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  • Buying a new amp, need advice

    I've used thye button but the pickings are slim and new technology comes out all the time so last months post may not be the best to judge anything by.

    I have a Mazda Protege 5 with the stock speakers, head unit, and amp. I'm replacing the head unit with a carputer and a touch screen lcd. I'm looking for a good quality amp (doesn't have to be top of the line) that will work with the stock speakers. I'm sure I need atleast a 4 channel amp or more. Down the road after the system is working I may very well upgrade the speakers but as it is now they work fine so an amp that can handle speaker upgrades would be a plus too.

    Any suggestions? I'm new to the car audio askpect so take it easy on me please.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Originally posted by Splash-X
    I've used thye button but the pickings are slim and new technology comes out all the time so last months post may not be the best to judge anything by.

    I have a Mazda Protege 5 with the stock speakers, head unit, and amp. I'm replacing the head unit with a carputer and a touch screen lcd. I'm looking for a good quality amp (doesn't have to be top of the line) that will work with the stock speakers. I'm sure I need atleast a 4 channel amp or more. Down the road after the system is working I may very well upgrade the speakers but as it is now they work fine so an amp that can handle speaker upgrades would be a plus too.

    Any suggestions? I'm new to the car audio askpect so take it easy on me please.

    Thanks in advance
    I would suggest looking in the classified section of a car audio forum and look for good quality 4 channel amps. It is very easy to get a used high quality amp that works perfectly for really cheap. I would suggest looking for a JL 300/4 because it is very versatile in terms of application. It can handle varying input ohmage (1.5 - 4) and that is a plus when dealing with stock speakers. Most of the time, stock speakers can be 3 ohm or some other non-standard number. Later on, when you upgrade to aftermarket speakers, the amp would definitely help them to stand out...it's a clean amp.
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    • #3
      hmmm....my firend has an audiovoxx 4 channel for sale. They're supposednly AMAZING amps. I was goign to pick it up if mine failed, but you seem to need it. Anywyas, do an amp upgrade , but do the gain adjustment carefully. If you still have distortion at medium sound levels, you'll need new speakers that can handle your amp.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Genesisfactor
        Anywyas, do an amp upgrade , but do the gain adjustment carefully. If you still have distortion at medium sound levels, you'll need new speakers that can handle your amp.
        English please?

        I'm a computer repair tech and now I know what my clients think when I try to explain things to them.


        How much is the amp and does it include the manual?

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        • #5
          You need to find out what ohm your speakers are. The higher the number in ohms, the quieter the speaker is going to be, but the less stressful it will be on your amp. Most aftermarket car audio equipment is designed for 4 ohms as the standard. If your stock system is 8ohm, the system is going to sound quiet(er) even with a replacement amp than if the speakers have a lower ohm rating. It would be recommended to replace your factory speakers at the same time you install the amp, especially since its generally such an easy thing to do, and you could buy four new speakers for about $60. To summarize, think of using the stock speakers as using PC2700 RAM instead of the PC3200 that your mobo supports. Thats not the best analogy, but its not the worst either. Also, if you have more than four speakers in the car, you're going to run into more issues if you try and integrate them all.

          Once you install the amp, turn the gains all the way counter clockwise to start with. Next, turn the volume up to roughly 3/4, and begin turning up the gain until you hear any form of distortion. After that, back off the gain a little for safety. Do not turn the radio up past 3/4 volume once you have done this to make sure you don't damage anything. This goes for either stock OR aftermarket speakers.

          As for amps, just do your homework before you buy. Watts of power are watts of power, but some brands advertise more realistic numbers and put out clearer sound than others.
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          • #6
            Smokin, Thanks for the info.

            The car has 6 speakers, one in each door (4) and then two on the front doors by the mirror, small speakers.

            I'm down for replacing the speakers. Lets say I go to crutchfield.com or similar, I just need the amp, the 4 speakers (or should I replace the small ones as well?) , wiring kit for the amp?

            Are Sony or Infinite amps good?


            Thanks

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            • #7
              http://www.msprotege.com/forum/showthread.php?t=69147

              This could give you a little background knowledge for car audio, esp since you drive a P5... if you have a model specific question, the search button on www.protege5.com (same site as above, just easier for me to remember since I drive a P5 as well)

              Infinity and Sony will power your speakers, however I don't think Sony is making the quality of car audio products that they should be capable of...

              Inifinity is excellent midrange car audio, can't say anything bad about it at all...

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              • #8
                Ugh, looks like your car uses 6x8's from the factory. Since I'm sure you don't want to put all that much time and effort into putting in a traditional 6.5" (you would have to make a piece to fit that speaker in the hole), Here's a couple alternatives.

                More expensive, but best sounding option:
                Polk db5250 5.25" component set - This has your small speakers as well as the main speakers for your doors, but they're a little more work to install. You'll have to find somewhere to hide the crossovers, and you'll have an adapter plate that you'll also need to install, which is easy.
                Polk db570 speakers - These will fit your factory rear location.
                Phoenix Gold Octane R 8.0.4 amplifier - This should power it all just fine, and the value per dollar is hard to beat.

