Personally, I dont give car audio upgrade much though as my car stereo system is integrated with my navigation, phone, voice command activation etc. The only time I give car audio any thought is when buying a new car.
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Well, mine is certainly not affordable, but it is nice. I have the Pioneer P9 setup (4 way digital Xover and time alignment, L/R 31 band EQ) feeding a L/R pair of Alpine F1 amps tri amped on a pair of active Focal Be No7. A pair of Audison LX 900 watt class AB amps driving 2 Hertz Mille 10" in a sealed box. Kimber 8TC and Cardas NR cabling. XM, Ipod, Heaven!
My '99 Volvo wagon has nicely designed and arranged Nakamichi system with its own speakers only labeled Volvo. The ride is quiet and ambient sound isolation is great. The CD playback is FANTASTIC. It plays abused and scratched CDs, barely skips and sounds balanced and warm. It's not integrated with my phone and it doesn't have any new today's technologies, but I don't mind. I can find later model salvage car to take steering wheel with radio controlls and connect it to my radio for convenience and that's the only upgrade I wish to make.
In my car I listen everything I listen home only using CDRs that can also have my digitized vinyl recordings.
The real challenge with after-market car audio today is that it isn't all that easy to improve on the audio equipment included with the vehicle -- which is often integrated with other systems in the car and has frequently had its frequency response and imaging "tuned" to the vehicle's interior -- and this is especially true with upscale vehicles. Add to this the fact that the quality of after-market installs varies so widely (I once had an iPod interface added to a Toyota Avalon -- it worked, sort of, for awhile) and you probably find a lot of audiophiles reluctant to take the plunge.
I wish you well with your new store -- I think we are in dire need of good, reliable places to audition and purchase affordable hifi equipment. But I'm not sure how much demand there is among audiophiles for after-market audio equipment, except possibly adapters for mobile music players in cars that don't have them. Perhaps others can offer more insight.
I get great use and enjoy very much my car stereo. It's an upgraded Rockford fosgate system in a Nissan Titan. It's one of the better sounding car systems I've heard. I was thinking about getting a new truck a couple years ago and the sounnd of the toyota tundra system wasn't nearly as good so I passed on the purchase.
' the sounnd of the toyota tundra system wasn't nearly as good so I passed on the purchase.'
Good to see I am not alone.
I am car shopping now and I have noticed the 6cd changer is getting harder to find this model year(2013). That has already changed my shopping list. I think the Avalon still has a 4cd changer. I guess the 'old' tech goes in the cars for 'old' folks!!
I love the new cars, but am hesitant to buy one due to the lack of CD changers. And as has been stated, after market is not much of an option these days. Guess I will have to accept my fate and join the the 'senior' set. Great deals on 2012 Avalons :)
I subscibe to the school of "road noise makes serious audio impossible." That doesn't mean I don't use the audio in my car also a 99 Volvo (didn't know it had a Nakamichi sound system not sure this one does). I listen to the CD player and FM radio. I think you are wise to include car audio it prolly has more general demand than serious home audio. I would think if no car stereo than you would have to have Home Theater, an already very saturated established market in most places. Good luck on your new venture we need as many brick and mortars as we can get.
I recently added a JVC unit to my Toyota Rav4 which plays only digital media. Don't really miss dragging cd's to the car. It has Pioneer speakers - it's ok, better than what I started with originally but not as nice as I would have liked. I do enjoy just popping my Nano in it and having good music with me all the time in a very small package though. Hope your shop will have some reasonably priced, but good sounding alternatives. Good luck to you!
Apart listening to my wife, I sometimes listen to the stock Bose sound system which gives me a pretty good listening experience (This is the only Bose system that I have, not by choice). I wouldn't spend a ton on upgrades or none at all since I will and can not enjoy serious listening whilst keeping an eye on traffic so it is mostly easy listening and Jazz.
Japanese vehicles are very very noisy. I have a 4 Runner and my wife has recently owned a Corolla and Scion. Now she has a 2010 Volkswagon Jetta Wolfsburg and this car is quiet but weighs a lot and is quick. Its a well damped car. The new ones made in the U.S. are not, so to replace this car in the future we will have to look at Audi which we may not be able.to afford. Because the U.S. likes cheapo junk cars Volkawagon decided to jump on board and build American junk in America. You get what you pay for. Ford makes decent vehicles.
Funny how you can almost hear the "sniff" after, I wouldn't consider listening in such an enviroment" types. Get over yourselves already. Music is entertainment, and because there's obstacles doesn't mean that it shouldn't be enjoyed.
My Jag XF has a B&W system that sounds outstanding, and can overcome road noise without any hesitation whatsoever. It also has a 6 disc changer (that I don't use), a ipod (that I do), and a stick input.
My last car, a Caddy CTS-V has a Bose system that was staggeringly bad. Truly, no high-no lows type thing, but the Bose that was in my previous Infiniti was excellent
as an audio freak, the quality of the stock system used to be my primary determinant in buying a car; thus i cycled through lexus (levinson), acura (els) and genesis (lexicon); all, esp. the acura, were great for cd playback, but lackluster for xm radio, which just can't be made to sound good. best stock system i've heard was the dynaudio system in a volvo s80; the hk system in the chrysler 300 is also really good. in fairness to bose, their mazda3 system is one of the best i've heard in an inexpensive car
The 6cd OEM system in my F-150 truck sounds great, Even better than the sony 12 speaker system in my car. Maybe the size of the cab makes the difference. I bought the truck new in 2004. That same year I also purchased a Marantz single disc cd player for my home system. The Marantz decided to stop reading discs several months ago. The cdp in the truck is still going strong. Pretty amazing considering the truck is never garaged, and the heat here in Central Texas. I would have thought a changer would have been more prone to failure.
