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  1. Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Just want to share...medyo mahaba lang...


    For several years I have worked sales floors specializing in car audio equipment. About half of my customers during that time were starting from scratch, didn't have a ton of money, and wanted ten times more than they could afford.
    One of the first things I would do is point out that people who come in and buy a complete full blown stereo for their cars usually have poorer end results than those who build their systems in stages over time. A simple reason for this is that if you build your stereo slowly, and listen to each thing you add, you are in a position to know exactly what you need based on the sound you have. The other person who buys it all at once can only guess.
    Lets assume that we have a sedan with a 4 speakers factory stereo cassette and everything works. You would like to replace all this with state of the art gear. The first thing to do is NOT to buy a new head unit and new speakers for the front and rear. That's right, don't do it, not yet. If you spend your first 500 bucks on that you will only improve the quality of what you have. It won't get much louder, and the bottom line is that there still wont be any BASS. The idea is to get as much audible difference as possible as soon as possible, which means from the first purchase. This first decision is the corner stone of your system design, and therefor the most important.
    In order to maximize your first purchase, we need to augment what you already have. And everything we buy must have a place in the finished system. By that I mean never buy something because of price and plan on replacing it with something better down the road. Since bass is what separates a high performance car stereo from an average one and the factory stereo has none, this is the place to focus. We will be adding bass to the factory system as stage one - the first purchase. To make this chapter hit home a little better let us bring in a couple new characters; Jane and Bill. Jane will be my customer who owns the sedan with a 4 speaker factory stereo cassette. Bill has an identical car, and Bill has just purchased an In-Dash High Power CD Player and 4 new speakers with his 500 bucks. Lets assume Bill and Jane both work at the same place and bump into each other in the lunch room almost daily.
    See, Bill started it, that's why Jane came into the store. Jane really has her eye on that new CD player... like Bills. Any sales person will tell you that I could have sold Jane that CD player and 4 new speakers, had her 500 bucks and had her out the door in about 15 minutes, or less. So why didn't I you ask? Because the sales business was pretty boring when you weren't waiting on someone, and since Jane and Bill are friends, somewhat competitive too I would guess, I knew that what I was about to do would, besides being the honest thing, create a domino effect of pure entertainment over the next several months as Bills superior male intellect goes up in flames trying to keep up with Jane.
    Back to Jane's car stereo. You know she tried to buy the in-dash CD player and 4 new speakers. I spent some time with Jane. Jane decided to augment her existing system by adding a sub woofer in the trunk, and a couple of other things. We decided that the place to start would be in selecting the amplifier to run the sub woofer. Compromise in Quality is out of the question, yet the BEST sub woofer amplifier cost almost 500 bucks so obviously that was out of the question for now. We selected a good high quality amplifier that gave a clean 100 (real) watts. It would be ideal for running a sub woofer at a volume that would serve to augment the factory stereo and later on be used as a mid and high frequency amp. That was 200 bucks. Then we built a no compromise sub woofer enclosure specially engineered for her car. That was 150 bucks. We selected an EFFICIENT 10" woofer with a lower power rating instead of an INEFFICIENT by comparison 10" woofer with a very large power rating. This was 60 bucks. Then we selected a pair of tweeters from the separates display. They were 50 bucks. The rest went for an amp install kit, and a line-level adapter to convert the rear speaker signal into an RCA type adapter that could feed the amplifier.
    We installed the 10" woofer into a band pass enclosure which we designed for Jane's needs. Jane's 10" woofer would be joined by another 10" woofer at some future point making her box become isobaric. This meant the enclosure had to be designed to work both ways and it does. We then installed the amplifier and augmented the front dash speakers by adding some tweeters. Later we will replace the dash speakers with a mid-range and eventually add the midbass drivers to the front doors. When we wired Jane's car, we installed passive crossover components on her front and rear factory speakers. We used 99uf 200 volt capacitors on the dash speakers and 200uf caps on the rear speakers. The lower value blocks more bass so we choose this value for the fronts since they are small 4" speakers. The back speakers are 6.5" which will play lower, so we didn't need as large a capacitor. By installing these passive crossover parts, we have effectively removed the low bass from her speakers, and as a result increased their power handling, and reduced their distortion.
    In an effort to give the most audible difference for the buck, we removed the rear speakers from Jane's factory stereo, and hooked them to the new amplifier. We then bridged the sub woofer across both channels and used an additional passive crossover component called an inductor (coil) to remove the mid and high frequencies from the sub woofer. Sub woofers should only play bass, you should never hear voices from your subs. In doing this, we have effectively raised the SPL (sound pressure level) in Jane's car by a very noticeable 18 dB!
    By removing the rear speakers from the factory head unit, we decreased the amount of work it must do, and increased it's performance slightly. By installing tweeters on the front dash speakers and adding crossovers, we increased the sound quality and performance by leaps and bounds. By using a quality amplifier turned down slightly, we improved the performance of the rear factory speakers by at least 100%! In fact, if you sat in Jane's car right now and listened to the radio, and then sat in Bill's car and did the same, you would be shocked to hear very little difference. Except that Jane's car gets louder and has a more solid sound coming from the rear. Last but not least, by installing the perfect sub woofer design in Jane's car the sound is now full, deep, rich, and powerful. Jane is very pleased.
    A few days later in the lunch room, Bill and Jane get together and he asks if she got her CD player yet? She informs him that she decided to wait on the CD player, and bought a sub woofer and some other little things instead for right now. Bill jump in and says yea, he is going to get one of those next, soon as he saves up the money. Bill and Jane go out into the parking lot and Jane invites Bill to take a listen. Bill was in a bad mood for the entire remainder of the day. A week or so pass, and by now every employee at work has asked Bill if he has heard Jane's system.
    Bill can't take this anymore, so long before originally planned, bill arrives at the stereo store. "I want a sub woofer, and make it a damn big one!", Bill exclaims. Bill and the salesperson haggle around for an hour or so, and Bill finds himself in somewhat of a compromised position. What he wants and what he can afford are no where close. Bill draws the line somewhere down the middle and buys a sub woofer and amplifier to run it. Bill has a box with 2 12" subs off the floor and the same size amplifier as Jane. Bill would have agreed to get a custom box built, but he didn't want to wait. Another week of humiliation would be too much to stand. Bill spent another 500 bucks.
    Bill's sub woofers are installed, and a passive crossover between the amplifier and the subs. Since bill used the full power from the amplifier to drive his subs, and the 10 watts or so per channel from his CD player to drive everything else, guess what? Bill's car is all bass. Every time Bill turns it up the bass overwhelms the rest of the music, and you can't even tell what songs are playing. But Bill has more bass than Jane, so he receives his vindication.

