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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-16-2008, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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The "Car Audio" Thread

It seems I am not the only one here who is into car audio anymore, so I thought maybe it is time for a dedicated car audio thread. Stories, questions, history... anything and everything car audio.



I'll start, just for the hell of it.



I was, by trade, a MECP certified Mobile Electronics installer for 4 years. I was also an active competitor in USAC and IASCA SPL competitions. I won 3rd Place NH State finals in 1999 and 2nd place NH State finals 2001. I earned an invite to USAC and IASCA Nationals 4 years in a row, and have been in the 150 club (150+ db at a sanctioned comp) since 2000.

I started when I was 15, so I guess you could say I have been at it for 12 years now.


1999
Car: 1986 Saab 900S


200-2001
Car: 1987 BMW 325IS


The first time I ever broke 150dB.




2002
Car: BMW 325IS














2002
"Team Boomer" - Boomer McCloud Car Audio Competitors, June 11 Competition
4 people, we all took first in our class, and Fil also took Overall Loudest.



On-spot sub replacement when Fil fried all 6 12's at the competition.



2006
Car: 1995 VW Golf City







I hope to have my Corrado ready for the 08 Competition season. Pics will be coming soon of that, I'm sure.



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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 04:09 AM
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Yikes that's a lot of power. I'm just moving into learning about car audio, thus some PMs with questions

To pull in the convo from the other thread, the reason I wouldn't buy a HU from a dealer other than authorized dealers is that you get NO factory warranty. If the dealer's going to give you a warranty with the unit, it might make it more viable. Crutchfield is the ONLY online vendor of Alpine that is an authorized dealer, so snake should take that into account. It is definitely the central reason I went with them.

So there are two goals with car audio, it seems, and they don't really jive up. There's sound quality (SQ) and there's sound power (?). The former's more my goal, generally, but the wife just commented on her not being an auidophile so a real high-end system is definitely out.

After checking out CDT at Ebay and comparing to a sponsor of a car forum I frequent, there's almost no difference in price and the Ebay products have screwed up paint. Am I, perhaps, missing something?

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanwisch View Post
Yikes that's a lot of power. I'm just moving into learning about car audio, thus some PMs with questions

Ahh, so it was you! I was trying so hard to figure that out... my PM box got cleared somehow, and when I mentioned it a couple of times in another thread, you didn't respond, so I didn't follow up.

I'll follow this post with a bit of a write-up on my recent project... you'll probably be interested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kanwisch View Post
To pull in the convo from the other thread, the reason I wouldn't buy a HU from a dealer other than authorized dealers is that you get NO factory warranty. If the dealer's going to give you a warranty with the unit, it might make it more viable. Crutchfield is the ONLY online vendor of Alpine that is an authorized dealer, so snake should take that into account. It is definitely the central reason I went with them.
It is true about Crutchfield, but you are overlooking one very serious thing. It's called Dealer Warranties. In my experience, these are FAR more valuable than manufacturer warranties. The "Hassle-Free" Guarantee. I'm sure you are more than familiar with that, in light of recent conversations about BB and CC. Manufacturers always seem to want you to send it in to them for repair. Dealer warranties, on the other hand, are almost always hassle-free replacement.

For that reason, I will not ever buy from any one place based solely on the fact that they are an Authorized dealer.

Woofers ETC has my full business whenever possible for one reason... I had an issue with an amp I bought last year. About a month after I got it, I blew it. I called them and told them what I had done. It was clearly my fault... I didn't want anything more than their recommendation on who I could send it to so it could be repaired. The response I got was that they were sending out another amp, and after I received it, I could box the old one up in the same packaging and send it back to them. They paid shipping both ways, and they never charged my card for the second amp like most companies want to do in this situation. Not only did they do that for me, but the new amp was overnighted. (It was Thursday and I needed the amp for the weekend.)

Show me a manufacturer that will do that for you, and maybe you will sway me toward your opinion. Until then, I will support companies with good customer service and dealer warranties any day over manufacturer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kanwisch View Post
So there are two goals with car audio, it seems, and they don't really jive up. There's sound quality (SQ) and there's sound power (?). The former's more my goal, generally, but the wife just commented on her not being an auidophile so a real high-end system is definitely out.
SPL stands for Sound Pressure Level. It is one aspect of competition, and the goal is just that. As loud and hard hitting as it can physically be.

