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Good car speakers?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm done with the bus and driving to school, it's definetely better, but there's a big problem. I used to listen to music all the way to school and back, I do the same on the car, but the sound is not really that good.

 

Getting to the point, are there any good sounding speakers? I don't want to be one of those guys playing hip hop or electronic that can be heard 4 blocks away, no, I just want good sound quality for me.

 

I don't plan on getting something too fancy, I was thinking of spending $100-200, nothing more.

 

I Hope there's good audio gear for cars (I mean good audio, not loud speakers and enormous subwoofers), if not, well, :(

post #2 of 10

Of course there are good audio gear for cars. For speakers, look up Focal-JMLab - my personal favorite for percussion are the Polyglass series, but the Polykevlar/K2P series have warmer guitars, absolutely sweet for electric guitars with nice amplifiers. There's also Dynaudio, DLS, and Hertz. Most speaker brands also manufacture their own amplifiers, so just browse through the website; Steg and Audison are two companies known more for amplifiers. I like the value of good old American power - think of a big-block V8 - so in the past I've used Rockford Fosgate, MTX, and since 2009, a Digital Designs C4. It's hooked up to a Pioneer Premier receiver/processor, Vifa Logic tweeters taking 75wpc from the amp's channels 1&2, and Focal Polyglass V2 midbass drivers taking 150wpc from the amp's channels 3&4. Could use a sub, but the car's due for replacement, so when I get a new ride I'll install a JL-Audio 8w3v3 in a fiberglass enclosure to keep it out of the way of cargo.

 

 

That said, ever hear about people with home audio set-ups complaining their "good"/"great" speakers don't sound good? That's because their rooms have "room modes" where it affects the sound of the speakers, and that's a lot worse in a car - you're sitting off-center, you have noise, the doors aren't exactly custom-designed MDF cabinets, etc. To make your gear sound "right" at a minimum you'll need a processor (either separate or built into the receiver) with 3-way Time Alignment. Plus you'll need to have the tweeters built into the A-Pillars properly, and the doors beefed up Dynamat on the outer shell and possibly on the inner plastic too (since most cars nowadays mount the speaker on that, instead of a steel "skeleton" behind it) in order to take the woofers without resonating all over the place and drowning out the bass. Trust me, I've heard enough Focal and DLS systems where the owners thought it would be plug and play and it's all good. It never is. You either read up and learn from DIY Mobile Audio, or you spend $$$$$ on a professional installer to do it right.

Also look up IASCA and EMMA for installation and SQ tips. You don't have to tune the cars the way they sound in the competition since these two have rule variations but everyone complies to them (ergo, a bunch of guys would EQ their cars to "flat" too much), but note what they require as "clean" installs with no points deducted for things like tweeters and midrange obscuring driver vision. They also take into account stage height (whether the soundstage is eye-level); whether the soundstage and imaging are correct for driver's seat or both front seats; etc., which are hard to achieve without a processor and/or truly custom install to angle the speakers properly. 

post #3 of 10
post #4 of 10

He wants to spend $200 max and you're suggesting Focal and DLS components? biggrin.gif

 

For that budget, look at the used market on Craigslist. If you live near a big city you'll find good deals all the time.

 

For that budget though, you'll have to be smart in how you plan the system.

 

A solid 4 channel amp running a component (tweeter/midwoofer) in your front doors/panels and powering the rear stock speakers off your factory deck might be a good choice. 

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtkversion View Post

He wants to spend $200 max and you're suggesting Focal and DLS components? biggrin.gif

 

 

Oh, crap, in my mind I saw an extra zero on both figures! ($1000-2000) But in any case...my front stage did cost me less than $200. I paid around $100 for the used Focal Polyglass midbass and $25 for both Vifa tweets, plus a local shop did my A-pillars for around $70. I had a Pioneer processor of course so I didn't need a crossover.

 

@Yogen, 


For $200 then don't expect too much - not because of cheap speakers, mind you (some drivers on PartsExpress are shallow enough, etc) but that can't pay for a few other very important things on top of the speakers:


1) A high-current amplifier
2) Proper installation (even if you DIY, if you don't have the proper tools, that's going to be a problem), and
3) Dynamat (or other type/brand of deadening material)

4) Processor

 

Still, even with controlled expectations, there are a lot of other ways to get decent sound in a car. At a minimum, get good speakers - don't mind used too much just inspect for operation and rust - and install as properly as possible. Which means you still put Dynamat on your doors and even if you won't do custom fiberglass find some other way to mount the tweeters minimizing reflections off the windshield without making one tweeter too glaring via direct path. For simplicity start by aiming them just a few inches (to the rear of the car) from of the rearview mirror mount. 

 

I'm looking through eBay but I don't know what exactly will fit in your car doors, but the price point on this Alpine Type-S seems good. Don't be afraid to drill at least a tiny hole in your A-Pillar or sail panel in order to angle the tweets properly, and don't skimp on the Dynamat unless you're driving a luxury mid-size (at which point, not only will it have some deadening, but you might not want to just toy with the system on that one).

