Originally Posted by GDR1
Thanks for the link 56K.
I plan on putting in a new GPS headunit, backup camera, speakers and a sub woofer. I am an electrician and plan on doing the install myself, I have done two installations before. I want better sound but also want GPS and a backup camera. My budget is $1300 so after I buy the head unit there is not much left for everything else. Sound Quality is important but I don't want to shake the neighborhood. My last car had a 40 watt 4 channel amp and a powered sub and it was plenty loud for me.
The more I read the more I am leaning towards components in the front and coax in the rear. I will probably add a 4 channel amp and I will either use two channels for the components, bridge the other two channels for a sub, and run the rear coax off of the head unit or all of the speakers off the amp and and get a self powered sub.
I would like to save as much cargo space as possible and would like to have everything hidden if possible. If I go with components I want to use the factory locations.
Any advice, help, or recommendations would really be appreciated.
Sound quality and "shaking the neighborhood" are polar opposites. The latter would be an spl car. SQ is about hearing the music in the car exactly as you would as if there watching it on your hood. Hearing where the singer is standing on the stage, you can point to all the instruments and everything is in tonal balance which means having the entire spectrum of big deep bass but in proportion to the rest of the frequencies as well. If you ever got to listen to a true competition sq car you would be hooked.
$1300 is not a lot. To make the most of your money you are going to want to find a company that you can get your cables from that are good quality but priced appropriately. Wire and cables are the biggest ripoff running in the audio game. Knukonceptz.com was we're I got my stuff in the past, I don't know if anyone better has come along but I would check. And don't buy your power and ground cables from an audio site, go to your local welding supply store. Infinitely cheaper, cable just as good if not better. The only reason not to do this is if for some strange reason you need power and ground cable that will bend at extreme angles but I've never seen that happen. I've also bench tested very high power amps with uber audio power cable vs just regular welding cable of the same gauge and the results are the same. Being an electrician I suspect you understand the reasons why so ill skip it.
In your situation I would ditch the rear channels entirely, they aren't needed and it will confuse the imaging. I would run the wires for them while you have the interior apart and then they are easy enough to add back in if you want to. But ideally you don't want any frequencies above 80 hz ( i say 60hz ) coming from behind you.
Spend the money on the best components, highest powered amp and then sub you can afford and in that order as apart from the install the front components will have the greatest impact on the sound, then the amp, and the sub will have the least. I would get a 4 channel amp like you said and use two for the front L/R and bridge the other two for the sub. There are plenty of subs that will fill that bottom end on low power. It's been three years since I was competing but diamond audio used to make a 12" that was designed to work in a small sealed enclosure and it was happy with 150 watts. I think it would be fine with even less. It was called the M3 if I remember correctly
The amp is another place you can get ripped off. Many people think that in the current market a really expensive amp will sound better than a radio shack amp and it could if it has adjustable filters etc. but when you remove any bells and whistles using them as straight up amplifiers of signal and play them at the same wattage so long as neither amp is clipping you cannot tell the expensive amp and the cheap amp apart. This has been proven for years by Richard Clark's amp challenge (google it if you are interested) The only exception is tube amplifiers because they add substantial amounts of even order harmonic distortion that the human ear can perceive. However all it takes is a simple resistor added to the solid state amp that will introduce that same type of distortion and once again you cannot hear the difference. Provided they are both unclipped, a watt is a watt.
My point is don't get oversold on an amp, your components will play a much bigger role in the overall sound. Just buy the most clean reliable power you can afford. And if your head unit doesn't have it getting an amp that has a HPF (high pass filter) and LPF (low pass filter) would be helpful for tuning out any anomalies inherent in your vehicle or install.