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  #1  
Old April 15th 09, 02:42 AM posted to rec.audio.car
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1
Default Question on Auto Sound Systems

Question on Auto Sound Systems
*******************************

I am not knowledgeable on car audio systems at all.

I have a few questions:

1. What has a greater impact on the sound quality of a car audio
system ?
Is it the speakers or the sound unit ie CD changer/player/radio ?


2. I have a Lexus which has a Nakamichi sound sytem. It sounds
fabulous.
When I test drove a XJ8 2005 Jag, the car guy said it had an Alpine
sound system giving me the impression that it was a premium sound
system. However, I did not care for it. So I am confused.

My 15 year old son says if I want better sound, all I have to do is to
upgrade the speakers. Is that true ?
He says it is very easy to install better quality speakers on a Jag.
Again is this true ?

I thought the CD changer made a greater impact on the sound quality.
My son claims the speakers make all the difference.


3. What are the standard and premium sound systems in 2004 / 2005
Jags ? ( specifically XJ8)



Thanks for your help in advance,

Irfan Ballard

California
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  #2  
Old April 15th 09, 05:45 AM posted to rec.audio.car
MOSFET
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 810
Default Question on Auto Sound Systems

First off, your son is ABSOLTELY CORRECT in his assertion that the single
biggest factor in ANY sound system today is the speakers. The reason is
very simple, ALL head units today do an excellent job at reading CD's,
MP3's, DVD's, or any digital media. There is no appreciable, or for most
people, discernable sound difference between players of different
manufacturers, they ALL use state of the art digital to analog decoders.
However, FEATURES (USB connectivity, iPod connectivity, bluetooth
capability, GPS mapping capability, DVD capability, ect.) vary greatly from
manufacurer to manufacturer and it is these features you might want to
consider more carefully than how it sounds because, again, speakers make ALL
the difference and aftermarket speakers can be bought for nearly ALL stock
or even "Premium" systems in today's cars, the exception being Bose, who are
notorious for using unusual speaker impedences (32 ohm) for there premium
systems and therfore a simple "speaker swap" will not work (BTW, this advice
is based on a VERY frustrating personal experience involving a Nissan Maxima
with the "Premium" Bose system).

In any case, going back to your original question, speakers in fact make the
biggest difference in the quality of a sound system. Speakers vary WIDELY
from brand to brand and even within brands the different price points
determine the quality of sound. As in everything else, you get what you pay
for. A quality set of seperates (you get seperate woofers, tweeters,
outboard crossovers, and a proffesional installation job with sound
deadening in the doors, ect.) can rival the best home speakers these days.
I can certainly make that assertion as I spent about six hours in my car
today and every SINGLE SONG I played sounded truly remarkable (full three
dimensional soundstage with EVERY instrument etched in space right in front
of me as if the musicians were in my car).

I use a set of Alpine Class R seperates and they are bi-amped (I use one
very powerful amplifier to drive my woofers in the doors, and another amp to
drive my tweeters in the sail-panels).

Now this is where this discussion get's a little tricky. Although it is
true that speakers make the biggest difference in sound quality (this
generally holds true for home systems as well), there is certainly no
definative "best sounding" speakers. There are many reasons for this.
First, some speakers sound better than others with diferrent types of music.
While my speakers sound FANTASTIC to me because of the type of music I
listen to, they may not to you because you like a different type of music OR
a different timber of sound. Music is VERY subjective. Not only do we all
have different tastes in music, we also have different tastes in how we want
our music to sound (i.e. I may like my sound more laid-back with lots of
midbass, while you might prefer a more bright, upfront sound with much less
midbass).

