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OMGWTFBBQ
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Discussion Starter #1
I bought a CD player/speakers for my '89 Camry. Decent player (22 watts X 4 channels), 3 1/2" speakers up front, 6 1/2" rear. When I turned the volume up fairly loud, the speakers go to hell (distorted blurry sound). SO! I upgraded the rears with a $100.00 set (Sony Xplode), the guy at Best Buy assured me they would handle (what we both agreed the previous set lacked) all the bass the unit could push. Well, long story short, these were just as bad. So, I went back and returned again, and picked up a $180.00 set of Kenwoods, put 'em in - worst sound yet. I have been on the internet trying to get an answer and haven't pinpointed anything, but I'm thinking that an amp might do it. Whaddya think? Also, the car has the standard factory
wiring...
I got this from a friend of mine this morning. I don't enough about this stuff to give him any decent advice. He's not looking to build a reference quality audiophile system...just something that will be relatively clean at higher volumes...and won't cost any more than absolutely neccessary. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.
 
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Sounds like he needs an amp. A better/stronger/cleaner amp will make even crappy speakers sound better. Amps, contrary to what you'd think, aren't just about LOUD. A good amp makes the sound cleaner and tighter at normal volume levels.

Get a decent amp first (a modestly priced headunit rated 22 x 4 is probably less than that and it's likely not clean power either). Then upgrade the speakers if it's still deemed necessary. After the amp is upgraded, the stock speakers may even sound good enough.
 

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.
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Like TD said, get a bigger and better sounding amp. Something people don't realize is that the distortion from larger amounts of bass is most often the result of pushing the amplifier past what it can do. It's usually not the speakers.

#1 cause of blown speakers is an overdriven amplifier.
 

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superwagon pilot
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TD and FF are right on the money. One other thing to note... the 3.5" speakers upfront are going to distort no matter how clean the power unless your buddy gets a crossover to keep the low frequency signal away from them.

Sounds like he got a crappy head unit. A decent Alpine head unit should have been able to drive any of the speakers he bought loudly and cleanly enough without the need for an external amp.
 

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he really needs an amp, but for a few pennies, he can avoid buying a crossover, just have him go to the local electronic shop buy a coupe of caps which block ANY freqs over 200 for the back, and some inductors that do the opposite. if he knows what to ask for, he can get some freq filters very cheap. but hey, a good crossover is not too expensive.
 

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The Original Dr. Phil
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Josh (PA) said:
TD and FF are right on the money. One other thing to note... the 3.5" speakers upfront are going to distort no matter how clean the power unless your buddy gets a crossover to keep the low frequency signal away from them.

Sounds like he got a crappy head unit. A decent Alpine head unit should have been able to drive any of the speakers he bought loudly and cleanly enough without the need for an external amp.
Right again Josh:thumbup:

But I'm a big fan of not using any head unit amplifiers unless absolutely entry level or for rear fill speakers only. In my previous car I used 2 channels off the head unit to run 6.5" rears but used two amps to run everything else.

A modest amp will likely solve your friends problems Clyde, but with the 3.5" speakers I'd think a lot into cross over network (Josh's tip) or upsizing them.

TD's point of over drivens amp is quite true. That's why you always should use the cleaner/stronger power source at a higher level then a lower and keep the weaker source at a lower level. For example, on a HT set up you want to set you amp/receiver volume up higher and keep you TV volume out level lower. There can be a night and day difference.
 

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In Mod Heaven
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As everyone has already said, an amp is what is necessary. The stock head unit only puts out anywhere from 8-16w/channel RMS. A lot of aftermarket headunits boast 50w/channel. The problem is, this is max wattage at any given time. RMS watts are measured in constant power driving the speakers. Hence, only 8-16 w/channel RMS is not very good at all.

Amps on the other hand are measured in RMS watts. So an amp putting out 75 w/channel is RMS watts or constant power. Speakers will distort not only because they can't handle the power, but because the signal itself is being distorted by the stock amp/headunit. I bet those Sony Xplode speakers can handle at least 40 w/channel RMS so the headunit is the culprit. Cheap amps = cheap sound and distortion. So even comparing two amps that both claim 75 w/channel RMS watts is confusing. A cheap amp that costs $100 will distort and sound like crap way before an amp costing $400 will. So my other advise would be to pick up a decent amp (JL, Sony, Rockford Fosgate, etc.), or as Josh pointed out, a better headunit.
 

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King of Rear Clunks
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I'm with everyone else. But those 3.5s are also a problem. If that's all that'll fit without cutting up the car, that's fine. But to save some money, run those teeny little things off head power through a simple highpass crossover (dredmo's suggestion). A set of 6.5 coaxes don't need a whole lot of clean power to sound decent (25WRMS amp (not head) power is plenty) but you'll never get high volume AND clean bass out of a cheap set of coaxes. You'd really need to cross those out at ~80Hz or so and get a sub, but of course that's more money...
 

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superwagon pilot
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PM 325xiT said:

Right again Josh:thumbup:

But I'm a big fan of not using any head unit amplifiers unless absolutely entry level or for rear fill speakers only. In my previous car I used 2 channels off the head unit to run 6.5" rears but used two amps to run everything else.
I totally agree with you Phil, if you want to do it right, that's the way to do it. :thumbup:

From the email Clyde copied in, I got the impression his cough, cough....yeah um "FRIEND" (j/k Clyde),

A: didn't have a clue about really good sound, (3.5" speakers, "upgraded to Sony Xplod")

B: didn't want to spend much money on a car stereo (shopping at Best Buy)

and

C: Didn't want to rewire/ modify the cutouts of his stock system (again the head unit and 3.5"ers)

so I figured his best bet would have been to get a decent head unit. I'd guess the head unit he has now doesn't have line level outs, so the amp he'll need to buy will have to accept high level inputs, he very well may be screwed. That's why I thought for what he was trying to do, a head unit with a cleaner signal might just be the way to go (I put a mid-high level alpine unit in my wife's old car and it sounded fine as loud as she ever wanted to play it (not good, but good enough, you know).

dred's idea of building your own high pass filters is a good idea, if the guy knows anything about circuits. But again, based on the way he's gone about this "upgrade" already, he might just be better off disconnecting the 3.5s all together. :dunno:
 

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OMGWTFBBQ
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Discussion Starter #10
Josh (PA) said:
From the email Clyde copied in, I got the impression his cough, cough....yeah um "FRIEND" (j/k Clyde)

A: didn't have a clue about really good sound, (3.5" speakers, "upgraded to Sony Xplod")

B: didn't want to spend much money on a car stereo (shopping at Best Buy)

and

C: Didn't want to rewire/ modify the cutouts of his stock system (again the head unit and 3.5"ers)
D: Runs out and starts things before thinking them all the way through.

(Don, sorry, but this is true :p)
 
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