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Old 03-15-2011, 12:12 AM   #1
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Default Car audio crashcourse please

Ok, I'm pretty electronically proficient. I've taken 2 classes in high school, know the ins and outs of basic circuit design, understand (although some of the knowledge is a bit rusty) ohms, amps, volts, yadda yadda. I know what capacitors, resistors, IC's, SCR's, and all of that stuff are. I'm also pretty computer proficient. What I'm not, is car savvy. Apart from knowing that a car has an alternator, and the frame is grounded, I'm freakin clueless. I plan on buying a car in the somewhat near future, and upgrading the audio is a must. From what I've gathered, I'll need a 2x12 sub, and a 400+ watt amp, along with a head unit ("radio" in laymans terms, right?) to give some sort of input to the amp and the other speakers. This seems to be the norm. I don't want any absurd anything, I want to have a pretty accurate representation of the recorded material. I don't want stupidly loud bass or anything, and volume isn't that big of a concern personally. So, can someone kind of give me a crash course in this stuff from start to finish, and what I should look for when shopping for this stuff? Also, I would like to install it myself, so help for that would be appreciated. Should I worry about the mids/highs? Or just get some subs and call it a day? Also, it seems that I should have some sort of something to stop echo in the car, no? Idk if that's being too picky though. Thanks for any and all help
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:02 AM   #2
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Default Re: Car audio crashcourse please

I'm running a Panasonic deck, 2x10inch Pioneers and a 50 watt JBL amp.
I recommend getting a deck that has a built-in crossover and separate sub control. this makes for fine tuning much easier.
I can go into more detail later, but I have to go to work.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: Car audio crashcourse please

firstly.
listen to what's already in the car.

you'll know what you need from there.

as an example, I've owned a few cars, sometimes the manufacturer got it wrong, and have to replace speakers, sometimes only the head unit needed to be replaced.

sometimes, like in the car I've got now, replacing the head unit means looking the CD changer in the boot, and loosing the heads up display and simply isn't worth changing.

there have been times that I've felt that the sound is too thin, and had to put some bass speakers in, sometimes the bass sound is fine with the stock, perhaps even too much and I've had to alter the stereo EQ to calm it down...

mainly though, you'll need to know what's in the car first and how that fits with the music that you're listening to...
(there's no point going out buying lots of heads/amps/speakers when you don't even know what the car has got yet! -or how it already sounds)
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Car audio crashcourse please

Quote:
Originally Posted by root View Post
firstly.
listen to what's already in the car.

you'll know what you need from there.

as an example, I've owned a few cars, sometimes the manufacturer got it wrong, and have to replace speakers, sometimes only the head unit needed to be replaced.

sometimes, like in the car I've got now, replacing the head unit means looking the CD changer in the boot, and loosing the heads up display and simply isn't worth changing.

there have been times that I've felt that the sound is too thin, and had to put some bass speakers in, sometimes the bass sound is fine with the stock, perhaps even too much and I've had to alter the stereo EQ to calm it down...

mainly though, you'll need to know what's in the car first and how that fits with the music that you're listening to...
(there's no point going out buying lots of heads/amps/speakers when you don't even know what the car has got yet! -or how it already sounds)
Good point. I don't plan on buying anything until I have the car, I'm just kind of looking for a general guide of how everything works together, and what each component does. To be perfectly honest, I'm not 100% sure what a crossover does :P
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Car audio crashcourse please

right,,, I keep forgetting new cars can be a pain to install a new stereo.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Car audio crashcourse please

a crossover splits up the frequencies.

basically, a bass driver is very good at doing bass frequencies, but not good for high frequencies, so when you send music (broad spectrum of sounds) to a bass driver it's inefficient, the treble will not come through very well because the physical mechanics (large moving mass) of the driver will oppose the fast response/movement time needed for high frequencies. and at the same time having the treble component in the bass speaker will make it less responsive to bass sounds.

the same is true, but visa versa for treble frequencies, the driver, (tighter coil) opposed the lower bass frequencies, and when you've got a large bass frequency sticking a driver in or out it'll dampen the treble frequencies.


so a crossover used a network of capacitors (that oppose lower frequencies) and coils (that oppose higher frequencies due to the work involved in creating and collapsing a magnetic field in a coil of wire. to split a broad spectrum of frequencies into:
1 output of only bass frequencies in the case of a bass pass filter
2 outputs (bass and treble) in the case of a 2way crossover.
3 outputs (bass, mid and high) in the case of a 3way crossover.

