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sound system help


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16 replies to this topic

#1 mase18

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 02:55 AM

hey what is a really good sound system for a price that wont make me go poor and left crying at night? Like amps,and subs and stuff.
has anyone heard much of the sony explodes?

#2 TheMeatWagon

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 02:58 AM

The sony Xplodz is supposed to be pretty good for the price. My friend said he paid 600 for the full system but i donno if thats normal or not. Ive heard it but never cranked... sounded pretty good. Nothin compard to say diamonds or sumthin but still supposedly nice.

#3 mons72

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 03:06 AM

sony explode is very good for the price, i have a sony explode my self and i'm very happy whit the sony:) so dont be afraid to buy sony explode

#4 TheMeatWagon

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 03:14 AM

how much did u pay by the way? and what all did it include.

#5 mons72

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 03:19 AM

i payd about 4000 nkr, i supose that will be about $ 400. and the stereo was a plain one whit radio, cd and i could use minidisc player whit the stereo.

#6 TheMeatWagon

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 05:23 AM

awsome thanks :D [endhijack/]

#7 subyrally

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 11:33 AM

i dislike the sony audio products, they arent know for longevity. i have all pioneer in my impreza, and am thinking about getting some boston acustic 5 1/2" subs to add to the mix.

the best bet for finding car audio for a good price is to check the pawn shop. i got a $900 pioneer head unit and a pioneer disk changer for $500.

#8 bushbasher

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 11:47 AM

It seems to me that the low end sony, pioneer, etc stereos' lasers will go weak after 3 or 4 years, whereas the more expensive ones last longer. I've only had low end ones myself and theyve all lasted about the same. My friend has a lot of high end stuff and he says it lasts him longer.

#9 samo

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 02:41 PM

I'm a former installer with a couple trophies under my belt, so I think I'm qualified to answer this question :) .

The first thing you have to ask yourself is how much do you want to spend? Are you looking for something that's just going to sound alright and play CDs, or are you looking to go all out and build a slamming custom system that wins awards? You can literally spend an infinite amount of money on an audio system.

Once you have your pricerange figured out, you can look at just what gear you can afford. First things you want to start with are a headunit and speakers. For the headunits, in a moderate pricerange, I recommend Eclipse, Alpine, Pioneer, and Kenwood. I've ran Alpines for years, but I will be switching to Eclipse on Monday. Best thing to do is go to Magnoia A/V or Car Toys or wherever and play with the stereos until you find one you love.

Next item is speakers. You can spend anywhere from $10 to $10,000 on a pair of speakers, all with differing levels of sound quality. However, the higher-end speakers need seperate amplification, so factor that in accordingly. Decide whether or not you're willing to spend the cash on a component amplifier, and go from there.

There are essentially two types of speakers; coaxial and component. Coaxial are your typical lower-end speakers, with the woofer and tweeter mounted on one assembly, with all the filtering done inside the assembly itself. Above that are the component speakers, which have a seperate woofer, tweeter, and crossover (and sometimes a midrange). These usually need to be powered by an amplifier, not the CD player. Again, listen to them in the store on the CD player you've chosen. Bring a CD you know and love - I use Stevie Ray Vaughn - Live at Carniege Hall to make my decisions.

In the coaxial market, Eclipse, Infinity, and the Focal Access line are all pretty decent. Alpines can sound alright too, but they can be muddy. Just listen and decide. For component, MB Quart, Infinity, Focal, Adire, and Diamond are all excellent. I personally use a pair of Diamond M6s, and I love them.

If you're going to get a component amplifier, spend some good money on it. The amplifier can make or break the system. Eclipse, Alpine, Xtant, JL, Planet Audio, and Zapco are all excellent. Make sure you get enough power to make those speakers really sing. I like to overpower my speakers by about 50W per channel, so I've got some headroom and I can avoid clipping and blowing up my speakers.

Now, do you have any money left over? Then maybe it's time to think about a sub. First you need to decide just what kind of and how many subs you want to run. The more subs, the more volume, usually. The bigger subs offer a bit more volume and will generally play a bit lower than the smaller ones, but they're usually not as "tight" sounding. I like the sound of 10s in a small car and 12s in a bigger one. I've never really been a fan of 8s or 15s, but both have surprised me before. Again, listen to them. Recommended brands are Alpine, Infinity, Focal, Diamond, MTX (if you like boomyness), Kicker (again, boom), Eclipse, Xtant, JL, and Planet Audio.

