Will Stock Audio Ever Match Aftermarket?

sungwei
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Well there's some hype from the media about the new 2004 Acura TL's sound system and it seems pretty sweet. Got me thinking about how fast stock audio is improving for cars. I wonder how good it really is though...

This is what they wrote from MSN Auto:

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"The new, 225-watt audio system with in-dashboard, six-disc changer and 5.1 surround sound is a prime example. It was developed with the help of electronics giant Panasonic and Elliot Scheiner, the Grammy-winning music producer and engineer who produced albums for Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac.

In fact, the official name of the TL sound system—"Acura/ELS Premium 8-speaker Surround Sound System"—includes a nod to Steiner via the "ELS" part of the label.

This system uses six channels (surround sound) rather than the usual two (stereo) found in premium sound systems to deliver digital surround sound that's 500 times the resolution of CD audio.

As a result, it can play the latest DVD-A media to deliver amazingly clear, detailed sounds which made me feel as if I was inside a recording studio, rather than the inside of a car. "

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Anyone heard this system? Does it live up to the hype? I wonder if we'll see the day stock audio actually will have no need to be upgraded for enthusiasts below the competition level.

Another thing I find interesting is a lot of these new car systems utilize 6 or more speakers. Yet I don't see a lot of people with upgraded audio use more than four and a lot only use two in front (not including subs).

What do you guys think?

 

Matador
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i m pretty sure someday it will get close to it, but those would be the real high end cars. so everyone else would have to upgrade their system. i mean tehre r few companies kinda associating w some aftermarket companies like scion with pioneer, so it might get close once they start usign better drivers n stuff.

well, the 6 spks system is just 4 spks n 2 tweeters, which r almost like nothing. when ppl buy 4 spks, they buy coaxials or 3 way spks, which give u more detail, but w/o sayin much they still sound much better than stock, cuz material, quality, engineerin is better.

 

taylor
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how the hell does that reproduce a 5.1 signal, if A: Most Cd's are only Recorded in 2 channel stereo, also, 8 speakers is rediculous, the fact that most proaudio SQ cars use a simple 3way setup up front and a sub or 2 in the back, 8 speakers means jack. A set of properly aimed kicks will also blow any stocker out of the water. And as stated, build quality of aftermarket also blows stock out of the water...

all in all, it's stock....even new BMW sound systems don't impress me.

edit, aftermarket systems use an array of speakers to reproduce the sound spectrum properly, example: Sub, Midbass, Midrange, Tweet....most of those cars utilize, no dedicated midbass drivers and coax speakers with a shitty factory sub.

 

frozenfire89
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stock cars will always build their sound systems for SQ... regardless, you probably won't ever hear a hard-core sub pounding the **** out of your trunk... I was in the nissans SE-R spec type and they put in a rockford fosgate 12" sub which made produced very little, if any sound.

 

Wonderbread
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The 5.1 is aimed at DVD's. Audio on DVD format (DVD-A) is recorded in 5 channels, speciafically for movies. I'm sure it sounds good, but I wonder what the package costs //content.invisioncic.com/y282845/emoticons/smile.gif.1ebc41e1811405b213edfc4622c41e27.gif

 
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sungwei
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The 5.1 is aimed at DVD's. Audio on DVD format (DVD-A) is recorded in 5 channels, speciafically for movies. I'm sure it sounds good, but I wonder what the package costs //content.invisioncic.com/y282845/emoticons/smile.gif.1ebc41e1811405b213edfc4622c41e27.gif
Good points made here. I was thinking along the same lines as some of you but wanted to hear what enthusiasts had to say.

Wonderbread, cost is a good issue here. Everytime I see the "Premium" sound package for a car it's like an extra 2 Gs!!! I have heard "Premium" systems and really they don't impress me all that much. They're nice, but not $2000 nice. For $2000 bucks you could build a serious kick ass system on your own. My new system will be under $1000 and I know it will rock the hell out of any "Premium" system. Just wondering how much better stock systems will get in the next 3-5 years. Of course with the improvement of stock comes the improvement of aftermarket. Perhaps they'll always be playing catch up.