SQ is another aspect of competition, where your install and sound quality are both judged, but they still test for SPL.

SQL is a combination of the two, and there are many companies out there that sell products to achieve this goal. For example, Image Dynamics has a sub called "IDMax". It has the same sound quality found in most of their SQ lineups, but will handle 1000rms, and is quite a contender in SPL comps. Amps to serve this purpose are even more abundant.


Most people will claim that they don't care about sound quality. I let it go. Those same people are the ones who ramble on and on and on and on after they have sat in your car and listened to some of their favorite songs, though. They go on longer than people who actually "Care" about it. My mother is like that. She always said she didn't give a shit about car audio, and her crappy paper speakers were good enough for her. I let her listen to my car on Tuesday after I got my CDTs in. I played some fingerstyle (Andy Mckee and Antoine Dufour) and some traditional Irish music. Her jaw was in her lap the whole time. Every day this week she has been calling me about it. "If I bring this CD over, will you play it for me in your car? How about this one? What will this sound like?"

This is just an opinion, but I think everyone cares about sound quality. I think saying they don't care is their way of saying they can't justify spending the money on it, or that they don't spend enough time in their car to be bothered. I have heard a lot of people say they don't care, and they all have the same reactions as my mom did. Seems a bit contradicting to me. Hence the opinion.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kanwisch View Post
After checking out CDT at Ebay and comparing to a sponsor of a car forum I frequent, there's almost no difference in price and the Ebay products have screwed up paint. Am I, perhaps, missing something?
You are missing a BIG something. I'd tell you to check the other thread for the pics I posted about the CDTs I bought, But I will be posting pics of them here as soon as I am done reading this.

Anyway... the ebay seller claims that these speakers are B-stock, but I bought two pair anyway because I didn't give a shit about paint blems. After receiving them, I inspected them thoroughly and found absolutely no blems at all. What I got were absolutely flawless CL-62s for $149 (Woofers has them for $249, and MSRP is MUCH higher). Notice how I said ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS. Both sets. There wasn't so much as one single blemish on anything. I'm not even sure why he is advertising them as Blem. The only thing I can think of was that maybe CDT is one of those companies that pulls entire batches if more than 1 blem speaker is found, and I got two sets from that batch, even though they had no blems.

When you are reading about CDT speakers, you have to pay close attention to their model numbers and specs... a great deal of them look the same. Once you start reading, though, you will find that they are worlds apart. CDT speakers range from $50 to $2,899 for 6.5" speakers. Thats a very large gap. Lots of choices and prices.



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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZX6R1033 View Post
It is true about Crutchfield, but you are overlooking one very serious thing. It's called Dealer Warranties. In my experience, these are FAR more valuable than manufacturer warranties. The "Hassle-Free" Guarantee. I'm sure you are more than familiar with that, in light of recent conversations about BB and CC. Manufacturers always seem to want you to send it in to them for repair. Dealer warranties, on the other hand, are almost always hassle-free replacement.

For that reason, I will not ever buy from any one place based solely on the fact that they are an Authorized dealer.

Woofers ETC has my full business whenever possible for one reason... I had an issue with an amp I bought last year. About a month after I got it, I blew it. I called them and told them what I had done. It was clearly my fault... I didn't want anything more than their recommendation on who I could send it to so it could be repaired. The response I got was that they were sending out another amp, and after I received it, I could box the old one up in the same packaging and send it back to them. They paid shipping both ways, and they never charged my card for the second amp like most companies want to do in this situation. Not only did they do that for me, but the new amp was overnighted. (It was Thursday and I needed the amp for the weekend.)

Show me a manufacturer that will do that for you, and maybe you will sway me toward your opinion. Until then, I will support companies with good customer service and dealer warranties any day over manufacturer.
Excellent points which I really wish I'd realized a week ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZX6R1033 View Post
You are missing a BIG something. I'd tell you to check the other thread for the pics I posted about the CDTs I bought, But I will be posting pics of them here as soon as I am done reading this.

