Superfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 38599 posts, RR: 79 Reply 1, posted (9 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2578 times:
Stock car audio? Yes.
After market? No way!
I'm a car guy and it really angers me when I see a nice car that is well maintained, yet the owner rips out the original car stereo to put in some hideous aftermarket car stereo with a bunch of flashing casino lights that doesn't match the rest of the cars display panel.
Cars over the past 25 years have come available with great stereo systems, particularly the higher-end cars.
I don't have any issue with installing newer speaker cones and amps as long as the original head unit stays in place.
Aftermarket stereos really makes a nice car look cheap. It makes me think the owner is a teenager.
The best sounding car stereo system I've heard is the Mark Levinson system that comes with Lexus.
Totally agreed. My 13-year-old economy car has a respectable stereo as it is, and fulfills 95% of the demands I put on it. Only thing I wish it had is an aux jack, but I accomplish this with a cheap FM transmitter that has worked well for years.
Every so often I turn it way up, but generally I'm pretty self-conscious and don't want everyone in the cars around me being able to hear what I'm listening to.
GEEZER From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1470 posts, RR: 2 Reply 4, posted (9 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 2525 times:
I need to find someone to install an audio-out jack in my Cube's radio so I can plug my Bose phones into it;
The stock speakers are decent, but I make 3 round trips to Terre Haute each week taking Miss Arlie to dialysis, and she won't let me listen to talk radio while she's in the car ! I just bought the Bose phones last week to listen to the TV with, and then things are awesome !
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
KaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12043 posts, RR: 42 Reply 5, posted (9 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2501 times:
I'm not big into car audio, but like it to sound decent. That being said, anyone know why my damn right front speaker won't work? I am thinking either a short or broken cable since I already replaced the stock head unit and speakers with aftermarket units (not because of that speaker, just cause Ford factory sucks)
Quoting GEEZER (Reply 4): I need to find someone to install an audio-out jack in my Cube's radio so I can plug my Bose phones into it;
KLASM83 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 587 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (9 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2485 times:
My only dealings with car audio is taking the stock head unit and finding a way to integrate an aux-in jack, usually with the unused CD changer port. Other than that, I too believe that stock is the way to go as there is nothing cooler than pumping tunes through the factory radio.
To each their own, I guess.
I am interested in hearing some of your experiences with aux-in experiences, because, hey, I just may learn something today!
Superfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 38599 posts, RR: 79 Reply 7, posted (9 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2467 times:
Quoting mmedford (Reply 2): the ML system in the Lexus ISs, sounds okay...the stage is always a bit off for me.
I heard it in a LS460.
My mother bought one of those Lexus. Not sure if it's a 2007 or 2008 but it's the last year to offer a cassette play along with the CD changer.
I like it because when I play a cassette tape, you can still use the soft touch screen to pause, fast forward, rewind, eject, dolby (TM), high bias and metal bias features.
I'm more of a home audio guy and I've made some superb recordings on to metal bias cassette tape from high-end, audiophile grade turntable and cartridge from half-speed master, virgin vinyl LP pressings.
Playback in an Lexus LS sedan with the Mark Levinson system sounds like a recording studio on wheels.
The JBL system in the newer Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis sounds great too but seems to be lacking mid-range.
The cassette player in her car probably only get's used when I'm in town and borrow it for short trips.
Quoting KLASM83 (Reply 6): and finding a way to integrate an aux-in jack,
Does your stereo have a cassette player? If so, they sale adapters. A shell that looks like a cassette with a wire attached that allows you to input your auxiliary jack.
Quoting N243NW (Reply 3): I accomplish this with a cheap FM transmitter
I plan on adding one of those to the 8track player in my 1977 Town Car.
I know a guy that has already done that with his 1978 Town Car. It sounds fantastic because he added a 300 watt 4-channel amplifier and mounted a CD/Mp3 changer in the trunk. I want to do the same but also have a toggle switch under the dash to switch between auxiliary input and the CD changer - all signal fed through the FM transmitter. The original AM/FM quadraphonic 8track player will remain in place and the speakers will be of the same size as the factory (two 4x6 in the front doors and two 5x7 for the rear). I like the 3-way speakers, they sound great - much better than the single cone full-range speakers that were originally with the car. Will still keep the original covers for the speakers so there is no way to see that there was any aftermarket stuff added. All that will be visible is the original 8track player.
slider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6518 posts, RR: 36 Reply 8, posted (9 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2450 times:
I used to be, but since I got a new car, haven't done anything and won't because I have a sweet system.
But I still have some components in my garage socked away in a box, as well as a sub box that I've not sold (and for whcih the market is practically non-existent even for a pair of Boston Acoustics pro 10"s).
