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Product Review: Phantom Audio Retuned Amp for the 04-08 TSX

You wonder how good something like this is going to be. I mean, come on...stereo upgrades start with the speakers. Magnets. Cones...and did forget the wires. Glorious wires!

Amplifiers? Definitely going to be an aftermarket one. Something with a custom rack if I'm not going to cheap out and definitely a sub box. Otherwise, why bother with an amp?

To a performance enthusiast like myself, a subwoofer box (and by extension, an amp) sounds like something really awesome for people who want to slow their car down. An impressive stereo isn't worth the weight penalty to me. Besides, the car has a stock amp and sounds really quite decent.

Well, mostly. On the occasion I really crank up the stereo, when those conditions are right on a great day, great road, and the perfect song comes on... It's not hard to get the TSX stereo up to max volume. But woah, better turn the bass and treble down to avoid popping blasts and screeching, tinny highs. It's just the way of life with a stock system. The stock stereo pings like a J-series at full boil without a tune.

But, what if I told you that you could give your stock stereo and speakers a really stiff kick in the ass without adding an ounce of weight? Get that volume up all the way without having to "pull timing." Get solid bass that's deeper and gives that therapeutic vibrato to the bum?

Phantom Audio Retuned TSX Amp

Time to pop the blue pill because the Phantom Audio tuning effect on a the stock amplifier does just that and more. It seems like snake oil; a little unreal, but there is one word that encapsulates ones reaction the first time they crank it up...


It isn't the sort of wow that comes after you've completely revamped the audio system with $4000 worth of gear, of course. But more like the wow you got when you reflashed the stock ecu computer with Hondata's reflash. It's an "I can't believe this seemingly small change made this much of a difference" kind of wow.

People have attempted to capture the sound difference in videos. To me, YouTube isn't able to convince much. You need to feel the bass and hear the highs. Recorded music only replicates real life, and a recording of a recording, compressed for YouTube, will surely fail to convey the true Phantom Effect. I'll just have to articulate it the best I can...

The highs. Crisp and clear the changes challenge you to turn up the treble at higher volumes. Forget the ear piercing ring your used to. Cymbals don't distort. It's magical because treble tickles the ears and without great reproduction you won't feel it. You just hear more.

The lows. Deep and full. You aren't just getting the hits. You can feel and hear the different kinds of base sounds uniquely. A drum, bass guitar, or deep vocal tone all come across in ways that help you appreciate bass for more than just filler. Bass is something anyone can appreciate when it's loud, but, like an undersized turbocharger, without proper execution you are just blowing hot air. You hear the speakers pop when you overdo the volume...But be careful not to kill the messenger.

Saving my favorite for last, because the midrange makes music warm and exciting. Any music with solid mids challenges reproduction of both low and frequency and there is a real chance your inadequate system is going to get really muddy. Such is not the case after the retune. The midrange fills every crevice of volume in the car with rich, chocolaty, midrange yumminess.

Thus, I am quite happy to have installed the Phantom Audio Retuned Amp in my #HTSpecTSX. The installation is so fast and easy...less than 10 minutes. If you love your TSX, too, and wish for the stereo to sound rich and alive, but aren't looking to completely redo the stereo, seriously take a look, even before upgrading the speakers (yes this modification will work well with aftermarket speakers as well...but, the idea here is that the amp will give you a lot more than speakers will).

Need more info? Feel free to call or post below. I'll be able to answer whatever questions you have!


About the Author

Marcus di Sabella Marcus is the founder of Heeltoe Automotive. He's been working with cars (mostly Honda cars) since 1996, and has been providing enthusiasts with excellent products, services, and web experiences since 2002. He's been published in Honda Tuning, and holds a degree in Engineering Technology.


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