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    New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    So I'm new here and to car audio general, and I would love to get some insight from the "enthusiasts."

    The biggest thing is that I'm only 16; so I've got a really tight budget. I prefer quality of sound over actual loudness (I could write a book - "The Tragedy of The Frugal Audiophile.)

    Today I bought 2x 12" polk subs from BestBuy (Polk Audio 12" Single-Voice-Coil 4-Ohm Car Subwoofer - no links sorry) but I'm not necessarily set on using them. I bought them knowing I could easily sell them off to friends for $45+ a piece. I don't mean to sound lazy but I just don't know where to even begin my search. I would really appreciate any suggestions and help you all can provide.


    Looking for:
    - one or two subwoofers
    - stereo speakers
    - possibly a new stereo
    - enclosure
    (feel free to advise me NOT to buy any of these)

    Also:
    What would I need a capacitor for?

    Is it really worthwhile to make my own box?







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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    How tight is that budget? And what kind of car do you have?

    I'm very new to the whole car audio scene too, but I can tell you my budget was $900 just for subs, an amp, enclosure, wiring and installation...I ended up just going with one sub instead of 2

    costs stack up VERY quickly especially if you're looking for clean sound

    and capacitors are a waste of money...they're supposed to save energy from the car battery but for the price of a good capacitor you can get an auxillary battery just to power the system




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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    figure out a budget that you can work with ,and send me a pm and i'll try to work something up for you




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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    If you just want to sound good, you probably don't need nearly as much power as you think you do, and you definitely don't need multiple subwoofers.

    A good bit of your budget will get eaten up with wiring and a good head unit (don't skimp out there). Adding some deadening to your doors or customizing mounting locations for your fronts will make a big difference as well.

    Building your own subwoofer box will save money and give you a far better end result than a prefab. If you live near Lowes or Home Depot, and have access to a jigsaw and screw gun/drill, and caulking gun that's all you need....more woodworking tools is better, but you can get by with that.




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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    I'm looking to stay under $350 and I know that's really tight. I found a guy who's gonna buy one of the polk 12" sub for $45 so that leaves me with one 12" sub (that I can get rid of if necessary) that runs at 350 rms.

    I'm okay with buying used but I would prefer to keep my purchases local just because I don't want to deal with trading via shipping/paypal. So really I just need to know what I should be on the lookout for.



    No access to tools. I can hit up lowes/home depot and I consider myself pretty crafty so I might make a few phone calls to see if I can get my hands on a jigsaw.

    My biggest issue is the install. I'm leaning towards professional simply because its a brand new car (and not technically mine) but if its not too complicated or invasive than I would be willing to go out at it myself.

    Mylows10: I appreciate your offer but like I said my budget is so low I'm probably going to be shopping around craig's list so I feel I'd be wasting your time.

    I'm also going to be getting a summer job so making it a two part job is another option (maybe just do the sub and the head unit and wait till I have some more money coming in.)

    Side note: I'm not flashy. I couldn't care less what people think of me or my car.




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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    Craigslist might be the only way to go. I'm leaving 350 in my budget just for wiring and installation




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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    buy what you can in pieces and just set aside everything till it is complete. you will be much happier with getting the sound you want, rather than having to settle.



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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    actually depending on where you get the wiring it might not be that bad on price. if you are only doing sub, amp and headunit you could get a decent deal on wiring. i bought 30 feet of 4ga from lowes and it works great then i got my y adapter, rcas, remote wire, and fuse holder with 175 amp fuse (probably waaay more than you need) for a crazy good deal shipped right to my door. (from @mylows10 in fact)

    the complexity of installing yourself will depend on how you want to do it and where your battery is. if your battery is already in the trunk the hardest part would be running the remote wire and the actual install of the HU. if you need to wire from the engine back to the trunk it would be a little more difficult but doesnt have to be that bad, run it under the trim around the doors then behind the back seats. then the head unit wiring would be next in difficulty.

    when you say audiophile do you really mean "audiophile" if so stop now, if you want audiophile quality for $350 with new equipment or from craigslist forget about it. if you only "think" you are an audiophile and can handle less than perfect quality take that polk you bought, buy a sheet of mdf or 7 ply birch plywood and build a sealed box to specs and get this Audiopipe APSM-1500 1500 Watt Mono Mini Amplifier : APSM1500 : VMInnovations.com then lookup setting your gains and HU on here and u should be ok.....for awhile, once u catch the bug its a terrible disease.



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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    Unfortunately I would consider myself a true audiophile. My Dad is a dj and I've inherited quite a few goodies. Nonetheless he's out of work so that's why my budget is so tight; no help from my parents for now.




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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    You are going to have to find a good deal on an old school used amp.. Unfortunately no one can really just make a list of what is good and what is not because almost every company that made good old school amps, also has some newer Chinese crap with their names on it.

    And old MTX or Rockford Fosgate amp should be easy to find used and decent quality.

    What kind of car do you have?
    I am going to make myself a cheap system, and it will sound good.

    Here is what I am using.
    $5 LOC (Line Output Converter)
    $60 PPI PC2100 amp from Craigslist
    $50 US Acoustics amp 65x2 w for my component speakers (Bought from Crutchfield several years ago)
    $150 CDT Classic 6 1/2 inch component speakers
    $40 Infinity Reference 1030w sub with box (Craigslist)
    $50 random cables 2 gague power, decent RCA, fuses, distribution blocks etc collected over the years.

    Yes, it is doable.

    Are you in Richmond VA? I see stuff pop up on Craigslist from down there occasionally when searching for less common things around here.

    Also, look around at parts-express, especially for things like cheap distributions blocks, install hardware, rca cables, etc.. try to get some 2-4 gauge for power cable from a welding supply store, hardware store, etc..

    Do not get a capacitor. There are other things you could do first and for less money that will make a bigger difference..
    (Upgrading the Big 3.. power cables under your hood)

    Don't upgrade the Head Unit yet, unless you really need to. Try to get the best sound you can with your stock / current one and learn from that and what you are actually looking for before getting a new HU.




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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    update? not sure what you did for a first time sub i would recommend SPL $75 for 1
    SPL SP3-12 (SP312) 12" Dual 2 ohm SP3 Car Subwoofer

    amp go with earlier suggestion apsm-1500 which is $123

    if installed by a shop amp install should only cost you under $100

    keep the head unit for now and have it installed, for a $300 budget a prefab will not be that bad, go to a flea market and find one under $50 just make sure its 3\4 mdf at least and re caulk the inside or paint it to seal properly. If you have not built a ported box you will probably mess it up and spend more money and pre fab might be a better box and tuned better than what you will be building. if you are building a sealed then go for it those will be hard to mess up.

    Hope this helps




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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    If I were the OP, I would just do a deck and 4 for the $350. Save the subs and amps for later when the funds allow. If you can find some bomber deals, Deck....font stage, and 4 channel amp.



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    Re: New to car audio - need help with a cheap system

    I agree with chemmins, I've always bought a really good deck and then work back from there. A good deck is going to put more power to the factories and make them sound better. Take your time be patient and save up for nice stuff, you will be happy you did. Good luck!!



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