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Old 10-08-2004, 05:43 PM   #1
flyingmachine
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Default Recommendation: Headunit + components w/ no amp

Could someone recommend a decent headunit(w/ MP3 & WMA) and component setup that don't need a amp to sound decent? Looking to spend ~300, $400 max. Mostly listening to alternative, R&B/rap. Thanks!
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Old 10-08-2004, 06:09 PM   #2
jason2004STI
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Anything Alpine that falls in that price range is good... Check sites like crutchfield, pricegrabber, & eBay for good prices. Good luck!

Peace

Jason

I love my STi

EDIT: Maybe I should "READ" your post before posting a reply (duh!)... I didn't realize you ONLY wanted to spend $400 for H/U & Speakers... together... That's a little harder to come by.

Problem with low end (or stock) H/U's and Speakers is you get what you pay for. Not including the BOSE, Monsoon, Infinity or other upgraded from the factory stock systems those are actually 1/2 way decent... My advice, If you can live with it, spend most or all of your money on upgrading your H/U as best you can first. Then save more funds for speaker upgrades later. Stock H/U's & Speakers are usually rated @ ~22W-25W /channel, which is nothing. Aftermarket H/U's come with ~45W-55W /channel doubling the power to the stock speakers. And here's the kicker (not subwoofer)... Your H/U (any kind) doesn't make peak or max rated power until you've cranked up the volume near it's maximum which is also where the most distortion is created, and distortion is what kills sound quality & kills speakers. So, you can usually get better sound from stock speakers at low to normal listening levels with an Aftermarket H/U due to, they make more power sooner and less distortion @ max. But, down side is that over powering low rated speakers has the potential of blowing or damaging them in the long term. It's all a trade off, until you've upgraded both. And if you're looking to purchase a H/U & Speakers for $400 I'm betting your options are still going to put you in the stock power ratings of ~22W-25W maybe a little bit higher but not much. Basically your spending $400 to be able to play MP3's @ stock performance levels. It's all a matter of what your want most, and how many Benjamins you are willing to part with

Peace!

Last edited by jason2004STI; 10-08-2004 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 10-08-2004, 08:19 PM   #3
armand1
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Just a note that the proper comparison for amp power is RMS watts; most separate amps are advertised by that standard. Typical OEM HUs have 5-10 W RMS built-in power; the "high-power" HUs that jason mentions run 20-25 W RMS, so even an el cheapo 50Wx2 channel separate amp will give you lots more clean power than an expensive HU. Many "high-power" HUs also require running a dedicated power cable to the battery, just like an amp. Because of the restricted space that the HU must fit in, the "high-power" ones also often run very hot, which can reduce reliability.
You can pick up a decent MP3-playing HU for $200, especially if you are patient and watch for closeout sales/special deals. I'd save the rest of your money until you can add on another $200 or so, then spend $150 on a budget 75Wx2 amp, $40 on an amp install kit, and $200-250 on a decent set of two-way components, again shopping the closeout sales/special deals.
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Old 10-09-2004, 12:09 AM   #4
offset
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I would highly advise getting some coax's instead of a component set as they should work better for you off of HU power. Here is what I think is your best bet for the price range for sure...

Alpine CDA-9831 - $285
http://www.ikesound.com/product-product_id/2076

Alpine SPS-170A - $49
http://www.ikesound.com/product-product_id/1292
or
Infinity Reference 6002si - $56.70
http://www.ikesound.com/product-product_id/1338

offset
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Old 10-09-2004, 01:24 AM   #5
jojor512
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definitely go with a good set of coaxs. There's no reason to go with components if you arent gonna give em enough power. Ive never been a fan of alpine speakers, but those infinitys are pretty good and polk also makes some nice coaxs.
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Old 10-09-2004, 11:04 AM   #6
jason2004STI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armand1
Just a note that the proper comparison for amp power is RMS watts; most separate amps are advertised by that standard. Typical OEM HUs have 5-10 W RMS built-in power; the "high-power" HUs that jason mentions run 20-25 W RMS, so even an el cheapo 50Wx2 channel separate amp will give you lots more clean power than an expensive HU. Many "high-power" HUs also require running a dedicated power cable to the battery, just like an amp. Because of the restricted space that the HU must fit in, the "high-power" ones also often run very hot, which can reduce reliability.
You can pick up a decent MP3-playing HU for $200, especially if you are patient and watch for closeout sales/special deals. I'd save the rest of your money until you can add on another $200 or so, then spend $150 on a budget 75Wx2 amp, $40 on an amp install kit, and $200-250 on a decent set of two-way components, again shopping the closeout sales/special deals.
/Agree

Yeah, sorry I should have been speaking in terms of RMS, not Peak. Either way, your going to get better sound with an AMP included in your upgrade plans than with out.

