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Getting Crisp Sound in an Accord Wagon on a budget

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Old 05-16-2009, 06:39 PM
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Default Getting Crisp Sound in an Accord Wagon on a budget

I do hope I'm not asking the impossible, and do excuse my audio ignorance, but now I no longer have a car that goes particalarly fast or is all that involvingto drive, I thought I might as well try and have a car that sounds good.

I have a used Japanese import, '96 US Wagon.
Stock standard the car comes with 2 tweeters in the dash, and 1 6.5in speaker in each door. Not sure how good the tweeters are, but they do sound ok to me.
The door speakers however are paper coned crap, as was the orignal factory stereo and FM TV (anyone want a JDM Gathers TV that only works in Japan?).
I've removed the factory HU and replaced it with a Pioneer single disk, 50W x 4 head unit (base model unit from about 7 years ago).
I've replaced the front door speakers with some Ininity 2ways (30watt RMS I believe) I had laying around that are about 15 years old.

It sounds better, MUCH better, but the bass is anything but crisp, and the mids and highs still sound a little muddy, but are not far off being acceptable.

I understand that to get really great sound means adding an AMP and a sub and a high end head unit etc.
But, I am on a tight budget (couple of hundred US dollars, max) and I need to retain full use of the cargo space with the rear seats folded down.


Is it possible to get acceptable crisp bass from a 6.5inch door speaker and 50W?

I was thinking of putting a simple 6.5inch speaker in each rear door, and using one of those things (cross over??) that cancels out the high frequencys so it only provides the bass.


Does anyone have any experiance with Pioneer TSG1612R speakers?
They are common and well priced here, or am kidding myself if I think they are every going to sound ok?
I don't want to end up putting in speakers that need more power to drive than the HU can provide.


Can anyone think of a way of fitting a low powered amp and small sub into a Wagon with out compromising the load space?


Could a 2 channel amp be used to drive only the fronts, tweets and doors, and a single small SUB? (positive on one channel, negative on the other?) (still would have to find somewhere to put it).

I'm not worried about sound staging in the back of the car, as it won't often have anyone sitting there.
I'm not after lots of volume, just enough to drown out my signing. But I do listen to lots of Pink Floyd etc, and would like a nice crisp and rich sound if possible.


Cheers
 
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:02 PM
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Ok let me start of by saying your not going to get good bass from speakers, especially if they are not amped. For bass I really recommend running a small sub and amp. Even a quality 8" or 10" sub with a small amp will be fine. A box sized for an 8" or 10" is tiny, and you can get a grill for the sub and not worry about anything in the trunk hitting the sub.

As for speakers, the best thing to do on a budget is to forget about the rears. Not only can they mess up the staging if not set up properly, they are mostly for the rear seat. And if they are mounted in the doors, I would really forget about them. Then I would invest the absolute most you can in a pair up front, at least $120-$200 on the speakers alone, that is a small investment with huge pay off. A small quality two channel amp to run the speakers won't set you back any more than $120, this kenwood amp I have goes for around $80 now and it is not a bad amp at all.

As long as the HU you have no is not causing any distortion there is no problem in keeping it for now. A new HU would just give you some more bells and whistles that you can live without until you can invest in a new HU.

As for amp mounting locations, the kenwood amp I mention before has a built in fan so it would OK to install it under the seat. While this is no optimal, it does work. But it really would be best to get both amps in the trunk.

Now if you spend a few extra dollars on an amp, you could get a 4ch amp that supports 3chs. Then run your speakers off the first two channels, and bridge the sub of the second set of channels. Not all amps support this, but most do. That would save you room, but you need to amp your speakers and your sub if you looking for decent sound.

Anything short of what I explained really won't get you good sound. I would really recommend getting rid of those speakers and the stock tweeters, and replace them with a quality set. This alone will be your best investment. If you don't have the money, just get the speakers and a small amp, and get a sub later. This really is your cheapest way. Just getting an amp for the speakers you have now will cost you more in the long run, as you will be tossing those speakers and that amp when you want to upgrade in the future.
 