    to be continued....

  2. Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Part II...

    About a month or so pass and the general consensus at work is that Jane's stereo still sounds better than Bill's. Even Bill admits that it does. Then Bill makes his next move... Bill adds a second amplifier to run the mids and highs, because his CD player doesn't have enough power. Bill buys a small 4 channel amplifier of good quality, with a built in crossover, and has it installed on his 4 new speakers. Now Bill his smiling big time! His stereo really sounds bitchen now. The amp only set bill back another 179 bucks. Lets see now, that makes 1179 bucks for old Bill. While bill's system is a little louder than Jane's, and a little more sparkly, and a little more dynamic, you still can't sit in both cars and say one is better or worse than the other. Jane's system is a little smoother, a little better balanced, and the bass is tight and accurate, making Jane's system actually more musical, which is what Jane wants. Several more months pass and the issue fades away until Jane makes her second purchase, the in-dash CD player she has been patiently saving for. It was easy for her to wait, because her car stereo already sounds good. Jane buys a CD player. She even choose a better model than the one she originally looked at because of the sale! Yes, a slightly nicer one than Bills, unfortunately.
    We install Jane's CD player, and her system simply came alive. Everything it did well before it does better. Because we have taken car to keep Jane's system balanced, and put separate tweeters in a different location on her dash, Jane is now hearing the music presented in a large dimensional stage with precise imaging and depth. Bill, with his new dash speakers cannot achieve this performance because of the location. The most amazing thing that happened in Jane's car was the BASS improved dramatically. Jane's bass is now as loud as Bill's was and sounds much better. Funny thing is, she is only using one 10" woofer! Since the new CD player we sold Jane is a high power model similar to Bill's, we gained a large increase in performance from the factory dash speakers due to the increased power and lower distortion of her CD player. Since the front speakers got louder, we turned up the volume on the rear amplifier a little to maintain balance. This also increased the bass proportionately.
    Yea, Jane and Bill, by now all the salespeople are aware of the situation between Jane and Bill, and anxiously huddle around to hear the latest each time one of them leave. Jane's stereo is audibly superior to Bill's, and so far has cost less money. Jane's stereo has been audible superior to Bill's since day one. I don't need to tell you that Bill is in a bad way trying to figure out what he can do to improve his stereo without spending more money. What can Bill do? Gee, Bill bought 4 new speakers, and amplifier to run them, a sub woofer, an amplifier to run that, and a in-dash CD player. Bill is done. There is nothing fundamental that bill can do to improve his stereo without getting rid of something he already has. Unless bill want's to spend big bucks on digital processing accessories to act like a Band-Aid to smooth over some of the rough spots, Bill is done.
    Well, Bill's not done. Bill is now highly motivated. Bill rearranges his priorities and sells some non stereo related things that he owned. Bill buys a bigger sub woofer amplifier. Bill sells his original sub amplifier at a huge loss. Bill now has more bass. Bill cannot use all of the power his new amplifier has because his box starts to make the woofers flop around.
    The box is a generic design, and does not maximize the acoustics of the car like Jane's box. Also, the mids and highs start to get lost again when Bill turns the bass up too loud. Never the less Bill has something new again, and lives with it for awhile. Bill buys a BASS ZONE CD to really push his system, and blows a woofer. That's OK, Bill didn't like those woofers anyway, the flop around when you turn it up.
    Bill buys 2 new woofers that are a stiffer compliance. Bill didn't realize that the new woofers have a different quality factor than his original woofers that came in his box. The new woofers require a different size box, and need a different size port to go with it. The new woofers which are in the wrong box, play higher bass notes much louder than the old ones, and play lower notes much quieter than the old ones.
