Outta Sight!

Custom Autosound's Secret Audio System

Rex Easely Jun 2, 2004 0 Comment(s)

If you're into showing off, then full-on elaborate sound systems are just the ticket. Sculpted, futuristic trunk enclosures housing all the various amps and subs are perfectly suited for '50s and '60s cars due to their vast square footage out back. But what if you're the type that prefers to remain low-key, but still wants to listen to music through something a bit more modern than the old tube radio and paper-coned speaker in the dash? Simple--Secret Audio from Custom Autosound.

Sure, listening to the oldies through a factory radio may sound "neat," but how many of the systems pushing 40-plus still function like they were meant to? With Custom Autosound's hidden component group, you can keep that antique intact, but enjoy your favorite tunes pumping through modern coaxial speakers...even FM radio! Not only that, but with the included 10-disc CD changer, you can listen to your favorite music for hours on end and not worry about fading reception or irritating commercials.

Labeled as their "Hideaway" audio solution, the complete RF (radio-frequency)-controlled system includes a 140-watt AM/FM radio/CD controller, LCD control panel that will mount practically anywhere, "Flip Phone" handheld remote, "Undercover Stealthspeaker" 6x9s (housed in ABS enclosures), and the 10-disc changer. (Certain items may be sold separately.) Realistically, the entire system can be installed in less than a day--and you don't have to be a stereo installation specialist to manage that! If you don't believe it, just take a gander at the following photos and see how we had Jason from the Primedia Tech Center (who'd never installed a stereo before) equip this car with Secret Audio long before he punched his time card and headed home for the day!

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Our low-mile creampuff coupe was begging to have its stock tube radio left in the dash, but it wasn't providing the level of audio enjoyment we preferred. The solution was simple--Custom Autosound Secret Audio!

The "hidden" aspect of Secret Audio is its hideaway RF controller, which is about the size of an equalizer (roughly a third of a DIN-style head unit). Able to be mounted in the glovebox or even under the seat, the controller features dual RCAs (the additional set for an optional amplifier), AM/FM stereo, CD changer control, and 140 watts of power.

To operate the hidden controller, Custom Autosound provides you with their "Flip Phone" remote, which is radio-frequency (RF) controlled, allowing you to operate the radio/CD changer from up to 50 feet away. Also included with the system is an LCD control panel that can be mounted in view, or hidden discretely--like in the sun visor.

As you can see, we mutilated...we mean utilized...the virgin glovebox for mounting the controller.

Holes were notched in the rear for routing the wiring loom and antenna receptacle.

With the controller mounted, the supplied wiring loom is reconnected with its plug routing the speaker wires, power feed, ground, RCAs, etc.

The glovebox was then slid back in place (but not securely mounted yet) in order to run the wiring up beneath the dash and below the carpet out to the trunk.

The CD changer can be mounted vertically or horizontally, but whichever way you choose, make sure and set the alignment screw on the side appropriately. Also, don't forget to remove the brass "shipping" screws (on the same side) before operating.

We originally intended on mounting the changer tucked into the side quarter-panel--when we realized the trunk floor didn't extend that far, the location was moved forward, below the package tray.

Wherever you decide to mount the changer, just be sure it won't be in the way of any contents that may shift during travel and that you have easy access to the CD cartridge.

For the time being, the LCD control panel was mounted below the dash (yes, in plain sight) until the interior is updated at a later date. For now, the driver can access the control panel just as you would a regular stereo; when it's mounted out of view, the remote will activate all functions.

With all the wiring routed, connected, and secured (including any necessary shrink tubing over solderless connectors), the controller is finish-mounted in the glovebox.

Again, pending upholstery upgrades, the Undercover Stealthspeaker boxes were temporarily mounted behind the front bench seat. Had it not been for the immaculate factory-option rear-passenger air unit, the speakers would have been mounted in the rear package tray! Custom Autosound also offers speaker pods with self-adhesive backing to mount in practically any location.

Once everything was mounted, routed, and secure, we test-fired the Secret Audio system using the RF remote. With the push of a button, the Caddy had cruisin' tunes! After the Hideaway antenna was mounted beneath the dash, the '64 also had great radio reception. For those that prefer their music a bit more on the higher-decibel side, the extra RCA jacks allow the use of a power amplifier.

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