Preplanning stage - need help deciding on which direction to go


Motorhead87

CarAudio.com Newbie
Feb 17, 2020
10
0
Houston
Hello all,

I am a noob to the forum and pretty much car audio in general. I’m trying to learn as much as I can here before I take any action on my car build. To start I have a 2012 Acura TL with all stock components. The car doesn’t have navigation.

Im looking to keep my stock HU but replace front door speakers, center speaker, add amp for said speakers, add subwoofer(s) unhook stock one, and add an amp for said sub(s).

I have only ever had 2 really cheap 10” subs that I have had for 15 yrs in a prefab, slot ported box with a Sony XM-280GTX amp. The box dimensions are 28 1/4 W x 13 1/4 H x 16 1/4D. It has a center slotted port that measures 2W x 16 1/4D. I know I am going to catch shit for the box but at least it’s not a sealed box.

I listen mainly to rock and 80’s with rap mixed in. So I want something that will sound really tight and crisp for the double base in my rock songs but can thump a good amount too when I have the rap on.
I am a handy person so I am totally open to making my own box but the design aspect of the project has me confused. I don’t plan on having the TL for too much longer so what I would like to do is use the box I have now until I get my next vehicle and then build the box my system deserves at that point.

I have some basic decisions to make that I would like some input on too. I don’t think I will ever be in a place where I want to lose the entire trunk or rear space of an SUV for a huge ported box. So given that and my music I listen to, do you think it would be best if I go with one 12” or dual 10” subs? What would a typical ported sub box measurements be so I can get an idea of my current box for both 10’s vs a built one for one 12 be? It’s hard to visualize what the dimensions for 2-2.5 cuft would be.

Once I decide which size and quantity for subs I can start planning my system. I’ve had a hard time finding places to listen to some of these speakers I’ve seen that come highly recommended. I heard some Focal performance 165AS’s last weekend that sounded good. Maybe a little flatter than I like. My past speakers were just infinity reference speakers and I liked them but maybe too much on the highs. At high volume they can get ear piercing at times. So I am interested in Focals, Hertz and Audio Frogs so far. Open to other suggestions. For subs (assuming I’m going with two 10’s) I was thinking Sundown SA-10’s or SSA demons. No clue on the amp yet. Could use your help here. Was hoping to use my Sony Amp to power the front doors since it’s a 2 channel ~ 80w rms per channel. I wanted to keep the rears active but just powered by the HU. I would like to keep the budget around $1500 so I am open for suggestions for any pieces of equipment.

At what power level do you need to start considering the big 3 upgrade? I haven’t found info on what threshold of total system power should you start considering that.

I have other questions but I figured I would at least start here.
 

BCotrell

Senior VIP Member
May 27, 2015
862
138
irvine, ca
Get a low cost dsp that has de-equalization like a Audison bit ten (five channels). Keep your factory front speakers then when you sell your tl, take out the dsp and all the aftermarket stuff behind it, reconnect factory, put factory front speakers back in and call it a day. Leave your center factory speaker disconnected till you sell it
 
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Motorhead87

CarAudio.com Newbie
Feb 17, 2020
10
0
Houston
Thanks for the feedback. Just to be more clear when I say I won’t have the car much longer I mean at the end of the year my wife will take the car and I’ll get something new. So I don’t mind possibly being out a set of door speakers that won’t carry over to the new vehicle. If they do great but either way I’m keeping the factory stuff and putting it all back in once she takes it. I’ll still get this full year to enjoy it/ learn things I’ll want to tweak once I switch cars.

Would you maybe re-answer my questions now knowing my situation better?
 
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Motorhead87

CarAudio.com Newbie
Feb 17, 2020
10
0
Houston
Yeah I’m looking to spend about $1500 on it all. I’m interested to hear recommendations on brands to look into. Before joining this forum I had never heard of some of these brands like audio frog, SSA or Sundown so this has been really helpful.

I’d also like to hear your input on dual 10’s vs single 12 so I can hopefully avoid buying something and having to change it since I wasn’t happy with it. I would like to get the best sound quality and output I can get from the smallest footprint.
 

