Car Audio Newbee

I have all this home audio stuff, and change it out all the time, but I am having trouble finding out much about upgrading my car audio. Any help on where to start? I want to upgrade speakers, crossovers, transport (integrated nav system, phone, XM radio), where to start??

As always budget is an issue and you are in a car, not a listening room so don't go overboard. I've dabbled a fair bit in car audio so I'll give you my two cents worth. Blaupunkt never did it for me, I did like Alpine lots (but there were all sorts of reliabilty issues) and finally settled on Pioneer for my electronics. That would be head unit, CDP changer, amps. Be ready to install a big-ass capacitor or an extra battery if you get carried away with the amps. Speakers is a whole different gig... and as always you can spend megabux. If you want nice sound at a reasonable price try out Infinity speakers, and I do like MTX subwoofers. Best, Jeff
Great, just the type of advice I am looking for.

Just a note about speakers. My favorites were Focals(expensive JMLABS) and MBQuart. Component(separate tweet and mid) give you quality and flexibility usually. They even make tube amps for cars--Butler Audio. Infinity seemed too tame to me. Boston Acoutics were etched. Of course any speakers are definitely personal preference. Heard good things about Pioneer Premier line as far as electronics go. Also Eclipse. Good luck Dan
I dabbled too much in car audio when i was younger...3 different cars and a boat...hindsight being 20/20 as they say...I wish i had found home audio sooner cause the car stereo stuff sure was a waste of money.

now the question high end do you want to go...i have had Sony, JVC, Alpine Denon & Nakamichi head units...for me...the Denon was the best...the Alpine was in an 18 foot boat and had no problems skipping...the Nak...well...they just aren't what they used to be.

amps I have had were from Nakamichi (good sound but problematic) Soundstream (Also good) Rockford Fosgate

speakers...Infinity, Boston Accoustic, Soundstream, Nakamichi, Polk Audio etc etc

you can go overboard in car audio just as you can with home audio.

My best advice here...keep it simple...4 channel amp run in 3 channel mode...2 channels for the mids & highs and one bridged channel for a 10" sub...don't drive yourself crazy either...that is what Audiogon is for. ;o)
I can also vouch for the Focal & MBQuart speakers as many of my friends had them...the Bostons I had in my boat were the Pro Series (seperate mid/tweet)...and I have also had their plate speakers in another car...their high end stuff definitely sounded better than the plates which as Dlr states were etched. My infinity's...that was just in the beginning and as Dlr also says...too tame. The Polks were by far the worst to my ears...OUCH!

this was also all 8+ years my answers may be completely outdated.
Hey just get the new tube player from Panasonic, and then throw in the Eminent Technology car speakers and your new listening room will be your garage lol!
I just pray your sweet spot isnt on top the gear shift, can I get an ouuuuuuuuuch brutha?'re one funny mo fo
Ok, that's wild, they really do make a car speaker at ET!!! I don't know how much I would like it though. To me their main speakers are a poor man's Innersound. Not that they are bad, you can get them cheaply, but just not my cup of tee. There is some guy on here who ever post tells someone to use them, I think he's a stock holder.

Anyway, here's what I think I am going to do:

Alpine IVA D300 head unit
Alpine NVE N852a Navigation unit
Alpine MRV - F540 4 channel amp
Infinity Kappa 682.7 CF 6 x 8 speakers (replacements, keeping some other speakers in the car)
Bazooka 10" 200w powered sub?

How's that sound?? May add a disc changer, but I usually go one disc at a time any way or add attach my iPod
the 6x9...or i guess 6x8 will most likely leave you "underwhelmed"...most of them left me that way until i ultimately switched to plates or separates...possibly something to do with round vs. oval drivers...who knows...I'd definitely consider ditching the stock car speakers.

for a list of what can fit in your car, crutchfield shows what speakers will fit in the factory cutouts...however...every decent sounding car system I have ever heard had the door panels butchered so that the better aftermarket speakers could fit.

bazookas are ok for the price

I like would rarely skip in my boat

not a big fan of alpine amps...although the last one I heard was the V12 i think it was called...there are better amps out there for the money.

just my opinion though.

hope i'm not adding confusion
some suggestions?? Amps and speakers, taking into consideration that I am going to pay cash for the car, and even buying this stuff, most of it, used will cost an additional $2.5k out of pocket. Also, the car is a convertible with little trunk space.

I always like McIntosh car audio, it sure is quality and it looks so plain that it does not scream "steal me and buy some crack!"
honestly I am so dated on car audio that it would be like asking me a question about home audio and I would then recommend the best stuff from 1987-1994...I can say one thing though...the Levinson system in the Lexus LX 470 is pretty dismal compared to "real" car audio systems in my opinion fwiw. I haven't heard the McIntosh car stuff but I'm gonna have to say that those thieves are pretty savvy these days...who knows...they might look in your car...see McIntosh...and say "oh yeahhh....I'm gonna git me a whole lotta crack"

I have no idea where you live...but I would recommend going into a good car audio place where there are rooms of varying levels of equipment...skip the el cheapo room...get an idea of what sounds good to you and just try to keep it simple.

All I had in my Boat (I'm using that particular system as you have a convertible) was an Alpine Head Unit, Soundstream 4x50 amp, 1 pr of Boston Accoustic pro6.1 which was a 6" mid and a separate 1" tweet...and dual 10" subs (can't remember brand) in an isobaric chamber (refers to how the enclosure is a bazooka...but with another sub behind the one that you see...or so said the guy who gave it to me) 2 channels ran the mid/highs and the other was bridged to run the sub. Whole setup ran me less than 2k.