I had a Soundstream amp and an Alpin amp, Boston separates, Sony head unit. It was great for the time--amazing in fact.
Flighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 7508 posts, RR: 2 Reply 10, posted (9 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2411 times:
I try to do whatever is invisible and cheap. Usually this means speakers alone, or potentially an amp. Right now I have an Alpine 4 channel amp and Infinity speakers.
Quoting Superfly (Reply 1): I don't have any issue with installing newer speaker cones and amps as long as the original head unit stays in place.
Exactly my friend.
On the topic of good stock systems, I've heard the Dynaudio in a Volvo XC70... pretty good. Harmon Kardon in BMW, a bit better. Probably the best I've heard was Harmon Kardon in a late '90s Saab 9000. It was a true component system with 8 or 10 drivers installed at the factory and an amp under the passenger's seat.
mmedford From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 536 posts, RR: 21 Reply 11, posted (9 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2388 times:
I am a backyard installer? If anyone needs any assistance.
Quoting Flighty (Reply 10): On the topic of good stock systems, I've heard the Dynaudio in a Volvo XC70... pretty good. Harmon Kardon in BMW, a bit better. Probably the best I've heard was Harmon Kardon in a late '90s Saab 9000. It was a true component system with 8 or 10 drivers installed at the factory and an amp under the passenger's seat.
Buddy of mine ran an aftermarket dynaudio setup, with Audison amps... sounded like pure sex!
Anyone heard the G35S? It was called "Studio on wheels" when it was released
type-rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4398 posts, RR: 20 Reply 12, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2372 times:
Quoting Superfly (Reply 1): yet the owner rips out the original car stereo to put in some hideous aftermarket car stereo with a bunch of flashing casino lights that doesn't match the rest of the cars display panel.
That's not always the case. Usually I am one of these people. The original car radios that come with cars these days don't seem all that good unless it's an ultra premium unit in the first place.
With all the selections of custom face plates for cars these days you can always have that "factory fit and finish". I don't go for the disco lights. I like the installation to look factory.
My Mazda Tribute is the first car that I haven't taken out the original radio. The sound is just fantastic. It has a CD player and a Cassette player in the system. OTOH, my Ford Explorer had the worst sounding system of any car I have owned. I upgraded it to an Alpine system and new JBL speakers with a sub woofer. Great sound. Before I upgraded it the music sounded as though it was being played through a wet towel. It was unbearable.
I have known people who have purchased cars based on how good the radio sounds1
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
KiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 5424 posts, RR: 3 Reply 13, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 2358 times:
I find it interesting that a lot of the high end home audio manufacturers are now getting into the car audio business as bespoke suppliers of high end systems, what's even more interesting is that the specialist car audio manufacturers aren't.
Naim - Bentley
Dynaudio - Volvo
Bose - Audi
Harmon Kardon - MINI
Linn - Aston Martin
Meridian - Jaguar
Mark Levinson - Lexus
Our previous Volvo V70 had the Dynaudio system, it was excellent, far better than anything else anyother car I've owned has had.
I guess car audio has died a silent death due to the removal of the DIN slot from most cars dashboard and the intergrated systems most cars come with today. That said MINI have been quiet clever in all models (except the Countryman) there is a DIN slot hidden behind a lift up cover on the passangers side of the dash, perfect for mounting a third party head unit.
planejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 572 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2340 times:
I have to admit (as a 17 year old) the kids my age that rip out the stereo built into their Corsa, Clio or 201 and replace it with some hideous looking thing from Halfords (basically a chain of shops that sell some car parts, wiper blades, car stereos, sat navs, bikes etc) and turn it all the way up so it just booms. Personally this is why I like Ford because the radio built in has all the features you need (CD, AUX in, 10 radio presets etc) and it's larger than the standard rectangle radio and each model has a different shape (and I think, certainly with mine pretty much built in) so it can't be replaced (or stolen). I don't see (other than some older models to try to get an AUX in) why you need to replace the radio, it's a car - it's never going to sound as good as your home system with all the road/engine noise!
Most the kids changing the car stereos in the UK are typically "chavs" anyway...
Superfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 38599 posts, RR: 79 Reply 15, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2340 times:
I'm surprised to see that even McIntosh has a line of car audio amplifiers and speakers. I love their home audio vacuum tube gear. Not sure if I want that in my car. I think that would just be overkill.
Quoting type-rated (Reply 12): With all the selections of custom face plates for cars these days you can always have that "factory fit and finish". I don't go for the disco lights. I like the installation to look factory.
