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Discussion Starter #1
Im starting to get confused the more I research this. Im looking at replacing the Audio system *After the head. New amp(s) and speakers.

As Im getting quotes from the "Experts" they all have something different to hawk and the watter is getting muddy.

One says I need to get an amp(s) that will compensate for Low head signal output to get the cleanest sound and another has no clue what hes talking about.

The installer / Designer that **seems to know more (Or is a better Ber) claims I need a variable rate input amp to help boost the signal before it gets processed by the amp. He is recommending an MTX TA3404 for the door speaker and the MTX TA3401 for a sub.
http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=15174
http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=15171

They both seem to agree on the speakers for the doors.Well kind of..
Both think Focal is the way to go with the 165 V2 for all 4 or the 165 k2P in the front if I want to spend a grand on a set (NOT) One wants to use a Cap and the other doesn't. They both will build a sub cabinet to custom fit against the rear of the back seat. but one wants to use 2 10s and the other wants to use 1 12. (Priced about the same)

I DNS! (Don't Know ****) about car audio. A told both of them the same thing, Im looking for a great sounding Sound stage in the front seat. I could care less what it sounds like at high volume. Im looking for a good clean sound with a stealth as possible install.

Without giving them a budget they both came back at $2,800- $3.000

I tried cruzing the audio forums but I wouldn't know a Farad if it bit me in the ass. I think a friend of mine had one once and it got out of its cage.

HELP!!!!
 

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If you don't care how loud it is, one 10" sub is probably enough. It'll give it the low end kick you want, without being able to destroy your eardrums. It depends on the sub and the box it's in though.

As far as I know, most amps are "variable input", as that's what the gain setting is for. He may be referring to something else, like an amp with speaker level inputs, which you also don't need.
 

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Do it yourself, save some serious $$, and enjoy. With the left over cash, get yourself sat radio. If I could do it, anyone can. The Morano was pretty easy to work on.

Here are a few links that helped me when I started my research.

http://www.pac-audio.com/

http://ccs.exl.info/frame_installation.html

http://www.caraudiohelp.com/how_to_install_a_car_amp/how_to_install_a_car_amp.htm

http://www.clubknowledge.com/Car_Audio_FAQ/

I have only 1 amp (JL Audio 3004) powering the front speakers (2 channels 75w each to MB Quarts) and a 12" sub (2 channels bridged 150w to JL Audio) in a sealed box in the back, and I'm really happy with the sound quality. No distortion (clipping) until 20+ on the volume. The back speakers are still stock, powered by the stock amp. With all the windows down doing 75, I have plenty of power to crank it up. With the windows up, anything over 12 on the volume is loud.

What kind of music do you listen to? If you are into heavy bass, then you might want 2 subs powered by their own amp.
I hope this helps.
Glenn
 

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Focals are great speakers. You could probably get in to MB Quarts for less - and be just as happy.

One thing to ask - and it might be a stretch is listen to different speakers in your car before committing. Certain cars will benefit from a brighter speaker - some will not.

Plus, don't take the sales persons word as to what's best. Use your ears, head and checkbook. If you don't like the way something sounds - even if it's the most expensive - doesn't make it best.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lots of good info guys.

Its an interesting approach to use the factory amp for the rear speakers. Ill assume if they are the only two being driven by the amp its a bit cleaner. good food for thought.

I listen to Classic Rock, blues, Todays top 40, and Classical, in that order. Im not into loud thumping. Its for my enjoyment not to impress (Piss Off) anyone outside the MO

I must have heard 20 sets of speakers in different showrooms. Not that they will sound the same in the MO but there is a huge difference in quality. Like anything, the quality gets better along with the price tag. I will pay attention and seek out a place to listen to MB Quarts.

**IF** I decide to do it my self, are the manuals and directions going to get me through it OK? I can read and follow directions. It seems as if everything is plug and play once the proper wires from the head back to the existing amp are properly identified.

One of the problem issues as far as wiring goes is the new speaker wires to the front doors. 2 installers said the wires wont properly fish through the existing rubber tube from the door to the body. Is this an issue? They want to drill holes and use a separate tube to do this.

Sorry for all the odd questions, Im new to car audio.
 

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"wouldn't know a Farad if it bit me in the ass. I think a friend of mine had one once and it got out of its cage."

One of the great Car Audio lines of all time. :D

Homer
 

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If it were me...I'd go with the same manufacturer/line for front and rear speakers. You don't have to get the exact same model (if they offer components for the fronts - you can do a regular 2 way for the rear). I wouldn't waste money with components in the rear. you won't need the imaging you can get with components.