Slo_Ride

Regulator
10+ year member
Oct 15, 2005
22,544
1,195
ATLANTA
Not trying to be a dick, so don't take this the wrong way, but do like the rest of us and use the search button and just start reading.
 

BCotrell

Senior VIP Member
May 27, 2015
862
138
irvine, ca
Then get a budget comp set with high sensitivity, that runs on low power and just keep your gains conservative on the two channel (Sony). If your wife is going to have the car why not just get a decent price double din...easy and clean full signal, tuning, then wife has easy graphic interface when she takes it. $50 Install kit makes it all look oem. Install $$$ factored it’s likely cheaper than connecting a dsp and all that

20544
 
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Motorhead87

CarAudio.com Newbie
Feb 17, 2020
10
0
Houston
Bcotrell, thanks for the suggestions. I didn’t think of going with a cheaper double din but you are right it makes sense to just go that route instead. I was worried about keeping steering wheel functions and Bluetooth calling but I see adapters for that.

me not keeping the car well into the future aside. A year is a long time and I have gone several without any subs at all. I really want some subs back in the car and since I will be taking them with me regardless I want to buy quality, good sounding ones. Can I get some feedback on my suggestions and the 2 10’s vs 1 12? I’m going to get front speakers regardless and use my amp and if my next car has the same size I’ll take them with me. If not I don’t mind being out $350 for those and leaving them behind.
 

IndySlim

CoolAssDude
Mar 13, 2019
119
11
Omaha NE
Does your budget matter?
Do you even have an idea about what the next car will be.
Personally based on what I've read. I'd get a dsp to maintain factory HU probably audio control 6 channel amp with dsp built in. That would kill 2 birds with one stone maybe 3 depending on how much power your subs require. Then buy a nice set of components for your interior front and back. I think the center speaker is a subwoofer. I'd do away with that since I'm going to use subs in a box anyways. You can always put it back stock for wifey. 12's are a standard for me personally. You may need at the least need to know what vehicle you'd be purchasing some stuff for because your new interior speakers may no fit in your new vehicle. Do you have more info cause anyone on here can give good advice on what you should get and that can get expensive.. Personally my build was a budget build. A little more power than i suggested to you but still budget. I didn't have any goals I just wanted bass within my price range. I actually spent half of my budget on electrical components. Subs, box, HU, and interior speaker was the other half. About 2500 altogether which was 1000 over my budget (thank God for 90 days same as cash) but I did in my own defense buy the "good stuff" which is what made it pricey as far as wiring, fuse blocks, agm battery and most recently High Output alternator. 1500 can definitely do it but some of those brands you named might take your budget higher
 
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BCotrell

Senior VIP Member
May 27, 2015
862
138
irvine, ca
So a lot of the middle of the road comp sets are going to want more juice than the 80x2 Sony amp you mentioned. That said, maybe just get a budget component set that performs well and plan to leave em in the car. Your new car whatever it is isn’t guaranteed to have same speakers sizes and could be three way etc.

deck recommendation:

comps set recommendation:

Then when you’re ready to swap cars just take the aftermarket subs and amp out and wife will have decent audio. you can put factory rear deck 6x9’s on the rear hu channel. That’s about $400
In equipment that will stay in the car. That single center channel speaker will be totally disconnected, cars don’t need center channe.

I have one 12 in my old Acura TL(2003). It’s an xfl but I would probably go with 2 10’s a second time around. More book and nearly equivalent cubicspace for box size.
 
