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KeanuReevesGhost
Apr 24, 2008



Old Thread: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=2233053


This thread is meant to be a Successor of the old "Ask me" thread, since that thread is just shy of 6 years old, and the OP hasn't posted in it for a year and a half.

I am nowhere near an expert on Car Audio, but I have 10 years experience installing head units and speaker systems on the side for friends. There are plenty of other posters from the old thread that are probably more knowledgeable than I, such as MikeyTsi, some texas redneck, Lowclock,Bulk Vanderhuge etc

Here are some helpful links:

https://www.crutchfield.com - Great tech support, great way to find exactly what you are looking for, and to compare different products to make an informed decision.

http://www.the12volt.com/ - Access to many, if not all cars wiring diagrams.

https://www.sonicelectronix.com Is a decent place to buy stuff with the caveat that they're not an authorized dealer for most stuff so you'll be losing the warranty.


Have you never installed a head unit, and are scared to? Don't be. Want to take it to a shop and have them install it? Don't. Head unit installs are some of the easiest things ever. A few screws, some electrical tape, heat shrink, and/or wore nuts and an hour of your time (on average)



Things to avoid
Bargain bin Walmart/Best Buy products - For the most part these are poo poo, and it'll be worth spending an extra $20 to $50 for a reputable head unit. That's not to say all products they sell are poo poo - but in my experience, most are.

Discount Wire Kits - Sure, that ebay 2 Gauge wiring kit looks really appealing at $25 instead of the $150 from the store, but good luck. You spent the money to get a nice system, why risk ruining it with wire that isn't what it says it is? This is not to say that you can't get cheap wiring, just be smart about it. My local shop will sell wire by the feet. I have plenty of RCA and remote wires laying around, that when I do an install, I spend $40 for appropriate length of Power/Ground wires, and save $100, but still get the top of the line.

Certain Brands to avoid: BOSS, Pyle, Pyramid, Dual, SuperSonic etc. They are cheap for a reason. If you don't want a $500 head unit with all the thrills, and just want something with an AUX input/ your stock cd player died and you just want to replace it, still avoid these. You can get basic head units from major brands (Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood etc) under $100 that will be miles above those other brands and last you (probably) forever.


FM Transmitters - These all pretty much universally suck, but there are alternatives. There are ones that you can tie into your Antennae that will work much better, also if you have a tape deck, a trusty old tape deck adapter is the way to go.




Also, let's avoid brand elitism. The old thread was great with that, but in real life discussions I run across people that absolutely hate Pioneer and will only ever use Alpine. Which is fine, its personal opinion like coke vs pepsi, but this isn't really the place for that. I have owned nothing but Pioneers for the last 5 years, and have only ever owned one Alpine, but I wouldn't ever discourage someone from getting an Alpine.

Let me know if you want anything added/removed from the OP.

KeanuReevesGhost fucked around with this message at 20:48 on Dec 4, 2012

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KeanuReevesGhost
Apr 24, 2008



Unanswered questions from the last thread

Jeff Goldblum posted:

I've decided to give my trusty old 2002 Mitsu Montero Sport a little love, since I've done my damnedest to destroy my sound system in the past. I'm pretty sure there's more than one speaker busted in the thing and the sound has because pretty poor. Not to mention I've been wanting to use a means of playing music off my phone that doesn't involve a god awful radio transmitter unit.

I was fortunate enough to have been given some Kenwood KFC-1662S speakers last Christmas, but I've yet to have these installed.

As for a headunit I'm torn between a USB control Pioneer and a Bluetooth JVC. The Pioneer is on sale for $84.99, currently, and the JVC is $99.95 after rebate, both come with free shipping, both are advertised as supporting my Android phone and fitting my car, I have no idea about the amount of power they provide against what I need. I have about $150 to spend, and I would appreciate any advice or recommendations.

Edit: I haven't even figured out which speakers are broken, but I think all the bottom speaker units are the same so I can mix and match between those 4, if the two tiny door speakers are broken then I guess I'm poo poo out of luck.



