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    Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    I was asked to introduce myself. Well I found this forum last few days and thought to sign up to ask some questions and maybe tips. I was a little bit into the car audio back in the late 80's and into 90's. I see things have changed. Many of the brands I remember and mainly the US made stuff has gone away or has been taken over by others that make them in China. I see there are still a few US made equipment left. I remember the swap-meet amps you use to see with the 1000watt $25 brands. That was the day. But anyway, I remember the great US made amps and speakers back then that were awesome and sounded so clean. I am today somewhat confused on what brands today are good and sound clean and most of all reliable. I am 45 now and want quality sound and not just loud SPL. My current vehicle is a 04 Toyo Tacoma X-cab. it is kind of old now but it is paid off, low insurance and I put a motor in it few years ago and it runs great. I plan to do some fix up this year on it so I can dive it another 300,000 miles. It's paying me back now.

    I installed a sound system back when I bought it in 04. I designed it myself and bought the equipment and took it to a local shop to install. One Jenson 4 CD changer head Unit and one Blauplunk head unit, yes 2 head units in a double Din opening. Remember that Jenson 4 CD changer hear unit? 2 JBL amps, 2ch amp for 2 Kicker 6 1/2 bass substaions tubes and the 4ch amp for front Blauplunk components and a set of Blauplunk 4x9 fill in rear speakers. I did eventually change out the head units to 2 Alpine head units CDA-9820XM first, then last year a CDE-HD137BT I wanted the USB port. But I still have the rest of the sound system still in truck.

    I think the system is getting tired and I think one of my tweeter are gone. So to make a long story short, I was thinking of upgrading and install new amps and speaker. I will still keep the Kicker 6 1/2 substation tube in there. The Kickers were awesome and sad when they stopped making them. They still sound great. A testament to quality manufacturing. The truck has a small cab area so don't need a million watts in there. And the Kickers were just right. They are hard to find used these days and if you do they are bought up quickly. I did find a pair of the 6 1/2 substations on E-bay few years back and bought them quick and there in the garage raped up till I need them.

    I do understand most of all the tech stuff of systems and I did design my own system back in 04. So this time around I was looking to upgrade to newer amps and speakers but, I don't know what brands today are good and reliable and sound clean. I have researched on internet last few day and have seen Zed audio, Sundown, Zapco, RE, Helix, RFand others. I have even seen Brax from Germany, wow they are sweet and are handmade to order. But the cost, out of my league. The US made amps are nice and can be expensive. I understand that there are still many brands that are good that are made in china. Brands that are designed here in US but made in china and are good. I even looked at Alpine amps and speakers because I have the 2 Alpine head units and maybe just make it all Alpine system except for the Kicker substations. So I need help to understand from people that are in the business today and have experience with current brands and can help me choose good quality brands. What are good and what to stay away from. I need some honest opinions. I have been reading a few car audio forums including this one for help.

    So I thank you for your time to allow me to post my question and comments, and look forward to your help and comments.

    Stephanie




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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    well i am not one to offer advice on sound quality but im sure someone up here will lend a helping hand. the forum seems to die down around 12:am eastern time during the week so id say tomorrow morning come back to this thread and bump it up with a new post. also what kind of budget are you working with? you can find some good deals on old school amps from time to time up here but i saw you wanted new stuff. the newer brands seem to jump from owner to owner sometimes so it hard for me to say who is hands down the best now. a budget would be a great place to start and i would probably list some specs for your kickers that you plan to keep in your with your new system



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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    Hi Stephanie, I'm another 45 year old audiophile but I haven't lost the love for chest pounding bass yet, lol. They told me I would stop all that nonsense when I grow up so I suppose I'm still a child. :-)

    As was said, a budget would be helpful and a bit of information about your goals with the new system wouldn't hurt either. You mentioned that your system is tired... can you elaborate? I get that a tweeter is blown but if that's all, tweeters are inexpensive and if that's the only thing wrong, I wouldn't replace the whole system, I'd replace the tweeters.


    As for equipment, there are a ton of good quality products out there today and most of them are made in China... that's just a fact and it isn't, as you know, exclusive to car audio. So, I honestly wouldn't make buying an American made product a priority but that's me. That said, I can tell you how I look at purchasing items in an industry with which I'm not familiar.... I look at what the professionals use. If I need to paint a room, I don't buy the 99 in one paint brush advertised on late night television, I look to see what the professional painters use. Or if I want a new fishing rod, I look at what the pro fisherman are buying. Same with car audio... I would look at what the guys in the competition lanes are using and not what my neighbor has in his car. And not only that but, I'd look at what the people in the winner's circles are using.

