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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How do/can I fix this problem?

I know this already looks like "TOO LONG; DIDN’T READ" MATERIAL,
So I’ve marked the major things of importance with bolded/black font, dashes (-), and emphasized the subtitles to make this easier to navigate,
and italicized and underlined in green font, the more optional info, explanations, and details that you can skip if you want, but you might like to know.
Please bare with me as this is my first blog or "ripoff report" I've ever had to write. Believe me, I tried as HARD as I could to make this as short and reader-friendly as possible... I've written and revised the hell out of 4 drafts, scrapped those, revised the hell out of this final draft and skimmed a lot of details, but STILL ended up with this much because, A LOT went down with these guys that I felt HAD to be shared. This isn't even the whole story. This is 5 days of meeting with them, for several hours, AFTER the install, compressed into a 20 to 40 MINUTE READ...
I thought I was handing my car and $5000 over to a large, legitimate business that took pride, commitment to quality, and care in their work. I thought they were a business I could trust and feel secure with.
They assured me over and over I was going to get my system tailored to EXACTLY how I wanted it to sound, and I ended up getting a hack job full of rattles, feedback, defects, damage, and broken parts in return.
Not to mention the sound quality alone, is nowhere close to what I had stock. I asked for them to lower my highs and raise my mids and lows, and they did the complete opposite...
Basically, I paid to get a WORSE sound installed, to be deceived and lied to on several occasions, and to be put through a ton of BS and a huge waste of my time...
I don't know what tier of high-end installs $5k would be considered, but it's as much as I've ever spent on anything, and for them not to have even done a DECENT or acceptable job is what's wrong. Especially considering that I'm one of the MOST PATIENT people around, and I offered them UNLIMITED time to do the work CORRECTLY, from the start, and even ended up giving EVERYONE in their MANAGEMENT, SEVERAL MORE chances and opportunities to try and redo and FIX all their errors...which no one could accomplish...
That's why I'm making such a big deal detailing this review...
The install work and customer service that was delivered to me by EVERYONE, from the installers, regional managers, president, and even CEO/Founder of this business, left me with a LOT to mention and rant about. And I just feel it's my responsibility to share as much as I can with you all, so hopefully nobody else has to go through what I've been put through.

I know it might seem excessive (I mean, I COULD'VE given a 5 minute rush-through without any detail), but I figured you might like to know EXACTLY what 5000 dollars got ME with these guys, before you ever give them any of YOUR hard earned cash.
So, read or skip the green parts as you please. (It's 20 minutes reading only the black font, about 40 reading it entirely. *I timed it. :book2:)

TO START, I only went to these guys because I finally got me a new car and I didn’t want to void its warranty in any way. I called American Honda asking what I could do to upgrade my stereo without voiding any part of the warranty or causing any damage, and they referred me to Custom Sounds after seeing they were the most popular shop in Austin. They told me that as long as a reputable, professional shop did the work, I would be covered, and the warranty would not void if anything were to go wrong.

Quick background of Custom Sounds
Custom Sounds is the largest name in car audio here in Texas (or in Austin at least). They dominate the market here and don't really have any big competition (at least from a marketing and advertising standpoint). They’ve been in business since ’87 and have grown and opened up 6 shops here in Austin, and several more in San Antonio, El Paso, Missouri, and in Illinois.
They have advertised to the point where people that don’t even care about car audio here in Austin, know or have heard their name. They have a HUGE reputation, especially when sponsoring and/or hosting the Annual Custom Sounds Heat Wave - The biggest custom car show in the area that gets PACKED with car clubs and people from all over.
You could say Custom Sounds is kind of a household name here. Though, they really only have about a 50/50 rating on their work through online reviews and word-of-mouth.
But still, they’re the biggest, most reputable car audio installers we have here, so I figured I didn’t really have a more logical option than to go with the big dogs anyway.
I just bit the bullet and stayed as optimistic as I possibly could. I stayed positive and convinced myself that by going with Custom Sounds, I’d be giving my car (and myself) the best treatment it deserved. Even through all my reasonable skepticism, I disregarded most of the negativity aimed at them for the most part, and put my trust in that I was handing my car and money over to honest, dedicated professionals that cared about their work. Til I found out later that they were only there to take my money and couldn’t care less about me or my car in the end.

Here's their website: Special Deals and Closeouts on Car Audio at Custom Sounds - Custom Sounds

THE CAR: 2013 Honda Civic Si Sedan (with Honda's 7 speaker, 360-Watt "Premium" Stereo). 6.5” Components up front, 6.5” coaxials and an 8" IB sub, floating in the rear deck.

(As a musician, I know a good bit about sound engineering, but I don't know jack about higher-end car audio equipment. So I figured they could suggest the necessary equipment and design a system around my detailed explanation of what I wanted, and they agreed they absolutely could.)
-Tamer, quieter highs from my front tweeters. (The stock tweeters were pretty bright and fatiguing, and would start to cause me headaches when turning the volume up to around 25 out of 40, in attempt to feel the mids and bass more.)
-More mids and lows coming from my front doors ESPECIALLY. That’s WHY I’d crank the volume up and give myself headaches with my stock tweeters. Because I wanted to FEEL the mids and lows punch and power out from my front door speakers, but they just couldn’t. They just weren’t powerful enough or the factory tune held everything back from its full potential or something.
I URGED though, that I wanted to tame the highs and feel those mids and bass power out UP FRONT. NUMBER 1 PRIORITY. THAT WAS THE REASON I WENT TO THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. I tried drilling that into their heads.
A warm, powerful front stage, where I sit.... THAT’S, what I wanted most.

-Equal volume and power from my rear speakers that weren't even audible from the front seats. For a powerful, immersive, totally balanced, full range of sound, enveloping me perfectly from all around.
-And a slightly more powerful and punchy sub/mid-bass than what I was getting with my stock 8” sub. Nothing at all bass heavy, BOOMY, or BANGING. Just something with a little more power/attack, to better compliment and emphasize the predominant mids in all the music I listen to. I repeated several times to them though, that I DID NOT want heavy, booming sub-bass noticeably coming from my trunk. I wanted all the speakers to work with each other to emphasize the mids and lows at the front seats.
-And I also asked for whatever equipment was necessary to accomplish that sound using my stock HU.

I had explained all this to the first salesman I spoke to at that location (Dustin R.), and he wrote up a build and logged the estimate in their computer. When I went to follow up with him a month later, he was no longer working there unfortunately.
The next salesman I spoke to, named Justyn D., looked up the build estimate on their computer, and right off the bat started suggesting different equipment... But he had no idea how I wanted anything to sound!
He never asked what kind of sound I wanted or what kind of music I listened to.
He never even listened to my stock stereo to ask what I wanted improved to begin with!

He just shows up out the blue, starts switching things around and asks when I was looking to get the install done...
So, I initiated the consultation, and basically did his job for him... I explained what I wanted and tried going over everything with him several times to make sure he knew the sound I was trying to achieve. But from the start, he just kept reassuring me that he was hooking me up with EXACTLY what I needed.
He didn't even want to get in my car to listen to the stock stereo because he was SO SURE he knew, "exactly what I wanted", just by explaining it to him. That wasn't enough for me though, so I kept asking him to get in my car to listen to it til he got fed up and basically went to just sit in my car for a whole 10 seconds, just to get me to stop asking.

