Budget conscious car audio help

Posted by: tomtuttle

Budget conscious car audio help - 06/11/13 02:10 PM

Hey Guys,

I think of you as my personal shoppers, so get to work!

We are currently blessed to have a friend Alex's age living with us. Andy will be 17 in a couple weeks. His car stereo is just sad.

1996 Mazda Protege (good ride). Need front speakers for sure and maybe a cheap head unit, as the existing factory model is a cassette with no auxiliary input.

Regarding the speakers, Crutchfield keeps telling me 5.25" but other sites and my own inspection seem to indicate 6.5". Need definitive info and recommendations.

Regarding the head unit, iPhone control is the killer app. Wouldn't mind getting some calling features (for safety).

I'm predisposed to Crutchfield because I'll probably end up "helping" them do the installation, so fit and ease of wiring is the most important thing. I have no recent (or satisfying) experience with this type of work.

Go!

Thanks!
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/11/13 02:38 PM

Be careful with speaker size. I had my super low mileage, slightly performance modified 2000 Grand Prix GTP that came with 5.25" speakers, but everyone said to get 6.5". I got the 6.5" and had to create my own mounts to get them to work with the metal hole in the door itself and still not impact the plastic/vinyl speaker grill. Sounded great when it was done, but it was some unexpected work that I hadn't accounted for at the time.

Just about any aftermarket head unit will be an improvement. With that vintage vehicle, you should just need the correct wiring harness and be set. Not sure if Crutchfield includes wiring harnesses for free still when buying car audio or not.

Look for bluetooth and Apple connectivity on the head unit.
I currently have a couple model year old Pioneer and while it sounds great and loos nice, they have this stupid dial/button/joystick thing to control most of it. Next to impossible to make any adjustments sitting still, let alone driving. Not sure about their current models. Might be worth a stop to your local Best Buy to get a look/feel for some of them and the prices.

Might be tricky to find a low cost head unit with bluetooth and Apple support. Then again, one man's cheap might not equal someone else's.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/11/13 02:41 PM

Thank you, Nick.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/11/13 03:10 PM

Sorry I didn't pick out make/models for you. I did notice that Crutchfield says that the 5.25" speakers "Fit with Bracket". Not sure what that means as related to 6.5" speakers.

I did some looking and came across the mazdas247.com web site which had this info:

1995-1998 Protege Sedan
Front 6.5" @ 2" max depth *
Rear 6x9" @ Over 8"

Not sure what the '*' meant though.
http://www.mazdas247.com/forum/showthread.php?8940-Speaker-Sizes-Harnesses-and-Kits-of-all-Mazdas

I also found at pretty much every site outside of Crutchfield, that they show the 6.5" as the direct fit for that year Protege.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/11/13 08:06 PM

Tom, I purchased my deck, amplifier and speakers from Sonic Electronics; they have excellent prices. As Nick said, the front speakers are 6.5's, and the rears are 6X9's. Here's the search results compatible with a 96' Protege.

For a very limited budget, here's my recommendations:

Fronts - MTX Audio TN653 - $39. .... The lower model TN502's are $30 at Crutchfield.

Rears - Rockford Fosgate Punch P1692 - $70 .... $200 at Crutchfield.

Amp to drive the rears - Pyle PLA2378 - $65

Deck - JVC KD-X50BT - $100 (Bluetooth and iPhone ready)

So that's $275 for a great budget friendly system. You could easily go without the amp for the rear speakers as the head unit will drive them, albeit not sufficiently (can't "push" them), which is why I suggested the amp. I was young once...

Peace
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/11/13 08:09 PM

Just FYI that I've purchased from Sonic Electronix before without issue.

http://www.sonicelectronix.com/
Posted by: real80sman

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/11/13 10:48 PM

Tom, Pope Bob has done an excellent job with his selections. That system is a fantastic bang for your buck. The only issue I have is the amp. (And yes, the amp is an absolute necessity.) I would swap out the 2-channel for a 4-channel. I can't stand when the rears over power the fronts - they should only be for "fill". There are several 4ch amps on that same site for $100 or less.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/11/13 11:05 PM

Then again, if you are super budget, the power output of just about any after market head unit will be greater and cleaner than factory.