    Today, what you'll see there are brands like Sundown, B2, DC Sound labs, CT Sounds, Fi, American Bass, PSi, Crescendo, dB Drive, and a host of other bands. What you won't see is Alpine, JL, Kicker and the other more well known companies... with the exception of Pioneer, Kenwood and Alpine as far as head units go. Those are the three major head unit companies and their head units are about the only things you see from them in the lanes.

    I hope that helps in your decision making process and if you can shed some light on what you want to spend and what you want to accomplish, you'll get some really good suggestions.



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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    Hey thanks for the like of my post. I am in So-Cal just outside in suburbs and I guess I will post something in morning in my time zone. Thanks for the info. Well for my budget I am willing to spend some money. Like I said I plan to do some fix up of my truck this year and the system is one of them. Maybe a paint job too. But I don't want to spend $500 on one amp. I have seen last few days researching that some I think are good amps are a few hundred dollars. I found this company called RE Audio that is a parent company of US Amps. This company I found out it in my back yard only a few cities away, about 15 min drive. I sent them a e-mail today and asked about the amps and the guy replied that the amps are designed and tested here in US then made in there factory over in Asia. He claims they are good quality but I don't know. I never heard of RE Audio but I have heard of US Amps, so that is why I looked at them. They have a 4 channel amp that would fit nice in my set up and it was selling retail under $200.

    I guess I should say what I have currently have in the system and then what I am looking for. Oh my BAD so sorry. I just went outside to look under seats and they are Blauplunk amps and not JBL. I will have to re-edit my original post. But anyway. Currently Blauplunk PCA-450 4 ch 50wx4 and a PCA-250 50wx2. Blauplunk components speakers in front doors and a set of 4x9 or 4x8 something like that, you get the picture, I think in rear panel for fill in. I use the built in crossovers on the amps.

    So for the new system I'm looking to upgrade to about the same just newer and better. The Kicker substations handle I think 100w rms around there. So a nice quality amp with say 50 to 75 watts would be fine. Keep in mind I don't want to blow out speakers with high watts and loud SPL. I will leave that to you younger generation. And for the speakers, a quality components set in front with like 100w or more rms and the rear fill in speakers around 100w rms would be fine. Then a quality amp to power them. Like 4 ch 50 to 75 or so watts rms per channel would work fine. All the amps made today seem to have built in crossovers so I could use them. Like i said in first post, I'm looking for better sound quality and not mainly loud SPL. Understand this is only a X-cab toyota tacoma, a small cab area. I don't need a lot to make it sound nice.

    So let me know your comments thanks




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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    If you know what you're doing you can make the midpriced stuff sound pretty good....

    Unless you're a diehard SQ person you may not hear that much of difference...

    have you ever been inside SQ vehicle???




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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    plenty of great 4 channel, active capable amps are out there in the 200$ price range and you can always set your gain lower if you are afraid of blowing speakers. More power does bring the midrange and midbass alive in speakers, as well as treating the doors with some insulating material to absorb rear waves and covering the gaps in the door with aluminium + sound deadening material.

    Like tc300 said, You dont have to spend an upwards of 300$ on a set expensive components to sound good.



    Clip city b1tch, clip clip city b1tch. 10's, 12's, 15's, goin up in flames b1tch.
    2009 Sienna 3.5L Subs : C2 threatcon 15s. Sub amp: hifonics brx 2400.1D x 2
    Headunit: Pioneer 80PRS bought used from vertex audio Mids/Highs amp: PPI Phantom 900.4 - bought from dragnix
    Front stage: 3 way active front stage with Massive Audio CKX 6x9 component. ckx 6x9 midbass in doors + DB drive pro audio 6.5 in the kick. Rear stage: Jbl ms62C(Its a van I need rear fill). Still NOT ENOUGH! SEND HELP!! 4 Pro Audio 10s in the future
    320 amp Singer alt almost installed. Just a group 31 deka in the back atm with big 3 finished.

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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    Covina's not too far away from Jeff, either. A demo of his setup might give you an idea of what can be had that covers the best of both worlds. Glad to see you're getting back into the hobby and you're right...a LOT has changed.



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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    would also be great to know your sound signature preference. Bright and forward mids? warm and lush mids? bright tweets? 0 harshness tolerance? midbass junkie? for the substage, do you want low bass extension or flat and accurate response from 30-80?

    sound quality is soo very subjective of each individual lol. What sounds good to one person might not to another.