Anyway... the ebay seller claims that these speakers are B-stock, but I bought two pair anyway because I didn't give a shit about paint blems. After receiving them, I inspected them thoroughly and found absolutely no blems at all. What I got were absolutely flawless CL-62s for $149 (Woofers has them for $249, and MSRP is MUCH higher). Notice how I said ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS. Both sets. There wasn't so much as one single blemish on anything. I'm not even sure why he is advertising them as Blem. The only thing I can think of was that maybe CDT is one of those companies that pulls entire batches if more than 1 blem speaker is found, and I got two sets from that batch, even though they had no blems.

When you are reading about CDT speakers, you have to pay close attention to their model numbers and specs... a great deal of them look the same. Once you start reading, though, you will find that they are worlds apart. CDT speakers range from $50 to $2,899 for 6.5" speakers. Thats a very large gap. Lots of choices and prices.
Their website sucks. Things are poorly organized and they sell stuff on Ebay that there is no information for. There's a freakin' separate site for one entire product line. Whoever is their web admin should be shot dead. My 5 year old can do a better job of organizing.

To some extent, this confusion about the real differences between all the models that have very slight differences in model number or a single component is actually creating enough angst that I'd be driven to buy their cheaper ones just because its too hard to understand why I should invest more in the other models.

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanwisch View Post
Excellent points which I really wish I'd realized a week ago.
Don't sweat it. It is something that most people overlook, even though a great deal of them are more apt to use a store warranty than the manufacturers. I didn't even give any thought to that until I started having problems with the in-store exchange crap through Circuit City.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kanwisch View Post
Their website sucks. Things are poorly organized and they sell stuff on Ebay that there is no information for. There's a freakin' separate site for one entire product line. Whoever is their web admin should be shot dead. My 5 year old can do a better job of organizing.
Agreed. 100%

Use Woofers etc. Here is a Link Directly to their CDT 6.5 Comps page... Sorted by price. It will take a bit of reading and clicking, but you'll be able to figure it out. About the only thing I actually see that is the same across the board is the letter at the end of their tweeter model number. For example - TW25S vs TW25T. The TW stands for tweeter, and the end letter designates Silk VS Titanium.

I had something completely different picked out that I was planning on buying, but then I saw that set on eBay. I looked up the specs on woofers etc, and they were better than what I had picked out. They were also $50 cheaper (Through that guy) than the ones I was looking at on Woofers etc. But I'll get into that in another post. (The one I was going to do yesterday, but forgot.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by kanwisch View Post
To some extent, this confusion about the real differences between all the models that have very slight differences in model number or a single component is actually creating enough angst that I'd be driven to buy their cheaper ones just because its too hard to understand why I should invest more in the other models.
I'll give you some reasons. Just remember... there are always people around willing to answer your questions the best they can. (Me included.) Don't get discouraged and buy something you won't like.



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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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My newest project -

1996 VW Golf GL.

I just got this car about a month ago. It's the newest addition to my work car collection, which means I couldn't do anything with it that would eat into the cargo space.

First priority was finding a headunit.

I got an iPod for Christmas, so I ended up with a JVC HU in my Audi that could directly control the iPod. I loved the fact that it was possible to do that, but JVCs interface sucked, and I won't even mention the sound quality (Or lack there of). I definitely wanted another ipod controller, though.

When it comes to SQ, I always have a tendency to look toward certain headunits. Nakamichi, Alpine, Eclipse, etc. Nakamichi is usually insanely expensive, and I didn't want to break the bank. Eclipse required add-on boxes for all of their HUs, and that wasn't something I wanted, either. My search originally lead me to the Alpine 9886. I was just about to buy it when I first saw the iDA-X001. I was intrigued... It had a really nice display, and an interface that almost completely mimics the iPod controls. It didn't have a built in CD player, but I never use CDs anymore anyway. I ended up going with the X001 based on SQ, Interface design, and display. I've had other Alpines in the past, so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed.





Next up were speakers, since stock paper speakers suck.