It got plenty loud and was clean also...I could even hear it while my neighbor...he was the guy that installed the system...he had a 13k system in his could listen to that one while the neighbors were glad to see him move!

wish you luck on your hunt! other bit of advice...sorry about the long way to avoid having your system turn it down a few blocks before you park your car...wherever...i speak that as a former victim being that I was auto insurance adjuster and dealt with tons and tons of stolen stereos...make sure that you get the special rider on your policy if needed...the company i worked of the big uns...didn't cover aftermarket stereos that weren't installed in the factory that amp under your seat or in the trunk...your sub...or anything else that wasn't in a "factory" cutout wasn't covered.

and don't think that it won't get stolen...cause it probably will.

you suuuure you wouldn't rather just upgrade your home rig? hehehe
I had a pioneer super tuner with a 12 disc in dash loader running 2 amps wich were under the seats (Jeep Wrangler)
with 2 way 4 inch speakers in the dash, and 4 inch 2 ways in the sound bar with a Pioneer 8 inch sub and it really sounded great, no boom in the bass nice open mids, only slightly harsh highs wich I could trim with settings. this system in 97 was about 2k and sounded excellent, also as rough as a wrangler was...there was hardly ever a skip in the disc.
For the sub I would go for the Infinity Kappa Basslink over the Bazooka. It is a 200w 10in. with a 10in. passive radiator. I agree with the reviews as for my ears a more natually sounding sub that is NOT like those you hear and cringe from blocks away.
Good luck.
Oh by the way...I had Juno amps in the Jeep.
Head Unit: McIntosh MX406
Amps: Precision Power (the good stuff, not their junk line)
Speakers: MB Quart
Subs: JL Audio

I'm out of it now, but I spent a VERY long time in the world of car audio. These brands impressed me most along the way. Mcintosh--not cheap, but worth it. PPI--best bang for buck and very clean when installed correctly. MB Quart and JL Audio--very little comes close, and nothing comes close for less.

If it were me, I wouldn't touch Alpine with a ten foot pole...too etched and brittle, not to mention unreliable. That said, I can't stand the Alpine sound anyway. Some people like it, I'm just not one of them.

Please follow Richingoth's advice to stay away from the Bazooka sub. IMO, Bazooka is the Bose of car audio. If you don't go with JL Audio, the Infinity Kappa Basslink is a much better sub than "Buzzooka".

As always, it's your ears and wallet that count. Do what they tell you to and enjoy what you get. Don't forget to have fun with it. Hope that helps a little.
those "Buzzookas" never sounded good to me either, kinda like a sub you buy before you know what good sounds is
Well, I am limited on space due to the car being a convertible, that is where the Bazooka idea came from. I am trying to stay under $3k. So I am done. I bought an Alpine IVA310 headunit (used), and the Alpine NVA 852 navigation system, and 6 disc changer. I am replacing the stock speakers with Alpine Components speakers (4) that fit, and an Alpine amp. For the subs, I am just replaceing the existing 8" subs in the door with MTX 8" subs and an associated MTX mono amp to run them (per the MTX guys recommendation).

Will I need to add a capacitor or battery for this, or am I OK? I guess a capcitor would be a good idea no matter what. Can't wait to get my new toy (car that it).
It looks like you should do good with your choices, I would suggest finding someone who really knows what they are doing to install and tweak your system. I went through 5 different installers before going to a Mcintosh dealer to get it right. I just got away from the car audio bug and decided to focus on a home system. I reached the top of car audio with a Mcintosh MX406, MC440M 6CH, a pair of Fabian Acoustics (Max Fidelity) 6 1/4 and 2 pairs of 1in silk dome tweets (these speakers are Dynaudio Clones), and a pair of 10in MB Quart PWD254DVC subs. I spent way to much time and money getting to this point but the sound was incredable for a car.
EXCELLENT POINT Blblues...completely overlooked in this bad.

Installation is important...even if you don't purchase your gear from the best is worth it for them to do the install on your gear...even if it costs more than the "free" install services offered by the big chain stores.
Like an idiot, I am going to try it on my own first. What's the over/under on how long it takes me to go to an installer???
I tried my first install you an wasn't bad...but it wasn't the greatest...and it took a long time just for the deck install. Give it to the pros for a day and you'll be glad you did...well worth the much you ask?...depends on the installer...get quotes...ask to see the installers system...then ask what it will take to have as clean an install as theirs as they are usually the best ones.
OK, it's 4 months after the initial question but I thought I would give an update. First of all, it took a full 4 months for my car to come in, then we had to evacuate Houston for a possible hurricane in late September (lots of fun, 18 hours in a car without running the AC so you don't run out of gas in 100deg heat with 95% humidity), then I picked up the car. I ended up going with all Alpine gear, component speakers, 4 channel amp, head unit and Nav system, Sirius, disc changer, and finally a self contained Infinity Sub system. I am very happy with all, not sorry I didn't go Dynaudio/McIntosh. My car is a convertible, and really with auto gear I have learned that unless it is a full sized SUV or Truck with room to position speakers correctly, "Slam" is more important than clarity or imaging. You are very limited on speaker placement, so why spend the extra cash.

I broke down and paid a professional who came highly recommended to put it in, and they did an "OK" job, at best. They put it in, but it took 3 days, and the system does not look seemless and finished, in any sense of the word. They didn't cut any corners, but they didn't go the extra inch either. I paid $450 for the install. I also had a great alarm put in, that worked out well, but I got a remote start on a manual, and may have it deactivated. Too much chance to start it in gear.

Everyone, thanks for your help!!