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Thread: Talk to me about speakers.

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate 4ofakind's Avatar
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    Question Talk to me about speakers.

    Went to a car audio shop today to look at some speakers for my CAR PC. Asked the guy which subs were the best he carried and he pointed me past the Kickers, Rockford Fosgates, and Boston Acoustics to some Alpine R-series 12". I must admit they sounded best in his little in shop comparison; but it was an in shop comparison. Also he said the Kicker components were the cleanest sounding brand that he carried. And again I agreed based on the in store comparison test.

    So I ask some real world users:

    Given a budget of $500 or less for everything, what brand 10 -12" DVC sub (I just want one) and 6.5" component set would you guys recommend as the best to get for the money? I would like to use one manufacturer for all the speakers if possible, but will relent if necessary (right now I'm thinking of getting their Alpine R 12" sub and Kicker 6.5" component set).

    Thanks for your $.02,

    Mal
    Vehicle: [100%] 1995 C 1500 ECLB
    Gear: [90%]
    Build: [80%] PC & Chassis, Worklog

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    there is no perfect, or best speaker for everyone.

    this is like me telling you that my car is the best car in the world-- it is to me, but i doubt you have a similar opinion...

    speakers are exactly the same-- every single one has different qualities, some are good, and some are bad. the trick is to locate the ones that fit your style.

    1. use your own music-- the idea here is to be very familiar with what the music sounds like so you can hear what different speakers sound like.

    2. try to demo all speakers using the same section of the track, and try to set all the sound settings on the test head unit to flat, or off-- so you are only hearing the qualities of the speaker, and not something the headunit is adding, or removing.

    3. i like to start with the most expensive speakers they have--no matter how much more then my budget they are-- many times they will have better components, so the sound will usually be a little cleaner then others.

    from there move down to your approximate budget, and then continuously switch back and forth between the speakers your considering to hear what they add or subtract from the sound.

    some car audio dealers don't mind haggling the price, so don't be afraid to go slightly above your price limit for something that fits your needs better.

    also, try to focus first on locating a speaker that fits your needs, and then from there work to your price range.

    4.demo as many speakers as you can-- even if they are well below your price range, and/or the salesperson doesn't recommend them.

    5. by this time, you should have spent a good time in the sound demo booth-- a good car audio shop should not have a problem with that, but might start to get impatient. poor shops just want to sell you something and get you back out the door..

    i personally don't like being stuck to one brand for anything--specifically, speakers and subs can have dramatically different tones-- even from the same manufacturer. don't let the name on any product be the limiting factor-- you could end up missing out on the best speaker for you.

    on my first car, i was up to about $1200 in car audio gear when i sold it--about $300 in speaker costs: a pair of 5-1/4 rev-series pioneer components, kenwood 5-1/4 coaxials, and a buy-one-get-one-free deal on kicker comps, and my current car is about the same in the way of costs, though the components have changed a little..

    you don't mention amps, so i'll leave that out of the cost for now.. there is also the size, and amount-- 1-12" sub? 2-8's? there are many ways to do it.

    the other option to try to save money if it comes down to it, is to build your own setup-- there are many guides to building crossovers, and companies like madisound.com, or parts-express.com sell a great number of individual speakers. if you first learn what you want out of a speaker, you should be able to use the reviews of the components that are available separately and build a setup that matches even the best car audio- specific component sets.. my component setup cost less then $150, but imo, does better then the $600 jl set i heard..

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate 4ofakind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    there is no perfect, or best speaker for everyone.

    this is like me telling you that my car is the best car in the world-- it is to me, but i doubt you have a similar opinion...
    Yeah I guess I did leave the question a bit too wide open. I was not really looking for the best for everyone; I just wanted more opinions of what others liked. Kinda like what the salesman gave me. For instance Soundman; you stated you have used a number of speaker brands in your cars. Which ones have you used? Which ones have you liked best and why? Why were some of the reasons you changed speakers? It was basically what the salesman told me then he let me listen and see what he was talking about. There are many choices but the law of averages states one choice will rise above the others if you ask enough people.