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BCotrell

Senior VIP Member
May 27, 2015
862
138
irvine, ca
Do you even have an idea about what the next car will be.
Personally based on what I've read. I'd get a dsp to maintain factory HU probably audio control 6 channel amp with dsp built in. That would kill 2 birds with one stone maybe 3 depending on how much power your subs require. Then buy a nice set of components for your interior front and back. I think the center speaker is a subwoofer. I'd do away with that since I'm going to use subs in a box anyways. You can always put it back stock for wifey. 12's are a standard for me personally. You may need at the least need to know what vehicle you'd be purchasing some stuff for because your new interior speakers may no fit in your new vehicle. Do you have more info cause anyone on here can give good advice on what you should get and that can get expensive.. Personally my build was a budget build. A little more power than i suggested to you but still budget. I didn't have any goals I just wanted bass within my price range. I actually spent half of my budget on electrical components. Subs, box, HU, and interior speaker was the other half. About 2500 altogether which was 1000 over my budget (thank God for 90 days same as cash) but I did in my own defense buy the "good stuff" which is what made it pricey as far as wiring, fuse blocks, agm battery and most recently High Output alternator. 1500 can definitely do it but some of those brands you named might take your budget higher
In a new arrangement, factory front and rear center channels will be unnecessary, they don’t do anything positive for the imaging. You’ll be left with Front comp set, optional factory rear 6x9’s and sub stage.

For your substage, go with full bridge amp technology (Brazilian)for max monoblock efficiency. Get a good agm under the hood and do your big 3.$180 bucks for a battery, $100 for big 3, $180 bucks for an amp (2.2k watts), $300 for a couple solid 10’s. $760 in electrical/sub stage equipment. Probably gonna need $200-300 for a custom box and $xx for install. You’ll be a wee bit over $1500 when the dust settles.
 
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Motorhead87

CarAudio.com Newbie
Feb 17, 2020
10
0
Houston
Again thank you all for the feedback. I know I am pretty vague for now but this is helping me a lot. Running the risk of buying 6 3/4" speakers for my TL front doors now and then buying a new vehicle later that cant use them is not a concern for me. Ill get all year to enjoy them over the crap I have now and if I can take them with me then great but if not at least ill have a years worth of experience with the brand and know if I want to stick with the same thing or move to something different. I have learned from past budget builds that the lower end Pioneer components were too flat for me, Infinity Reference components would be too shrill and high at higher volumes. I'm slowly weeding those out as I progress and hopefully will find the right setup for me to stick with.

I already expected to buy a LOC to install subs to a factory HU so that was already $150-ish right there. I wasn't sure if I really needed a DSP or not and was trying to learn more about that. If I can kill two birds with one stone with a double din that doesn't break the bank like a Kenwood Excelon DMX706S or the Pioneer that you recommended then I'm fine with that. I can decide to take that with me when I switch or leave it for the wife. She doesn't care either way so its just about what I want. I have no idea what vehicle I will buy next. Its going to depend on a lot of factors. It will either be a similar sized car or midsized SUV.

I have a long way to go learning how to build my own box before I feel that I want to attempt that. The part about tuning your box to a certain frequency doesn't make sense to me yet. So I want to limp by for now with this prefab one. I know I will be robbing my system and but anything is better than the crap speakers in this car and the stock sub that is non-existent which is in there now. Once I get the box design thing down I can make it myself. I also plan on doing all of the install myself. I'm very handy and can learn that after a couple of videos.

What I don't want to do is buy speakers and subs that I'll view as just "Meh" and end up not wanting to take any of it with me next time and wasting all of that money. I want quality stuff that will fit my music preference. If that means that in this vehicle its only capable of 80% of its potential but when I give it the attention it needs in the next vehicle its going to be at 100% then I am ok with that. I think I want to go with (2) 10's after all for the greater woofer surface area compared to (1) 12. How do you guys know when its time for the alternator and big 3 upgrade? Is it literally just when you hook up your system and experience dimming lights etc? I know you can get to a certain point where you might have a 5k system and its obvious but what about for someone like me who is going to be in the 1-1.5k range?

Talking speakers: What do you think about Audiofrog GS62's? They are 75w RMS @ 4 ohms so my Sony amp would fit well there at 80w x 2 @ 4 ohms. Would these give me good crisp vocals with great clarity and high volumes, acceptable mid range bass and not too harsh on the highs?

For Subs: Thinking SA-10's or SSA Demon 10's. I want tight bass that I can feel throughout the car. I don't know how to describe the bass I don't like other than subs that put off a noise similar to the port noise from an incorrectly sized port or a cheap sealed box. All that ends up doing is hurting my head and sounds loud just for the sake of being loud. I want it to sound well and pack a punch at the same time.