                Cheaper alternative is to Search E-bay for some new 5x7 or 6x8 speakers. Pioneer, Kicker, MA Audio, MB Quart, Alpine, JL Audio, and Kenwood are all decent name brands. Some are a little better than others, but you generally get what you pay for. If you had 5.25" or 6.5" speakers, it would've been cheaper.
                In the works...
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                P4 1.8GHz, 256 RAM, 160GB HDD
                8" Lilliput (fab work completed - F-150)

                My worklog
                Misc crap FS - OLD laptop (w/ adapters) | Sony memory | USB key | Printer Dock, etc

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                • #9
                  I would look all over for the different information about amps, there is definately a line between low end amps and good sound quality amps. For instance, a quick look at ebay shows 1000 watt amps such as "boss audio" and "legacy" and "pyramid" which are all under $100 bux. then you can look at other amps that cost a few hundred dollars but show a lower wattage such as JL audio, orion, rockford fosgate, PPi, etc. First I think you should look at your budget of what you have to spend on the total upgrade and try it with the stock speakers before you spend money on replacing them. I dont have a "carputer" installed yet so I cant talk from that aspect, but I run my truck w/ aftermarket headunit and stock speakers, 2 12's and a large amp for the 12's, and its pretty loud and pretty clear.. to a point.. then it distorts.. when you look into purchasing speakers, have your amp either in mind, or purchased, and get speakers that require the amount of power that of what the amp puts out. so if your amp puts out 60 watts rms per channel, get speakers that will handle 60 or 80 watts rms.. not 300... you dont utilize the speaker to its full potential and in my opinion it doesnt sound as good. there are lots of good used apms to be had at decent prices, some of which are seen advertised here, ebay, local paper, car audio forums.. just post some questions if your unsure, we'll steer you in the right direction... and while crutchfield is a good retailer.. their prices are crazy.. I'd shop locally if you want it brand new.. or ebay/paper/forums for used..
                  Sell me your stuff.. please see what i'm looking to buy
                  http://mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=75182

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SMOKINV8
                    You need to find out what ohm your speakers are. The higher the number in ohms, the quieter the speaker is going to be, but the less stressful it will be on your amp. Most aftermarket car audio equipment is designed for 4 ohms as the standard. If your stock system is 8ohm, the system is going to sound quiet(er) even with a replacement amp than if the speakers have a lower ohm rating. It would be recommended to replace your factory speakers at the same time you install the amp, especially since its generally such an easy thing to do, and you could buy four new speakers for about $60. To summarize, think of using the stock speakers as using PC2700 RAM instead of the PC3200 that your mobo supports. Thats not the best analogy, but its not the worst either. Also, if you have more than four speakers in the car, you're going to run into more issues if you try and integrate them all.
                    That's not true, if you have speakers that take 50 watts at 8 ohms then you will need an amp that puts out 50 watts at 8 ohms. And will actually sound better than the same speakers at 4 ohms with 50 watts. You sacrifice some speaker control when you drop the ohms, but you get a more power out of your amp.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fooshizn1x
                      so if your amp puts out 60 watts rms per channel, get speakers that will handle 60 or 80 watts rms.. not 300... you dont utilize the speaker to its full potential and in my opinion it doesnt sound as good.
                      I agree that you should try to buy speakers and amps that are close to the same power, however please don't read in between these lines and think that not enough power is damaging to the speaker. Also, when you are matching power levels of amps and speakers be aware of "Peak power" & "RMS power" and make sure that both are the same type of rating, if you already didn't know.

                      "Peak power" = a higher power that companies like to use to make their product look more powerful --Similar to digital zoom in digital cameras, just for show.

                      "RMS" = a mathmatical average of the power output, or power handling characteristics... "Root Mean Square", I recommend looking at these power levels if they are avertised --Similar to optical zoom in digital cameras, actual numbers that reflect what the product can produce

                      sorry for the rant,

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sssssss27
                        That's not true, if you have speakers that take 50 watts at 8 ohms then you will need an amp that puts out 50 watts at 8 ohms. And will actually sound better than the same speakers at 4 ohms with 50 watts. You sacrifice some speaker control when you drop the ohms, but you get a more power out of your amp.
                        Nor is your statement true. What do you sacrifice as impedence drops? Are you telling me that you can tell the difference in identical speakers, with identical power at 4 and 8 ohms? I'm not stating there is no difference in dampening as we drop impedence but this is a factor of the amplifier and not the speaker. I do not believe you, nor anyone reading these forums would be able to blind "sound test" a 4 ohm speaker versus an 8 when power is equalized.