Once you know what subs you're going to run, pick out a box for them. Boxes come in three main varities - sealed, ported (also called vented), and bandpass. Sealed is the tighest of the bunch, but also the quietest. Ported is boomier and will play deeper, but loses some transient response characteristics, and also tend to be much larger than sealed. Then there's the one-note-wonder, the bandpass. A bandpass box has the sub(s) inside, usually behind a plexi window. A port or two comes out of the chamber. They love to play in a certain range, but beyond this small window of frequencies, they're nearly inaudible. They're great if you want to make a hell of a lot of racket, but don't care too much about the quality of the sound. They also tend to be HUGE. The biggest drawback to bandpass is if the sub is clipping and about to cook, you can't hear it, so you won't know until your sub is toast. Personally, I like the sound of a sealed box the best, but again, listen to subs in all kinds of boxes and choose the setup you like the most.

Now, you'll need an amp if you get a sub or two. Personally, I like JBL, JL, Alpine, Xtant, Planet Audio, and to a certain extent, MTX amplifiers, among many others. Remember, get enough power - you don't want to underpower those subs. Amps usually go for about $1.00 a watt for decent stuff, so that should give you an idea. A good thing to look for is an amp that's D-class, meaning a digital amp. These tend to be nice and small, run really cool, don't require much power, and are great for driving a subwoofer. Also, look for a low-pass filter on the amp, and a subsonic filter if you can find one.

Get a big enough amp and you'll be wanting a capacitor. These come in all sorts of varities and sizes, from .5 farad on up. I generally recommend 1 farad for every 500W RMS of amplifier power.

You'll also need wiring, which you can buy in kits these days. The kits by DEI, Monster, Planet Audio, and JL are all really really nice.

Last, I'll let you in on a little secret. There's two different ways of measuring power on any audio system; peak and RMS. Peak is the absolute maximum power a component can produce/handle for a very short period of time under ideal conditions. Peak power is a lie. You want to look at RMS power. RMS stands for Root Mean Squared, which refers to the way the wattage number is calculated. This basically gives you an idea of what a particular component can produce/handle under real world conditions. Always ask about RMS power, not peak.

Hopefully that will steer you in the right direction. Remember, don't be afraid to ask questions of the sales person, but don't always trust what they say. Shop around, take notes, and ultimately, sit down and think about it. If anything the salesperson says seems fishy, it probably is.

If you need some more info or have any questions, feel free to PM me, IM me ( samo ownz yuo ), or e-mail me ( samoownzyuo@msn.com ) . I'd be glad to help.

#10 Mykeys Toy

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 03:23 PM

Very thorough Samo. much of car audio is personal prefernce so keep that in mind. Everyone has their own taste a certain speaker might sound like crap to someone else but it could be what is pleasing to your ears. After checking out what the local stores have within your budget check out sounddomain.com they are authorized if I am not mistaken to carry %90 of what they carry. on a side note US acoustics makes some very nice amplifiers for budget prices.. pretty tough but not a lot of frills. such as subsonic filters which (in my opinion) arent really necessary unless you are running a sub larger than 12 inches in a sealed enclosure or anything in vented and bandpass designs. I can't claim the experience Samo has but I have been around the block with my audio needs.


Mike

#11 samo

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Posted 07 August 2004 - 03:51 PM

True, it is definately all about preference. While I can't stand to listen to a cheap set of speakers, they may sound like gold to another person, especially if they're not looking for all-out performance. It is all about preference, and ultimately, if you like it, then it's great, whether or not it's "good" gear or whatever. Just go to stores, play around with the gear, and see what you like. Buy what you want, not what the salesperson says is good.

#12 rallyruss

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 03:30 AM

Samo is all up on it.;)

I have found alpine and infinity components to be really nice. but its only recently that I have decided to go a bit higher with my current system.
still learning myself.

