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Audiophile - Cream of the crop choices, strategies and opinions
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Old 24th April 2008, 02:07 AM   #1
MLDV is offline MLDV  United States
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Default Audiophile - Cream of the crop choices, strategies and opinions

I am starting this thread to talk about the finest of Audio phile "instumentation" in Car Audio. Not just a loud system that is clear and also painful. I am not a fan of Focal. Or the big boom! I have eclectric tastes in music and found I want to create the old a/d/s 320i sound from the late 80's. Warm, clear but not metalic or plastic.

I am looking to build an audiophile system for my 2006 Scion Xb. I wanted to be a sound engineer 25 years ago and I find I have a very picky ear.

So far I like the 3-way components from Dynaudio 362 which I heard hooked up to a TRU amp B475, PXAH100 Alpine Imprint Prosessor and a Alpine 9886 player for future ipod possibliities (where the technology will take us). But my god.. a wopping $4,500. I know people spend more.... especilaly to rattle the neighbors windows and for bragging rights. It is very difficult to find the inventory to compare on display before you pay. I want to hear the character of the speakers I am buying for that kind of $.

I would love to hear any thoughts, experiences and/or advise regarding creating a high end system and getting the best bang for the buck! Where can I settle? Because the stock Pioneer are just not doing it for me.

Thanks bunches!
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Old 24th April 2008, 02:48 AM   #2
fizzard is offline fizzard  Canada
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FWIW I have a high Alpine now, I don't know the model number, but it was 800 CDN brand new about three years ago. The build quality is horrible. It has like half the heat sink area of the stock (Ford) deck, skips more, overheats, the chasis is flimsy. I'm never buying another Alpine product that's for sure.

If you're going for high end you're probably not using the decks internal deck. The Sony Mobile ES decks are a pretty good starting point for a high end setup. I haven't listened to one in a few years, I don't know if they still make the ones with the heavily shield external DAC.
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Old 24th April 2008, 04:38 AM   #3
jol50 is offline jol50  United States
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From what I gather to not spend a pile you want a deck that does DSP, like high end Alpine/Eclipse/Clarion/Pioneer/and some others that cost more. Or you can use something like a Behringer for DSP with a clean HU that has good DACs/etc maybe a Nakamichi or something. Most go with those high end comps or with other drivers like Seas and Peerless. Plan on active crossovers, the largest midbass you can fit in front, lots of sound deadening in the car, and run the sub at 30-50Hz at most--thus the powerful midbass in front. I like 1" softdomes from back in the old days, but have heard other tweeters sound good. I've happened to find some good info searching on ssa as I'd like to put together my own drivers and go active. The cheapest way is a dsp eclipse/alpine/pioneer HU and drivers from madisound/PE/etc. I don't have the coin to blow on more expensive equipment and question its value. The drivers, well every car is different so no comp set from anyone will sound the same in every car and install...you can buy multiple sets of separate drivers for that price and pick what you like playing them in your car. The same drivers used in $1,000 home speakers in some cases. If you go active you have full control of all your crossovers you just need a cap on the tweeters for insurance. Another issue is being able to test your system with an RTA or something to help tune it in. I'm not sure about what media to go with, I don't care for lossy compression schemes. Another point of view is some say most HU can't DSP that well compared to pro equipment, say just use that its cheaper as well you just need a clean HU and a rack in the trunk. Places even make custom 12v PS for the DSP units.

As always, I would scour the forums for opinions and competition results/setups to get tips on equipment and setup.
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Old 24th April 2008, 05:38 PM   #4
jpruden is offline jpruden  United States
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OK... I think you're looking for a system like mine.

Here's my setup:

Sony CDX-C880 (or C910 or C90)
Sony XDP-210 processor
Sony T65 changer
McIntosh MC440 amp
Dynaudio 220 set (front speakers)
JL Audio sub (I'm currently using a CS112RG-W3v3, but you could also go with a set of IB drivers or a Microsub)

Most of this gear is getting up there in age, so it's relatively cheap.
Sounds awesome. In fact, best *I've* ever heard in a car.
Relatively easy to set up.

