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Srikumar

Help Needed in Car Audio System Selection

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I am looking to change the audio system in my Jeep Cherokee. Currently the audio receiver unit is a Pioneer DEH-4250SD with 50W x 4 rating which I am currently going to continue. The 5.25" front and rear speakers seem to be the original from the factory and are completely worn out. 

I intend to buildup a good quality sound system, but since I am on a very tight budget I felt I will start changing one component at a time and hopefully in a few months would have a sound system that I can really enjoy. I plan to replace the front speakers at the first stage, then next  the rear speakers, then get an amp and woofer.  But, I need some help in defining the final system so that I am moving in the right direction

Some of the questions I have are:

1. With the current audio receiver being rated for 50W x 4 which I presume is the RMS wattage, would it be ok if i install speakers of higher RMS rating so that if I upgrade the receiver unit in the future it would improve the sound quality at that stage

2. Should I go with 4-way speakers or 2-way speakers, full range speakers or component speakers?

3. I do get a lot of road noise at high speeds, is there any kind of dampeners that can be used to negate this? Or can you define a sound system that can take this into account, because I am sure that this issue would be faced in convertibles or car with soft tops as well.

4. How do I decide what should be the amp and sub rating?

 

I am quite new to this, so do appreciate your advise and suggestions.

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Hi Sri; Lately i made a sound system for my Cherokee. I used sony xplod 3 way speaker for front(https://uae.souq.com/ae-en/sony-xplod-13cm/s/?as=1). I didnt change the back ones(they are still working). For subwoofer and ampfi i found second hand pionner 760w ampfi and 1300w subwoofer. I bought them for 400AED(from dubizzle). I paid 250aed for cables and fixing in Ajman. If you want to listen how it sounds we can meet and you can try. I am really happy with my system. 

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@sertac, thanks for the feedback. Would you know what was the RMS rating for your head unit and front speakers? Also, I thought normally since the amplifier feeds the subwoofer the sub power rating has to match the amp power rating. 

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Here is my current audio system build - Pioneer (all the way), that I and Barry have built last year. SUPER happy with the output and loud enough to have crisp detail with enough bass for little outdoor gathering even.

  • Pioneer TS-A1686S - 350W - 60W RMS (Front speaker) - 150 AED
  • Pioneer TS-A6996S - 650W - 100W RMS (Rear Speaker) - 200 AED
  • Pioneer TS-S20 - 200W - 20mm amorphous-titanium-coated dome tweeters - 250 AED
  • Pioneer DEH-X4850FD - 100W x 4 Channel (Head unit) - 375 AED
  • Pioneer GM-D8604 - 1200W Class FD 4 Channel Bridgeable Car Amplifier - 500 AED
  • Oxygen free cable for wiring - 100 AED
  • High-quality AMP cables - 100 AED
  • Labor in 3 places - 300 AED

Total: 1975 AED

My strong advice is to first make up your mind 100% on which all components you want and then go with one shot buying and installation, as that will save you labor cost, time and hassle A LOT. I have done in 3 tranches and regret the time and money wastage.

For road noise, there are soundproofing ways that you can ask the sound installation guy to place it and seal all doors. Of course, it's not cheap though and it may cost in the range of 800 - 1000 AED additional.

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Hi, 

The 4x50 Watts on your head-unit are in reality hardly 4x22 Watts RMS. Upgrading with an amp will surely result in a big improvement in terms of sound quality. The fact that your original speaker size is a bit on the small side, will not result in a lot of power on the low frequencies. So adding a subwoofer will come in handy. Unless you are able to put bigger speakers in all your doors, then you might be happy to go without a subwoofer.

Full range speakers for your doors are fine. Better results will be achieved with component speakers on the front. Mainly you want to be able to point to separate tweeter directly towards yourself, which is not possible if the tweeter is in your door. 

Dampening the noise is surely possible. We used to put asphalt bitumen on the insides of the doors :) 

Pertaining your question on the wattage:

- For door-speakers: 50W RMS onwards is more than loud enough. Many speaker brands use wattages like max or PMPO (peak music power output) which are very very overrated and unrealistic. If you go for the big brands, just look at the RMS rating because this is at least a realistic value. 

