View Full Version : Looking to get back into car audio

05-15-2014, 03:20 PM
Hi Everyone,

Just as the post says I am looking to get back into car audio. I am busy doing some research but it's been 15 years since I built a system and things have changed alot, while others have stayed much the same. I am looking for the start of my system, which will be a high quality head unit. I am going for sound quality here and have money to blow. I was looking at a Pioneer P99RS but don't know anyone who has used one. I thought I would ask here.

Additionally I would like to ask where does one buy "high quality" components these days? It seems like the internet is rife with consumer grade things but I am looking for the high quality stuff. Back in the day there was a company, McIntosh I believe the name was, and they were all people could talk about in terms of quality. However, it seems that they do not do car audio any longer.

In the past I used a Clarion DRX-9375R as my source unit, but that was 15 years ago. What are some good head units to start with. I like the P99 so far from what I've read but will it deliver on it's promises? Also how the hell do you rig up 3 amplifiers in one car?

Also I'll probably need a lesson on wiring. I took some electrical classes in college and I know the basic formulas E=I*R and P=I*E but will need some help putting them into action... Anyone willing to mentor me?

Thanks in advance for your advice!



05-15-2014, 03:21 PM
By the way, it's either an awesome home or car audio system or a motorcycle!

05-15-2014, 03:29 PM
P99RS is still the duck's guts in terms of single DIN head units sold in the US that have a lot of processing built in. You will need an RTA to properly tune the equalizer, but it will get you a long way to dial in the sound you want. Clarion has HX-D3, but you'd have to import one. Short of buying an old McIntosh head unit, that's the closest you could get with a new unit to that type of sound.

We hook up 3 amplifiers the same way it was done in the 90s, except almost nobody uses stiffening capacitors anymore in high end builds. Heavy gauge wire from the battery, split off to each amplifier, and you can split the ground side as well to have one connection to the chassis.

05-15-2014, 06:20 PM
Hi Trumpet,

Thanks for writing so quickly. I appreciate your response but will need a little bit of clarification on the "duck's guts" comment. When you say that, I assume it is a good thing, like saying "it's the whole package" or something. I should probably ask this in one of the n00b forums, but what does RTA stand for?

05-15-2014, 08:39 PM
By the way, it's either an awesome home or car audio system or a motorcycle!
Please don't get a motorcycle, May of 2006 i was t-boned and run over by a cager in broad daylight,,,,, i have a wheelchair van now BUT, it has a kickin sound system.
I believe you are a safe rider but you can't control the other guy or gal, people are far too distracted nowadays to be behind the wheel whether it be the cellphone or putting on makeup or texting somebody it's just too risky to ride anymore..
If you are just getting back into car audio i would not suggest a multi-amplifier design, there are plenty of high-quality high-power 5-channel amplifiers that will serve you well and some of them are under $200, my entire system was built for less than $550 and it sounds "okay" but only because of the Pioneer's, they will soon be replaced and it will sound "fantastic"..

05-15-2014, 09:24 PM
So you think maybe that pioneer DEH-80PRS would be a better route? It's the traditional FR/LR + Subs pre-out config and it's alot cheaper than the DEX-P99RS. I could get a 5 channel amp and run that with a sub I suppose. It would be more traditional and probably an easier build. I really like the idea of the p99rs but I don't know if I like the idea of a High/Mid/Low + Sub config.

Now looking at amps. Soundstream makes a "reference" amp 5.1000 that is 5 channels and is supposed to be high quality. I remember back in the day I had a soundstream amp and was pretty satisfied with it. So maybe this is the way to go afterall...

05-15-2014, 09:34 PM
Which sub do you have in mind to use.

05-15-2014, 09:57 PM
I don't really have a brand in mind for my subs yet. I know what I had several years before sounded pretty good though. I have always used RF subs with an RF amp for those subs. I only did this because my brother always used RF subs and amps. My dad was into component home audio and not car audio but he once told me that RF stuff sounded pretty good for what he referred to as "consumer grade" components.

In my old setup I had the following:
1. Clarion DRX-9375R head unit
2. Clarion DPH-7300 (I think) digital signal processor with Optical connection
3. Diamond Audio 2 way component system in front (separate tweeter and mid/woofer in the door) I can't remember the exact model number
4. Diamond Audio 2 way component system in rear
5. 2 x 12" RF Subs in a sealed box - at the time they were one step up from the regular "punch" sub, I think they were punch THQ or something
6. Soundstream Reference Amp, I believe it was a 40w x 4 amp driving the two component speaker systems
7. RF 125 x 2 Amp, bridged, driving the subs

This is all mostly from memory so you'll have to forgive me if not all the chips fall into place. I remember this system sounding pretty good and the only reason I got rid of it was because the head unit malfunctioned. I tried several times to replace it but could never get anything to work quite right. So I abandoned the project. I could never get things to sound "just right" with any other head unit.

05-15-2014, 11:43 PM
I've been looking at head units and amps and everything inbetween. I was going to try and go for the one of the soundstream amps but then I saw that they have all these weird crossovers and stuff. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that building a crossover into an amp, one that can not be passed through, is a bad idea. I mean when talking crossovers first I'd have crossovers in the damned head unit, then there'd be crossovers in the amp, then if I were to go with a component system, there'd be crossovers there too. I'm not a genius by any means but as far as I know you're not supposed to put crossovers on top of crossovers right?

They're everywhere. EVERYWHERE!