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Discussion Starter #1
I'm pretty much audio equipment ignorant and want to upgrade. The stereo is the most important accessory in my car. A close freind recommended a good auto audio shop in Woodland Hills, CA called Rodeo Audio. Actually two friends, both full time musicians have given this place the nod.

I've asked for door speaker replacements and installation of a sub woofer. These choices were made after research on the forum, I'll be dropping the car off for them to check out and determine how to do the job and how much. Currently they are considering building the sub woofer into the area behind the driver's seat if the space for extra speaker will work. Also, so as to allow me to keep it simple, they are suggesting an Alpine CD changer that should work with the existing deck. The feeling being that I can always change the deck later if the sound is not what I want. Amp will hopefully fit under a seat.

Can anyone comment on the direction I'm going here? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Anybody know or Rodeo Audio?

Thanks and be well, AJ
 
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Sounds like you're definitely on the right track. I recently replaced my sound system. I went with Eclipse 6.5" coaxials in the doors, build a knock-off (albeit somewhat inferior) Wayland Shoebox, got an Eclipse 8263 4ch amp and installed it under the passenger seat. Originally I wasn't planning on replacing the factory head unit, but that meant that I would have to cut wires :!: to install the amp. So I went with a Pioneer DEH-P3500 in the dash, which I am now rather unhappy with and hope to replace with a Blaupunkt.

You MAY be able to fit a sub in the rear speaker opening behind the seat. But I have my doubts. Failing that, your best bet, short of building a custom box for the unused space at the right rear fender (where the Shoebox fits) would be to just put a box in the cargo box.

One thing to pay a little attention to is the ammount of current any amplifiers you add will draw. Keep it under 30 amps at full mirror-blurring tilt. That's one of the reasons Wayland chose the Eclipse amp. That, and it is a great-sounding, award-winning amp.

The sub box I built suffers from a design flaw that prevents me from putting the aluminum shelf piece back in place over the box. Eventually I plan on redesigning it. If and when I get a good working design I will make the plans available for those who want it.
 

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El_Vacho,
Why are you unhappy with the pioneer DEH-P3500?
I replaced the speakers first with Rockford Fopsgate FNP2614U component speakers and it still sounded terrible, so they sold me the Pioneer, better but still awful. Then they sold me a four channel amp (for a sub later) It's better but the stock unit is much better in my Accord. It is all going back this week. Do you have any ideas? Quality of sound is much more important than volume.
Thanks
Rick
 
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RickM said:
El_Vacho,
Why are you unhappy with the pioneer DEH-P3500?
I replaced the speakers first with Rockford Fopsgate FNP2614U component speakers and it still sounded terrible, so they sold me the Pioneer, better but still awful. Then they sold me a four channel amp (for a sub later) It's better but the stock unit is much better in my Accord. It is all going back this week. Do you have any ideas? Quality of sound is much more important than volume.
Thanks
Rick
It sounds like your system may just need to be properly tweaked. There are a lot of settings on the Pioneer p3500, and some aren't very intuitive. Plus there's the variables the amp adds.

I found it to be a very good sounding deck, and is highly configurable. But when I bought it I thought it would play mp3 CD's and it doesn't. This was either me confusing it with another model, or perhaps Best Buy had it mis-labeled in their display. I have a very substantial mp3 collection, so this was rather annoying, but I got over it. Then I discovered that while the deck does support CD-TEXT, the manual says it "may not" read CD-TEXT on CD-R/CD-RW discs.

But most importantly, it has a serious issue where it seems to "forget" where it is on a CD-R. It will play them all the way through with no problem, but at some point it will stop advancing the track number, and thinks all additional tracks are the same track. So I can't skip forward or backward without hosing it and having to eject and reinsert the disc. As near as I can tell this seems to be an issue with pregaps. If I burn a disc without setting any pregaps, it should be fine. But if I were to, say, copy a CD in the most accurate way possible, it would have this problem. And the manual claims it is CD-R/CD-RW compatible. Obviously not completely.

I'm a total audio geek, so these things are very irksome to me. Your mileage may vary.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
El_vacho you sound like a guy who should answer my bottom line question. Deck aside, I've got $1500 to spend on a sub woofer, amp, cd-changer and speaker upgrade. I'm looking for quality not quantity if you know what I mean. Care to offer a components selection suggestion? Do I need to save up a little longer and spend more? I hope to run an iPod through this system so eventually I can bring my WHOLE library on the road. Thoughts on that? I'm a part time musician and play in a couple of bands so I often need to listen carefully to something, sigh, sometimes over and over (I did't say I was a really good one).

Any help is greatly appreciated. You'd think with my involvement in music I'd be knowledgable about equipment but alas I spent too much time playing and not enough learning about "stuff".

Thanks, Slideways
 
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Well, I don't have a lot of information on various gear, but I know what to look for. When I built my system, I based it heavily on the kit that John Wayland was selling for a while. I trusted his experience, but I also investigated each piece to make sure it would suit my needs. His recommended amp, the Eclipse 3640/36401/EA3422 is excellent, and perfectly suited to the Insight because of it's low current draw. The JL Audio 8w3 line of subs is also perfectly suited to the Insight because of it's very low enclosure volume requirements, and the fact that it sounds bigger than it is.

If you intend to install a sub in the empty space above the right wheel well, the JL Audio 8w3 is your best bet. I got an 8w3D4 (8 inch with dual 4 ohm voice coils).

The amp is less critical, but I recommend a 3 or 4 channel amp, and you want one with a reasonable current draw so as not to strain the Insight's 12 volt system and DC/DC converter. The Eclipse is a great-sounding, award-winning, very configurable amp, but it is kinda hard to find. They pop up on Ebay now and then. Get an amp with a variable crossover for each pair of channels.

For door speakers, I went with the wayland recommended Eclipse 8263's. I ran them for a while with just the stock head and no amp, and they're a HUGE improvement over the stock speakers, though by themselves they naturally lack some bottom end. If you want the best, go with a pair of MB Quart 6.5" coaxials. They may or may not require modifications to the speaker wells in the doors. I don't know. But they're super high-end reference speakers.

Any good head unit with RCA preamp outputs will do, but for convenence, one with 2 sets of pre-outs, one for mains and one for sub, is quite nice. This will allow you to tweak the balance between sub and mains right from the dash. For your iPod, you'll need either a built-in RCA line in, or an adaptor. Most adaptors connect to the CD changer DIN connector on the back of the head unit. I like my Pioneer DEH-P3500 other than the issues with playing CD-R discs. But I kinda wish I had gotten one with a buit in RCA line in.

I run my door speakers off of channels 1 and 2 on the Eclipse amp, and channels 3 and 4 go to each of the voice coils on the sub. On a single voice coil sub, I would run channels 3 and 4 in bridged mono mode. I have the high pass filter on ch 1 and 2 set at about 200 Hz, so the door speakers don't get any source material below that. The sub channels' low pass filter is also set at about 200Hz, so the sub doesn't get source material higher than that.

Hope this helps.

El Vacho
 
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