There is yet another factor to consider, and that is a speaker's efficiancy,
or how many watts it requires to produce X decibels at a given frequency at
a given distance. Yet again, this varies widely. However, in general, the
better sounding speakers will have lower efficencies, meaning you have to
supply them with more wattage than other speakers to produce the same volume
level. The reason for this is because the better speakers will employ
larger magnets for greater control over the pistonic motion of the cone
(therfore your msuic will sound extremelly tight and controlled) as well as
greater excursion (meaning the cone can move a greater distance from front
to back, this usually means you can produce louder sounds from such a
speaker). But like I said, this comes with a price (beyond the price of the
speaker itself). You will have to supply such a speaker with sufficient
power to sound it's best. My Alpine's are excellent examples of this, I
have owned MANY high-end seperates over the years, but these Alpines,
without a doubt, require more power than ANY OTHER speaker set I have ever
owned; I supply my 6.5" woofers with 125 watts RMS each (a vintage Rockford
Fosgate Punch 225.2), 275 watts peak each and the tweeters with 50 watts RMS
each (a vintage Phoenix Gold amp, the model number escapes me), 100 watts
peak each). And frankly, I could probably employ an EVEN MORE powerful
amplifier for the midbass drivers as they NEVER bottom out or distort! If
you DO NOT, you may prefer the sound of a more efficent speaker as it will
sound louder with less power.

Anyway, I sure hope I didn't confuse or complicate the issue. I guess it
really boils down to some rather simple rules of thumb:

You get what you pay for and it is true that speakers WILL have more impact
on the sound than any other component. I mean, the simple fact is that ALL
modern amplifiers, as long as they are not driven to clipping, will sound
the same to 99.9% of the population. The same is true of CD players or DVD
players.

And second, different speakers will appeal to different people based on the
type of music you like, how you like your music to sound, and how much power
will be driving the speakers. HOWEVER, believe it or not, it is better to
error on the side of too much power than not enough. Your speakers will cry
out in pain before they blow if too much power, and then you can simply back
the volume down. But not enough power WILL mean not taking advantage of the
full potential of the speakers.

I hope all this helps. I'm sure others have their own thoughts. The best
advice I can give to ANYONE is simply bring an armload of discs and LISTEN
to as many speakers as you can before you buy. I probably could have
distilled this WHOLE diatribe into that simple advice.

MOSFET

> wrote in message
...
> Question on Auto Sound Systems
> *******************************
>
> I am not knowledgeable on car audio systems at all.
>
> I have a few questions:
>
> 1. What has a greater impact on the sound quality of a car audio
> system ?
> Is it the speakers or the sound unit ie CD changer/player/radio ?
>
>
> 2. I have a Lexus which has a Nakamichi sound sytem. It sounds
> fabulous.
> When I test drove a XJ8 2005 Jag, the car guy said it had an Alpine
> sound system giving me the impression that it was a premium sound
> system. However, I did not care for it. So I am confused.
>
> My 15 year old son says if I want better sound, all I have to do is to
> upgrade the speakers. Is that true ?
> He says it is very easy to install better quality speakers on a Jag.
> Again is this true ?
>
> I thought the CD changer made a greater impact on the sound quality.
> My son claims the speakers make all the difference.
>
>
> 3. What are the standard and premium sound systems in 2004 / 2005
> Jags ? ( specifically XJ8)
>
>
>
> Thanks for your help in advance,
>
> Irfan Ballard
>
> California



  #3  
Old April 16th 09, 12:52 AM posted to rec.audio.car
MOSFET
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 810
Default One more thing.....

Another topic regarding speakers I didn't even touch on in the previous post
involves bass. Bass is extremelly important in the car as road noise and
engine noise, especially when crusising down the freeway, has an extremelly
annoying tendancy to cancel out bass frequencies, often to the point that
low bass seems to literally dissapear. THIS is the reason people often put
(what to the lay person seems like overkill) multiple very large woofers and
lots of power behind them in their cars.

I have 2 15" subwoofers in a sealed enclosure in my Subaru Forrester. They
are driven by an Alpine 1000 watt Class D amplifier (I have a total of 4
outboard amplifiers in my car, two for the front, one for the rear-fill, and
one for the subs). Again, it is NOT so that I can annoy my neighbor or be
heard 8 blocks away, although I could. It is so even driving on the
freeway I can enjoy the entire spectrum of frequencies in my music at any
volume level I choose. This is very important because without bass your
music WILL lose impact and the degree to which it seems "live". And believe
me, virtually all types of music have a degree of bass content (it isn't
just rap and techno), for instance some classical music that employee a pipe
organ can produce frequencies that approach the very threshhold of what a
human being can perceive, around 15-20Hz.

