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Thoughts on Radio Replacement - 1990 Vintage


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alchemist
Posted (edited)

I am in the situation of either needing to have the radio in our 1990 Reatta repaired (snap, crackle and pop from both left and right channels, front and back) or replacing it.  I am torn between three options and would like some opinions.

 

Send to MRN for repair.  Will still have the same mediocre sound.  I will probably have this done anyway to keep the car original if I ever decide to sell.  Best to fix now, things are becoming more rare as time goes on.  Anyone know what goes wrong with the radio and is the a procedure for fixing if one is adept?

 

RetroSound New York - They say it will work for the Riviera but not the Reatta.  I have read here the Riviera/Reatta radios are interchangeable, but not certain if the bracketry and mounting is the same.  Any thoughts on this?

https://www.retromanufacturing.com/products/1990-95-buick-riviera-new-york-1-5-din-direct-fit-radio?rq=yr_1990~mk_buick~md_riviera&variant=37318650626204

 

Modern Touch Screen single DIN like the Jensen CAR910X https://www.crutchfield.com/p_110CAR910X/Jensen-CAR910X-does-not-play-discs.html?tp=72381

Has anyone used this kit?  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00029X1MI/#

 

Thanks in advance for any advice and counsel!

 

(Cross Posted to the AACA Reatta Forum as well)

 

Steve

Edited by alchemist
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Ronnie
29 minutes ago, alchemist said:

(Cross Posted to the AACA Reatta Forum as well)

Dave gave you excellent advice over there. It's almost certain that you will have to change the speakers. The cones in the speakers are made of paper and they rot over time. I'm pretty sure the factory radio modules are all the same for all years. They are just mounted in different locations. Makes no since that they would work on a Riv radio and not a Reatta. Maybe they know something we don't.

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DAVES89

Riviera had a Bose option which means the speakers were powered. That set up will not work with our Reattas.

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alchemist

The fitment that Crutchfield used for comparison was a 1990 Riviera WITHOUT Bose and the Retrosound system will work in that vehicle.

 

Our Reatta does not have the Bose option.  I did hookup a set of new 4 ohm speakers after removing the rear ones temporarily, still sounded like crap.

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2seater

Nothing on the market for din and a half units now, and there never was a big selection. Factory units from various GM models are an option, but may need reconditioning. Back in the late 90’s I installed a Pioneer 1.5 din unit, 35w x 4channel in my coupe. Rear speakers changed to 6x9 Pioneer and doors got Polk Audio component set. Sounded good to my ear and decent but not overwhelming power. High efficiency speakers matched to the relatively low output head unit. Fast forward two decades and the head unit has failed. Found a matching unit on eBay for a good price but was slightly newer which had uprated to 45w per channel. The increase in power made a very noticeable difference in how solid the sound is still using the two decade old speakers. A little power, within reason, does have a positive effect.

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DAVES89

The sound quality on the vert with the top down is okay for around town driving, but bad especially on the highway. All the sound is directed away from the driver/passenger so one has to turn up the volume to the maximum which causes distortion. I still have the kicker in the vert which helps, but yes the sound may not be what you want.

I have the same set up [kicker sub woofer and Affinity speakers] in the Black and Red [both coupes and the sound is very good to excellent certainly better then the verts. 

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Padgett

My main purpose was to add bluetooth handsfree as well as a good match for color. I used a Clarion CZ-702 which fit the existing cutout and I made a patch cord to connect the Clarion to the existing uncut harness. I did have to relieve the plastic structure behind the radio slightly. Do  prefer to use my cell phone for control & apps. Now there are better answers, some with touchscreens, but the clarion did what I wanted and was not very expensive. Radio was single DIN but Metra has a 99-4000 dash housing and a 70-1858 GM wiring harness adapter.

 

 

indash.jpg

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alchemist
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Padgett said:

My main purpose was to add bluetooth handsfree as well as a good match for color. I used a Clarion CZ-702 which fit the existing cutout and I made a patch cord to connect the Clarion to the existing uncut harness. I did have to relieve the plastic structure behind the radio slightly. Do  prefer to use my cell phone for control & apps. Now there are better answers, some with touchscreens, but the clarion did what I wanted and was not very expensive. Radio was single DIN but Metra has a 99-4000 dash housing and a 70-1858 GM wiring harness adapter.

Thanks Padgett!

 

That is the wiring harness adapter I ordered as well.  Thinking I am going the route of upgrading but keeping all of the old components.

 

Edited by alchemist
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Padgett

BTW from the cell phone I would date the picture in 2013-2014 era. Have an S7 Edge now.

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DAVES89

I just got back from a 100 mile trip with the 'vert. I had the top down but the windows up and I have to say the stereo did sound good. However I am going with the Buick "sidewinder which has a simpler layout, but still Buick with the correct backlighting. It does have a graphic equalizer and cassette deck no CD player. Didn't care as who uses CDs or cassettes?  Also the guy I bought it from reconditions these stereos [however he only services his own inventory, does no outside refurbishing] new capacitors, cleans them up, new bulbs and adjusts if needed the frequency back to specs. He did install Bluetooth and an MP3 lead for me, so I have that going for me which is nice. 

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2seater

I have to say I still use cd’s on occasion, primarily for the sound quality. Over the air FM, MP3’s and even the streaming services like Pandora et al don’t have the dynamic range of a cd. I know there are other options here or coming, but a cd has much better range and sound quality.

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alchemist
8 hours ago, 2seater said:

I have to say I still use cd’s on occasion, primarily for the sound quality. Over the air FM, MP3’s and even the streaming services like Pandora et al don’t have the dynamic range of a cd. I know there are other options here or coming, but a cd has much better range and sound quality.