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Damn, it's WAY more complicated than I thought.

So I guess I'll just stick to "good" regular speakers and maybe something else simple.

Which brands offer cheap speakers? The front doors speakers have to be of a different shape/size/model than those in the rear?

I don't really care about the passengers,i want the sound for me, if a different setup is required for me or a general passengers pleasure.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yogen View Post

Damn, it's WAY more complicated than I thought.
So I guess I'll just stick to "good" regular speakers and maybe something else simple.
Which brands offer cheap speakers? The front doors speakers have to be of a different shape/size/model than those in the rear?
I don't really care about the passengers,i want the sound for me, if a different setup is required for me or a general passengers pleasure.

 

What make and year of car do you have?

 

We can look up the sizes of what you'll need and make recommendations from there.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yogen View Post

Damn, it's WAY more complicated than I thought.
So I guess I'll just stick to "good" regular speakers and maybe something else simple.
Which brands offer cheap speakers? The front doors speakers have to be of a different shape/size/model than those in the rear?
I don't really care about the passengers,i want the sound for me, if a different setup is required for me or a general passengers pleasure.

 

It sure is - home speakers are already complicated. The only reason why my car was a little better than my home set-up was because I had a Pioneer processor with time-alignment.

 

While there are "cheaper" speaker alternatives, you're likely to just end up spending on other things. For example, lots of driver options are available on Parts Express for much lower than the asking price for car audio kits, BUT...

 

1) The midbass drivers are usually not designed for, essentially, a "free air" install in a car door (there's a gap due to the window glass)
2) The drivers are not designed for cramped installation points in cars - magnet sizes are bigger, which means better price-performance ratio, but that's also because the equivalent car audio drivers use neodymium or other rare-earth magnets, driving up the price. You'd need a lot of install points fully customized, like the tweeter I mounted on my A-pillars.
3) They come as raw drivers - no crossovers - which is like plugging the BA-drivers of a multi-driver IEM straight into the amp's output without its crossover network. You should either be DIY-capable and design one for them, or you will really, really need a receiver with a processor, like a Pioneer 80PRS - //////Alpine doesn't make such units anymore, so you'll end up shelling out more for a separate Ai-Net processor. In my case I really wanted the processor for Time Alignment and Active Crossover (takes away the passive crossovers between amp and speakers) anyway so I just got the drivers later on.

 

There used to be a respectable cheap brand available in some countries - Targa - but that didn't come with a real crossover network either. Here's an Infinity that's real cheap on Amazon, just research if there are counterfeits, and if it fits your car.If you're fine with "ghetto" installs you can blutack the tweeters onto the plastic kick panels in your car, near the door speakers, if the mids are mounted that low.Just make sure to experiment with the aim. I went like that for a few weeks before I had the tweeter install finalized, although with tweeters that big I had to use a LOT of blutack.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
It's a 1999 Jetta A3, nothing fancy.

If I go to an audio specialized car shop, you think they'll be able to help me? This considering every person I've known that spends money on their car audio just do it for ear bleeding bass at an extremely loud volume.

Any tutorials online to better understand the concepts?
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yogen View Post

It's a 1999 Jetta A3, nothing fancy.
If I go to an audio specialized car shop, you think they'll be able to help me? This considering every person I've known that spends money on their car audio just do it for ear bleeding bass at an extremely loud volume.
Any tutorials online to better understand the concepts?

 

 

 

That's the thing - most shops specialize in selling the electronics or making loud subwoofer enclosures, not too many are specialized in more serious sound quality. I was in CA last spring and I didn't see any shops carrying Focal and DLS, although I didn't check online because I wasn't really looking. Then again, maybe there's a reason why it's popular here in SEAsia - traffic jams and a tropical climate that makes crowded public transport a lot worse. Even with our type of "suit" I can't get to work without sweating profusely, unless I leave at 5:30AM - at which point if I drive I'd be at work in about 35mins.

 

Best bet is for you to check other sites. Go look at the IASCA and even the EMMA websites, and maybe their forums, to see if any shops near you participate in SQ competitions. Try the DIYMA forums for an FAQ or basic tutorials/glossary of terms, and maybe even find a pro installer in your area. You might even get the work done cheap if there's a DIY-er for hire near you, but fair warning about these guys. As you may have also seen happen in this forum, most recent I remember was with Grado cups, DIY-ers for hire do work for cheap and they are either too shy or too greedy to admit they're backlogged (what with most of them with a day job) until their thread gets locked or they get banned from the forum. It's likely you'll have to visit his house anyway, so check if his workshop/garage without committing to anything. If it looks like there are too many unfinished projects there, try to politely back off the deal until you're sure he's actually turning them around.

 

That or since it's a 93 model, DIY. Invest in good power tools, which might be cheap where you are, grab some wood and fiberglass materials, and practice. Maybe start with fabricating new headphone cups, then move on to fabricating tweeter mounts that won't require any drilling into the car's parts. If there's a "pick your parts" junkyard near your area, buy spare panels from there so you won't mess up yours.

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