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Ed's vintage Pioneer car audio projects

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Here is a thread for me to document various exploits with vintage Pioneer car audio ('70s and '80s era). Please note that I'm not confident enough in my skills to offer to build similar units for other people yet, but am happy to provide guidance/comments.

it all started with this stack of early '80s Pioneer Lonesome Car-boy audio gear I picked up for cheap off Yahoo, with the help of Ewan @ hayatonka. The decks had broken drive belts, but proved to be fine otherwise.

components-1.jpg

And a third cassette deck that was ridiculously cheap, with a seized drive.

cassette-1.jpg

Rounding it off with a GM-D8 bad boy main amp. This was top of the line back in the early '80s, with a hearty 30W+30W of continuous power (40W MAX). I haven't yet managed to test this amp as I haven't been able to find any documentation nor figure out the pinouts for the horrific tangle of extra wiring and outputs you can see in the photo.

amp-1.jpg

The original plan was to open one of the non-functional decks (in the first photo) and somehow figure out a way of tapping a standard auxiliary cable into the pre-amp channels; this way I could discreetly attach an external music player and still have treble/bass, volume and fader controls available, as well as preserving the "time capsule" feel of the interiors in both squid (the Skyline sedan) and banana (the Savanna RX-7).

One of the decks proved more suited to the task than the others, due to the pre-amp being directly accessible without having to remove the entire tape player mechanism, and so I set about pulling this apart and modifying to accept a standard 3.5mm input with the help of slacker.cam and Ned.

Results were promising.



Deck is back together in one piece, and I just need to decide which car it goes into.

 



In addition to the RX-7 and Skyline there are also plans to restore the factory audio setup in the BFMR Familia I've been slowly fixing up on the side. I was extremely lucky to stumble across a Pioneer AM/FM/cassette component deck which was sold as an option in the 1986 Familia - had I not found this, I probably would have just thrown a generic CD player in and called it quits!

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Again, thread is useless without video:



Admittedly, functional cassette decks are a magnitude of order more complicated to modify for AUX-in operation, over one that has a broken tape drive (but intact switching). I'm currently doing some research into how to switch between tape and auxiliary inputs seamlessly, but so far no simple solution is really jumping out at me.

It would be nice to have this switching capability though, if only as a neat party trick. It'd also save having to destroy a good tape deck.
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cheers man. judging from the feedback received at the recent Ardmore show about the dummy setup in squid, vintage audio installs may be set to make a comeback in the near future... I guess "duf duf" has run its course?

6314177444_8986ed37b9_z.jpg

Tape deck is a fully operational KP-707G (which I'm reluctant to pull apart) with accompanying CD-5 equalizer. Here's a demo video of it running (on the lounge floor):



I wouldn't have been able to complete the installation without this new old stock component cradle - another lucky find off Yahoo.

24pfoep.jpg

sin2800jp-img600x450-1306117776n5oyzb570
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The rear parcel shelf speakers were hooked up to the previous headunit, but as mentioned, I'll need to drive them separately with a preamp if I can't find the correct interconnect box. I also need to pull one of them apart as the main woofer has developed a slight crackle... a sure sign that the foam edge has disintegrated :(

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4912178452_21b732c8ac_z.jpg

I had planned to pull apart and cannibalize these Carrozzerias (exact same speaker chassis) that I'd scored off mjrstar... but they turned out to have munted woofers as well :x

While the factory woofers are an industry standard 4" size, the speaker mounting tabs are recessed, so it's not as easy as replacing them with off-the-shelf items. I like the challenge though.

6805144435_8722e8d97f_z.jpg

A recent email conversation with Ewan @ hayatonka resulted in the purchase of another KP-88G off Yahoo. It's a bit ratty-looking, but I'll modify and throw it into the other car to fill the gap in the centre console while I continue with the switching puzzle!

9hS58.jpg
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A minor update... found some new old stock 4" Pioneers still in their box. Should go well with the other bits I've amassed for the RX-7.

Would you believe, the headunit cost me a dollar about a year ago? Pricing has gone absurd as of late, no chance I'll ever pick any of this sort of gear up again for that cheap. Also cheers to Yowzer for hooking me up with a couple of line-level converters, they should do the job in the absence of any factory interconnects (which give you the ability to run a twin amp/four speaker setup).