    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    1. use your own music-- the idea here is to be very familiar with what the music sounds like so you can hear what different speakers sound like.

    2. try to demo all speakers using the same section of the track, and try to set all the sound settings on the test head unit to flat, or off-- so you are only hearing the qualities of the speaker, and not something the headunit is adding, or removing.

    3. i like to start with the most expensive speakers they have--no matter how much more then my budget they are-- many times they will have better components, so the sound will usually be a little cleaner then others.

    from there move down to your approximate budget, and then continuously switch back and forth between the speakers your considering to hear what they add or subtract from the sound.

    some car audio dealers don't mind haggling the price, so don't be afraid to go slightly above your price limit for something that fits your needs better.

    also, try to focus first on locating a speaker that fits your needs, and then from there work to your price range.

    4.demo as many speakers as you can-- even if they are well below your price range, and/or the salesperson doesn't recommend them.

    5. by this time, you should have spent a good time in the sound demo booth-- a good car audio shop should not have a problem with that, but might start to get impatient. poor shops just want to sell you something and get you back out the door..

    i personally don't like being stuck to one brand for anything--specifically, speakers and subs can have dramatically different tones-- even from the same manufacturer. don't let the name on any product be the limiting factor-- you could end up missing out on the best speaker for you.

    on my first car, i was up to about $1200 in car audio gear when i sold it--about $300 in speaker costs: a pair of 5-1/4 rev-series pioneer components, kenwood 5-1/4 coaxials, and a buy-one-get-one-free deal on kicker comps, and my current car is about the same in the way of costs, though the components have changed a little..

    you don't mention amps, so i'll leave that out of the cost for now.. there is also the size, and amount-- 1-12" sub? 2-8's? there are many ways to do it.

    the other option to try to save money if it comes down to it, is to build your own setup-- there are many guides to building crossovers, and companies like madisound.com, or parts-express.com sell a great number of individual speakers. if you first learn what you want out of a speaker, you should be able to use the reviews of the components that are available separately and build a setup that matches even the best car audio- specific component sets.. my component setup cost less then $150, but imo, does better then the $600 jl set i heard..
    This advice is very helpful, Thanks. I guess what disapoints me the most is this particular shop had such a small selection of brands to choose from. I'll look at a few more shops and follow the steps you listed above.

    Mal
    Vehicle: [100%] 1995 C 1500 ECLB
    Gear: [90%]
    Build: [80%] PC & Chassis, Worklog

  4. #4
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    i prefer a more laid back, smoother sound to my audio-- In-your-face! tweeters bother me-- and almost all car audio component sets under about $300 seem to have that quality-- at least to me.. part of it is that many use a 3/4", or a 1" tweeter, and it is really just too small for me.. my current tweeters are 1-1/8" dayton audio's, and they fit my tastes a little better-- the larger format makes for a smoother sound..

    honestly, i ended up building my own setup because i didn't like the sound of anything under $500(all the poor car audio salesmen that answered my questions for sometimes hours at a time only for me to walk away..), many of the sets i was looking at were nearer to $800(hybrid audio legatia) and at that point i couldn't justify the cost for a car that i sometimes don't drive for months at a time...

    another thing that can help you make a better educated decision is to read up on the materials used in speakers. many times, having a idea of how a certain materials used in the speaker sound can help you decide as well.. (i like silk dome tweeters-- not crazy about metal domes-- just to sizzley for me)


    a partial list:
    http://www.crutchfield.com/learn/lea...materials.html


    here is a quick guide to picking component speakers that also covers some of it:
    http://www.crutchfield.com/learn/lea...onent_wtl.html

    crutchfield has a huge learning area, and helped me a lot when i first started getting into car audio, so i highly recommend just searching around there for a while..