I let Justyn know, and tried reminding him several times that I mostly listen to rock, metal, live instruments, and electronic music with really punchy/clicky kicks, vibrant lows and mids, crunchy bass guitars, etcetera. Not rap or dubstep or anything that relies primarily on being bass-heavy. I explained how I don’t care about SPL, making my rear view mirror fall off, or making noise and making the ground shake outside of my car. I just wanted enough power, attack, and tone balance to bring the music to life inside the car. Where you could crank up the volume and feel the mids and lows jab your chest and vibrate your skin in the front seats, without screeching highs leaving your ears ringing and deaf.
Nothing overkill, just enough to get crisp detail, and clean, accurate, powerful attack. I wanted PUNCH, not BOOM.
My base ’07 Escape with it’s standard/basic/stock stereo would give me that effect on a decent level. I loved it’s sound. Listening to my favorite album of all time (that I left Justyn to use as a reference), I could crank it up pretty heavy, and the mids in the bass guitars would make my skin vibrate, and the kick drum was clicky, strong, and would jab you in the chest as the sound engineer of that album intended. The kick drum was meant to be the loudest, predominant instrument to emphasize and lead the rhythm throughout that album.
That Escape's stereo had a balanced, pretty detailed, natural sound. And I could have a blast for as long as I wanted to, WITHOUT my ears fatiguing. THAT KIND OF BALANCE AND POWER is what I wanted in my car. Granted, an Escape is a small SUV, with different acoustics and different speakers and locations, but I figured a sufficient budget for the right work, equipment and newer tech to be put into my car, could easily surpass that Escape's STOCK quality and become incomparable to anything I've ever heard before...)

I reiterated all of this to Justyn and his installer, DOZENS OF TIMES in the several visits I made with them, within the couple of months prior to actually taking my car to them for the install. I tried my hardest to communicate my requests to them, to make sure they knew the sound I wanted and that they’d do the job right. Especially since they failed to ever give me a proper consultation and ask me what kind of sound I wanted or the kind of music I listened to... You know, the kind of information THEY were supposed to ask ME for to begin with.
I mostly reminded them about making the mids and lows up front powerful enough to feel it on my skin, and
I even offered to bring in that same ‘07 Escape, so they could feel and hear EXACTLY the kind of sound that I wanted them to emulate and surpass. He said that wasn’t necessary because, again, he "already knew the sound I wanted"...
I showed them YouTube videos of KRX2s installed in doors after they recommended them to me, flexing like crazy and giving out a powerful, amazing range of sound. And I asked if that’s what I was gonna be getting installed FOR SURE. Justyn assured me, "Yeah, you’re getting hooked up with the best equipment! It’s gonna give you exactly what you want. It’s gonna sound amazing. We're gonna give you the sound you're looking for. We know what you want!..."
Justyn never even asked to hear my stock stereo though. So I asked him if he could go listen to it with me so I knew he at least had an idea of what I wanted. But he kept insisting that he already knew exactly what I wanted just by me describing it to him. That wasn’t enough for me though. So I had to ask him several more times and practically force him to go check out what I wanted to be improved. Finally he gave up, we got in my car and he sat there for about 10 seconds, not really even listening to the stereo, before opening the door and reassuring me again... “Yeah, trust me! You’re getting hooked up with some of the best equipment! It’s gonna give you EXACTLY what you want! And if it’s not the way you like it, we’ll be able to go back and FINE TUNE it to EXACTLY how you want it!”
My forced optimism trumped my doubts. I knew something was sketchy about these guys. This dude was being way too careless and confident, like he really didn't give a crap what I kept trying to communicate and repeat to him. But I convinced myself that maybe he REALLY DID know exactly what he was talking about and what I wanted, and maybe I was just being a hardass, constantly trying to establish and confirm that he did.

So I quit bothering, and left it all in their hands. I did my part trying to explain the sound I wanted as best as I could. He insisted HE KNEW WHAT I WANTED. So now it was his turn to deliver, and I let them do their thing. I left it to the pros.
Keep in mind, I know a bit about sound, but I DON'T KNOW ABOUT HIGH-END CAR AUDIO EQUIPMENT. This was all an on-the-fly, investigative experience when it came to try and learn about the equipment they were suggesting, to try and make sure they were really hooking me up with exactly what I needed. The stock speakers didn’t sound bad, and I know factory HUs hold the power back. So I figured maybe all I needed was some sort of equalizer or something to lower the highs (especially since the tweeters are pointing right at your face), and raise the mids and lows to balance everything out how I wanted. But when they mentioned I'd only need the LC7 and some aftermarket speakers to handle all the extra power, I said alright, “What’s some of the best speakers and equipment ALL AROUND to get me exactly the sound I want?”
I put all my trust in them. I stepped off and let them build the system around everything I mentioned to them. I let them do their thing.

THE EQUIPMENT WE AGREED TO BE INSTALLED (as per their suggestion):
-LC7i (running off my stock HU and stock amp), leading to a JL 900/5 amp, powering Focal KRX2 6.5 Components in the front, year old JBL 6.5 coaxials (from my old car) in the rear deck, and a 10" W6 in a sealed custom-built box, "tuned to JL's spec”, JL bass knob by my steering wheel, an XS Power MX600 battery wired to the trunk to "eliminate" light dimming, and a bulk box of HushMat sound deadener (to "completely seal" the car) to be applied to the 4 doors, front and rear pillars, rear deck, and most importantly, the trunk lid and trunk floor. That's what we had been agreeing to for over a month prior to getting the install done.

THE INVOICE. $4k of equipment, $1k of labor.

-SUPER LOUD hissing static feedback from the tweeters, that wouldn't go away EVEN by turning the HU off. That was the worst thing.
-Random and loud, low-pitched static “CHK!”s from the tweeters, and a really LOUD cringe-worthy one every time you'd turn the engine off once the engine came to a stop.
-Tweeters that loudly whined and fluctuated in harmony with the engine RPMs.
-Tweeters that gave out a loud annoying whirling up sound upon starting the car.
-And a “chk!” of feedback from the tweeters as well when using the power locks, power windows, sunroof, even during windshield wiper cycles. And they'd buzz when turning the headlights off.
-LOUD, EXTREMELY HARSH HIGHS from the tweeters up front (where stock was bearably loud at 25 of 40 volume, after the install, 6 out of 40 was enough to give you an absolutely SPLITTING MIGRAINE in just a few seconds. They were EXTREMELY PIERCING and unbearable for me and any of my passengers.
-Barely any mids or lows from the front doors. Really DEAD sound. All you could hear was the tweeters mostly. The door woofers were pretty much dead. You could BARRRELY feel them vibrate by putting your hand to them.
-Completely non-existent/SILENT rear stage.
-WAY OVERPOWERED sub bass (to compliment the tweeter-induced migraines)
-Lights STILL dimming on sub notes
-Stock HU's Bluetooth malfunctioning (WITH the installer's (Jose L.'s) knowledge!!! I never listened to my music via Bluetooth, but before the install, my phone calls played from all speakers and were loud and crystal clear at around 15 of 40 volume.
After the install, phone calls only played out of the front speakers, mostly the tweeters, and were really scratchy with a lot of static. And you had to turn the volume up to around 30 OUT OF 40 to TRY and make out what the faint, distant voices were saying. At that volume, with all the feedback issues especially, phone calls were excruciating and impossible at times.
Before I heard it for myself, he asked me, “Hey, did your Bluetooth phone calls and music come out from all the speakers, or just from the front?... 'cause I tested it out, and I don’t know, something seems a little off, like it only comes out from the front. I don’t know if that’s how it was normally.....But yeah, try it out and if it’s not the way it was, just bring it back another day and we can fix it for you.”
I’m serious........... (extra kudos to them for sending me out on the road after rendering my only way to speak hands-free, useless, in a car with a manual transmission...)
-Damage to my weeks new windshield tint from them using my dashboard as a work bench for parts, panels and tools.
(I took this pic.)

There's more along the A-pillars, I just haven't had the proper lighting to focus in on them again.