                        All things being equal, 100 watts + 4 ohm speaker make "X" == 100 watts + 8 ohm speaker make "X"

                        As to the original poster, Make sure that the system is not alredy amplified. Easiest way is to check impedence at the wiring harness behind the radio. If the speakers equal 4 ohms (fronts and rears) that you can purchase an aftermarket harness and plug your amplifier outputs directly into the harness. No need to run new wires or go chopping thinsg up. Usually the gauge of wiring behind the radio is also an indicator. If its super thin, chances are you have an amp.

                        -non-amped factory system: Purchase the aftermarket radio harness. In addition to supplying power, ground and remote turn on, it will also give you a place to tap in cleanly without cutting wires. You will run speaker wires from the amp to this harness. The factory wiring will run it to the speakers

                        -Amped system: Three routes here... 1) run new speaker wires to all 4 speakers. In regards to the little speakers, they are just tweeters and can be run off of the same wires that power the doors. 2) figure out the wiring of the stock amplifier and run your computr directly into it. No need to purchase an amplifier. 3) locate the factory amplifier and the output harness. figure out the wire schematic and tap your amplifier output into these wires

                        As far as amplifer choice... find a solid 50 watts x4. Make sure its a well known amplifier and I recommend used. Your stock speakers are probably 20 watt speakers. Over powering these speakers is better than underpowering and will leave groth in the future. Just make sure you know how to properly set gains.

                        Now... if any of this is greek to you, DO NOT TAKE THIS TASK ON ALONE. Find a buddy who knows so you can watch or take it to somewhere to get the stuff installed.

                        I'm not a diesal engine technician... and no matter how cool i think they are or how many people chat about it online, I am NOT knowledgable to take on the task of swapping out the engine alone. It will take a LOT of research and i guarantee i will mess up more than I will succeed. See the connection?
                        Take my advice: Do not try to build a system that includes EVERY feature. Start with the basics, build it to a bug free state, and THEN add on.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sssssss27
                          That's not true, if you have speakers that take 50 watts at 8 ohms then you will need an amp that puts out 50 watts at 8 ohms. And will actually sound better than the same speakers at 4 ohms with 50 watts. You sacrifice some speaker control when you drop the ohms, but you get a more power out of your amp.
                          I guess I don't see where I said otherwise, but anyway.. I just didn't want to elaborate on that point in this post since its overkill. He wants simplicity in the explanation.

                          Just out of curiousity, have you ever done a back to back test with 4ohm and 8ohm speakers?
                          In the works...
                          Dell GX240 SFF
                          P4 1.8GHz, 256 RAM, 160GB HDD
                          8" Lilliput (fab work completed - F-150)

                          My worklog
                          Misc crap FS - OLD laptop (w/ adapters) | Sony memory | USB key | Printer Dock, etc

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sssssss27
                            That's not true, if you have speakers that take 50 watts at 8 ohms then you will need an amp that puts out 50 watts at 8 ohms. And will actually sound better than the same speakers at 4 ohms with 50 watts. You sacrifice some speaker control when you drop the ohms, but you get a more power out of your amp.
                            But it is true, he didn't say it would sound worse, he said an 8Ohm speaker will sound quieter than a 4Ohm speaker on the same amp...

                            Most aftermarket car audio equipment is designed for 4 ohms as the standard. If your stock system is 8ohm, the system is going to sound quiet(er) even with a replacement amp than if the speakers have a lower ohm rating.
                            That being said, a 4Ohm sub will sound quieter than a 2Ohm sub because the amp almost doubles the power output to half of the resistance, but you are correct that you lose speaker control with the less resistance, that is why most SQ competitors wire their systems at 4Ohms and not lower. (SQ=Sound quality for everyelse frantically searching for the meaning right now)

                            edit-- I guess I wasn't the only one to jump all over that.... sorry ssssssssssss27

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Will Albers
                              As to the original poster, Make sure that the system is not alredy amplified. Easiest way is to check impedence at the wiring harness behind the radio. If the speakers equal 4 ohms (fronts and rears) that you can purchase an aftermarket harness and plug your amplifier outputs directly into the harness. No need to run new wires or go chopping thinsg up. Usually the gauge of wiring behind the radio is also an indicator. If its super thin, chances are you have an amp.

                              -non-amped factory system: Purchase the aftermarket radio harness. In addition to supplying power, ground and remote turn on, it will also give you a place to tap in cleanly without cutting wires. You will run speaker wires from the amp to this harness. The factory wiring will run it to the speakers

                              -Amped system: Three routes here... 1) run new speaker wires to all 4 speakers. In regards to the little speakers, they are just tweeters and can be run off of the same wires that power the doors. 2) figure out the wiring of the stock amplifier and run your computr directly into it. No need to purchase an amplifier. 3) locate the factory amplifier and the output harness. figure out the wire schematic and tap your amplifier output into these wires
                              "The Protege 5 came from the factory with all mazda equiptment except for the tire well subwoofer built by Pioneer. It is a singel 5.25" driver mounted in a plastic bandpass enclosure. It has an integrated amplifier good for about 50 watts rms."

                              So, is it amped or non-amped?

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