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Old 10-11-2013, 09:34 PM   #1
iRideFast
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Default Need help/recommendations for car audio

I will keep this post very brief, but I need some advice. As everyone else here I was not happy with the factory audio, we all know that. I purchased the Kenwood DNX 7160 and got it installed today, a bit disappointing but the main reason I got it was because of the Garmin nav. Now I just want to make everything right for once within a realistic budget. I don't want to disturb the entire neighborhood or do sound competitions. I just want a decent sound system. I have selected so far the JL audio c2-650 for the front and the c2-525 for the rear and for the sub I was thinking about the JL 10WXv2-4. I know nothing about car audio and with that said I would like to know what amplifiers you recommend to power these speakers and what else will I need to get everything working properly. Also, is that sub going to be enough or not? I will not be doing the installation. I am taking it to a reputable shop but want to have everything I need to keep costs down. Any help or advice will be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:35 PM   #2
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One more thing, Does the Audio Integrations perfect fit enclosure fit the '12 STi?
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:23 PM   #3
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Hello, here's my thought you will need one of two amps. Either a 5 channel if you want power sent to all speakers and subwoofer. If that isn't the case, then you can do a four channel, bridge the rear two channels to power the subwoofer. The two front channels will power the front speakers, and the those back speakers will be powered by the radio. My suggestion is to use a 5 channel amp and do as stated above. This way you will only need one amp to install, which will require less labor cost. Since you are not putting together a high powered system, that will be more then adequate.

Now on to your budget, as that will go along way in suggesting which amp to use. Hopefully with more info, others will join in.
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:35 PM   #4
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Always helps to know what you want before you go to a shop and have them tell you what you want! That being said, do you plan on purchasing the gear separately or from the shop that is doing the work? Believe it or not, some shops only like to work with whatever they sell, so they try to steer you to buy certain products to fit their capabilities. If you are buying outside the installation shop i.e. Crutchfield, etc., your options open up considerably.

The speaker options you chose should be fine for a basic, decent sounding system. It will be louder and crisper than stock, and the amplifier choice almost won't matter for this stage. Brand name for a basic system is more about build quality and reliability, so you don't necessarily need to worry about matching particular brands. JL, Alpine, Kicker, etc. are all fine for this application, provided the RMS wattage of the speakers and the amplifiers match.

Since you have installers to work on this for you, you should be able to add sound processors different speaker brands and extra bits for not too much more money to make your system sound much better. It adds some complexity (and a few more dollars) but can make your system sound spectacular. This may not be for you, because as I said, your prior speaker choices will no doubt sound better than stock. If you have the time to shop and are somewhat flexible on budget and your shop can work with you, then these can also be options.

I know this is lots of info before answering your specific questions directly, but I want to make sure that you understand that there are soooo many options. Great sound is great sound regardless of how much you know about car audio.

Power the speakers with 50-75w RMS using a name brand amplifier. You should not blow these at normal listening volumes and they should sound good. That JL sub would work great in the Perfect Fit enclosure as it is designed to fit into small boxes. Make sure that you drive the sub with a name brand amplifier that pushes out at least 175w RMS. The wattage sounds high for a basic system, but it is not as high as you think; the more power you have, the better the sub sounds at all volume levels. You do not need to crank it to 11 to enjoy decent output. Those enclosures should fit perfectly as advertised and I recommend them as long as you shop for smaller subs like the JL that you have selected. Believe me, there are more choices, but just letting you know that the gear that you have selected should not disappoint you.

Expect to spend more for harnesses and cables. For a basic installation, make sure that the shop uses speaker harnesses for your car so that you can easily return to stock later on. Be discerning here; some shops will cheap out and cut/tape your wires and you won't know the difference until 2 years later or so...you will want to purchase these and have them installed properly.

