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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always replaced the radios and speakers in my cars with better units, but I've never added an amplpifier. I just got a Pioneer AVIC-X910BT. Before I install it, I want to get the XM module, iPod cable, and Pioneer backup camera. I'll have to spread this out over a couple of months to lessen the financial impact. So, about an amp.

Obviously an amplifier will amplify, but I've never had a problem with volume. I've always been able to turn the music up way loud - too loud. If I do get an amp, what difference will it make? Do I just install it and forget it, or do I have to adjust that as I adjust all the other radio settings? I see that there are 2-channel and 4-channel amps. Why would I want an amp that affects only two speakers.

Anyway, I will appreciate whatever advice you can give me. I know a salesman could also give me advice - like, "Buy this one. It's the most expensive one we have." I'd rather hear from people with no financial attachment.

I'll save the question of subwoofers for another day.
 

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Typically amps allow you to push more power without distortion. Most low wattage systems will "distort" the speaker (leading to that ugly "buzzing" sound at high volume). It will also let you push more speakers, and nicer/better sub-woofers, etc... It takes alot of power to push a aluminum cone SW!

Regards,

Big
 

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Do you need an amp?
It depends on if you are going to replace OEM speakers which doesn't required much power; then you won't need an amp.

If you decided to replace them with some semi-decent speakers (ex. pioneer, kenwood, sony...less than $50/pr), you can slide by without an amp; but would be better with one.

And if you decided (highly recommeded) to get some good quality speaker (ex. Infinity, Polk, Kicker...stuffs that are over $100/pr), you definately need an amp. This will give you enough juice to provide clean sound and deep bass. If you decided to go this route, I suggest a 4 channel amp to power the 4 speakers and don't worry about the tweeter not being used (if your car comes with it). The new speakers is probably has tweeter built in to take care of the high freq.

Where to get the amp if you are on a budget? Walmart. They have a Sony amp for $100 (4ch 1000watt max which translate into ~ 60watts/channel). I have this amp (but older model) on my car and the sound is amazing.

Don't have money? Go to craigslist and get some used 6.5" speakers (you 'll need 4 if decided). Most often you will get it for less than half of what is new. I got my 4 kicker for $75. But for the amp, definately go to Walmart to save you time. You can also get the amp kitb there as well...good enough quality at decent price. Try out this option first before deciding to add an sub. For myself, I am pretty happy with the bass response already....my body/heart can feel the bass. :)

When do you need a good amp?
If you want to add a sub in your car that requires huge solid power, the Walmart amp will not do the job. Go get a quality single or dual channel amp (big $$$).


007
 

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jerryc41 said:
I've always replaced the radios and speakers in my cars with better units, but I've never added an amplpifier. I just got a Pioneer AVIC-X910BT. Before I install it, I want to get the XM module, iPod cable, and Pioneer backup camera. I'll have to spread this out over a couple of months to lessen the financial impact. So, about an amp.

Obviously an amplifier will amplify, but I've never had a problem with volume. I've always been able to turn the music up way loud - too loud. If I do get an amp, what difference will it make? Do I just install it and forget it, or do I have to adjust that as I adjust all the other radio settings? I see that there are 2-channel and 4-channel amps. Why would I want an amp that affects only two speakers.

Anyway, I will appreciate whatever advice you can give me. I know a salesman could also give me advice - like, "Buy this one. It's the most expensive one we have." I'd rather hear from people with no financial attachment.

I'll save the question of subwoofers for another day.
I've upgraded the factory speakers on practically every car I've owned and never had to install an amplifier. The only time you need to buy an amplifier is if you want to play music LOUD or if you need to drive a subwoofer. Don't get an amplifier just for the sake of getting an amplifier (unless you've got plenty of money you don't know what to do with -- then do whatever you feel like, doesn't matter whether there's a good reason at that point :)).

PS. One can make a case for getting a very good quality (not budget) amp if you are especially critical of sound quality (talking audiophile here). If that's you, then you'll not only need a respectable amp, but also an especially clean sounding headunit to function as source and preamp, plus upgrade all the wiring and install plenty of dynamat or edead or equivalent. From your comments above, I don't think this is you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yep, that's me - plenty of money that I don't know what to do with. That's why I got a Cube instead of a Bentley or Lambo, etc.

Thanks for the input. I'll keep thinking about it. I want to take the dash apart just once, so I'm waiting to get the XM, backuip camera, and iPod cable so I can connect everything at once.
 

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Associated thoughts!

When the factory builds economy cars, they understandably try to keep costs down, and so both speakers and HU (head unit) are possibilities for upgrade. However, you really can't tell if it makes sense to replace the HU until you've replaced the speakers. With new speakers, the tonal characteristics will change and so you'll want to read the HU manual to learn how to adjust the sound for best performance (there could be separate modes for factory speakers and aftermarket speakers, and there could be adjustable ranges). For that matter, you may want to experiment with the settings with the factory speakers before replacing anything.

If you decide you're not happy with the factory HU sound with the new speakers, then you'll want to consider upgrading it as well. If not immediately, then eventually. Still, that's a big IF and shouldn't be assumed from the get-go.

PS. Obviously, a decision to replace the HU, can lead to re-evaluating the separate amplifier question, but the costs only increase, so don't rush into that unless you're satisfied that's where you want to go.
 

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Once you install your new headunit you will have a better idea about wanting to upgrade your speakers. Most times the new headunit will improve the performance of what is already in place due to better cleaner stronger power than most factory headunits.

As far as budget speakers and amplifiers are concerned it really depends on what you define as budget...and more importantly what your budget is. I think everyone on here has a different idea of budget oriented systems so only you can decide what pricepoints you want to go with.

In the end go with brands you have heard or have the opportunity to listen to. Although opinions of others are great, actually listening to what you are getting makes a world of difference b/c at the end of the day if you found speakers that cost $50 or $5000 ur opinion is what counts most as you will be listening to it daily.

I would also say your best bet to get the great deals is to form a good relationship with an audio shop in your area b/c as you spend more with them they are more likely to cut you deals here and there.
 

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Again, the speakers are reliably the weakest link -- don't change out any electronics for the purpose of improving sound without first replacing the speakers.
 

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Some head units only have Preamp Outputs.
Preamp level outputs are audio outputs that are used to drive an amplifier (or equalizer or crossover...). Preamp level outputs do not have enough output current to allow them to drive speakers directly. They are generally included on higher end equipment. In virtually all cases, they will have RCA type connectors. Some units will have only one set of preamp outputs (would likely be a 'rear' output). Other units have multiple pairs of outputs for front, rear and subwoofer signals
youR Pioneer AVIC-X910BT. has Preamp Outputs 6-channel.
and it has powered out puts at 50 watts max .
USB Input: The AVIC-X910BT has a USB input on a rear-mounted 6-1/2' pigtail for playing music or video files on a USB storage device, such as an iPod, USB thumb drive, or USB-based MP3 player. The unit is compatible with MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, AVI, and MPEG4 files. The input is USB 2.0 High Speed, and can accept USB drives up to 8 GB. The maximum current supply is 500 mA.
make sure you use fat 32 format on thumb drives it will not see NTFS format
 

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hey hey, i do not have an amp for the speakers...i do have a small amp for my woofers but still conected to the stereo they sound great, my front ones are kicker components and the rears are kenwood components both 6 1/2"
i will only throw a 4 chanel amp if i had some 6x9" speakers in the cube but there,s no space for those in there he he!
other choice is if you go really high end with the speaker brand...like focal or mb quarts, some stuff like that i will definetely throw an amp.
the ones i have are intermediate level so the new stereo haves enough juice to push thems nicely
 
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