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Planning an audio system

Introduction Well, first things first. I would like to clarify my position with
respect to trademarks, the profits, expensive, cheap and how important it is to
install. There is the old saying that 80% of a system is the installation. Well,
of course, refers to the installation, but also refers to the selection of comp
onents. This is part of the installation. So I do not believe in taking that and
say "put him anything, because what matters is the installation." This is in my
book, a simplification of a phrase which referred to all, not physically do the
installation. This does not mean you should buy the most expensive of everythin
g. The Car Audio, like many things in life is a balance of conditions to achieve
optimum results. Depending on the outcome you seek, you have to take stock of h
ow much of your budget to invest in your system components, as in the installati
on, and whatever TUNING. This guide is highly "opinions." Do not take everything
as absolute truths put them, but if my experience will serve you. Trademarks, b
rands and more brands? Million. Models? Likewise. As I begin to understand that
I need and why? There are four main types of mark: excellent, good, the budget,
bad. Excellent are those that give you extra money really better quality, more f
unctionality and usually a good balance price / quality. There are a lot of pres
tige brands, but not necessarily give you a good balance of price versus quality
. Buy the most expensive is not
always give you the best result. What is important is to look at excellent marks
for these sections of your facility where the brand makes a huge difference (ie
the front speakers, but on this later). Some examples: Brax, DLS, CDT Audio, Lu
nar, Dynaudio, Focal, Zapco, etc. Good brands are those with an intermediate pri
ce, some more, others less. Some great brands have a line of more affordable, an
d often is a good choice as a "good brand." For example, the Classic line or lin
e DLS Helix Brax. There are many good brands, they give you good quality mid-pri
ced. Autotek Memphis and are examples of good brands (cheaper models fall into t
he budget that follows), MTX, Rockford Fosgate, etc. The budget marks are those
that focus on you with the best possible price, not the best, or worst, just the
emphasis is on price, not necessarily in performance. Examples, I would say som
ething like dbDrive, and there are others. It is a good choice when the budget i
s limited, and beware of certain products (would not be my first choice for the
critical front in September, but may be a good choice for amps and subs). The ba
d are those that are budget but cost as well. I do not want to give too many exa
mples to avoid hurting feelings, but let's say a good example would be Sony. The
y are brands that really have a budget but as a price that ranges between budget
and good brand. Many brands fall into this department. Many brands spend a lot
on marketing and little in the design of their products (MA Audio tell us someth
ing?). It is important to understand that they are not bad products, or at least
no worse than a budget brand, the issue is that you pay more for less, that's a
ll. Sony amplifier is not bad, do you have to do, my point is that with the same
money could have bought something a lot better.
In summary, I firmly believe that one has to try to balance which puts money (mo
re on that in the next section), and part of that balance is not to buy the chea
pest, if not understanding that commitments are made by choosing certain things.
Balancing your budget in September Front and Main Point number one: The speaker
s of September are the most important front. Unless you're building a car strict
ly for SPL competitions (where you care only generate a tone), you can not deny
its importance. Look at the following: Subwoofer: Plays in September 20hz-80/100
hz Forward: Plays 80/100hz-20, 000Hz We clear? The numbers speak for themselves.
Your subwoofer is dedicated to play less than 10% of the frequencies you hear.