Let me know if you have any more questions!
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Old 10-11-2013, 10:49 PM   #5
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I want to keep the amp budget to no more than 300, whatever combination of 1 or 2 amps as needed.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:07 PM   #6
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Try a single Rockford Fosgate R600X.5 five-channel amp. Should cover your bases for $300 or less. I would suggest seeing if you can stretch your amp budget. One way you could try to make that happen is to switch your rear speaker choice from a component system to a full range speaker. This will focus more of your soundstage up front for the front passengers, but will still fill the cabin with quality sound for much less money. With more money applied to the amplifier, you may be able to purchase more power which will make the speakers sound even better.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drum3rjay28 View Post
Always helps to know what you want before you go to a shop and have them tell you what you want! That being said, do you plan on purchasing the gear separately or from the shop that is doing the work? Believe it or not, some shops only like to work with whatever they sell, so they try to steer you to buy certain products to fit their capabilities. If you are buying outside the installation shop i.e. Crutchfield, etc., your options open up considerably.

The speaker options you chose should be fine for a basic, decent sounding system. It will be louder and crisper than stock, and the amplifier choice almost won't matter for this stage. Brand name for a basic system is more about build quality and reliability, so you don't necessarily need to worry about matching particular brands. JL, Alpine, Kicker, etc. are all fine for this application, provided the RMS wattage of the speakers and the amplifiers match.

Since you have installers to work on this for you, you should be able to add sound processors different speaker brands and extra bits for not too much more money to make your system sound much better. It adds some complexity (and a few more dollars) but can make your system sound spectacular. This may not be for you, because as I said, your prior speaker choices will no doubt sound better than stock. If you have the time to shop and are somewhat flexible on budget and your shop can work with you, then these can also be options.

I know this is lots of info before answering your specific questions directly, but I want to make sure that you understand that there are soooo many options. Great sound is great sound regardless of how much you know about car audio.

Power the speakers with 50-75w RMS using a name brand amplifier. You should not blow these at normal listening volumes and they should sound good. That JL sub would work great in the Perfect Fit enclosure as it is designed to fit into small boxes. Make sure that you drive the sub with a name brand amplifier that pushes out at least 175w RMS. The wattage sounds high for a basic system, but it is not as high as you think; the more power you have, the better the sub sounds at all volume levels. You do not need to crank it to 11 to enjoy decent output. Those enclosures should fit perfectly as advertised and I recommend them as long as you shop for smaller subs like the JL that you have selected. Believe me, there are more choices, but just letting you know that the gear that you have selected should not disappoint you.

Expect to spend more for harnesses and cables. For a basic installation, make sure that the shop uses speaker harnesses for your car so that you can easily return to stock later on. Be discerning here; some shops will cheap out and cut/tape your wires and you won't know the difference until 2 years later or so...you will want to purchase these and have them installed properly.

Let me know if you have any more questions!
Man thats a lot of great information. I am definitely more prepared now to talk to the shop and really be clear on what I want. To answer your question, yes, I intend to buy all my stuff before I get to the shop. I want to avoid them trying to steer me to buy more expensive stuff that I don't need. I just want decent sound, not a rolling boom box. I like high end audio and can appreciate high quality equipment, I just don't know anything about piecing it together or whats needed.
Since you mentioned that I should use the same brand for the sub amp, I searched and came up with the JL JX250-1 and for the other speakers the JL JX360-4. I hope those will suffice since they are all the same brand and pretty affordable. Let me know if I have better options out there. I saw some Power Acoustic and Hiphonics amps that are about the same price as JL, but I figured I keep everything the same as much as I can since I dont know if those brands are good or not.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drum3rjay28 View Post
Try a single Rockford Fosgate R600X.5 five-channel amp. Should cover your bases for $300 or less. I would suggest seeing if you can stretch your amp budget. One way you could try to make that happen is to switch your rear speaker choice from a component system to a full range speaker. This will focus more of your soundstage up front for the front passengers, but will still fill the cabin with quality sound for much less money. With more money applied to the amplifier, you may be able to purchase more power which will make the speakers sound even better.
I found the amp for 217, looks good to me. That will make it cheaper than the 2 amps I mentioned on my previous reply to drum3r. now I need to know if the one 5 channel amp will work better than the 2 separate amps. Do I need a crossover with the amps?
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:35 PM   #9
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You actually do not need to match brands, you want to make sure that you pick a decent brand. Those JLs will definitely suffice and you will definitely enjoy crisper, more dynamic sound than with your stock system. I like this choice slightly better than my Rockford Fosgate recommendation because the power output and quality is better overall. The advantage with the RF is that the footprint is much smaller and the installation is much simpler because all of your speakers will connect to one amplifier.