Reggie Died posted:

I've been having issues with my Alpine 9886 lately (doesn't want to recognize my iPhone or iPod anymore....possibly an iOS imcompatibilty). I've been making due with USB sticks just fine, but looking for an excuse to upgrade to a BT unit.

That being said, has Alpine display quality gone downhill? My current head unit seems far clearer (and an extra line) then their current offerings. They also seem to have discontinued their IDA units, which I thought were kinda cool (and pretty sweet display).


ErectorBeast posted:

Alright AI, I am the lucky owner of a 1966 El Camino that hasn't gotten a new sound system since well before I was born. However, there's a lot of room in this drat car and I'm confident you guys can help me out. To warn you, I know absolutely nothing about cars, and just a little about audio (and not of the car variety, either).

First question, where do I even go and who do I talk to in order to get a sound system installed? Secondly, how much might I expect for a pretty decent one, because what's in it now has no bass and just sounds utterly terrible. I need the whole deal, a new deck, door speakers, subs should fit behind my seats. Let me know if you need any more information.

Are you looking to have a headunit that will kind of fit the look of the car? http://www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/retrosound.html May have some things you like.

Also, how much room do you have behind the seats? You might want to look into truck boxes/preloaded enclosures built for trucks as they'll be slimmer and built to still sound good in that tight of a space

KeanuReevesGhost fucked around with this message at 20:47 on Dec 4, 2012

ErectorBeast
Sep 19, 2010

"I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

JackRabbitStorm posted:


Are you looking to have a headunit that will kind of fit the look of the car? http://www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/retrosound.html May have some things you like.

Also, how much room do you have behind the seats? You might want to look into truck boxes/preloaded enclosures built for trucks as they'll be slimmer and built to still sound good in that tight of a space

Thanks for the link, I would definitely like a retro head unit. As for behind the seats, there's probably about a good foot of floor room back there, about two feet high, probably about the same as some pickup trucks. I don't know what truck boxes are, but the description sounds about right.

Where would be a good place to go to talk to someone about it? I live in Phoenix, so name a store and it's probably here. And any estimates for cost?

ErectorBeast fucked around with this message at 20:34 on Dec 4, 2012

powderific
May 13, 2004



Grimey Drawer

I'd maybe add sonicelectronix.com as a place to buy stuff with the caveat that they're not an authorized dealer for most stuff so you'll be losing the warranty. And that old school tape adapters actually work extremely well compared to FM transmitters.

Jeff Goldblum posted:

I've decided to give my trusty old 2002 Mitsu Montero Sport a little love, since I've done my damnedest to destroy my sound system in the past. I'm pretty sure there's more than one speaker busted in the thing and the sound has because pretty poor. Not to mention I've been wanting to use a means of playing music off my phone that doesn't involve a god awful radio transmitter unit.

I was fortunate enough to have been given some Kenwood KFC-1662S speakers last Christmas, but I've yet to have these installed.

As for a headunit I'm torn between a USB control Pioneer and a Bluetooth JVC. The Pioneer is on sale for $84.99, currently, and the JVC is $99.95 after rebate, both come with free shipping, both are advertised as supporting my Android phone and fitting my car, I have no idea about the amount of power they provide against what I need. I have about $150 to spend, and I would appreciate any advice or recommendations.

Edit: I haven't even figured out which speakers are broken, but I think all the bottom speaker units are the same so I can mix and match between those 4, if the two tiny door speakers are broken then I guess I'm poo poo out of luck.

Why don't you just get the JVC since that gets you bluetooth? I don't think there's THAT much difference between decks as far as power goes, and those speakers don't look like they need much going by their sensitivity. I just installed a double-din JVC unit in my Subaru and love it so far (it's only been in there a day so I may not be the most trustworthy source on that one.)

Hyrax
Jul 23, 2004

I'm the Goon in the OP. Dispatch your messenger forthwith.

I'm looking at installing a XM receiver in my wife's 04 RX-8. No aux in on the factory unit, so it's looking like a FM modulator is going to be the way to go. Is there anything specific that I need to be looking for when trying to find one? Any brands better than any other? Any that handle noisy electrical systems well (or better)?

