Music is a big part of my life. I love going to live shows, I play the drums and I listen to my favourite bands just about any chance I get. So I knew that upgrading the sound quality in my van was essential and therefore has been high on my ‘To do’ list.
Im not a complete audiophile so it’s never been my plan to drop a ton of money on a top end set up. Im just looking for something with a bit more power and a cleaner sound, preferably bluetooth compatible for added usability. After doing a bit of research I soon settled on a route that involves very little time and money but a significant improvement in sound. Really simply, all I am doing is upgrading the stereo itself and the factory fitted speakers in the dash. By doing this I can achieve a much better sound without having to install extra speakers and equipment, however I still have the option to add to it at a later date.
Upgrading the stereo alone will improve your sound as the better the stereo, the better the signal it sends to your speakers. It will also come with added features such as bluetooth, handsfree calling and more. I would suggest deciding on what features you’re looking for and your budget and then buying the best one that you can as this will give you a great starting point. I’m very lucky to have an amazing girlfriend who bought my stereo as a christmas present. Its a Pioneer DEH-S4000BT which is currently £89 from Halfords (here). If you’re on a budget you can easily pick one up for £30/£40.
The stereo installation was very straightforward. It came with an adapter which connects to the back of the stereo and then goes into the existing wiring loom.
Next step is upgrading the factory dash speakers. There are a few different makes you can go for that will fit the existing speakers holes. I decided to go with the Alpine SXE 1025s due to seeing a lot of good reviews and recommendations. Their price is also very fair, I got mine for around £20. However they are currently on Amazon (here) for £29.49.
Installation is again very simple. Carefully pop off the speaker grills exposing the factory speakers. These can then also be popped out and the wires disconnected.
The connecter on the existing wire does not fit the Alpine speakers. So the connector needs to be cut off and then the wires can be attached to the speakers.
There are a few ways to do this. I just used some spade connectors that I had lying around. A good friend of mine has a lot more experience with this so he came over to give me a hand and some advice.
That completes my sound system for now. It sounds a great deal better already and once I’ve progressed a bit more with the van build I’ll look into amps and additional speakers.
I hope you found this useful.