Similar brands to consider in this range: Alpine, JBL, Kenwood, Kicker, Clarion, MTX. Lesser known brands to consider in this range: Orion, Precision Power, RE Audio, Blaupunkt(maybe), Hifonics, MB Quart.

There are obviously many choices and the list goes on and on, but you are definitely on the right track. As long as the guys do a quality installation, you will definitely be pleased, because you have essentially picked out a proper aftermarket stereo. As always the sky is the limit, but I think you have kept yourself grounded within reason!
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:38 PM   #10
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You will need crossovers with these amps with your configuration. The components that you have listed will include the crossovers so you should be fine. These are passive crossovers. To power the speakers without crossovers (active crossover) will require more gear to install to work properly, or a much more expensive amplifier.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:40 PM   #11
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Now that we are talking about amps, a new question comes to mind. Does it matter the power of the amplifier in relation to the speakers? If the speaker max is 100w but I have a 1000w amp, how does that affect each other, is it good or bad? Because I see different amps with outrageous wattage outputs and I ask myself if the speakers need to be at the same level or if the amp only sends to the speaker what the speaker can handle independently of what the amp max output is. Let me know if Im not making any sense. Im just rambling in my head with a glass of Jameson and coke.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drum3rjay28 View Post
You actually do not need to match brands, you want to make sure that you pick a decent brand. Those JLs will definitely suffice and you will definitely enjoy crisper, more dynamic sound than with your stock system. I like this choice slightly better than my Rockford Fosgate recommendation because the power output and quality is better overall. The advantage with the RF is that the footprint is much smaller and the installation is much simpler because all of your speakers will connect to one amplifier.

Similar brands to consider in this range: Alpine, JBL, Kenwood, Kicker, Clarion, MTX. Lesser known brands to consider in this range: Orion, Precision Power, RE Audio, Blaupunkt(maybe), Hifonics, MB Quart.

There are obviously many choices and the list goes on and on, but you are definitely on the right track. As long as the guys do a quality installation, you will definitely be pleased, because you have essentially picked out a proper aftermarket stereo. As always the sky is the limit, but I think you have kept yourself grounded within reason!
Thanks, I was sitting here literally staring at all 3 amps at the same time trying to piece everything together in my head and you just confirmed my gut feeling. JL audio it is then for all the stuff. I also added the Axxess ASWC-1 to integrate my steering wheel controls to the head unit. The volume buttons on the Kenwood are very small and I just don't like having to reach. you have made my headache fade away by explaining everything in a way that makes sense.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:48 PM   #13
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You will need crossovers with these amps with your configuration. The components that you have listed will include the crossovers so you should be fine. These are passive crossovers. To power the speakers without crossovers (active crossover) will require more gear to install to work properly, or a much more expensive amplifier.
Any recommendations?
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:53 PM   #14
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The number to concentrate on is RMS and you want to make sure that the numbers match, or that the amplifier is more powerful. When the amp is more powerful than the speakers, there is an increased risk of blowing the speakers due to overpowering if you are listening at extreme volumes, but if you are listening at a normal volume, the overall sound quality will be better than a less powerful amp.

For example, I will generally prefer to power 50w RMS speakers with 75w, because I listen to music at a volume level of 20 out of 35. If I listened at max volume, I would be cautious about overpowering my speakers, but at volume 20, I have 0% concern. Don't go overboard here, but don't necessarily worry about overpowering too much.