7079171943_d1ef49c3c6_z.jpg

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Progress shots of the RX-7 installation.

Had to build a quick'n'nasty attenuator circuit and experiment with various resistor sizes until I found an optimal ratio to suit the factory pre-amp. Good news is that this can be carried over to virtually any other setup which operates in the same manner, not just Pioneer.

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In-car:

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tangle of DIN plugs and associated wiring:

6985504414_fb371c4e48_z.jpg

3.5mm audio jack:

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as per the post in my RX-7 build thread, only the front speakers are currently functional (they're fucked and need replacing anyway, as evidenced by the awful crackle in the video below. The new ones in the above post should do nicely)

I won't hook up the rears until the two-seater conversion parts arrive.

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meant to say the other day, looking good man. keep me in the loop of any retro gear you see and dont want lol

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Scored another KP-707G cassette deck, GM-4 amp and a super gimmicky line level indicator panel off Trademe last week for what I thought was a fair price. Some annoying guy from Wellington with too much money has been scooping up old Pioneer stuff left right and centre recently, so was very relieved not to have to get into another bidding war with him!

Got stuck into modding the deck (the belts had all turned to gooey mush, yuck!), had the AUX circuit fully complete and soldered, then quickly discovered the tape head wasn't sliding forward to engage the rollers and activate the preamp, so the motor seems to be permanently stuck in fast forward mode (meaning no sound). Annoying, but I'm sure I'll figure out a way of fixing this.

EXOJg.jpg

Have also decyphered the pinout for the main power feed and with some effort this should be the first iteration with the tape motor completely disabled, eliminating pretty much all of the audible interference/feedback and heat.

Also modified the OEM Hitachi unit from Ryan Fels' old Grande with great success, hopefully he finds a suitable vehicle to chuck that into :)

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Picked up a KP-88G off Trademe last week which turned out to still have the cassette playing ability intact, so have put that aside for a different purpose. I have a couple more decks arriving with Ewan's latest container so should have a few more "toys" to play around with in the upcoming month.

In the meantime I decided to put the KP-707G from the previous post aside, the stuck tape engage mechanism was proving frustrating to solve. So here is a KP-77G (second photo from the original post) that is about to roll off the modification line in its place.

rwQnv.jpg

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Love the look of these. Have you had any luck with getting a dead tape deck to run?

Pulled a part an old boom box last night, which also seems to have dead tape deck, going to grab a tape to see if having one in there makes any diff.

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Virtually all of the dead decks I've seen have been this way due to the belts melting/snapping, or some part of the head engage mechanism is broken (e.g. the auto reverse). The motors almost always never burn out.

I'm not even going to try fixing a dead one, that's best left to a professional like the guy who runs retrotronics.co.nz - the number of tiny little screws and springs and levers and shit present just baffles the mind :lol:

If you're still interested in picking something up for one of your projects I may have a deck for you in the next month or so.

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cheers man. judging from the feedback received at the recent Ardmore show about the dummy setup in squid, vintage audio installs may be set to make a comeback in the near future... I guess "duf duf" has run its course?

6314177444_8986ed37b9_z.jpg

Tape deck is a fully operational KP-707G (which I'm reluctant to pull apart) with accompanying CD-5 equalizer. Here's a demo video of it running (on the lounge floor):

Vl_50C8wfrw

I wouldn't have been able to complete the installation without this new old stock component cradle - another lucky find off Yahoo.

24pfoep.jpg

sin2800jp-img600x450-1306117776n5oyzb570

sin2800jp-img600x450-1306117776u2a7j7570

The rear parcel shelf speakers were hooked up to the previous headunit, but as mentioned, I'll need to drive them separately with a preamp if I can't find the correct interconnect box. I also need to pull one of them apart as the main woofer has developed a slight crackle... a sure sign that the foam edge has disintegrated :(

4911573169_33127aaa61_z.jpg

4912178452_21b732c8ac_z.jpg

I had planned to pull apart and cannibalize these Carrozzerias (exact same speaker chassis) that I'd scored off mjrstar... but they turned out to have munted woofers as well :x

While the factory woofers are an industry standard 4" size, the speaker mounting tabs are recessed, so it's not as easy as replacing them with off-the-shelf items. I like the challenge though.