I've had cars with just 2 nice front speakers and a powered sub, then upgraded that vehicle to have a 2 channel amp for the front. I've gone 4 channel amp for fronts and rears, and a powered sub, and I have had just the head unit powering all speakers but still had a powered sub. The sub, to me, was the biggest bang for the buck, but it hogged trunk space. The amps are nice, but again, it is your budget. It isn't like it won't work without the amp.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/12/13 11:35 AM

Cam, Nick, Shawn - this is just EXCELLENT. Exactly the sort of input I was looking for. THANK YOU so much for taking the time to advise me! smile

I had already identified sonicelectronix as a potential vendor (from previous but unfulfilled shopping excursions).

I'm not planning on doing a full-on system in one shot. Right now, I'm looking at the front speakers and a head unit. I understand the value of the amp and the rears and appreciate the specific recommendations, but they are out of scope (and budget) for my immediate goals.

I had also already identified the JVC units, so that was really validating!

I'm still a little verklept about the front speaker fit. I'm NOT good at dismantling car interiors (despite a number of amateur experiences 20-25 years ago). So, I really want the MasterSheets from Crutchfield to guide me. Likewise, I don't have DIN tools or any clue about swapping decks. I can usually figure that stuff out, but it irritates me when blundering through a 15 minute process takes me 3 hours.

So, the Crutchfield guy said that the front speakers are a non-standard size and they are recommending 5.25" with a bracket. I think part of this could be because of the 2" mounting depth Nick identified, but I don't know.

And, no, I don't want to pay somebody for installation. This is already - for us - a somewhat lavish birthday present. It started with Mrs. Tuttle saying "can you get Andy some speakers for <$100?" and when I realized the factory deck doesn't even include a CD player, I expanded. Neither Andy nor Alex are very handy, so going through this installation together will probably help all of us learn and grow.

Thanks again!
Posted by: medic8r

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/12/13 02:45 PM

Wow, Tom, you are right, this thread response is awesome to behold. Mark and I wish we had something positive to contribute so we could be part of your group hug.

Aw, heck with it. Mark, let's crash the group hug!

(((((( Cam, Nick, Shawn, Tom, J.P., Mark ))))))
Posted by: Murph

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/13/13 01:13 PM

All I want is a an install done where the interior panels don't vibrate after having the speakers swapped out. I swear, I am never upgrading speakers again. It's just not worth it as I can never enjoy the new speakers.

I had a supposed "pro" shop do it last time and still had problems within two weeks. They tried to resolve several times but eventually I made them refund me the installation charge.
Posted by: real80sman

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/14/13 06:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Murph
All I want is a an install done where the interior panels don't vibrate after having the speakers swapped out. I swear, I am never upgrading speakers again. It's just not worth it as I can never enjoy the new speakers.


It's funny you mention this. In 9 swaps, I've NEVER had vibration issues with speakers until this latest set. You are absolutely right - it ruins everything.
Posted by: GOD

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/14/13 06:12 PM

That never happens in the U.S. Must be the exchange rate, ... or NAFTA?
Posted by: real80sman

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/14/13 09:35 PM

US speakers in my Canadian car - that must be it. Wait, that can't be it. Japanese speakers built in Korea, sold in the US, installed in a Japanese car that was built in Canada. I guess they need a translator.
Posted by: Haoleb

Re: Budget conscious car audio help - 06/14/13 10:08 PM

I think for someone that age the best upgrade you could do is a subwoofer. I have added a sub to systems with stock speakers and it was a huge upgrade just in itself. Plus, when you are 17 you dont give a damn about overall sound quality you just want to rattle the trunk in that thing.