- For subwoofers: Anything from 200W RMS up to a few thousands of W RMS is possible :) a good starter set is a 12" subwoofer for 200W RMS. Take into account the space it will need in the back of your car. If you want to go offroading and camping, it becomes a bit of a hassle imho. You can put plugs on it so it becomes removable, but also comes with some limitations. 

- For Amplifiers: Always make sure that your amp can deliver/match the RMS wattage of your speakers. There are many options available: 4 channel amps, 2 channel amps, amps which can be bridged, amps with onboard crossovers, etc.. etc... 

Chronologically in your case i would take the following route:

1) Look for a good component front speaker set in either the original size that fits, or if possible go for a bigger size. Pioneer, Sony, JBL are good entry level brands. Rockford Fosgate, Kicker, Polk Audio, JL Audio, Focal, Hertz, are more high-end but will set you back a decent buck and are more difficult to find here. 

2) Buy a decent 2 channel amp that can power the front speakers. Again Sony, Pioneer, JBL, Alpine, etc will give a good bang for the bucks. If possible go for an amp that has built-in crossovers. You can enable the highpass filter for your front speaker so you can make sure they only play stuff above 80hz. It will result in less rattling in your doors, and anything under 80 hertz will be for your sub anyway :)

3) Rear speakers: Less important imho. Buy some entry level ones and keep them on the headunit amp.

4) Subwoofer: 10 to 12" is the most chosen option due to power vs size. You can buy an additional amp to power it (2 channel amp that is bridged), or go for these active sub tubes with built-in amp.

I found a shop on SZ that sells Ground Zero stuff. Unfortunately they charge a bit too much like most shops here.

 

You didn't mention if you want to do this by yourselves or not. It is a nice hobby and if you have some basic knowledge about electricity and removing door panels, it is rather easy to do by yourselves. I made it my hobby many years back and the joy of installing, listening, and fine-tuning it is much higher than getting everything installed by a pro. But that is your choice of course and installing cost here in UAE is not that high.

Good luck !

 

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Thanks @Gaurav for the advice and @Frederic Nuyttens for the detailed explanation. It has given me some idea from where I need to get started.

I have one more question, while upgrading the system, do I need to check the capability of the existing car electric system, like alternators, electrical wires, etc

I think I should be able to install bigger speakers at the front, only might have to drill additional holes.

To your question on whether I would like to do it on my own or from outside, I prefer to do it myself as I have started enjoying working on the car and it will help if I need to tweak things later. I am sure that I will be making quite a few mistakes along the way, so let's see how it goes.

Thanks!!

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Hi there,

It goes without saying that your car's alternator, battery, and wiring should be in good and working condition, with or without installing additional equipment.

Basically, you will need to run another power wire straight from your battery's + towards your amp(s). Choosing the right size of cable is based on how powerful your amps are:

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-1TnffuYRpSC/learn/learningcenter/car/cable_gauge_chart.html

I'm not good with gauge sizes, i used 10mm2 cable if i'm not mistaken (7 AWG). You can buy the complete cable sets on s o u q or downtown which will contain the following:

1) Power Cable (red) with fuse and fuse holder:

Avoid drilling holes in your firewall (metal wall between your engine bay and the inside of your car). Just look at which location the cabling from your engine bay goes towards the dashboard. This will normally pass through some kind of rubber. Through this rubber you should be able to pinch a small hole and then put your power cable through it. Now guide your power cable to the back of the car where your amp will be located. You'll need to remove the upholstery/carpets/sidepanels and look for the shortest way possible. 

2) (Ground cable) Black:

This will be a short piece of black cable of the same thickness as your power cable. Connect this one to a GOOD grounded chassis point nearest to your amp. with GOOD ground i mean it has to be a bolt going into the metal frame of your car. Use an ohm meter to be sure that the grounding is actually in touch with the frame. In many cars, the bolts that are used to mount the seat-belts to your car frame are good for this. If nothing is available then you could drill a hole in the metal panel, remove the paint, and bolt it to the frame. But use this as last resort to avoid corrosion or hitting something which you did not intend to hit like your gas tank. :-o

3) RCA Cable:

This is the cable that sends the audio signal from your head-unit to the amp. DO NOT put this wire together with your power cable in the same cable trunking. In some cases it will result in humming or noise when you accelerate the car. Just try to find a different route. Normally the power cable goes through the left side of the car (the side where your battery is), while the speaker cable and signal cables go through the right side.