Dynaudio tweets are f***ing HUGE, so they're hard to mount. I've got an Audi A4 and to get the tweets in the factory locations, my installer had to disassemble the tweeters and mount them totally naked behind the panel.
Radio level is pretty low, so if you're a hugh AM fan, I'd pass.
If you get a C910, you'll HATE the display.

Total cost on this system (not including installation):
C880 $250
XDP $200
T65 $80
MC440 $450
220 set $300
JL Sub $320 (This was the only piece I bought new)
Total: $1600

I bought most of this equipment about 4 years ago, so you should be able to knock at LEAST 30% off of this price by shopping around. If you go with a newer Alpine unit with the Imprint, you can get it for about the same price as the head/processor combo I bought.

In fact, I'll probably be selling off a bunch of stuff from my collection pretty soon... so keep an eye on the marketplace.

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Old 25th April 2008, 01:03 AM   #5
MLDV is offline MLDV  United States
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Thank you for your imput.

Okay some things to think about. some of it is over my head... LOL..

What is DSP?

The Alpine 9886 I am looking at is only $299. It is the external processor with cross over is where the control and fine tuning will come. From what I understand.

*sigh* It seems so crazy how the brand name is what we go for and there is so much nepotism in this industry akin to insest or even family bickering... LOL... Who are the consistent manufactures for Audiophile? Everything seems to be going video. Where do you jump on when you can't hear what you are buying?

I have always been told that the basic strategy of builidng a system is start with the speakers and work back. It can be so frustrating when everything seems geared for loud sound...

This things is rated at this number and then you hear stuff side by side and it gets so crazy that it doesnt show up how it should.
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Old 25th April 2008, 02:19 AM   #6
jol50 is offline jol50  United States
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Digital Signal Processing = T/A-Time Alignment, complex EQ/parametric controls depending, all done digital so it does not add distortion. Also includes all your crossovers and gains to run at least 2way+sub on a what would be the minimum HU I would buy. I am leaning toward the pioneer 880 but I like the clarion too. There are external processors too that do above and/or integrate with a stock system, some HU are in pieces, and some like the alpine you can control the crossover inside the alpine amp from the HU or a control panel. I'm not up on the real expensive stuff. If you do a search on ssa there are posts that list the common setups that work well.
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Old 25th April 2008, 04:22 PM   #7
Jonny Hotnuts is offline Jonny Hotnuts  United States
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I remember back in the day there were high end amps I never thought I could own (because of expense).

When I was 16 an A/D/S/ PQ20 msrp was like 1200$.
I now have 2 of them purchased on fleabay for around 225-250 each.

They still sound as good as they day they were purchased and better than most amps Iíve heard.


All I suggest is taking a look at high end stuff from yesterdays models.

I have seen the Audison HR100 for sale on ebay the other day. MSRP was over 10K donít know what it sold for but I am sure it wasnt more than 2500.

As far as subs the ones I am going to use are the new Morel ULTIMO 12s. They are expensive (580 each) but are the best sounding sub I have heard.

The Dynas are great. I have the 240s and think they sound killer.
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Old 25th April 2008, 05:54 PM   #8
jpruden is offline jpruden  United States
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Hey Jonny,

I still owe you the schematic for the PQ20s... I *finally* dug it out, so I just have to hook up the scanner. Probably this weekend.

Back on topic...

Looking at specific manufacturers is a toughie as some of them have changed hands over the years. a/d/s/ was purchased twice that I know of and Phoenix Gold has been bought and sold a couple of times, so their current products may not be as nice as they were some years ago.

The newer Alpine head units are pretty nice. I've been tempted a few times to pull the trigger to change brands from Sony to Alpine, but I've got a TON of their stuff that still works well, so it's hard to make the move. I think I'm liking the 9887 more and more...

External processors usually have more power than internal processors... the Alpine high end units are the exception as they are very customizable. In addition, the older Alpine 98 series units with Bass Engine Pro are also very tweekable.
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