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Discussion Starter #1
I did my own audio upgrade on my Miata, but with a new baby time is a rare commodity so I'll be taking my Mazda 6 to a local stereo shop after I get the car, to get better speakers and an amp added.

I was wondering if any of you guys had gone this route, and if so, what equipment you went with? I'm mainly looking for clarity at a good volume. I don't need a sub or neighborhood-shaking volumes. (I'm 37, waaay way past those early 20's days of wanting to make sure everyone in the neighborhood knew what good taste in music I had. :)

Anyway, any recommendations would be appreciated. I'm getting the Mazda MP3 player head unit, so I'll probably wait until that's installed to get the amp/speakers.
 

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Reading Topic: Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?

What kind of music do you listen to, and what is your budget? I'm already getting a few suggestions in mind.

Oh, and from your description, I'm figuring a single sub would be best, but how much space can you live with being taken up in your trunk?
 

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Reading Topic: Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?

Dagnabbit. Wrote a long reply and it told me I wasn't logged in, and when I hit "back" the reply was gone. :-(

Anyway, I'm a young fogey at 37, so most of the stuff I listen to is five-plus year-old rock: R.E.M., Cracker, Joan Osborne, Tenacious D, Garbage, Floyd, Steely Dan, Lemonheads, The Who, blues, and the obligatory 80's mixes...

On budget, I'd like to keep it around $500 or so installed, so nothing too elaborate.

Would like to keep the trunk open, so not sure about a sub. Can you put a small one under a seat?
 

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Nope, a "decent" sub won't fit. BUT, this is what I'm thinking for you:


And damn... $500 isn't a lot, but I'm gonna try my best here. :) Note that all the links I give are REPUTABLE dealers, and I'm trying my best to find authorised dealers for you too.

First off, we're obviously going to either use an amp with high (speaker) level inputs, or an LOC, so we don't have to deal with changing the head unit (which for now, is difficult, and expensive). We're going to leave the rear speakers hooked up to the factory amp. because for one, rear speakers aren't neccessary, and two, well, if the passengers are in the back seat, we can't care TOO much about their listening pleasure, can we? (Your child excluded, of course)

Anyways, in the front, we have:

Directed Studio 3065 components for $230 shipped. These aren't the cheapest out there, but their quality FAR exceeds the price, and blows away lesser sets. I saw a set of MB Quarts for a lot less, on sale on the same site, but frankly, you'll be happier with the Directeds. It's a mellow, smooth sound, as opposed to the harshness of the MB Quart tweets.

And for the sub, we just need something for the kick of the bass drum, and low end fill, nothing outlandish or ostentatious. For that, we'll use:

CDT Audio 10" MS100 minibox sub for $80

Now, for the amp, we're going to use one of my favorite budget brands, and what I'll be using to compete (initially):

US Acoustics USX4065 for $123.

That amp will send 65w to each side of the components at 12.9v, and about 80w at normal operating, 13.8 voltage. The rear channels will be bridged to the sub, sending it 160w at 12.9v, and about 200w at 13.8. you can mount the sub in a TINY .45 cubic foot box, the amp can be mounted on (or IN) the seatback, and it'll take up almost NO space whatsoever.

That also leaves about $70 for wiring, so we're going to head over to KnuKonceptz, to get you a wiring kit:

KnuKonceptz 8g 4 channel amp kit for $24. All you'll have to do is get a 40 amp AGU fuse from Radio Shack to replace the 50 amp unit it comes with. What's that, $0.50? :)

Last but not least, we need a Line Out Converter. Dave Navone of Autosound2000 makes the best LOCs in the business, so we're going to get:

Navone N774 LOC for $45.

Now, that adds up to just about $500, leaving you to either install this yourself (not recommended for the first timer) or pay about $150 to an installer to do things right. This should give you a good setup for alt-rock, classic rock, ect. and it won't kill your ears either. A system worthy to be called "stealthy". :)

All the dealer links I gave you were for authorised seller, except for the US Acoustics amp. Crutchfield has them for ALMOST the same price ($9 more); but I wouldn't trust the quality of the newer USB line. However, with Crutchfield's lifetime support, if you ever have a problem you can always swap it out for a new one.

Damn, I'm good. :p
 

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Reading Topic: Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?