For Amps: I will look into the taramps brand but I notice a lot of threads on here talking about problems they are having with theirs. Are they mainstream enough and been around enough to where we are starting to see the limits of their longevity and problems that are shooting up everywhere?

I wont both sound deadening this car but will for sure do this in my next vehicle. I might just do some spot areas to stop the rattles that I will for sure have in places once this is up and running.
 
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The Italian Guy

CarAudio.com Newbie
Feb 26, 2020
3
0
USA
Plenty of suggestions depending on which way you decide to go. I just registered for the forum in the hopes of providing you with something useful. I won't get into a lot of specifics, so it may not be what you're looking for but I'd like to offer very general advice. Here's my approach when planning a new system.
  1. Determine primary objectives. I prefer quality over quantity for example. That means that SQ is more important than SPL and I pick components accordingly.
  2. Figure out space available and location of current components. Where are my current speakers? What size are they? Where can I install amps, DSPs, caps, subwoofer enclosures, etc.
  3. What am I willing to sacrifice to achieve my objectives. Will I fill my trunk with subs? Am I going to hack panels (door cards, dash, foot-wells, headliner, pillars, etc)?
  4. Budget (parts & services). Am I doing all/some of the work myself or using a shop? Professional services can push you beyond your budget if you don't take this into account early.
  5. Load on electrical systems. Am I going to draw enough power to need new parts under the hood? How much of my budget will this eat up?
  6. Research specific equipment. Only after these steps do I make a decision on where to spend my cash.
I know that this is a departure from the typical forum responses, but it's just how I do things. Hopefully, something here will be helpful. If not, maybe another user can benefit.
 

nauc

CarAudio.com Veteran
10+ year member
Mar 22, 2005
3,142
42
Home
$780...





then you can add one of these if you want...


and take the rear dash speakers out to let the bass vent into the cabin
 
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Motorhead87

CarAudio.com Newbie
Feb 17, 2020
10
0
Houston
OK guys, been doing more planning and researching and this is what I plan on doing:

Replace HU with Pioneer MVH-1400NEX, replace front door speakers with Audiofrog GS62's and power with my Sony Xplod amp for now (80wx2 RMS), use my ported box for this vehicle, subs I am undecided, amp for subs will probably be Skar SKV2-1500.1D, wiring will be 1/0 from batter to trunk- distribution block with 8ga going to speaker amp and 4 ga going to Skar amp, sound deaden the doors and probably the trunk, run all 1/0 big 3 wiring but keep stock 130amp alternator.

My next vehicle will most likely be a new Tahoe. So I plan to take most of this with me. I will use the AFs in the rear doors in the Tahoe, the subs and Skar amp will come along. I will probably get a 4 channel amp for Tahoe to run all of the speakers and get 6x9 AFs for the fronts. I may or may not take the headunit with me when I make the move. Depends on what the Tahoe has I guess.

So I am undecided about the subs and need your input. As I stated I listed to mostly rock and 80's with some rap mixed in. I want a very clear, crisp, good sounding system where I can definitely feel and hear the base but not tearing my car apart. I am having a hard time deciding between SSA Demon 10's, Sundown EV3 10's or Sundown SA 10's.

I am leaning towards the Demon's because that's 1100w so my amp gives me plenty of head room. I think I can remain on the stock alternator with either those or the EV3's. The SA-10's I feel may be more for people looking for some pretty intense bass and not sure if I can run these on my stock alternator. I've never had subs over like 300 RMS so I don't know really know what to expect from any of these.

Comments on my planned system and any input on the subs?
 

BCotrell

Senior VIP Member
May 27, 2015
862
138
irvine, ca
OK guys, been doing more planning and researching and this is what I plan on doing:

Replace HU with Pioneer MVH-1400NEX, replace front door speakers with Audiofrog GS62's and power with my Sony Xplod amp for now (80wx2 RMS), use my ported box for this vehicle, subs I am undecided, amp for subs will probably be Skar SKV2-1500.1D, wiring will be 1/0 from batter to trunk- distribution block with 8ga going to speaker amp and 4 ga going to Skar amp, sound deaden the doors and probably the trunk, run all 1/0 big 3 wiring but keep stock 130amp alternator.

