This article has been written keeping in mind the large fraction of those like me who are not audiophiles and there are many things that can be summarized at one place so that a person who is new to this subject can learn most things at one place. An official guide has already been written once >>HERE<< and this is a sort of sequel to the original guide and will cover the aftermarket music system components. Besides, though the article mentions Punto and Linea, it applies to all Fiat cars in general. PROLOGUE: The In Car Entertainment (ICE) or the music system of the car is an important necessity for 99.997% car owners. Some just want to have a budget system that can play music in the car whereas there are audiophiles who give importance to each and every aspect of their music and know things that even ICE installers in most cities may not be aware of. Until the start of 2012, Fiat used to have 4 variants of Punto and Linea (Active, Dynamic, Emotion and Emotion Pack). The Active and dynamic variants came without any music system whereas the Emotion variant came with a music system that comprised of a Head unit/stereo/deck + speakers. No USB port, no steering controls or infrared remote control. The Emotion pack variant had an additional Blue&Me system from Microsoft installed in the glove box that gave many extra features like USB port, Bluetooth, voice commands, steering mounted audio, voice and phone controls. The quality of music produced by the speakers was so horrible that it used to be compared to mobile phones like the Nokia 6600. Speaker upgrade was a must even for average listeners except those who totally did not mind it and a sound output is all they desire (my family belongs to this group). The HU was of Blaupunkt brand from 2009 till May 2010 that could support an AUX wire giving the owner an option to play music via AUX port. From June 2010 onwards, our Fiats come with a Delphi F199IN HU that does not support AUX attachment. Few words about Blue&Me system. I personally feel that the Blue&Me system is much more sophisticated and the best Bluetooth system available in any other car or aftermarket HU. Reasons: - Its stock so easier to convince the traffic cop that it complies to CMVR rules and thats why it comes pre-installed in the car from the factory. Local rules may still make it illegal to use Blue&Me by the way. - If the Bluetooth of the phone is on and you receive a call, you can simply keep walking to your car, enter and turn on the key. Within seconds the Blue&Me will take over automatically and you can drive right away. - Similarly, you are driving and talking via Blue&Me and you reach your destination. You switched off your car by mistake. Now, the HU and other electricals will turn off but the Blue&Me and speakers will keep working making sure that you do not miss out on the conversation while you pick up your phone. You can keep talking via the Blue&Me system till you finish your talk even with the key removed. As soon as the phone is disconnected, Blue&Me and speakers will turn off. - Then ofcourse, the voice command function of Blue&Me works better than most other HUs available in the aftermarket as per feedback. Coming back to the variant discussions, Fiat cars from 2012 onwards have only 3 variants (Active, Dynamic and Emotion). Both active and dynamic variant come with the same music system as the pre 2012 emotion variant whereas the emotion variant comes with the same system as pre 2012 Emotion Pack. But, there is one difference. Speakers produce music that is perhaps at par with that of Figo or i20 music systems. Emotion variant has 6 speakers (tweeters at the front in addition to 4 speakers in all doors) and also gets an IR remote control. Many opted to upgrade the music system/ICE to something better. The most common reason usually turned out to be: 01. Total lack of quality in stock/OEM speakers (mainly pre 2012 models). 02. Lack of USB and AUX port Besides the two major issues mentioned above, minor ones like: 01. Inability of co-passenger to change tracks from HU in Blue&Me equipped variants 02. Lack of RCA pre-outs in stock HU (difficult to add amp) 03. Niggles with Blue&Me (mainly software limitations. 