-Attempt to charge me more for work we already agreed would be done, that never got done. Like not applying sound deadener where we agreed to. They only applied it to the front doors, tweeter/A pillars, rear deck, and trunk lid. (They left me the box of leftover Hushmat about 4/5ths FULL! It weighed a good 15 pounds still!!!! When I asked why they didn't do the whole car like we had agreed, and like I had PAID to be done, they told me it was, "...unnecessary, you really only need it around the speakers, to prevent any rattling. It really won't make ANY difference. I mean, we can put it on, but it's only gonna weigh your car down and we'd have to charge you the labor for it....") Yeah, because 20 pounds of sound deadener is a huge weight concern... And their reason for why they would charge me labor for applying it, especially to the trunk floor, was because there were, "a lot more pins holding the trunk liner down that are harder to get to and remove, and the trunk floor is a lot more area to cover and it’s gonna take us a LOT more time to do".....
-Drilling the amp into my back seat, when I told them not to do ANY drilling without my approval first, as my plans were to keep this car as stock and untouched as possible.

-Jose also asked me if I fold the rear seats down frequently, and told me to try not to fold the seat where they drilled the amp onto down too much, because "the cables could get pulled and disconnect something if you keep folding it a lot"...

(I'm guessing that's what he was talking about?)
-I may have misheard this, but I think the installer told me he drilled off and modified parts from my stock door woofer enclosures, to make some [BOOTLEG] spacers to fit the KRX2s without the windows hitting the drivers. (I repeatedly told them I didn't want to damage my stock equipment at all so I can easily revert back to stock if I ever sell the car...) I'm not sure if he did permanently alter them or not.
(Regardless of how he made them though, they are BOOTLEG as hell. I'll show pictures towards the end...)
-and also, I noticed immediately after the install, I started getting a lot of static built up on my person (and my passengers), and closing my door or touching metal immediately after exiting the car, I'd always get ZAPPED, and HARD. That only started happening IMMEDIATELY AFTER the install. Could that be from bad wiring/grounding and/or from them setting my equipment too high? Maybe it was all coincidence. But this was happening in hot, humid weather as well. It had never happened to me even ONCE before. And I even made sure I wasn't rubbing against my seat or doing anything to produce any static...

-Funny note, when I asked Justyn why everything sounded so dead, lifeless, and less punchy than my stock speakers; if that was seriously all the power that this equipment could put out, he shat out this excuse. "Well these speakers are made up of different, STRONGER materials, so they're gonna be a little harder to move. Your stock speakers have paper cones, so they're naturally gonna have more punch to them since they're thinner and easier to move..."
So in other words, $900 speakers = s#¡t. Stock paper speakers = audiophile, professional grade accuracy and detail.....sure dude... It was like he was telling me I paid for durability, not sound quality. I wouldn't care if I had to replace paper speakers every 6 months, as long as it sounded amazing...but I knew this guy was full of $*** so I just disregarded that.
Oh and the only paper speaker was the stock 8" sub, everything else was, [whatever this type of fiber is].

Also, when I asked about the highs being EXTREMELY harsh, and if they could do anything to turn them down and bring the mids and lows up, they told me they already had everything set at its "optimum tuning", but I could just take it back another day for them to "re-tune”.
That was, before the installer, Jose, gave me this alternative GEM of epic pro car audio solutions...
He told me he knew a "little trick". That they could also cut out this thin foam material to put inside the tweeter housing, between the grill and the speaker itself, to tame those highs down.....) "We could also do that if you want."
I KNEW THEN!!! That I was working with experienced gurus for SURE!!!.... *sarcasm*
Add in the, "Oh, just give it some time to break in! It'll get better." excuse, for EVERYTHING, and other countless obvious lies.....
I'm no car audio expert. I went into this as a total novice, putting my trust in these guys' suggestions, and I learned and researched the equipment they suggested (as best as my time would allow me) as we went. I thought they'd be honest with me, but at the same time, in hindsight, I could tell when these guys were lying to me. Body language getting all tense, avoiding eye contact, volume, tone and speech getting all hesitant, uneasy and low every time they'd say something fishy and odd. I knew there was something shady about these guys.
They really had no idea what they were suggesting or doing, besides screwing me over and taking advantage of my vulnerability.



(As you can see, the LC7 was left pretty much untouched with the dials tuned ALL THE WAY DOWN, and the gains on the amp were cranked WAY UP. I had a hunch then, and I found out for sure later on that having those gains cranked all the way up like that was partly to blame for all the feedback. Like I said, this was all an investigational and learning experience for me. I learned about everything as we went...But the way they left the LC7 dialed all the way down, I was left confused at first, wondering if it was just a plug and play deal, and that these guys really knew what they were doing and really did have it all, "set at optimum level". But at the same time, I knew things weren't right. ESPECIALLY TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION HOW WELL THEY CAN CONNECT COLOR-COORDINATED CONNECTIONS...)

It sounded HORRIBLE. They turned a stock stereo with much left to be desired, into a 5000-dollar cacophony! They could've accomplished the same, or even better sound firing a .44 Magnum through my ears, and it would've spared me from having to listen to their install work! It would've been A LOT cheaper too.
I just can't express with words how HARSH and bad it sounded!
It was sickening. Literally, I'd get MIGRAINES just trying to listen to my music at even 4 out of 40 volume, because even at that volume it was LOUD as hell from how they set everything. And then not being able to escape from that loud hissing feedback would drive me insane! No lie, I'm cringing as I write this remembering how irritating it was. I would even sometimes have to stick my head outside my window for relief to try and escape it. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but it was extremely irritating, it was TORTUROUS, and I couldn't do anything else about it...

I knew I was never going to accomplish anything with Justyn and his installer, Jose. So I left their shop, went home and sent a complaint through a page on their website. I was emailed the next day by their Regional Manager, Randy Walsh. He then called me and said he'd meet me at a different location with their "installations manager", Bob.

They checked out the install, scratching their heads with the same look of disgust I had when I first heard it. They both agreed the highs would, “wipe your head clean off”, and that the first installers did a lot of wrongdoing. That Justyn either wrote me up for excessive sound deadener, or they just didn't do all the work they charged me for, but that it seemed to be the latter, and riddled with errors.
The regional manager and I stepped outside and he told me he would, "...take care of them! That is NOT what we're about or how we treat our customers! And that work does NOT represent why we’ve been in business for so long...", so on and so forth.
I told him I felt like I deserved some type of reimbursement for the first guys doing such a horrible job that took them 3 days to do, having to deal with migraines every time I tried listening to music in my car afterwards, and for them trying to fraudulently charge me to sucker me out of more money for the "extra" labor.
He agreed, PROFOUNDLY apologized, and PROMISED, he and the, "installations manager", Bob, were going to, "PERSONALLY redo, or OVERSEE the work being done on the redo”, and, “make sure we right all the wrongs and get you fixed up..."
We scheduled a date for the re-do, and we shook hands.
I left happy, optimistic, and excited. I felt really confident I could trust these guys, and I was looking forward to jamming and having a blast with my first ever high-grade system...

The day after I dropped my car off with Randy and Bob, some random salesman calls me LESS THAN AN HOUR before their closing time, to tell me my car was ready for pick up. No call in advance, no heads up THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE DAY... I was thinking they'd be keeping it a 2nd day after not hearing from them at all, so I was running errands and grocery shopping when I got their call around 6:15pm.
I explained that I never even got a call in advance to let me know it'd be ready, and he apologized. He said he thought somebody had already called me earlier, and he talked to his coworkers beside him to "verify" and he says, "I'm sorry, there must've been some miscommunication with us. But your car IS ready now if you want to come pick it up."
I told him I was almost done grabbing groceries, and if they could wait for me 15-20 minutes after hours for me to finish up and get there ASAP. (I figured maybe they'd known I was a, more important customer (if you will), and maybe SOMEONE could wait for me, especially since they screwed up by calling me last minute to go pick up, a REDO...)
Nope. He said I had to be there before 7pm, if not I could just go pick it up the next day. I asked to speak to the regional manager, Randy, but he was, "busy at the moment."...
I wasn't gonna be kept away from my car an EXTRA day, over THEIR faults AGAIN, and put my friends and family through MORE unexpected inconvenience... So I stopped my grocery-getting. I was driving my sister's car and she had a place to be after I finished with groceries, so I had to ask her if she could stop her husband from HIS errands to take her, because my car was done and I had to respond to that LAST MINUTE CALL.....)
I hauled ass there, I was greeted by Randy and Bob, BOTH, got my key and we went into my car to give it a quick listen...


they finished applying all the HushMat I had left over, removed the static feedback, fixed my HU bluetooth, and changed the KRX2s to PS165FXs, per the Regional Manager's suggestion (since he blamed the KRX2s tweeters alone for the harsh highs, and said the PS165FX was ”ALL I NEEDED”. "They're what I use in my car as well because I don't like bright highs either, and they don't bother me at all. They have a really warm and natural tweeter... It's JUST the sound you're looking for. Trust me..."), he reimbursed me the $400 difference from the KRX2s to the PS165FX, plus $300 for the inconveniences so far.....

