2001 Honda Accord Entertainment Upgrades
Return to Ethan's homepage
Return to auto page

This page will follow my progress in upgrading the stereo system in my 2001 Honda Accord.

A bit of background....

I used to own a Ford Tempo. I upgraded the stereo in the tempo years ago. The system originally consisted of a Sony A-55 tape deck and 10 disc changer. At the same time a XM-4040 Sony amplifier and replacement speakers were added. It wasn't bad, and I eventually added a Clarion 920EQ EQ/DSP, a Pioneer amplifier and two SAS 10" Bazookas. The Bazooka subwoofers are technically vented enclosures, but did well with both rock (kick drums and the like) as well as hip hop and "electronic" music. For a while I had a friend's HiFonics amp running the subs, and it was great. Eventually the Pioneer died (nearby RF field overloaded the input transistors I think ;-) and I ended up running the 4 channel x 40 watt Sony amp 2 x 40 + 1 x 80 bridged dropped to a 2 ohm load (so it was 160 watts). I had the amplifier fan cooled, and to Sony's credit IT NEVER FAILED even though it was operating beyond specification.

During my 7 years with the Tempo, I went from the Sony A55 head unit to a MDX-C150 Minidisc head unit, then finally to an MDX-8900 head unit (ES series head unit I picked up at the Sony outlet store in North Carolina). Before the Tempo died I picked up 3 4" LCD screens from Timeline (electronic component vendor found in Nuts N Volts) and a XT-40V Sony Unilink television tuner module from eBay. It was going to be my $300 mobile video project, to put LCDs in the headrests and in the center console for under $300. The car died before I ever got it completed.

Along comes the Accord ...

After the Tempo died, I had to make a choice on a new ride. I quickly eliminated SUV's, and started going thru the choices. There was no way I could afford a BMW M3. The Volvo S70 was a nice car, but still more than I wanted to spend, and the newer body style is lame. The 2001 Accord was it. Out of all the cars out there, it had a body style I liked the most. I'm not a huge fan of completely egg shaped things, I like defined edges.

The 3rd day of ownership I had to return the car to the dealer so they could do the final cleaning of the car. All dealerships do this, but since I left the dealership late there wasn't time for it that day.

The day the car went back, the factory 6 disc CD changer had already been swapped out for my MDX-C8900 Sony ES Minidisc deck. I pulled all the hardware from the Tempo, and I wanted to be able to continue using my music that was on Minidisc. I bought into Minidisc fairly early, and have a moderate amount of music copied onto the discs.

For a long while, over 2 and a half years this was the only change made to the car.

But now, it's time for an upgrade....

Information on LCD installation
Information on hacking the LED ground effects kit (blaze)
Information on my CarPC project (Via MiniITX!)

Coming up in the future: replacing the front and rear speakers, and mounting an amplifier. I chose an older A/D/S/ PowerPlate amplifier, and will be purchasing some Infinity speakers. I am not going top of the line with the Infinity speakers, because I refuse to pay more for some cheap (all car speakers are fairly simple) car speakers than a nice set of bookshelf speakers would cost. It is the principal.

UPDATE as of March 2006

Car is running the same sound setup, however I'm not doing the PC. I've decided
to go with a Microsoft XBOX that has been software modded and is running XBMC.
I've been testing it, and it works fine. I'm selling out, and using a power inverter.
The truck is my main audio video playtoy, and the car can't compete. I plan to
do a custom trunk setup this summer, so I will post pictures when it's done!

UPDATE as of July 2005

After blowing the 6th channel on the A/D/S/, I added a used US Coustics
amp to drive the subwoofer. I repaired the A/D/S/. The A/D/S/ generates
quite a bit of noise in the video system, yet other amps don't. Odd considering
the A/D/S/ is supposed to be the best amp during that era. The mobile PC is on
pause, as there were lots of intereference issues. I'm planning to find a
notebook PC with video out and a damaged LCD. Seems like the easiest solution.
I also picked up a mobile DVD player, but haven't installed yet.

UPDATE as of September 2005

I'm putting the carpc project on hold. I'm working to get the Sony 210EQ module to allow optical input using the GNUnilink project. I will hook up a DVD player via optical to the 210EQ assuming I can get the module to believe I have one of the changers that does digital output.

A/D/S/ amp still causes noise in the video system. I moved the sub to a US Coustics amplifier and it helped some. More updates later. I'm thinking about taking Nathan's suggestion of doing a custom fiberglass mount for the trunk of my accord to hold the two amps and electronics boxes.

More to come later....