04. Folder browsing only possible from steering controls and needs lots of effort as a lot of menus have to be browsed. Some of the above issues could be addressed by speaker upgrade alone whereas others needed a change in the head unit (HU). A change in HU means that steering mounted audio controls and Blue&Me system became useless. Also, the stock look of the center console is gone and an aftermarket HU is as much of a theft attractor as the stock HU is a theft deterrent. The solution was to either retain the stock HU and add amplifiers and better speakers+/- subwoofer or just let go of the Blue&Me maya jaal and get a new Head Unit that is bluetooth equipped. Steering mounted audio controls can be retained by using a Canbus interface from Connects 2. It was easier said than done. There were some hurdles: 01. Punto/Linea only accepts 1-DIN HU and a 2-DIN HU can not be fitted. Adding a 2-DIN HU means one can have more options like "in dash" GPS navigation, reverse camera display, video playback and what not. A 2-DIN HU can be added to Fiat cars but that requires alteration of the center console. The finish/outcome depends upon the expertise of the installer and warranty may get void as well if wires etc. are cut. 02. Punto/Linea ignition does not have "acc" position (accessory) in its ignition. There are only 3 positions [Off--On--ignition (unstable)]. So, there is a need to give input to the stereo from some other location so that it switches on/off along with the car. This is usually taken from the fuse box. 03. Stock HU neither have RCA pre-outs, nor does it have a remote pulse cable that is present in most aftermarket head units. The purpose of this cable is to send a signal to the aftermarket amplifier to switch on and switch off when the head unit is switched on or off. 1-DIN Head Unit (HU) from JVC just for illustration 2-DIN HU from Pioneer just for illustration. Keeping these things in mind, I have tried my best to make a detailed guide, detailing the options, methods/ways to get the install and keeping certain things in mind when selecting the right product(s). UPGRADING THE ICE: OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR THE 3 VARIANTS I) Active and Dynamic variant (including pre 2012 emotion variant without Blue&Me) 01. It is a sincere advise to let go of the stock/factory fitted head unit (HU) with a heavy heart (heavy heart because the stock HU gives better look to the center console) and get an aftermarket 1-DIN HU from JVC, Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood or any other brand of your choice. You can get a proper HU with 2/3 RCA + USB + AUX + IR remote control + Bluetooth for calls + ummmm... various other fancy options like Mixtrax, ease of browsing music, time alignment (TA) etc. 02. The second option is to retain stock HU and upgrade speakers +/- amplifier +/- sub-woofer. II) Emotion variant (including pre 2012 Emotion Pack variant with Blue&Me and steering controls) 01. Stock HU can be retained for the sake of Blue&Me which is much more than simply a Bluetooth system found in other cars or aftermarket HUs. Mark my word that I have researched a lot of aftermarket HUs but there is no Bluetooth system that is as good and sophisticated as the Microsoft's Blue&Me (discussed already) within a decent budget. Speakers can be upgraded +/- external amplifier +/- subwoofer. 02. Stock HU can be dumped, letting go of the Blue&Me system. Steering controls can be retained with aftermarket HU. Speakers need to be changed. An external amplifier can be added +/- subwoofer. Lets discuss about changing every component now. Those who are clear that they will not change the factory fitted head unit can proceed to the old guide by clicking >>HERE<<. Those who want to still read this thread must be prepared to get brainwashed into changing the HU and shall continue reading. First of all, lets build a small glossary of terms in simplified language. Most of the this is based on what's given at Crutchfield and About.com: 01. Head unit or stereo or deck or source: This is the player that plays our CDs/DVDs/USB pen drives etc. A good head unit offers USB/AUX port, IR remote, 2 RCA pre-outs. A great HU offers 3 RCA instead of 2 whereas audiophile grade HU offers 3 RCA + extra features like time alignment (TA). 02. Component speakers: They give the best sound out of various speaker types as the tweeter (high frequency sound) is separate from woofer/midbass (low frequency sounds) can be positioned at different locations. Moreover there is a passive crossover that separates the high and low frequencies and sends them to appropriate speaker. 03. Coaxial speakers: In a coaxial speaker, all the components/drivers are placed together in a single speaker, i.e. one speaker contains all the drivers (woofer as well as tweeters). The quality isn't as good as a component driver system (discussed later). 04. Amplifier: The job of a head unit is to generate signal for music. Amplifier is a device that amplifies this signal so that it is powerful enough to move the speakers and generate music. 05. Subwoofer: A subwoofer is a speaker capable of producing very low frequency sound in a range of 30-200Hz. 06. High pass filter (hpf): It is a filter that will only allow frequencies above the set frequency to pass and block frequencies below the set frequency. Suppose you have a subwoofer installed in the car and only want the bass to be handled by the subwoofer. So a high pass filter is useful in this case. It will block frequencies below a certain set value (say 100Hz) to pass and reach the speakers so that bass due to frequency below 100Hz is only produced by the subwoofer. 