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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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New Speakers?

Okay, so I'm about done with the stock sound system in my 2002 Intrepid. It sounds ok, but if the volume is even remotely loud then it sounds distorted and horrible. I looked into a whole new system but things start to get way out of my budget pretty fast. If I just put new speakers into the stock system will that improve my sound quality, or will I need to get a new amp too?
My main concern is to not have distortion when I crank up the volume, and to have a little bit more bass.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 01:07 PM
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What system did your car come with from the factory? Your best bang for your buck is a new head unit. From there move on to speakers, amps and subs.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure which system it is. Is there anyway to check? And just curious, but how much would a new head unit improve sound quality?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-18-2013, 02:51 PM
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Sound quality, a lot. The factory speakers are okay, not great by any means though. The HU's on the other hand are 10+ year old technology. A new HU would make a pretty significant increases as long as you got one of half decent quality.

Do you have speakers in the top front corner of the two front doors, by the side mirrors? If so, you either have the midline or infinity system(it will say on the speaker housing). If you don't, then you have the base system. Most of the time if you have an SE then you have the base, but there are exceptions. After that, the ES usually came with the midline with infinity as an option.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-22-2013, 01:36 AM
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my 00' r/t had a blown rear speaker and I replaced the rear 6x9's and front door 6" speakers with INFINITY KAPPA's.....they sound MUCH better...even with the stock head unit....I have the infinity system with 240 watt amp....
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 01:25 AM
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If you're looking for a cheaper solution for replacement speakers, I highly recommend these sets.



They are astonishingly cheap, but I recently used them to replace the interior speakers in my girlfriend's Elantra, and even though I have an audiophile's ear, I must say that they really are not bad at all. Bass is solid without being too boomy, mids are present but never harsh, and the highs are crisp without being tinny. They could also reach pretty astonishing volume levels without distortion from the drivers - her head unit was likely the limiting factor, I imagine they could handle even more power.

I would highly recommend that, whatever you choose, make sure it's all 2-way. Most 3-way coaxial speakers sound like absolute crap because the midrange drivers are usually very cheap with marginally designed crossovers. This generally causes some significant buzzing from the mid drivers at high volumes. 2-ways are also much simpler to EQ than 3-ways, as a result of having the response curves of fewer drivers to take into account.

With regards to the head unit (HU) question, I would say it probably isn't worth the cost and hassle of replacing that at this time. The thing is, although most aftermarket HU makers will claim something like "50w RMS/Channel!!", they're usually lying. The Pioneer HU I bought recently was advertised that way, but further digging revealed it only actually puts out 12w/channel at 1% harmonic distortion. So that's pretty pathetic, really, and I paid $70 for it (luckily I only use it as a preamp). Aftermarket HU's have gotten wimpier over the past decade, and the manufactures more willing to lie about the specs, so the odds that you'll see significant improvement from upgrading the HU alone are pretty low. I'm not sure what the stock HU puts out, but I'm sure it's at least 12w/ch.

Whatever you do, don't buy a HU and leave the speakers stock. You'll see no improvement at all. My girlfriend's Elantra had an aftermarket HU with stock speakers and it sounded like dogshit. Upgrading the speakers is definitely your first priority, only upgrade the HU at this point if you really need features like USB, aux in, HD Radio, etc. And then be prepared to drop a c-note on a decent one.

Upgrades down the line: if you really want to push more power through the interior speakers, consider a 4-channel or 5-channel (if adding a sub) amplifier. There is definitely a limit to how much power you can get out of the amp in a HU simply because of their diminutive size. If you want to push beyond that boundary, you'll need an external amplifier. These things can be pretty complex to install, but if greatly improved output and sound quality is what you're after, it's worth it.

This would be a fine choice for an entry-level 5-channel amp:

So, as I see it, this is the order in which you should upgrade stereo components:

1. Interior Speakers
2. Head Unit
3. External Amp and Sub

Last edited by Superhands; 06-01-2013 at 01:30 AM.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 02:37 AM
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I ended up throwing in a JVC head unit for mine, and a set of Pioneers in the doors. the 6x9s are still stock, and I threw away the little tweeter in the dash.

Honestly, if you're looking for a decent bang for your buck, ebay and amazon was where I got most of my sound needs.
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