But the following problems PERSISTED and RESULTED from the redo:
-The tweeters were a bit quieted down, but only because now they sounded dull, lifeless, and papery. As in, it sounded like they were being covered by sheets of paper. And still, they were pretty, harsh and fatiguing.
-Still BARELY any mids and NO lows up front. Bland. Dead. Lifeless.
-My rear speakers’ presence did become a bit noticeable now. I could barely start to make them out now...but it was nothing significant.
-And now instead of having an overpowered subbass like the first installers left me, now I had an extremely MUFFLED, almost SILENT subwoofer. You could barely make out its muffled hums even if opening your trunk and putting your ear to it!!!
-Now, a BRUTAL rattling coming from the driver door woofer
-A lighter but still really noticeable rattle in the upper part of the front passenger door, rear doors, both A pillars rattle (the right pillar being more noticeable), and also in the right rear pillar, and rear deck.....basically, RATTLING EVERYWHERE THAT I NEVER HAD BEFORE.
-Irritating cracking sound coming from both front tweeters, a stronger more noticeable cracking/scratchy sound in the right tweeter on more bass/low notes, especially with drums/floor toms (sounds like a defective speaker).
-A few more scratches and now a greasy fingerprint smudged on my windshield tint...

Add in more bogus talk and excuses. They said everything was set to the max and optimal tuning (just like the first guys said...)
So I asked why my sub bass was almost SILENT now, when I took it to them with WAY OVERPOWERED sub bass coming from the first installers' tune. He assured me, everything was set properly to its max potential, and told me.....I'm serious... that if I wanted more bass, to just "fold your rear seats down and that'll allow the sub bass to push forward like that"...
!!!!!PRO TIP!!!!!
Cause you know, rear passengers, AREN'T a thing. And if they DO happen to exist, you're pretty much screwed. You'll just have to compromise with almost zero sub bass. Pro car audio 101. (He even tried demonstrating by folding a rear seat down.....which made no difference at all... I dont know, it was ridiculous. It was embarrassing that they were actually trying to feed me such BS.....)
But in reality, these 2 MANAGERS had NO KNOWLEDGE OF, and an INABILITY to answer BASIC questions, of the install and the work that "THEY PERSONALLY redid".
(FOR EXAMPLE, to say the least, I asked, "are my front speakers' crossovers and the LC7 still under my seat?". To which they replied to by hesitating, looking at each other with raised eyebrows and Bob, the installations manager saying, "uhhhh, sorry I couldn't tell ya."
If they couldn't even tell me where 3 out of only 4 BIG BLOCKS OF MY EQUIPMENT WERE, it was OBVIOUS that they left the work to be done by some other random, clueless installer, that didn't know what he was doing either!
And these 2 guys, Randy and Bob, were just there to greet me and show face to make it seem like they kept their word and took care of my car PERSONALLY, when in reality they were clueless as to what went on with my car at all! They couldn't even recall where the equipment was AS I FIRST TOOK IT TO THEM.
CHARADES is all this was. Just a couple of actors playing their roles. And for them to have taken responsibility for such $#itty work; they deserved applause for such commitment.
This was the 2ND TIME, I was sent off with a sound, WORSE than what I took them to begin with!!!!!
[My blood was boiling at this point, my head was spinning, and I had never felt so betrayed, devastated, and ripped off in my life. It was depressing to me. I first figured I could view this company and its staff as professionals I could trust, and instead they ripped me off and tried cutting deeper for more. Then I figured I could've trusted the first step in their management with their help and honesty, and I did. And they just added insult to injuries.]

I didn't even bother trying to point out all the other problems to them. They just told me (like the first guys), that I could just bring it back another day for them to "RETUNE". I wasn't gonna waste more time with these guys either. So I left again, starting to feel pissed off, and found a customer service number randomly hidden in their website. For some reason, it ended up being the number to a regional manager working in San Antonio named Fadi. He didn't even know why his number was put there either, he expressed his confusion, but he asked how he could help anyway. I happened to read good things about him on reviews a couple years back when I was getting estimates for a HU install on a previous car, so I told him all about my experience so far with this install. He ended up relaying my message and order information to Brian Dorsey, their, "President of Operations", and put him in contact with me within a few hours.
Unfortunately, the transition from Randy's redo to the day I met Brian happened so quickly, I never thought of taking pictures of how Randy's guys' left my amp and LC7 set. So I don't have any pictures of that to compare.

So Fadi contacted Brian over my situation, Brian e-mailed me within a few hours and we set a day and time to meet up.

We met, shook hands, talked a bit, and I showed him how the install sounded. With a puzzled look on his face, he started trying to find out why it sounded like crap. He went to the trunk and put his hand to the sub to see if it was even pushing at all, and then he started trying to fix things, changing up all the settings on the AMP ONLY, right there in the parking lot. But after being left confused as hell and stumped with all the abnormalities he was encountering, he had me drive my car into their bay. He asks me to turn the engine off because he had closed the bay door behind me... It's 90-something degrees and humid as hell outside.....
So there I am sweating my ass off in my new car as he attempted to fix the sound and the "tuning" by wildly experimenting; Switching between all the options on the amp, AIMLESSLY, and randomly twisting gains, to EXTREME HIGHS.
I got out my car and was right outside my driver's seat with the door open when he finally started cranking the LC7 under the driver's seat with the same technique - WAY UP and down, aimlessly. It left my ears ringing from how LOUD he turned the front speaker output up to.
I'm really surprised no speakers blew. I was nervously expecting to hear some speakers POP and smell some white smoke from how LOUD he was cranking things up to! It was intense, in a really bad worrisome way... I could feel that he didn't know what he was doing. Matter of fact, I KNEW he didn’t, especially after finding out later on that he was supposed to set the levels on the LC7 FIRST to begin with, before even messing with the amp. Which he did vice versa.
I’m thinking he was just trying to get lucky and find a good sound by chance...

But after no avail, the first thing he tried blaming for the crappy sound quality, was THE STUDIO RECORDING/MASTERING AND PRODUCTION OF THE ALBUM...
"Maybe it's just how they recorded it..."
I'M DEAD SERIOUS..... I took that as an extreme insult, and I ASSURED him, that was not the case. I've been listening to this album we were demoing with for 9 years, on a variety of headphones and car stereos. I know EVERY detail in this album by heart... I knew for a fact the bad quality was coming from their install work! It was obvious nobody knew what they were doing with my stereo, epecially Brian!. It was just a low and worthless attempt at trying to wash his hands clean and deny responsibility for their failures with this install.
Not even mention all the rattling... it was like that was nothing to him. He was only focused on getting the speakers to sound DECENT at least... I tried pointing out the cracking sound coming from the right tweeter and he told me he didn’t hear anything abnormal. That all he heard was "...maybe reverb of cymbal crashes." Which told me this guy didn’t have the right ears for this job... So I stopped trying to point out that cracky tweeter or any other defective sounds.....anyway...