07. Low pass filter (lpf): It is a filter that will only allow frequencies below the set frequency to pass and block frequencies above the set frequency. This is usually applied to a subwoofer so that it will block the useless frequencies and only allow the useful frequencies, say below 100Hz to pass. 08. RCA pre-outs: The RCA pre-outs are useful to connect external amplifiers and subwoofer amplifiers. A high voltage pre-out gives cleaner sound. The usual voltages of RCA pre-outs in common head units are 2V, 4V, 4.8V or even more. 09. Time alignment (TA): The driver of the car sits closer to the front right (driver side) speaker as compared to the front left (front passenger) speaker.Time alignment helps balance the sound by delaying the sound from the front right (driver side) speaker so that sound from both front speakers reach the listener at the same time. Only high end HUs have this feature. e.g. Pioneer 80PRS or JVC KD-R90BT. 10. RMS wattage: It is also known as continuous wattage is the continuous power that the amplifier is capable of delivering or continuous power that a speaker is capable of handling. 11. PMPO wattage: It is the peak power that an amplifier is capable of delivering for a short period of time (like few seconds) or the peak power a speaker is capable of handling for a short period of time. RMS and PMPO wattage can be best explained by arm wrestling. Father is playing arm wrestling with his child and the child is trying to beat his dad and applying power by using his right hand. This is a continuous power that son is delivering and father is handling. Every few minutes, the child uses his left hand as well for a few seconds. This is the peak power delivered by the child. 12. Crossover: It is a system of filters made up of capacitors, resistors and inductors and its job is to separate bass/midrange frequencies from high frequencies and send them to appropriate speakers. 13. Decibel levels and relation to power and loudness: In simple terms, its a measurement of loudness against a reference. Remember our 10+2 physics? A 10 dB increase will make the speaker twice as loud (approx.) 14. Sound imaging: In a recording studio, various instruments are located at different positions and a good system is able to recreate this positioned instruments better during playback. This is what we mean by imaging. For a good imaging it is crucial to place the tweeters at optimum position at equal distance. 15. Sound staging: If imaging is the capability of the system to reproduce sound the way it was recorded, the staging determines is how well the listener can visualize the instruments and singer(s) before him. Its like listening to a song with our eyes closed in front of a music system. A good system can make you visualize the location of instruments and singers in front of you. So a soundstage is a sort of 3D imaging, having width and depth and is made by the combination of individual "images" from the system. Following image has been taken from the internet. Discussions on components: 01. Head unit/ deck/ stereo/ player/ source So our first subject is the head unit or the source. Lets just call it HU. As described earlier, there are 2 standardized sizes of HU: 1-DIN which is 7 inch wide and 2 inch tall. 2-DIN which is 7 inch wide and 4 inch tall. Punto and Linea only take a 1-DIN HU (pic above). There are various reputed brands like Pioneer, JVC, Kenwood, Alpine, Blaupunkt, Sony, Clarion. Sony is not recommended by most audiophiles and ICE enthusiasts. My personal favourite is Pioneer and JVC and everyone has his/her own preferred brand depending upon the taste of music. There are 3 options in 1-DIN: 01. A regular 1-DIN mp3/DVD HU with most options. 02. A branded or a Chinese 1-DIN HU with motorized screen that comes out, transporter style. 03. Chinese 1-DIN HU that look like OEM players but come with an added USB port (for those who do not wish to lose the stock look). To generalize, your music system is only as good as its weakest component. Buying a top quality HU costing Rs25,000/- plus does not make sense if you will be using JBL's mediocre GTO series (in comparison to the HU) components rather than better ones like Polk etc. Ask yourself these questions: - What do you have in your music system? - What do you want from your music system? - What is your budget for your music system? - Is this budget final (whether you are spending at once or in parts) or will you be spending more? - Any chances of future upgrade? My advise in exotica red coloured text here is not to indulge too much into ICE