6805144435_8722e8d97f_z.jpg

A recent email conversation with Ewan @ hayatonka resulted in the purchase of another KP-88G off Yahoo. It's a bit ratty-looking, but I'll modify and throw it into the other car to fill the gap in the centre console while I continue with the switching puzzle!

9hS58.jpg

Hi Ted,

You have quite a few nice old Pioneer car stereo there.

I wonder you consider selling any of these? I have been looking for Old Pioneer car stereo.

Please let me know.

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Awesome, fully jammed out to that shit ^

 

I have a pair of these that need fixing:

 

600x450-2012101000002.jpg

 

May have to wait until I have a car with a parcel tray though.

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Wow only just noticed this thread was back from the dead.

 

The only additions to my collection so far this year have been three pairs of box speakers - first off, a pair of cult classic TS-X11s in somewhat ratty condition. These are a full alloy chassis, and heavy to boot - each box weighs a good 5kg - and are renowned for their superior sound quality over most other plastic chassis box speakers of the same era.

 

You only have to look on Yahoo to see the eye-watering prices these commandeer.

 

8365912389_ed86d68252_z.jpg

 

I would like to refurbish the exterior at some point - the raised Pioneer logo is badly faded on one woofer.

 

They're now fitted to the Skyline sedan as part of the period audio build that I'm three quarters of the way through completing.

 

8448393327_f6c8a1515f_z.jpg

 

Not long after some TS-X7s in great exterior condition but with busted woofers popped up, which I bought and sent to Axent Audio for reconditioning. These have now found a home in the Skyline coupe, replacing the TS-X101s that were in there.

 

8726740111_2375937f4c_z.jpg

 

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And these gargantuan TS-X35 HFWs (Honeycomb Flat Woofers) that likewise have blown speaker cones, which I'll probably cannibalize for parts. Note to self - never trust anyone who advertises box speakers as "mint condition" because 99% of the time they won't be!

 

9397976273_73992fa95b_z.jpg

 

Hi Ted,

You have quite a few nice old Pioneer car stereo there.
I wonder you consider selling any of these? I have been looking for Old Pioneer car stereo.

Please let me know.

 

Sorry, haven't been able to expand my collection of headunits for some time, so don't really have anything to sell right now.

 

I keep getting outbid by the same people on trademe :(

 

Dammmm, A super cool collection going on!

I have actually just got some Carrozzeria TS-X66 IIs on their way now.

Wondering what period correct Head unit i'll have to run, any ideas?

 

This exact pair actually.   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb092W72POg

 

For extra relevance.

 

The TS-X66 IIs are from the same "HFW" series as my TS-X35s above, so around 1987-88. They would pair up well with a KEX or CDX "Centrate" unit such as this one:

 

pioneer-cdx-p1-01.jpg

 

Awesome, fully jammed out to that shit ^

 

I have a pair of these that need fixing:

 

Send them to Axent Audio in New Lynn, the guys there work wonders with older stereo junk.

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Ed how are those carrozeria speakers? I just won a set (and was outbid on some amplifier amd equaliser parts) Need to make more of an effort to keep an eye out on TM

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Oh just reread and I see those have woofer issues too. Will see what knick these ones are in when they arrive.

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Yeah unfortunately the woofers on the TS-X35s are poked and are a bit tricky to refurbish as they're square (!) and materials are hard to get. Will probably be a cool $200 via Axent, possibly more, but the guys there are wizards so anything's possible.

 

I've missed out on a few gems lately as well, I don't trawl hard enough (a lot of equipment appears in bulk and doesn't get listed with their individual model numbers) - e.g. this listing which I only saw the other night after it closed, containing a GM-41 amp and rare KPX-888 cassette, and only for $16! The Alpine gear would have been good to on-sell as well.

 

Think I saw the auction you were bidding on - a box full of speakers/amps and a CD5 equalizer?

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