View Full Version : Audio System: '79 Avanti

Lou Van Anne
09-05-2018, 10:27 AM
It's time to upgrade the Audio system in my '79 Avanti....any suggestions out there....?

09-05-2018, 10:59 AM
The largest improvement you can make is the head unit. I don't know if the retro units will fit an Avanti dash but locally we have radioroy that is certainly knowledgeable about these things. If not, then go to Best Buy or other radio retailer and see the features you like and listen to the sound of various units. A single Din unit will either fit under the passenger side of the dash, under seat or in the glove box. Most have remote control so it's position is not as critical as older units.

I mount mine in the center console where the A/C outlets are so you either loose those outlets and also need to modify the console face.

Here's how I mounted my Pioneer peakers in the kick panel and rear shelf. I know I could have chosen to mount them in the doors but I just didn't want to cut up the doors panels.

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As far as speakers, I like Pioneer coaxial. They don't have the booming base of some other brands, they're not bad, but they do a very nice job with the mid range and highs according to my 75yo ears.

I just ash canned the small mounts that came with the 74, just not enough speaker for me.


09-05-2018, 12:52 PM
70% of the sound quality is how good the speakers are and how/where they are mounted. In the old days of 8 track stereo tape players, companies mounted them in the doors and the package tray. Both were good places acoustically, but nowadays we don't like to tear up our doors, and for good reason.

The best mounting position is where you can only hear the sound of the speaker from the speaker face and not from the speaker's rear side. That's because the sound from the rear of the speaker is out of phase from the sound from the front of the speaker. That out of phase sound severely limits bass response that we hear.

In the case of the package tray, the position is ideal because the whole trunk is the speaker box, you only get the sound from the front of the speakers, you can mount 6x9 speakers (generally the largest available) and the rear window bounces the sound right to your ears. The trunk is also a big enough chamber to not dampen movement of the speaker cone.

In the case of the kick panel speakers, it is better to have a larger cabinet behind the speaker than is generally available in the kick panel. Basically you still want to hear the sound from the face of the speaker and not hear the sound from the rear of the speaker, although that is more difficult in this position.

All of this is about speaker mounting position. The other thing that is extremely important is speaker quality. Many less expensive speakers available in FLAPS are designed to handle high power from the amplifier, but have excessive levels of distortion. You should buy name brand, high quality speakers. I look for names like JBL, Kenwood, Alpine and such. It really helps if you can go to a car stereo store and listen to different ones all in the same environment.

If you get the right speakers and install them in the right places, you generally do not need a separate power amplifier. 40-50 watts of clean RMS power per channel should do it.

So... some things to look/listen for and do
-speaker size - bigger is generally better for the same quality of speaker
-speaker installation - no sound from the rear side
-speaker quality - loud with less distortion
-amplifier of sufficient quality

Lou Van Anne
09-05-2018, 03:53 PM
Nope, not mounting somewhere else....I want some thing that mounts in the original position....just AM/FM is fine for me.....

Stude Shoo-wop!
09-05-2018, 04:26 PM
I do know that Joe's Classic Car Radio Co. has a conversion kit from AM to AM/FM and AUX capability that you can preform on your pre-exising radio. It appears as though it would be the best option for you.


09-05-2018, 04:38 PM
There are several levels of Quality from the same brand speakers in lots of cases. Pioneer comes to mind. There are a few nice tiny amps that do a great job (class d) that won't break the bank. Often the head unit if it pulls in the signals well is plenty good if you work on the other end of the system. I like JBL, and Infinity Kappa speakers. I like the Component speakers, as the high frequency tweeters can be mounted up high, since they are tiny, and directed at your ears. The higher the frequency, the more directional it is.
Bass can be hidden anywhere it will fit without loosing much sound quality.

09-05-2018, 07:39 PM
The problem that you will run into is there is a limited supply of head units that will fit an Avanti opening. Most dealers like Crutchfield and Best Buy offer single Din head units that won't fit your old radio location. Folks like Retrosound offer some options so Google will need to be your friend.

But for starters - https://www.retromanufacturing.com/

As we all mentioned above, good speakers make a large difference.

Good luck, Bob

Skip Lackie
09-06-2018, 07:04 AM
Can't tell if you're looking for booming audio or just a better radio. The replacement radios with adjustable knob shaft spacing that were offered back in the 1980s would fit your dash, but might not meet your expectations for an upgrade. New ones, still in the box, come up on ebay now and then. John Poulos sold me three or four brand new ca 1988 Sanyo AM/FM/cassette radios about 20 years ago, and I have used two of them (one in a 74 Avanti, and one in a 60 Lark) so far. Good reception, decent stability, and more than enough power for my limited requirements. And they fit the hole in the Avanti dash.

09-06-2018, 07:13 AM
DIN-mount Blaupunkt radios were offered on late 1970's Avanti models, and if it were me, I would go for a nice new Blaupunkt radio of your choice, https://www.blaupunkt.com/en/nc/products/car-multimedia/car-radio/ as it would require no modification of the dash.


Lou Van Anne
11-17-2018, 11:19 AM
Will any of these suggestions negate the use of shielding as in the Avanti?.....static is my main issue

Still looking....