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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So here I am trying to build a system for my 2005 A4, and I'd like some opinions. First off, the only component I'm keeping from my last car is a 10" Alpine Type-R sub. The old '800W' Kenwood amp is slated to be replaced with a PDX-5 to aid in a clean/completely hidden install. I figure it's rated for 300 on the sub channel (though I hear they average more toward 400) and the sub is rated for 300, so that's a good match (right?). That leaves me with components... In every past car I've just kept the stock speakers as the Alpine 9835 was more than enough improvement over the original. However, since I'm hoping to set this car up and keep it for a long time (I'm not a yearly component upgrader/swapper), I figured I'd just upgrade everything at once and be done with it.

What I'm looking at are the Alpine Type-R's or some Eclipse SC6500s. They're both coming in around the same price point, so I was curious if anyone had any opinion on one against the other.

I know there's a bazillion other 6.5" components out there, but frankly it seems everyone has their own favorites and I can't keep track of them all (small brain syndrome). The Alpine sub has been pretty good to me, so that's where I started looking when I got to this stage. Being that I was/am potentially looking at an Eclipse head, I also extended my search over their way.

And finally, because it probably matters, what I'm trying to build is a good sounding system, not necessarily a loud one. The sub was bought to bring balance, not boom. That said, will these components help me achieve what I'm aiming for?



Spiff, who'd love to shop locally to hear/compare, but most every store has closed in the area (or they "can order" stuff and barely bother setting up any kind of display board)
 

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Speakers are the easiest way to up the quality of your sound and imho should be the largest part of your budget. I've owned many many Alpine and other "name brand" speaker systems - and NO WAY would I buy those again. If you can scrape up a few more bucks and be patient, you will be a lot more happy by doing one of the following:

1. Watch the message boards for a used set of Rainbow Profis (I prefer the paper cone version to all of the others including the platinums... for some reason no one liked the sound of the platinums in my installation) or Rainbow Power or Rainbow Germanium. They have a nice passive Xover that really makes a nice sounding system with all types of music. It costs a lot more to get a little better imho - and you should be able to get one of these models between $250 and $400 if you are lucky)

2. If you can't go that high, pick up a set of the older line of ADS car speakers - the ones made in the US. They are GREAT sounding speakers also and FAR superior to the models that you have listed. Used speakers are not going to wear out or anything, so as long as they are in good shape, you will get more for your $$.

3. After years of reading these boards, I've never seen as much uproar for a moderately priced set of speakers as I have recently for the Pioneer PRS component set. You might want to see if you can audition a set of those.

While many do have their favorites, speakers are the single most critical portion of your choice as long as you are choosing fairly commonly accepted electronics in the mid to lower price range. If you want to be happy with what you get - and not swap speakers a hundred times trying to get more from something that can't give you more - take your time in this area and invest as much as is reasonable in drivers and crossovers.

BTW - in arriving at my current system, over the past three years I've used: Alpine x, Infinity Kappa, ADS 326 (older models), ADS (newer models), ADS PDX tweeeters, Focal K2p, Rainbow Profi, Rainbow Profi Vanadium, Rainbow Platinum Midbass, Focal Utopia 7W2, Morel MW265, Scanspeak D3004 and Scanspeak 12m. I know I missed some - but I just wanted to show you what I went through trying to be "satisfied" with my sound.

Good luck!

Less
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Interesting stuff... One of the reasons I was looking at these two sets is that I can get either for around $135. Truth be told, I've never upgraded speakers in the past, just the head unit. It's been my experience that a HU upgrade can be a very impressive improvement on it's own. This time around I thought about giving new components a try, but they're honestly not in my original budget. With a wedding on the horizon, I'm dealing with very limited resources (ugh, I hate being that cheap guy that wants everything for $15... I guess we all end up here at some point).

That said...

Looking on eBay I see I can get some Rainbow SLX 265's for ~$179 a pair. Are these still an upgrade over the Alpine or Eclipse models I'm looking at, or am I starting to hit the point of "don't bother"? Also, I see most of the recommended speakers have higher power ratings... does that mean I'm going to be upgrading the amp as well? I think I read elsewhere on the forum here that it's better to have more amp than speaker as you don't want to listen to an amp that's getting winded. The PDX-5 was picked for it's tiny footprint as I have limited space to contend with (this will be a completely hidden install). Think it'll do?



Thanks again!
 

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^You don't have to be overly concerned about power matching. Yes, users on here recommend over power your speakers to an extent because of the extra head-room it provides, but if you do so you really have to pay attention to how the speakers are crossed-over and how loudly you listen to them.

That PDX-5 will work perfectly in a situation where you aren't going for crazy huge sound. For instance a lot of the better raw 4" mid-range drivers you can find are around 50 watts. So, the 75watts per channel of the PDX-5 is just right. A 6.5" driver will be harder to find with a low wattage rating but it can be done non-the-less. Of course, if you're going to be running the front tweeters and woofer passively together than 75watts will likely NOT cut it.

