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I like the factory radio in my 09 Cobalt Sedan and I am adding a 10" sub woofer with an Alpine amp that is due in today. I notices in my old S-10 pick-up when I switched out the factory radio with a Pioneer aftermarket. so I could get iPod hook-up, the sound was immediately better even without a sub woofer that I added later. I assume this is due to the fact that the Pioneer Radio had more RMS watts outputted to the speakers.

Could this same thing be accomplished by adding a separate amp to power the four Cobalt speakers and keeping the factory radio? Of course I would probably upgrade the speakers first.
 

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yes but i would buy a new head unit personally there not expensive and worth the money for all the control's that you have to the speakers
I think I could get an amp cheaper than a head unit. I have the radio with the USB and auxiliary port with iPod control. It also is an XM radio and bluetooth. I would probably spend more money trying to get this content and also keep all the steering wheel controls and make it look good.
 

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It goes both ways...it's the signal the head unit sends out (the electronics are much better in an aftermarket) and the power that you get from either the internal amp of a head unit or an external amp.

In other words, you are going to notice a difference either way you go, but you'll notice the biggest difference if you do both.

If you are going to keep the factory head unit, let me know how you hook it up. Normally for a mono amp you would use a rear speaker for the signal by using a line out converter. With a multi-channel amp, I don't know where you'll get signal. A stock head unit doesn't have the RCA hookups in the back (red and white plugs). So you'll be getting the signal from the speakers, then powering the speakers?
 
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