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Car audio system upgrade advice needed


Krishna R

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Hello @Gaurav @Frederic,

I am currently looking to change the audio setup in my Xterra 2010. 

The head unit is stock along with the speakers but the speakers are torn. 

I don't want earth shattering bass and the build is a minimum budget one as this is just the weekend offroader. Looking for a richer and clearer sound overall with decent bass.

I am planning to go with,

image.png.9c708d27f26581e8003ef85e59569e1d.png

 

and

image.png.b84565fd2fcd561438a4d47484dcba1f.png

 

Should I change the head unit (couldnt find the pioneer 100wx4 @Gaurav. I can only see 50Wx4 available) Or keep the head unit stock and add an amplifier. 

Depending on performance, I might go for an under seat sub in the future.

Your thoughts are welcome please.

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18 hours ago, Krishna R said:

Hello @Gaurav @Frederic,

I am currently looking to change the audio setup in my Xterra 2010. 

The head unit is stock along with the speakers but the speakers are torn. 

I don't want earth shattering bass and the build is a minimum budget one as this is just the weekend offroader. Looking for a richer and clearer sound overall with decent bass.

I am planning to go with,

image.png.9c708d27f26581e8003ef85e59569e1d.png

 

and

image.png.b84565fd2fcd561438a4d47484dcba1f.png

 

Should I change the head unit (couldnt find the pioneer 100wx4 @Gaurav. I can only see 50Wx4 available) Or keep the head unit stock and add an amplifier. 

Depending on performance, I might go for an under seat sub in the future.

Your thoughts are welcome please.

Hi @Krishna R do not focus too much on the wattage as most brands advertise 500 or 1000 Watts while in reality this is called PMPO (Peak Music Power Output) and not representative for the actual output. The actual wattage will be expressed in RMS.

In an offroad vehicle i have seen multiple issues occuring with external amplifiers, this is mostly because quite often we will have sand getting in the vehicle, and the wires and cabling in general are having a hard time from all that shaking and rattling. For that main reason i would advise you to get a decent head-unit installed (Pioneer, Sony, or equivalent) and just connect the 4 new speakers without an external amplifier. It will sound pretty decent for an offroad vehicle. You can always add an external amplifier later.

A subwoofer is also something i would avoid in an offroad car. It takes up a lot of space and gets damaged easily. 

Make sure to double check the correct dimensions of the speakers you want to buy (yours seem correct). A good alternative for the Pioneer speakers is Infinity, or JBL GTO Series.

Upgrading the Stereo System in Your 2005-2012 Nissan Xterra (crutchfield.com)

 

 

 

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In my car after few years, amp, cabling and head unit all failed due to regular offroading. So running now with the same Fredy advise, to run 4 speaker directly with head unit without an Amp.

It's not wow output but better to have reasonable sound than no sound at all I suffered when my amp, head unit and wiring failed one after the other.

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Will recommend you check https://www.crutchfield.com/ they normally will have car specific combinations that can choose from. After that you need to get someone dependable to install, depending on availability of the parts here as per your budget.

I upgraded my head unit from a 7-inch Jeep OEM to a 10-inch Stinger Off-road and had a person install it for the cheap towards Al Nadha or Al Qusais area, they took a few jabs at it & could finally manage it. It was a difficult install because we don't do such things here in Dubai and you know instructions are for pussies.

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Thank you for your kind advice @Gaurav @Frederic and @Looper.

So i will go ahead with the rear speakers mentioned above and a component speaker for the front. Pioneer single din head unit ( i dont like the large screens) with no amp or sub.

Hope that would satisfy!

 

Shall update here after installation

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So now when u r set, do research and spend the most money on high quality/power/rms speaker and better quality head unit, as my previous Pioneer head unit had 100 RMS per speaker by default, whereas most offer 50 RMS only.

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I have an opposing take to the above. I did actually go the full monte on my internal speaker setup, and it is still hands down the best upgrade I made overall. But audio is subjective and you need to know that you can discern the difference.

KNOW WHAT YOU LISTEN TO
I spend upwards of 6hrs to get to and from drives deep in Abu Dhabi, 4hrs in Ras Al Khaimah, 3 hrs in Dubai, and 2hrs in Sharjah. My Patrol is also my daily driver so I take it everywhere. Also, on Newbie & Fewbie drives, I listen to music offroad. To put this into perspective, I logged 29,000 minutes of streaming on Spotify in 2022 ~ 79 mins on average per day. So music and podcasts are extremely important to me.

Before you go into a build on audio, look at the top genres of music that you consume. For me it is classical, electronic, indie and a smattering of hip-hop. This meant that I needed vocal clarity, good separation of individual instrumentation, and the ability to deliver clean bass (not earth shattering). I also wanted to listen to my speakers down low.

