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Old 4th April 2012, 02:08 AM   #1
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montreal
Default Audio novice needs help !

Hi all! Iím having a little project and will need help, so if someone could take the time to give me some advice, would be nice !
N.B.: Just to set things, English is far from my first language, so donít overlook my syntax or choice of words, I do my best! (and use word dictionary, of course) And just to say, I have good electronics knowledge (since Iíve got a degree in it) but only base knowledge with audioÖ

Soooo, Iím right now sick of my audio system in my Cobalt 06 (no aux input+ really crappy sound) and thinking about replacing the whole thing with a single din aftermarket radio, to which I would like to add an in-dash equalizer , and then new speakersÖ Nowís the part where I donít exactly where to go! (yeah I know Iím just at the beginning). I do have some cash to put in but would like to stay on the cheap side! (why not ?!)

First, from what I read and understand, equalizers are only used as pre-amps, so I would need to install an amplifier. Correct me if Iím wrong because it would be so easy to install an EQ directly to the speakers, if such an equalizer/small amplifier would exist (and still ďdo the jobĒ)

Then, second question, do I need a subwoofer? I mean, all audio equipment seen out there all have an output for a sub Ö I understand the need for good low freq sound, but I donít really like or search that over-kick, car shaking sound from a 1000w-12in Sub (Well, you get the picture). What do you think, would that be a must? A plus ? Or just inessential to my liking, since I would have to invest in both in an amp and a Sub + the space it would takeÖ

So if someone could help me with those questions or give me suggestions, tips, advice on what to buy(speaker types ?) Ö It would be greatly appreciated and give me a good idea on where to start and the price range of this.

Thanks for your time !
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Old 4th April 2012, 01:06 PM   #2
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Northern VA
Here is what I would do.

A new CD player like this one
Alpine CDE-123 CD receiver at
Has a decent built in amp and a 3 band parametric Eq built in. It also has 4v preamp outputs so if you install an amp later in will still be a great player to keep. It has aux inputs on the front and back.

Next steps after that would be to purchase a decent 4 channel amp and a single 8 or 10" subwoofer. They can add a lot of quality without shaking the car apart. Also, there are some advantages, one is that you can get the low end back that is usually missing from factory stereos, and two you can use the built in high pass filter to remove the lowest bass from your internal speakers relieving them of the hard work and also making the most of the built in amp in your cd player.

Later you can upgrade your front speakers to something like these.
Focal Integration IS 165 6-3/4" component speaker system at
and use the 2 other channels from your 4 channel amp to drive them.
Most folks could stop here, but you could continue and use that 4 channel amp to power your front tweeters and mids(one channel per speaker) and get another amp to power your sub or subs. You'd need an active crossover to accomplish this.

I've used this formula since 1992 and it has worked well for me in the past.
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Old 4th April 2012, 02:33 PM   #3
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Location: Texas
Why not just get a new double din touch screen DVD/GPS/Tuner/Xover and more features? The SQ that my Kenwood HU puts out is decent enought and powerful enought for me, so I dont plan on adding any amplifiers for the mids or highs. Now the woofers (duh) you have to add an amplifier, the good thing about it is that I dont want 1k,2k,3k watts on my subs, that doesnt make any sense when it comes to SQ.

I got me a single 10" Sheriff Toby enlcosure and all it requires 160watts but outperforms most pairs of direct radiating 12" subwoofers. Plus the size is crazy small (13"x12"x24).

Just letting you know that once you have a double din touch screen GPS/DVD/CD/Tuner/MP3-Wav-Acc/USB and more features you wont have to have external crossovers or equilzers.
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Old 4th April 2012, 11:37 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montreal
Thanks guys !

I know that most players will have an itegrated EQ but I just really liked the idea of having it apart, with physical sliders or button...
So, if I really want to get one(Still wondering..), would it be a good idea to get a 5 channel amp, to power front+rear speakers and a sub ? I think I wouldn't need an active crossover this way ? And there are no factory tweeters and not planning to modify the dash or doors for right now ...

What do you think ?
And thanks again for those quick response, I'm new out there and it's very nice to see how much people can help !
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Old 5th April 2012, 03:36 PM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Northern VA
It's personal preference, but most sound quality installs have no rear speakers. I never miss not having rear speakers, if you have passengers in the back of the car often then you may want to consider leaving them. If you really want a seperate EQ with sliders then get one.
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Old 12th April 2012, 10:24 PM   #6
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montreal
I will build my system so it could be expandable, like suggested above. The only thing is about the pre amp outputs, what should I look for ? I will someday add an equalizer which have a 2Ch input and 6Ch pre amp output, so do I really need a receiver with 6 channel pre amp outputs with this setup ? Is there any problem using only 2 of the 6 outputs, is all the low band filtered into the subwoofer output ? Should I buy a receiver with only 2Ch outputs ?

And there are receivers with 4V or 2V outputs, is there a major difference ?

I'm looking at this receiver, since it's the only one to fit my car without mod and to be in stock : Alpine-CDE-HD137BT

Thanks again for the advices
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Old 13th April 2012, 08:13 AM   #7
Guido88 is offline Guido88  United States
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Pre-Amp voltage is only 2V on that Alpine (CDE-HD137BT)
There are other head units that have 4-5V out. That would be best as the higher the source voltage the higher the s/n (all things being equal) plus with higher voltage out you can leave the other gains lower which means less noise at the output.
If you start with a 2V unit you will need to turn the gain to about 1/2 way on your amp or eq or pre-amp x-over etc... If you start with a 4V you will only need to turn the gain about 1/4 way up. the difference is audible in most systems. You are better off spending +$100 on the head unit now than +$500 on noise suppression later

good luck
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Old 13th April 2012, 10:35 AM   #8
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Vancouver Island
A properly set subwoofer adds a weight and solidity to the music. An equalizer is often just a band-aid for bad speakers or lousy sources. Better to choose good speakers, and install them properly. Get the speakers right and even a stock HU should sound good.

As for a subwoofer, go with a sealed box since the natural roll-off should complement the car's "cabin gain" and give a flat response almost to DC.
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