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  #1  
Old 07-06-2005
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Satellite Radio Receiver Advice..

Hey all,

So my GF want's Sirius for her birthday next week. We've been shopping and we can't really decide on a receiver. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on what to look for and what not to look for.

Personally, I'm liking the Audiovox SIR-PNP3. It has 30 presets, 6-line display, a rotary wheel, 'catagory' buttons, a built in RF modulator, and a wireless remote. I have Sirius by way of a fixed Kenwood receiver in my truck. It only displays 1 line at a time (meaning you see station, artist, song, catagory, or time, not more than one at a time!) and it sucks. So the display apeals to me. Also we played w/ the display units in the store. The catagory buttons rule! I wish mine had that.

Bri, being the wonderful woman that she is, doesn't like it because of the backlight color. It doesn't match the red-ish/orange interior of her new Mazda 3. I'm trying to convince her that there are worse things than a non-color matched dashboard in life. But to each their own.

So how 'bout it. What features does your XM or Sirius set have that you couldn't live w/o. Which do you wish to heck you had?

On the Sirius only front, does anyone have more than one receiver registered? You get a price break when subscribing 2 or more sets. That sounds perfect for us, although I'd have to register her receiver as mine, no?

Thanks,
-Bubba
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  #2  
Old 07-06-2005
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I used to have the sportser and highly recommend it. The sportser has a mini antenna for the fm mod which gives it better reception. Also with any of the new units i would pick up XM's fm direct kit. They are compatitible with the newer sirius units and improve reception of fm channels. Stay away from the jvc unit its garbage
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  #3  
Old 07-06-2005
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I can't in good faith recommend any wireless FM modulator. Either buy the direct wired modulator kit, or if she has an aftermarket HU, the direct wire RCA kit. Wireless FM is the worst sound quality out of all the options available.

For the price of some of the reciever kits, its worth at least investigating complete HUs with the Sirius built in.
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  #4  
Old 07-06-2005
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That fm direct kit from xm will solve the reception of the **** fm transmitters trust me
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  #5  
Old 07-06-2005
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My problem is I can't keep track of which recievers come with direct modulators, and which have an optional modulator. My XM-Commander came with a direct modulator as part of the package, and I've been very pleased with the whole ownership and XM experience.

This isn't official release yet, but for 06 the Ford "SAT" equipped cars will support both Sirius AND XM radio (but not both at the same time.)
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  #6  
Old 07-06-2005
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i have the starmate and i purchased the direct plug in for the antenna....it rocks.....i got all of it car kit, unit, and a year for 189 which i thought was a really good deal....

If you have it now....you get a discount if u buy another unit


there is supposed to be a new one comming out that looks liek a radar dector
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  #7  
Old 07-07-2005
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I've been real happy with my sportster, I recommend it.
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  #8  
Old 07-07-2005
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Thanks for the comments everyone.

Wowak, unfortunately the intergrated units are not an option here. There is an option from Mazda for a Sirius add-on kit for her Mazda 3, but it is obscenely expensive at $400, plus installation.

An aftermarket satellite ready head-unit is also out. The Mazda 3 follows the disturbing (in my opinion) trend lately of having a stereo that is intergrated into the dash. It is not a standard size or shape. This means no aftermarket HU for her! I was really disapointed w/ this as I wanted to get her a nice Alpine or something w/ MP3 support. The unit she does have does not even support MP3, which I thought really sucked. The stealer she talked to said it was not even an option in the 3.. although I've since learned that he was a lying sack of ****!

So that pretty much leaves us w/ the 'Plug&Play' units as our only option. And truth be told that doesn't bother me much. I have an intergrated setup w/ my Kenwood HU. It is not nearly as usable as the PnP units are, and you can't bring it in the house w/ you either.

Last night I stopped by Sears on the way home on a tip that they had the Audiovox PNP3 unit I linked above on sale. Sure enough, they had it and the mobile dock for half price each. I got the receiver for $50 and the car kit for $25. I plan to buy her the home kit as well. That I'll have to pay full price for elsewhere. This feels like a pretty darn good deal though, especially since I think this purchase qualifies us for a $50 mail in rebate as well.

We'll have to try the built in wireless RF modulator. If it sucks, then there is always the option of adding the wired, direct modulator later. The docking cradle has the connection for such a thing.

As it is I'm not excited about having to tear apart her dash to install this thing. She won't be happy loosing the +12VDC socket to this thing, so I'll have to direct wire it, which means cracking the dash. The way that Mazda is all intergrated and everything that makes me nervous. It isn't like our trucks where two screws release the whole HVAC/radio bezel!
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  #9  
Old 07-07-2005
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There are two things you should have handy before you start taking apart a dash: a 90 angled pick (to get behind and pry at panels) and alot of patience. ALOT of the dashboards on newer Fords are held in only by clips. The new SuperDuty trucks, for example. But many times theres one or two screws or bolts (always 7mm on a Ford, don't know about mazdas) in not-so obvious places, so if a panel seems to be resisting a little too much, do NOT apply extra pressure, or you'll get the big unhappy "SNAP" of something breaking.