I was originally looking at MB Quart, since I have a pair of MBQ Reference series 6.5 Coax that I was happy with. Unfortunately, MB was bought out by another company in 2002, and had gone completely downhill. I was always impressed by Diamond Audio, but they took a huge dive about the same time.

I started searching around, and my search eventually lead me to CDT. I remember hearing a few different sets at comps in the past, and I was always very impressed by them. I was never impressed by the price, though. They were always very expensive. I started looking anyway. I was surprised to find that they had quite a few options available that were within my price range.

After reading through the specs, I started seriously eyeballing the Euroframe Components. At $199, I thought "Hey, I can't go wrong."

I figured I would check eBay before actually purchasing them. (eBay is addictive.)

I ended up running across a set of CL-62s. The price was $149, but the auction said "Blem". After carefully reading the auction, which stated the blems to be "Flaws in the paint on the basket", I decided to check on the specs. After all... once the speakers are in the door, I won't see the paint flaws, anyway. I checked Woofers etc, and was surprised to find the specs to be substantially better than the ones I was originally looking at.

I decided to purchase two sets. (I have two golfs).

They arrived a week later, and I was completely surprised by what I saw. They had absolutely no blemishes at all. I looked close, too!




The original plan was to put the speakers on the shelf until I got an amplifier, but impatience got the best of me, and the next day I was installing them in my car. Okay... maybe I started that night when I got home from work.

What can I say though... It needed to be done.

Stock speakers...




CDTs...




I also have 80 sq ft of Second Skin Damplifier Pro on the way. UPS Estimated delivery date is this coming Monday. I'll probably have it in by Tuesday night.


Now for the things I don't have yet...

The plan for this system, in order to save as much space as possible, is for a 4 channel amp mounted under the back seat, and a single 12" sub tucked away in a custom box in the rear corner of the car.


The amp was an easy choice... Cadence TXA-6004. 150 Watts per channel, 4 channels.

The plan is to run channel 1 and 2 to the components up front, and bridge channels 3 and 4 to run the 12 in the rear.

The sub I have chosen is an IDQ 12 V.2.


I'll be building a Fiberglass box for it in a place that will be out of the way for my job.







That's all I have for now.



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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 02:30 PM
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lol, right up my alley here. well before i sold it all and bought my old F3 600 (pre 1000rr).
it was a 2002 elantra xd
coilovers, sri, 19.5mm rear sway bar, nitrous (100 shot), dyno tuned at 171whp and 186 wtq on spray, 18" konig unknown's wrapped in nitto neo gens, pioneer p8dvd indash and a pioneer premier 960mp indash (dual indash receivers), 3500 watts RMS hitting a 154.5 db on a term lab w.db drag, and a 153.8 w/USACI, 1 12" kicker SOLO X (yes a solo X $1090.00, not a crappy L7), 2400 watt sub map, 600 watt component amp, 1125cca yellow top class 31d battery for system), polk audio components front and rear, 0ga, monster zero noise comp interconnects, car is fully dynamatted, tint windows, custom painted interrior, painted calipers, cross drilled rotors, hawk pads, ATE brake fluid.






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2004 Honda CBR 1000rr WSBK TenKate Hann Spree race replica



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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-18-2008, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Damn man... Thats a pretty clean install! The SX subs were arguably one of Kickers last decent subs. My fingers are still wrapped tightly around a pair of ZR380 amps... just before they went to the KX series (And thus began the downhill plunge).

154.5 Outlaw? USAC used to run nearly all of their comps by outlaw rules. Still a very impressive number none the less.

This year will be like starting all over for me. All the new mics are pressure-based, so the numbers everyone was holding have dropped off pretty steep. I'm told 150db legal is a very hard number to hit with 2x12s or 1x15 again. But then again, The guy who was telling me about it was doing so while pushing a sealed prefab box into the back of a customer car, so we'll see I guess.


Got any more pics of that car?



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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-22-2008, 05:53 AM
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New question guys. I'm very seriously thinking about getting eDead to do the sound deadener and using a pneumatic spray gun. The customer service lady at elemental designs indicates that's doable. How substantially different is edead over the mats we talked about?

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-22-2008, 06:24 AM
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Aw, you guys are putting my Rockford Pros to shame...
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