KeanuReevesGhost
Apr 24, 2008



powderific posted:

I'd maybe add sonicelectronix.com as a place to buy stuff with the caveat that they're not an authorized dealer for most stuff so you'll be losing the warranty. And that old school tape adapters actually work extremely well compared to FM transmitters.


Why don't you just get the JVC since that gets you bluetooth? I don't think there's THAT much difference between decks as far as power goes, and those speakers don't look like they need much going by their sensitivity. I just installed a double-din JVC unit in my Subaru and love it so far (it's only been in there a day so I may not be the most trustworthy source on that one.)

Done.

And yeah, Reggie Died, if you are wanting to go to a Bluetooth deck, then go with one. No sense in getting the USB Pioneer and having buyers remorse. I've never done BT before, but my USB controlled pioneer is great for my ipod, but it gets rather slow at times trying to sift through 60gb of music when I want to find something particular. Not sure if BT has this issue or not.


Hyrax, I do not have a clue about XM and haven't really dealt with FM Modulators that much beyond getting frustrated with them easily, sorry.


ErectorBeast http://www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/Truck_boxes.html for truck boxes, but if you are looking at getting everything installed at a shop, look up Mobile Electronics on yellowpages/google and go down to the shop. If you are wary of the shop/seems seedy stop there. Also, you may have issues with them installing a head unit that you buy online, and may be able to get you a retro head unit, but they will mark up the cost. Doing an install, especially in cap like the El Camino will be fairly simple if you have the time

KeanuReevesGhost fucked around with this message at 20:54 on Dec 4, 2012

astrollinthepork
Sep 24, 2007

When you come at the king, you best not miss, snitch

HE KNOWS


Who makes head units that skip out on the chrome and laser shows? My kingdom for a high quality head unit with USB and aux inputs that looks like it came from a 1995 audiophile catalog.

astrollinthepork fucked around with this message at 21:02 on Dec 4, 2012

ErectorBeast
Sep 19, 2010

"I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

[quote="JackRabbitStorm" post=""410232290"]ErectorBeast http://www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/Truck_boxes.html for truck boxes, but if you are looking at getting everything installed at a shop, look up Mobile Electronics on yellowpages/google and go down to the shop. If you are wary of the shop/seems seedy stop there. Also, you may have issues with them installing a head unit that you buy online, and may be able to get you a retro head unit, but they will mark up the cost. Doing an install, especially in cap like the El Camino will be fairly simple if you have the time
[/quote]

Thanks for the help man, I'll probably go get a quote to see how much it'll be for someone else to do it, but I'll definitely come back to this thread for any advice you guys have.

MikeyTsi
Jan 10, 2009



astrollinthepork posted:

Who makes head units that skip out on the chrome and laser shows? My kingdom for a high quality head unit with USB and aux inputs that looks like it came from a 1995 audiophile catalog.

I'd say check out Nakamichi and McIntosh. You're going to pay for it though.

LloydDobler
Oct 15, 2005

You shared it with a dick.



Cybernetic Crumb

quote:

Alright AI, I am the lucky owner of a 1966 El Camino that hasn't gotten a new sound system since well before I was born.

Something to consider with an old car, do you want it to look vintage? Are you doing any kind of restoration?

If you just want tunes, and don't mind skipping out on radio and such, you can bypass a head unit completely, and just run an MP3 player or iphone directly to an amplifier setup straight from the headphone jack. Then there's also one less component to steal.

Kick panels will allow you to install front speakers without modifying the doors or door panels, often with better sound due to them being in a real enclosure.

That's what I plan to do on my 1966 car. But it has a pristine untouched dash with the original radio in it, and it looks great so I don't want to mess it up with a modern head unit, and I never, ever listen to CDs or the radio.

Food for thought. Plus it'll save you money. Now you're looking at two speakers, two kick panel boxes, a subwoofer and one 3-4 channel amp.

ErectorBeast
Sep 19, 2010

"I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

LloydDobler posted:

Something to consider with an old car, do you want it to look vintage? Are you doing any kind of restoration?