It really comes down to what your going for. Are you going to keep the factory installed rear speakers (if there are any). Are you going active? For instance you are buying a 5 channel amp; is that to have 2 channels for up front and 2 channels for the rear with the 5th channel being for the sub? Or are you going to use 2 channels for the tweeters and 2 channels for the woofers plus the 5th channel for the sub? One thing you could do is run the two front components (tweeter and woofer) actively using the PDX-5's four 75watt channels, run the rear speakers off of the head units amp power (since factory speakers are usually run on low wattage anyway) and then run the sub off of that 300watt 5th channel.

Assuming there are already factory positions for tweeters than I'd recommend wokring up to a good system. In other words buying good pieces a pair at a time untill you have what you ultimately want. Take something like this for example: LPG 25NFA tweeter (two for $86). Highly recommended compact format tweeter (recommended well enough I bought a set). Great tweeter, great price. Do the same thing for the woofers - look around and find tried and true raw drivers from original manufacturers for cheaper than the relabeled, overpriced stuff from an electronics store. (check out the web sites madisound.com and parts-express.com) Now, that's $86 dollars just for tweeters. If you aren't running an active setup you'll need the set of tweeters, the woofers, and the passive cross-overs. Which will definitely add up to more than the ruffly $150 you wanted to spend. Though, would you rather end up with a great system that you have no regrets over or would you prefer to spend money on a mediocre system that you get out right for cheap and likely spend more money down the line upgrading?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The car has a midbass and seperate tweeter in each of the 4 doors, and I originally imagined using all of them. Of course, the longer I'm here and reading, the more I'm realizing it's popular to just ditch the rear set and run everything off of the front. This is a very difficult concept for me to grasp, to be honest. Last week when I put in a new head unit to test, I had a stock wiring issue that left me with only front speakers working. I personally thought it sounded like crap and was happy to get my rears back when I put the stock head back in. So that leaves me wondering if you get used to fronts-only, or does proper tuning make you not notice the missing rears? I don't carry rear passengers all that often, but when I do, I'd prefer they have a good experience as well (ok, really I'm mostly worried about me missing my rears ;) )

A local stereo shop rep told me he felt I should put coaxials in all of the doors and seperate tweeters in the stock locations as well. That's 2 sets of coaxials and 2 sets of tweeters. Is it just me or does that sound like overkill in the highs department?
 

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A local stereo shop rep told me he felt I should put coaxials in all of the doors and seperate tweeters in the stock locations as well. That's 2 sets of coaxials and 2 sets of tweeters. Is it just me or does that sound like overkill in the highs department?

Don't go back there. Ever. For anything.

"150 watts RMS x 2 + 300 watts RMS x 1 in bridged mode" <- I would do this and get rid of your rear speakers. Right now the only thing your rears are doing is making it less easy to localize your front speakers which is what's annoying you when the rears are not playing. A good set of front components and properly positioned tweeters should fix some of this.

I would try to audition some stuff other than Alpine components. They're probably going to be very overpriced for what you're getting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A 6.5" driver will be harder to find with a low wattage rating but it can be done non-the-less. Of course, if you're going to be running the front tweeters and woofer passively together than 75watts will likely NOT cut it.
Well, that's one of the reasons I ended up looking at the Type R component sets. They are rated at 75w, and I just did the plug-and-play math (a bad idea no doubt) and assumed it was a good match.

It really comes down to what your going for... For instance you are buying a 5 channel amp; is that to have 2 channels for up front and 2 channels for the rear with the 5th channel being for the sub?
That was the original plan. I'm getting the feeling though that that's a foolish idea...

One thing you could do is run the two front components (tweeter and woofer) actively using the PDX-5's four 75watt channels, run the rear speakers off of the head units amp power (since factory speakers are usually run on low wattage anyway) and then run the sub off of that 300watt 5th channel.
I have no basis for making this assumption, but wouldn't this sound horrible? I assumed mixing the two outputs would be bad mojo. Again, no basis for that thought, it's just there.


Assuming there are already factory positions for tweeters than I'd recommend wokring up to a good system. In other words buying good pieces a pair at a time untill you have what you ultimately want.
There was a time when I'd be all over that, but I guess I'm looking for a kit solution now. I know this is the kind of hobby where I could put endless amounts of time and money into it, but I have neither in excess anymore and I don't see that changing any time soon. I hope that doesn't come across as ungrateful of your opinions and suggestions, it's just the unfortunate reality of my situation

...would you rather end up with a great system that you have no regrets over or would you prefer to spend money on a mediocre system that you get out right for cheap and likely spend more money down the line upgrading?
Well, obviously I want a system that I can be really happy with, but truth be told, I've been that happy with stock components before. Maybe that makes me out of place on a site like this, I don't know. The idea was to upgrade everything at once and be done/happy. Of course with this stuff, it appears the more I dig the more I realize I'm barely scratching the surface.


Oh the decisions.....