Alot of times at my job I've had to get a dash apart without time to dig up the manual on where the screws are.. I haven't broken anything.. yet.
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  #10  
Old 07-07-2005
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A 90 degree angled hook tool IS NOT i repeat NOT the way to take the dash apart. Coming from a certified installer a door panel door is the best thing it provides more leverage and wont mark the dash up as bad depending on how good you are. Ive never taken a mazda 3 dash apart but from the old 626's and that 9series one its all clips and under the panels its all screws. If you can get a picture of the dash on here i bet i could figure it out for you. As far as hardwiring it goto the ignition harness, Then theres no need to take the dash apart. If you want the wiring schematic for the accesory wire let me know. Plus its switched power so its only on when the car is on, you never really wanna hook up audio stuff to constant power unless the directions advise you to
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  #11  
Old 07-07-2005
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Here are some photos of the interior of the 3, although I don't know HOW you expect to be able to tell me how to get into it via a picture. It'll take some poking and proding, but I'm sure we can figure it out. I'm just not excited about the idea, that's all..





As you can probably tell, the stereo is fairly intergrated into the dash. I'm hoping that I can trace down a switched power line to the stereo fairly easily. I would like to tap a key'ed power line, probably the same one the radio runs off of. To it I had planned to splice a +12VDC power socket. I would then plug the receiver kit's cable into this behind the dash and run the lead out to the cradle. This way I can permanantly install the power cord for the satellite receiver to a switched source w/o cutting the receiver kit up.

I figure I won't do this for a little while though. We'll install the antenna w/ some slack and run it off the cig lighter socket for now. When she decides where and how she wants it mounted, we'll route the cables and install things permanantly. That should also give us an opportunity to evaluate the built in wireless RF modulator. If it sucks, like Wowak suggests it does, we'll invest in a switcher and install that while we are at it. Hopefully Mazda's weirdo intergrated stereo still uses a conventional antenna plug..
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  #12  
Old 07-07-2005
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i bet the shifter bezel pops off that ash tray comes out and there are screws that hold that hvac into place and screws above that.

Go into the ignition its in the kick panel. Its the safest power source. Thats what best buy or any custom shop would do and run an inline fuse. Thats how i do satellite radios and i do atleast 2 a day.
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  #13  
Old 07-07-2005
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IF the trim panels on either side of the radio are seperated from the trim on the center console, I'd be willing to bet they pull or snap off to expose the screws or bolts that hold the radio assembly on.

Top of the line custom shops do run to the fuse box, but on 99.777% of the Fords I've worked on, the switched power (and the constant power for that matter) is tapped off of the power to the radio, that way you can do all your wiring right there in the center of the dash, where you're working anyway to install your hard-wired FM modulator (ahem... get it, thank me later.)

I'm not saying its the best way, or even the right way, but its an easy way, and usually safe.

The quickest method of finding a switched power source is with a multimeter, and in lieu of that, a test light. The wire that has power only when the switch is on is switched, the wire that has power with the key out is likely constant. If you find more than one wire that meets each of those criteria, then its worth your while to do some more research, or tap in at the fuse box where you know what you're getting.

Most radio harnesses have a ground wire too (always black/green on a Ford) but its usually a safe bet to find part of the dash support and drill a self-tapping screw (once you've made sure that theres not a wiring harness behind where you're drilling!)

Hell, if you're gonna wait a few months, I'll help you do it at Centralia in October?

The Methods that Peter is recommending are what you should demand if you're paying good money for a professional to do it for you.. what I've laid out are what I view as acceptible shortcuts for the do-it-yourselfer. My XM is installed in this fashion (all power from the radio circuit) and I've experienced no problems. If theres one shortcut I'd advice against, its T-Tabs or scotch locks. They've VERY common in the industry, but they do have a propensity for coming disconnected after a few months or years, to much wailing and gnashing of teeth if you didn't do it yourself and know right where to look for them. One of my near-future investments is going to be a cordless soldering pen, and I'll probably re-wire all my accessories with that instead of the scotch locks I've used everywhere in my dash. I'm sure Pete could detail better than I the proper way to splice a wire, essentially by splitting the braided wire down the middle on the wire to be spliced, feeding the splice wire through, wrapping VERY tightly around (wrapping over itself on both sides, not a spiral wrap like a guitar string on a peg) and then taping it very tightly if soldering isn't an option.

Unless you plan to remove it an reinstall it in another vehicle in a relatively short period of time, then T-Tabs are an acceptible compromise, if you tape them tightly to keep them from coming loose.

Oh yeah, once you've identified your power wires, it IS a good idea to disconnect the battery. I'm notorious for not doing this when I work on my own truck, and I've on several occasions had to replace fuses.

Edit: If the Mazda has a wierdo antenna plug, you should be able to get an adapter for it. If you can't, I'm SURE I can.
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  #14  
Old 07-07-2005
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Bummer about the wierdo antenna plug. Can you expand on that? What's 'wierdo'? Is it the smaller diameter plug? If so, I'm relatively confident I can get an adapter locally.