If you just want tunes, and don't mind skipping out on radio and such, you can bypass a head unit completely, and just run an MP3 player or iphone directly to an amplifier setup straight from the headphone jack. Then there's also one less component to steal.

Kick panels will allow you to install front speakers without modifying the doors or door panels, often with better sound due to them being in a real enclosure.

That's what I plan to do on my 1966 car. But it has a pristine untouched dash with the original radio in it, and it looks great so I don't want to mess it up with a modern head unit, and I never, ever listen to CDs or the radio.

Food for thought. Plus it'll save you money. Now you're looking at two speakers, two kick panel boxes, a subwoofer and one 3-4 channel amp.

That's not too bad of a plan. How much would it save me not having to buy a new radio/head unit?

LloydDobler
Oct 15, 2005

You shared it with a dick.



Cybernetic Crumb

Head units are a minimum of $100 for something basic with ok sound quality, to skies the limit on features. I typically spend between $250 and $350 on a good adjustable one.

ErectorBeast posted:

And I could always install one later, right?

Yup.

LloydDobler fucked around with this message at 23:19 on Dec 4, 2012

ErectorBeast
Sep 19, 2010

"I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

And I could always install one later, right?

rscott
Dec 10, 2009


I need to get a head unit for my 1986 BMW 325es and I want something basic that I can plug my phone into to stream google play. Mostly I'm looking for something that will mesh well with the E30 interior and isn't a million dollars. Pretty flexible other than that. Any recommendations?

MikeyTsi
Jan 10, 2009



ErectorBeast posted:

Thanks for the link, I would definitely like a retro head unit. As for behind the seats, there's probably about a good foot of floor room back there, about two feet high, probably about the same as some pickup trucks. I don't know what truck boxes are, but the description sounds about right.

Where would be a good place to go to talk to someone about it? I live in Phoenix, so name a store and it's probably here. And any estimates for cost?

You really need to figure out what kind of system you want. Ask yourself, "what kind of music do I want to listen to? Do I want navigation so I can follow it explicitly and drive on railroad tracks and off of bridges? Do I want to be able to connect my phone so I can talk to my friends while driving my dope ride? Do I want to be able to watch "The Fast and the Furious" while I'm street racing?"

The answers to the above questions will give you an idea of what you want for features in a head unit, as well as inform you as to how much power you should be looking at.

Once you have a general idea of what you want then you'll be able to get an idea of a price range.

Hyrax
Jul 23, 2004

I'm the Goon in the OP. Dispatch your messenger forthwith.

JackRabbitStorm posted:

Hyrax, I do not have a clue about XM and haven't really dealt with FM Modulators that much beyond getting frustrated with them easily, sorry.

No worries. I might not have been entirely clear -- I was talking about the hardwire, in-line-with-the-antenna modulators rather than the FM transmitters. If those are still frustrating and suck then I might be looking for another way to get sat radio in her car.

STR
May 12, 2006

I thought I was a nice jester


Hyrax posted:

No worries. I might not have been entirely clear -- I was talking about the hardwire, in-line-with-the-antenna modulators rather than the FM transmitters. If those are still frustrating and suck then I might be looking for another way to get sat radio in her car.

The in-line modulators aren't going to sound as good as a real 3.5mm or RCA connection, but the in-line ones used by satellite radio kits aren't bad. Probably the best option if you're going to keep the factory head unit.

Several of the SiriusXM kits do include an in-line modulator.

JackRabbitStorm posted:

some texas redneck

Oh, you!

SonicElectronix may not be an authorized dealer for a lot of brands, but they provide an in-house warranty (usually 1 year) for brands that they're not an authorized reseller for. It's usually stated under "General Features". They have good customer service, and they've been around awhile.

The stuff that carries a manufacturer warranty will have "Authorized dealer" clearly stated.