Entropism,

Wow. That's certainly VERY helpful! Thanks! I appreciate the time you took to put that system together. And going up to about $700 installed is doable.

I'll read up on that equipment, and talk to a couple of local installers to see what they'd think about putting it all together for me...

I do have MB Quarts in my Miata, and they're a huge improvement over the OEM speakers, but the Miata isn't exactly an optimal acoustic environment for judging the quality of an audio system. :)
 

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Denny, putting systems together is a passion of mine, and I seem to have a knack for it. Trust me, doing that was MY pleasure. I guess it lets me live vicariously (sp?) without having to spend the money swapping out equipment all the time. Either way, I had fun doing it. And if you were ABLE to spend more on the front components, I urge you to do so. For about $325-375, JL Audio makes the XR components, which are dollar for dollar the best out there up until the "top end" lines of speakers. Phaze audio, a tiny company once owned by Precision Power, made WONDERFUL speakers before they went out of business. Now, they're collectors items and are selling for about $800-1000, as compared to the $500 they were new. I happened to grab a few sets new, and I sell them for $350 (because I need the money, this economy sucks). And no, I'm not pushing my speakers on you, I'd prefer for you to listen to them yourself beforehand, and THEN tell me they're not amazing. That's all I can think of for that price range, once you get higher up in price, then you have quite a few more choices.
 

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Reading Topic: Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?

Entropism,

I'd love to spend more and get something acoustically astonishing. But we have a new baby (which is why I'm going to the 6 from the Miata); and I really need to draw the line...

And frankly, I appreciate good-sounding audio, but I'm not a hardcore audiophile. I just have good enough ears to have noticed that the stock speaker setup in the 6 really, really stinks! :)
 

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Then you'll appreciate that setup just fine. And I sort of know about new babies. My niece just turned 1, and I have the luxury of spoiling her rotten, while still retaining the coveted ability of going home at the end of the night. :)
 

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Reading Topic: Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?

About those Phaze speakers, are they new, are they the ottomusic speakers?

And, heh, did read your suggestions above, bought dei 3055 some 3 years ago to my brother :). Good choice.
 

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Peter, Phaze was owned by PPI more than a few years ago. 4 maybe? 6? They went out of business at least 2 years ago, probably 3. I'll try to see who made the drivers, although I believe they were produced in house.
 

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Reading Topic: Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?

Entropism, what are your thoughts on Boston Accoustics car speakers? I was looking at a couple of their 5x7/6x8s and some of their subwoofers as well.

Recently traded in my 84 Ford F-150 that had Kenwood 6 1/2s in the doors and MTX Thunder 6000 12 inch subs in a sealed box, so I want something with a similar thump, but much better clarity all around.
 

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Well, Kenwood and MTX are just about the least clear you can get out of the major brands, so Boston would be a major improvement, BUT.... IMHO, Boston is overpriced crap. There's a lot better out there for the money, as long as you don't go by the brands the chains carry. For coaxials, you can't go wrong with Diamond M3s. I had them, I loved them, (and I'm selling a used set of 6.5" coaxials cheap) and they perform well for the money.

I'd advise against 5x7 or 6x8s, just install a normal sized speaker, like a 7" (with minimal cutting) or 6.5". It'll opejn up your optionsa tremendous amount, and the sound quality will increase too.

How about this: Give me a budget, and I'll see what I can do for you. As far as cheaper subs are concerned, Adire Audio is the way to go. $125 for their 12" (The Shiva); $150 for the 15" (The Tempest) and their supersubs, the brahmas, are more expensive, but some of the ebst subs on the market.
 

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Reading Topic: Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?

Budget: Between $700-$800

Also, as I understand it, the Bose system has the subwoofer mounted against the trunk lid on the inside? Can that be pulled off as well. I would like to keep it down to a single sub if possible and keep it hidden aa best as possible.
 

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Replying to Topic 'Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?'

back in the day when I had my dodge neon I had one JL 15 and two JL 10s in the trunk. This was one hell of a combo. It was one hell of a price aswell. The 15 hit real low and boomy and the 10s hit hard and tight. It was a good combo. Good luck.:)
 

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84, You're going to want to pull that Bose sub out, because A: the hole left from it will help transfer bass your new sub puts out into the cabin, and B: you NEVER want 2 subs of different sizes/brands/enclosure types playing the same notes. It gets ugly... Very ugly.