Where do you think you should invest most of your money? On the set front, of co
urse, where it occurs 95% of the action. Anyone who tells you that a set of 1.80
0 pesos sounds the same (or can sound alike) who is one of 8,000 pesos or a liar
, or a person who has never heard a good set. This does not mean you can not get
good results with a set group of economists, including one very cheap. It all d
epends on what you are looking for, and what is your budget. A good set is a goo
d set ... period.€It is important to invest as much as possible on your front i
n September. This is where everything happens. There are countless brands and mo
dels ... and yes, it makes much difference the make and model in a set. A simila
r price range, which is a matter of taste which brand and model, accepting recom
mendations, but never buy blindly. You have to like the sound of your speakers,
the speakers are very personal in
how that sound (metal against silk tweeters are terribly different mediobajo pla
yback changes from brand to brand and model and model, etc). This text is imposs
ible to mention all the different options, the advantages / disadvantages of cer
tain designs, because the passive crossover is an essential part of a good set,
the differences between two-way and 3-way cars and because the latter is so popu
lar when looking for excellence. I do rather to clarify that there is no BBB (go
od, cheap, nice) in front in September. Do not make the mistake of thinking it i
s. Then rinse and why the set is the most important front of all your system, co
ntinue. Let's talk about a key part (though less key than many think). Unit Head
or Senior Years and years I spend listening to: That sounds better than Pioneer
Alpine, Kenwood better than Sony, which this better than that. In short: bullsh
it. Almost every head in the market at the same price range sounds the same to t
he ears of the people. There are differences? Yes, there are differences in DSPs
, the DACs, some are softer than others. The reality is that you have to buy the
head that you like aesthetically and ergonomically (you will be operating the u
nit all day many times while driving, you have to be logical for you the subject
of the buttons). The differences between brands have to do with the aesthetic a
nd ergonomic. If you really think you'll hear the difference between Eclipse and
Alpine then you should already know what they want. If not, forget all that, wh
ich is highly subjective, and concentrate on the above. This section assumes tha
t we speak of an audio system with external amplifier, honestly in this area, we
do not care about the assertion of power of the heads ... simply makes no diffe
Now, there are different price ranges. I think that there are three basic levels
of heads, each with its price range. I will give examples with some Alpine mode
ls I know, as a reference. These are models that I know well and I can explain w
hy each item. - The basic, so simple for any computer need: for example, Alpine
CDA-9825. You 4volts output (few brands have high output in the baseline, is a p
lus for this Alpine), 3 pre outs (front, rear, subwoofer). Base Price say around
2,000 pesos. - The intermediate output voltage greater than or equal to 4v, som
e functions of EQ / Crossover: Alpine CDA-9835 sample. Add to the above a fairly
complete digital crossover, time alignment, quasi-parametric EQ, a larger scree
n with more information. Base price around 5,000 pesos. - The high, you should r
eally give you many benefits or a radical item on ergonomics / aesthetics (here
we may also include displays or DVD players / screen for example): Example Alpin
e CDA-7998. The same functionality as above, adding a giant screen for a stereo
DIN (standard size), but basically the same functionality. Price around 8,000 pe
sos. This range if we included the screens and others, you'd go to the base pric
e from 13.000 to 15.000 pesos. And as always, a whole line is more expensive sti
ll. So how much should I spend on a head? Since I know I need? Work with the exa
mples given (and forget the existence of screens and DVD players that are "needs
" to alter radically the logic of purchase, if you think you need a video screen
in your car, as you will need one, want / need in the car are highly linked-aud
io). The CDA7998 (high) and CDA9825 (bass) have no difference
SOUND QUALITY. It's the same thing. How? If the same thing. A inerenetemente not
sound better than the other. If you buy the 7998 is because you like more, beca
use you prefer the convenience of working your crossover on your stereo instead
of going to your amp, or because I really wanted an EQ and do not want to put on
e separately. One does not hear better than the other. It is important to unders
tand that there is no need to buy more expensive head, or more expensive to have
a good system. Honestly is one of the areas where you can better balance your b
udget. Thanks to the world of CD, and DACs (digital analog converters) economics
today, you will not notice differences between the ranges of price. If you want
to have a lot of functionality and is ... chingona, go ahead.€But do not mistr
eat your budget head thinking that require more expensive. If you have to cut th
e head is always a good place to cut. For example, thinking about these examples
of Alpine, between 9835 and 7998 there are 3,000 pesos difference mainly applie
s to the aesthetic, not functional. Good savings of 3,000 pesos, would not say?
As these examples (and if they come to the home page Alpine) you will see that b
etween each level there are options, many options available. Find one that is in
your budget and desired range of functionality. Some brands have more choices,
others less. Do some research and see. Stick to well-known brands (Alpine, Clari
on, Pioneer, Kenwood, Eclipse, Denon, Nakamichi, etc.) and have no problems. The
three factors to take into account important: - An output of 4 volts or more ma
kes a difference. It's not abysmal, but it is good to have a good output voltage
to minimize the possibility of induced noise in the system. You can build a ver
y good system with a head of low voltage 2v or lower. But really it is advisable
to try to have a high to have fewer problems in the long run. Recommended, but
not imperative.
- If your system EQ and xover thought adding external (not really see why, more
of that in the next section, processors), then spend a little more money on a he
ad that has this functionality included is a good bet. Less equipment, less wiri
ng, fewer places to induce noise or problems. The KISS rule (keep it simple stup
id, keep it just stupid) always applies. - Do not be misled by the recommendatio
ns of others. Once you set your price range for the head (and the desired functi
onality), note that brand offers you what you want with your budget and try to s
ee them physically (in the bazaars, in the illegal goods, then buy a decent trad
er) IT is important that you like and you make IT its interface logic and way of
working. For example, I find most logical Alpine brand for MI, many people in K
enwood, Eclipse or another brand. That is personal.