STR fucked around with this message at 22:53 on Dec 4, 2012

KeanuReevesGhost
Apr 24, 2008




Oh, you know, I might have as much knowledge as you when I am as old as you. Ask me in 2025



some texas redneck posted:

The in-line modulators aren't going to sound as good as a real 3.5mm or RCA connection, but the in-line ones used by satellite radio kits aren't bad. Probably the best option if you're going to keep the factory head unit.

Several of the SiriusXM kits do include an in-line modulator.



http://www.amazon.com/Audiovox-FMDA...m+radio+fm+wire

This should work for you Hyrax

Sinestro
Oct 31, 2010

The perfect day needs the perfect set of wheels.


astrollinthepork posted:

Who makes head units that skip out on the chrome and laser shows? My kingdom for a high quality head unit with USB and aux inputs that looks like it came from a 1995 audiophile catalog.

Blaupunkt makes some pretty understated (for a head unit) gear, at not-too-stupid prices.

Edit: What is the current default ~$200 subwoofer? I don't want to go deaf or compete in a SPL contest, I just want to be able to turn up the volume in my car without it sounding like the bass is being beatboxed by a flatulent goat.

Sinestro fucked around with this message at 00:57 on Dec 5, 2012

destructo
Apr 29, 2006


I currently have a headunitless setup in my Miata, it's a lovely ebay "500w" (read: 5w) amp that just has two RCA inputs and two outputs. Any opinions on a replacement? I'm looking to spend less than $50. Form factor is irrelevant as long as it's small, I don't need knobs or anything like that. I see a fair amount of cheap T-amps on eBay, worthwhile?

MonkeyNutZ
Dec 26, 2008

"A cave isn't gonna cut it, we're going to have to use Beebo"


I was looking into going headunitless in about a decade when I finish my project car. I found a few threads about just using cheap class T amps but I'd love to hear what AI has to say.

ErectorBeast
Sep 19, 2010

"I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

MikeyTsi posted:

You really need to figure out what kind of system you want. Ask yourself, "what kind of music do I want to listen to? Do I want navigation so I can follow it explicitly and drive on railroad tracks and off of bridges? Do I want to be able to connect my phone so I can talk to my friends while driving my dope ride? Do I want to be able to watch "The Fast and the Furious" while I'm street racing?"

The answers to the above questions will give you an idea of what you want for features in a head unit, as well as inform you as to how much power you should be looking at.

Once you have a general idea of what you want then you'll be able to get an idea of a price range.

I don't want to watch movies, I can follow navigation well enough just looking at my phone while driving like an outlaw, and I wouldn't mind radio but depending on costs I may forsake it at least for now. At the very least I want to just plug in my phone and listen to my Spotify. All kinds of music, from the bass-yy to the soprano-y

User Error
Aug 31, 2006


Are any shallow mount subs worth a drat? I'm looking at something like this for my Jeep Comanche:

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_130SW8...11#overview-tab

There is very little room behind the seat, and I have to slide it all the way back to fit. I mainly listen to rock, with a little electronica once in a while.

The truck has 5.25s in the doors and 4x6s in the B pillar, so I can probably find some decent speakers without too much trouble. There's probably room for a 4ch amp beneath the seat to power them.


I've heard so many car stereos where the sub just adds a thump/rumble behind the music without actually being part of the music. IE, you hear the highs and mids of a drum beat through the door speakers, and you hear and feel a thump, but it doesn't really sound cohesive. How do I avoid that, other than by spending all my money?

STR
May 12, 2006

I thought I was a nice jester


JackRabbitStorm posted:

Oh, you know, I might have as much knowledge as you when I am as old as you. Ask me in 2025

GET OFF MY LAWN DAGNABIT

Sinestro posted:

Edit: What is the current default ~$200 subwoofer? I don't want to go deaf or compete in a SPL contest, I just want to be able to turn up the volume in my car without it sounding like the bass is being beatboxed by a flatulent goat.

I've always liked Kicker myself, a single 12 with a box will run a bit under that. A single voice coil @ 4 ohms would be your best bet since you're not trying to blow your eardrums out. Something like this and a sealed box between 1.25 to 3.5 cubit feet (so a box like this would be at the smaller end). Add a 2 channel amp and run it bridged. You can get away with using a cheaper (Crunch, etc) amp for a sub, just avoid the really cheap crap (Dual).

