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SQ driven bang for the buck

Old 06-12-2013, 10:06 AM
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SQ driven bang for the buck

So i've searched for this and came up unsuccessfull. I'm a bit new to car audio, but as an engineer i'm familiar with the physics of acoustics & frequency dynamics.

I'm placing a budget on myself for approx $1k for front, rear, and sub. I don't care about volume. All sound systems can get loud, volume is in my opinion a non-issue. What i want is clarity and detail in the sound. I guess audiophiles call this ' a full soundstage'?? I will not be competing. I refuse to use equiptment that gears sound for only 1 position for 1 user. I have a 4 door for a reason, and i want everyone to be able to enjoy the sound.

That said, i've driven down to my local car audio shop, and obviously he tries to convince me to buy things with high margins on his end. I asked him a lot of technical questions and he could only answer 50% of them.

Out of all the speakers i listened to there, the Focal ps165's sounded the best to me. They had excellent clarity in high frequencies. They are also 400 a pair. I've been able to find some on ebay for 280 though.

As far as subs, i was told a 10 inch would be best for my needs. I like listening to rock and i want a clear hit to the base, and when i listen to metal i hate for my bass to be muddled up by slow & squishy responding woofers. I'm thinking a JL 10w3 might be best for me here. I drive a 2010 Lancer Evolution, so my trunk is already small and i want to avoid a traditional box. I'm thinking of mounting it in the rear upper deck. I'm still confused on the 'free air' vs sealed box concept. I don't care for boomin base, just as long as its sufficiently loud when i crank up some dub i'll be happy.


That being said, what does everyone reccomend as far as speakers?? And sub setups??
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:11 AM
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Question #2. I want to Use an android or win8 tablet to replace my radio for mp3's as well as data logging engine parameters & displaying guages. I plan on having it permanently mounted in my dashboard. Will i still be able to take advantage of all potential sound quality from an aftermarket system? I'm still not sure how i would wire it, but the guy in this youtube video i think did a good job. And it still allows him to use steering wheel controls which is a MAJOR bonus.

fyi, i could care less about radio or cd's. Internet radio or mp3's take priority in my opinion.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:16 PM
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i cant answer the android question as i know its been done but i dont know what devices you need to make it work.

$1k is not very much considering what you want. focal speakers are decent (of course the utopia is incredible) and if you like the sound then go for them.

For the subwoofer situation, I dont recommend free air subs. you dont get very tight bass out of them. it sounds like what would fit your needs the best is a good 10" installed in a fiberglass enclosure utilizing some dead space in your trunk. the 10w3 is a good speaker, you might also want to consider the Image Dynamics IDQ10 or CDT cast audiophile excursion 10". I recommend these because those are what I am looking at. they are low powered (high efficiency) subs that require a smaller box (great for hiding the sub in a small fiberglass enclosure) and will give you tight clean bass.

have you looked at amps? this is a major thing to miss, and will likely bump you over your budget once you figure in the amp, install, and wiring. I would suggest a good 5 channel amp to keep it simple.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:55 PM
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Thx for the input on subs. I wasn't planning on figuring out the amp situation untill i decided on the speaker setup. I know 1k is a bit tight for the speakers, but i am a little flexible on that. I was also planning on buying used or on ebay as much as possible to shave a few hundred off the build. Is there anything i should look out for / be concerned with when buying used car audio?

Originally Posted by VWdude View Post
i cant answer the android question as i know its been done but i dont know what devices you need to make it work.

$1k is not very much considering what you want. focal speakers are decent (of course the utopia is incredible) and if you like the sound then go for them.

For the subwoofer situation, I dont recommend free air subs. you dont get very tight bass out of them. it sounds like what would fit your needs the best is a good 10" installed in a fiberglass enclosure utilizing some dead space in your trunk. the 10w3 is a good speaker, you might also want to consider the Image Dynamics IDQ10 or CDT cast audiophile excursion 10". I recommend these because those are what I am looking at. they are low powered (high efficiency) subs that require a smaller box (great for hiding the sub in a small fiberglass enclosure) and will give you tight clean bass.

have you looked at amps? this is a major thing to miss, and will likely bump you over your budget once you figure in the amp, install, and wiring. I would suggest a good 5 channel amp to keep it simple.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:52 PM
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generally speaking quality new stuff can be quality used stuff. example: my mcintosh amp i bought used. its over 10 years old, and i spent $500 on it. it performs better than most new amps because it was well taken care of and is built with quality components. So if you want used stuff, make sure it was good to begin with. you want to know why its being sold and what it was run with. get as many pictures as possible, and if you can get the serial number, check with the manufacturer to see if they have repaired it.

if buying ebay, check the person feedback. look to see what else they have sold. if they sell lots of refurbished stuff then i would steer clear. there is nothing wrong with refurbished stuff, but you dont know the who did it, if they knew what they were doing, and if they used components as good or better than OEM.

most of what i have spoken of applies to amps. for subs, its pretty easy. have them take a picture with a multimeter showing the number of ohms across the coil. you also shoudl research known issues with that model to see if its known for torn leads, over heating coils, and also check the s/n with the oem to see if its be refurbished.

btw what kind of engineer are you? I am an EE working in the medical industry.
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by VWdude View Post
generally speaking quality new stuff can be quality used stuff. example: my mcintosh amp i bought used. its over 10 years old, and i spent $500 on it. it performs better than most new amps because it was well taken care of and is built with quality components. So if you want used stuff, make sure it was good to begin with. you want to know why its being sold and what it was run with. get as many pictures as possible, and if you can get the serial number, check with the manufacturer to see if they have repaired it.

if buying ebay, check the person feedback. look to see what else they have sold. if they sell lots of refurbished stuff then i would steer clear. there is nothing wrong with refurbished stuff, but you dont know the who did it, if they knew what they were doing, and if they used components as good or better than OEM.

most of what i have spoken of applies to amps. for subs, its pretty easy. have them take a picture with a multimeter showing the number of ohms across the coil. you also shoudl research known issues with that model to see if its known for torn leads, over heating coils, and also check the s/n with the oem to see if its be refurbished.

btw what kind of engineer are you? I am an EE working in the medical industry.

Awesome tips, thanks. I'm a mechanical engineer working in the medical industry. I'm familiar with acoustics and the physics behind audio, i just don't have any experience with it
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:11 PM
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I would recommend buying your speakers new from a place like Solen. You will get much better bang for your buck. 1K for speakers can go a very long way. From a value point of view, this is your best best.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:58 AM
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haha im an electrical engineer working in the medical industry. what do you do, what company do you work for?

I am a field service engineer. I used to work for Siemens, but i now work for a 3rd party company (better pay and hours).

BTW, back on subject, it never hurts to check out local shops and see what they have. I went subwoofer shopping, and got mine at 10% above cost. they also offered to sponsor me, which was a complete shocker. So i guess the moral is, you never know whats out there until you check it out and ask a few questions.
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