Finally Amazon Music Unlimited is streaming CD/HD quality or better.  I still have all of my old CD's, but they reside on my memory card on my phone at 320.  I think I ripped them in FLAC format as well, those are on my NAS somewhere...

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2seater
39 minutes ago, alchemist said:

Finally Amazon Music Unlimited is streaming CD/HD quality or better.  I still have all of my old CD's, but they reside on my memory card on my phone at 320.  I think I ripped them in FLAC format as well, those are on my NAS somewhere...

I probably shouldn't even comment on this subject as I rarely listen to anything when I am in the car. I call it "listening to the song of the machine". I am sure there are other formats and services but it isn't in my range of interests. I do appreciate the quality of the sound when I do listen.

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Ronnie
13 hours ago, 2seater said:

I have to say I still use cd’s on occasion, primarily for the sound quality. Over the air FM, MP3’s and even the streaming services like Pandora et al don’t have the dynamic range of a cd. I know there are other options here or coming, but a cd has much better range and sound quality.

I rarely listen to the radio in my Reatta. It just has cheap speakers. I usually drive with the windows down anyway and it doesn't sound to good.  I do listen to SiriusXM on the radio in my Equinox that has a factory installed Pioneer sound system with subwoofer.  SiriusXM has excellent sound quality. 

 

I agree on the CDs. I still listen to CDs at home for their sound quality. I also have over 200 vinyl albums I bought during the '60s and '70s. I still listen to them from time to time but CDs are a lot more convenient to play. I have some big vintage (1980s) Polk SDA speakers that I listen to almost every night. Listening to music is another one of my hobbies.

 

The sound quality of streaming services has improved a lot, especially youTube. I like it a lot because it is more enjoyable to see the performance on the screen as well as listen to the music. I have a premium subscription to youTube that eliminates the commercials and allows you to make your own play lists for the songs and videos you like. That makes it a much better. Subscribing to youTube premium is the best 40 cents a day you can spend if you listen to music and watch videos a lot like I do.

 

polk2b-2.JPG

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alchemist
14 hours ago, DAVES89 said:

I just got back from a 100 mile trip with the 'vert. I had the top down but the windows up and I have to say the stereo did sound good. However I am going with the Buick "sidewinder which has a simpler layout, but still Buick with the correct backlighting. It does have a graphic equalizer and cassette deck no CD player. Didn't care as who uses CDs or cassettes?  Also the guy I bought it from reconditions these stereos [however he only services his own inventory, does no outside refurbishing] new capacitors, cleans them up, new bulbs and adjusts if needed the frequency back to specs. He did install Bluetooth and an MP3 lead for me, so I have that going for me which is nice. 

Interesting, I have Googled Buick Sidewinder radio and can't find anything on that.  Any other details?  I have decided to go ahead with the Jensen CAR910X.  Thankfully, alll the parts are fully returnable if this turns into a disaster.  Either way, I will post my progress, challenges and hopefully success!

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Ronnie

Don't skimp on the speakers. Good speakers make a difference They are the only part of the stereo system that produce sound.

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DAVES89

I just bought on Ebay a refurbished Buick stereo #16085414 with am/fm/am stereo with 5 slide graphic equalizer and cassette, upgraded with both an integrated Bluetooth and an MP3 lead. Unit has new capacitors, bulbs, and has been cleaned and the signal checked and adjusted for accuracy. It has been nicknamed "Sidewinder" [don't know why] over at the other Reatta website. I had the same unit in my Roadmaster and swapped it into my Reatta a number of years ago. I had burned up the unit I had during my Headlight relay issue, but have just gotten another so life is good. Paid $198.00 with sales tax and shipping. Not a bad price for a refurbished unit with upgrades that in my opinion has a simpler button layout then the Reatta units.

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Padgett

I can ear the difference between satellite and FM but not between FM and my cell phone. Have ripped all of my CDs at 192 (max) and am transferring vinyl to digtal.

 

BTW I have both Bose and non-Bose systems. They both use the same receiver module but the pinout (etched into the metal) is slightly different.

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alchemist

Hello Everyone,

 

Quick update to my little project.

Ordered and received the following parts and will be completing the install later today.  I cobbled everything together first to confirm everything works and fits.

Jensen CAR910X 9.1" display receiver.

Metra 70-1858 Wiring Harness Adapter

Metra 99-4644 GM Multi Kit 1.5 DIN to 1.0 DIN Adapter

Metra 40-GM10 Antenna Adapter

 

Wow, the difference is amazing already.  All of the snap-crackle-pop is gone, but I quickly found the drivers door speaker is toast, so next on the money drain is new speakers all around.  I have to admit the Jensen looks a little out of place in a 1990's vintage vehicle, but it has all of the functionality I wanted including Android Auto (and Apple Car Play) and the ability to add a backup camera and SiriusXM radio (I have a subscription in my car so I just stream it via Bluetooth from the phone app in the Reatta).

 

I will post some pictures tomorrow when everything is buttoned up.

 

Cheers,

 

Steve

 

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alchemist

The install is complete and went smoothly.  All of the appropriate things work which means that I am not completely color blind.

 

Had to install new speakers, so I ordered Kicker 4x10 rear speakers (47KSC41004) and Infinity Reference 5032CFX for the front.  The sound is so much better now.

 

I am OK with the look of the unit as-installed, wish I could have found something with a smaller screen that would have worked, but this is good.  I kept all of the stock parts in case a purist ever purchases the vehicle, assuming I sell at some point.

IMG_20210613_122146715.thumb.jpg.977d944bf9a88295dcd8cead7ae99a52.jpgIMG_20210613_122152809.thumb.jpg.b803176ad42e0ba73ea9f19c1dc5673e.jpg

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