I know some of the more higher-end car audio brands have factory looking stereos. I think Alpine even had a high-end, dual shaft style unit in to the early 2000s.
Quoting type-rated (Reply 12): I have known people who have purchased cars based on how good the radio sounds1
I think General Motors was boasting about their audio systems in the 1980s & 1990s. They still sound great today. Even the cheap econobox Chevrolet Cavalier in the early 1980s had a cassette deck that sounded better than what Mercedes and Audi were offereing at that time.
The 'quadraphonic 8track tape' system in my Lincoln and other higher-end Fords & Mercurys were state of the art in it's day and the only other car brand to offer a quadraphonic 8track player in their cars was Rolls Royce.
Mercedes was still only offereing AM/FM stereo in the 1970s. I've realy seen a cassette player from a 1970s era Mercedes.
Quoting mmedford (Reply 11): I am a backyard installer? If anyone needs any assistance.
Sounds like you have yourself a good business going on there.
sccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5103 posts, RR: 28 Reply 16, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2336 times:
I used to be hell on wheels installing aftermarket car stereo. My big deal was trying to get as good a fit as possible with minimal cutting. The current generation of what passes for car stereos is almost laughable- big video screens with animations, etc., are not at all driver friendly. Guess it is more important to have bling than function.
Sad reality: I can no longer do this kind of work because (1) these old bones don't do so well wiggling on my back under the dash, and (2) the old eyes cannot see stuff up close any more without reading glasses, and those suckers always fall off.
So I am pretty much stuck with factory stereos, which fortunately are a lot better than once they were. Very pleased with the factory fit Bose setup in my Suburban, onto which I added a very nice aftermarket Bluetooth and iPod interface, completely integrated and controlled ffrom the front panel.
It is in the cards to re-install the factory 8-track deck (Delco) in my 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Cabriolet, but I have to have it reworked first, and then track down some wiring issues related to an inartfully-done installation of a later (1979) cassette deck (also Delco). All in good time.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
Superfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 38599 posts, RR: 79 Reply 17, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2331 times:
Quoting sccutler (Reply 16): big video screens with animations, etc., are not at all driver friendly.
Was riding in a taxi here in Bangkok last week that had one of those aftermarket DVD gizmos. The driver was WATCHING A MOVIE WHILE DRIVING!
I had to be the 2nd. pair of eyes because we almost missed my street and almost hit several other cars.
It's easy to do if you like old stuff or buy mainstream cars. But try to buy a manual midsize sedan (or pick up truck) with decent audio. While the Altima's radio was so-so, it lacked a digital input and handsfree. So I replaced it with a Pioneer head unit with GPS and factory made panel. It sounds quite well even with the stock speakers. The head unit in the Frontier looked like something from 1992, so I temporarily replaced it with an inexpensive JVC media player. The sound however, still sucks, so some Focal speakers are planned in the future. There may be a new head unit coming later down the road.
Quoting N243NW (Reply 3): Totally agreed. My 13-year-old economy car has a respectable stereo as it is, and fulfills 95% of the demands I put on it. Only thing I wish it had is an aux jack, but I accomplish this with a cheap FM transmitter that has worked well for years.
I'm sorry to say that, but if you're satisfied with a cheap FM transmitter, well, then you don't really need a good car stereo. A PAC Audio jack/iPod adapter could be a better solution
Quoting Superfly (Reply 7): Does your stereo have a cassette player? If so, they sale adapters. A shell that looks like a cassette with a wire attached that allows you to input your auxiliary jack.
Been there, done that. While it doesn't have the interference problems as the FM transmitter does, it lacks a lot in the field of sound quality. PAC Audio adapters are a much better solution, as long as they can be used with the head unit installed in the car.
Superfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 38599 posts, RR: 79 Reply 19, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 2311 times:
Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 18): try to buy a manual midsize sedan (or pick up truck) with decent audio.
Many mid-size sedans and pick up trucks have the same double-DIN cavity fittings as the premium cars in their fleet and the premium audio systems are available with mid-size sedan and pick up trucks. They're just rarely ordered new from the factory.
Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 18): While it doesn't have the interference problems as the FM transmitter does
Has interference been a problem?
It's usually set to 87.5 FM where there are no stations nearby on the dial.
Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 18): PAC Audio adapters are a much better solution, as long as they can be used with the head unit installed in the car.
Can that be used with a head unit with an analog tuner dial?
Silly question; do crooks still break in cars to steal car stereos?
When did that happen?
Do you still have the Cadillac Deville?
I was pretty harsh to that car, and blew the head gasket. It was still driving, but not "right." I was on the verge of either repairing the engine or buying a used engine, when I stumbled across a deal on the 'Burb, 2003 model with only 130,000 miles, runs and looks like new and the price was right, so I bought the truck and wholesaled the Caddy.
