Advice for a car audio newcomer. Is this the best option for me?

Alex Jarrell

CarAudio.com Newbie
May 21, 2019
12
0
I recently inherited a 2013 Kia Rio and am looking to improve it's sound system.  I don't really know anything about car audio, so I've done a very small amount of calling around and after spending about 45 minutes on the phone with one shop I've got a couple of options that I'd like advice on.

My main concern is improving audio quality in my car but I've also decided it'd be nice to have Android Auto functionality.  With that in mind I was recommended to get the Kenwood Excelon DMX 905S.

I was quoted at $499 for the Kenwood and $109/hr for a 2 hour installation.  With all the mounting parts included the total came out to $900 for the whole package.  (Not really this forums focus, but I was also looking at adding a rearview camera for an additional $79 + $109/hr & 2 more hours of installation).

I don't really know much about what I'm doing here so I'm wondering if the Excelon is worth it and if the overall mounting and labor cost is reasonable, or if I should go somewhere else / get a different head unit.

I was advised that if not the Excelon, then I should look at an Alpine ILX-F259 or ILX 207, both at $599.

Also to add more to an already lengthy post, is it worth it to look at upgrading my speakers?  All of them are working, but they're also all stock speakers so they obviously aren't the best.  I've been told by one place that putting in a new head piece is sufficient and not to worry about it, but I've also been told that upgrading my speakers can make a huge difference.

I live in Georgia if that matters for prices.  The state, not the country.

 

Mooncatt

CarAudio.com Enthusiast
Apr 29, 2019
65
-1
Unless you're looking for the absolute best sound quality, the head unit won't matter much. You can find all the tuning tools with any name brand unit and all would sound great to the average person.  It mostly would come down to personal preferences on things like aesthetics and your budget. I doubt you'd hear a drastic difference between any of those radios when properly tuned.

Regarding the speakers, I would recommend doing them after, rather than before the head unit. I tend to get better sound by upgrading the radio instead of speakers if I'm only doing one at a time. The factory radio is still going to send out low power and weak tuning to aftermarket speakers. The speakers will sound better, but not great in that setup. Now get both replaced, and that will be a drastic improvement.

 
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Alex Jarrell

CarAudio.com Newbie
May 21, 2019
12
0
I actually called the store back just a minute ago to talk about other head unit options and speakers.  The guy gave me a quote for everything (including the camera) for ~$1600.  To get to that price I'd be looking at either Pioneer AVH 1440 nex or the Alpine ILX W650 for the head unit, and JLC1's for the speakers.  It sounds like a good deal to me but I'm not sure.

 

Mooncatt

CarAudio.com Enthusiast
Apr 29, 2019
65
-1
I'm a Pioneer fan when it comes to head units, so that would be my choice between those two (currently running an AVH-X4800BS). I do my own installs, so I wouldn't know if that all in price is a good deal.

 

JRsmoothee

caraudio.com negative asshole
Aug 12, 2008
1,178
38
in the alley behind your house
your getting f*cked over on that price!!! install it yourself, save that money for more/better equipment.....just do your research, dont rush it, and come hear and ask questions if you have any problems (follow advice of reputable members and dont be cocky).....its alot easier than you think

 

Alex Jarrell

CarAudio.com Newbie
May 21, 2019
12
0
Can you elaborate more on why that price is too much?  Is it the parts and labor?  Or is it the head piece / speakers?  I don't have the time or experience to install them well myself so if they aren't overcharging me then I don't mind paying for installation.

 

DRBOOM

CarAudio.com Well Known
Nov 21, 2018
249
50
Mate, if you are not competent to take on the task yourself, get at least 3 quotes form car installers then you decide.  I understand you will save money by doing it yourself but there's other factors to consider with car audio, its not just joining wires, its about taking plastic panels, door trims out front fascia trimmings out without breaking those annoying plastic clips, how to make subwoofer boxes, tuning, placement, what size power, ground wires, and running them from the engine bay and under car carpets for RCA's remote / speaker wires etc.

You have to ask yourself if you can do this without butchering your trims in the process, then go ahead.  DIY is not for everyone and you have to know your limits when it comes to some challenging tasks at hand.  Some jobs are best left to the experts for best reasons, that's why they are still in business and you still have your day job! :fro:

 

Mooncatt

CarAudio.com Enthusiast
Apr 29, 2019
65
-1
Can you elaborate more on why that price is too much?  Is it the parts and labor?  Or is it the head piece / speakers?  I don't have the time or experience to install them well myself so if they aren't overcharging me then I don't mind paying for installation.
Go to www.Crutchfeild.com and input your vehicle info. From there, you can pick and choose head units and speakers that will fit. The installation kits are sold at a discount when you buy the head unit, and speakers usually come with free mounting adaptors and wire harness adaptors. They also give you some basic vehicle specific install instructions with the purchase.

When you have everything you want/need in your cart (I would also suggest adding panel removal tools, wire connectors, and other needed tools you don't already have), compare that price to the all in price from the install shop. Then ask yourself if that extra installation cost is worth it to you, or if you're willing to do a little work to save that money.

 

Alex Jarrell

CarAudio.com Newbie
May 21, 2019
12
0
I'm not really interested in installing the head unit myself, especially considering I want to keep steering wheel controls and want a camera installed.  I have been thinking about installing the speakers myself though as I feel more comfortable about that and the only way I'm staying near my budget otherwise is by sticking with low end speakers.  I figure it makes more sense to save on the $300 speaker installation so I can afford better speakers.

Really the only question left is my original one of what head unit to get.

 

Coolhand20th

CarAudio.com Well Known
Mar 27, 2019
135
29
Marinette County, Wisconsin
Kenwood 's are known to be very buggy in the double din market, go with a Pioneer. Has all the stuff you are looking for plus they don't have issues like Kenwood and they can go active on the crossover networks and with the new ones as Jeff has pointed out with the new app for them you can now use a 31 eq setup with it.

 

Gears

CarAudio.com Newbie
Jul 16, 2019
9
1
MO
I always like to check prices shops quoted me against other places online, ssa, amazon, woofersetc, etc.. If it's close i'll go with the shop to try and keep business local. Doing a quick check on that HU that shop is awfully steep, amazon carries it for about 350, and im sure other spots would be close to that price and honor a warranty claim. Also that head unit has a few bells and whistles you may not need, like the front and back cameras and a video out, and probably a gps suite or something like that. Match the head unit to what you need, if you're just playing music and wanting a simple upgrade to sound I wouldn't bother with all those extra items previously mentioned. You may find if you shop based on what you're after you may end up with a completely workable option for less than half of the cost mentioned already.

I run a Kenwood DDX775 and I think sonicelectronix has them for about $270ish, it doesnt have gps setup, (which i use my phone for that) And it still has camera slots etc. I have had it for a solid year or more so far and have had zero issues out of it. The only thing is that it isnt android auto, though i use mine for hand free calling etc through bluetooth anyhow.