For your type of music a GOOD single 10" would be decent. Smaller box. A well designed sub/box combo will outperform a good sub in a crappy box. Ported, in general, will play louder. Sealed, in general, is tighter bass. I prefer a sealed box - ported boxes can get sloppy. A lot has to do with the builder/installer.

A capacitor isn't going to add much to the cost. It won't hurt to have it. It might not be noticable if you don't have it.

I've installed stereos since I was 15. I would recommend you have someone else do it. It isn't that it is tough to make the connections and follow a decently drawn schematic - but making it look good (just as important - especially in a $35K car). I can't believe some of the people actually post pics of their installs.
 

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This forum was all I needed. Everything you'll need is here (radio removal, door removal, power from battery through firewall, etc.). The hardest part is choosing what to install, and where. I put my amp under the front passengar seat, and my crossovers up under the glove box. If you go with more stuff, it could get crowded pretty quickly.

I forget what caps are for. Anyone? Also, if you are going to install multiple amps, I believe you will need a distribution block. Correct?

I just cut into the existing rubber to run my wire for the doors. I'll try and get a photo of my hack job for you.

I'm glad I did the install myself. I learned alot, didn't damage anything (besides cutting into the rubber for the doors), and am now thinking of adding to it (replacing the rear speakers, adding another sub, dynamat).

On the other hand, having someone else do it sounds good too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
More great info...
Im going to do it myself. Im anal about how things are done and wont allow myself to do a hack job. Working with wires, soldering, routing and wrenching aren't an issue. I understand what the components do just not how the truly do what they do.

There is way to much subjective info out there to be helpful so im truly **trying to learn the basics so I can make a somewhat informed decision on what to get.

I also decided to do a complete sound dampening on the floor. When I remove the seats and everything else Im going to run the power and speaker wires with a little extra and let them hang until I do the install. I was only going to do some spot sound deadening due to warnings about the SRS system and removing the seats. I talked to the factory tech and was told as long as the battery was disconnected it wasn't an issue.

Im sure Ill have a lot of questions. In the meantime Im going to re-read all the posts in the audio forum and let the info soak in.
 

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Here's my $.02 FastEddy...

How far are you looking to go with this?

The reson I ask is -- on the lesser end of "going nuts" you could do something like GripperDon -- install a small dedicated sub amp and keep the factory sub. This is the most economical and by far the least amount of work. Don has said it helped to clear up the sound quality out of the door speakers quite a bit since the burden of driving the sub is now handled by the second amp -- the Bose amp now has more headroom to give cleaner, stronger output. Maybe that's enough for what you're looking for?

If you're looking for a real "wow" system, I would suggest that you don't use the factory Bose amp for anything other than a doorstop. Focal make some really stellar speakers, but I myself am quite partial to MB Quart and Boston Acoustics. Speakers are ENTIRELY a matter of personal taste. If a "cheap" set of Infinity speakers sound great to you, that's all that matters. Everyone's ears are different and everyone likes thier music a little differently -- some like a "warmer" sound with enhanded mid-bass and slightly subdued treble, others, like myself, prefer a "bright" sounding system with pronouned treble and clean, focused midrange. It's just your opinion that matters. Moving on... I will echo what a couple others have said about the amp choice -- I'm not sure what the salesguys are trying to convince you of with this "variable input" stuff. You would be hard-pressed to find an amp that didn't have gain adjustments. A PAC adapter, or something more elegant like a JL Audio CleanSweep, will give you standard low-level signal inputs for your amps. You had mentioned wanting to keep the installation as stealthy as possible and not needing extreme volume -- as for the sub may I recommend you wait until the JL Audio StealthBox hits the market for the MO? I've been directly in contact with JL over the past few months and yes, the product is being built and will be available soon. That will be a completely hidden installation and will give you a nice solid low-end without excessive "teenager bass" as I like to call it. And it won't cost you a ton either. You don't need to go nuts with amplifiers -- any reputable brand amp is going to give you pretty darn good performance. JL Audio, Sony X-Plod, Rockford Fosgate, MTX... the list goes on. You DO need to be careful though -- some brands have different levels of products that are sold in chain stores. For instance, I know Rockford sells some pretty lame (and not very well-built) amps at a chain store that has a name referencing something to do with getting a "good buy", but other Rockford products are usually quite good.

Just one quick note -- I have a set of MB Quart component speakers with crossovers that I am not using and would be happy to part with for a reasonable price. They were used in my 1998 Pontiac Grand Am GT and are in excellent condition. Never pushed beyond thier limits, they sound excellent (in fact they got some attention at a couple of amateur "sound-off" competitions a few years back). Let me know if you're interested, or if you have any other questions I might be able to answer.

