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Car Stereo Suggestions

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by vision, Sep 16, 2008.


  1. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    I know absolutely nothing about car stereos - I've always been one to use all factory stuff. But I really want to upgrade the system in my car now. I have a 2003 Chrysler 300M. I'd like to keep using the factory head unit, because it is has integrated controls on my steering wheel, and I don't want to go for that gaudy look of aftermarket systems.

    So my plan is to get a four channel amp, and upgrade all the speakers (6x9's in the back, 6.5's plus tweeters in the front.) I'm not gonna do the install myself.

    Any suggestions? Should I go to a big box store like Best Buy to have them do everything, or a specialty shop? Any specific brands I that I should check out?
     
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Check with Crutchfield.com. Lots of install info available and you can do it yourself if you like. Get the info and then price shop.

    I put an Eclipse CD3200 in my BMW Z3 Coupe because, while I'd rather have kept the OEM head unit, having direct iPod control, bluetooth audio and phone, USB drive and aux input to cover anything else, the benefits were to great to pass up. I don't have steering wheel controls but I do have a remote. It also has a pretty low key look and several illumination options. Semi parametric EQ, source volume control, nice outputs for amps if needed... I ran mine into the stock Harman Kardon amp and speakers and was shocked at the difference in sound quality. Haven't gotten around to upgrading the amp because it sounds so nice with the rest of the stock pieces.
     
  3. +1, Crutchfield is the best place to start. I got all of my stuff from there, and not only are there prices great but the customer service is awesome as well.
     
  4. steve21

    steve21 Banned

    +1 on changing my head unit made everything (on my Kia, no less) sound awesome.

    But I forgot what brand I bought :(
     
  5. First I should say that I have done many installs and built several systems from the ground up, sometimes focusing on Sound Quality, sometimes focusing on shaking your neighbors house.

    Change your head unit, it is the single biggest improvement in sound quality out of anything that you can do. I recommend Alpine for HUs. Forget the integrated stuff, the benefits of upgrading your HU far outweigh the benefits of integrated controls.

    Amps, Alpine makes some good amps, as does rockford fosgate and Crossfire (expensive).

    Speakers, once again Alpine is good (they do everything very well). My personal favourite is Hertz, they are a little more rare/hard to track down, but are reasonably priced and the SQ is amazing.

    Various stuff, get good wires and run a thick gage. I would run at least 4 gage for power wire (both hot and ground) and 12 or 14 for speakers. You could also get a capacitor, witch will ensure that your amp is always getting fed the same amount of power.

    Go to a car stereo shop, best buy doesn't know anything and they will do a crappy install. Have fun with the stereo and expect to spend between $500 (bare minimum) and $1500.

    lowsound
     
  6. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    Thanks guys! I'll check out Crutchfield.

    Question - what are the benefits of upgrading the head unit if I'm just going to get a good amp for it to run the signal to? My stock head unit already gives me direct ipod control, and the controls on my steering wheel. If I'm running it to an amp, wouldn't the head unit just be a line input source? Please forgive my ignorance, I know nothing about this stuff.
     
  7. It sends a better signal than your stock HU. What good is a fantastic amp if the signal that is fed to the amp is crap?

    lowsound
     
  8. You're in Michigan right?

    Search around for a Mickey Shorr! They're a Michigan business that does great work. (They're a lot cheaper than Crutchfield)

    Speakers are easy to install, but radios might give you trouble. I'd recommend spending the money and letting Mickey Shorr do it. I have a very clean install on my truck.

    I'm using a Kenwood KDC-X592. It costs around $120.00 but it has a lot of cool features. There is a USB cord in my glovebox that allows me to control my iPod through the stereo.

    My speakers are MTX Thunders. I think they were around $200.00 for a set of four and I installed them myself.

    Good luck!
     
  9. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    Good point...I guess that would be like playing a cheapo bass through a nice rig. I'm sold on upgrading the head unit.

    Yep, there's a Mickey Shore not far at all from my house - I'll stop by there this week!
     
  10. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    What good is a Sadowsky preamp over a Behringer? :D

    I have an all Eclipse system and love it. My head unit has semi parametric EQ, time alignment, crossover adjustments, etc, etc.

    I tried the Alpine stuff. It's nice, but the Eclipse system had the tone I wanted. They're both great, it's just personal taste.

    DON'T let BB touch your car.

    -Mark
     
  11. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Make sure of what's optional on it, like the Bluetooth adapter ($199) and remote.

    I picked up this head unit:http://www.crutchfield.com/App/Product/Item/Main.aspx?g=300&i=099CD3200&tp=5684&avf=N

    About $350 including the iPod option ($49). Includes bluetooth audio and phone functionality (doesn't work with my Treo 700P which is the Treo's fault), remote, USB port for flash drives, the display is small but I actually prefer that. If you can solder a wiring harness (included with all heads from Crutchfield) you can probably install a head unit yourself. The illumination is green, red, amber or blue and a couple of combinations of these colors to match your dash.

    Actually, I just checked, Cartonix has this head unit plus the ipod adapter for well under $300:
    http://www.cartronixplus.com/templa...agename=Online Store > All:N > Eclipse CD3200
     
  13. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    That one looks nice. So now I'm wondering - if I get a good head unit can I scrap my idea of getting a four channel amp to power the speakers and just power them with the HU? That way I could spend the money i would have spent into getting an amp into getting better speakers and a better HU...
     
  14. You could and it would work fine. The different amp will help you if you are running speakers that require more wattage than your HU will put out. It will help with a few other things as well, but unless you are doing SQ competitions, you wont really need it.

    lowsound
     
  15. I've had three head units and each one powered my speakers fine. Unless you're insane, most head units have enough volume. :)
     
  16. Headroom. That is the main reason that you want an amp over just using a HU, plus then there are lowpass and highpass filters and what not. Stuff that you don't need for every day listening, unless you are mixing your bands newest cd in the car, or you are just really picky.

    lowsound
     
  17. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    The guys over at DodgeTalk.com know a lot about pimping out those 300's. There is even an entire forum devoted to mobile audio and video. Before you buy anything, check their website out.

    I've got a Ram pickup, and I did not want to change out my factory HU either.

    -Mike
     
  18. Georynn

    Georynn

    Dec 4, 2007
    Memphis,Tn
  19. vision

    vision It's all about the groove! Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Endorsing Artist: MTD Basses, La Bella Strings, and 64 Audio IEMs
    Cool, so I'm going to go with either an Alpine or Eclipse head unit, so now I just need to pick out some speakers. My car has 6x9's in the rear deck, with 6.5's in the front door (and tweeters in the front). Should I go with Alpine speakers?
     
  20. Alpine is always a great choice, I like to buy them because there is a store around here that sells Alpine with a 10% markup, not the usual 40%. They can be expensive, depends on the series. If you can find them, I still recommend Hertz.

    lowsound
     

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