Recommended systems - components for Car Stereo

I am looking for the best recommended components for a car stereo. I am after quality not quantity. What would be a best fit for a single CD playing unit with a great midrange good mid bass and clear highs. What speakers would be best. It will be installed in a 2 seater sports car with a cloth to, presently with full range speaker in each door panel and a sub speaker installed in between the two seats (BMW Z3). The sub speaker "farts" at low volumes ghich is either to the poor factory supplied cd player or over zealous use by the previous owner.
Do not want a flash display or light/functions/bells and whistles just great sound.

Price range up to $1300.
Any suggestions from pratical experience would be great
JL Audio, these guys are tops in car audio, I use their amps and speakers in my BMW 325ix. I don't believe JL makes a cd unit, only speakers and amps. Consider keeping your head unit, adding a JL amp and JL speakers. If you still want to replace your head unit, look at the JVC's, I have a JVC Digifine head unit that offers state of art DAC for car audio. Stock subs are a joke in most cars.
with a 2 seat sports car, that is a convertible, you need to give up on quality and go for quantity if you want to hear it with the wind noise. You need spl's to enjoy music with a top down. Dynaudio speakers and McIntosh amps are available, but won't sound any better than Alpine or top of the line Sony.

I would suggest looking for an MTX Thunderforms sub to fit in your trunk, if they make one for your B'mer. JL Audio makes the same type enclosure for about 3 times the cost, but in a convertible the additional speed that you are getting for the price will not be noticed.

I would then get some Alpine digital amps (the 4.150) to drive both your sub and your speakers. For speakers, I would look at the higher end, and power handling Polk, Alpine or Boston Acoustic. JL's are great, but won't handle the volumes you need with wind noise.

For a head unit that you want, I would suggest a high end Sony, Eclipse or Alpine, and I would blow off the disk drive and just make sure it has a good iPod interface. If your iPod is loaded with AppleLossless or Wav files, the DAC in the headunit will sound fine.

Good luck!!

PS - if no trunk subs will work, there are some really cool below the seat sub modules that really work for convertibles.
I've seen Mark Levinson car amps and matching bass drivers on e-bay.
Usually pulled from a written-off/parted out Lexus.

Go here for those levinson toys.
Great information from you all since I am novice at this. I now know where to start. I forget about the wind niose so good catch Macdadtexas. The subs in the Boot (eh I mean Trunk) would just about leave me with enough room for a tooth brush so I will look at the seat sub modules.
Thanks audiogoners
Russell B
Russellb - 90% of the quality of sound you get in a car is the installation, 10% are the products chosen.

You could drop in some new drivers and a head unit for $1,300, and this will be a starting point, but will likely still have huge problems with the sound, and will leave you wanting more.

If you are used to high end home gear, trying to even get acceptable sound in the car (especially a small one with a soft top) is going to be a challenge, and likely cost much more money than anticipated.

Your best bet is to try and find someone with lots of experience making cars sound good. Make sure you only believe what you hear IN CARS (not in a soundroom), and also don't believe car audio dealers claims until you hear results, as many that I have run into are snakes.

How the drivers are mounted and damped in the door panels is of extreme importance. If they are mounted to a floppy piece of plastic or vinyl then the sound will be dreadful as would any home speaker. MDF pieces mounted to the door frame, with fiberglass and other absorption in the door panels is a must.

Ideally, you will want to take the drivers out of the doors, and put them in kick panels so they can be more angled towards you.

Anyway, good luck!
Thanks Goatwuss - unusual name by the way must find out how you got it. My research so far has reinforced your advice.
The custom installers are looking an average of 4K for a system using their experience. I cannot warrant spending 4K on a ragtop due to its limitations.
This lead me to visit all the BMW blogs to see what other M roadsters / Z3 owners had done and most say the compromise for the money is to keep the locations for the main speakers since this was engineered for the best audio in a ragtop, but upgrade them. The biggest upgrade for the money being the Amps - One for the main speakers and one for the sub. This is then followed by changing the 5.25 inch kick panel speaker and finally the door mounted treble/mid speaker.
So the amps are easiest for me to select (power ratings, matching) then the speakers,
So I am still after recommendations for Speakers.
I order of preference of other peoples systems I am leaning towards AVI MXD 130, MB Quart Premium line, Polk SR250 series.
Any other recommendations for speakers ?

For speaker drivers, I would look into Dynaudio, Focal, Scan Speak or Morel.

For amps, the JL amps are an inexpensive and good way to start.

Would your plan be to use your existing stock head unit? Oftentimes, the stock head units will have built in EQ for the stock drivers, so you'll just want to make sure that this isn't the case.