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Discussion Starter #1
My previous setup (all self-installed) was a '92 Firebird with custom kick panels (Infinity Kappa 5.25" comps), Reference 6x9's in the rear, and a 12" JL Audio W3v2 sub in a custom enclosure. All were amped externally and run via a JVC aftermarket headunit w/ MP3 capability.

I just bought a pre-owned 03 CTS (which I'm picking up from the dealer tomorrow) with the "premium audio" (non-Bose) system and would like to know what my options are in adding an aux input for MP3 and then perhaps later installing my sub and components. I plan on keeping the factory head unit since it is highly integrated with the other features of the car. As far as I am concerned, the factory stuff is all sub-par, but my concern is that the CTS's electrical system is far more elaborate than my old 92 Firebird, and I don't want to mess anything up doing the installation (not to mention, I have no idea if there are factory amps, etc).

So here are the questions that need to be answered before I start tearing everything apart, #1 being the most important:

1. Is there an option to install an auxilary input (for my MP3 player) to the factory head unit? I'm not impressed with the FM transmitter sound quality. I would prefer something that plugs into the headunit, either through the cassette input (which I won't be using) or through a CD changer input (sadly, I didn't even ask if it had one since I figured I would take it all out anyway)? Will any of these work?
http://www.autotoys.com/x/catalog/OEM_Factory_AUX_ADAPTERS_GM_AUX_ADAPTER_page_1_c_39.html
Would the dealer know the answer to this?

2. What is the best way to add on an amp? My amp has speaker level inputs so a converter won't be needed, and I was thinking about unplugging the factory sub and using those. Are there any problems I should anticipate in doing so (such as are they already crossed over at an inconvenient frequency)?

3. Will installing an amp void my bumper-to-bumper warranty?

4. A wiring diagram for the audio system would explain all these questions: Is there a factory amp somewhere in the car, and where is the crossover for the factory components up front? Can my Infinity's be driven by the factory headunit/amp/crossovers (they're rated at 85WRMS) or should l use my external amp with the Infinity crossovers (the latter probably being the best choice)?

5. Also, what goes into removing factory tweeters?

6. How do most people run the power wire? I saw some that were done underneath the car, which I don't like so much. I'd prefer to run it through the firewall - is there a hole big enough for 4ga wire that is already there, or will I need to drill one? Will it fit under the carpet - I heard people complaining about a tight fit?

It seems smuook's "Operation Basslink" post is helpful, but not exactly applicable to my problems: http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17090
same with crockone's post:
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30145


My priority is question 1 above - adding the MP3 input (otherwise, I'll be listening to Cleveland radio). The other stuff can wait. This would be so much easier if car manufacturers used the aftermarket setup with line level outs, RCA cables, and external amps with gain and crossovers. :banghead:

All help is greatly appreciated/anticipated.

Steve
 

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Hi Sesand-
Congrats on the CTS, awesome car. I have a 2001 Deville, so I can't answer all of your questions, but it does have the Premium non-Bose system, so...

1) I believe any one of those adapters would work, and they'd give you better sound quality than a cassette adapter. The one with the iPod charging feature looks cool (the Wiretunes one).

2) My amps don't have speaker-level inputs, so I had to go with a PAC OEM-2 (which also provides my remote turn-on trigger), but since your amp has speaker-level inputs, you can just tap right into a speaker wire. I would opt for a full range signal though, instead of the sub wires. The sub signal (if you take it at the subwoofer itself) has already been through a crossover, and who knows what the frequency is (or the slope, for that matter). If you have a dedicated crossover (or if your amp has a built-in one), you'll have better control if you tap into the rear speakers vs. the sub. That's my opinion.

3) Not sure about the warranty.

4) The Premium audio system is all 2-ohm! :helpless: I'm assuming the CTS is the same, so definitely go with an external amp. I tried to replace all my speakers within a week of buying the car, only to realize my Soundstream components sounded worse than the factory drivers...that's when I found everything was 2-ohms (granted I was using the factory x-overs and amps, but it was only going to be temporary until I got the rest of the system in...dumb idea on my part :bigroll: ). No idea what the power output is either.

5) If the CTS is like the Deville (tweeters in the A-pillars), it's easy. In my car the A-pillar trim piece has three clips, no screws. I just had to pull the weather sripping down and pull the trim piece off.

6) I lucked out here too...the battery in the Deville is under the rear seat. :yup:

I actually think the Premium system isn't half bad...for a factory audio system. Strong mids, good imaging and staging (thanks to the center channel speaker). If anything was really lacking it was the sub. But yeah, for anyone who is into aftermarket stuff, as good as it is, it's still factory...Hope this helps,
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the long reply. Good info all around.

I'd be surprised if the factory system runs more than 200W RMS, whereas my setup in the Firebird was over 600W - the sub alone being 300W RMS. Power isn't everything, but this isn't even talking the same ballpark. My parents were all excited about the "Premium Audio" since they knew what I did to the Firebird, but they just don't understand the huge difference between factory and aftermarket. If your Soundstreams couldn't run with the factory stuff, then I'll probably run into the same problem.

I should still wind up with decent imaging and staging (not as good as the kick panel location, but likely much better midbass since my kick panels didn't do much in that department). I'm not sure if my CTS has a center channel, but that would probably make some improvement.....

I don't have an I-pod (yet) but it doesn't list whether or not the CTS is compatible (the only Caddy listed was the Escalade). I guess the worst I could do is make a phone call to see what the scoop is.

I will probably be going with the PAC OEM-1 since it has the front and rear RCA outputs and a turn-on lead, and it will give me a full-range signal for sure. This way I also won't be worrying about underpowering my comps with the factory stuff, even though it will require running some more wires :( I guess a full-day's work is ahead of me, but it should be worth it! I'll probably be waiting on installing the speakers/sub until I have some more time to do it.

You're battery was under the rear seat. Wow that would be easy to work with.....

Thanks again for the info!

Steve
 
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