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CDR220 Head Unit

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I bought a pre-owned 1999 Boxster that is awesome. I absolutely love it! Drives like a dream! I take lunch nearly every day now just to go out and drive it.

However, it has a CDR220 CD stereo in it. Standard factory component speakers in the dash as well as the doors. I know the system is not the best and is generally criticized for its poor quality. However, I have noticed with mine that the sound quality of a CD is much better than that of FM band radio stations. Even stations with strong signal reception. Has anyone else noticed this? Is this unique to my system or typical of Becker units? I know there are local shops that specialize in repairing Becker head units. Does mine just need a tune-up or should I replace it with an after market unit?

IMHO - the system is horrible and I want to improve it. I am looking at either adding to and/or replacing the factory amp. The door speakers will be replaced with mid-woofers. I know of a place that installed 8” Rainbow speakers. I may duplicate that. I will probably add rear speakers and possibly a sub-woofer too.

So I guess what I’m really asking is what should I expect from the factory head unit? I’d like to keep it in order to maintain the integrity of the dash and not have it look like some bastardized project car. Any ideas, comments, recommendations are greatly appreciated.

Happy trails!


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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi P,

congrats and good luck with your boxster. Enjoy!

The CDR-220 is not that bad by itself. The boxster acoustics are.

I spent quite some time before making my choices. I visited several high end aftermarket installers and essentially concluded that you can make it anything you want, depending on the budget. I preferred the stock look and did not want to go aftermarket (head replacement).

If you keep the CDR-220, then I suggest to do the same as I did:

1. Add a 8" sub woofer with amp.

I got the custom footwell and sub/amp from Monney

This is by far the #1 improvement.

2. Add the rear speakers

You don't need the kit, just the wires and the grill inserts. You can make the plastic cutout yourself.

3. Replace all speakers (front and rear) with eclipse speakers

Eclipses have an 92db response, whereas standard speakers are 89db. To you this means that these speakers sound 3db louder, or twice as loud, as other speakers. They are plenty loud with the 4x18watt CDR-220 (equivalent to 36watt with standard speakers.)

I did replace the CDR-220 with the HK TrafficPro just recently (other posts here), but it is essentially the same unit.

As to comparison - my car did not have the hifi option (no amp, no door speakers). After this conversion, the car sounds better than with the Bose option. Your setup has most likely the 6.5" bass speakers in the door. They help in creating more "definition". (But are nothing compared to the 8" sub). You don't have to replace your (4x40 amp) if you get a seperate amp for the subwoofer (as I have). The rear speakers can hook directly into the head.

Alternatively you can get a larger amp driving all speakers (6 plus sub). In this case you don't need the eclipses either (if your amp is at least 40W per channel). But you'll be surprised how large these (higher quality) amps get. The trunk is quite small.

Subwoofer install

Rear Speaker install

Eclipse speaker replacement: left is eclipse, right is stock:


Edited by HenryV
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It does. It's quite convenient, especially when switching to AM.

The HK add subwoofer control (line out level) for the CD© and FM sources. I haven't tried it yet (my subwoofer amp has it's own gain control, etc.)

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Your install looks great.  Did you install the sub yourself, or did Monney do it for you?


Thanks, Monney did the entire subwoofer and amp install and didn't charge a lot for the installation.

The hardest part was to find vinyl in a matching color, most interiors are black, and they only stock black vinyl and carpet with a few odd (non Porsche) colors. I ended up ordering from a swatch at a local store.

Monney sells you the parts seperately and ships them to you.

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