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Old 09-13-2011, 09:41 PM   #1
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Audio "do's and don'ts"

Hey guys im looking to upgrade my audio set up in the tacoma.. ive been looking around a lot about what other people have done and so on but i was wondering if any of you had some bad experiences with equipment to stay away from? Also i don't know much about whats good and not so good and the last thing i want to do is walk in and get a quite for a setup that is going to rip me off.
what would you recommend equipment wise for a full set up? subs, speakers, new headunit
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farbio615 View Post
I always rec Mr Marv, he is a member here and hooked me up with a great quality system and his knowledge about the topic is unreal. I was in your boat and said why worry about getting something bad when I can just get the best and not look back. Subs: I went with the JL13TW5 Speakers: Hybrid Audio Technology front and rear Head Unit: Kenwood kdc-x895 (i have never had a problem with Kenwoods
do you mind me asking how much you spent on the setup?
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:00 PM   #3
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how much you willing to spend? nreak it down for everything so it make it easier for us/
sub
speaker
wire
amps
box
deadner
headunit
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinktaco808 View Post
how much you willing to spend? nreak it down for everything so it make it easier for us/
sub
speaker
wire
amps
box
deadner
headunit
i really dont know how much i should be spending is the problem. I have a subs box already i just need install and subs and speakers, maybe new headunit. i have about $750 right now im willing to spend on it but i dont know if i want to spend more than $1200.. can i even get a reasonable setup for that much?
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:20 PM   #5
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I have two pieces of advice for you.

1) DON'T...listen to anyone who says, "Buy ______brand because they're the best. I/my brother/cousin/friend/imaginary derp/whoever, had that brand and it's the best!"

People who would tell you to buy a certain brand don't know jack shit about what they're talking about. They can only tell you to get a certain brand because they don't know enough to actually tell you which PRODUCT in that brand's lineup is worth a shit. Long story short, ask what specific product is good. Speakers are like cars, the same people who brought you the Chevy Cobalt also make the Corvette ZR1...and you don't want to end up with a Cobalt do you?

2) DO...go listen to a bunch of equipment in car audio shops. Then after you've heard enough stuff pick something you can afford and sounds good to you. If it sounds good to YOU why should you give a damn if anyone else thinks it's trash? You'll be the one driving the vehicle so buy what sounds best to YOU!

Go listen to a bunch of equipment
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItalynStylion View Post
I have two pieces of advice for you.

1) DON'T...listen to anyone who says, "Buy ______brand because they're the best. I/my brother/cousin/friend/imaginary derp/whoever, had that brand and it's the best!"

People who would tell you to buy a certain brand don't know jack shit about what they're talking about. They can only tell you to get a certain brand because they don't know enough to actually tell you which PRODUCT in that brand's lineup is worth a shit. Long story short, ask what specific product is good. Speakers are like cars, the same people who brought you the Chevy Cobalt also make the Corvette ZR1...and you don't want to end up with a Cobalt do you?

2) DO...go listen to a bunch of equipment in car audio shops. Then after you've heard enough stuff pick something you can afford and sounds good to you. If it sounds good to YOU why should you give a damn if anyone else thinks it's trash? You'll be the one driving the vehicle so buy what sounds best to YOU!

Go listen to a bunch of equipment

I agree except for the listening to equipment in car audio shops part. Most of the car audio stores have a 'demo room' of sorts for their speakers. This room has tons of sound deadening in it and in most cases does not accurately reflect how the equipment will sound in your vehicle. Not a deal breaker, but just be aware of it.

I do have my brands that I prefer, I've stated them before, but the best rule of thumb that I've learned in car audio is you get what you pay for. Buy cheap and you'll get cheap sound. Also, don't buy expensive speakers then get a cheap amp to power them. Kinda like putting a 4 cylinder engine in a Corvette, looks nice, but can't do shit. Also, do NOT buy 3 way speakers. They are ridiculous and will hurt your ears. Coaxial speakers are great, but in the tacoma, since we already have tweeters, I would stick with component systems. I threw coaxials in all four corners simply because I already had them, so I'm going to have alot of high, which, with any luck means I'll just keep my EQ's set at 0... I don't think I'd do coaxials again, at least for my front. I may buy some MB Quarts down the road.