The reason I bring this up is because it is important to remember that if a
salesman is showing you how good a "premium" system sounds while sitting or
idling, when cruising down the freeway the story may dramtically change.

I have yet to hear ANY premium system that had adaquate bass, IMHO. I can
understand why. First, bass requires POWER, LOTS of power. Larger
alternators and amplifiers would need to be employed, driving the cost of
the car up.

However, I think the main reason is the simple fact that loud bass requires
SPACE. Woofers are large and they require a large enclosure to act as an
accoustical spring in the case of acoustic suspension principled enclosures,
EVEN MUCH LARGER enclosures are needed for the ported, or bass-reflex
principled enclosure.

This can take up precious trunk or cargo area in a vehicle design.
Engineers must decide what most people would ultimately prefer, and I'm
afraid they have decided that folks would prefer having ample cargo area
before powerful bass. For most people, this is no doubt a fair trade-off as
people DO NOT expect their car audio systems to perform like their home
theater systems with powerful subwoofers and full frequency audio
reproduction at all driving speeds and at any volume level.

HOWEVER, people like myself DO expect my car to sound as good as my home
system. I'm afraid, however, if you feel this way too, you will end up
beefing up the bass end of your car audio system.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to add bass to an existing factory stock
or premium system. It usually just requires the addition of an amplifier,
subwoofer and enclosure. There are some companies (Infinity and Stillwater
Designs with their Bazooka tubes come to mind) that make an all-in-one
amplifier, enclosure, and subwoofer unit. If tight on space, they both make
excellent products to enhance bass response in a car.