Difficult subject. There is an amplifier that sounds better than another. There
are better and worse amplifiers. The reason why one is better than another are s
heets and sheets of technical discussions, and it is difficult to comprehend tha
t some differences you'll see on an oscilloscope you will not necessarily listen
. Let me give you some questions in my opinion. We will go from general to speci
fic. A good brand to buy more than one name. There is a guarantee of quality com
ponents and manufacturing. That said, I think you also have to search for differ
ences that are significant, they are concrete, tangible, and not placing too muc
h emphasis on data and highly modifiable factors in the manufacturer's results (
power, even if RMS, THD, damping factor) . One of my favorite lines from the JL
Audio amplifiers are Slash (300 / 4, 300 / 2, 450 / 4, etc). The reason? Power S
regulated excellent crossovers (really bright), impedance switching system (the
same result between 1.5 and 4 ohms). All these are technical benefits, tangible,
clear and concise. There are many good amplifiers with other types of benefits.
A power source or Genesis DLS (close relatives) or offer huge toroidal Brax, hi
ghly deregulated sources (offering more power if the current system can provide)
, huge capacitors (due to the need to provide fast current unregulated source ),
the highest quality components. Such benefits are difficult to assess, are, exi
st and are a benefit, but not necessarily will make the amp sounds better than o
thers in similar circumstances. But when you want that extra momentum, that litt
le difference that give you a few more watts in certain passages of music, will
appreciate having a good power supply design, and also give you a mole, or a Tru
Arc Audio Technologies. The point I make is that it must balance that makes an
amplifier, as you do and what price you are willing to pay. For a while forget a
bout the wattage. Between 50 and 75 makes no difference. No difference hearing.
Addition of a Genesis 50 watts or 50 watts Zapco Competition are very different
from the 50 watts of Audiobahn, an M-Class Memphis or Rockford Fosgate. In simpl
e terms, should not you care in principle. You pay as much as possible for more
power but that power does not always make a difference, because even though we b
elieve that the 50 watts of one are equal to 50 watts of another model (eg betwe
en a Zapco Reference and a Zapco Competition ), although the same brand ... beca
use guess what, they are not. But as I said, it does not matter much.€As I can
assert this? Because I can assure you that it is difficult to differentiate a JL
Audio 300 / 2 and a JL Audio 300 / 4. Of course,
300 / 2 is a 150x2 and 300 / 4 is a 75x4. So if I connect the same set to two ch
annels of 300 quarters or two channels of 300 / 2 there is no difference? A litt
le, you have more headroom with the 300 / 2, you're a lofty, is the best option.
But do not think you can turn up twice for having a 300 / 2 to a set instead of
a 300 / 4. After a certain sound level, the mathematics of power against volume
becomes complicated and confusing (exponential) and power does not necessarily
mean double to double the volume. Ok, I admit that I'm so dizzy. I do not unders
tand at all to buy. Well, I can tell you what to buy, but I can tell you what I
think you have to think. Back to reread this again and again and think that the
amplifier is important, but all amplifiers amplify. Then, you will try to buy so
mething good, but not necessarily the best results will give you easy to see or
hear. It is always better to have good, but it's not like I might give the best
cost / benefit. Try to buy the best amp you can adjust your budget, but remember
that September is the most important front. The amplifier you buy should have a
balance with money you are willing to invest in a set. Do not buy an amp from 2
,000 pesos to feed a set of 8,000, and not otherwise. I think it's more importan
t to think well your system in terms of how many amps you are buying. A good fiv
e-channel, really good, better than 4 mono channels and a lower quality and pric
e. At least as I see it all as stated above. So I keep insisting, it's all a que
stion of balance. You have to find the best balance of price, quality, channel p
ower. It's not easy, but it is difficult to tell when you're really taking the w
rong path. It is important to ask WHY. Why not buy two amplifiers and one, becau
se you buy the expensive, because so cheap ... WHY is key and will help you
better understand the path you take.