Underpowering a speaker in contrast can do some damage because the amplifier has to work much harder to achieve the same volume. At an equal volume to a more powerful amp, the weaker amp will produce more distortion. This distortion goes to the speaker in the form of sharp spikes, dips and clipped signal, none of which the speaker likes to tolerate. For example, you do not want to power that 50w speaker with a 20w amp because at max volume you are more at risk of blowing both the speaker AND the amplifier.

This is where car audio begins to get more complex, but you don't want to even look at max stated power; only focus on RMS power. That is the key!
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:59 PM   #15
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I dont think I will ever crank the volume to the max, I just want to hear it inside the car. Since you mentioned distortion I found a Digital Bass Reconstruction Processor, since my sub is not very powerful, can I add that to make it sound better/clear? And what kind of crossover I need for the speakers?
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:00 AM   #16
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Car audio is more complicated than I thought and the choices are infinite. I guess you really have to know what you want out of it before you start.
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:11 AM   #17
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Any recommendations?
RF 3sixty.3, Audison Bit ten, JBL MS-8, Alpine PXA-H800--all signal processors that can be installed along with your amplifiers that have active crossover capabilities. These processors allow you to adjust crossover settings electronically and then send power to each separate speaker. You get a whole host of other features, many of them similar to the types of features that you would see in a home theater receiver.

When you do this, keep in mind that the number of speaker channels in your car changes; instead of powering your components together, you are powering a pair of tweeters and a pair of mids, front and back. This is where you can start to spend money, but your quality improves quite a bit. There are also several amplifier brands that you can purchase that include these processors in them such as Zapco, JBL, (actually the MS-8 is also an amplifier). The realm of car audio is quite vast for sure, and it can definitely get expensive here; if your installation shop is quite knowledgeable, talk to them about these options and see if they can make something work for you.
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:15 AM   #18
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Don't add an extra processor for bass, especially with the amps and subs we have been discussing. Bass is simple: Supply enough (or more than enough) power and minimize the rattles. Any more complexity is for the super discerning and there is a lot of snake oil out there!
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:18 AM   #19
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Here is the crossover I am looking at,Hifonics HFXR Active Crossover with Remote Car Audio Bass Control
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:19 AM   #20
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Car audio is more complicated than I thought and the choices are infinite. I guess you really have to know what you want out of it before you start.
Very true, hope I didn't complicate it too much. The more knowledge you have, the more decisions you can make. If you have the time and can be immersed in car audio, you can create a system that hits the budget the right way and sounds better than most systems rattling down the street, especially if you are not blasting the stereo. Head over to a caraudio forum and lurk for a little while--if you are just beginning to shop, you will probably enjoy the crazy stuff us car audio junkies come up with!
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:32 AM   #21
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This is a crazy world for sure, and a fast way to spend a lot of money unless you have the knowledge to get very creative and having connections related to the industry helps I guess. For now I am just going with the speakers, sub and amps. I will order and take it to the shop to see what comes out of it. I guess the crossover is gonna have to wait till next time if Im not satisfied with everything Im already getting. Your advice has made my life a lot easier. I was overwhelmed by all the choices and realized I was going on the right direction, just needed some sound advice to cleat my doubts. I appreciate all your time spent helping me. I will post here again when I purchase something else or when I have it all installed to let you know how it all goes.
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:51 AM   #22
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Ok, I just read some reviews about the Clarion MCD360 and for the price and the great reviews I read I figure is worth trying it. Something is better than nothing and I can upgrade later if not satisfied, I doubt it. I just want to have a decent system and let it be. So lets get it all at once and be done with it. I will know once everything is installed if I came up short somewhere.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:21 PM   #23
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Quote:
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I will keep this post very brief, but I need some advice. I have selected so far the JL audio c2-650 for the front and the c2-525 for the rear.
You will need mounting adapters to run those speakers. PM me or see www.subaruaudio.net*for info.

Beyond that, your gear selections and overall approach are very good. You are on the right path.
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:43 PM   #24
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Thanks for the info. I will get the adapters and wire harness to go with everything else. Cant wait for all my stuff to arrive and get it installed.
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:04 PM   #25
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Replied to your PM.
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