My next vehicle will most likely be a new Tahoe. So I plan to take most of this with me. I will use the AFs in the rear doors in the Tahoe, the subs and Skar amp will come along. I will probably get a 4 channel amp for Tahoe to run all of the speakers and get 6x9 AFs for the fronts. I may or may not take the headunit with me when I make the move. Depends on what the Tahoe has I guess.

So I am undecided about the subs and need your input. As I stated I listed to mostly rock and 80's with some rap mixed in. I want a very clear, crisp, good sounding system where I can definitely feel and hear the base but not tearing my car apart. I am having a hard time deciding between SSA Demon 10's, Sundown EV3 10's or Sundown SA 10's.

I am leaning towards the Demon's because that's 1100w so my amp gives me plenty of head room. I think I can remain on the stock alternator with either those or the EV3's. The SA-10's I feel may be more for people looking for some pretty intense bass and not sure if I can run these on my stock alternator. I've never had subs over like 300 RMS so I don't know really know what to expect from any of these.

Comments on my planned system and any input on the subs?
That skar amp is an overpriced current hog. Get a md1800. Your TL is newer so it runs a bit more factory electronics which means you’re not going to have more than 80amps or so on deck to dedicate to your stereo. That old Sony 2 channel will eat into that too.

sa10’s will give you flexibility of taking a bit more power if you have it.
 

BCotrell

Senior VIP Member
May 27, 2015
862
138
irvine, ca
Don’t blow your load on equipment. Something like Two tnt’s will take as much power as your factory alt can produce.


Thinking ahead, 2 10’s in ur Tahoe won’t be the same as in your tl so consider a taramps smart 3 on one 1k-1500 rms d4 12, then you can get another 12 when you get your Tahoe
 
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Motorhead87

CarAudio.com Newbie
Feb 17, 2020
10
0
Houston
BContrell, I was kind of ruling Taramps out because when I watched the duno ratings for the MD1800 it was coming up with ~65% efficiency and that sounds like a power hog to me. The Smart 3 shows much better with up to >90% in 2 ohms I think it was.

I was debating 10’s vs 12’s and won’t a properly built ported box for two 12’s just be massive? When I have the Tahoe I am not going to want to keep the back bench down 24/7 to accommodate a massive box. I was debating on two 10’s vs one 12 and felt like the added surface area of the two 10’s would make that the better option.Also is running a 3k amp to a speaker that’s rated for 1500w going to damage the sub at all? Sorry if that is an ignorant question.

Also can you give me some advice on what to look for in order to grade an amp and subs efficiency against other amps and subs? For Amps I pay attention to the efficiency rating and total amps at a given ohm spec on dyno videos. Is that a decent way to look at it?
For subs I go based on sensitivity rating although I know there is more to it but all of that data is still confusing to me on just how to process that and make sense of it all.
 

BCotrell

Senior VIP Member
May 27, 2015
862
138
irvine, ca
Keep in mind that md1800 put out nearly 1000 watts more than it was rated at 2 ohm so it’s efficiency was rated at power potential not the power like you’ll need.

Clean signal, box rise, and available amperage available will impact the final power your subs see. With a 3k you’ll be able to keep your gains quite conservative. As for the move to the Tahoe, my mistake, I just assumed you would want bigger bass when you moved to the Tahoe (as so many bass heads do). I actually have two 1k rms 10’s in my Landcruiser and its plenty of bass for me but some times I think about What if. I actually traded a guy two brand new 12’s for his two 10’s same models worried about the space thing similar to you.

a solid 10 is going to take 1.5-2.0 cubes per sub so figure out the space you’re willing to give up and go for it. Might want to proactively find the measurement of the distance between the backseat of the Yukon and the rear hatch and use that as your enclosure max depth otherwise you’ll be paying for a second custom enclosure when you swap cars. Might have to anyways just due to size constraints of the TL trunk and ability to adjust the other two dimensions.
 

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