If you don't feel like reading all of this, I've emphasized my main concerns in bold.
I have been looking for a budget-friendly set of components for a while and have finally pulled the trigger on the CTX65CS system. I saved enough money on them to allow me to start looking at amps a bit earlier than expected.
My current setup is:
Polk Audio db651s coaxials in front and rear
RE Audio SE12D4
I've started to deaden the doors but I still plan on doing more. I also have some deadened roof flashings cut to seal the big holes in the doors -- I've heard that this goes a long way in improving midbass performance, so I'm looking forward to finishing that project.
I'll try to keep this brief because I have a tendency of rambling on for too long. What I am curious about is, should I decide to buy a four channel amp for the sole purpose of running my front components, how much power should I be looking for per channel to run the system optimally? I haven't completely decided on whether or not it will be worth it in my case but since going active is highly recommended by many people and on many forums, I want to at least give it some thought.
Prior to considering the option, I had looked at some four channel amps that could be bridged to provide enough power at 4 ohms. Most of what I saw was right about 200W RMS x2 at 4 ohms. Unfortunately, my current budget is rather limited so the brands that I've looked at have been Cadence and MB Quart, for the most part. I'm not sure how truthful those ratings are, though.
Would someone new to car audio benefit from going active? I know a thing or two about this stuff but I'd be willing to bet that, as far as knowledge and experience of the active users on here go, I'd be somewhere around the 15th percentile. I can use my ear well enough to get my EQ and crossovers to sound good enough, though they probably don't utilize the true potential of the gear. Having said that, this would be a good opportunity to learn some new tuning techniques. On the other hand, I'm worried that having so many different things to toy around with would leave me constantly tweaking settings, for better or for worse.
One final question on the subject: As far as wiring this setup goes, is using RCA splitters to run the front preamp outs into both front and rear inputs the typical thing to do? I don't want to lose my fader control on the head unit so this seems like the best way to get the signal into all channels. As I think more about this, it is probably a stupid question but I'd feel at ease having an answer from more experienced people. My car (2003 Pontiac Vibe GT) isn't very big but it's open enough that I want to keep the rear fill present enough to make listening enjoyable for those passengers. If I go with a four channel amp just to power the component system, that leaves my rear speakers on head unit power (roughly 22W RMS).
I'll try to wrap this up now. I sincerely apologize if this has been covered before; after a long time digging around for answers, I hadn't seen anyone mention what the power handling of the woofers and tweeters in the CTX65CS set are when going active. I don't want to buy an amp that has way more power than needed but, on the same token, I don't want to waste money on an amp that doesn't cut it. I'm open to suggestions on which amps to consider. I'd like to keep the cost under $200-$250, if at all possible (and I'm completely fine with buying used). I'll be keeping an eye on the classifieds but having a rough idea of what wattage to look for will be a great help!
Thanks a lot, guys!