EACH COMPONENT HAS A ROLE
I did do incremental builds with my Pioneer head-unit and a 3-way front speaker & 2-way rear speaker setup. While the head unit has a decent amplifier, it is nowhere near as good as a dedicated amp. A dedicated 4 channel amp meant that my headunit became a digital signal processor (DSP) accurately setting in the right delays while the amp did the heavy lifting of powering the speakers. It also meant that I could accurately control passover frequencies between my individual speaker layers. The difference in layering when connected to good source quality music is night & day. I recently tested Tidal HiFi Plus and the FLAC-level source audio was a different beast.

SUBWOOFERS
When it comes to subwoofers, I agree with @Frederic, that they take up too much place. I got a portable unit and it has been impossible to manage. I intend to build a dedicated ported box for this in the near future because your speakers should just not be messing around with frequencies on the lower end of the spectrum. They just cannot deliver fidelity there.

DON'T FORGET SOUND DEADENING
One crucial addition that you must do is invest more in "sound deadening". Don't skimp on this. Our cars are loud, and with AT tyres, and they blunt way in which they cut through air, they are loud all the time. Sound deadening will help reduce cabin sounds down a few decibels which is all you need to isolate the sound from your speakers.

HEAD-UNIT - watch outs!

No local installer will tell you this but because of the chip shortage, there were tons of American units in the market. Please don’t buy them even if you’re offered them. Most of them don’t have the same steering control interface as EU spec, and they are locked to only odd numbers on the FM so any even decimal numbered FM station will not work.

And finally, as for dust getting into the car, you have to live with this but a regular cleanup has kept my equipment relatively unimpacted. For the amps, I have casings that protect it with some mesh to ensure heat dissipation. My audio needs outrank my offroader needs. A happy cabin is one I can spend more time in regardless of the terrain I'm in.

I am at the other end of the spectrum above 😛 

Edited by munkybizness
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28 minutes ago, munkybizness said:

I have an opposing take to the above. I did actually go the full monte on my internal speaker setup, and it is still hands down the best upgrade I made overall. But audio is subjective and you need to know that you can discern the difference.

I spend upwards of 6hrs to get to and from drives deep in Abu Dhabi, 4hrs in Ras Al Khaimah, 3 hrs in Dubai, and 2hrs in Sharjah. My Patrol is also my daily driver so I take it everywhere. Also, on Newbie & Fewbie drives, I listen to music offroad. To put this into perspective, I logged 29,000 minutes of streaming on Spotify in 2022 ~ 79 mins on average per day. So music and podcasts are extremely important to me.

I did do incremental builds with my Pioneer head-unit and a 3-way front speaker & 2-way rear speaker setup. While the head unit has a decent amplifier, it is nowhere near as good as a dedicated amp. A dedicated 4 channel amp meant that my headunit became a digital signal processor (DSP) accurately setting in the right delays while the amp did the heavy lifting of powering the speakers. It also meant that I could accurately control passover frequencies between my individual speaker layers. The difference in layering when connected to good source quality music is night & day. I recently tested Tidal HiFi Plus and the FLAC-level source audio was a different beast.

When it comes to subwoofers, I agree with @Frederic, that they take up too much place. I got a portable unit and it has been impossible to manage. I intend to build a dedicated ported box for this in the near future because your speakers should just not be messing around with frequencies on the lower end of the spectrum. They just cannot deliver fidelity there.

And finally, as for dust getting into the car, you have to live with this but a regular cleanup has kept my equipment relatively unimpacted. For the amps, I have casings that protect it with some mesh to ensure heat dissipation.

One crucial addition that you must do is invest more in "sound deadening". Don't skimp on this. Our cars are loud, and with AT tyres, and they blunt way in which they cut through air, they are loud all the time. Sound deadening will help reduce cabin sounds down a few decibels which is all you need to isolate the sound from your speakers.

As daily driver and music lover this is indeed a bliss to enjoy music in the best possible way and i totally agree with the direction you went. 

This used to be one of my hobbies back in Belgium and i met wonderful people in this world. We did both IASCA competitions based on audio quality, as well as DB-Drag races (louder is better). This scene has slowly faded out due to the fact that new cars came with much better stock soundsystems and the police and car inspection started to crack down on tuners and people with 9 subwoofers in the trunk :) 

In UAE the number of high quality shops is extremely limited. You will indeed need to do extensive research to find the unicorns and be completely transparant with your wishes and how to execute it.

Reading your post catapulted me back to these good old days of looking for the newest Focal or MBQuart speakers, Rockford or Audison amplifiers, and JL audio subwoofers..

 

 

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@Frederic, now you’re giving me goosebumps 🤩 There is a guy I ran into in Al Quoz who was doing exactly what you’re talking about in the back boot of a Lada. The moment I saw it I was in love and terrified of it both.

And you’re absolutely right about finding decent shops in the UAE. Very few know what they are doing. Actually, the person who installed my speakers did such a poor job at tuning that I spent a month learning to do it myself. And then played around until I had it right. One day, and I even know which moment, I was driving to Sweihan and suddenly I realized that my speakers had broken in. I can’t explain the ecstatic feeling when you realize that your speakers are finally breaking in to their true character like a child losing its milk teeth.

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