After giving up "tuning" my LC7 and amp for about 15 minutes and still sounding horrible, he resorted to pulling up this independently-powered aftermarket HU they had there in their shop.
With my stereo on and at a pretty good volume, he just started disconnecting the RCAs on the amp coming from the LC7, and connected that aftermarket HU straight to the amp (essentially bypassing my stock HU and the LC7). (I'm no car audio pro, but I thought that was a little reckless, dis- and re-connecting things at high volume. But I’m not a car audio guy, I'm not sure if that even matters... but anyway,)
With that aftermarket HU connected, it finally sounded way clearer than how he and all the previous installers had "tuned" my equipment. And it put a big smile on my face... I was finally noticing something good, post-install
SOME progress...
It still didn't sound powerful or immersive at all. It still sounded WORSE than my stock stereo in every way. But it did finally sound as clear as it had ever sounded, POST-install. And after so much BS and wasted time, that little bit of clarity made me happy and a bit cheerful.
That alone was a huge relief to me!...

Brian, the president, noticed my reaction, and with a relieved, sure, and proud smirk on his face, I think used that to his advantage and said, "that's your problem..."
And he just used that opportunity to blame my stock HU and the LC7 for the crappy sound quality, and try to sell me something else, by telling me the “ONLY WAY”, I'd get good sound quality, and the "SOUND I WANTED", was by swapping the stock HU and exchanging the LC7 for an aftermarket HU, (or maybe an Audison BitTen) "free of charge"!

Considering I'd be returning a $200 LC7, and having to pay potentially hundreds MORE for the labor and tuning costs.....they were still gonna be making profit off of me!...
I guess he just had to play up his extreme generosity.)
(In person, he said, "Your stereo is only going to be as strong as your weakest point.” And basically told me that as long as I kept my stock HU, that my stereo was going to sound like crap, the way it did.
And, HE ACTUALLY called AudioControl's LC7, "obsolete", and basically also called it pointless by saying that it was "incapable of doing ANYTHING for the quality or sound" of my stock HU.)
(I'm pretty sure AudioControl REALLY APPRECIATES being slandered on-the-low like that.)
He insisted though that the ONLY WAY to get good quality was by swapping the HU.

So basically, it was AS IF he was saying, "Yeah, Justyn, Jose, Randy and Bob and all their guys, sold you and had you bring in your car for them to install and work on equipment that does absolutely NOTHING. It's ALL just been LIES, and a complete waste of your time. And everything you've read from people that have installed these pieces correctly and have praised them on online reviews; THEY'RE ALL LIES. But hey, what you REALLY NEED is to pay me MORE money to install and tune a HU you don't want or need. TRUST ME.)
I mean, he's implying that even the BitTen isn't even going to give me the sound I want either! When he doesn't even know what kind of sound I want to begin with! I barely met the guy and the only thing he'd done so far was try to make my LC7 and amp sound DECENT. Which he failed at!
He kept mentioning sound quality and clarity as if I ever had a problem with the clarity of my stock HU to begin with. Like if I wanted to be able to distinguish a pin drop behind all the instruments, when the main thing I've wanted from the start, is just tone control and equalizing!

Am I misunderstanding these links? Am I confusing what Audison is claiming?
Can their BitTen not give me what I want with my stock/OEM HU?

Audison bit - bit Ten
Audison bit Ten - For that in-car concert experience -
The way I'm understanding those links is that it'll let me fine tune and equalize my speakers, WITH MY OEM HU, exactly how I want... Or did I misunderstand?
I mean, it seems like this was probably the only thing I ever needed from the start, right? (Especially if we go back to Justyn's logic and take into consideration that my stock "paper speakers" were gonna give me more dynamics.)

(Small note: After he finished playing with that aftermarket HU and reconnected my LC7, I had to point out to Brian, the president pro car audio "expert", that he reconnected my front output from the LC7 onto the amp, in reverse, because he hadn't noticed it. (Just like Jose and Justyn.) L on R, and R on L.
He tried to joke about it. "I must be going color blind already! hahaha"
Oh yeahhhh!! HILARIOUS!!!!
I was wasting my time for the 5TH OCCASION, soaked in my sweat in my new car's cloth seats, in a car audio garage with snobby childish "installers" insulting my music saying, "What the f*** are we listening to?", while the president of this company played it loud while he kept playing charades with my equipment trying to make it seem to me like he knew what he was doing, sweat dripping off his nose onto my interior, while he moved all about, twisting and rubbing all on my seats and kicking my door and B pillar panels by rushing and being careless, folding his leg underneath him to sit on his foot to better support himself, just sliding his sharp-edge soled dress shoes with good pressure against my seats, and then not even plugging in red and black cables to red and black inputs correctly........
BUT HEY, at least this guy had a good sense of humor about it!)

It just felt like he was being dishonest and deceiving, just like everyone who "helped" me before him...
Like I was just being lied to. That's just honestly how it felt. He obviously didn't know what the hell he was doing. Or maybe he did know the solution, and maybe he was just playing dumb, trying to fool me by flicking switches and turning dials with a hard-focused look on his face, so he could tell me that I was screwed and the only fix was spending more money, because all the work done so far by EVERYONE prior to him, was completely pointless and ineffective, and made no difference at all...)

So...he told me there's absolutely no way to make my stereo sound even DECENT at least, even with the $4k dollars worth of equipment THEY SET ME UP WITH and RETUNED, he took me inside their demo room and called over another salesman so they could throw a duo sales pitch on me for a Pioneer DEH-80PRS, telling me about ALL the reasons why I should swap HUs and get THAT one. "BURR BROWN 24 BIT DAC!!! You won’t find ANYTHING with better sound than that for the price!!" Etcetera, etcetera. I just let them do their talking and nodded my head...I'm too nice of a person to tell people to just please stfu.
When I asked for details on the BitTen, since I needed to keep my stock HU, he tells me, "The BitTen WILL sound better than your stock HU, but only if you play FLAC files on it. This Pioneer will sound better for playing CDs, which is what you're mostly gonna be doing, so I'd go with that..."
I just wanted to see how far they would try and play me and feed me all this bull****. It's like they'd just take all the info I gave them, and twisted the facts on everything, to sell me whatever would be more convenient for themselves. That's what it felt like to me... Or was he telling me the truth?
Just seemed like they were just trying to sell me more on something I didn't even want or need, that wasn't too complicated to install just to get me out of their hair quicker.
It didn't even matter that I had told Brian 4 times prior that I COULD NOT get my HU changed because it would compromise the onboard heads-up computer's functionality. And how I also didn't want to end up on thieves' radars...

Then, he showed me the display where they have their Focal speakers and told me that was close to, as good as these speakers will ever sound, because they were in that custom made enclosure made specifically by Focal. That I'd never get any more bass than that, especially in my car where the acoustics and the "thin metal in Honda doors" simply won't allow for powerful sound to be produced. UNLESS, I paid for custom work to "get some custom made wooden enclosures" done, to "give them the necessary environment". (STILL trying to sell me on some unnecessary stuff.....)
So basically now, he was telling me that this WHOLE OPERATION has been pointless, because the inside of my car doors just won't allow for the sound that I initially asked for!
And in that case, he was also implying that Ford Escapes, Crown Vics, Toyota Camries, Chrysler 200s and so on, have superior, specially acoustic material and design in their door structures that allowed for the mids and lows I was trying to get, and that investing $5000 into a 7 speaker system would still never beat those standard factory 4 speaker stereo systems!

Their president and I went back into my car and I EVEN STILL was politely and calmly trying to express my dissatisfaction with the entire install and experience up to that point, while he checked his wristwatch and texted on his phone every 20 seconds, and then explained to me after not even 2 minutes when he noticed that I was feeling totally ignored, "I'M SORRY, IT'S JUST MY WIFE HAS BEEN WAITING ON ME TO HAVE DINNER AND I KIND OF HAVE TO GO SOON..."
I was like, maannnn.....WTF. alright...I’m done...
I just gave up and told him to just go...
I told him to tell his wife for me that I was sorry I kept her waiting on him (sarcastically, but he didn't catch it), and told him I'd contact him after I looked at my options.
And he just sent me off with how he left everything set on my amp and LC7, with all the initial problems, AND EVEN WORSE than how I took it to him to begin with...