Anyways, Are you sure you want coaxials? With that budget, you could put a very nice set of components in there, with money left over to give you a nice amp & low end.

Anyways, let me know what you want out of your system, what music you listen to and if you want it loud or clear.
 

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Replying to Topic 'Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?'

QUOTE
Originally posted by Entropism


            84, You're going to want to pull that Bose sub out, because A: the hole left from it will help transfer bass your new sub puts out into the cabin, and B: you NEVER want 2 subs of different sizes/brands/enclosure types playing the same notes.  It gets ugly...  Very ugly.

Anyways, Are you sure you want coaxials?  With that budget, you could put a very nice set of components in there, with money left over to give you a nice amp & low end.

Anyways, let me know what you want out of your system, what music you listen to and if you want it loud or clear.[/b]
Sorry, forgot to mention I DO NOT have the Bose system, which is why I was inquiring about how it is setup :D

I'm a pretty new audiophile, so recommend whatever you feel is a good setup on that budget. Main part is I want minimum visability of the system, as much hidden away as possible.
 

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No problem, a stealth install... but what kind of music do you listen to?

Do you want a system that will boom on rap music, or note the subtle nuances of classical or jazz?
 

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Reading Topic: Replying to Topic 'Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?'

Mostly rock/alternative rock. Don't need anything that will wake up the neighborhood, but enough for me to enjoy in the car and maybe a little bit right outside the car too :)
 

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OK then, here we go:

CDT Classic 6.5" CL-6XB Braxial. Their Braxial is actually a component set, with a bracket mounting the tweeter above the midbass. As far as coaxials are concerned (And this is NOT a true coaxial, it IS a component set, and is wired as such); CDT Braxials are about as good as you can get. The Classics are their lower end line, but hey, we have a budget to adhere to.

CL-6XB - $278

Adire Audio Shiva 12" subwoofer. The Adire subs are THE bang for your buck subs right now. nothing really comes close in terms of dollars/performance ratio. Of course, having this subs has it's trade-offs. For one, this sub is ugly as shit. I'm sorry, but if this sub was a child, Nelson Muntz would give it a double "Ha HA!". Second drawback is that it takes up quite a bit of enclosure space. Thirdly, it's Ohm configuration isn't ideal when running a single sub, but we'll get around that. BUT, you're getting one of the best subs for your money, directly from the factory, and Adire Audio couldn't have better customer service. If you have ANY questions, talk to Dan Wiggens, he's in charge, and he gets shit done, no doubt about it.

Adire Shiva - $125

US Acoustics USB-2080 and USB2150 (OR Lightning Audio S4.600). Now, see, this comes down to you. Personally, I'd take the US Acoustic amps over the lightning. The power ratio is better between the subs and components (Sorry, BRAXIALS...lol) with the US Acoustics, they look better, they push more power, ect. ect. However, they ARE two different amps, while the Lightning is one. Usually, you'd want the seperate amps, but you're stressing a stealth installation. I'd go US Acoustics, but the choice is yours.

As for stats, the US Acoustic combo is RATED for 80w x2 (components) and 450 mono for the sub. However, with the voltage your alternator will feed it, you're looking at 100 x2 in front, and about 550w on the sub. (20% increase.) With the lightning, you're pretty much getting the rated power, of 60w x2 and 500w mono on the sub.

US Acoustics USB-2080 - $90

US Acoustics USB-2150 - $170

Lightning Audio S4.600 - $260

Navone LOC - $45

KnuKonceptz 4g amplifier kit - $30 For the USB-2150

Knukonceptz 8g amplifier kit - $18 For the USB-2080

Knukonceptz 4g 4 channel amplifier kit - $36 For the Lightning S4.600 (if you choose this amp instead)

And that leaves you about $50 extra to play around with. Keep in mind, installation will cost another $200 or so, especially if you want everything stealth. I'd recommend the amps mounted on or inside your back seats, and you can either put the sub in a plain cube box in the corner, or even putting a panel across your trunk, parallel to your rear seatbacks, making the trunk seem smaller, yet you'll have the sub box mounted flush with the panel, and the amps mounted either inside, or flush mounted too.
 

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Reading Topic: Replying to Topic 'Professionally installed amp/speaker upgrade?'

Nice setup, I think I will go with it. Will there be any overheating problems with those amps hidden away or up against the seats?
 
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