OEM Radio or Alpine

M

mikester

G-Body Guru
Mar 10, 2010
866
735
93
Small town NY
#1
I know this might sound like a strange question but how do the OEM radios sound with aftermarket speakers ? I put four new Pioneer speakers in my wagon since I was planning on using one of the Alpine stereos that I had in the cabinet. After looking at the mounting options I started to wonder if I should try to find a decent stock radio. Ive been on good terms with the owner of a local yard so I know I could get an original radio for a decent price. Hes got a bunch of Blazers and a few full size GM cars in the yard. Im sure the Caprice Classic that I pulled my steering wheel out of had a nice radio. What other GM cars had radios that would work ? Would they work with the speakers ?
Opinions or advice ??
 
CaliWagon83

CaliWagon83

Royal Smart Person
Supporting Member
Nov 12, 2017
1,386
1,201
113
Orange County, CA
#2
I know the original radio in my wagon sounds a little rough. Probably has something to do with the speakers being 35 years old. But it also gets a lot of interference on the AM channels. There are some companies that make vintage-look headunits with modern guts:

https://www.retromanufacturing.com/
http://www.customautosoundmfg.com/


I'm thinking of changing out the '78-'83 center HVAC/Audio bezel & cluster for an '84-'87 1.5 DIN one. I know it's not a direct plug & play, but I think it's doable.
 
Rktpwrd

Rktpwrd

Royal Smart Person
Feb 2, 2015
1,788
5,295
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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
#3
I know the original radio in my wagon sounds a little rough. Probably has something to do with the speakers being 35 years old. But it also gets a lot of interference on the AM channels. There are some companies that make vintage-look headunits with modern guts:

https://www.retromanufacturing.com/
http://www.customautosoundmfg.com/


I'm thinking of changing out the '78-'83 center HVAC/Audio bezel & cluster for an '84-'87 1.5 DIN one. I know it's not a direct plug & play, but I think it's doable.
Thanks for providing those links CaliWagon. I had seen Custom Auto Sound’s stuff before, but I found the head unit I think I’d like to run in my Cutlass on the Retro Manufacturing site.
 
MrSony

MrSony

Comic Book Super Hero
Nov 15, 2014
4,078
2,448
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Des Moines, Iowa
#4
I don't have much experience with the single din dual knob radios, but I love my 1.5 DIN 5 band EQ radio. I snagged it from a Chevy Celebrity. Before my speakers blew, the stock 1.5DIN AM/FM sounded pretty decent. Wasn't very loud, but it was good enough. I'm not a stereo guy, but I can tell a crappy one vs a decent one. The 5 band EQ radio is 4x louder at least, and is much clearer sounding. Sure, the $40 walmart bluetooth radios are better than our old stuff, but I just don't like the looks of them. A decent stock 1.5DIN radio (or a refurb one from ebay, some with an added aux jack), a set of decent speakers, a small sub and an amp will do wonders. Then, when you wish, you could swap out to a newer head unit.
If you want to stick with the single din style in the 78-83 cars, I suggest something similar to this: http://www.jegs.com/i/RetroSound/70...VX5GBbyUQFztKtPBINdNowDE9uDOoMx8aAhXkEALw_wcB
Not necessarily that radio, but one in that older style.
 
C

ck80

G-Body Guru
Feb 18, 2014
624
649
63
#5
I'm thinking of changing out the '78-'83 center HVAC/Audio bezel & cluster for an '84-'87 1.5 DIN one. I know it's not a direct plug & play, but I think it's doable.
The 84-87 bezel has different mounting points than the 81-83, and the metal mounting layer is different too.

That said, the plate in the dash everything (including radio/lighter/climate controls) mounts to is held on by several screws and does come off...

The catch is the screws are attached from BEHIND the dash before it's installed as a unit.

I've never tried to access them with a dash in a car - never had interest in trying. It's possible if you removed bezel/radio/climate control/lighter recepticle and contorted enough, with the right tool, you might be able to just barely access the screws to remove. Then again, putting them BACK may be a whole lot harder.

It's doable with the dash out of the car, but that's a ton of work too
 
M

mikester

G-Body Guru
Mar 10, 2010
866
735
93
Small town NY
#6
The 84-87 bezel has different mounting points than the 81-83, and the metal mounting layer is different too.

That said, the plate in the dash everything (including radio/lighter/climate controls) mounts to is held on by several screws and does come off...

The catch is the screws are attached from BEHIND the dash before it's installed as a unit.

I've never tried to access them with a dash in a car - never had interest in trying. It's possible if you removed bezel/radio/climate control/lighter recepticle and contorted enough, with the right tool, you might be able to just barely access the screws to remove. Then again, putting them BACK may be a whole lot harder.

It's doable with the dash out of the car, but that's a ton of work too
I guess you never saw any of my posts before. LOL.
My dash has been in and out a half dozen times in the past couple of months. Im using a later model radio bezel. One from a Monte SS. I bought the car with a newer OEM radio that was installed by the previous owner. Figured I would upgrade to one of the Alpines. I bought a Metra install kit. Number 99-4644. I figured it would have the right brackets since it covered GM 82-05 but it doesnt look like any of the brackets will work. If I use anything most likely its going to be one of the face plates.
As far as the AC/lighter mounting to a plate, Im not sure what you mean. My dash doesnt have any plate other than the one for the radio.
 
C

ck80

G-Body Guru
Feb 18, 2014
624
649
63
#7
I guess you never saw any of my posts before. LOL.
My dash has been in and out a half dozen times in the past couple of months. Im using a later model radio bezel. One from a Monte SS. I bought the car with a newer OEM radio that was installed by the previous owner. Figured I would upgrade to one of the Alpines. I bought a Metra install kit. Number 99-4644. I figured it would have the right brackets since it covered GM 82-05 but it doesnt look like any of the brackets will work. If I use anything most likely its going to be one of the face plates.
As far as the AC/lighter mounting to a plate, Im not sure what you mean. My dash doesnt have any plate other than the one for the radio.
Was replying to the quoted post in the message.

That said, there's a flat metal plate bolted to the dash skeleton in most of the dashes I'm familiar with. The radio bezel clips grab onto that plate when it's installed, and it's also what the cig lighter recepticle and heater controls go on to.

If someone wants some pics remind me a day or two. There's a dash I can get to showing it. Had a couple levels of nerves surgically destroyed in a couple levels of my back this morning, supposed to keep quiet for a couple days.
 
Angel88olds

Angel88olds

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Mar 12, 2018
33
33
18
#8
656de040-714b-4435-a85e-e8d1bc9268a7-jpeg.86557
I have a alpine in my olds sounds great to me more options and just a better quality overall and doesn’t look too bad in my opinion.
 
fleming442

fleming442

Comic Book Super Hero
Dec 26, 2013
4,151
3,971
113
#9
I usually unbolt the metal tabs off the factory radio, then use them on the Metra kit with the mini carriage bolts supplied. You can use the flush plate if you modify the rear support in the dash.
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Comic Book Super Hero
Apr 25, 2009
4,917
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Owyhee County
#10
I guess it all boils down to the look you're going for. If you want a stock look...stock radio. Personally, I'm not a big fan of those retro units. My car had a Sears cassette unit installed immediately after purchase. It's always been in my car and will probably stay even though it doesn't work all that great. However, my plan is to replace the 2 front speakers as well as undermount 6x9s and hide an amp to run my phone or an ipod through. The appearance won't change but the sound and library will.
Just my unsolicited .02 .
 
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