-Dull, bland front stage still... No vibrant/accurate mids or lows.
-Still with loud, HARSH tweeters that hurt your ears at 13 out of 40 volume.
-BRUTAL rattling from driver door woofer remained.
-Defective sounding, scratchy right tweeter remained.
-He made my rear speakers quieter, and inaudible from the front seats AGAIN. So, where progress was made on the redo by Randy's guys, Brian REVERSED it. So it went from better to worse...
-A more noticeable, but still muffled, boomy, inaccurate sub. No punch. That remained.
-ALL the previous static, pops, chks, beeps, and alternator whining; ALL the feedback that Randy's guys removed, Brian brought that BACK INTO THE SYSTEM. (Not as brutal as the first installers left it. But it's still easily noticeable.)
But yet again, he made things that were made BETTER, WORSE! This 1 issue had been fixed! And Brian, UNFIXED it!
-RATTLING ALL OVER THE INSIDE OF THE CAR STILL. Damn car sounds like it’s falling apart.
(Note for this last detail: I never noticed this because I've never gone over 13 out of 40 volume, since that's already enough for the highs to fatigue me in a matter of seconds, but a couple weeks ago I turned the volume up a bit to see if there were any more defects I hadn't noticed before. And sure enough...)
-At a bit higher volume (around 17 out of 40), the mids and lows DO BECOME MORE NOTICEABLE, BUT, the right front door woofer gives out this explosive POP and rattle on low bass notes (like, kick notes). *I WAS going to record and upload a video for you all to hear this pop, but if you scroll down to the "UPDATE", you'll see why that is no longer possible for me to do...* It sounds like a defective speaker, but I don't know, could be something else broken that they installed...

For example.....
Brian never even checked to find the source of the BRUTAL rattling coming from my driver door woofer that appeared after Randy and Bob's redo. I told him I thought the woofer was defective as well and to bring his ear closer to it. He didn't. He heard it from the passenger seat, but he just simply assured me it was some rattling in the door somewhere else and it was just "reverberating out by the speaker".
He never took the 3 minutes to quickly pop the door panel off to check for sure though.
So I went home and decided I just had to find out for myself. I removed the driver door panel and found that a section of the bootleg spacer they made and RE-USED for the speaker driver to clear the window, BROKE, or was already broken when they RE-SCREWED it in!... So now it just rattles in place!

Upper Left Screw

Upper Right Screw

Bottom Left Screw

Bottom Right Screw


This means that RANDY AND BOB, thought this was an acceptable spacer, RE-USED IT, and BROKE IT when drilling the PS165FXs in, TESTED THEIR WORK, and thought this was acceptable 5000-dollar work to send off in my car.....
THAT'S WHAT THIS PROVES... (I mention how much I paid, but hell, that's unacceptable for even the cheapest speaker install possible...YOU JUST DON'T DELIVER BROKEN THINGS TO CLIENTS THAT PAID FOR YOUR SERVICE.)
So far, I've only looked inside that driver door to find what was causing that loudest rattle that bothered me the most. As for the popping and rattling coming from the front right door, and everywhere else, I don't know what's causing all of it, and I haven't taken my time to strip my car to find out. That's something that SOMEONE in Custom Sounds should've done and fixed from the beginning, especially considering that that's what I paid them to do...
Hell, I had no rattles to begin with!!! They recommended installing the HushMat to PREVENT any "possible rattling" from the increased power I was supposedly gonna be pushing out. And INSTEAD they delivered to me, LESS POWER, HARSHER highs, and CRINGEWORTHY RATTLES!!!!! Like, WTF!!! I told them to FIX my problems! NOT MAKE THEM WORSE! Nor did I ask them to CREATE problems I didn't even have before!!!
It's like they did the complete OPPOSITE of what I asked for!

I made a phone call to AudioControl to see what they thought about this whole experience, and to see how they could help me. First thing their awesome technical advisor told me, was that it didn’t make sense why they hooked me up with an LC7, when the main thing I was asking for, which was tone control, required a sound processor or something with an equalizer. (He mentioned something like their LCQ-1 or DQ-61. He even agreed when I mentioned the BitTen.)
He also told me that it sounded like Brian didn’t know he was doing, cranking the gains on the amp way up and down without even doing the correct procedure and setting the levels on the LC7 correctly FIRST.
He explained to me and gave me a 5 minute walkthrough, on how simple it is to properly set the LC7 and the amp....
Here, I'll post the procedure as he told me to help train Custom Sounds' staff:
1) Disconnect RCA's at LC7.
2) Crank Volume around 3/4ths up (30/40 in my car).
3) Turn the Front Output Level up 'til the "maximize" light starts to flicker, then turn it back down just a tiny bit. Repeat for Rear and sub output.
4)Reconnect RCA's.......Done.

Had Custom Sounds had ANY DIGNITY, or RESPECT for their customers and the work delivered to them; ALL THEY HAD TO DO, WAS PICK UP THE PHONE.. But not ONE of them could do that!...
It took me, a brand new car audio novice, 5 MINUTES, to find the solution that Jose, Justin, Randy, Bob, all their guys, and Brian, WASTED MY DAYS to never figure out and get right. They just threw things together, twisted dials and flicked switches randomly (Brian Dorsey style), told me I was screwed and that I needed to pay them even more money, and sent me off to deal with their horse $#it install work.....3 times.....
This wasn't even the right piece to hook me up with anyway, the least they could've done was set it correctly.....

ALL THESE PROBLEMS, all the DEFECTIVE LABOR, is how this business and its management will DELIVER A RE-REDO to you! On a 5000 dollar install... It just seems completely ridiculous to me.
I just don't see how anyone running a business could do something like this, and then practically tell you, "Hey, thanks for your business and your EXTRAORDINARY patience... We're really sorry that we took your money and delivered you this nightmare 3 times. We're gonna fix our errors and make things right finally!!!!..... Just give us some more money though...."
I don't feel like I have to pay more to fix THEIR mistakes...
There was no way I was gonna waste more time and hand my car over to them AGAIN, just so they could return it to me still sounding bad, and allow them to tack on more things for me to pay more, just to get it to sound good.
I wasn't gonna allow myself to get ripped off again...

At my wits end, I searched for, found and contacted the CEO of this business', Mike Cofield, via his email, and he:

He mentions that Brian Dorsey was the President and highest in management...
Which was odd because after digging up some info on Custom Sounds and Mike Cofield, I found SEVERAL sources stating HIM as the President of Custom Sounds like on his Linkedin Account:

But only a few sources stating him as the "CEO and FOUNDER" of Custom Sounds, like his closing to his email message, and his ZoomInfo account:
Mike Cofield | Custom Sounds |

(I have a folder full of sources stating him as the President, with only a few stating him as the Founder/CEO.)
So, either he's the Founder and/or CEO of Custom Sounds, or at one point, he was appointed as the president.....of his own himself.....
(I don’t know. I don’t get it either. It’s confusing. Especially when people deny responsibility just to not have to deal with you...)

Also, I'd seen a tiny bad experience get posted up from another unhappy customer on Custom Sounds' Yelp, involving a little sub install. Mike took care of that guy...

I just couldn't see why he wouldn't want to help me - another customer reaching out to him as a LAST RESORT! Other than the idea that he just didn't want to waste his time on me, especially since I wasn't making any noise on Yelp and giving them a bad rep yet...

So, TO SUMMARIZE.....and rant/vent...
All I wanted was to get an awesome system installed. I went to get their professional suggestion, and had them design a system that gave me EXACTLY the sound I wanted.
Instead, they just misled me and misinformed me, setting me up with equipment that couldn't even get the job done IN THE FIRST PLACE! When I probably only needed 1 piece like the Audison BitTen to give me what I wanted from the start...
I went to everyone in Custom Sounds that could possibly help me, but all I seemed to come across was "installers" that didn't know what they were doing but lied and deceived me into thinking that they did, and salesmen that tried to make me pay even more than the 5000 dollars I'd already spent, to fix their problems and give me what I should've gotten sent out the door with in the first place.