For head units, go the extra mile and spend a little money on one. I'm big into Premier head units, the immense control you have over sound quality and EQ is hard to beat, they have some pretty awesome DSP built in. I still have a single din, old school premier that I'm about ready to throw back in my truck because I miss the sound.
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brian View Post
.... I'm big into Premier head units, the immense control you have over sound quality and EQ is hard to beat, they have some pretty awesome DSP built in....
Pioneer has dropped the Premier line of equipment. The replacement, Stage 4, is ridiculously expensive given what the OP has so far said about sound system goals.

My $.02:
Speakers: Listen at a local shop. Barring that read a bizillion posts on DIYmobileaudio.com and synthesize your own opinion of the many presented there. Re: listen at a local shop. The main purpose of the sound board, for me, was to judge mid-bass clarity and the overall "brightness" of the tweeters. That is (IMO) more or less independent of the board mounting. To the OP, why you should go listen, and why I said brightness, is that some speaker companies tend to use tweeters that, on the good side play every nuance of the music, but on the bad side can sound overly harsh or bright -- they tend to be metal domed tweeters. Others, using something like a silk dome tweeter, are not as clear but not as harsh/bright -- all depends on your preference. Then again there are other types like ring radiators (higher end Alpine) that are a good between mix, but if mounted in the stock locations causes problems (the tweeters lose sound when not pointed toward the listener - more technically said, off-axis performance drops off significantly). Confusing? That's why basically, you have to go listen and see what you like/dislike.

Head-units: I have owned Pioneer Premier, "regular" Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood, and JVC (currently have Pioneer X930BT). More money generally gives you more bells and whistles, but not much difference in sound quality. Virtually all of them have RCA out cables that run to an amp and they are have a very flat frequency response (something not true of many OEM factory head-units). I suggest picking the unit more on what features you like and the user interface that appeals.

Amps: I personally have tended to acquire medium to higher end units over the years (JL Audio, Xtant, Premier - currently have JL Audio), but honestly given enough power and a good install, they are pretty much indistinguishable.

Wires/cable: One of the biggest rip-offs in the audio world. Given adequate construction (strength, appearance), only three things define wire/cable: resistance, capacitance, and inductance. If a manufacturer tries to sell based on any other thing other than this I suggest their marketing is stronger than their engineering.
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Old 09-16-2011, 07:12 AM   #8
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If you find products at a soundroom that you like- check out prices for the same products online. I could have saved quite a bit by buying online compared to buying off the shop floor.

Check out Online Car Stereos and X-Sounds- two great sites I have bought from.

For $1200, you should be able to buy a decent amp, nice headunit and a set of 2 way component speakers and wiring.
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Old 09-16-2011, 08:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brian View Post
I agree except for the listening to equipment in car audio shops part. Most of the car audio stores have a 'demo room' of sorts for their speakers. This room has tons of sound deadening in it and in most cases does not accurately reflect how the equipment will sound in your vehicle. Not a deal breaker, but just be aware of it.
Definitely true. But I still hold that the more capable speaker mounted in their room is still likely to be the more capable speaker in your car. Remember, ALL of those speakers are in the same environment and are on the same playing field as such.

And to the above point of listening locally and buying online...I'm guilty of that too.

First set of serious speakers I bought were a set of Focal 165v1's. I was in Car Toys for 2 hours probably and I thought those sounded the best TO ME. Yes they had the 3way line there as well but I thought the midbass from the 165v1 set was better. I went home and found them for less than half the price and snatched them up. I loved those speakers.

Oh, and www.SonicElectronix.com is a great place as well.
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