Good luck, and "let your ears do the talking."
 

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Discussion Starter #11
And yet even more great info.
Is the JL sub going to be powered?
 

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What I would recommend based on all you have said now is a setup very much like mine. This took me 8 hours (inexperienced) to install the PAC converter and sub, power and signal wires to the rear. It took a pro another 10 hours to install the 2 other amps and door speakers.

My setup (rather what it was back when I still used the stock HU):

-PAC converter -> 3 amps (front RCAs to one amp for front speakers, rear RCAs split to one amp for rear speakers, one amp for sub)

-Amp for front speakers under front drivers seat
-Amp for rear speakers under front passenger seat

-used stock speaker wires for door speakers

-MB Quart Q-Line components (218.61Q) for front speakers
-MB Quart Reference coaxial (PKC116) for rear speakers with tweeters disconnected

-single 10" JL Audio W7 sub in ported box, which is a bit too much, and would sound better in a sealed box. I'll be switching to a sealed box as soon as I can afford to get my amp built into a custom enclosure, as it won't fit on the sealed box (it's 2' long).
 

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FastEddy said:
And yet even more great info.
Is the JL sub going to be powered?
It won't be self-powered if that's what you mean -- you'll use an amp to power it. Since the StealthBox for the MO will be using a JL 10W1v2 subwoofer, the RMS power on the sub is 150W so you can size your amp appropriately. It will almost definately be a 4-ohm configuration, so look for an amp that's 75Wx2 at 4 ohm load that is bridgeable to 150Wx1 (or somewhere close to that). Use a quality amp for your sub, don't get a cheapy as the damping factor on a good amplifier is important with keeping subwoofers safe from damage caused by overexcursion. A 75Wx4 amp would likely be a very good choice for your door speakers as well, especially if you went with a speaker like MB Quart that is a little on the ineffecient side (but they make up for it in sound quality) so you need a little extra juice to push 'em.
 

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FASTeddy

"I talked to the factory tech..."

How do you do that?

I would love to talk to a factory tech. I have a feeling that if we could get the right guy, the half a sunroof that I have could be fixed.

Homer
 

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I'm no car audio expert but I know what sounds good to me and recommend you use that simple formula on deciding what to buy.

I like JL Audio because their amps deliver clean power and lots of it on demand, which is important to help output clean smooth sounding music without distortion.

I went with the professional installer because I didn't want to deal with the hassle and am not skilled at running/hiding wires, putting Dynamat in the doors (which I highly recommend), hooking up amps, etc...

I told the installer I didn't want to lose any cargo space and wanted to have a factory appearance except for the sub, which I wanted to be able to move it if I needed to use the entire cargo space. I went with the 10" JL Audio "CVS110RG-W6v2" sub box and it BANGS. It's more than enough for the MO and sounds great at low and regular volume levels.

JL Audio makes a dual 10" version (CVS210RG-W6v2) and you can find one here for a price well below retail if you really want big bass with a small footprint.

http://www.woofersetc.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_id=2918

Check out the pics in my gallery to get some ideas on where to hide the amps and how small the 10" sub looks in the back.

You'll need a high/low converter between the head unit and the amp(s). It will sound very harsh and distorted without it. The PAC OEM 2 will work great for running to the amps. If you want to hook up other AUX equipment get the PAC OEM 1.

Hope all this helps along with the other info you have.

Peace
 

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alot of good info is pouring in, you'll just have to weed through it and make some tough decisions.

The only thing that I will add to this discussion is that if you are keeping the factory head unit I strongly suggest a good in-line equalizer. W/ just a Bass and Treble adjustment on the stock unit you will not have enough control over the sound you are going for. They are a little tough to find these days because todays aftermarket HU's all have them built in.

I added a 7 band EQ w/ separate bass gain control and stuffed it in the glove box so I could tweak the heck out of it, but you could just as easily mount it in the back near the amps and 'set it and forget it'.

Your talking another $100 to $200 cost but well worth it if your spending so much for good sound anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the link.
I think Im getting closer to an understanding of whats needed and how to do it. This forum is great.

Another wonderful Fast Eddy question:

Can I install both the PAC AAI-NIS and the OEM1 at the same time?

Here is a link to the OEM1 At a good price.
He seems to have them listed all the time.
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5811979647&fromMakeTrack=true
 

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Amp under front passenger seat (seat back)
 

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