Audio Upgrade just Radio?

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Gadget Tech' started by UsafMoore67, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    [MENTION=53713]UsafMoore67[/MENTION] - are you sure it's out of your price range? I bought a refurbished Exceleon DNX6960 (older model) for just over 500 bucks with tax/shipping. It's out of stock, here ... and this isn't where I bought it from ... but this gives you some idea of what you can get if you're willing to think outside the box:

    You might be able to get your hands on a newer model for around the same price point if you go factory refurbished like I did. Food for thought.

  2. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Loving the Outdoors Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Kenwood Exxlon radios are Bang for the buck a great radio to get Full of features that are easy to use and understand. As for the speakers if you are not getting a amp then yes the JL TR's do have a Great sound for the lower power So do the Lower end Focals. I hope we cleared up some for ya and if there is anything else you need a hand with please ask away... And as said above you can get some Nav radios for a lower price if you don't mind 2nd hand But as you said you don't like Navs so No go.. Good Luck..
  3. zigger215

    zigger215 Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    I'm running a JVC headunit in my system and I compete in the Alaska halted IASCA SQC (sound quality challenge-single seat). While kenwood is excellent for the price, JVC has been great and is not a "cheap" solution by any means, I've never seen a headunit oscope so well from the RCA outputs. For a large scale system where sound quality is important, I would go JVC. For an average system I would go kenwood, ease of use, fast iPod control, excellent function use and great navigation.
  4. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Loving the Outdoors Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Just a side note... JVC Mobile and Kenwood are the same Co now....
  5. zigger215

    zigger215 Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    They run off the same money and have a common CEO now but they arent, by any stretch of the imagination, the same product. Their RnD departments are completely different.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  6. UsafMoore67

    UsafMoore67 New Member

    Well I am glad y'all are telling em this because I may be getting something aftermarket sooner then I thought, I was fiddling with it today trying to make it sound little better, turns out my front speakers are junk. No sound coming outta them
  7. Greggory L.

    Greggory L. New Member

    I just upgraded the head unit only, and will build on mine as I go. I want to mention that I bought a JVC Arsenal KD A535. I really like the abilitly to upgrade or expand on it for me personally. I can hook up my iphone to it and watch/play videos by jack or by a usb cord. I started with the head unit and will replace speakers soon. I am not really into the Bass and I have hearing loss, but it all sounds pretty good to me. I do notice the stock speakers need to go. I hope this helps. I really love my JVC
  8. zigger215

    zigger215 Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    Well hopefully this thread is helping. There's been good info given out, I know Enkei has had alotta years in and around the industry and I currently compete in IASCA SQC so between the two of us we've had some equipment in our vehicles. Enkei probably has a lot more do to the fact he has twice the time in the industry as me but just sayin, good info :). I like jvc, most people vote kenwood or pioneer, all three are pretty damn good.
  9. The Heater

    The Heater Rockstar 100 Posts

    Hello, UsafMoore67:

    I skimmed the answers to your query. I have been doing custom audio installs in all my vehicles since 1989. I have spent many thousands of dollars on single installations to get what I want. Not a brag, just a fact of my experience with installations that are very high quality. A few thoughts for you:

    1. Pay for expert installation. Find a place that actually does custom installs. They all will say they do. But have they designed and made custom sub woofer enclosures? Out of fiberglass? If not, they are not a custom installer. Fabrication usually encompasses making panels to accommodate installation of speakers where there is limited space to install them. Ask for a binder with pictures of some of their work or maybe a customer reference who had work done. Even if you are not doing a custom sub enclosure, you want the installers who have experience removing interior panels on vehicles, because mass produced autos are not intended to have the panels removed and reinstalled multiple times. If they are not removed correctly and patiently, things break off, and when it gets put back on, you have little way of knowing what they broke until you discover the panel is loose on a corner or elsewhere, and it won't attach at that point.