These frequencies can then either go straight to a speaker/driver that is tuned to more readily accept and respond to these frequencies, or be fed to an amplifier and then only a speaker that is suited to the frequency range.

Basically, using crossovers enables you to use the speakers inside their ideal range of frequencies, (where they are most efficient).
and this efficiency saving will (generally) let your amplifier produce a good powerful sound whilst not having to work as hard.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: Car audio crashcourse please

Quote:
Originally Posted by root View Post
a crossover splits up the frequencies.

basically, a bass driver is very good at doing bass frequencies, but not good for high frequencies, so when you send music (broad spectrum of sounds) to a bass driver it's inefficient, the treble will not come through very well because the physical mechanics (large moving mass) of the driver will oppose the fast response/movement time needed for high frequencies. and at the same time having the treble component in the bass speaker will make it less responsive to bass sounds.

the same is true, but visa versa for treble frequencies, the driver, (tighter coil) opposed the lower bass frequencies, and when you've got a large bass frequency sticking a driver in or out it'll dampen the treble frequencies.


so a crossover used a network of capacitors (that oppose lower frequencies) and coils (that oppose higher frequencies due to the work involved in creating and collapsing a magnetic field in a coil of wire. to split a broad spectrum of frequencies into:
1 output of only bass frequencies in the case of a bass pass filter
2 outputs (bass and treble) in the case of a 2way crossover.
3 outputs (bass, mid and high) in the case of a 3way crossover.

These frequencies can then either go straight to a speaker/driver that is tuned to more readily accept and respond to these frequencies, or be fed to an amplifier and then only a speaker that is suited to the frequency range.

Basically, using crossovers enables you to use the speakers inside their ideal range of frequencies, (where they are most efficient).
and this efficiency saving will (generally) let your amplifier produce a good powerful sound whilst not having to work as hard.
Ooooh, ok. I always thought that was sort of the amp's job. So looks like that's one more thing I'll have to take into consideration ;P
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Car audio crashcourse please

Front speaker sounds is more important than back speakers. Change the fader to mostly front speakers. Just an upgraded head unit can make your factory speakers sound tons better. And if you get aftermarket speakers and amp them, it will just get better. You don't need 2 12" subs. Heck, I just installed a 400W single 10" sub in my trunk. It's got plenty of punch to add the bass sound to the music. It doesn't need to rattle every bolt out of the car, and honestly, people that have 2 or 3 subs and turn it way up just want attention, they can't actually hear the music over the subs and the sound of the car vibrating to pieces. Still need to do sound deadening to get rid of the ricer rattle at high volume on mine. I have an aftermarket head unit and speakers, but I currently don't have an amp to the speakers and they sound eh on the head units little amp. I plan to amp the front speakers when I get the cash for a second amp.
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: Car audio crashcourse please

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesusfrk611 View Post
Front speaker sounds is more important than back speakers. Change the fader to mostly front speakers. Just an upgraded head unit can make your factory speakers sound tons better. And if you get aftermarket speakers and amp them, it will just get better. You don't need 2 12" subs. Heck, I just installed a 400W single 10" sub in my trunk. It's got plenty of punch to add the bass sound to the music. It doesn't need to rattle every bolt out of the car, and honestly, people that have 2 or 3 subs and turn it way up just want attention, they can't actually hear the music over the subs and the sound of the car vibrating to pieces. Still need to do sound deadening to get rid of the ricer rattle at high volume on mine. I have an aftermarket head unit and speakers, but I currently don't have an amp to the speakers and they sound eh on the head units little amp. I plan to amp the front speakers when I get the cash for a second amp.
I would like a lot of bass for stuff like Dubstep and House music, but I probably won't use all of the bass power most of the time. I would just like it to be available. And that is a very good point, even in the car I'm driving right now, when the speakers are turned up there's this irritating rattling. Is that the windows? I've checked to make sure nothing is in the sides of the doors or anything, and I still get this rattling =/
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Car audio crashcourse please

For dubstep, never listened to it in my car, but I have listened to it with my home audio setup with a single 10" sub. I don't have the sub turned up a bunch and it sounds pretty good. I'm sure if I played it in my car with the sub up it would be similarly as good with a single 10". I have been in a car with a sub turned way up. It's kinda pointless simply because the sub is literally all you hear. As for the vibrations with the speakers, it could be how they are installed. I used to have a problem with my speakers vibrating on the metal they were screwed to. Could be a loose piece of trim or something near the speakers that vibrate when the sound is up.
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