Peace
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Old 10-09-2004, 01:50 PM   #7
offset
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Well, if an amp isn't in your immediate budget then you would still be fine for now with this setup. Someday down the road you can add an amp and then a while after that add some really nice comps. By that point the $50 you spent on the coax's will have been returned on the duration of use and you could still easily sell them on here for a majority of your money back. This is a good way to start. You don't want to spend a little money more money for an amp, comps, and HU when you will be left with all inferior equipment. Make sure to get a nice HU first with decent speakers. Then don't bother with the amp until you have the funds to get a quality one.

offset
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Old 10-09-2004, 06:04 PM   #8
flyingmachine
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thanks for the replies, I'll probably just go w/ the coax and HU idea then. BTW, should I just stick w/ the stock speaker cables or change'em when I have every thing apart. tks!

Last edited by flyingmachine; 10-09-2004 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 10-10-2004, 06:36 AM   #9
brunetmj
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I have found that alpine head units can make significant difference even with stock speakers. Even one in the price range you mentioned. They just seem to get the best out of whatever your working with.
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Old 10-10-2004, 11:54 AM   #10
flyingmachine
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Went out to 4 shops yesterday to listen to the alpines and the infinitie. Maybe I'm easily impressed, but the alpine 9827 sounded nice mated to a set of boston acustics, and this is with no amp. Not sure if the stereo sales guy is pulling my chain, but I was surprise 18 RMSx4 can sound so nice mated w/ top of the line Boston Pro componenets. A few of the other guys at the sound booth were also surprise the sound was from a non-amped system. The sales person was also saying something about the Bostons using a lower "wattage" (2 compared to 4) than others and this allows for cleaner sound even if the souce is weak. Is the dude full of doo doo? Unfortuantely, no one in the area got the Infinity references and kappa 6.5 available for a listen. The 6X9 infiinities at one shop did sound better than the kenwood, pioneers, and sonys they got.
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Old 10-10-2004, 05:22 PM   #11
armand1
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The HU + unamped speakers can certainly sound good. The main problem tends to be that the "real world" environment of the car is (a) much noisier and (b) not optimized for best speaker sound quality [mostly because of where/how the speakers have to be mounted]. As you then crank up the volume to compensate, you reach the limits of the builtin HU power. The better quality the HU's builtin amp, the closer to the HU's max power will be usable without major distortion (which is what damages stuff).
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Old 10-10-2004, 05:30 PM   #12
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The stock headunit is...ok. Any aftermarket one will offer quite a bit better sound. I personally like Pioneer stuff for a cheap, good head unit with lots of features. If you can spend a little more, their Premere stuff is better. Many people tout Alpine head units(most people). They're good too. I personally never fell in love with any, so I can't say much about them other than I've demoed them a bit.

For speakers, a good set that can run well off of low power might be a good choice. I like how the Alpine stuff sounds. The Type-S stuff is super cheap and decent sounding. The Type-R stuff sounds a bit better for a little added cost. They seem to run well off just a head unit as well. I'd stick with a component set though for the Alpine stuff(seperate woofer and tweeter). The coaxial Alpines oddly lose tons of bass, more than they should.

Another good low power speaker is Infinity. They're not strong in the bass department, but they sound very natural and well defined. A set of reference series components or coaxials would do wonders. They're dirt cheap too($60-$80), about the best sound quality speakers you'll find under $150. The tweeters are a little strong though, might want to put an inline resistor to the tweeter to quiet them down some. To do this, just cut the positive wire from the crossover to the tweeter and put a resistor in between. It increases the resistance to the tweeter and quiets it down. Try 1ohm, then 2ohm or 3, see what works the best. Other than a little tuning if you don't like strong highs, they're awesome quality sound, just lacks strong bass.

If you're wondering what will get loud easily with low power, look at the sensitivity values of the speakers. It's measured in decibals, dB. The higher, the louder they can get with a given amount of power. Now, they aren't all that accurate. The tests are a bit biased being done by the company who makes the speaker, so don't rely on them too much. If you can find a set of speakers near or over 100dB sensitivity, they will do very well just off a head unit.
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Old 10-10-2004, 07:59 PM   #13
strohausii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offset
I would highly advise getting some coax's instead of a component set as they should work better for you off of HU power. Here is what I think is your best bet for the price range for sure...

Alpine CDA-9831 - $285
http://www.ikesound.com/product-product_id/2076

Alpine SPS-170A - $49
http://www.ikesound.com/product-product_id/1292
or
Infinity Reference 6002si - $56.70
http://www.ikesound.com/product-product_id/1338

offset
Coaxial.

Anyone think maybe the CDT Braxials (I am not familiar with them, or how effeicent they are tho) www.thezeb.com also.

Alpine HU's actually have a separate power wire due to the higher output level they can achieve (only 30rms per channel (then x4), which is better than the other HUs out there).
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