    2. Change the radio or do more? I think that is your original query. I would suggest that you first spend money to change speakers first. This is the number one "bang for the buck" improvement. See how the sound improves, then decide if you want a new head unit. Again referring to suggestion number 1, ask the installer if your vehicle will accommodate "component" speaker systems in the doors. Two way components give the best sound. Maybe your OEM system has this, so all you have to do is find replacement components that will fit the same places. Just remember that components also have crossovers, and they have to find space to install those. Usually it is NOT in the doors.

    3. Upon installing speakers in the doors, do not let the installers remove the moisture barrier without properly reattaching it. Just tell them to make sure they seal it properly, or next time it rains, your carpet will start soaking up the water that leaks through the bottom of your interior door panel.

    4. If you replace your radio, make sure the replacement is done so that it looks factory, with proper trim for the new unit. There must be an installation kit available for what you buy. The pro installers will have it, or they will fabricate it for you.

    5. If you replace the radio, get a head unit with preamplifier outputs, for front, rear and sub woofer. Make sure the controls on the head unit have at least a sub woofer control, and preferably a low pass cut off adjustment. Kenwood is an excellent choice. Their customer support is second to none in my experience. My other choice has always been Sony. But as someone mentioned, the Kenwood "Excelon" product line is a very good choice. Get the best unit you can buy. You may want to consider models that have a USB port on the front so you can plug in a flash drive directly to play music downloaded from your computer without having to worry about leaving an IPOD in your vehicle.

    6. Additionally, only certain manufacturers support their head units with dedicated CD changers. Kenwood does. Although Sony may not have current models of CD changers for sale, their better head units will control a Sony CD changer that uses the Uni-Link cable. Kenwood changers can be daisy chained together so you can play a buncha CDs.

    7. Get a sub woofer installed when you have the money. In my opinion, this along with a dedicated sub woofer amplifier is a must for quality sound. You don't need a huge sub woofer, an 8 inch will work for a truck cab if you go with a Kicker SoloBaric or one of their other products that uses a smaller enclosure. Space is limited in trucks, so you don't want to have to build a huge ported enclosure to make the sub work. MB Quart also makes some very good sub woofers that use relatively small enclosures. Again, this is where the expert installer can best assist you in your quest for good sound quality and make your truck look stock so people can't tell you even have a sub woofer in there.

    8. Amplifiers. You want either a five channel amp that has the fifth channel to drive your sub, or get a four channel to drive four satellites and have a second mono or two channel bridged amplifier to drive your sub.

    9. Sound deadening. Good idea, but it is labor intensive. Don't take on more than you can handle on this. Start with maybe taking out your head liner and sound proofing the ceiling, then work your way down. If you find removal of the headliner too daunting, then you can tear out the entire interior to remove the carpet, and start with the floor. Just make sure that where the floor is over the catalytic converter (probably the passenger side), you check with the manufacturer of the sound deadening material to make sure it can be installed over sheet metal that could get over 250 degrees hot, maybe as hot as 400 degrees. Yes, the cat can make the floor that hot. Dynamat Extreme is rated to 450 degrees, so is another product sold by Harbour Supply (it has to be sprayed with adhesive to attach).

    Good luck.

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  10. zigger215

    zigger215 Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    Ok...I'm going to try and do this tactfully, heater, definition of "custom" sound system install please? It's good to have enthusiasts out there for sure but I feel you might be misleading the op, I know you are in fact. I AM a professional installer who has installed for multiple professional shops who have installed many competition and custom sound systems as long with your everyday, professional sub/amp installs. Sub amp installs are NOT custom sound systems or custom installs. They are every day average installs.

    As for the first upgrade, I absolutely PROMISE the op that there will be almost no sound quality change by just installing your door speakers. They will still be slaved off your less efficient factory deck. The best FIRST upgrade you can do is the headunit.

    This is coming from a REAL professional installer, not a backyard enthusiast. My current sound system is now valued at 12k. I have won multiple IASCA SQC (sound quality challenge) competitions, and built spl winning vehicles (mostly vans and SUVs).

    Headunit headunit headunit.

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