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Discussion Starter #1
Getting around to thinking about audio for my '65 Coupe.
I like the look of the CAS USA66, however, I'm aware that CAs has a suspect reputation. I've been trawling through some of the forum threads on the subject. Some say that they have overcome initial product problems and that their reputaion and reliability have improved significantly.
I don't want to cut the dash.
If i do go with a modern DIN head unit, i don't want is visable.
I like the CAS USA66 vintage look, but it ain't cheap.

So my question is, has the reliability of CAS's products improved with the USA66? Would anyone recommend the USA66 over a DIN type head unit?
 

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I like the look of the CAS USA66, however, I'm aware that CAs has a suspect reputation. I've been trawling through some of the forum threads on the subject. Some say that they have overcome initial product problems and that their reputaion and reliability have improved significantly.
I had a similar impression last time I asked Glazier/Nolan about the USA66. You might call them. They don't like something, they'll tell you.
 

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I installed a CAS USA 1 and used it for years without a problem.
I didnt want to cut or modify anything. The sound wasnt great...but the exhaust volume took care of that.
Joe
 

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Geordie-

Did you get my PM about trunk mounted solution? Just wondering what you thought of that?

Nate
 

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20 years ago I had a Custom Autosound AM/FM cassette in my 66 coupe...once we hooked up a cheap amp to it, it really sounded great. I was very impressed with it.

When Custom Autosound came out with their USA-66 I was on the waiting list and eventually received one of the first ones. I didn't get around to putting it in my car for about 5 months, and when I did, I was thoroughly unimpressed. Not only was the sound weak, but the radio would not hold a station very well. Also, the ipod connection was very low too.

Eventually I took it to my local Circiut City (I know, a mistake) assuming that I had installed the radio incorrectly (not properly grounded, etc.) The installed everything and somehow convinced me to install a 2 channel am in my trunk (the only thing you can see is a cable/fuse in my engine compartment...not too horrible.

When I picked up the car the guy told me that he thought that the radio's tuner was bad because the radio wouldn't hold a station. Frustrated, I eventually unplugged the radio from the amp, and plugged my ipod directly into the amp instead. The speakers sounded great, and I was happy.

This spring I'm going to remove the radio and send it back to Custom Autosound to see if they can fix the tuner. Hopefully they can and it won't cost too much. I love the looks of the Custom Autosound, but am more than unimpressed with their quality.
 

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I have had several CAS stereos in past cars, they were all junk. I went ahead and bought the USA-66, thinking if it didn't work great, at least it would look awesome in the dash and I could mount another stereo some where else.

I installed a dual-voice/coil speaker in the dash and a pair of Memphis 6x9's in the back package shelf underneath a pair of black metal covers. I wanted it to look as old school and close to stock as I could.

It sounds great with an MP3 hooked to it (I used a longer cable and it comes out in between the seats at the overlap of the carpet pieces.) and it also sounds great with the 6 disc changer I mounted in the trunk. But, you are right, it will not hold a radio station at all! If they fix yours I would definitely be interested.
 

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I also have one of the very early repro radios from CAs, and it, like yours, will not stay tuned to any station. I am happy otherwise, but for the price the tuner should be one that functions properly. I have called twice to bitch, been transfered to various people and always end up hearing "it is your antenna, not our radio" I get so disgusted with this same excuse. Also get mad and hang up in frustration. It darn well is their tuner! I hope that you can get some type of help with this problem and share it with the rest of us. I would love to have mine repaired but so far have struck out with their "customer service" line. I talked to one of their reps at SEMA and he thought they were aware of the problem and had a fix but he is retired and the lady in the customer service department claims to know nothing about a "fix".
 

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I am not happy with the USA 66 radio but the stereo sounds good when palying an MP3 player through it & that's all I care about.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just to close out the thread from my point of view. there was enough negative feedback from this and other bulletin boards to put me off buying either Custom Autosound or Retrosound. I've bought a Sony Digital Media receiver, no CD player. Don't know exactly where I'll be mounting it, but it'll probably be in the glove box.
 

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Interesting, I have never heard anything bad about Retrosound, not once.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I heard fewer negative comments about Retrosound than CAS, but they are expensive and I personally didn't like the appearance of them as much as CAS.
 

