Introduction: Car Stereo System 101
well bmlbytes did a beautiful job with his instructable. But i guess its my turn to take a swing at explaining how to buy, install and modify your subwoofers, and audio to perform to their fullest extent. Now remember these are guidelines to help buy equipment. my system is one of the cheapest, but i figure if your in the position to buy decent stuff, these are the guidelines to follow.
Step 1: Buying
Well, there are a few aspect you have to keep into account.
- price/ what your willing to pay
- music listened to
obviously more bass i good. However i doubt a fan of orchestra is going to need a 1000 watt system. thinking of what music you listen to will determine what size system is acquit to what you listen to. And in the end will give you a price range. Obviously Rap, of course is the number one, music type associated with subwoofer systems. i personally listen to NO rap, but Classic rock, and a smiggit of new rock. For my need i really dont need much watts. but i guess "brag rights" got to me. i personally own a 1000w system and LOVE it. I enjoy listening to Godzilla by Blue Oyster Cult, it is one of the best songs with bass. Led Zepplin offers tons of bass and enjoy them as well. But this just demonstrates what is needed and what u might want. next is the idea of brand, brand will offer better sound than others and better warranty. Here is a guide to the goods and bads of subwoofers and amps:
Good brands, including but not limited to: Alpine, Rockford Fosgate, Kicker, JL Audio, Soundstream, ARC Audio, Cadence, Diamond Audio, Focal, Dayton (subs), Precision Power, some MTX, RE audio, Fi car audio, Sundown Audio, Hertz, MB Quart, Zapco, Infinity, Incriminator Audio, Missing Link Audio, JBL, Mach5, Ascendent audio, and DC sound labs, Digital Designs, Pioneer Premier; old school brands: Lanzar, Hifonics, Orion, and Phoenix Gold.
Mediocre brands (brands that are good for the money, but there is better): Quantum Audio, Sony ES line, Memphis (I have heard of lots of problems with their amps), Dual, Infinity (in my opinion), Pioneer, Kenwood (in my opinion).
Junk brands, including, but not limited to: Pyramid, Boss, Profile, Lanzar (except old school Lanzars), HiFonics (again except old school, series VIII and earlier), Legacy, American Pro, Rampage, MA Audio, Alphasonik, Crunch, Lightning Audio, Visionik, Audiovox, Volfenhag, Rockwood, Jensen, American Legacy, Audiobahn, Sony Explod line, VR3, JVC, Pyle. Any thing at Wal-Mart, or an auto parts store.
now some may be labeled as bad, but some actually with the right components will sound good. Good places to check are Ebay, propertyroom.com, and your local craigslist.
Step 2: Ok, You Have Your Stuff...
OK, with the tips in the last step, you hopefully have your amp and subs. Now the subs can either be integrated into your headliner or in a homemade or bought box, that sets in your trunk. As far as boxes go, you want a a box built of MDF, if anybody has held that stuff you can back the idea of how this wood is solid stuff. There also the guys who either buy or build boxes to fit mesh with their cars. The way these boxes are built is through the process of using fiberglass to build boxes. However these are usually time consuming and all in all expensive. Personally i bought a set that included, the amp, 2 12" subs, box, and all wiring. So i just stuck with the stock box. There is However a difference between boxes there are enclosed and open. enclosed have no where for the air created by the subs to leave, and therefore, hit harder. I truly don't understand the purpose of open boxes that allow the air to leave. but get your set up, and prepare for the next step.
Step 3: Postioning of Componets
The question is, where is your amp to go? You can do a few things. You can plan it underneath a seat, on the back or top of the box, on the headliner or a customly installed. Remember the amp will create a bit of heat so make sure to put it in a ventilated area. I personally attached it to the top of the amp. I did have it applied to the headliner, but due to it being a %100 chrome amp, when the sun hit it i could NOT see out my back window. So heed my wisdom, if that's your case. A factor to the positioning of your amp is your cord length as well. I originally got my wires along with the kit but ended up buying a new set of cords for $10 due to the originals being to short. I ended up catching myself at a local walmart picking up a 25 ft. rca cord. which, the way i routed it worked beautifully. Also if you are thinking of running a high input. the positioning of the amp is important as well.
Step 4: Wiring, Wiring, Wiring
The wiring of an amp can get a little tricky. if you have a custom/ aftermarket deck, you most likely have a rca output. This will allow you to run a red and white RCA directly to your amp. simple.... just run it under your carpet and off under the door edging. then to the trunk. All cars are different so i cant truly explain to a T how to do this. my 99 Monte Carlo made it quite easy for me to do this. i installed 2 80w speakers in the panels next to the passengers. this required me to take the panels off and cut hole, the removal of the panels made running the remote and power quite easy. However if you dont own a after market deck, or if you do but it doesn't offer RCA out a PAC converter is in order to carry out that signal. attaching the black, white, or optional brown wires gives the female RCA connections a signal.
The 12v, positive, or +, is going to go to the battery. You ca run it through the door, or you can drill or find a hole in the firewall. Most common positive cords are 10-5 gauge wire. just run it the same as you would the other wires. Under the carpet. I have heard that it is optimal to run the power under one side of the car and the RCA under the other side. The reasoning is due to power sending or tampering with the signal given to the RCA.
The remote can be set up in many different ways. The remote is also know as power antenna. Which, if you read your deck manual you will find that the power antenna is the blue wire. HOwever for my 99 Monte, i have no power antenna but rather, i connect it to my ignition system which is my red wire. follow your connector to make sure your running a blue or red wire.
Aka -, ground, or, negative, your ground is the simplest of the 3 wires your running. Just find a local bolt found in the truck. And bolt down your 9 gauge wire and screw it into the amp. Make sure its a good ground i ran a ground with a bad ground for a while, then fixed it, and the sound after it was fixed was sooo much better. A good indicator of a bad ground is when the car starts there is a loud thump noise coming from the system.
so i guss in conclusion, these are a few more guidelines of setting up a car system / amp.