  9. #9
    Senior Member mluder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomcio View Post
    Steven, here I come to correct you


    BTW - For what it's worth, I'm going to investigate an outboard power amp that can accept a speaker level input to drive my Infiniti Kappas and possible storage compartment sub. I'l let everyone know what I find.

    Cheers
    Steven
    Cheers
    Steven Maguire
    #4456


    IT'S A TRAP!!!!!

  10. #10
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    In the quest to turn your car into the scooby-doo mystery van, for some reason these electronics make me think of an old van with a "booster" and a stereo with a record player, I have found this thing.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lepai-LP-269FS..._cd_al_qh_dp_i

    It is only $33.50 (with prime shipping) and it has a 4x45w amp that can take line level input. It also has a SD card reader that you could copy of bunch of your Bananarama albums too and then play them right from there, it even has a remote control. Now, the most interesting thing on it is that USB port. It is said that you can use a Bluetooth dongle there and then stream audio to the unit. This could actually be the all in one thingy to make a stock radio perform a little better and give you integration with modern audio devices.

    Example bluetooth dongle:
    http://www.amazon.com/SoundBot%C2%AE...=ADMFJEYBD7NHZ

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