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To all those concerned:

Custom Autosound is the original manufacturer of replacement radios for classic cars. established in 1977- this year we have sold our ONE MILLIONTH radio.
That is a lot of our radios out there!
I have read all the posts on this forum and there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to audio, and especially CAR audio.
Custom Autosound's return rate is less than 1%. Industry average (ie pioneer, kenwwod, alpine, pyle, etc) is 6%.
Of the 1% we get back- 80% have water/oil damage- which is the only instance not covered by our warranty.
Speaking about warrnaties, industry average warranty (ie pioneer, kenwood, alpine, pyle, ect) is one year. Custom Autosound's warranty is 2 years.
************************************************** ******
-sound quality-
There are many factors that greatly impact sound quality. We are not building competition sound systems. We are building replacement radios for classic cars- intended to be an improvement over the stock unit and support common modern devices. The manufacturers of these devices (ie XM, Sirius, Apple, Bluetooth, etc.) have to release licensing in order for us to build a component that is compatible. Which they are not inspired to do.
Understand the biggest impact on the sound quality is going to be:
1) speaker wattage and ohm rating (there has to be adequate wattage to drive the speakers) our units wattage range from 160-240 watts and require 4 ohm speakers which is now the standard ohm rating. Original speakers ohm rating was 8-12ohms.
2) speaker location and range (are they directed towards the listener and do they cover multiple ranges)
3) enclosure (if the speakers arent enclosed sound will bleed out)
4) proper installation (if the speakers are over torqued it wont allow them to move)
5) phasing (the speakers need to be pahsed correctly)
6) wiring
All of our units are amplifier ready so if you need more sound-amplify!
And always check and double check your grounds!
************************************************** *******
-reception-
Most common problem is proper antenna connection, and antenna grounding. A quick way to determine if it is the antenna try AM. Not tuning in?? check your antenna connections.
on the USA 66 ***this is a reproduction radio***
which means it has an ANALOG tuner. there is a small rubber band that connects from the knob to the tuner. For those of you who remember what stereos were like in the 60's and 70's you understand the real difference between analog and digital tuning.
If you want a digital tuner look at our USA 630, USA 230, or USA 1 models.
************************************************** *******
-cost-
The car audio industry abandoned tuner shaft style radios many moons ago. It wasnt by accident, it is because the shafts are expensive to build and notoriously unrealiable. Custom Autosound covers over 400 applications. The tooling costs alone are astronomical. Moral of the story... we are in this business for the love of cars... we are not getting rich. Walmart has din sized units that are going to sound fine for around $100. Chinese factories stamp them out all day everyday. But we dont ever recommend cutting your dash.
************************************************** *******
-fitment-
Keep in mind car manufacturing was not the exact science in the 60's and 70's as it is today. Audio was an after thought at best. And electronics?? the only thing they were concerned with was an alternator to charge the battery and give enough juice to fire through a set of points.
Custom Autosound has spent the last 35 years scouring through junk yards picking up sample dashes and bezels. Reproduction dashes are not stock dashes. If you have a reproduction dash chances are you will have to file slightly to bring it into factory specs. If it is the original dash remeber it is probably 40+ years old and things have a tendency to warp and wear after 40 years. just ask my knees!
************************************************** *******
-competition-
Custom Autsound is the originator of the replacement radio and audio solutions for classic cars. Since 1977 we have been dedicated to the classic car community. Our "competitors" are comprised of former employess who stole many of our designs. Sad but true.
************************************************** *******
Bottom line we are here to help, cant make everyone happy but we try. We at Custom Autosound are a family with the average tenure of over 15 years. If there is an issue give us the opportunity to correct it.
Feel free to contact me directly:
Ryan McDonald [email protected] 714-773-1423 ext 205
Thank you for taking the time to read this!
 

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Here is my view of Custom Autosound. Many people complain about the sound quality. I've had my USA-6 since Jan 2007. The only problem I ever have is the volume level. I usually use it about 40 on it's volume level. Sometimes when I start the car, the volume will be really soft. I've found that if I turn the radio down to like 5, and then turn it off and back on, the volume level will be back how it should be. Other than this little foible, I've never had any trouble with it. To install mine, I followed a Mustang Monthly article.

