$600 budget for 96 Jeep Cherokee

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by MikeMcGrew, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. MikeMcGrew

    MikeMcGrew Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello everyone. I thought I'd give this new area a try. I am somewhat of a novice with regards to the car audio scene so maybe someone can help me. I have roughly (give or take fifty bucks) $600 to spend on a system for my 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport. I want something musical and strong sounding without worrying about a sub (for now). The Jeep is set up poorly for audio. It is cut for 5 1/4's in both the door panals (two-door model) and the sound bar across the back by the hatch. I understand that these spots can hold 6 1/2's without having to do any cutting. With this lousy budget I really can't afford the custom work. I would rather put the money into the speakers. I guess I need some advice on a pair of 6.5 inch component speakers for the front and a pair of 6.5 inch fillers in the rear or do I need components all the way around to get decent sound? As for an amp, I guess I need a four channel to start with rated at no less than 50 wpc @ 4 ohms. For a deck, I would like mp3 capability but it's not an absolute must have. I know that I would like at least 4 volt pre outs though. I listen to all types of music. Mostly older rock and even country, yes, country! I will add a sub and mono block amp later. Let's hear it, what have you got for me?????
    Also, install should not be considered in this budget. I really like the sound of JBL speakers and I saw an Eclipse 65wpc amp for $225.00. Is this even a doable project? I really need to do something soon though because I can't stand what I've got in there now. Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I just bought a new system for around that price, here's a quick quote:

    1) Alpine CDA-9807 CD Head unit - $225 shipped (ikesound.com)
    2) Rockford Fosgate Power 551x 70Wx4 - $225 shipped (new on ebay)
    3) Focal Polyglass 165 V 6.5" Components - $210 shipped (new on ebay)

    I already have a 8guage amp kit and Infinity 6x9s for the rears so I was able to save money that way. I plan to upgrade still with more Focals and subs later down the road. If that's a strict budget you can work down some of the cost by getting the RF Punch 501x 65Wx4 (-$50) and some cheaper speakers.. either JBL or Infinity Kappas. Components do yield better clarity and midrange especially with amplification but it may not be worth the extra effort mounting the tweeters in your jeep since the cabin isn't quiet by any means. This just goes for the rears, the front should really be component.
     
  3. Juan Castillo

    Juan Castillo Second Unit

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    My wife has a 2000 Isuzu Rodeo, and the sound system sounds horrid... its not my car though, and only ride in it with her there, in which case the radio or cd is on but at low volume while we talk, so I can't say I want to spend the money to upgrade at all. In a sense, it would be wasted money..

    The thoughts of putting a nice system in that truck however, have crossed my mind, as most men will agree... like a blank canvas if you will..

    Anyway, my point is... Thinking about what I would do to her truck, I got to thinking about that upper rear panel by the hatch, and the crappy rear speakers it houses..

    Do you think, really think, you hear enough out of those from the front seat, to warrant changing them out?
    Buy a component set for the front doors, maybe even some baffles, or some dynamat to put behind them, and with an amp, you can feed those two, while the HU's internal amps feed the rears.. It should end up sounding Kick A! It really would be a waste of money to replace the rears, in the future, you may be able to put a small sub back there, and believe me, you won't even hear them anymore.
     
  4. MikeMcGrew

    MikeMcGrew Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the great leads Scott. I am not familiar with Focal at all but, from what I've read, they seem to get pretty good reviews. I will be looking for a place in my area to listen to them in the next few days. About that Fosgate amp, I keep running into the 501X on ebay and its specs are 65w x4 @ 4ohms. Is this an older version of the 551X that you referred to? The 501X goes for about $205.00 shipped and it seems to be a similar amp. Any thoughts? Also, I like the 9807 for a HU I'm just not all that crazy about the set up of the Alpines. I know them to be a reputable brand in the auto world though. Any thoughts on some of the new JVC Arsenal series? They have a budget MP3 receiver (the KD-SX9350) that seems to meet all of my needs and I really like the set-up. It's also about $60.00 cheaper than the Alpine. I'm just wondering, will I really hear a difference in the receivers if I am amping them? I'm thinking the money would be better spent on speakers. Thanks again.
     
  5. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    Yes, you will hear a difference if you buy a separate amp, but you should replace the crummy stock speakers first... at that point, you may be satisfied with the sound and not bother with an amp.

