Sony In-Dash CD Player Installation

by Bill Cason -

Sony CDX-1000RF

The following applies to the pre-1996.5 Miata OEM stock radio:

My desire was to remain stock or as close to stock as possible and still have tape cassette function. There were several reasons for this but the main one is theft. We’re dealing with convertibles and I didn’t want an audio thief magnet in the car. The Sony CDX-1000RF single disc player was the closest match to the OEM single disc player I could find.

I researched extensively before coming to the conclusion of using the Sony CDX-1000RF. I first tried to get my OEM CD player fixed but even the Panasonic factory service department could not repair my unit. I then looked at obtaining another OEM player as replacement or to use for parts to repair mine. I could not justify the price and still wind up with a player that would be 5 to 11 years old with no guarantee it would be working tomorrow. The next option was “new” audio. I researched single din receiver players, double din receiver players and optional add-ons. I’m still amazed at the prices and “looks” of some of these units. The closest I could come to stock in this arena was a new single din Kenwood receiver and a single din Kenwood CD player. During this phase I found the Sony single disc player and it appeared to fit the bill with one question, that being the possible reduced sound because it was RF modulated. After talking with vendors, installers, audiophiles, etc., my conclusion was that the sound “might” be slightly degraded if the distance between the CD player and the radio was great (player in trunk and long antenna lead). Since the Sony and the radio are mounted together, I decided on this option.

Compared to others this installation is relatively easy. If you are adding the CD player to the OEM radio and buy the Sony, you will have everything you need except 2 screws, 2 wire splice-in connectors and whatever you want to use for CD player face filler. If you are replacing the OEM CD player, then there is one additional step to be performed to the OEM radio while you have it out of the car. I want to thank Mr. Jeff Anderson who was kind enough to contribute the following:

“The pre-96.5 Panasonic standard type Miata radio will not operate when an installed Mazda Miata factory CD player's round 13-pin DIN connector is unplugged from the back of it. That's because the radio's audio circulates through the Mazda Miata's CD player.

There's a thing called a Short Plug that plugs into the radio's CD socket that completes the audio paths when a Mazda Miata CD player is not installed. Radios that don't have the Mazda Miata CD player installed have a Short Plug plugged into their CD socket. Radios that do have that CD player installed don't have the Short Plug.

So, to enable the radio's operation a Short Plug is needed, or two short jumper wires can be used to easily make a substitute for not having a Short Plug.

SonyJeffFix01.jpg (76822 bytes)Make the jumper wires from un-insulated 20 gauge solid wire. One for connection of pin 1 to pin 2, and the other for connection of pin 3 to pin 4 in the radio's CD socket. Look for small pin numbers printed on the radio's socket. Bend each jumper wire in a "U" shape with sharp 90 degree angles to match the spacing between the pins in the socket. The sides of the "U" forming the pin connections should each be about 0.3 inch long. Press the U-shape jumper wires all the way into socket's pins.

A third jumper wire should also be installed between pin 5 and pin 11 to fix or prevent that radio's common turn-on problem. For details, see:

Once all three jumper wires are installed cover the radio's CD socket with a layer or two of duct tape.”

Now that the OEM radio will operate correctly with either the Short Plug or Jeff’s above jumper fix installed, the installation is as follows:

1. Disconnect the battery but make sure you have the radio security code, if necessary.

2. Remove the OEM radio or the OEM radio/OEM CD player combination.

3. If you do not have the OEM CD player and your radio is mounted in the top position of the mounting rack, you probably have a cross brace connecting the two sides of the rack at the bottom. You will not use this cross brace. Disassemble the mounting rack but notice which side is left and right and keep the proper orientation. Each side of the rack has 4 tabs bent inward to fit corresponding slots in the radio case and the OEM CD player. You can mount the Sony on the top or bottom but it really needs to be on top because gear shifting would interfere with the inserting and ejecting of the CD disc.

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4. The Sony does not have slots cut into the case to fit the mounting rack tabs so bend the top tabs back straight (two on each side).

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5. Mount the radio in the bottom position just like it was in the top position.

6. The Sony comes with a face plate trim piece and a mounting sleeve. You will not use either of these. There are several holes in each side of the Sony, 5 of which are made to accept the Sony mounting screws in the package. Hold the Sony in the top position of the OEM mounting rack and align it with the radio in the bottom position. When you line up the face of both units you will see that one forward mounting rack hole and one Sony mounting hole line up perfectly on each side. The others do not; however, one smaller vent hole on the Sony does line up with the slot cut in the OEM mounting rack. You can use the Sony supplied screws for the front holes and obtain 2 large head but short screws of the proper size to fit the vent hole on each side of player. Mount the Sony in the rack.

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7. You can now hold the combined unit up to the Miata’s center dash trim piece and check the fit. For me, the vertical fit was very nice. There was not enough space between the Sony and the radio or dash trim to even try and add filler. There is a small rectangle space on each side of the Sony that does need some filler. Your options are open here, aluminum, plastic, rubbing tubing or whatever floats your boat. Also, the attachment of the filler is open; to the Sony, to the dash trim, press fit, friction, etc. Depending on what you decide, you may want to fix this now or wait until everything is reinstalled.

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8. SonyInst10.jpg (67046 bytes)At this point I would reconnect the battery and test the car’s radio wiring harness for the +12 volt battery and the +12 volt ignition switched wires with a volt meter or test light to be sure I knew the correct ones, and then disconnect the battery again. The Sony’s wiring connection has four wires, Blue, Black, Yellow and Red. The Blue wire is for an Amp Remote In; I don’t have a separate amplifier so I did not use this one. The Black wire is the ground and I used the OEM ground connection on the back of the radio. The fused Yellow wire is the +12 volt battery connection so on my 1990 that is the Blue with Red striped OEM radio harness wire. Just splice in somewhere behind the radio plug. The fused Red wire is the ignition switched +12 volt connection and on mine that is the Blue with Black striped OEM radio harness wire. Splice in likewise.

9. The car antenna lead goes into the Sony and the Sony antenna wire plugs into the radio. There are no other wires to hook up as the RF modulator is internal.

10. Before securing and reinstalling everything, I would reconnect the battery and test the system for proper operation.

11. Tie, tape or otherwise bundle and secure the wires as necessary (there’s plenty of room in the center dash area) and reinstall everything.

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You can choose between several FM frequencies with the Sony unit so I picked one that did not have a station and little background noise. The Sony also has 4 different sound levels so you can pick which one sounds best for you. The sound to me is just like the OEM player and the look is very close to stock. The only real give away is the OEM radio labeled Panasonic and the CD player labeled Sony.

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21 June, 2001