    Bill's new bass is loud and high, with no deep bass extension. This made bills bass CD sound differently than it used to. Some songs sounded better, and some sounded worse. One track in particular was Bill's favorite, it had a pounding thump that made your hair vibrate.
    After work one day, Bill and Jane ran into each other in the parking lot and started to chat. Eventually Bill decided he would like to hear his Bass Disk in Jane's car. They hopped inside, and Jane started the car. She popped the CD in the player and turned it to Bill's favorite track. The loud pounding thump Bill was used to hearing was now a tight clean kick drum, which until now Bill always thought it to be... well... not sure. Then Bill's eyes lit up, and looked at Jane. The console and the rear view mirror were starting to shake. Not buzz, but shake! There was a super low synthesizer playing behind the kick drum, generating some 28 cycles tones. The bass actually squeezed you a little. Bill was flabbergasted. Bill got back in his car and did the worst thing he could ever have done in regard to his stereo. He played the CD. There was no synthesizer at all. Bill's head sinks down to the steering wheel and suddenly the total that he'd spent to date popped into his head, 1800 bucks, and he lost it.
    To wrap up a long story, Jane having had so much positive attention as the result of her stereo's performance, decided to Finnish the system. We sold her the high quality midrange speakers for her dash, and some 5.25 inch midbass drivers and installed them in her door panels. We then replaced the rear speakers with a pair of 5.25 inch midbass drivers, and installed a pair of tweeters on the rear deck next to the midbass speakers. Now Jane has eliminated all of her factory speakers. Next we took the amplifier that was running her sub and moved it to the front and rear speakers. We then replaced the sub amplifier with a larger one, and added a good active crossover. The sub woofer cabinet was refitted and re-tuned to accommodate the second 10" woofer making Jane's Box isobaric. Jane's bass now goes down to 20 Hz. Before it was hitting just below 30 Hz. Jane's stereo is now of competition quality in both sound, and appearance. Bill is screwed, because he buried himself in his system and can't sell it until it's paid for.
    This has been one of the most common scenarios I've seen as a sales person. It is in fact the motivating factor behind writing this book. Remember it's not how much money you spend, but how you spend your money. And, if left alone to purchase your first system without the knowledge of experience, you will fail and find yourself in Bill's shoes. Jane's stereo has been a constant source of pleasure since day one. Bill's stereo has been a source of pleasure and an even bigger source of stress, ending up solely as the later.

  3. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    para sa may gusto ata ng SPL setup ito ah hehe :D

  4. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    siguro naman pag magiinstall ka nang ganung kalaking subs, magpapacustomize ka talaga.
    I think those crossovers capacitors did the thing. Parang ang daming kulang dun sa kotse ni Bill.
    To sum it up, buy subs first and amplifier

  5. Join Date
    Mar 2004
    haba nito ah. basahin ko mamaya pag di na ko busy

  6. Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Haba nga. Di ko na masyado nabasa part 2. But I can identify with the story kasi I'm also starting from stock. Has some good points, especially for those who are on a budget.

    CD changer pa lang nakabit ko kasi yung existing HU has tape. Subs and amp to power the sub ang aking next step, same as above...

  7. Join Date
    Feb 2003
    i've read this a few years back and it makes sense

  8. Join Date
    Mar 2004
    in a way i have seen this happen to some of my friends. they spend so much on things that they don't need and on things that don't match.

  9. Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Actually, a lot of people start out without much knowledge of anything. Then make do with what the sales people in the stores do. The difference sometimes is just luck.

    I think I can identify with Bill since I have a box design that I want to change as well as wiring that I want to have redone. So far no one told me my system sucked except... well me! =)

    By now I've more or less learned my lesson and am willing to wait for my front and rearfill.

Story: Starting from Stock