My first point, followed by the previous WHY. I see and I see how people spend l
ots of money better spent on a good set forward in a better amp, or a better hea
d, wasted on a series of processors that you will not use or do not do a better
job than we already have (a xover against an external amplifier x-over). Equaliz
er ... bah. First arm your system, following herein, then tell me honestly if yo
u need an equalizer. I'm not saying that a good processor does not serve, I say
that many people plan their systems when not needed. Spend part of your budget o
n them and then has to cut costs in key parts of the system to enter the budget
again. Bad move. Bad move. If you do not understand that is an equalizer or a cr
ossover, better not buy it. Invest in a good set front, good head, a good amplif
ier. Remember, try to keep your system simple, this is key. Simple and good. Tha
t is the key to success. Use experienced and know when you really need an x-over
or an equalizer, and swear you will not need a guide like this to make decision
s. If in doubt, do not need it.
Ahh, a key part. All initially enjoyed a better audio system because we can then
enjoy the benefits of the low. But I have to tell you that there are so many my
ths about low that sometimes makes me sick to see how people fall into traps of
their own marketing people must be made in the head. I understand that my concep
t of sub bass (a filler that gives body to kick drums basically) is different fr
most people (like a bass and incredible to move all make me feel dizzy). I under
stand that. But at the same time I have to express points that are valid in eith
er of the two scenarios. Let me explain why. The subwoofer is the shark shark ho
rn. Moves air. Period. No major advances in technology subwoofers. The progress
we see (Underhung coil, fat surrounds, huge magnets) are mainly associated with
developments to provide better thermal resistance (power capacity) and mechanica
l strength (greater linear excursion). Recall again the above at the beginning:
A subwoofer reproduces 20-80/100 hz. There is NOTHING in the range of frequencie
s. Is it important? Yes, because the frequencies that we feel physically in the
body, are those that listen and feel. It's a strange feeling: two senses (hearin
g and the "touch") at the same time. Lovely, no? But we must not forget that it
is a tiny part of the range of frequencies that make music.€Want a good bass? N
o need to spend big bucks. For all the low are essentially the same, and only va
ries the amount of wattage they support. If you want to remove the kidneys to al
l who pass, be prepared to spend much money, and make commitments terrible space
in your car. If you want something good and strong, ready to spend less than yo
u thought. A system of sub bass has a great responsibility to "grow" all your mu
sic (thanks to provide you with more than one sense), but at the same time is a
place where you can save wisely. If you do not have the space to offer the cubic
two subwoofers, you'll get better results (even if you're looking for a neighbo
r pounding kidneys) with a single subwoofer and cubicity that need to operate
correctly. A 12 in box 1.85 cubic feet ported with generally work better than tw
o 12s at least bit less than a foot sealed. This is basic to understanding how t
o optimize system design and balance your budget best. Then we enter the same ch
apter, but not necessarily better. The power is similar. I see people obsessed w
ith high levels of wattage in sub amps. It seems that nowadays if you have at le
ast 1000 watts for the sub, not going to sound strong. Humbug. If you really hav
e impressive levels, I agree, you need power. But you also need power, and if yo
u change your alternator put several batteries, etc, there are limits that it im
poses on available drive power to your amp. I'm glad you bought a 2500 watts RMS
amplifier for your Chevy alternator 60 amps. Unfortunately, I do not think your
amp will never be able to get the current required to operate at these power le
vels. I mean ... can not make up the stream there, right? Now, remember that we
mentioned earlier. Double your power does not mean double the volume. If you are
interested in the SPL, learn physics. Require much understanding of physics for
success. But here we are talking about a system to listen, not to generate tone
s. I bet I can Diseñarte a system that sounds as strong as you thought to do wi
th two 12s and 1000 watts with 1 12 and 500 watts. At least I bet you will not n
otice which sounds stronger. Please do not be impulsive and will appear with a F
iesta, 3 15s, 3 amps high current mono MMATS and say: I want to shine with mothe
rs with what I have. The first good installer will ask you: So you do not mind l
osing the rear seat, right? When we say: No, of course I want the back seat for
my children and my nephews!, Only that these subs will be terribly limiting to f
it in the space provided, giving the same result as good
configuration with a 10 and 500 watts thoughtful. In short, none of this is writ
ten in stone, but believe me, if you have space for a JL Audio W7, even though y
ou pay a fortune for him, and everyone has told you is the best subwoofer in the
world ... there will be no human power that can make it sound good in limited s
pace. I've seen people pass and go through the workshop of my friend Mike, bring
ing what seemed to wall subwoofers, amplifiers immense, and all to discover that
really, all that money was thrown in the trash because there was no way to do t
his work well in the available space. The client wants to use all that you bough
t, and not listen to reason. This is a difficult subject for many, because it co
sts them to understand the physics behind a subwoofer. Subwoofers, another great
place to balance the budget either. Most people (generalization of course) puts
too much emphasis on this area, and there are a lot of material from which to c
Ahh, a favorite spot full of myths. A cable does not sound better than another.
