PA’s for Vans

PA options for 2019 Mercedes Sprinter and Ford Transit vans.

For years a car stereo was a car stereo… they came with a Radio, CD player and an AUX input socket to connect your phone.  So, at Ready2Talk, we made our super popular PA 5 Series PA systems that easily connected into the AUX socket and they worked great!

Fast forward to 2018 and 2019 and the world is changing! 

Today, many vehicle manufacturers are starting to supply stereos that are more integrated into the vehicles with heater controls, safety options, Sat Nav, internet and the NEW DIGITAL radios, as with the 2019 Mercedes’ Sprinters.

There are two issues with these new fully integrated stereos:

They have removed the AUX input socket.

There is a Digital to Analogue (DA) converter as part of the main circuitry.  The DA converter causes a 0.5 to 1 second sound delay for ANYTHING that is connect into it either through AUX input or Bluetooth and even with a FM modulator played through the radio.

As of 2019, other makes like Ford Transits are still using Analogue stereos (no sound delay) but they have decided to remove the AUX input socket on most of their stereos.  Go figure?

What about using the USB or Bluetooth?

We are often asked about connecting through USB, also about making a PA that connects into the stereo through Bluetooth?  This would make way too much sense, but unfortunately it is not possible… here are the reasons why.

USB sockets are used for digital information and we speak in Analogue.  Although you can get USB to 3.5 adaptor sockets for computers, the van stereos don’t have the software to support the conversion and there’s still the DA converter delay issue.

BT suffers from the DA converter speed issue too, but the bigger problem is being able to pair a PA to your BT in the stereo.  Unfortunately your stereo and a headset or a PA system are both are classified as “Slaves” and cannot pair together.  Good idea… but sorry, no go.

Options

Listed below are your options based on your vehicle type and model year.  In some cases there are more than one option available, so hopefully there should be a solution to fit your needs?

Ford Transit Vans

2015 to 2017 Transit Vans

Most of the stereos came with a small screen display, no back up camera or Sat Nav, but they did come with around metal AUX input socket to the right of the USB slot in the center console just ahead of the drink tray.

Connection of our PA 5 series systems was a breeze, either the PA 5 Portable that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket or the PA 5 hardwired version connected to the fuse box for power.  When you want to use your PA, just put the stereo into the AUX mode, adjust your stereo volume and start talking into your microphone.  Super simple.

2018 to 2019 Transit Vans / You have a few options depending on your needs

In late 2017 some Transit vans started coming with large screen radio displays, back up cameras and Sat Nav, but Ford removed the AUX input socket.

Since all the Transit van stereos up to 2019 are analogue, we made our TAK (Transit AUX Kit), a hard wired FM modulator that connects between your antenna and stereo and plays through your FM radio.  Being hard wired, they work great with no interference.

The TAK requires some basic installation, often done by a local car stereo guy. We recommend pairing it with the PA 5 hardwired version, allowing the power switch on the PA box to turn on the TAK automatically when needed. The other benefit is, using the combined PA 5 with the TAK, there are no wires showing as they can be hidden during the installation.

Another installed option is our PA 64 amplified PA system that is connected between your stereo output and you factory speakers… just like adding an aftermarket car amp.    It is more complicated to install than the TAK option, but it has the advantage of more user functions with a separate mic volume and music muting controls.  If playing music while on tour is a benefit, this is recommended.

For a more portable option, use our PA 5 Portable with the TAK.  The TAK can also be installed with the included 3.5mm AUX socket, just like a factory AUX socket.  This option makes removing the PA box a breeze so it can be swapped from van to van.

If you need an even more portable option for rental vans, the FM 1012 portable FM modulator with the PA 5 Portable can connect to ANY Transit van in seconds.  We recommend this option for short term temporary needs.

2020 and up Transit Vans

As of Oct. 2019, we understand that there is a major re-fit to the 2020 Ford Transit Vans and like the 2019 MB Sprinters, it appears that they too will come with the new HD stereos.  At this point nothing is confirmed but we would suggest to refer below to the information written about the 2019 Sprinter Vans.  When we have confirmation we will update this sheet.  Thanks.

