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Car Stereo Help - Advice needed


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22 replies to this topic

#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Marcus D

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Posted November 10 2004 - 05:38 AM

I have a factory Bose system/speakers in my car(90 Infiniti Q45) with Alpine CD Changer(w/FM Modulator). I am looking to upgrade my car stereo system with something a little more powerful and more bass and sound. I don't want to blow the neighborhood out but something that I can feel in my car. Do I need an entire new system and speakers or can I add on to what I already have to get that more powerful bass and sound. I would appreciate any assistance on this? I don't know a lot about car stereos except the basics.

Thanks

#2 of 23 OFFLINE   Greg_R

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Posted November 10 2004 - 05:52 AM

According to Crutchfield this car only has speakers in the rear deck? I find that hard to believe! Could you describe the existing system (2 front door speakers of X size, 2 rear deck speaker of Y size, Z size sub, etc.).

Upgrading your speakers and head unit will greatly improve the sound in the vehicle. If you want low bass then you will need to add a subwoofer.

What budget are you working with and will you be performing the install?

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   Marcus D

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Posted November 10 2004 - 06:58 AM

I have two front speakers and two rear speakers. My budget is $500-$700 range. Would you suggest going with Alpine front/rear speakers and head unit since I already have a 6 disc Alpine CD changer or does it matter what brand? Is it the subwoofer or the amplifier that provides the crisp bass sound?

BTW that is great DVD list. I have a lot of those movies that you listed.

#4 of 23 OFFLINE   StephenHa

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Posted November 10 2004 - 07:02 AM

I would say go with the alpine HU since you have the changer, but speakers you can go with a different brand, both sub and amp provide the crispness

#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Marcus D

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Posted November 10 2004 - 10:29 AM

Could $500-700 budget get HU, good speakers, sub, and amp?

#6 of 23 OFFLINE   Greg_R

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Posted November 10 2004 - 11:20 AM

You can get something OK for that amount (lets say $600). You are either going to have to build your own sub (and find a cheap external amp) or go with an all-in-one sub unit like a bazooka tube (8" or 10" powered unit). That will leave you $350-450. I'd look at MB Quart or Infinity Kappa component sets and one of the cheaper Alpine HUs (since you already have the changer) in this price range. Make sure the Alpine has pre-outs (to run to your sub)! Alpine has 2 tiers of component interfaces (M-bus and Ai-net). Make sure the head unit has the correct interface for your CD player. Mbus changers can NOT be hooked up to Ai-net HUs (but the opposite is true with an adapter).

You will probably end up spending another $20-50 for interconnect and power cables for the subwoofer. Note that I left out the rear deck speakers. These are used for 'fill' and are not super crucial... I'd rather you spend $200+ on a nice component set of fronts then buy two pairs of $100 junk.

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Jason Kirkpatri

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Posted November 10 2004 - 03:36 PM

Quote:
I'd rather you spend $200+ on a nice component set of fronts then buy two pairs of $100 junk.


Amen.

#8 of 23 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted November 11 2004 - 03:59 AM

Marcus,
Quote:
Could $500-700 budget get HU, good speakers, sub, and amp?
Well, that’s pretty much a full-blown system. All you’ll get for that price is low-end. And remember, the more stuff you get, the more installation expenses you’ll have (assuming you aren’t doing it yourself). That will suck down your budget considerably.

Based on your statement, “I’m looking to upgrade my car stereo system with something a little more powerful and more bass and sound” it looks to me like you really want to improve your current system rather than overhaul it. If that’s the case, I’d pass on a head unit, since with your budget limitations any of them in your price range probably won’t be any better than the stock head unit. Not to mention, that’s installation money saved that you could put elsewhere. If you simply concentrate on improving what you have, your $700 will get you a lot further. You can always make a head unit your next upgrade.

For maximum “bang for the buck” you might try doing what a teen-aged friend of mine did. He added a sub to his existing system simply by tapping into the rear speaker lines to provide a signal for the amp. Made a world of difference.