    some ideas/generalizations on components:

    it seems that the alpine type r, and s components get decent reviews. rockford fosgate components get wide swings, some would give a arm for them, others would rather burn them-- listen first. pioneer, and kenwood are very similar to each other, nothing that seems absolutely outstanding, but nothing that is really horrible either(some complain that the tweeters have some harshness even in the higher end products). i haven't read too much on jbl, or jvc products in a while, so can't comment there. also haven't checked kickers stuff for a while.. sound stream seems decent-- last i looked, i was most impressed with the build quality and bass output(on a 6.5" speaker the magnet was like 4-5" wide, and 2-3" thick).. heard some hertz mille series a while back, and they were alright, but the cost was up there. i have heard mixed reviews on them(without researching it, i think some of their speakers use aluminum cones-aluminum is sometimes tough to get to sound good)

    subs:
    pretty much anything you can get at best buy usually is going to have been more designed for boom-boom then for actual music--and there is a difference-- using something other then rap, try to compare a alpine type r, kicker cvr, and jl-w3-- the w3 will have a more refined, even sound, where the type r, and cvr will start to sound over-emphasized..

    the type r is a power hungry sucker, so be prepared to get some serious power, but it also seems to be more controlled then something like the cvr. the cvr is less power hungry, but is 'looser' (when you crank it, the cvr will start going whomp-whomp, while the type r will still be thump-thumping ) both would get loud. the jl-w3 is more for sound-quality, so it won't get as loud, but it will maintain its composure, and clarity a little better then either of the other ones on varying music..

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate 4ofakind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    i prefer a more laid back, smoother sound to my audio-- In-your-face! tweeters bother me-- and almost all car audio component sets under about $300 seem to have that quality-- at least to me.. part of it is that many use a 3/4", or a 1" tweeter, and it is really just too small for me.. my current tweeters are 1-1/8" dayton audio's, and they fit my tastes a little better-- the larger format makes for a smoother sound..


    another thing that can help you make a better educated decision is to read up on the materials used in speakers. many times, having a idea of how a certain materials used in the speaker sound can help you decide as well.. (i like silk dome tweeters-- not crazy about metal domes-- just to sizzley for me)
    You are awesome! You should write for one of the magazines! I have dabbled w/ car audio since I could leagally drive. But now at age 38 I find I have not really KNOWN what really makes a system work; just what goes where and how to install it. Kinda like my IT career, I specialize in hardware; I don't quite know as much about the software that makes it work. This info you are giving, to me, is priceless.


    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    a partial list:
    http://www.crutchfield.com/learn/lea...materials.html


    here is a quick guide to picking component speakers that also covers some of it:
    http://www.crutchfield.com/learn/lea...onent_wtl.html

    crutchfield has a huge learning area, and helped me a lot when i first started getting into car audio, so i highly recommend just searching around there for a while..

    some ideas/generalizations on components:

    it seems that the alpine type r, and s components get decent reviews. rockford fosgate components get wide swings, some would give a arm for them, others would rather burn them-- listen first. pioneer, and kenwood are very similar to each other, nothing that seems absolutely outstanding, but nothing that is really horrible either(some complain that the tweeters have some harshness even in the higher end products). i haven't read too much on jbl, or jvc products in a while, so can't comment there. also haven't checked kickers stuff for a while.. sound stream seems decent-- last i looked, i was most impressed with the build quality and bass output(on a 6.5" speaker the magnet was like 4-5" wide, and 2-3" thick).. heard some hertz mille series a while back, and they were alright, but the cost was up there. i have heard mixed reviews on them(without researching it, i think some of their speakers use aluminum cones-aluminum is sometimes tough to get to sound good)

    subs:
    pretty much anything you can get at best buy usually is going to have been more designed for boom-boom then for actual music--and there is a difference-- using something other then rap, try to compare a alpine type r, kicker cvr, and jl-w3-- the w3 will have a more refined, even sound, where the type r, and cvr will start to sound over-emphasized..