#13 Scoobywagon

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 05:01 AM

I'm totally with Samo on this one with the following addendum: Probably the BEST components you can buy right now, in terms of price/performance, is going to be Panasonic's lineup. If you want to go hard core, I'll throw in with Samo on all the brands that he listed. But if you just want a system that will sound good, last a while and offer plenty of features, Panasonic's head units are tough to beat right now. Their speakers are mediocre to good, but, again, hard to beat for the money. Not that it can't be done, mind you. My wife's Ranger is running a set of Diamond M3 6.5" separates in the doors, the factory 4" enclosures in the rear and the whole thing is run off of a Panasonic head unit. Can't remember the model number at the moment, but it was one of their better models from last year. Paid $130 for it (installed) and it plays CD's, CD-RW's, MP3's (from CD-ROM) and WMVs (also from CD-ROM), as well as offering connections for a 10-disc changer and Sirius Satellite radio. Its rated output is 50x4. I'm generally very skeptical of power output ratings on head units, but this one seems fairly accurate. Played a 60hz tone at max volume and got something like 46 watts out of it on a multimeter. LIke I said, I paid $130 for the head unit and $50 for the front speakers (got them off the clearance table at Magnolia). So for less than $200, my wife has a fairly nice system that performs extremely well in the small cab of her truck.

In a larger vehicle, like a subaru, you'd want something with a bit more oomph in order for it to fill the vehicle with sound. If you want to go that route, I'd like to add another brand to Samo's list. Memphis Audio. Again with the bang for the buck. Memphis does not produce the cleanest audio gear I've ever heard, nor do they produce the loudest. What they have going for them is a great retail price and first rate quality control. They even offer a lifetime warranty on some of their equipment when it is installed by an authorized retailer. Tough to beat that (assuming that you aren't looking to spend a small fortune on audio gear).

But like Samo said, an audio system is ENTIRELY about what appeals to your ear. After all, you are the one who is going ot have to listen to the system that you buy. Not me, not Samo, and not necessarily anyone else on this board. I know that I could throw statistics and measurements at you all day long and it sounds like Samo probably could, too. But that doesn't mean a thing if you don't like the way your system sounds.

BUt just so you know, the system that I am going to install in my 83 (sooner or later....just gotta get some time together to do it) consists of a Panasonic head unit, Memphis 6.5" separates up front, Panasonic 5.25" coaxials in the back, a single memphis 10" sub and a Memphis MC-1300D (75x5 + 1100x1) to run the whole show. I"ve already got a good bit of money strapped into the thing for the equipment and I'll be doing the install myself, but its still expensive.

#14 samo

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 11:51 AM

Yes, I definately agree about Panasonic. If you're looking for good bang for the buck, their headunits are great. They don't offer quite as many features as some of their competitors, but for a basic "I play CDs" CD player, they're great, and they're built tough. However, if you're interested in satellite radio, I recommend you stay away from Panasonic, as they seem to have some issues with their Sirius connection. Other than that, they're good units for the entry-level to mid-range market.

Never been a huge fan of Memphis myself, but I know many, many people who rave about their gear. Definately give them a listen!

To compare with Scoobywagon's system, the system I'm building consists of an Eclipse CD3434 headunit, Diamond Audio M6 components, an Eclipse 87121 subwoofer, all powered by an Xtant X603 amplifier (150x2 + 300x1). I still need to find a cap that I'm in love with, and I may, just for the hell of it, run an oldschool Audiocontrol EQL :D .

#15 Mykeys Toy

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Posted 08 August 2004 - 02:51 PM

Sorry for highjacking this thread but i will be brief. ScoobyWagon becareful when running that Memphisbelle the distortion on the bass channel is audible when running 1 ohm.. To compensate either use a more SQ oriented sub or a smaller sealed enclosure.. Very cool amps though i still want one.

Mike

#16 Scoobywagon

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Posted 09 August 2004 - 02:59 AM

Sorry for highjacking this thread but i will be brief. ScoobyWagon becareful when running that Memphisbelle the distortion on the bass channel is audible when running 1 ohm.. To compensate either use a more SQ oriented sub or a smaller sealed enclosure.. Very cool amps though i still want one.

Mike

Believe me, I've beaten the snot out of more than one of these Belles.

I'm using memphis' MC104. It'll be in about .5 cuft. Check it out here...
http://www.memphisca...tails.asp?id=48

#17 Mykeys Toy

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Posted 09 August 2004 - 07:00 AM

Nice looking sub. We will have to hook up when I can get enough spare time to go one of the local mud-n-fun meets.


Mike




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