If you want something that can handle a bit more in terms of watts, I have this in a sealed box, though I got mine for a lot cheaper from Cowboom (Best Buy's open box arm).

chem42 posted:

I've heard so many car stereos where the sub just adds a thump/rumble behind the music without actually being part of the music. IE, you hear the highs and mids of a drum beat through the door speakers, and you hear and feel a thump, but it doesn't really sound cohesive. How do I avoid that, other than by spending all my money?

A larger sub will add more of a punch. Using good speakers and setting up your low pass filter properly (on your sub amp) really goes a long way; alternatively, a lot of newer head units have a built in sub crossover.

For a Comanche, I'd start with one or two shallow 10's in a box lined with fiber fill - the filling will make them perform as if they're in a larger box. I don't have any recommendations for shallow subs though, I haven't owned a pickup since 1997..

STR fucked around with this message at 01:31 on Dec 5, 2012

Viggen
Sep 10, 2010

by XyloJW


Does anyone have links for strange-ohmage speakers of various sizes, offhand? SAAB does some really strange poo poo - and I'm not paying $50 for a center speaker..

Toxsyl
Sep 23, 2012

Somewhere along the line Jill lost a chromosome.


But she kept dat ass.


chem42 posted:

Are any shallow mount subs worth a drat? I'm looking at something like this for my Jeep Comanche:

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_130SW8...11#overview-tab

There is very little room behind the seat, and I have to slide it all the way back to fit. I mainly listen to rock, with a little electronica once in a while.

The truck has 5.25s in the doors and 4x6s in the B pillar, so I can probably find some decent speakers without too much trouble. There's probably room for a 4ch amp beneath the seat to power them.


I've heard so many car stereos where the sub just adds a thump/rumble behind the music without actually being part of the music. IE, you hear the highs and mids of a drum beat through the door speakers, and you hear and feel a thump, but it doesn't really sound cohesive. How do I avoid that, other than by spending all my money?
As for shallow mount subs, the Rockford Fosgate Prime Shallows do a good job, or if you want to get a better shallow mount go for the Rockford Fosgate P3 Shallow. Kenwood also has an Excelon line of shallow mounts that do the job just fine.

Various companies have 5 1/4 and 4X6. Kenwood, Pioneer, Infinity, and Jvc have great selection and I want to say some as low as $80 USD.

The sound of your sub mostly depends on your EQing as other speakers tend to.

French Canadian
Feb 23, 2004

Quick Robin, to the Fatmobile!




My Mercedes Sprinter has a stupidly shallow single din head unit slot. Is there any CD-less headunit with radio antennae hookup for am/fm goodness?

I've seen mechless units but they're about as deep as regular units because they have a dumb ipod slot behind the faceplate.

Toxsyl
Sep 23, 2012

Somewhere along the line Jill lost a chromosome.


But she kept dat ass.


French Canadian posted:

My Mercedes Sprinter has a stupidly shallow single din head unit slot. Is there any CD-less headunit with radio antennae hookup for am/fm goodness?

I've seen mechless units but they're about as deep as regular units because they have a dumb ipod slot behind the faceplate.

I wanna say Pioneer has one, but it's a double din, and I think Kenwood has one aswell. I'll pm you with some options after looking over my catalog.

French Canadian
Feb 23, 2004

Quick Robin, to the Fatmobile!




Toxsyl posted:

I wanna say Pioneer has one, but it's a double din, and I think Kenwood has one aswell. I'll pm you with some options after looking over my catalog.

I see this JVC KD-X40. I only have four regular speakers in my van so I guess it's powerful enough. Looks pretty short compared to CD players (W:7-3/16" x H:2-1/16" x L:6-1/4"). I suppose it will do the trick...for some reason I never looked at Crutchfield and could only find units with internal iPod storage...blah.