and end up spending a lot of money. Still, it depends upon you. I like to keep it simple and not add too much wiring to the car. Also, do not buy the products mentioned here (for reference purpose) as I want to make it clear that I do not mean that these products are best in their segment. I am just quoting them here for reference purposes. Features available in a 1-DIN HU: 01. USB + AUX +/- SD card slot. 02. CD slot/receiver (except USB only players) 03. RCA pre-outs (zero, 1, 2 or 3 in number) 04. Bluetooth connectivity 05. LCD and buttons with customizable colours to match car's instrument panel 06. Audio processing and time alignment 07. Detachable face plate for theft prevention (very few HU left that still do not offer detachable face plate). DIGITAL MEDIA PLAYERS: Entry level basic HU without CD slot These are called digital USB players because they have no CD receiver and only USB/AUX/SD cards can be used to play music. This is 2014 and nobody except a few OEM suppliers like Delphi play music from CDs (I know ultra hardcore audiophiles will say that they still use CDs and it offers best sound quality). Many audiophiles prefer CDs and there are some ultra high end aftermarket HU that come only with a CD slot and no USB slot. But still, USB has its own convenience. AUX port is also found is all HUs available in market and most HU even offer iPod/iPhone control from HU itself. These media players are priced at VFM prices of Rs3500 onwards. I have observed that most of these media receivers have one or the other drawback. e.g. Most come with only 1 RCA pre-out. JVC KD-X50BT for reference is a good receiver and has BT, 2 RCA pre-outs of high voltage (4.8V) and many other features but its face plate is non detachable and thus can attract thieves. JBL used to have a good media player called x333 but it is no longer available. CD RECEIVERS: These have all the features depending upon the budget and requirements. What I have observed is that a Bluetooth equipped HU offers 3 RCA only at the top of this segment. All "mid variants" come with 2 RCA pre-out. - For those who want to spend around Rs5k (online prices), look for a Pioneer DEH X3690UI and similar HUs from JVC, Kenwood, Alpine etc. - For those who wish to spend 6-9k can have a look at Pioneer DEH-X7590SD, DEH X4590BT, DEH X6590BT and related HUs like JVC KD-R746BT and more from Kenwood, Alpine etc. - For those willing to spend upto 10k, there is a Pioneer DEH-X8550BT or JVC KD-R80BT. - For north of 10k, there is a JVC KD-R90BT or JVC 926BT (now discontinued) and even Pioneer 80PRS and its siblings. As a rough estimate, Budget upto 5k---> Buy a Media player Budget upto 8-10k---> Buy a HU with 3 RCA pre-outs instead of 2 RCA + Bluetooth Budget upto 10-12k--> Buy a HU with 3 RCA pre-outs plus Bluetooth Budget over 12k--> Buy a HU with 3 RCA pre-outs plus Time Alignment (TA) As far as these models are concerned, I have limited experience outside Pioneer and JVC so thats why I am not writing any model number here. Please be advised that the models that I have mentioned from Pioneer or JVC here are not necessarily better than others. And there are no commercial interests in writing models of Pioneer and JVC while ignoring others. BLUETOOTH ENABLED HU or NOT? The lack of Bluetooth can be made up by using a Bluetooth adapter. I feel the following picture is self explanatory. A bluetooth adapter needs UBS power (5V) which can be given from Cigar lighter using a USB phone charger. The adapter pairs up with a BT phone and this adapter has a 3.5mm AUX jack that can be connected to the AUX port of the stereo. The lack of BT can thus be made up by this inexpensive adapter costing anywhere around Rs600/- but the lack of 3rd RCA pre-out can't be made up easily in case of future upgrade. This concludes the discussion on HU. 02. SPEAKERS Speakers, the coils moving the air to generate sound waves Speaker is a device that physically moves the air to create sound waves of different frequencies and its capabilities to create these sound waves determines how good or bad a speaker is. There are two basic types of speakers as already discussed, components and coaxials. It is always better to have a pair of component speakers in the front and co-axial speakers at the back mainly because if you have component speakers at the back, then most likely your soundstage gets affected due to the highs from the rear tweeter that is placed too close to your ear. The rear speakers should not be dominating the front speakers and should just be barely audible. I am not going to talk too much about the speakers as its purely budget centric and personal taste that should determine your choice. If possible, make sure that you listen to the speakers before buying them. Some speaker produce less bass whereas others produce good