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Thread: Idiots guide to Car-Audio?

  1. #1
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    Idiots guide to Car-Audio?

    what all do i need, and how do i set it up to get a mid-range audio setup? (excluding head unit... running line level inputs direct from sound card negating head unit.)

    i'm looking at spending about 250-300 dollars for the whole shebang. (if i get hired at frys, then less.)

    while i can build computers, i'm a complete idiot when it comes to car audio. people talk about bridged amps, and i'm looking at them like they speaking mandarin chinese. i've been to guides that talk about car audio and came very highly reccommended, but every single one i saw did not dumb things down enough for me to understand.

    I'm trying for a 2 x 10" subwoofer system. single amp. I listen to classic rock mostly, so tight speakers are more important to me than thunderous bass.

    I understand it this far. and i know that sony xplod are not very highly reccommended. anyone got any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate TaylorMade's Avatar
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    Walleye,
    I'll hook you up, brutha:
    Car Audio for Dummy's (jesus I hope I don't get sued)

    First, is it your intention to only have the subs powered by the amp? (what's going to power the other speakers?)
    If so, a 2 channel amp is sufficient. If you're intention is to run the standard 4 speakers and then 2 subs, you'd need at least a 4 channel amp (just going by your "single amp" statement.

    Second, I agree that Sony XPlod isn't the best for your application. From my experience, the XPlod (subs at least) are loose and boomy, perfect for the rap connoisseur. I have 2 Polk Audio 12s that I absolutely love. The 10s are very tight and are more likely to fit your application. As for amps, it really depends on how much you want to spend. Things have changed so dramatically over the years in car audio that I don't even know who's on top anymore. Used to be that Rockford Fosgate and Orion shared the marketplace in "Bad *** amps". They were clean (Low total harmonic distortion;better sound), 2 or 1 ohm stable (read: more speakers) and powerful. One thing to consider regardless of what name amp you get is total wattage. Nevermind what's on the box or on the case of the amp, that's crap. Look for the RMS rating. The RMS (root means squared) is the wattage that the amp will consistently put out. The wattage they put on the box is "peak" wattage, which is crap because anytime it's over it's normal level, the distortion goes up right with it.

    Bridging is combining two or more channels to act as one. If you have a 2 channel, 50 watt amp (RMS of course), theoretically each channel would put out 25 watts and you could run a speaker on each channel. If you only had one speaker to run you could "bridge" the amp and thereby get a one channel amp that puts out 50 watts. Are you picking up what I'm putting down? It gets far more difficult as we get into ohm loads and wiring in series or parallel, but I think we've had enough for today. Besides, I'm going to be known as the "long post guy" before too long.

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate sfay93's Avatar
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    I also agree with TaylorMade on this one.
    You can also make your bass tighter by using a sealed box(zero holes) instead of a ported one(one with holes in it). This traps the air inside not allowing the subs reach full excursion ergo creating tighter/faster bass response.
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    Maximum Bitrate Bravellir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaylorMade
    Walleye,
    I'll hook you up, brutha:
    Car Audio for Dummy's (jesus I hope I don't get sued)
    ....

    Please do continue. I donīt want to be a dummie anymore

    If I find a way to fit a sub in my car, I will need to know more..
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaylorMade
    Walleye,
    I'll hook you up, brutha:
    Car Audio for Dummy's (jesus I hope I don't get sued)

    You'll be hearing from my lawyer within the next week.

  6. #6
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    Thats because building computers is like the easiest thing in the world and requires no (physical work) at all (designed for the lazy man...me) , while w/ car audio you have wire ur whole ******* car and cutting ur hands up...heh

    Quote Originally Posted by Walleye
    what all do i need, and how do i set it up to get a mid-range audio setup? (excluding head unit... running line level inputs direct from sound card negating head unit.)

    i'm looking at spending about 250-300 dollars for the whole shebang. (if i get hired at frys, then less.)

    while i can build computers, i'm a complete idiot when it comes to car audio. people talk about bridged amps, and i'm looking at them like they speaking mandarin chinese. i've been to guides that talk about car audio and came very highly reccommended, but every single one i saw did not dumb things down enough for me to understand.

    I'm trying for a 2 x 10" subwoofer system. single amp. I listen to classic rock mostly, so tight speakers are more important to me than thunderous bass.

    I understand it this far. and i know that sony xplod are not very highly reccommended. anyone got any suggestions?

  7. #7
    Jesus Freak antimatter's Avatar
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  8. #8
    Newbie mduck's Avatar
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    I assume you'll be powering the front and rear speakers as well? Utilizing two amps might be a better way for you to go. It's all a matter of preference, though. Sometimes asking for stereo advice is like asking what flavor ice cream people prefer.

    In all honesty, $300 is not going to get you much. You mentioned working at Fry's - is this an electronics store? I think I remember someone discussing this in a different thread. If it is I hope you get steep discounts.

    I just had a Rockford Fosgate amp [http://www.rockfordfosgate.com/produ...%20Amplifiers] and a JL Audio 12w3v2 sub [http://jlaudio.com/subwoofers/12w3v2.html] in a ported enclosure installed for just over $600. Granted, around $150 of that was labor, but most (if not all) high-end car audio manufacturers require professional installation in order to receive full warranty. Adding the head unit ($300) and front speakers ($130) pushes the total over a grand, and I still don't have the front and rear speakers amped yet!!

    If you're not totally comfortable moving forward with this you'll be well-served to wait. I've wanted a system since I was in high school - now, at 26, I finally am able to not only afford, but understand how to assemble one that fits my tastes best.

    When all else fails, take a look at some of the tutorials on Crutchfield. They don't sell the best stuff, but they have great info. Do research as long as you can stand it . . . and then do some more.

  9. #9
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    I"m actually in the same boat and while i've learned a lot of this stuff while doing research of my own, it's still useful to have this thread. My car has one of those 'premium sound systems' that aren't compatible with any aftermarket stuff, you cna hack job them, but i've heard very mixed results. So i'm probably going to end up completely redoing my car stereo as i go along. with a 4.1 setup, no place to mount a center speaker except behind my lcd which would look bad, or maybee a small dome tweeter on the top of my dash with some fabrication.

    Right now i'm focusing on doing the subs, since it seems i'd have the best luck adding those to my stock system and then going from there. I'm looking for something that hits very tight clean and hard, the lowest bass frequencies i really listen to are bass drums and bass guitar (various genres of metal: heavy, death, gore, etc.... NO RAP) I'm leaning towards a bandpass box for this reason, from my understanding they hit hard and tight. As for an amp I've been thinking of the rockford punch series and as for subs I'm not to sure, i was thinking of rockford punch subs so i could 'match' them to the amp. i don't know how big of a difference this makes in the real world. I'm probably leaning towards 2 x 10s since i don't need to reproduce bass much deeper than 60 Hz (probably not even that low) or so and becasue my convertible has VERY limited trunk space.

  10. #10
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    I agree with mduck. If you want quality its not going to come cheap. You really get what you pay for in car audio. Buying some no name subs and amps will probably leave you dissappointed at the end of the day. Save up some more and do it right the first time. JL definitely makes some great sounding subs and rockford amps are among the best for their price. Another brand that I have had good experiences with is US Acoustics. I have one of their older 4 channel amps and it has done me no wrong.

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