STR
May 12, 2006

I thought I was a nice jester


That's really not much shorter than a normal head unit. I'd measure how deep the current opening is before you do anything, and figure on at least an inch extra for the wiring that'll be sticking out of the back of it.

rscott
Dec 10, 2009


http://www.crutchfield.com/p_023MAD...684#details-tab

if I buy this am I going to regret it given my above post in this thread?

Viggen
Sep 10, 2010

by XyloJW


rscott posted:

if I buy this am I going to regret it given my above post in this thread?

Its a cheap piece of poo poo name-brand. Of course you will. It'll still be fine.

Geoj
May 28, 2008

BITTER POOR PERSON


some texas redneck posted:

The in-line modulators aren't going to sound as good as a real 3.5mm or RCA connection, but the in-line ones used by satellite radio kits aren't bad. Probably the best option if you're going to keep the factory head unit.

Honestly the difference between a good FM modulator and an auxiliary input is so small you're well into the splitting hairs territory on 90% of factory systems. I used one on the 2007 Malibu I had as a company car (an aftermarket headunit was out of the question due to the required dash adapter, and the stock stereo had no provision for an auxiliary adapter) and I honestly couldn't tell the difference between running my MP3 player on it or in my Focus with an aftermarket headunit w/aux in.

MonkeyNutZ posted:

I was looking into going headunitless in about a decade when I finish my project car. I found a few threads about just using cheap class T amps but I'd love to hear what AI has to say.

If all you do is listen to an MP3 player/smartphone and don't mind not having a clock in your dash or advanced connectivity like A2DP or reading direct from USB splicing a cheap amp into the factory harness should work fine.

You could also get clever with anti-theft measures and leave a mess of wires hanging out of the dashboard where the stereo would be, giving the appearance that your stereo had already been stolen.

STR
May 12, 2006

I thought I was a nice jester


Geoj posted:

90% of factory systems

Part of it depends on how densely populated the FM band is in your area - in an area like DFW, you're not going to get 100% perfect sound, since there are literally zero dead spots on the FM dial here. Even with the in-line modulator interrupting the normal FM signal, the little bit of wire between the modulator and head unit is still going to be subject to a little bit of interference.

FM also just isn't capable of transmitting a 100% perfect signal, due to the whole analog FM bit, and absolutely best case scenario, FM can only transmit 30 Hz to 15 kHz - with quality degrading the further you get from the transmitter (particularly high frequencies). Now, the older you get, the less you can hear high frequencies - but high frequency response drops off as the signal gets weaker.

On a factory stereo, I agree, the average person will have trouble telling the difference. Anything with decent speakers, the difference will be pretty obvious. I can hear the difference quickly, despite having about 25% hearing loss (thanks to loud car stereos and concerts ).

Geoj posted:

You could also get clever with anti-theft measures and leave a mess of wires hanging out of the dashboard where the stereo would be, giving the appearance that your stereo had already been stolen.

Or just leave the factory stereo there, if it's a lower end car without navigation - nobody will pay any attention to a factory stereo if it's a car that otherwise doesn't stand out. Particularly with newer stereos being coded to the CAN bus.

This obviously goes out the window if you live in a not-so-nice area...

STR fucked around with this message at 06:15 on Dec 5, 2012

MREBoy
Mar 14, 2005

MREs - They're whats for breakfast, lunch AND dinner !

Is there such a thing anymore as a double DIN unit that does at minimum AM/FM/CD and tapes ? The OEM unit in my mom's '06 Honda CR-V (LX) died, and I'd rather get something new vs. taking a chance on some of the used OEM units I've seen on eBay and other places. Only thing crutchfield has for her car that does tape is a single DIN with no CD player.

LloydDobler
Oct 15, 2005

You shared it with a dick.



Cybernetic Crumb

chem42 posted:

Are any shallow mount subs worth a drat? I'm looking at something like this for my Jeep Comanche:

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_130SW8...11#overview-tab

There is very little room behind the seat, and I have to slide it all the way back to fit. I mainly listen to rock, with a little electronica once in a while.

The truck has 5.25s in the doors and 4x6s in the B pillar, so I can probably find some decent speakers without too much trouble. There's probably room for a 4ch amp beneath the seat to power them.