    Clip city b1tch, clip clip city b1tch. 10's, 12's, 15's, goin up in flames b1tch.
    2009 Sienna 3.5L Subs : C2 threatcon 15s. Sub amp: hifonics brx 2400.1D x 2
    Headunit: Pioneer 80PRS bought used from vertex audio Mids/Highs amp: PPI Phantom 900.4 - bought from dragnix
    Front stage: 3 way active front stage with Massive Audio CKX 6x9 component. ckx 6x9 midbass in doors + DB drive pro audio 6.5 in the kick. Rear stage: Jbl ms62C(Its a van I need rear fill). Still NOT ENOUGH! SEND HELP!! 4 Pro Audio 10s in the future
    320 amp Singer alt almost installed. Just a group 31 deka in the back atm with big 3 finished.

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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffdachef View Post
    would also be great to know your sound signature preference. Bright and forward mids? warm and lush mids? bright tweets? 0 harshness tolerance? midbass junkie? for the substage, do you want low bass extension or flat and accurate response from 30-80?

    sound quality is soo very subjective of each individual lol. What sounds good to one person might not to another.

    I wonder of many shops around the US could give an answer..... Or just look at you with a blank look on there faces!!!
    Hahahaa




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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    Thanks for the comments bbeljefe

    I understand were you coming from. Unfortunately I don't hang out a car audio shows and don't see what is in the winner circle. That is why I am here on this forum. All the brands you mentioned that are not in winner circle are the brands that used to be in the old days. Alpine, JL, Kicker. I remember friends installing Orion, PPI, Linear Power, Alphasonik, (my brother had Alphasonik in his car) Soundstream and many many others. Great American made quality Those where the good old days. I remember when my brother and I were leaving town to visit relatives for the weekend and he had his Alphasonik system installed. The shop had the car for 3 days and it was Friday night 9pm with drop lights and all so the shop can finish final touch ups then on are way we go. 70 & 80's rock all the way. Hair bands

    Oh and for the tired sound system question. Few years back a soda was spilled in the truck and I cleaned it best I could. But I think some leaked into amp and now dried up and left a film on circuit board. When amp is running hot you can start to smell something. And after a wile of fairly loud sound listening and amp is hot, the sound quality kind of goes away, Start to sound kind of distortion in the sound. I think it is the amp. It still works but I would just replace it. And like I said I can't hear highs from one of the Blauplunk tweeters. They don't make that model anymore to replace it. I would just like to install a nice new set of speakers that match.

    Hope that help. Please ask if I left something out.




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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffdachef View Post
    would also be great to know your sound signature preference. Bright and forward mids? warm and lush mids? bright tweets? 0 harshness tolerance? midbass junkie? for the substage, do you want low bass extension or flat and accurate response from 30-80?

    sound quality is soo very subjective of each individual lol. What sounds good to one person might not to another.

    Hu what did you say. See now that is too technical for me. Just a basic system that sounds good with quality parts. Not some 1000w $25 amps and speakers. I have stated already what system I have in there currently. And I said what kind of vehicle it is. Understand that I did not just win the lottery yesterday and can afford to, what did Jeff say, to do tall that.

    And my what, " sound signature preference" do you mean what kind of music i like? Well I would need something to cover all aspects of music because I do have a hobby at home that I edit and remaster music with my WaveLab software. I have some 6000 songs on hard drive from all aspects. Rock, Heavy Metal, Soft Rock, Pop, 80's, Easy listening, Olies, Classic Rock, well you get picture. What ever mood I am in. So the system would have to be a balance for all " sound signature preference"




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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by neo_styles View Post
    Covina's not too far away from Jeff, either. A demo of his setup might give you an idea of what can be had that covers the best of both worlds. Glad to see you're getting back into the hobby and you're right...a LOT has changed.


    You said it, a lot has changed. There are brands that I just never heard of. And I just did not know what brands are good and which one's to stay away from. I know some like Boss audio all those, power acoustic and many like them to stay away from.