 

slick316
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i think the dvd audio system in the new TL is standard. DVD audio is like upgraded cd's, better resolution (96khz vs 44khz) and higher bitrate. a heard a dvd audio album before on a home theater setup, sounded incredible.

i just wonder though, how good it can be in the TL, i've heard nice stock systems before (like the nakamichi in lexus vehicles) but i just have a feeling that there will be something lacking in the TL, i'll have to test drive this vehicle one day //content.invisioncic.com/y282845/emoticons/smile.gif.1ebc41e1811405b213edfc4622c41e27.gif

 

Shugarra
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I think there is a subaru that comes with a McIntosh deck. Overall, though, it's just not worth the money they charge. Of course it'd probably be cheaper to install that bigger engine yourself or maybe power windows/doors but when you're dropping 30-40k on a car it's easy enough to just buy it with all the features.

Upgraded stock systems serve their purpose. Car audio enthusiasts don't make up enough of the market to warrant car companies spending a couple hundred more a car. I can pretty much guarantee you Suzy Homemaker doesn't give a rats ass about staging or hitting a 140 dbs she just needs something to listen to on the way to soccer practice.

There are tons of things that would be cheaper if we did it ourselves. I bet you could fix a remote with a 30 cent part or paint your house with a hundred bucks worth of paint. If you know what you're doing it's easy, however, people don't know everything about everything so eventually we have to pay a little more to get someone to do it for us. Fortunately that's the way it works because if it wasn't there would be a ton of people out of work.

 
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sungwei
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There are tons of things that would be cheaper if we did it ourselves. I bet you could fix a remote with a 30 cent part or paint your house with a hundred bucks worth of paint. If you know what you're doing it's easy, however, people don't know everything about everything so eventually we have to pay a little more to get someone to do it for us. Fortunately that's the way it works because if it wasn't there would be a ton of people out of work.
Well said. That's why I like to take the time to figure things out on my own. Not really just to save money but more so I can learn about what I like and master it. Plus I like the assurance that I'm doing the best job and getting the best deal/performance. It's more satisfying that way. But yeah, the majority of the population will be more than satisfied with the newer stock systems.

 

taylor
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stock cars will always build their sound systems for SQ

wTF are you talking about, SQ and the words factory audio have nothing in common.

Lack luster at best maybe, i suggest before you use the word SQ you go sit in an SQ competition vehicle....

 

InhumanAcura
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The Harmon/Kardon systems in the BMW's sound pretty sweet for stock. It seems in the last ten years or so car company's have accepted using more commonly known aftermarket manufaturers products in their vehicles to upstage others in the same class. Back in the day Ford had JBL which is now in Toyota's, Nissan with Fosgate, Someone I think it was Mazda was running Kenwood, Dodge has been sourcing Infinity for a while now. The newest model Evolution comes with a box and sub in the trunk so it really has come a ways from the past, I honestly dont think it will make it to the point where the most discriminating listener will be happy when he hops in his Taurus.

 

adam71
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I look at it like this. Its not that car mfgs CAN'T make a great sonding system. Its just the simple fact that they WON'T. The percentage of people that crave great sounding audio is so little compared to other NON-AUDIOPHILE people that it wouldn't be practical for the car manufacturer to put in a great system which would only appeal to less than 10 % of their customers. I mean, lets just say that you were shopping for a truck and all you use it for is to haul parts accross town on paved city streets and thats all. Would you buy a truck with 4 wheel drive and off-road pkg, or better yet a wynch and roll bar.?? NO you wouldn't and thats what these manufacturers are looking at. The last thing they consider when designing and building a new car is the stereo system.

Adam

 
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sungwei
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I look at it like this. Its not that car mfgs CAN'T make a great sonding system. Its just the simple fact that they WON'T. The percentage of people that crave great sounding audio is so little compared to other NON-AUDIOPHILE people that it wouldn't be practical for the car manufacturer to put in a great system which would only appeal to less than 10 % of their customers. I mean, lets just say that you were shopping for a truck and all you use it for is to haul parts accross town on paved city streets and thats all. Would you buy a truck with 4 wheel drive and off-road pkg, or better yet a wynch and roll bar.?? NO you wouldn't and thats what these manufacturers are looking at. The last thing they consider when designing and building a new car is the stereo system.
Adam
Good point. Manufactures build what the majority wants.

 
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