Anyway, more stuff to consider,

MOSFET

"MOSFET" > wrote in message
...
> First off, your son is ABSOLTELY CORRECT in his assertion that the single
> biggest factor in ANY sound system today is the speakers. The reason is
> very simple, ALL head units today do an excellent job at reading CD's,
> MP3's, DVD's, or any digital media. There is no appreciable, or for most
> people, discernable sound difference between players of different
> manufacturers, they ALL use state of the art digital to analog decoders.
> However, FEATURES (USB connectivity, iPod connectivity, bluetooth
> capability, GPS mapping capability, DVD capability, ect.) vary greatly
> from manufacurer to manufacturer and it is these features you might want
> to consider more carefully than how it sounds because, again, speakers
> make ALL the difference and aftermarket speakers can be bought for nearly
> ALL stock or even "Premium" systems in today's cars, the exception being
> Bose, who are notorious for using unusual speaker impedences (32 ohm) for
> there premium systems and therfore a simple "speaker swap" will not work
> (BTW, this advice is based on a VERY frustrating personal experience
> involving a Nissan Maxima with the "Premium" Bose system).
>
> In any case, going back to your original question, speakers in fact make
> the biggest difference in the quality of a sound system. Speakers vary
> WIDELY from brand to brand and even within brands the different price
> points determine the quality of sound. As in everything else, you get
> what you pay for. A quality set of seperates (you get seperate woofers,
> tweeters, outboard crossovers, and a proffesional installation job with
> sound deadening in the doors, ect.) can rival the best home speakers these
> days. I can certainly make that assertion as I spent about six hours in my
> car today and every SINGLE SONG I played sounded truly remarkable (full
> three dimensional soundstage with EVERY instrument etched in space right
> in front of me as if the musicians were in my car).
>
> I use a set of Alpine Class R seperates and they are bi-amped (I use one
> very powerful amplifier to drive my woofers in the doors, and another amp
> to drive my tweeters in the sail-panels).
>
> Now this is where this discussion get's a little tricky. Although it is
> true that speakers make the biggest difference in sound quality (this
> generally holds true for home systems as well), there is certainly no
> definative "best sounding" speakers. There are many reasons for this.
> First, some speakers sound better than others with diferrent types of
> music. While my speakers sound FANTASTIC to me because of the type of
> music I listen to, they may not to you because you like a different type
> of music OR a different timber of sound. Music is VERY subjective. Not
> only do we all have different tastes in music, we also have different
> tastes in how we want our music to sound (i.e. I may like my sound more
> laid-back with lots of midbass, while you might prefer a more bright,
> upfront sound with much less midbass).
>
> There is yet another factor to consider, and that is a speaker's
> efficiancy, or how many watts it requires to produce X decibels at a given
> frequency at a given distance. Yet again, this varies widely. However,
> in general, the better sounding speakers will have lower efficencies,
> meaning you have to supply them with more wattage than other speakers to
> produce the same volume level. The reason for this is because the better
> speakers will employ larger magnets for greater control over the pistonic
> motion of the cone (therfore your msuic will sound extremelly tight and
> controlled) as well as greater excursion (meaning the cone can move a
> greater distance from front to back, this usually means you can produce
> louder sounds from such a speaker). But like I said, this comes with a
> price (beyond the price of the speaker itself). You will have to supply
> such a speaker with sufficient power to sound it's best. My Alpine's are
> excellent examples of this, I have owned MANY high-end seperates over the
> years, but these Alpines, without a doubt, require more power than ANY
> OTHER speaker set I have ever owned; I supply my 6.5" woofers with 125
> watts RMS each (a vintage Rockford Fosgate Punch 225.2), 275 watts peak
> each and the tweeters with 50 watts RMS each (a vintage Phoenix Gold amp,
> the model number escapes me), 100 watts peak each). And frankly, I could
> probably employ an EVEN MORE powerful amplifier for the midbass drivers as
> they NEVER bottom out or distort! If you DO NOT, you may prefer the sound
> of a more efficent speaker as it will sound louder with less power.
>
> Anyway, I sure hope I didn't confuse or complicate the issue. I guess it
> really boils down to some rather simple rules of thumb:
>
> You get what you pay for and it is true that speakers WILL have more
> impact on the sound than any other component. I mean, the simple fact is
> that ALL modern amplifiers, as long as they are not driven to clipping,
> will sound the same to 99.9% of the population. The same is true of CD
> players or DVD players.
>
> And second, different speakers will appeal to different people based on
> the type of music you like, how you like your music to sound, and how much
> power will be driving the speakers. HOWEVER, believe it or not, it is
> better to error on the side of too much power than not enough. Your
> speakers will cry out in pain before they blow if too much power, and then
> you can simply back the volume down. But not enough power WILL mean not
> taking advantage of the full potential of the speakers.
>
> I hope all this helps. I'm sure others have their own thoughts. The best
> advice I can give to ANYONE is simply bring an armload of discs and LISTEN
> to as many speakers as you can before you buy. I probably could have
> distilled this WHOLE diatribe into that simple advice.
>
> MOSFET
>
> > wrote in message
> ...
>> Question on Auto Sound Systems
>> *******************************
>>
>> I am not knowledgeable on car audio systems at all.
>>
>> I have a few questions:
>>
>> 1. What has a greater impact on the sound quality of a car audio
>> system ?
>> Is it the speakers or the sound unit ie CD changer/player/radio ?
>>
>>
>> 2. I have a Lexus which has a Nakamichi sound sytem. It sounds
>> fabulous.
>> When I test drove a XJ8 2005 Jag, the car guy said it had an Alpine
>> sound system giving me the impression that it was a premium sound
>> system. However, I did not care for it. So I am confused.
>>
>> My 15 year old son says if I want better sound, all I have to do is to
>> upgrade the speakers. Is that true ?
>> He says it is very easy to install better quality speakers on a Jag.
>> Again is this true ?
>>
>> I thought the CD changer made a greater impact on the sound quality.
>> My son claims the speakers make all the difference.
>>
>>
>> 3. What are the standard and premium sound systems in 2004 / 2005
>> Jags ? ( specifically XJ8)
>>
>>
>>
>> Thanks for your help in advance,
>>
>> Irfan Ballard
>>
>> California

>
>



 




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