I just feel like I've been cheated and violated. Nobody at Custom Sounds has helped or tried to help in a fair way (in my opinion). After so much bulls**t, you'd think they would've at least offered something a bit more apologetic (like a refund at least), but I think they're more focused on making the most money they can, rather than being fair with me...

(Brian did offer me the BitTen in exchange for the LC7, but if you consider that their cost price for a BitTen, is probably somewhere around $250-$300 and Brian wants to charge me $55 an hour for tuning for "X" hours, PLUS the labor cost!!! He's not doing me a favor at all!!! He's not sacrificing or doing anything to make up for everything "his" business has put me through!!! He's just trying to make more money off of me, even still!!!

I've helped run smaller businesses, and maybe we're dumb and poorly-managing businessmen that have kept these businesses alive solely on luck, but usually when we make a mistake and it's purely our fault, we don't charge the customer more money so we can fix OUR mistakes. Hell, we're the ones to bring it to the customer's attention! We don't try to hide it or make up excuses! WE STAND BY OUR WORK. We fix our errors for FREE. We even give them a little something extra to show we're truly sorry!!! Even if we do the job RIGHT, we'll sometimes do them a little favor or a little something extra as a token of our appreciation, ESPECIALLY if they're spending a pretty penny with us. That keeps them happy, we build an amazing relationship with the customers, they're ecstatic and they tell their friends about us, and it gets us more business. Right? Or is that just clumsy/poor business ethics?...
Maybe, Custom Sounds has just gotten too big and comfortable to give a s**t about their customers and their work like that? Especially since their name and advertising is the main thing that reels most of Austin in to them anyway (like me for example)..... OR AM I WRONG FOR THINKING THAT, after how they've treated me and my car?...)

My music, and enjoying listening to it while DRIVING has been my favorite and only anti-depressant and way to unwind. My favorite past-time since my childhood. That's what I live for. Those are my only passions. And these guys took all that away from me with this car.....after also taking my hard-earned money...
The realization that I was finally the owner of a new car, was barely starting to set into me, and I was barely starting to feel the extreme exaltation associated with it. I was on top of the world with this car, and I'd never been so happy in my life.
First thing I did was take it to the best/most reviewed detailer in Austin to get it buffed and looking like it just rolled off the assembly line, invested $500 in a lot of car care products to preserve and maintain it, gave her weekly washes and waxes, took it to the best/most reviewed shop in Austin to get the best tint installed all around. Everything was coming along PERFECTLY...
Then I took my car to Custom Sounds, and they stripped me of every ounce of joy I had... Ever since this install, I've just been really bitter, angry, and hopeless. I just feel empty. Like I've been robbed.
I know it may sound overly-dramatic, but it's been a devastating ordeal for me. It's been depressing... My car was what I went to to have fun, escape and unwind. I went to Custom Sounds because I wanted to treat myself to the most unforgettable, amazing driving experiences I've ever had with my music, with this car. An amazing sound system was the only thing I needed in this car to consider it PERFECT. Just a slight improvement...
Instead, they turned it into a constant reminder that I gave months of sacrifice and hard work away, to degrade it and be left with NOTHING, but anger and regret. Getting into my car just makes me feel straight-up abused now. Like it's a curse. So now I don't even drive around for pleasure anymore...My car is just a mode of transportation now and nothing more...
What's worse is, I stopped listening to my favorite albums and music before taking it for the install, to give myself something to look forward to once I had an epic sound in my car! I wanted to add suspense and incentive to investing so much into this system, so when I finally listened to my music, it would be that much more euphoric!
Since that never happened, I've barely even touched my music... I don't even listen to anything with my studio headphones anymore either.
I just haven't been in the mood to listen to any of it because, I've been strictly holding off 'til I eventually get to enjoy it in my car... Whenever I get the strong urge to finally listen to my music, I just fight myself and refrain as hard as I can (like a relapsing junkie), because I'm hopefully waiting that maybe, after all of this, Custom Sounds will stand by their work and help give me the only things I needed from the start.
I just want to be able to enjoy my music in my car again... That's all I'm asking for, that's all I ever wanted.
This all just sucks extremely...
After all the waiting, anxiety, stressful resisting, and being let down several time my love and passion for my music and driving has staled. All because of this install and their shoddy work...

I haven't even played my drums to work on my YouTube music channel (my 2nd only passion). This install has just completely brought my life to a hold, and has since just turned my life into trying to get this resolved, and writing this. It's affected my personal life, it's affected my performance at work; it's just been a real cancer on my life and been a real burden...

No more driving, no more music. All I listen to in my car is NPR now. And I can't even listen to their news without hearing all the RATTLING!
It just completely sucks... It's like they entirely stripped me of my identity with this install.

I work 70-80 hours a week, and I work hard for my money. I basically just slave my life away, and relax Sundays. I was expecting them to take care of me and my car so I could enjoy the fruits of my labor and go on about my busy life with something to show for it. I barely had time to take my car for the install, let alone all the redos, visits with their management and communicating with them expecting a fair resolution...
I'm not gonna waste MORE MONEY and TIME, for something I should've received from the start...
I work out of town randomly and very frequently. (Also, I'm not that tech saavy, so that's made this all the more intimidating to write and work on...) THAT'S WHY THIS HAS TAKEN ME SO LONG TO WRITE AND POST. I've spent the major part of the very limited free time I get, working on this, and it's been over 5 months of having to live with this hopeless, miserable, desolate feeling from the moment I wake up, to some nights where I can't even fall asleep because my blood starts to boil and I start to sweat, knowing that I got duped severely and that I have to do something about this...

And in case you're wondering, NO, I never asked them for a refund. Because honestly, look at what they've done and offered me so far...
Do you really think they're going to take me seriously if I demand a refund?

I tried going to them for help and fairness. 3 times, that didn't work.
Honestly, all I want is for them to take their equipment back, they can charge me the cost of the HushMat and the labor for sticking it on. Hell, they don't even have to put my stock stuff back on. Just leave it bare.
And I'll even do the work taking off their equipment for them. I just want to mitigate and pretend like the last 6 months never happened.
I don't think there's anything else they can do to make up for everything they've put me through (judging by the way everyone has "helped" me so far).
I think I NEVER want them to work on my car, ever again.

BUT ALSO, seeing how poorly they did the [easier] install work, I'm EXTREMELY skeptical about how well they did all the wiring underneath and behind everything...I can't help but think that's all even more of a disaster...
How would I go about finding out if that was even done well?

(ANOTHER NOTE: Before I even took Justyn and Jose (the first salesman and installer) my car for the install, I repeatedly asked Justyn if he could please take before and after pictures for EVERYTHING, since I wanted to document everything on the car as best as I could for future purposes. I gave him a few friendly reminders, asking him to please not forget. He reassured me he would...
These were the only 2 photos I ever got from him...

So thanks to him especially, there's no way of knowing how everything looks underneath and behind everything.

I know it's been 5 months since I last communicated with anyone from Custom Sounds and had my car with them, but I'm a REALLY BUSY person, and I DID pay for a 2 year warranty on their labor...
All these problems have existed from the day they did their work, and I wouldn't be wasting my life writing this had they done their work correctly from the start...
If they're fair and have any respect they'll AT LEAST let this happen.

But if they don't, what do you suggest I do?
What are my rights as a consumer when it comes to receiving shoddy work, broken parts, perhaps defective equipment, and damage to my tint?
What can I do?
What's the common fix to a problem like mine?