    In my experience it is also worthwhile to replace the rear speakers. Many stock speakers are incredibly awful single driver types. Case in point: the "Premium Sound" system in my '97 Ford Probe GT. The speakers were "dual cone" types, in which a paper cone is mounted on the woofer's dust cap to simulate a tweeter. I'm not kidding. Back then I was no audiophile, but I knew sub-standard audio when I heard it. I replaced the fronts with Kenwood 6" 3-ways, and the rears with JBL 5x7 2-ways. The difference was night and day. Just recently I replaced the stock head unit (FM, cassette) with an Alpine 9811 single CD unit. Again, the difference was immediately noticable (even in the tuner), with greater clarity and power (despite the stock setup using a separate amp, which I bypassed, using only the Alpine's internal amp).

    Even though I realize I could get even better sound with a separate amp, I'm on a budget, and I'm satisfied 90% of the time with the internal amp (all HU manufacturer's internal amps will clip when cranked up high, but at least they are superior to most stock systems).

    BTW, with the 9811 you get time correction, which lets you set the delay of the speakers so that they sound as if they're the same distance from you (the driver), much like most home HT setups. It does make a difference.
     
  6. MikeMcGrew

    MikeMcGrew Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Chris. What I meant by that was: Is the difference in sound between the receivers themselves that audible? Sorry for the poorly worded question. I am just wondering if I will really notice the sound difference between the two receivers (the Alpine and the JVC) considering that I will be using an amplifier. The price difference is significant and I really like the JVC setup better. I know that JVC has had their fair share of difficulties in the HT realm and Alpine certainly has made a name for themselves in car audio so I really don't want to make a mistake here. In HT, many receivers have certain sound qualities about them. Most are very subtle but they do exist. Is this the case here and if so, how would one describe the two brands that I have mentioned (ie. bright, warm, neutral)? Also, what should I replace first if I am doing this on a month to month basis. I really don't want to put the Focals in first because my stock receiver is soooo bad and I don't want to damage the speakers. When the specs of the speaker state they are/need 60 rms, that means I need some power to move them right? So a lackluster HU will be bad? So many questions. I'm thinking I'll go with the head unit first, then speaks, then the amp.
     
  7. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    You'll only damage the speakers if you try to really crank it with an underpowered amplifier. If you hear a little distortion, you just back off a bit, I don't see a problem.

    As for a different sound character between HU brands, you are correct, but given the car environment (road noise, speakers reflected off of glass or plastic panels, etc.) it will probably be less noticable than that of home setups. You will notice a bigger difference between speakers than HUs.

    If you like the way the JVC is set up go for it, but you should probably be made aware that JVC is maligned on hard-core car audio forums, much like their HT stuff is maligned here on HTF.
     
  8. MarkO

    MarkO Second Unit

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    I have the very same vehicle. I dont know who told you that you could get a set of 6,5s in the front and back without cutting but I can certainly tell you they are wrong. With cutting you can get a set of 6.5s in the front but the rear soundbar is out of the question. I simply got the best 5 1/4s I could afford and left the rear soundbar with its factory speakers alone. You wont get very good sound out of the rear soundbar no matter what speakers you install. For rear fill it will do just fine. BTW, I use a small 8" sub (JL audio 8w7) so I can get away with smaller fronts. If you are not planning on a sub then I would sugjest going for the 6.5s.
     
  9. Ryan_C

    Ryan_C Second Unit

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    Mike,

    I have 2000 Cherokee with the rear speakers up in the corners, instead of a soundbar. No way a 6.5" will fit in mine, and being familiar with the soundbar in yours (a friend had a 95 Country) they won't fit in the soundbar either.

    As for the front, be careful up there too. I have heard 6.5's can be made to fit, but it depends on the speaker itself. I tried fitting a pair of Boston Pro Series 6.5's, and my salesman/friend called mid-install and told me there was no way they would go, so I had to go with the 5 1/4's. I am guessing the huge magnet was the problem. But I know guys over at the jeepsunlimited.com forums have said they got 6.5's to fit. What kind and how, I haven't a clue.

    I agree with MikeO. Get the nicest set of 5 1/4's you can get for the front, and maybe replace the rears with something better than factory, but nothing super.