I've heard so many car stereos where the sub just adds a thump/rumble behind the music without actually being part of the music. IE, you hear the highs and mids of a drum beat through the door speakers, and you hear and feel a thump, but it doesn't really sound cohesive. How do I avoid that, other than by spending all my money?

I bought the 10" version of that sub for my wagon and I'm just now getting around to building a box for it. I asked a guy on my volvo forum who has the same sub how he likes it, and he said it's solid but only good if it's in the cabin with you. If it were trunk mounted you wouldn't hear it. So basically good enough, but not as good as a full size.

As for sound quality, most people don't know how to tune their stereos. Just play with and fiddle with all the settings so you know what they do. If you can't tell the difference then leave it default. But each car has its own characteristics and amplifies/dampens its own frequencies. My estimation is that you hear lovely subs because lots of guys just don't know how to tune it or cross it over at the right frequencies. It's either chopped off at a low frequency and then turned up, or it has the "bass boost" all the way up so you only hear 60hz and below. I generally set all my subwoofer stuff to have flat response and then cross it over at around 100-120 hz depending on what car it's in. I then cross over the cabin speakers at around 80hz so they don't distort with low bass. The rest is eq settings and gain balancing. That's one good reason to get a higher end head unit, is adjustable sub gain and crossover right in the dash, so you're not walking back and forth to the trunk to tweak your sub.

big dong wanter
Jan 28, 2010

The future for this country is roads, freeways and highways

To the dangerzone

This is very much in LoydDobler's area of expertise.
Can I upgrade the stereo in my 1989 Volvo 740GLE whilst still keeping the kickin rad equalizer?
I want to add some subs to the boot.

Picklesworthe
May 31, 2005


My setup is 6.5" Boston Pro Components in the front doors, 8" Memphis coaxes in the rear quarters all powered by a Memphis Studio 100x4, and a JL 12 W7 powered by a JL 1000D in the trunk of a lovely Scion tc. It seemed like an awesome setup when I put it in but I can't turn it past about 50% of its available volume before it sounds like the trunk hatch is going to pop off its hinges and every piece of lovely plastic in the car is buzzing like an angry beehive. Is there any way to fix this?

powderific
May 13, 2004



Grimey Drawer

LloydDobler posted:

That's one good reason to get a higher end head unit, is adjustable sub gain and crossover right in the dash, so you're not walking back and forth to the trunk to tweak your sub.

This is so true, especially if your amp is mounted somewhere at all inconvenient. On a lot of the better headunits you can even choose what kind of slope you want on the crossover.

Picklesworthe posted:

My setup is 6.5" Boston Pro Components in the front doors, 8" Memphis coaxes in the rear quarters all powered by a Memphis Studio 100x4, and a JL 12 W7 powered by a JL 1000D in the trunk of a lovely Scion tc. It seemed like an awesome setup when I put it in but I can't turn it past about 50% of its available volume before it sounds like the trunk hatch is going to pop off its hinges and every piece of lovely plastic in the car is buzzing like an angry beehive. Is there any way to fix this?

Sound deadener, carefully finding every place that rattles and putting some foam in between the rattling pieces. I think this dude's guide is pretty good, even if you don't actually buy his stuff: http://www.sounddeadenershowdown.com/

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IAmKale
Jun 6, 2007

やらないか



Fun Shoe

What's the current state of interaction between head units and Android devices via USB? I'm switching from an iOS phone to an Android phone in a few months and am curious if I'll be able to control playback from it just fine, or if I should upgrade to a head unit that has Bluetooth. Ideally I'd be able to use the head unit's hardware back and forward buttons to skip songs not only on stuff I've loaded onto the phone, but in things like Google Music and Pandora as well.

Right now I limp along with a two-year-old Sony Xplod Receiver that used to work perfectly with iOS devices back when iOS 4.0 was hot poo poo. Unfortunately, it gradually lost the ability to control everything except on-board music playback as Apple tweaked the audio stack with later revisions of iOS - now you have to get a "Pandora compatible" receiver if you want to control playback of third-party music apps.

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