Adding a good set of component speakers will definitely improve sound quality, but they could also work against your goal of “a little more powerful,” especially if you’re using the stock system (and its amplifiers). This is because component sets use passive crossovers, and passive crossovers waste power – which means you could end up with lower overall output than you have now. So pay attention to the efficiency rating of any component sets you consider. Get something with a low figure like 87-88dB and you’re screwed. Look for ratings of 92dB or more.

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#9 of 23 OFFLINE   Marcus D

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Posted November 14 2004 - 04:54 AM

Would adding a sub/amp to my factory system help enhance the sound and quality or would a brand new system be the only way to go?

#10 of 23 OFFLINE   Greg_R

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Posted November 16 2004 - 11:35 AM

Marcus,
Usually the first upgrade is improving the factory head unit. It's additional capabilities will allow you to easily add the subwoofer down the road...

#11 of 23 OFFLINE   DwightK

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Posted December 01 2004 - 06:53 AM

I have a 93.5 infiniti g20 and if your sound system is anything like mine, the stock system is all 2 ohm (speakers, amps etc.) To use the original speakers with a new headunit or amps requires in line resistors or the speakers blow or sound like crap. To use the original headunit/amp with new speakers is next to useless as they cannot drive 4 or 8 ohm speakers.

I changed out the headunit to clarion, added some JL Audio amps, a sub, 2 front speakers, and added resistors to the pillar tweeters and rear deck speakers which I now use for fill only. Not all that easy or convenient.

Assuming your's is a 2 ohm system like mone was.

#12 of 23 OFFLINE   KenWong

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Posted December 02 2004 - 04:59 AM

First off, to change just one or two things in this car is pretty much impossible because of the factory Bose systems. I'm not saying Bose sucks or is the best thing since sliced bread, but their car audio system is "decent."

It might be impossible to just swap out the speakers, only because the Bose amplifier that was used in the system most likely did use two ohm speakers or some sort of specified application where you can't just swap out one thing or another, that's going to be your main problem. You can change your speakers, but it might sound a lot weaker since your speakers were two ohms, and now you're swapping them for speakers that are four ohms. If you swap out just your headunit, you might end up frying the unit since your speakers are two ohms and the built in amp on those aren't really meant to take anything but a 4ohm load.

So you're stuck in a situation as stated above, 6-700 bucks, you can get some "decent" stuff but it might not make a world of difference to you, maybe it might not even be justified by the money to be honest. Also, unless your going to rewire your car yourself, you do understand that you'll need to re-wire your entire car since you're going to be bypassing the stock bose system, there is most likely going to be an amp somewhere in your car, this will also kill your budget for installation.

My suggestion, if you can somehow cough up roughly around $1k... it'll make this decision a lot easier and better, cuz now you can get a small sub, and some pretty good speakers. But for now, with your limited budget, just get a subwoofer for now cuz a more powerful subwoofer really can make a world of difference in your car. If it doesn't, then keep your sub, save some money, and then go upgrade the rest of your speakers and headunit. Hopefully my two cents helped.

By the way, any headunit will work, we suggested an alpine just so that you can use your cd changer through the ai-net or aux. in, so you no longer need fm modulation (slight degrading in SQ).


#13 of 23 OFFLINE   Marcus D

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Posted December 02 2004 - 01:15 PM

I appreciate all of the help on this. I have really thought about switching my Bose head unit to an Alpine head unit. What are your opinions on a bazooka tube? I know they are a sub/amp combo. I talked to a installer and he said that I can change the head unit, keep the same speakers and add a bazooka tube and my system will sound fine. He also said this will save money if I want something with a litte impact but it won't be something that is heard outside of my car? Is this true?

#14 of 23 OFFLINE   KenWong

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Posted December 03 2004 - 05:35 AM

Bazooka... eeewwwww... if you want a lot better bass that's in a sub/amp combo... go for the Infinity ones... the basslink is freaking amazing for the price in a nice small package.

#15 of 23 OFFLINE   Marcus D

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Posted December 03 2004 - 09:25 AM

Its funny you mentioned Infinity because I looked at those today at Circuit City and they are $299. That is something I can definitely afford.