4) Remote Cable:

This is a simple wire that you'll need to connect to the headunit's "remote" connector. It sends 12 Volts to the amplifier to switch it on when the headunit is switched on. Most RCA signal cables have a small third extra wire along the core that you can use, but any wire (or some extra speaker wire) will do.

5) Speaker Wire:

Regular audio speaker wire 2,5mm2 will do to cable the speakers all the way up to the amp. You can choose to tap into them through the original connector behind the head-unit, or you can pull new cables all the way up to the speaker itself (not so easy to do with front speakers as you'll need to pass through the original rubber door cabling).

You'll need the following equipment:

-Soldering iron (if you decide to solder instead of using crimping lugs). I prefer soldering any time.

-Crimping lugs (forks, male and female).

-Electrical tape.

-Multimeter.

To identify which speaker is which in your cabling, you can use a 1.5 AA volt battery :). Just hold the speaker wire on the + and - for a second and the popping sound will get you to identify which speaker is which.

Try to take into account the correct + and - connections of your speakers. If wired incorrectly it will result in a phase cancellation fault which you cannot hear easily, but results in far less bass coming through the speaker because one speaker moves outwards while the other moves inwards during pumping out sound, resulting in a cancellation. If you are not sure which is the + or -, just wire up everything and when you play a song with some good bass, try shifting the balance from L to R on your head-unit. You will notice that suddenly you will have more bass out of 1 speaker instead of 2. That means your + and - are reversed :).

Most-probably you WILL break some of these side-panel plastic thingys that pop into the holes and keep your doorpanels and sidepanels in their place. The older the car, the more likelier because they are detoriorated and will break off very easily. But that's a small pain compared with the joy of having a good sound system.8-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Frederic Nuyttens
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Awesome input from @Frederic Nuyttens, I wish I knew you in person while setting up my system. Your explanation and pain points remind me of my journey and I'm sure @Barry can relate to it as well. Keep going, buddy.

@skumar83 THE MOST important decision before anything you need to make is the choice of setup with or without woofer so that can size things accordingly. Previous explanation of Fredrick goes for the system with woofer, so if you go with that build and minus woofer, you will not enjoy. 

I was very clear from the beginning that I can't afford a woofer space in my dinky boot that is already loaded with tons of off-road equipment and that's why I went for the real powerful rear speaker that deliver door-shattering bass if you turn up the bass remote from AMP (remote is place next to driver).

Finding the head unit that delivers 100 RMS is must and also it's pain in entry-level setup. Pioneer only has one system that delivers 100 RMS x 4 channel  DEH-X4850FD.

Just to give you an idea, entry-level setup costs from 2000 - 3000 AED, Pro level cost in the range of 5k - 6k with likes of Focal, JBL, Harman Kardon etc. Competition level cost in range 10K - Sky is the limit.

 

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14 hours ago, skumar83 said:

@sertac, thanks for the feedback. Would you know what was the RMS rating for your head unit and front speakers? Also, I thought normally since the amplifier feeds the subwoofer the sub power rating has to match the amp power rating. 

Hi @skumar83 i have no idea about my head unit RMS. It is a chinese(i guess, it says toyota but i dont think so) double din. I dont have good knowledge about music systems. I just wanted to hear clear sound when i give it high volume. With the upgrades i did, it felt good enough for me(maybe it is not good for a professional). Later on i am planing to change my head unit. I hate the look of double din touch screen in a 2000 model car. I want to get something look more original for my car. 

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Thanks everyone for all your inputs.

@Frederic Nuyttens, I am going to take up your suggestion of the system and will shortly post it as well.

The component speakers come with their own crossovers which helps filter for frequency between the tweeter and the woofer. Are you suggesting that the amp should have an additional crossover to filter between the front and rear speakers? Also, if I am connecting rear speakers directly to the head unit which in my case might be underpowered (22W RMS), will it be ok or should I get a 4 channel amp and connect the rear speakers to the amp.

@Gaurav, I am planning to put a subwoofer as I have a good compartment in the rear where it can be placed without reducing any storage space. 

Thanks for the input on the pricing, which comes to my final question, is there any place or shop where we can get good used equipment as branded audio systems are generally quite rugged and have quite a decent life, if handled well.

I feel all the more excited, after getting your inputs, to start working on this mini project.

Thanks guys !!

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