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Old 09-19-2009, 04:13 PM   #1
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Premium sound on cars?

I want to buy a newer car soon, and I like the premium sound on toyota's with the JBL system. but the bad part is that most of the toyota's do not have premium sound. I fell in love with better sound when I sat in a friends BMW and Mercades, so a toyota with a JBL system is the closest that i can afford.


my question: the premium sound thats very clear, does that come from the head unit or the speakers? or a combo of both? If I can buy a honda or a toyota without premium sound, can I just replace the speakers with a good set of speakers, will that net the same quality of sound?
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:28 PM   #2
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In my experience, head unit makes a much bigger difference than speakers. I know that a lot of other people have had the opposite experience.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:58 PM   #3
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Im looking at pioneer's for speakers if i do get a newer car. I sat in a 07 Acura RL before and the sound was very nice. it sounded like there is a person sitting right in front of you with a guitar singing.

I guess the engineers perfect sound on the higher end models, as with the lower end civics and corollas, they probably just put speakers anywhere that has room, so there is basic reliable sound for a basic car
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:59 PM   #4
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I have found that the speakers put in most cars are crap. On Rusty and on the Hooptie I replaced all the speakers. I replaced the Hooptie's deteriorating paper cone speakers years ago with JBL poly cone speakers (all in the stock mounting locations). The bass that the car puts out now will thump the floorboards, and that's with the 1981 OE stereo - am/fm w/ analog tuning. (no additional amp)
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Old 09-19-2009, 05:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay2TheRescue View Post
I replaced the Hooptie's deteriorating paper cone speakers years ago {...} that's with the 1981 OE stereo - am/fm w/ analog tuning. (no additional amp)
That was actually quite similar to my example about the head unit. My Buick has the 1980 OE paper cone speakers and had the original am/fm w/ analog tuning radio. It sounded like a 1950s cliche. I replaced the head unit with a generic (brand name "Dual") mp3cd unit, and it sounds like a new car's stereo system. The bass is decent, but the clarity is the big difference...I can hear every instrument and it's all very clear.
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Old 09-19-2009, 05:35 PM   #6
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It's a combination of the stereo, amp (if you use one) and the speakers. That being said, you will probably get the most bang for your buck with better speakers. As Jay2TheRescue said, most car speakers are pretty basic speakers. However, many car stereos are not all that great either. Most factory installed units I've seen are adequate, especially in the tuner section. Many aftermarket stereos I've seen have pretty crappy tuners (Pioneer Supertuners are one exception), maybe a little more power, and take a couple hours intense training to operate.

If you do replace the factory stereo with an aftermarket unit, here are a couple hints. First, get an adapter plug to allow the stereo to plug into the car's wiring harness. I've had a few cars where people have just hacked up the wiring to put in the aftermarket stereo. When I get the car, the stereo has usually died. It's quite a nightmare to replace it. It'll also make it easier to put in the stereo in the first place, and to put back the original stereo when you go to sell the car. Second, in my not-so-humble opinion, there's no need to get fancy "Monster Cable" (tm) type speaker wire...the factory wire is probably just fine. Ditto with the big, heavy power lead and the huge, gold plated power fuse. I've never heard a difference, and, having played around with, and sold stereo systems for about 25 years, I have heard a lot of stereo systems. And I usually tend to hear things others don't hear. Third: If I were to purchase a new stereo today, I'd be curious about this "HD Radio" thingy. And I'd try to get one without those fancy, distracting moving picture displays on the screen.
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Old 09-19-2009, 09:38 PM   #7
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I agree about the moving picture thing on the screen, another thing that bugs the heck out of me is a head unit that doesnt dim with the headlights. I get a nasty glare on my glasses if there are bright lights inside the car ( head unit mainly) so this bothers me greatly. If you are going to upgrade upgrade both at the same time you will be alot happier if you do.
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Old 09-19-2009, 10:25 PM   #8
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sometimes, you can get a package deal from crutchfield. they will usually give you the installation kit and wiring harness so you can do the install yourself and save some money. they also will give you wiring harnesses for the speakers as well. that way you can hook them directly into the OEM harness of the car itself instead of cutting wires. you could reinstall the OEM radio and speakers if you ever sold it and keep the head unit and speakers.

I have installed several radios with kits from crutchfield and they all turned out good. I recommend them to anyone thinking of buying a new car system. the wiring harness alone is worth quite a bit of time and headach.

they used to be free and I think they still are if you have a minimum purchase. if you are installing it yourself (or plan to) I would buy from them.

www.crutchfield.com

if you are only doing one or the other, I think that is a preference call. I would do the head unit first but more for mp3 compatibility and memory card compatibility.

I think of the relationship of an amplifier (or head unit in your case) and speakers like a drag truck. you can put a big motor in it but it won't do anything if you have bald tires. and racing slicks don't do much on a stock 3 cyl metro. it is definitely a mixture of the two.

*edit* sorry for sounding so much like a commercial. I have just seen so many people cutting into their wiring harnesses trying to figure out which color wire matches up with the factory one that is a different shade than all the rest.
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:17 PM   #9
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crappy head unit + awesome speakers = polished turd
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T.P. View Post
crappy head unit + awesome speakers = polished turd
Well, Mythbusters proved that you actually CAN polish a turd...
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