    the type r is a power hungry sucker, so be prepared to get some serious power, but it also seems to be more controlled then something like the cvr. the cvr is less power hungry, but is 'looser' (when you crank it, the cvr will start going whomp-whomp, while the type r will still be thump-thumping ) both would get loud. the jl-w3 is more for sound-quality, so it won't get as loud, but it will maintain its composure, and clarity a little better then either of the other ones on varying music..
    More great info thanks. I too am more concerned with sound quality over volume. (I must be getting old ) I must admit i was impressed with how clear the Alpine R's were at higher volumes compared to the Kickers and Bostons. I listen to gospel, jazz, and classical music. Bass is present and important to me but not at the expense of everything else like rap. Will look for a shop w/ JL's. Thanks again.

    Mal

    To everyone else: Don't let Soundman do all the heavy lifting. Chime in.
    Vehicle: [100%] 1995 C 1500 ECLB
    Gear: [90%]
    Build: [80%] PC & Chassis, Worklog

  6. #6
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    maybe a couple last things i keep forgetting--going off my own music style, and the genre's you listed, the speaker tests, and reviews on sites like diymobileaudio.com can be priceless-- most of the time, the reviews are enough to envision what the speaker sounds like without ever hearing it in person--most of the time by referencing the specific audio tracks they used in the test, and what details the speakers help and hurt..

    some of the members that post on the DIYMA SQ area are also interested in the best sound at the cheapest cost possible, so it is great for a cheap*** like my self.. zaphaudio.com is another one that is typically referenced, but mostly for individual speaker reviews, and not component sets..

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate 4ofakind's Avatar
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    Going to a shop in Vegas called Performance Audio. They carry Arc Audio, Hybrid Audio, JL Audio, Clarion, and Kenwood. There is another shop maybe a block so west of Performance that i will check out as well but i do not know their name.

    i am a member of DIYMA but some of their discussions get so technical with alot of acronyms I know nothing about, my head hurts sometimes after I visit.

    Mal
    Vehicle: [100%] 1995 C 1500 ECLB
    Gear: [90%]
    Build: [80%] PC & Chassis, Worklog

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate 4ofakind's Avatar
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    Went to Performance Audio today. Spent about an hour there. Talked to Jon Webb (owner, installer, competitor) and his mom. They have a Lexus SC (mom's car) that has a set of Hybrid Legatia speakers up front (6.5", 3", 1" 3way) and an Arc Audio 8" woofer in the trunk. Running the oem HU/NAV unit, Arc Amps, and no processing whatsoever she showed me the SQ trophies/awards the car recently won before Jon let me sit in for a demo. We talked a while about my plans and his experience. He reccomended Hybrid speakers which he carried and Audison or Hertz speakers which he did not carry. There are a couple of Hertz dealers in Vegas i will check out over the holidays. I am planning to get a set of Hertz ESK 163L's. Have not selected a sub yet.

    Mal
    Vehicle: [100%] 1995 C 1500 ECLB
    Gear: [90%]
    Build: [80%] PC & Chassis, Worklog

  9. #9
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    Hertz, from what I understand, are supposed to be really good.

    Not too long ago I was like you confused on all the options for car audio. It is quite overwhelming. I went with some popular brands at first (boston acoustics). I then ran across DIYMA.com and was shocked at the number of people who used no name brands that cost a fraction of what the big names are going for.

    So I went ahead and made a few purchases according to reviews there and I am very happy with the results. I would poke around there for some good info, you can stumble across a lot of things there.

  10. #10
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FantaXP7 View Post
    Hertz, from what I understand, are supposed to be really good.
    great example-- i listened to a couple, a local dealer had the hertz mille 2-way, and 3-way sets setup for a demo, so i was able to a/b them-- i didn't like them-- the bass seemed a little flat, and the the tweeters were too shrill for me, though i am sure some would beg to differ..

    that is exactly why i don't recommend brand names-- because i seem to have odd tastes in speakers...

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