bass. There are speakers that are known to be bright, i.e. their tweeter feels a bit too loud or dominating. e.g. The infinity speakers as per most reviews. Some general guidelines: - Buy speakers depending upon whether you will be adding amplifier or not. - If you wont be adding an amplifier and plan to power the speakers just from the inbuilt amp of HU then do not buy very powerful or top of the line speakers like an Infinity kappa or JL audio etc. Buy something in the range of 4.5k to 6k like say JBL GTO 609c, Hertz DSK165, Rockford Fosgate Prime etc. - Do consider whether you want to mount the tweeter inside the door pad at stock location or on the dashboard or A pillar etc. Tweeter size needs to be a factor for those who wish to put speakers inside the door panel at stock location. - Feel free to buy 6.5" components for the front and 6.5" coaxials for the rear. Stock size of rear speakers is 5.25" but 6.5" can be fitted with spacer rings. - Bigger the size of the speaker, the more bass it can produce. Thus prefer to install 6.5" speakers in the rear. Another option is to use 6x9" oval coaxial speakers for the rear parcel tray instead of doors. The 6x9" coaxials produce much more bass as compared to a 6.5" coaxial but then a 6.5" speaker inside the door stays hidden so I have always went with the 6.5" coaxial option. See what suits you best. - Do not read too much into the power outputs mentioned. They are just as important as megapixel ratings of point and shoot digital cameras or HD ready vs Full HD HV in a size of less than 30". Just make sure that the speakers you are buying have a higher RMS wattage than the RMS wattage provided by the amplifier. 03. Other points i. Wiring discussions: Wiring is an important component and shouldn't be overlooked. A lot of incidents of cars catching fire have occurred lately. It needs to be seen how many of them were due to faulty wiring somewhere. I am not going into details of wire brands and gauge/thickness and qualities of a good wire as I need to do some research on this first. ii. Damping discussions: Speakers move the air and create frequencies. But if the compartment in which they are moving moves itself or vibrates, then the frequencies may get disturbed. This is what causes loss of quality of the music. Metal is more prone to vibrate. Hence the statement "Wood sound = Good sound". But using wood in a car doors? No. So this is where damping comes in. There are a lot of damping materials available at various price ranges starting from yoga mats to noisekill, dampmat, dynamat, stinger roadkill. Damping also reduces the NVH of the car to some extent. iii. Things you need for the set up as per budget: 01. Head unit + speakers without amplifier and subwoofer. I call it sound on without showoff. 02. This set up requires a single 4-channel amplifier in addition to the things mentioned in the image 03. Head unit + speakers + amp + subwoofer 04. Head unit + speakers + amp + subwoofer + subwoofer amp (mono amp) iv. Amplifier: An amplifier amplifies the signal so that it is capable of moving the speaker to create different frequencies of sound waves that you will perceive as sound or music. There are various types of amplifiers in general: - 2 channel amplifiers - 4 channel amplifiers - Mono amplifiers An amplifier powers 1 speaker per channel. So a 2 channel can power 2 speakers and a 4 channel can power four speakers. Also, 2 channels of an amplifier can be bridged so that it can deliver more power capable of handling a subwoofer. Thus, a 4 channel amplifier can also be used to power 2 speakers and 1 subwoofer from its 4 channels. A mono amplifier is a single channel amplifier capable of delivering much more power that is enough to power a subwoofer. Different amplifiers have different features depending upon the price range. External amplifiers offer more features as compared to the inbuilt amplifiers of the head units, like high pass filters, low pass filters, active crossovers etc. so that the much better tuning results can be achieved. ent amplifiers have different features depending upon the price range. External amplifiers offer more features as compared to the inbuilt amplifiers of the head units, like high pass filters, low pass filters, active crossovers etc. so that the much better tuning results can be achieved. Amplifiers shall be discussed in detail in subsequent revisions of this guide. v. Capacitors: I will be adding more info on capacitors in subsequent revisions. Check out fiatcrazy's post below to know more about them. Some images taken from the internet are attached but not inserted inline as they may be incorporated in subsequent revisions in which the remaining topics like damping, amplifiers, subwoofers, subwoofer enclosures, wiring, capacitors etc. shall be discussed in detail.