#16 of 23 OFFLINE   KenWong

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Posted December 03 2004 - 01:04 PM

Be weary of Circuit City installation... I've heard a lot of horror stories by them... to be an installer there takes a two day training- which usually only covers very very basics... most deck installs... I recommend either installing it yourself which isn't too hard (tons of online tips, and I'm sure the guys here is willing to help as well).. or go to a more specialized car audio shop to install your stuff.

I reread your first post and this should cover the bass portion of your requirements- Something I suggest that really may make a world of difference is dynamatting your doors and car. It helps brings up the midbass and sound in your speakers and blocks out ambient noise as well. And I know I'll get flamed for saying "dynamat" (since most people feel they're overpriced) you can also look at deadening materials like edead, fatmat, and a few other ones. It really does make a world of difference adding this stuff to your car.


#17 of 23 OFFLINE   Marcus D

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Posted December 06 2004 - 10:47 AM

I think I have decided on what kind of system I will get for my car. I am going to try the Basslink sub/amp and a Alpine Head Unit with CD Changer controls. I think that gets rid of having to use an FM Modulator.

Ken Wong, you mentioned that Circuit City is bad at installation. Do you have any other places to recommend buying and installing that sells the Basslink sub/amp?

#18 of 23 OFFLINE   KenWong

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Posted December 06 2004 - 05:55 PM

As far as places, I can't really recommend unless I know where you're from. I tried to look in your profile, but it didn't tell where you're located. Don't really take my word for it though, most of the stories I heard are for harder installs such as alarm systems (which is a PAIN), and whole entire systems, or even subs and amplifiers. Since you're getting your bose system by-passed, assuming you have a bose amplifier and the speaker wires are not connected to the headunit and you'll most likely need to get your car rewired.

This is one thing I don't like about Circuit city or Best Buy, the supposedly car audio sales person probably will not try or even ask you anything much about your car, which will then be a problem when you take your car to the installer and they're like WTF? Since they didn't know what you needed in the first place aside the usual decks and subs. The sales guy will usually just sell you the deck, wiring harness, and the bracket, and set you up for an install.

Try a smaller audio shop first, and how that goes. To see if the shop is good or not, you can usually tell by first, the apperance, and second, but what they sell. When I say what they sell, look for reputable brands, not some shady swapmeet brand oriented shop. Remember, you can always purchase the amplifier else where and get it installed. Let me know where you're located and maybe I can recommend a few places. But don't think small shops are ALWAYS better, my friend went to one where they switched his front and rear wires so I'm going to have to fix it.

The only hard part of your install will most likely be the rewiring part, usually places charge anywhere from $30- $75 for the rewire. The ampliifer will be EASY to install, especially the basslink, three wire, remote, ground, and 12V.

And just a reccomendation to throw out, if you really want to hear the sound of your system improve, I suggest the Alpine CDA9833, it's the only one that has the Vdrive amplifier technology built in, and pushes out a tiny bit more of power than the other cd players out there. If you have an Ipod, if you can get the CDA9835, it has the biolite display that has more lines to see the track and artist for the ipod, if you do have one.


#19 of 23 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted December 06 2004 - 11:13 PM

I've always had good experiences from Circuit City. I've called up Best Buy's CA installation dept. and I got a ghetto high schooler lacing his sentences with slang. Circuit City was extremely professional and gave me an estimate over the phone (BB didn't).

My first system I had a certain CC do it. When there was a problem I took it to another CC and they fixed it on the spot without question. Posted Image

Of course it's always best to do it yourself. You know the quality of work that you put into the installation and if something goes wrong you have a better chance at finding the problem.

I'd go for the 9833 too. The 5-band parametric EQ is a necessity.

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Marcus D

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Posted December 07 2004 - 02:56 AM

Hey Ken,

I live in Indianapolis. We have a lot of Ovation stores along with the regular Best Buy and Circuit City. Does Ovation sell the Basslink? Any recommendations for Indy?

Thanks





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