High Tech and Lightweight Stereo With Clarion

Who says you can’t enjoy a nice stereo system in a race car? When brainstorming our Factory Five Cobra Jet Challenge project, a stereo was on the list of “must haves”. Yes it will be tracked. Yes it will be loud. But we also plan to drive the Challenge car on the street, so why not enjoy some tunes while driving? We turned to the folks at Clarion for a simple and lightweight but effective stereo for the tight confines of our Challenge car.

The Dell Venue 11 tablet PC acts as a tuning computer for our AEM Infinity as well as a stereo by utilizing the headphone jack at iTunes.

At the Dash

Cobra Jet Challenge is a high tech and clean build. Keeping with that theme, the dash needed to be as simple but as high tech as possible. The Racepak UDX display acts as the main gauge display for the car and in the center of the dash is a Dell Venue 11 tablet PC. It was very important that the tablet ran on a normal PC based operating system so that we can run our AEM Infinity directly to it as well. This means we could use the tablet for an in-dash tuning device, secondary gauge display, and of course, a stereo.

The stereo portion of the equation was very simple: install a headphone input to RCA output adapter cable and run that to the trunk. With a stockpile of music available through our iTunes library, there’d be no need for anything else.

Powering it all 

XC1410 Specs

  • 300 Watts of Maximum Power Output
  • 75 Watts x 4 Channel @ 2-Ohms
  • 50 Watts x 4 Channel @ 4-Ohms
  • Selectable Sensitivity LOW/HIGH
  • Class D Power Supply and Output Stages
  • Power MOS-FET Switching Transistors
  • Soft Turn-On and Turn-Off Circuitry
  • Ground Loop Isolation Circuit
Giant amplifiers that were at the height of the big stereo movement of the 90s are no longer needed to supply high quality, clean, and powerful music. Weighing in at a mere three pounds the XC1410 has a nearly non-existent foot print of  7-1/8 (W) × 1-3/8 (H) × 2-3/4 (D).

There’s no complexity when it comes to wiring — power, ground, switched 12-volts, and the speakers. Since we’re only running two speakers, the other two were simply tied up.

The XC1410’s claim to fame is its MOS-FET amplification technology, which Clarion describes as: Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor amplification. Smaller and more efficient than conventional power supplies, a MOS-FET amplification circuit delivers power with less distortion and zero on/off switching noise. This means you can crank up the volume or set it to easy listening. Either way, your sound will be crystal clear.

Projecting the Tunes

The rear firewall of our Challenge car is the perfect place to house two speakers. It’s also right by your head to help overcome the open cabin wind and loud exhaust noises. We went with a pair of Clarion’s SRG1623R 6.5-inch two-way speakers. The 40-watts RMS (260-watts peak) power handling was going to mesh well with our micro amp’s 50-watt output.

The speaker installation couldn't have been easier. With the two 6.5-inch holes cut and two wires attached on each speaker, they are simply screwed into the rear firewall.

Cutting through the outside nose is Clarion’s MIPP cone woofer that is designed for low distortion and high-speed response. Clarion states, “Propylene with mica particles blended in is used in this injection-moulded cone to attain superior response, making it ideal for digital sources.”

A powerful Strontium magnet helps with dynamic base response, which Clarion states, “Strontium magnets have a magnetic flux density that is far higher than conventional ferrite magnets, enabling reproduction of dynamic bass sounds from a relatively small voice coil.”


・260 Watts Maximum Power Handling
・6-1/2″ MIPP Cone Woofer
・1″ Metallized PEI Balanced-Drive Tweeter
・Powerful Strontium Magnet for Dynamic Bass Response
・GM Fit Basket Design
・Grille & Mesh Included

Bass You Say?

We were so impressed with Clarion’s compact products that we decided to add a SRV250 low-profile, self amplified 150-watt subwoofer.   Inside is a 6-3/4″ AMI-PP cone dual voice coil subwoofer and amplifier that only consumes up to 7-amps of current. Weighing in at only 5.5-pounds, the SRV250 has a 1-1/4″ (W) × 1″ (H) × 4-3/8″ (D) footprint.

Again, another super easy installation: constant power, ground, switch 12-volts and then a reference wire to the right speaker picks up the needed low frequency signal reference to tell the subwoofer when to fire. The included remote can increase the volume of the subwoofer while also changing the frequency response between 50-120 Hz.

Clarion touts the AMI-PP cone by saying, “The cone material consists of polypropylene mixed with high-quality aramid fiber, injection molded into a cone formation. Offering the properties of high durability, high elasticity and high rigidity, this cone material offers fast vibration attenuation, thereby eliminating spurious resonance and providing low-distortion response.”


・ Built-in MOS-FET power amp with 150W max output
・ Low-profile design allows installation under seat
・ AMI-PP cone with aramid fiber mixed in polypropylene
・ Rigid aluminum die-cast enclosure for tight bass reproduction
・ Independent buttons for Gain control/Low-pass filter cut-off frequency/Phase switching on Wired Remote Control
・ RCA/Speaker level inputs
・ Remote control extension cable included

A Complete Stereo For Around 12-pounds

12 pounds and a few square feet was worth the real estate to make sure we can listen to more than our exhaust noise as we cruise the streets of SoCal. Clarion’s compact stereo components project a clean and loud tone that makes it seem like you’re in a luxury vehicle. Now with 36 hours of music on tap, we can cruise around until we run out of gas without ever getting bored.

About the author

Mark Gearhart

In 1995 Mark started photographing drag races at his once local track, Bradenton Motorsports Park. He became hooked and shot virtually every series at the track until 2007 until he moved to California and began working as a writer for Power Automedia. He was the founding editor for its first online magazines, and transitioned into the role of editorial director role in 2014. Retiring from the company in 2016, Mark continues to expand his career as a car builder, automotive enthusiast, and freelance journalist to provide featured content and technical expertise.
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