If you are planning on selling auto sound systems, you must also have a competent installation shop. I don't think it would make sense to try to only sell gear. For one thing, the big money is in the labor to install the gear, not in the gear itself. With complex integrated sytems (audio, phone, navigation, etc.), it is not that easy for most people to do their own installation, which is where your shop could provide value. You don't want to become the car audio equivalent of Best Buy--a place for people to look at gear, but not purchase. Particularly bad would be offering gear for sale that you will not be installing that one can find in a Crutchfield catalogue or some online equivalent.
Most towns of decent size already have car audio shops, which will make it hard for a newcomer to be competitive. I would bet that most of the work those shops do involve installing systems that are meant to be really loud, rather than catering to audiophile concerns with quality of sound. Perhaps, you could offer a quality alternatives. I don't know what brands qualify in that department these days (Alpine, Boston Acoustics?).
As a lot of posters have noted, road noise is a big problem with car audio. Your shop should put an emphasis on sound dampening products and installation. I have a fairly quiet vehicle (2011 E350) and I still have issues with noise.
Good luck on your endeavors.
Snofun3, no reason to get reactionary about "sniffy" attitudes. It's really simple: if you like to listen to classical music (at an overall reasonable volume) the lower dynamic range of the music is drowned out by road noise even in a quiet car. You're always turning the volume up for the quiet passages and turning it down on the crescendos, too much of a pain to bother with. Ford's OEM sound systems once had a compression switch to ameliorate this problem. Sure it detracted from the ultimate audio quality, but it made listening to classical music on the road pleasurable.
Bought a 2011 Accord with the intent of installing a custom system.
Favored the Pioneer stage6 CD player DES-99 or P-9, pricey but really great. Add to that DLS speakers and Amps. Their Ultimate TA2 2x100 is a Tube Amp. Coupled that with an A2 2 channel and a yet unchosen 10" Sub/amp.
But before I figured out how I could come up with $3k needed for the system, I first did battle with the God aweful road noise in the accord, and lost. So I scrapped the idea of a high end system in a honda.
( switched to Bridgestone "serenity" tires, then even tore out the seats and carpet and lined all in dynamat, still noisy) Will never buy another honda for noise ALONE.
My 98 Ford Explorer has a very nice stock sound system and a cabin built for it, and is quiet. If it wasn't so old and beat I would consider a high end system in it.
BMW 330i Coupe. Superb audio system. Radio has HD capability. Use aux/USB input for iPod or iPhone. Sounds grand. Only problems are BMW has a custom cable with dual USB and aux inputs which must be used simultaneously, and I have not found an upgraded cable to improve sound. Also, run flat tires create a lot of road noise.
I could care less about car audio. I mostly listen to sports radio on the daily drive which doesn't require a fancy system. The radio in my 95 BMW died and I replaced it with a Kenwood from Crtuchfield for 160.00. This thing has features that are unbelieveable for the price and it sounds better than the original radio. I did the install myself.
I think a lot of people are into their car audio because of domestic restrictions from wife, kids, neighbors, etc. In their car, they can let loose and blast music that is not possible to do at home. Thankfully, I don't face that barrier.
Schubert, I attempt to look at it as free driving lessons. Still, after about 8 hours of free driving lessons it can get old. Being the clever fellow that I am, I have instituted the following rule. "Whoever drives picks the music."
So when the advice gets old, the Mahler goes in and the volume goes up. What, you are tired of Mahler? How would you like to drive?
What do audiophiles listen to in their cars? You can overcome most road noise with a quiet car and high quality speakers, properly installed. I was just looking at a new sourse unit for home audio that can store and play hi rez digital files, like flac and wav music files making in possible to play and make copies of original masters. I'd wager that this level of head unit will ba available for cars as well in a few years. Ever since the new generations of music lovers were marketed mp3 players and questionable quality headphones with rappers names on the brand, with a few exceptions.
Now that the serious audio companies have been making car audio gear since the beginning, now the most popular music format, digital, has finally caught up with home audio. Possibly even surpassing vinyl with the availability of master qualiity.
Now the reason I like my car audio is that I can play it at concert level volume. When it's done right, and not over done, you can get that chest impact like a nice smaller venue show would give, good low tight bass. You can feel it. Most car audio is cheap, you can see it in the gaudy marketing of woofers and amps. But if you had a small shop that emphasized quality gear, that's tuned for the driver's seat( an option in practically all SQ head units) then your timing might be right when the previously mentioned hi rez head units come onto the market. And meanwhile establish a good reputation with a proven ability to blow away any OEM stereo offered, an exception may be OEM stereos offered by Maserati or some other supercar. Another advantage to going high end, you'll customers will have the cash and the desire, to have the best sounding stereos even if they're not necessarily audiophiles.