    When I was doing my research on internet I found that many companies own or distribute different brands. Rockford Industries Corporation owned a number of brands under their roof, Rf, Brax, Helix, lightning Audio, Renegade so on. I also found this corporation called Jam industries form Canada. Jam owns a lot of other companies. But under Jam's Erikson Consumer Mobile division they own Infinity, JBL, Blauplunk, Bassworks, Ultimate, Renegade, SirusXM, Panasonic audio, Dynamat. On web site Jam said that Rockford Industries were going to distribute the Blauplunk brand in North America. I also remember(if it is same company) Ultimate sound. If it is the same company i remember they had an office and warehouse over in City of Industry CA not far from where I live. I remember Ultimate had some nice stuff that was affordable and worked well back then. Ultimate was not high line but is was decent. On the Ultimate web site I saw a amp I liked, T2-604 There address was in Canada. This Ultimate amp looks real similar to a Brax German amp. Look it up.

    Ultimate Sound http://www.ultimate-sound.com/car/t2amp.php
    Brax Audio http://www.braxhifi.com/products/pro...s.asp?cat_id=1

    I wonder if many of the companies share technology and some make the same amp just under different names. if I can get this Ultimate amp that uses or has technology from Brax audio for less money, that would be awesome. Has anyone here on this forum have any experience with Ultimate amps, this new stuff? I know that Brax is very high line stuff and is handmade to order, I visited the web site. I saw the prices on the Cruchfield website. Can someone check out this Ultimate amp and it's specks on the web site and let me know what you think.

    Well keep the comments and suggestions coming thanks.
    Last edited by stephgirl; 03-06-2014 at 04:03 AM.




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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    for 4 channel amps, PPI still makes some decent amps(mainly their black ice/phantom lines) even though they are owned by epsilon now which also owns power accoustik. PASMAG | PERFORMANCE AUTO AND SOUND - Precision Power P900.4 Amplifier <= this is one of most popular amps around the forums which can be had for around 180$.

    Orion, Alpine, jbl still makes decent products all around(just not a lot of people using orion stuff anymore), pioneer and kenwood have good head units, would not touch their subs or their 100$ and under speakers. Kicker's mediocre and overpriced. Sony's trying to clear up its bad reputation with its new GS line but no one's buying lol. JL audio still makes good stuff but very overly inflated pricing and rockford fosgate has good amps but are overpriced. Sundown's the new king of research and development on subs and amps.

    And there's the high dollar sound quality items starting from CDT, PHD, Morel, Dynaudio, Hertz, Audison, Focal, actually, you know what i found a list, too lazy to type.

    HERE YOU GO!

    Most recent list of good and bad car audio brands - CarAudioForum.com

    Also, for the budget minded people who like buiding their own component sets, Parts Express: the #1 source for audio, video & speaker building components and The Madisound Speaker Store



    Clip city b1tch, clip clip city b1tch. 10's, 12's, 15's, goin up in flames b1tch.
    2009 Sienna 3.5L Subs : C2 threatcon 15s. Sub amp: hifonics brx 2400.1D x 2
    Headunit: Pioneer 80PRS bought used from vertex audio Mids/Highs amp: PPI Phantom 900.4 - bought from dragnix
    Front stage: 3 way active front stage with Massive Audio CKX 6x9 component. ckx 6x9 midbass in doors + DB drive pro audio 6.5 in the kick. Rear stage: Jbl ms62C(Its a van I need rear fill). Still NOT ENOUGH! SEND HELP!! 4 Pro Audio 10s in the future
    320 amp Singer alt almost installed. Just a group 31 deka in the back atm with big 3 finished.

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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    Thanks Jeff for the link to car audio list.

    Is that list up to date, current. I did see some in the good section that maybe be what I'm after. I will have to look at some of the different brands in both the good and the highest quality sections and price them out. See what they cost and what I can spend. I may find a brand in the good section that is priced right but there may also be a Highest quality brand amp or so that may not be to much more in cost and, I would chose to pay a few extra $ for the better parts


    Did anyone yet read my last post about the Companies and how they own different brand names. Did anyone look at my links to the Ultimate and the Brax amps and give me some feed back.

    Let me ask you all this question. Put yourself in my shoes, A daily driver that you want to update the sound system and you did not want to spend a fortune. What brands would you look into? I'm not talking full out blown expensive stuff. Just a basic driver that you wanted to have nice clean sound for the best price possible. You guys understand my ? So shoot me some names and give me some advise and I will start researching and pricing them out so i can make a educated decision and find what is best for me overall.

    Thanks




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    Re: Hello from an old school car audio girl looking for help.

    You have one of the original Kicker substations ? with the port that can be removed ? WOW have not seen them in years. Would love to see a picture of that, I remember seeing them with the old trans ana fosgate amps.




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