I believe, that like many new electronics, their products are hit and miss. Sometimes you'll end up lucky. I personally love mine. It looks good, sounds good, and gets lots of compliments at car shows. If the only grain of salt is playing with the volume knob once in a while, I have no problem with that.
 

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Ryan, thanks for stepping up. However, you can quote all you like but my experiences with your company prevent me from ever dealing with your company again. My experience was that once I got your products (the top of the line head unit and trunk mounted cd player) to work (unedited verbatim translation of an imported user guide) due to inaccurate instructions, I couldn't get engine noise out. Didn't have it with a big name underdash unit, did with yours, even using their filters. Connected a scope to the outputs and freq response wasn't as advertised. Final drive was pretty weak. The cd player started skipping a year and a month to the day after purchase. Your customer service was rude and uneducated about electrical interference. What did I do? I hoped improvements had been made so I stupidly bought another head unit/trunk cd combo. Went in well, but same rfi, same ineptitude in your customer service. So I immediately replaced it with RetroSound's then new Model One unit. It was great, sound was great and when I had a problem, I had a new unit two days later. It's still in the car. I hope your company and products have improved, but I got burnt for nearly $1,500 total. That's quite enough.
 

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Well I guess this thread makes up my mind about inve$ting in a CAS radio. For the money I expect top-notch performance.

Ryan,
Good of you to join & try to address some concerns. But when your customers compare your products to a replacement and their installation is verified to be correct then your tips don't address the real problem--a very cheap analog tuner with crummy frequency lock &/or poor sensitivity. There have always been high quality analog tuners that perform way above the level of the 60s-vintage OEM units but yours aren't that quality. You're charging for a Marantz 10B but delivering a JC Penny (an analogy only old audiophiles will understand...LOL).
And my God I hope your misinformed when you state there's a "rubber band" connecting the tuning knob to the tuner. It better be a traditional tensioned synthetic dial string or it will fail in just a few years & need costly service.
 

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C'mon guys, didn't you read the canned cut-and-paste advertisement? CAS has shipped ONE MILLION radios with only a 1% return rate. That's only 10,000 defective radios. I'm sure it's a coincidence that they were all sold to people on this forum. Also, if I read correctly, about 80% of the defective ones are really the installer's fault. So really the problem isn't that CAS makes a lousy product, it's that we are a bunch of dopes. Now that I have read this treatise on at least 3 different threads it all makes sense...

MrFreeze
 

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C'mon guys, didn't you read the canned cut-and-paste advertisement? CAS has shipped ONE MILLION radios with only a 1% return rate. That's only 10,000 defective radios. I'm sure it's a coincidence that they were all sold to people on this forum. Also, if I read correctly, about 80% of the defective ones are really the installer's fault. So really the problem isn't that CAS makes a lousy product, it's that we are a bunch of dopes. Now that I have read this treatise on at least 3 different threads it all makes sense...

MrFreeze
Just bear in mind that a 1% return rate reflects the fact that their product is warranted for just 2 years. Many people may simply chuck their radio and replace it with a new one. Although I have no gripes about the one I have, perhaps there is an issue if the radios are such poor quality as the failure rate of units out of warranty is high, which would explain the complaints.
 

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I doubt if Ryan will reply to this, but here goes.

I'm in the market for a new radio right now, and I'm a prospective customer for your USA-66. It's exactly the look I'd like, and I'm not unhappy about the price. Problem is, I've read countless threads over the years complaining about the tuner, and that alone has me on the fence between buying your product and sending a factory AM to someone like Gary Tayman for conversion (for considerably more money than the USA-66, I might add). Unless something radical happens in the next month or so, I'm leaning heavily towards the second choice.

The way to alleviate my concerns and convince me to choose your product is not to cut-n-paste boilerplate about your fine company and how clueless some installers are- I get all of that. The way to earn my business is to say something, anything, that tells me that CAS recognizes that there's a problem with the tuner, and then tell me what CAS intends to do to rectify it. That's it. It's not rocket science.

Go on, earn my business.
 
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