But I sure miss the Deville; might yet buy another if I stumble across a hot deal on one. Meanwhile, the Suburban is great, has been very useful and, as my commute is about 4 miles or so, gas mileage is not really an issue.
And, my wife has found an El Camino she likes. But too many cars is too many cars, so unless we get rid of something, no mas!
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
WildcatYXU From Canada, joined May 2006, 2452 posts, RR: 5 Reply 21, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2296 times:
Quoting Superfly (Reply 19): Many mid-size sedans and pick up trucks have the same double-DIN cavity fittings as the premium cars in their fleet and the premium audio systems are available with mid-size sedan and pick up trucks.
Actually, it's very rare nowadays. At least around here. Most of midsize sedans has a head unit integrated into the dashboard. Fortunately for me, Nissan makes an Altima center panel with a double DIN opening, so I was able to use the Nissan panel instead of an aftermarket one. The Frontier indeed had a double din head unit, but as I wrote, a very basic one. None of the vehicles was available with better factory audio
Quoting Superfly (Reply 19): Has interference been a problem?
It's usually set to 87.5 FM where there are no stations nearby on the dial.
I tried it and had lot of problems with it. Basically had to change the frequency daily. Using the ends of the range didn't help either.
Quoting Superfly (Reply 19): Can that be used with a head unit with an analog tuner dial?
I'm not sure, but with a fully analog head unit I would just use a relay controlled by a hidden switch to select the signal source. Of course, if the car isn't antique, the switch doesn't have to be hidden. It could be the same switch that powers on your additional signal source.
Quoting Superfly (Reply 19): Silly question; do crooks still break in cars to steal car stereos?
Honestly, I don't know. I know they break in cars to steal GPS and sat radio units attached to the car only by a suction cup. Remove the stereo requires some knowledge and skill nowadays and takes time, so it's probably not worth it.
Superfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 38599 posts, RR: 79 Reply 22, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2288 times:
Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 21): I'm not sure, but with a fully analog head unit I would just use a relay controlled by a hidden switch to select the signal source.
This is getting interesting.
"relay control"? Do you mean a toggle switch?
The signal would still need to be powered somehow through the head unit.
Quoting WildcatYXU (Reply 21): Nissan makes an Altima center panel with a double DIN opening, so I was able to use the Nissan panel instead of an aftermarket one. The Frontier indeed had a double din head unit, but as I wrote, a very basic one. None of the vehicles was available with better factory audio
Could you find a stereo from a Infiniti Q45 or M45 since it's the same company?
It would probably fit right in.
I'm sure someone has ran their QX-56 in to a ditch or rolled over and has a sweet audio system that you could snag.
Yes. A toggle switch is definitely an option. The signal itself, however, would be switched by a good quality miniature relay installed either directly in the head unit or on it's back wall. What kind of control the CD changer you want to use has? And what's the other extrenal signal source?
KFLLCFII From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3263 posts, RR: 33 Reply 24, posted (9 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2278 times:
Quoting mmedford (Thread starter): Just wondering if anyone here is into car audio. I don't mean stock systems, but actually installling amplifiers, tuning, building boxes, etc...
I use to run rainbows with an arc audio SE amp setup; all from an alpine 9887 hu.
2005 Dodge Dakota, it came stock with a single-disc CD receiver without any sort of aux input, two front door speakers and two rear speakers just behind the extended-cab suicide doors. As basic as you can get, certainly nothing close to an audiophile's dream.
After various tweaks here and there over the years, my running system now consists of:
-JVC 50W x 4 receiver with thumb drive/remote/front & rear aux inputs/CD/HD radio/Sirius-ready
-2x Infiniti Reference 1" textile dome tweeters
-2x Door speakers/front (stock)
-2x Rockford Fosgate 12" Punch P1 subs in side-by-side single box enclosure
-Sony Xplod 1100W amp (200W x 2 RMS)
-Dynamatted doors, front and rear, exterior and interior shells of each covered
The rear speakers behind the extended-cab doors are almost completely blocked by the sub enclosure, so I have them disconnected to save power for the front door speaker and tweeters, which are driven by the head unit. I actually have the tweeters wired as the "front" channel, and the front door speakers as the "rear" channel, which serves three benefits: 1) it prevents me from having to run a separate amp/crossover for the four front highs and mids if I had also kept the rear speakers live, 2) it makes sure each of the four running highs/mids gets their full allotted power from the head unit, and 3) it gives me the ability to control the volume ratio between the tweeters and door speakers by using the "fade" control on the head unit. (Yes, the actual sound sent to the speakers on the "rear" circuit might be slightly different than that sent to those on the "front", but I haven't noticed any deficiency in my configuration..."Front" channels tend to be brighter and "rear" channels tend to be deeper anyway, so wiring them as tweeters/mids respectively hasn't seemed to cause any degradation.)