Paragraph. There is no cable to give you a "sound more open." In all A / B that
have been made, no one has ever been able to differentiate the expensive cable c
heap. But if there are other differences, which are important and why it does no
t necessarily have to pay too much. In Horn and power cables, no appreciable dif
ferences. Current and pass point (the speaker as well.) The voltage of the speak
er cables is high, there is no apparent induction noise. A good cable has advant
ages: less corrosion (two cases), better flexibility for installation (very impo
rtant in a cable 0 which in itself is difficult to pass), and easy identificatio
n of polarity (many decent speaker cables come with a difference touch which is
good and what is not, someone who appreciates it installed on anything, believe
As for the RCAs, if there are techniques to prevent induction noise (braiding)€
and are very effective. RCA is a bad source of noise and damage (false). Remembe
r that cables are placed under a carpet. Want to hold a good cable, you do not d
o your whole car apart to change it back because it was a fake, because corrosio
n. Summary: do not go to the ends of Kimber Kable (cable expensive and unjustifi
able in my opinion), but balancing a good RCA (intermediate) and a decent power
cable / ground and speaker. Do not save pennies, save dollars.
Rear speakers
You need speakers back? Not really. Anyone who says otherwise is lying and decei
ving. As you say such a thing happen? Because I can prove they are not necessary
for a first system. This is controversial. This is my point of view. Do not tak
e it as written in stone, but think I will give you tools to question themselves
, and that's the important question. The purpose of this guide is to teach the w
hys, and I think you have to form itself with this information. I want you to fi
nd the right balance to build your system. Divide the cost of your front and rea
r speakers equally, it is a mistake. I explain why. First excuse: The back also
listen to the cockpit of a car is not very large. Let's be honest. Because we th
ink we need rear speakers in a car if the distance of the front speakers with re
spect to the back seat is less than the traditional distance of listening to a p
air of speakers in a home? Because we do not need a house "speakers back" (and n
ot talking about a surround system, that is another thing) and in a car? Is that
speakers do not need a car behind. It is part of a farce that has to do with th
e low power of a stereo
agency. You just put a good amp and a good set of front speakers. I assure you,
there you have to be able to hear it right back. Add another set of rear speaker
s will only create more cancellations in the rear. As we can say that will impro
ve the sound? Many people add speakers back because obviously have a bad design
in the system of sub bass. The low rumble is above the front speakers. September
1 Add back only give a slight sense of acute loss in your too low rumble. I mea
n, let's be honest ... Nor will the big difference, because you will not be able
to overcome the excessively low level, no matter how many speakers put back. Pu
tting speakers back helps a little. Therefore, if you fool with putting speakers
back, forward, but by God with everything that I have shown, you can not justif
y spending the same for a set that or be destroyed by cancellation or be overwhe
lmed by too low. Half spent on something that give you a little sharp there befo
re, that's all. Keep reading, because there is another option. Second reason: Th
e elusive Good speakers referred back back give you sound more realistic, more c
omplete, raise the stage and make you rich and famous. All this is debatable. Th
e important point is that even agreeing that does all this (less rich and famous
), do not need any good speaker or a lot of power to make it happen. The referen
ce back to a quality system (hey, we are talking rear reference, no? Talk about
a SQ system if you use those terms) does not require more power than that provid
ed by your head (if your cd player!), And requires no best speakers that half of
5.25 with no tweeter, including a very cheap and basic. The summary need not lo
udspeakers back (case-specific multi-channel systems, large trucks, etc, to abst
ain), and if you feel you need them, do not need them on the concept that your
think. I give you the tools to make you wonder. It is in you. My best comment is
always: do not contemplate. Make your system. Listen. If need, the want for ref
erence, and will be easy to add them. Speaking of false statistics, something li
ke 85% of the people, not added. It's a lie, but if such statistics exist, it wo
uld be a similar number to die. If you decide to add horns back, invest little .
... not worth investing more. These speakers will never do what your front speak
ers, you should massacre the tweeter to prevent drastic changes in your scenario
, and probably are so clogged for some reason ivnertir not worth more than a bas
ic set or a coaxial to give you that "extrita" may be lacking behind. Do not wan
t to ruin lives, want to give you the best balance price / quality.