I really appreciate you all reading this, and I hope y'all use this to your advantage when deciding whether or not you can trust Custom Sounds with your business.
Most importantly though, I hope Custom Sounds [Mike Cofield and/or Brian Dorsey] (since I can't tell who is in charge); even though I never want to hear or see them or step foot in any Custom Sounds shop ever again, I hope they can use this as an opportunity to realize all the stress and anxiety they've put me through and how much their botched work has affected my life, and help make up for it and show that they really are a respectable, trustworthy business, and prove their worth by fixing this some way.
It’s just shameful that they would also give Focal, JL, and AudioControl such an ugly image with this kind of work and result. And even worse, that they would put me through so much distress after giving them so much of my patience, time, and money. I was excited to receive an amazing sound system, and I had plans to come back for a better car alarm. I could’ve been a returning customer and a fan/advocate. I could be telling people to go to Custom Sounds, instead, I’ve stopped a lot of friends from going.
Who knows how far our business could’ve gone. But why would I ever return now after all this?

PLEASE SHARE with me, what your thoughts are on all of this.
This is a new market for me. I don't know how car audio shops run, but it just all seems way too bizarre and way too much of a hassle. I just don't feel that they've been just with me. Or have they?!
Do you think I'm overreacting? What's common for a $5k job? Is this kind of experience normal?

UPDATE: Just yesterday (Feb. 27th), I'm driving home on a phone call playing off the car's bluetooth, when all of a sudden my stereo did about 3 consecutive series of loud "Chk-chk-chk!" coming from my tweeters, and then....nothing.
I LOST ALL AUDIO... No aux, CD, bluetooth, radio. Nothing at all... No audio. Complete silence.
Then later on, my audio "CLICKED" back on again for about a minute, and then the same "chks' happened again, and I've been silent through to today. (good thing is that it at least eliminated all the feedback and hissing from the tweeters too, so that's been a pretty surreal relief. Peaceful finally. That tells me that something must've disconnected though.
So, I looked all around to see if I could find something disconnected. Checked the LC7, the amp, then I popped the hood and found this just hanging...)

I pushed it back into place (it wasn't really held in tightly or anything), but I still don't have any sound. 'cause that's just for the subwoofer anyway, right?? (I wouldn't know since I've never used the sub. I just keep the knob turned all the way down.)
I'm thinking some other connection must've slipped out of place behind the HU or something.

I'm glad this happened right as I've been finalizing this report, so hopefully I can get this fixed soon.
But it just goes to show with the problems of this install and these guys' work. I guess my hunch was right about feeling unsure about their wiring work...

It just doesn't end....


8,729 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

It`s unreadable, sorry....:p

1,424 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

This will take some time for us short minded readers... Probably would have been easier to split this up into 3 to 4 sections (different posts)

So far sounds like a monkey did this

OH BTW most pics don't work.

5,813 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

Ummmm, like they've said. :(

1,424 Posts

990 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

Shoot man, I'm in SA, I'd help you out. I'm sure there's others around that would too.

Just briefly, how's it stand right now? I know you described the sounds, but what malfunctions?

Premium Member
9,238 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

The post was almost completely illegible, but I trudged through it. Actually posting the pictures that you refer to could make a big difference.

You definitely have some issues that appear to be entirely the fault of the installers. The equipment they used is decent and pretty common. (Including among members of this site.) I would definitely take gckless or any other local members up on their offer to take a look at the system for you. There seems to be a lot of potential in the products you were provided but the execution has been lacking.

4,210 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

my talking program ignores font so I read it, most of it.

guy goes in for install of focal krx2 speakers, his own jbl rear fill, jl w6 sub, and jl 900/5, all purchased new except the jbl rear fill. oh, and an audiocontrol lc7i new too, plus deadener.

pays top dollar for everything, sounds bad, takes it back and they do nothing to fix, takes it to dif store/manager who does some things right, and some wrong, takes it to company president who does nothing right and just tries to sell him more gear including an audison bit10 dsp, then gets ignored when emailing company ceo.

Doesn't sound like a very pleasant experience at all.

add to that some broken things in pics and some not in pics, and theres safety issues now going on. This is a case for small claims court, but he'd need a competent/uninvolved 3rd party installer local who is good at explaining what went wrong and why in simple terms.

This is why sites like here exist, situations like this are more common than we'd like to see or admit, and too often happen to people who have no idea the issues because they are uninformed consumers.
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

I'm so sorry guys... I failed big time.
I asked simplicityinsound, how long was too long of a review with this community. He said to go ahead and explain in full detail, so I did...
I guess I should've gone with my super short version... >-<
But yeah, "Lycancatt" summed it up perfectly. Thanks, friend.

4,210 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

remember, it wasn't the length, hell I read it mostly all the way through! people will read if you make it easy, and it sounds like the chosen fonts didn't do that. no biggy but now you know.

Premium Member
701 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

Well, the pics aren't showing up. I think they would surely help in all of this.

1,424 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

Well, the pics aren't showing up. I think they would surely help in all of this.

Pics are like a reset for some of us. So read some pictures = reset = read some more.

Plus the saying pics are worth a thousand words holds true.

Trust me if I don't have much to do at work tonight I will read this whole thing

296 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

Ya, you got screwed all the way around on this install. I doubt you will get any resolution without wasting alot more of your time and money. I would try to return the LC7 and get your money back for it and then wash your hands of them. Then I would bash them on every social media sight. If you were in Florida I would personally go over your entire install for nothing. Hopefully somebody in your area can come to the rescue! In my opinion, you would benefit from a dsp/processor if you can recoup some money from the LC7 as well

120 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

Hey man I'm local, I am by no means a professional installer but I have been into car audio and doing builds on my own cars for 10 years now. I wouldn't mind helping a member out and just checking a few things out with some basic troubleshooting to help identify all their **** ups for you

18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

The post was almost completely illegible, but I trudged through it. Actually posting the pictures that you refer to could make a big difference.

You definitely have some issues that appear to be entirely the fault of the installers. The equipment they used is decent and pretty common. (Including among members of this site.) I would definitely take gckless or any other local members up on their offer to take a look at the system for you. There seems to be a lot of potential in the products you were provided but the execution has been lacking.
I thought I did post the pictures!? I posted 28 pics and 1 YouTube vid of the work done, emails, text messages...
How many actually showed up? I think I took too long to post this and maybe only 2 pics came that right?
(I know it might sound like I overkilled with the pics too! but this install experience has been so bizarre and unbelievable, I figured y'all would have found it impossible to believe without picture proof of everything. Including our communication. :(
My bad guys.

3,089 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

Let's see for $5k you should have had a processor not an LC7.

Among other things...

Take a road trip up to Atlanta. We'll fix it. We fix hack jobs daily from two places in the Atlanta area I will not name but theyre installs are always a disaster. Not saying this shop earns the rep but... we've fixed the same symptoms a lot.

Good luck brother.

1,424 Posts
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

I thought I did post the pictures!? I posted 28 pics and 1 YouTube vid of the work done, emails, text messages...
How many actually showed up? I think I took too long to post this and maybe only 2 pics came that right?
(I know it might sound like I overkilled with the pics too! but this install experience has been so bizarre and unbelievable, I figured y'all would have found it impossible to believe without picture proof of everything. Including our communication. :(
My bad guys.
Use photobucket or the like instead of the attachment system here. Get the URL code that way and insert image tab

18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: REVIEW: $5000 Nightmare Install @ Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas

Shoot man, I'm in SA, I'd help you out. I'm sure there's others around that would too.

Just briefly, how's it stand right now? I know you described the sounds, but what malfunctions?
Well as of February 27th, I've had NO AUDIO at all. Something must've shorted or disconnected somewhere.
But the way the President of Custom Sounds left everything, before it went silent on me. I had rattles, ALL AROUND, static hiss feedback from the tweeters, alternator whining and whirling, popping from the right door woofer. May be a defective speaker?
Pretty much just loud static and rattling everywhere...

I really appreciate your offer, but man, Custom Sounds is huge. They should be willing to take responsibility for their extreme fvck ups. Especially since I bought their 2 year warranty on their labor...
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