The tweeters themselves came with high-pass filters wired upstream, and I have them surface-mounted on the dash near the A-pillar corners. I get a good bounce off the windshield, and it gives you that feeling that the sound is in front of you rather than below or to the side, just how I like it. I could have gone with making hole-cuts on the door panels just inside the mirrors like the "premium audio" versions have, but at the time I didn't know if I was going to be keeping the truck...Having since made the decision to hold on to it, they're still fine where they are.
The subs are pre-amped through the head unit's "subwoofer" channel, and even though the amp has a built-in crossover, I keep it inactive and elect to control the sub frequency settings straight from the head unit. Used 4 AWG wire from the battery, fused close to it, then run through the side of the engine bay and into the passenger compartment through an unused rubber "plug" just forward of the front door behind the driver's kick panel, continuing it and the "remote" (or "switched") wire for the amp under the lower door trim to the rear. Ground wire was easy...some models of my truck have rear fold-down seats against the back panel but mine doesn't, so I had easy access to the threads where the seatbelt adapter would have been bolted down behind the rear quarter-panel, and I bolted the ground to it instead. I used the passenger-side trim panels to run the pre-amps, which keeps them away from the power wires and prevents any errant current in the sound.
To keep unwanted sound out, and keep the musical clarity in, I picked up a bulk pack of Dynamat sound-deadening sheets which lined both the exterior and interior shells of all four doors, effectively creating a "sealed chamber" inside each. The sheets consist of a thick but flexible aluminum skin lined with a sticky tar-like substance which bond to body panels with the assistance of heat. Each door panel was removed, and I used construction paper to measure what shape each sheet needed to be cut, both on the inside (exterior wall) of the door, and then the interior shell which faced the passenger compartment. Once the sheets were cut to size, the sticky backing over the tar lining was peeled off and the sheets were pressed into place for a tacky fit. Using a heat gun and hand-roller, the tar was activated fully and pressed on for a permanent fit (making sure not to use too much heat to affect the paint when doing the outside panels). Anything that had to pass through the material, such as the door lock rods and open door sensor/speaker wiring, was "taped" around using scrap pieces of material to keep the chambers as sealed as possible.
Overall, the system sounds EXCELLENT...I didn't even have to replace the stock door speakers because the tweeters and subs took care of any deficiencies they may have, and the Dynamatting seemed to tighten up their mid- and bass level response. It took quite a while to get to the point where I settled on all of the smallest of audio adjustments one way or the other, but I finally have it down and no longer need to touch anything. (Settings marked for future reference, of course). No, I don't use the bass to wake the dead...But it gives it that "kick" which puts you right in the show, or makes you feel like you were in the studio. It's how the music was supposed to be heard, but of course, not to go deaf in the process. Plus the Dynamatting does wonders keeping out road noise and keeping conversations to a normal level...Going 80mph now only sounds like 50, and going 50 sounds like barely a breeze. Highly recommended stuff.
[Edited 2012-08-28 13:07:14]
"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
25 KaiGywer: I feel your pain I had Bose in my Impala and was impressed also. That and when you drive across town you have to change frequencies. FM transmitter i
26 slider: Another high end one is Lexicon, which Hyundai has in their Genesis and Equus models. The only other production car to have a stock Lexicon system is
27 mmedford: Bryan good write up! I don't use dynamat, gets pricey... I prefer eDead; from elemental designs. I'm actually looking at picking up a cheap car for ga
28 Superfly: I haven't picked out a CD/Mp3 changer yet but I want it to be a mounted in the trunk and have an independent remote control - preferably wireless rem
29 WildcatYXU: I wouldn't worry about switching between the CD and AUX In. I would just simply mix the two signals together using resistors. You won't use the two s
30 Superfly: Not sure if this helps but here is the stereo system I have outside the dash. http://www.ebay.com/itm/FORD-MERCURY..._Video&hash=item27c63bad0a&a
31 KaiGywer: Well I took the dash apart again the other day and brought my multimeter. Had a much lower voltage on the right channel than the left channel, so fig
32 WildcatYXU: Unfortunately, to be able to to give you a better idea how to do it without actually having the unit open I'd need some schematics. However, I'm sure
33 Superfly: I just realized that the radio in the link has the wires cut in the wrong place (an there is no way in hell the seller will get the $129 asking price