Do I need an amp?!

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OK, so I gotta admit I know very little about all of this which is why I'm here asking all of you for advice! This is the deal:

I drive a 2002 Nissan Altima 2.5 S (not with bose system). I listen to my music very very loud, and everything was perfectly fine until I got an after market head unit. The factory head unit and speakers sounded great. I had a Pioneer head unit installed (sorry, don't know the model off hand) because it has an AUX and USB input. Since then, I have not been able to listen to music as loud as it was with the factory head unit.

If I am listening to something with absolutely zero bass, like a spoken recording, it can go as loud as the system goes which is great. Thats exactly what I want, but when I'm listening to a regular song with bass in it, after about 5 minutes of playback, the sound will start to like 'crinkle'. That is the best way I can put it. The bass makes the volume go lower. When any bass hits, it will not hit as hard as it did in the first 5 minutes of playback and it will also make the general volume go a lot lower. When I say the first five minutes, I mean the first five minutes of playback after the radio being off for some time (such as when I first get in the car).

So I thought maybe I needed new speakers, so I replaced my factory speakers with Powerbass (possibly Powerbass XL?), and it helped a little bit in the sense that it can go a little louder at first, but still the same 'crinkling' happens after about 5 minutes of listening to it loud (not even the loudest! The highest volume the head unit can get to is 62 and the loudest I can get it to at first is 45).

I know about keeping the iPod volume not at full volume when plugged into aux, and the same thing happens. The same 'crinkling' happens when playing from all inputs (USB, radio, aux, CD). I do NOT have after market subwoofers in my car, surprisingly the factory ones hit REALLY HARD (that is, with the factory head unit).

So please, tell me what you think I'd need to do? Do I need an amp? Im guessing there is no amp installed right now unless one comes factory installed. This is driving me crazy! Thanks so much!

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