Summing up

We hope this information has made your PA choices easy!  Even though Ford has removed the AUX input socket in most cases, we still have a number of great options for your needs and depending on how you offer your tours.

Don’t forget, we offer all types of microphones, hand mics to headsets, wired to wireless, even a gooseneck mic!

Mercedes Benz Sprinter Vans

2011 to 2018 Sprinter

All the factory stereos in these vans came with AUX input sockets so connection of our PA 5 series was a breeze, either the PA 5 Portable that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket or the PA 5 hardwired version connected to the fuse box for power.

If your van was customized, the manufacturer often would often replace the factory stereo with an aftermarket big screen stereo possibly with a DVD player.  In this case the best system would be our PA 64 amplified PA system that connects between the new stereo and the vehicles speakers.  This is an easier system to operate, you don’t need to put the stereo into the AUX mode to use the PA… just turn on the mic and whatever the stereo is playing will automatically mute down or out.

The PA 64 offers a number of great features, 2 mic inputs, AUX input on the front and rear, adjustable music muting so you can have the music or DVD partially mute in sound when the mic is in use.  We also make the RMK-5 (Remote Mounting Kit) for custom mounting and the RME (Rear Mic Extension) so you can have a second mic socket for a step on guide.

2019 Sprinter

These vans are completely different from all the earlier vans and now have a stereo which is VERY integrated into the vehicles operations including a Digital to Analogue (DA) converter.  Because of the integration, the stereo cannot be changed and the AUX input socket has been removed so use of external connections are not available.

Fear not… you have a couple options, one being a very easy, yet old school solution.

Option 1

Although this might seem like a step back in time, but the simplest solution is to install our PA 64 connected to a separate pair of box speakers mounted under the rear seats totally isolated from the vehicles stereo.

There are a few benefits to this:

Being a completely separate system from the van, it does not impact the vehicles warranty, providing you are mindful of the installation process.  (If in doubt, please consult your Sprinter Dealer)

If you are wanting to play music while on tour, there are AUX input sockets on the front PA 64 so you can easily play music from your phone and when the microphone is on, the music will mute automatically. Or if you want to play music through your stereo you still can, but you’ll have to lower the stereo volume manually.

The PA 64 offers great sound, fully adjustable music muting functions and comes with 2 mic inputs and with the RME, you can have a rear mounted mic socket for a step on guide.

Box Speakers

Because the Sprinter vans are known for being very quiet, in most cases you would only need 2 box speakers, but 4 could also be used?

We recommend that you place the speakers on the floor, against the passengers side wall, it gets them out of the way and will offer better sound than strapping the speakers to the bottom of the seat.  To distribute the sound evenly, place a speaker under second seat and fourth seats facing towards the center of the van.

If you are installing 4 speakers, then place one under each seat all facing in towards the center.  There is an added bonus to this concept of mounting speakers on the floor…  Since we don’t have ears in our feet, the sound radiates well throughout the passenger area offering equal sound no matter where you are seated.

If you prefer not to have box speakers, you could have flush mounted speakers installed.  The speaker cost is similar to box speakers, but you would require a car stereo store to install them for you, so there would be additional labor cost.

Choosing the Speakers

There are many speaker options online, both box and flush style.  Please reach out to us and we would be happy to help you with speaker options and costs to fit your budget and needs.  1 888 724-5351

Option 2

If you prefer a more integrated system or you are having your Sprinter van customized… the PA 64 can be connected between the stereo output and your factory installed speakers.  There are a few ways to configure the installation so we always recommend that the installation is done by a Mercedes Benz authorized dealer, service center or certified van conversion company.

Once installed, the PA 64 becomes fully integrated with the stereo so when the microphone is turned on the music will automatically mute down or off controlled by the knobs on the front of the PA 64.

Summing Up

All these options offer a great sounding, easy to use PA system that is well tested for your specific vehicle.  Don’t forget, we offer all types of microphones, hand mics to headsets, wired to wireless, even a gooseneck mic!

We hope this info helped to shorten your quest in finding a viable PA option.  If you have ANY questions, please give us a call.  1 888 724-5351  Thanks!