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Well I am fresh from the San Francisco auto show where I was able to sit in and walk around the Mazda3's without any dealer pressure. I'm very impressed with the interior, however the extremely integrated stereo, as others have noted, has generated some worrying thoughts for someone like me who wants to add some aftermarket goodies to it.

Here are two high resolution images from Maza of the stereo cluster:
http://www.mazdausa.com/MusaWeb/mazda3/gallery.jsp?car=5&id=6
http://www.mazdausa.com/MusaWeb/mazda3/gallery.jsp?car=4&id=7

I think dismantling that setup would be a crime, not to mention it would probably disable the volume and other controls in the steering wheel, which no one else has mentioned yet. It would be good to at least retain the volume control.

What I want to do is add a phatbox / kenwood music keg, which is the hard drive based MP3 player that acts as a CD changer, using the CD-text protocol to transmit the filenames to any compatable kenwood head unit.

Instead of getting a kenwood head unit, the best option might be to get the standalone remote control unit, and hack an aux in to the Mazda factory stereo. It also comes with an FM modulator, but I'd much rather have the audio come in as line for obvious reasons. The FM solution is a last resort.

Another thought is what someone else mentioned, putting a stereo unit where the navigation usually goes (I am not getting the navigation option)

In the Subaru Imprezas, the upper storage tray/guage pack panel is actually DIN mounting, and people have put secondary widgets up there. I don't know if that will be doable with the Mazda without a lot of custom cutting.

Crutchfield has not yet measured the vehicle so they don't have any info yet.

All of this information will come out in the wash in the next few months as people get their cars and modify them, so just putting in some food for thought at the moment. I think the main issue is if there is a standard line level aux in, or if it has to be hacked out of a custom harness meant for a tape deck or a CD changer. You'll notice that the last button on the top right in the first photo says "TAPE/MD"...
 

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Harlock,

You are not in the company of many audiophiles on this board, unfortunately. You'll have to keep an eye out for audio enthusiast sites in the coming months to keep up to date on coverage for the 3. :)

Myself and Jay are both planning big stereo mods for our cars ... he's going to be using his 3 Hatchback for audio competitions so he is a valuable asset to have on the board for the few of us who will be making our 3's bump.

I agree that it would be a crime to take apart the factory stereo setup, it is a very good console and a great design. Not many cars can vouch a good setup like that, especially compacts. I don't want to take mine apart either to replace the head unit at the expense of losing steering wheel controls, console feedback, etc. I have no idea how the internal wiring is, but at this point I am thinking I will want to find a way to replace the internal wiring from the head unit to a new amplifier (maybe two) and replace all the door speakers and add a bass enclosure in that HUUUGE trunk.

I wonder what Jay would think of this idea ... what is the likelihood of such an operation being easy to do, and how decent do you think the sound quality from the factory unit would be, as opposed to output from a high end unit? Is the sound quality and power output of a high end aftermarket unit really that much better or important to have? I don't really have the experience to know, but I'd imagine if you're running the singal through a high end amplifier anyway, the lack of power from the stock unit is not important. Many radios will make claims about output per channel (i.e. 35Wx4, 40Wx4, etc.) but this is unamplified output. If you're running the signal into your own amp, I don't see why you couldn't just keep the factory unit. You could also hook up your own devices (MP3 units, iPods, satellite radio tuners) into your own amplifier, assuming it has the inputs for it.

What say you, Jay?
 

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it's definitely feasible, and is becoming a more and more popular practice as car manufacturers begin to integrate their dash setups into non-din configurations. i might have to go this route, depending on how things turn out. in any case, if you'd like to look into some products that can help your system using an oem hu, you can browse around this site:

www.davidnavone.com

hope that helps 8)
 

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Looks like they've got some great tools on there, Jay ... I wish I had the experience to use most of them. :) Although, I did see an interesting guide on there about how to eliminate alternator whine. I have had this problem on the install in my Civic since it was put in. I wasn't sure what it was but I knew it was related to the power in the electrical system ... during acceleration, there is a high pitched buzzing whine in the audio system. It isn't overbearing or annoying, really, but it's noticeable. A true audiophile with more knowledge and guts than myself would probably be driven crazy by it. Do you know how I can get rid of this, Jay?

Also, when I turn my ignition off, the system POPS, really loudly sometimes. I've been to a few shops that said nothing could be done to fix it, probably because they were too stupid or didn't want to look at it because it could have been anything and most shops don't seem to really like to figure out everyone's mysterious problems. I always figured it was the amp discharging power into the speakers. Fortunately, I've got good Kenwoods up front and MB Quarts in the rear, so they can handle the load, but it's annoying and it sounds like the system is blowing up. Do you know what causes this and how I can fix it also? Would a capacitor help to buffer the excess power load or stop the binge when the power shuts off?
 

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personally, i don't like trouble-shooting for other people's cars myself..especially over the net, since i have neither seen nor inspected your car. however, i would take a closer look at the site i provided again. there is a section devoted to products that can fix turn-on/off pop problems. as for your noise problem, you might want to think about getting the book...but for now..maybe check out this link:

http://tools.autoaudio.com/flowchart/

hope that helps.
 

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I'm thinking of popping out those factory door speakers on the Mazda Sedan... and upgrading them. Just wondering if anyone had measured them yet?

Also, wondering if anyone had considered cutting holes in the back of the sedan for 6x9's behind the headrest of the back seat. I liked my 6x9's on my previous car and didn't need to have a Sub taking up trunk space cause the high end 6x9's have GREAT bass capabilities (at least good enough for me).
 

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no one that i know of has measured them yet...we're all still waiting for speaker specs at this point.

as for cutting holes in the rear deck for 6x9's...from a logical standpoint, the idea doesn't play out very well. you already have speaker holes in the rear doors, where you can put drivers that will work the same if not better than those 6x9's in the rear deck. also, if you were to go to all the trouble of cutting up the rear deck of your car for bass, at least do it right and mount a sub there instead. re-inforced rear deck with a sub running ib would be a MUCH better option than the 6x9's..although that's a much more advanced install that you probably wouldn't want to get into.
 

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Well the door speakers are probably 6" or something and from the larger 6x9" speakers I can get more bass. I'm concerned with a 10" sub (or something that size) that it wouldn't fit nicely on the back ledge behind the back seats (sedan version). As for a sub in the trunk, I don't want to waste trunk space as I often carry snowboards and/or luggage in there. But after I pick up my car, I'll measure the spot and perhaps put the sub there.
 

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On my test drive, I asked the sales guy about the speaker sizes, and he told me they were 10", which I think is exagerated, but then again, I don't know jack about speakers, so there you go.
 

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10"? I doubt it. That wouldn't have very good trebel at all. 10" is more of a sub size... Also, I doubt 10" speakers would fit into a door. The bigger a speaker is, the deeper it is as well.
 

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Yet another case of a salesperson talking out their ass ... I really hate salespeople that know nothing about the product they sell, nor choose to learn for the sake of being a better salesperson. They prove not only that they're stupid to begin with, but that they aren't even good at learning something new for the sake of their job.

Unless, of course, they're good at tricking people to spend more than they should. That is, after all, the characteristic which seems to embody most salespeople ... as long as they can slap a fat tag on it and sell it to someone who doesn't know better, they're considered great at their job. What an honorable measure of accomplishment.
 
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