Thanks! (no, really)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
"150 watts RMS x 2 + 300 watts RMS x 1 in bridged mode" <- I would do this and get rid of your rear speakers. Right now the only thing your rears are doing is making it less easy to localize your front speakers which is what's annoying you when the rears are not playing. A good set of front components and properly positioned tweeters should fix some of this.
You guys are wearing me down on this/I'll probably end up trying it. I'm still uncomfortable with it though... lol

I would try to audition some stuff other than Alpine components. They're probably going to be very overpriced for what you're getting.
Agreed on the price thing, but auditions aren't going to be easy or possible. Believe it or not, there's very few stereo shops around here that have anything but the marquee brands (they'll typically dismiss anything they don't stock -big surprise). My shopping will ultimately be on eBay or some other discount-oriented outlet, so that's why I'm here asking all the silly questions -I'm buying blind (or rather, deaf).
 

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Well, since you really want to keep things clean a simple I'd say just buy that PDX-5 and this set of Focals (they can be purchased off of eBay for $165 right here with free shipping). You can buy that set again for the rears later if you want to match the front and back.

Though, if you're willing to put more power up front I'd suggest this component set which can be gotten here on ebay for $139 with free shipping.

[In a previous post I only made the suggestion to run rears off of the deck because I assumed you would still want rear fill for your passengers. Most people on this site will not only try to convince you to get this, that and the other thing when selecting parts but will also tell you to drop the rear all together]
 

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What is with this site's posting problems? Anytime I press "post" it takes forever to process and then when it does it attempts to double post... EVERY SINGLE TIME. Usually a page simply comes up saying you can't post again within so many seconds of your last post but this time it just double posted my message!
 

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I've also read a ton a really great responses from owners of this set of Pioneers. They cost a little more but are power rated well for going that PDX-5 and apparently sound really damn good. You can find them on eBay here for $227 with free shipping. From what I hear they are the best ready to go set for their price range and under.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the suggestions, I'll start some more reading. I was just eyeing up a set of Focal 165KFs for the front... how would you say they compare? (I know, it's personal taste, but I have no decent shops around here to try them out, yadda yadda yadda)

At lunch I ran around town with just my fronts running, and I guess I'm over the worry about front vs back. I mean it's still odd to me, but I'm willing to try it. Having the rears hooked up to the HU amp sounds like a darn nice compromise for when I do have folks back there. I rarely have listening parties when I have guests... just need ambience music.

I think one of the main reasons I notice the rears missing when they're off is that the stock tweeter location is right behind my left shoulder and off to my right on the top/front of both door cards. Because of that, I do hear them in the front more than you might on another car with low door or deck speakers.
 

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^Yeah, getting used to having pure front stage does take some getting used to. I had rear fill for a long time before I finally said 'screw it'! The real issue with loosing the rear is that you have to tweak a few things to get a good balance.

As for the Focals: Focal makes very good high end stuff but some people find that their tweeters are a little overly critical (aka sharp). Depending on a lot of other factors (like how sound dampened your interior naturally is) that may be a good thing to you (if you listen to instrument detail oriented music like classical, techno or generally smooth productions like R&B) or a not so good thing (if you listen to in your face music like hard rock, metal - stuff with lots of high end crashing or harsh vocals). If you were willing to spend the extra $60 or so I'd really suggest that you look at those Pioneers I linked. From what I've read they are really smooth sounding and have great mid-bass.
 

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You guys are wearing me down on this/I'll probably end up trying it. I'm still uncomfortable with it though... lol
No reason to worry about this. I run a PDX-5 and use all four channels of 75W each to power a set of front tweeters and a set of front woofers, then use the fifth channel for my sub. Just need an active crossover between HU and amp. An Audio Control unit is what I use, but there are much cheaper ones as well.

In a while, I'm going to buy another PDX-5 then power a second sub with it and bridge it to fire some 8" front mid-basses (some NDi-8s, if the guy I bought them from on the board ever sends them to me or responds to my e-mails!)
 

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No reason to worry about this. I run a PDX-5 and use all four channels of 75W each to power a set of front tweeters and a set of front woofers, then use the fifth channel for my sub. Just need an active crossover between HU and amp. An Audio Control unit is what I use, but there are much cheaper ones as well.

In a while, I'm going to buy another PDX-5 then power a second sub with it and bridge it to fire some 8" front mid-basses (some NDi-8s, if the guy I bought them from on the board ever sends them to me or responds to my e-mails!)
Which audio control model?

I have a pdx.5 powering PG Rsd 6.5cs with a pioneer f90bt which totally sucks for eq'ing.
 

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Which audio control model?

I have a pdx.5 powering PG Rsd 6.5cs with a pioneer f90bt which totally sucks for eq'ing.
A DQXS with the DDC. Allows me to split my four channels from my stock HU into the six channels required by the PDX-5 plus gives you 24db crossovers (HP for tweets and LP for front woofers and LP for sub).
 
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