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Old 10-31-2016   #26
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Default Re: The most important aspect of an audio setup

If there's one thing I can think of that would affect keeping overall cost low from swapping gear (which is almost inevitable) I would have to say, buy a good dsp to begin with! When I think about all the trials I've done, having a solid dsp would have made the most of any drivers I've gone through and very possibly kept me from swapping so much. Without the amenities it brings you really won't see the potential of even budget gear. Makes me wish I had bought a dsp much earlier.

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Old 10-31-2016   #27
 
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Default Re: The most important aspect of an audio setup

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Originally Posted by Bayboy View Post
If there's one thing I can think of that would affect keeping overall cost low from swapping gear (which is almost inevitable) I would have to say, buy a good dsp to begin with! When I think about all the trials I've done, having a solid dsp would have made the most of any drivers I've gone through and very possibly kept me from swapping so much. Without the amenities it brings you really won't see the potential of even budget gear. Makes me wish I had bought a dsp much earlier.
I hear you loud and clear. While doing some product/capabilities/possibilities research I spotted a couple of interesting units combining a multi-channel amp and DSP. However I had not thought at all about evolvability and long term planning so you shine an interesting light there. Get a good DSP and possibly keep it separate so everything else around can change without negating that initial investment. Duly noted, thank you.

Not so happy to hear about gear swapping being inevitable but no point wishfully ignoring experience. I'm in a position where I've figured out hard counters to the sound quality issues in terms of where I am and where I want to get so if I do a good job at selecting components it can only get better. Famous bad words I know but confidence is 95% of getting anything done and 100% chance of giving you a chance to go full Yoda and write "warned you I did" a few months from now.
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Old 11-02-2016   #28
 
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Default Re: The most important aspect of an audio setup

In terms of spending and budgets: determine your goal and what you expect from your system. Then think of which hardware you can use to achieve your goal. Example: Is a HU with build in DSP sufficient or do you need an even more extensive, separate, DSP.
Sound wise, an amplifier has the least influence in the chain of hardware you use. So rather spend a bit more on a HU or speakers than on the amplifier (entry lines of manufacturers like Gladen or Helix are already very decent amps).

Also think of installation materials as these add up very quickly...
Cost of installation materials is also influenced by your setup. Example: 1 amp = 1 thick power cable + 1 thick ground cable (and terminals). 2 amps is 1 thick power cable, a fused distribution block, 2 pieces of thinner power cable, 2 pieces of thinner ground cable, preferably a ground distribution block and 1 thick ground cable (and terminals).
And then comes sound deadening materials, MDF, carpet, glue, fasteners, paint...)
So you get the idea of money spending there, right?

Also think of buying some hardware second hand. It gets you top of the range amps for the price a midrange. I even won 2nd place in EMMA SQ nationals here with an amp I found in the junkjard!

As said above, it's all about finding the right balance between. But also of having the persistence to keep developing your system and trying to get a better sound out of your equipment. You'd better think twice before entering this hobby at a serious level. ;-)

For an extensive / serious system on a budget I would start with an Excel sheet to get an overview of costs. And then add some more budget...
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Old 11-02-2016   #29
 
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Default Re: The most important aspect of an audio setup

I would say if you are running an active 2 way set minus real fill the quality front speakers are crucial. Mids that will play from 80-2.5khz or higher and tweeters that can be crossed low enough to mate with the 6.5. It's surprising how many mids on the market (even high end ones) that lack in the midbass dept.

Secondly is time alignment. This can be found in decks and the more expensive option DSPs. Time alignment is probably one of the biggest things that changed the sound in my car for the better.

Power. Having SOME Power definitely made the sound more dynamic.

Install. I believe that if you have the first three it can def. sound decent but a good install will make it shine. Especially tending to the doors for the midwoofers.

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Old 11-02-2016   #30
 
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Default Re: The most important aspect of an audio setup

@Jordy, @Arete,

Thank you both for your insights, which have just helped crystallize something like an overhead view of the question I started with.

So my original question was how to select a best approach to a car audio install based on the multitude of different pieces of expert wisdom that all seemed to point in different directions. A collateral question was how to budget, financially and otherwise, since the expert advisors all recommended allocating more to their own chosen subsection, whether it be front speakers, processing, sub bass, or any of the other key areas.

What I've just realized reading the responses in this thread again is...damn that's elusive. I swear I had it clear as day when I started the post and now it's floating around. I need to do this systematically, bear with me.

- all of the main areas of car audio need some attention but none of them need be a money pit.
- the areas which will yield the most result relative to investment will be different for every single installation.
- identifying these key areas will allow for optimal budgeting.
- the identification of these areas combined with a definition of the goals of the project and a budget estimate should evolve naturally into the skeleton of an action plan.
- there is no limit to the amount I can spend but there is a limit to how much spending will achieve.
- there is no limit to how much research, work and experimentation will achieve. However all of these carry a price also and especially a time investment.
- no matter how high the theoretical ceiling is, the actual ceilings on budget, time, intellectual and manual abilities will combine into an invisible ceiling for any given project.
- unwittingly hitting the project ceiling will lead to overspending and overworking along with headaches and disappointment.
- realistic goals will make the ceiling softer and bumping into it less painful.
- long-term planning can help minimize costs in the long run through investment into reusable components.

Somehow all these things above fitted in one sentence when I hit 'reply'. Well not all but the first three or four. I wish I'd caught it then and there.
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Old 12-23-2016   #31
 
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Default Re: The most important aspect of an audio setup

A car is a very inhospitable environment in regards to listening to audio. In my humble yet novice opinion, sound deadening is the single most important aspect of car audio.
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Old 12-23-2016   #32
 
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Default Re: The most important aspect of an audio setup

I agree with Rocketjones, sound deadening should come first and will have the greatest benefit to any driver you decide to install. It would be interesting to know the type of vehicle you are planning to upgrade.

If you are skeptical about the sound deadening, don't be, its proven. I was a non-believer and thought it was the driver that mattered most.......it doesn't. You can achieve a very nice sound system with deadening and a DSP. I was amazed with the results of my factory system performance with minor deadening and a system integration DSP (FiX82).

Here's where things expand, fortunately for me I already have a complete set of aftermarket drivers. All of them over 8 years old but I wanted to do this on the cheap and so far the results are exceeding my expectations.

Also, as a bit of advice, don't get too caught up with everything that the folks here are in to. If you make calculated decisions and make purchases in small steps, you may find a point where you actually are satisfied with your system. The elusive step 10 realized!

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Old 04-11-2017   #33
 
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Default Re: The most important aspect of an audio setup

From my experience, the most important aspect of a mobile audio system is speaker placement. I have seen a lot of good responses from these threads but placement being the most important.
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