    If you ever want a sub, JL used to, and still might, make a stealth box for a 10" sub. It went in the "hole" in the rear that is on the opposite side of where the spare is. I think it was called a Vantage Box or something like that. It didn't come with a sub though. I have one with a Boston Pro Series 10", and it sounds great, and takes up no rear floor space.

    HTH, and good luck!
     
  10. MikeMcGrew

    MikeMcGrew Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the info guys. I will be going to a local guy in the next few days who is going to pull the doors apart and take a look at everything. I don't remember the link exactly (I'll look for it) but I have seen pictures of 6.5's in the fronts that were fit in the original cut outs. I'm pretty sure it can be done but I think you're right about only certain speakers. The Focals that I'm looking at are a "slim" line. I'm just more concerned about circumference than depth. I've got roughly 3 inches to work with in the depth department. I have also heard that it is easier to install 6.5's in Cherokees with power windows (which of course I don't have) because of the door crank. Anyway, I guess I'll find out shortly.

    What about amp mounting? I'm wondering if I can have an amp mounted underneath the back seat bench. Does anyone have any experience with this? I would like to keep evrything out of sight if that is possible.

    Ryan, that box that you speak of is still available from JL audio. Retail it's like $179.00 or something which isn't bad. I will almost definitely be going with that option for my sub when the time and the $$$ is right. MM
     
  11. Ryan_C

    Ryan_C Second Unit

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    Mike,

    To fit an amp in the space under the backseat, where the jack and everything is, it's going to have to be REALLY little one. You are better off possibly mounting under one of the front seats. I haven't tried this, but there looks to be enough room for a decent amp under there, and with ample breathing room as well.

    I have my two amps mounted on the back of the backseat, so I still have all my rear cargo floor area. Granted, I can't fold the backseat down and fill up the entire rear area (I could, but I have to leave the radio/amps off and put a blanket over them to protect them, and be careful what goes up around the amps.) But I very rarely put anything in the rear anyway, even with the seat folded up.

    At first I had a false floor built in the rear right up next to the backseat for my amps. But they weren't getting enough air, and were shutting off. I pulled the floor out to rebuild it, and still haven't gotten around to it. That was about 2 years ago. Hence the reason they are mounted to the back of the seat![​IMG]

    I didn't know they still made that Vantage box, I thought all JL made anymore was the stealth boxes, which come with the speaker and come covered. The box really is great. I think it's .6 cubic feet in volume, but I have no idea what it's tuned for or anything. It sounds great, but if you really want accurate sound you need to get a custom box built. But that would take up precious floor space![​IMG]

    Prior to getting my JL box, I had my Boston Pro 10" in a sealed custom box, and it did sound better, ie, tighter than the JL. But NOT by much, and not enough for me to keep the custom box.

    HTH, let us know how you end up making out with everything.

    Also, LMK if you want a pic of that JL box installed. I think my parents have a digital camera, so I could snap a pic and send you.
     
  12. Dan DRC

    Dan DRC Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a 2000 Cherokee Sport, Ryan_C is correct about amp placement, it's almost impossible under the rear seat but under the front seats are a good option. I had a false floor/amp rack built for mine. It holds an old Adcom 4404 and a couple of Audio Control units. Sub box sits on top of the false floor and still leaves some room to haul a little cargo around. Behind the rear seat like Ryan_C has is a good option too.

    One thing about the vantage / stealth type boxes to look out for the application fit. Most of those I have seen are for the Grand Cherokee not the Sports, they are not interchangeable. For an inexpensive head unit with MP3 look at some of the new Eclipse units I belive you can pick one up for around $220. JVC is a pretty good option also. If you want to go for a simple system within the budget you stated I would look at the Eclipse head unit
    and a two channel amp by US Acoustics. They are cheap and near bullet proof. Spend most of the budget on the 5 1/4 speakers up front. Forget the sound bar, It takes a little bit of custom work to get speakers to sound good back there
    because of how it is built.

    Just use the factory speakers or maybe something like Jensen from Walmart back there. Power them with the head unit and run an amp to the door speakers. Focal is great that is what I run in a set of kick panels up front in my Cherokee. Be careful what you buy on Ebay the Focals could be refurbed or gray market goods. Don't forget to account for interconnects and wire in the budget, you don't have to go overboard here but don't skimp either. I think one of the best values in cables right now is the Stinger Hyper series.
     

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