Hey guys, it isn't like this will be my first time in a dash. Afterall I wired the Ranger and it hasn't caught on fire.. yet!

I don't think the Sirius jobbie draws that much current, so I am relatively confident that I should be okay tapping something at the radio. I basically planned to just find the largest gauge wire that was keyed and tap that. I'll probably use wiretaps (I presume the 'scotch locks' you mentioned Wowak). Although I might go so far as to solder. I'm not convinced it's worth it though.

Like I said, we'll use the cig lighter plug for a while, 'til she decides where she wants it mounted, then crack the dash and do it right. That should give us time to evaluate the built in modulator and order a wired one if need be.

Unfortunately I doubt this could wait 'til Centralia Brian. Even if it could/would, I'm sure I wouldn't want to bring her Mazda 4-door to an off-road truck meet! Thanks for the offer though. Like I say, I think I can do it. I'm just hesitant about cracking the dash. Knowing me I'll eff up her trim somehow and she'll never forgive me. The woman can hear the tiniest little creaks and shimmies in a car. She'd go nuts if she drove a pickup!

Thanks guys, good tips.
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  #15  
Old 07-07-2005
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I know some imports use a "proprietary" antenna design (as well as some chryslers, apparently.) Yeah, it would be of a different diameter or a different shape. I don't have all the specifics at hand, but I'm sure a brief google search would reveal if Mazda uses a standard antenna lead.
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Old 07-07-2005
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its hard to explain how i splice with the right tools it can be done. My cordless soldering iron helps alot. I paid a pretty penny for it to 119.99 through matco tools but it works wonders. If you plan on soldering lay some towels down in the car for excess solder dripping
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Old 07-08-2005
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Old 07-08-2005
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^^^ Ah, but that includes the $50 rebate. Go down to your local Sears and see what they have. If you're lucky (and I was) you can get the SIR-PNP3 and SIRCK3 kits seperately for a combined price that's just a few bucks more than that site is advertising after rebate.. but the Sears deal is before rebate. I paid $75 out the door before rebate. I plan on tracking down a home kit to blow the $50 rebate on.
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Old 07-08-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2003stealthedge
If you plan on soldering lay some towels down in the car for excess solder dripping
Excellent advice. One of my big "don'ts" is putting tools on the seats.. the leather and cloth are often more delicate to sharp tools than you might think! I always keep all my tools on the floor when I'm working in a car, preferrably on top of one of the paper "service" mats (easy for me since I'm always working at a dealership.
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  #20  
Old 07-08-2005
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Well I would say if she is worried about the sirius tuner matching the rest of her dash I would go with the sirius starmate....It has an orangish display and you should be able to get as good of a deal on it as you would with the Audiovox. They make an add-on modulator specifically for that unit. I have the clarion calypso, with an add on FM modulator and I love it, however, it has a blue display. I guess it is all in what you are looking for. Good luck!!
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  #21  
Old 07-08-2005
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Welp, as I said, I bought the Audiovox. I really like the looks of it, and the more I read up on the features, the more I like it. She has since decided that either it or the Jensen CK100SR. Which IMHO is EXACTLY like the Audiovox except it is a slightly different color. She chose the Audiovox as a backup to the Jensen. Ironically I have found that Jensen is actually owned by Audiovox. I'm willing to bet they are the same thing, just w/ slightly different trim.

Like I said, if she really hates this one, we'll look for something else and maybe I'll keep it for myself!
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  #22  
Old 07-08-2005
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Hey Bubba, you're welcome:

http://www.sounddomain.com/ride/495957/10
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  #23  
Old 07-18-2005
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Hell yeah man! Thanks!!! Looks like you just saved me quite a bit of trial and error. Have I mentioned I owe you a beer?!

Well, I gave her the Audiovox set when we got up to Maine. Last week I was in Maine for a weeks' vacation. My buddy and I rented a cottage on a lake up there. The Saturday before last was our first day up there and also Bri's birthday, so that's when I gave her the setup. She immediately told me that it was not what she really wanted and would like to return it for the Jensen set, which she thinks will better match the interior! I think she is trying to get 'even' w/ me. Last May she bought me a very gawdy receiver hitch plug w/ a giant faux-chrome boat propeller on it. She got very (understandably) unhappy when I said I would not put it on my truck.

So, like I said, I'm half thinking about keeping it for myself and transfering my subscription from my intergrated Kenwood set to the Audiovox. We'll have to see if I can even find the Jensen set anywhere..
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  #24  
Old 07-18-2005
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i just added a Sirius Reciever to my brother's 05 Mazda 3, it was pretty damn easy.. i was going to let ya know how to take the dash apart and all, but that cardomain page pretty much says it all, lol.

i read breifly online on a few other forums, and found out it is possible to add an aftermarket reciever to your stock HU, and be able to use the HU's orange display screen and buttons.. there was an adapter you'd have to buy from PIE, i forget the part number tho. i never bothered doing so though, because it was never fully clear wheater or not you were able to use the HU's buttons, so i just went ahead and mounted the receiver in the car, and was done with it.
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  #25  
Old 07-18-2005
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Cool. Which receiver did you install in your brother's 3?
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