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"Hand me the aux cord."


What is it?
An aftermarket sound system replaces all speakers in the vehicle, and typically adds an amplifier and 1-3 subwoofers. This review will focus on a basic aftermarket system (front components, rear coaxials, subwoofer(s), five channel amplifier).

What's nice?
A properly done system will blow 99% of listeners away, even on our stock headunits. The car gains unimaginable clarity in music, and not to mention more volume. With a sub or subs, your nose hair will vibrate from the bass drops. One can get a stellar system for <$1500 (see my own), and it'll outmatch any factory system, and probably for the same price. It can be tuned based on your style of music. Most amplifiers come with a remote knob to adjust how hard the subwoofers hit. Your girl will get a kick out of hearing her favorite songs like no other. My system with the windows up gets loud enough to hurt your ears, while still maintaining clarity and bass. After volume level 45, bass drops off, but speakers are still very clear up to 52-53 (out of 63). Beyond that, muddled sound. On the highway with the windows down, one can still bang.

What's not nice?
If you listen to bass heavy music, your car will fall apart. Not really, but it feels like it will. Stock, not fancy mirrors will physically shake themselves apart and fall down. Your front doors, rear doors, mirror, and rear package assembly (rear deck) will vibrate. Dynamat helps this. Outside, your plate, trunklid, taillights, fuel door, and rear bumper will all shake and vibrate. Subwoofers take up a lot of trunk space depending on size and how much punch you want. When you ride in a car with a factory system, you'll notice, and hate it. Amplifiers draw power, thus requiring a capacitor or larger alternator, or second battery. If you don't get either, your headlights will dim when the bass hits.

Ease of install:
I had a sound shop do my install. From what I've seen and read, it's not terribly difficult, but something that requires experience. All four door panels come off, along with airbag-related interior trim. Thick wiring must be run, proper grounding. Then there's sound tuning and all. I recommend taking it to a shop.

Overall, I would high recommend anyone who cares about music to upgrade their system. Unless you open the trunk, no one will really know there's a system in there until you start playing it.


 
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