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1999 Pontiac Firebird Formula
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone! I have a few questions regarding the installation of my system that are resultant of a recent visit to my local shop. But first, a story.

I've been looking into the Kenwood KDC-x995 headunit to lead my new setup and have been trying to decide between a jl w6 and some candidates like the cdt qes subs, so I went to the local shop where I've had some work done before (mostly running power wire through firewalls, just to save me the PITA, been pretty pleased).

I auditioned the w6, w7 and the 995. I got to talking to the sales guy and asked him if he has ever heard of Hybrid Audio. He said no. I later asked him about running active and what I should think about if I wanted to go that route in the future, he told me that I should just stick with passive and not worry about going active. When I was talking to him about deadening my trunk, he said that I should only do it if I have rattles. Finally, we were discussing the jl h.o. box for the w7 and his exact words were, "basically, no one can make a better box for that sub." Not to mention that they only sell JL subwoofers, JL and Hertz components and coaxials, and kenwood and alpine decks. They also never hesitate to remind me that they do installs on all of the 6 figure cars in the area.

Now, I was going to have these guys do the install of all of my components, amps, head unit and deadener. Looking at well over $400 in labor. I know that I wasn't talking to their box fabricator or their installer, but after some of those comments I'm reluctant to trust their skills. I don't want to pay that much money just do be disappointed with my equipment only because the install was bad.

Just as a point of information, I will be running a set of the HAT Imagine components off of a Kenwood PS200 that I picked up from a board member controlled by the 995. I still haven't decided on a sub or amp yet, but I'm thinking of the cdt qes-1020 or jl 10w6.

As far as my experience with car audio goes, I've put about three or four head units into different cars and have hooked up some amps and subs-- I'm not very well versed in the ways of installation. My current car is an 04 Pontiac Bonneville GXP.

My questions then are:

Has anyone had this kind of experience with your local shop?

Can I trust these guys to do a good enough job with deadening (they use these kits that sell for $90 and have enough material for both front doors)?

Am I looking at having to pull the dash apart to install this HU and how tough is it to run wires from the amp to the components in the doors if I do it myself? Everything in the car is stock right now-- I know that I will need the special GM harness to keep onstar-- and I have a monsoon system. I think the battery is under the back seat, so no firewall drilling.

How hard is it to deaden the insides of the doors? This is what worries me most as I know that it can make or break the HATs. I've read a lot of the build logs on the site but I've also done a window regulator swap and that was a huge pain-- there's not a lot of space inside of those doors to work.

Also, any comments on the cdt qes-1020 vs jl 10w6? The cdt is much more friendly to my budget. I was wondering if anyone has heard them both and can compare.

Thanks a ton. Sorry for the novel, but my spidey-sense is tingling.
 

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In general most shops are not extremely educated about deadening and SQ.
Usually they do what's going to make the most money for them. In the case of a proper sound deadening job, It takes alot of time and materials to do properly
Even though Hybrid is known a lot now thru the Internet, in the mainstream it's still small.
Look at what the places sells for their main equipment, if it's a bunch of legacy names that have declined in the last few years I bet they are also in a time warp compared to their install knowledge and technique.
The cool thing about the resources your have available (DIYMA, google,YouTube,etc) is that you should be able to do your homework and gauge if you can tackle the install yourself.
Good luck!
 

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With the type of expirience you got from that sales man, I think twice about the shop, but a sales man and installer do to completely different tasks. I'm sure you're able to install some wires/cables. Installing a head unit isn't much of a pita aslong as you use a head unit adapter. If you really can't trust your self on this task go back and talk to the boss/installer an see if they'll allow you to see what's going down when they're working on a car. Just my .2 cents
Edit:
http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/how-articles-provided-our-members/27-simple-cheap-effective-door-treatments.html
http://www.sounddeadenershowdown.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi
http://www.gmforum.com/showthread.php?t=297094
Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses. I had found the door treatment thread and the Bonneville install thread before, but the Showdown link is new to me.

The people at the shop seem like they're pretty conceited, and I can never get the same answers out of different sales guys there. They don't appear to know their stuff as well as they may like to pretend. I feel really bad for people who just walk in there with gobs of money and trust these guys to do a fantastic job thinking that they're getting the best. I just really don't think that they're as high end as they pretend to be.

I'm probably going to do this myself to save the money. It's getting cold here in Rochester; is it okay to apply deadener and stuff in the cold? I might be able to utilize my buddy's shop (automotive repair, not car audio) just so that I can have some heat and about any tools that I might need that I don't have.

I'll try to youtube some videos of door deadening being done-- I think that I actually need to see the motions and not just the steps to understand the process. I'm also concerned about retaining the stock appearance of my interior (save the stock radio, that thing's a slap in the face of anyone with taste). And I'm actually kind of excited to figure out where I want to run the USB port and stuff to. I like slow, methodical work. Maybe I'll take a few vacation days to do this project.

I would love to do a full, interior-out deaden, but there are so many electronics in my car that I don't think I would know how to put back into place. Doing the doors would probably be a good first step for me so that I can get a feel for the process, then move on from there.

Still wondering if there are any opinions on the CDT vs the JL. I've been getting a stiffy lately about brands that take some research to even find out about. I'm not sure that I have a discerning enough ear to be able to hear the difference between the JL and CDT.
 

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The two shops I have contacted are pretty cool about DIY equipment but I called first to confirm they were OK with it. Still get sales pitches from the salesmen but when I talked to the installers themselves they were OK with whatever I wanted to do. The installers almost creamed over the speakers I showed them, and that was before I purchased HAT L3Se and L1 Pro SE.

That being said the one shop I got to run power and RCAs did not run the RCAs for the rear outputs even though I specifically asked them to. Otherwise they did OK.

If you have the place and time I think DIY is the way to go.
 

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Have you considered the Daton HO, seems to get a lot of rep. on the board.
 

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I'm probably going to do this myself to save the money. It's getting cold here in Rochester; is it okay to apply deadener and stuff in the cold? I might be able to utilize my buddy's shop (automotive repair, not car audio) just so that I can have some heat and about any tools that I might need that I don't have.
Definitely use the heated shop. You don't want to be rushed because your fingers are going numb, and while I can't confirm it I think it's best to apply sound deadener tiles at room temperature.

Still wondering if there are any opinions on the CDT vs the JL. I've been getting a stiffy lately about brands that take some research to even find out about. I'm not sure that I have a discerning enough ear to be able to hear the difference between the JL and CDT.
I haven't had a chance to compare CDT subs to JL subs, but I have had a lot of listening time on the 12" HD model from CDT Audio. Both the QES and the JL W6 are fine subwoofers. Ebrahim on this site has listened to the CDT QES sub as well as several other nice subs.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the input on the installation and subs.

I am reading a lot of good stuff about those Daytons. I found them on parts express for $136 but they're out of stock. Is PE an authorized retailer for these subs? I love that they don't have any branding; there's nothing showy about them. From what I've read, the performance of these drivers for the price speaks more loudly than a gaudy brand badge ever could. Not to mention that they're even cheaper than the CDT's scratch and dent version.

I think that the Dayton is the type of sub that I'm looking for-- something that will integrate well with the Imagine comps. Can anyone speak to that? I love how the review that I read said that the kick drum had a great first punch with no sloppy reverb. I'll be listening to 30 Seconds to Mars, Sara Bareilles, Adele, Paramore and other rock type stuff. There won't be any hip-hop, so I need tight, concise bass.
 
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