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:13 PM
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Cool, cheers for your help.

Stupid question time:
I see your amp is 400W, is that per channel, or combined?
Would this mean I would need speakers than can handle 400W (or 200W).

If I do invest in some nice speakers now, say some of these (pioneer 1625) http://www.paulmoney.co.nz/shop/car-...component-spea
is running them of a HU with only 50w while I save for an amp going to cause a problem?
From reading around I was under the impresion that under powering a speaker can be as bad as over powering it?

I am also assuming these are going to be good speakers.
Kenwood doesn't seem to be very active in the NZ market but there is LOTS of pioneer gear around, along with lots of Sony and Fusion stuff (which I believe are crap?) as well as JVC and Alpine. I've also found some JBL products, but am not at all familar with the brand.
Otherwise there is lots of Chinese no brand products, which look as nasty as they are cheap.

Also, is the stock speaker wiring in the factory harness going to be able to work with an amp and powerful speakers?
I understand I'll need to run cable for an amp etc.

The car gets used to transport office chairs and photography gear, which means lots of heavy metal and plastic parts designed to damage things like audio gear (light stands, tripods, metal chair frames etc).

I wonder if I could mount the amp in the headlining behind the sunroof........
 
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:49 PM
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LOL I don't have any 400w amps, but a 400w 2ch amp is the RMS rating of the whole amp. Cheap amps will use the max rating which means nothing, what you care about is the RMS. If you only see the max rating listed, move on and find another amp.

Generally you want to stay away from pioneer, JVC, JBL, sony, kicker, kenwood speakers, but you are on the right track. You want a nice component set which those pioneers are. Try and find JL, alpine, polk audio, focals, are all great choices off the to of my head. Each has their own sound, JL being my favorite. JL tends to be warmer, while focal speakers are very bright. Which brand you choose is a personal choice. I take it you are in New Zealand, so you may be limited to just what you can get. Even with the cost of shipping, it still may be cheaper to order online though.

The stock wiring is not going to cut it, so you will have to run new speaker wires to your doors from you amp. Much easier on older cars, there is a boot the connects to the door and the door sill, you just pass the wire through it to get it into the door. I think the accord up to 2002 have this boot, not sure though.

If the location your thinking about has the amp upside down, don't do it. That's the best way to make an amp overheat. Now you could build a rack to hold the amp. As for a sub, if you have a nice grill on it, and your careful not to break the grill there is not problem laying heavy stuff on top of a well built box. Generally 10" subs require less than a cubic foot, so the boxes are very small.

As for the underpowering question, you will not in any way shape or form hurt or stress the speaker by supplying it with less than it's rated power. I don't know how this rumor got started, but it's completely false. An underpowered speaker will not wound very good, it will sound muddy and muffled and produce little bass. But as a temporary set up there is no problem, just the speakers won't really wake up until you amp them. So don't buy them unless you are absolutely sure you will amp them. That way you can save some money and get a 4ch amp and run both your sub and speakers off it, given your situation that is the best option.
 
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by t00fatt View Post
LOL I don't have any 400w amps, but a 400w 2ch amp is the RMS rating of the whole amp. Cheap amps will use the max rating which means nothing, what you care about is the RMS. If you only see the max rating listed, move on and find another amp.

I pulled the Kenwood KAC-6202 from your sig, and threw it in google. All the results seems to suggest it was 400W (and not sold in New Zealand)?

I'm going to have to do some digging and either find some good shops here in NZ, or find somewhere in the US that will ship here (and hope our dollar goes up, its not good at the moment).
So far I've only found one shop selling Polk stuff (VERY EXPENSIVE) and a couple of shops selling Alpine stuff.
Any reason to avoid Pioneer? They are very popular here and seem to cater to all ends of the market.

The wiring won't be a problem. There is a rubber conduit from the frame into the door that caries the loom for the windows, locks etc. There is normally lots of room for an extra pair of cables (when I think older cars, I think no electrics in the doors, so running a cable is actually harder, as you have to drill holes in the frame, door, run a boot over it etc).
Just means more work for me running the extra cables.
I've done quite a few stereo and mild audio installs, but they have either been basic low cost gear, or really high end gear bought by someone else for someone elses car.



So:
I need to match speakers to amp in regards to power levels?
Use 4/3 channel amp.
Amp needs to be mounted somewhere it will be kept cool.
High power speaks from a low power HU won't to any harm but might sound bad.


I might be better of sticking what I have, then finding a set of components, a small sub and amp all at the same time, that will all work together. Then I can take a day and fit everything at once.
I can always unplug the sub if needed and hide it in the foot well when I need the load space.

Can you recomend some good power levels for speakers?
They seem to range from 50W to several hundred Watt.


If I buy second hand, has there been any great improvements in technology that might mean brand new set up will sound noticably better than one from 5-10 years ago?
 
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:42 PM
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Pioneer makes some nice HU's and that is about it, their amps and speakers really aren't anything top notch. Every company has it's good and bad parts. Alpine is really the only one that everything they make is either good or top notch. But if all you can get are those pioneers, and your able to hear them and like them then maybe you should go for them, I'm only really even recommending this because your in NZ.

Unplugging your sub and throwing it in the front seat is no problem. I take out my sub every week to fit my 57" gas R/C boat in the trunk. After disconnecting the sub you need to kill power to the amp, either by removing the ground or the remote on wire( Don't pull the positive power unless your going to wrap it up in electrical tape). I put a switch just before the amp on the remote on wire to turn the amp off when I pull my sub out. But if your going to go the 4 channel amp route, than you would have to cover up the speaker wires for the sub. Electrical tape works, but some right size wire nuts work just as well and a lot easier to take on and off.

For power range I would look for 50w-80w, that is plenty of power and will keep things cheaper for you. There's no problem going a higher, it will just cost more. Now don't get 100w speakers and feed them 50w, that won't be optimal. Now if you were to get quality 50w speakers and feed them 60w that would fine too. You can go just a bit over, but you don't want to be too far below the rated power.

Depending on the brand and model, old gear is just as good. Older quality amps actually can be under rated and "better" than newer ones. Older speakers can also be just a good. Although subs are better today, so I would try and get a new sub. I wouldn't even buy a used sub, subs tend to be abused and it may not last you.
 
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by t00fatt View Post
I take out my sub every week to fit my 57" gas R/C boat in the trunk.

That sounds like serious fun


If you kill power to the amp, won't you also lose power to the components (assuming they are being driven from the amp as well).

What about putting a high quality DIN plug (or similar) on to the sub, so you can simply unplug it from the amp?
Then I can still listen to the stereo, just with out the bass.
 
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:43 AM
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Yeah it is, there's a big crowd into large scale gas RC boats over in australia and NZ too. Some of the best boat builders are aussies.

Yeah if your going to run a single amp your going to have to disconnect the sub, and leave it so there's no way for the speaker wires to short out. If you can find some plugs that won't short out when disconnected that will work too. I know banana plugs won't work for this, and it needs to be a high quality plug, banana plugs are what is usually used with audio. I would stay away from any other type plugs, and just keep some wire nuts in the car, and just twist them on to the ends of wires and it's all good.
 
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Old 05-17-2009, 02:50 AM
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Cheers mate

Boating of any kind is pretty big down here, doesn't matter where you are in the country your never more than about 15 minutes drive from a body of water, or the ocean.
 
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Old 05-17-2009, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Moppie View Post
Cheers mate

Boating of any kind is pretty big down here, doesn't matter where you are in the country your never more than about 15 minutes drive from a body of water, or the ocean.
I'm all about boats, I live on the water here in miami, and have my two boats docked right in the backyard.
 

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