Extremely High End car audio.

JTFVegas

JTFVegas

Audioholic
Does anyone ever talk about car audio on here? Would love to do a thread reguarding that. I would love to see how many home theatre enthusiasts/audiophiles are just as equally enthused by high end car audio.
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
Does anyone ever talk about car audio on here? Would love to do a thread reguarding that. I would love to see how many home theatre enthusiasts/audiophiles are just as equally enthused by high end car audio.
Im sure many members here have decent or above average car audio systems. However I would guess that most members have come to the conclusion, it's better investing that money into the home audio system.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Stock car audio systems have come a long way over the last couple decades. It's hard to top a decent car audio system that was designed by Harman. A lot of the Bowers & Wilkins car audio systems are actually Harman designs (which explain why they sound so good). I think even the higher end Burmester designs are from Harman too, although I am not sure about that. Car audio is the reason why Samsung bought Harman. I don't think there is a way to equal these systems from a third party system without a huge amount of work.
 
JTFVegas

JTFVegas

Audioholic
I agree. Acoustically cars are nightmares. I would still love to hear feedback if anyones interested.
 
JTFVegas

JTFVegas

Audioholic
Stock car audio systems have come a long way over the last couple decades. It's hard to top a decent car audio system that was designed by Harman. A lot of the Bowers & Wilkins car audio systems are actually Harman designs (which explain why they sound so good). I think even the higher end Burmester designs are from Harman too, although I am not sure about that. Car audio is the reason why Samsung bought Harman. I don't think there is a way to equal these systems from a third party system without a huge amount of work.
Yes alot of work is an understatement. Sound deadening is so much work.
 
JTFVegas

JTFVegas

Audioholic
I myself have Sinfoni Amplifiers diving Rainbow Platinum Series 2 way speakers. Would love to hear what others have if anything. This was my first love before home theatre.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
The system in my van took a few steps to get it where I wanted it on a visit to an installer, the stock GM speakers/head unit got replaced but by nothing exciting, don't even remember the brand names as they didn't mean much to me. Kenwood head unit and Kicker sub are the only brands I can think of but it works well. Never messed with the stock systems in my last two Mercedes, even tho they were Bose, they sounded fine. I just wouldn't go very far with gear for a car on the road type environment....

ps Car audio is relatively not discussed here.
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Audioholic General
I've done a handful of sound quality competitions with previous cars. It's been a long while since I've done much with car audio though.
 
Kai

Kai

Full Audioholic
I use the stock head unit in my '17 Honda CRV EX. I like it. I replaced the stock speakers with JL Audio C5's in front and a 10" JL Audio sub in a ported box, all powered by a JL Audio 4 channel amp. I really like the sound of JL Audio. I have been an Alpine fan for 40 years when I bought my first Alpine in the mid 70's but I find they haven't really done much that is exciting compared to some other brands. I have to use the stock head unit because of all the controls that run through it. I've been a fan of auto hifi since my first car in '73 when I installed a FM Converter lol.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Agree, we do not get into car audio on this forum. Now vehicles have such high frequency digital regulators putting enormous hash on the electrical bus, coupled that the audio system is part of the head unit, there is no point in getting into it.

There is only so much you can do in a car cabin space. The other big issue is the damage that is easily done now messing with a cars electrical system unless you are super skilled. Messing with the head unit invalidates the warranty.

So the only advice I give to anyone wanting to alter the sound system of modern cars these days, is don't, and leave well alone.

We tend to buy higher end models and the sound systems of our last have been superb. In fact in my last vehicle the sound system was the best thing about it. It came to a rather ignominious end in October which is actually a very funny story which I should relate here some time.
 
John Parks

John Parks

Audioholic General
It used to be so easy to self install a good aftermarket system. I think the best one I ever had was in a '97 VW Jetta (Volkswagen "sound systems" were so lame back then): Alpine head unit, MB Quart 3-way separates that just dropped in to the factory locations, AudioControl crossover, a pair of Soundstream Granite amps (whatever happened to Soundstream? They used to be THE amp manufacturer) and two JL Audio 10" subs in a sealed enclosure, plus some other goodies. It was a lot of fun.

The last aftermarket car audio item I purchased was a JL Audio powered sub to supplement my '08 GTI (VW sound systems still sucked at this point - pre Dynaudio) and later a '11 Fiesta. After that I've had Bose in two Mazdas (they were "okay", not bad) a Sony factory system in my '15 Ford STI and now, my favorite of all, a Fender system in my '15 VW Golf Sportwagen TDI. They really tuned this one right and sounds pretty darn nice!
1579093350540.png
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
My wife's Durango came with a JBL system and normally the first thing to go in a new car is the entire stereo. Not this one. It's shockingly good. I honestly wouldn't change a thing...other than the lack of Android Auto.

My truck on the other hand is a 2007 so it's stereo is horrific. I changed out the head unit to a Kenwood with AA and some Kicker components up front and decent 5 1/4 in the rear doors and it's VERY good for how little I paid. Next step is to replace the seat under the center arm rest with a sub box for a little help in the bass dept. Then some day I'll tear out the interior and sound proof the whole thing. I really need to as this is a diesel truck so noise from the outside is VERY loud not limited to just the motor, but my tires are loud too and they are just A/T tires.

So many projects, so little time...
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
I'm actually looking for something budget for my truck. The stock system just sucks. When I use my phone via the headphone jack it doesn't get loud enough, half my podcasts are unlistenable and forget about music.
 
C

ClairET

Audioholic Intern
I used to get all crazy with car audio, but it’s been far too difficult to mess with the new cars. I just make sure I like the sound system when I buy them and leave them alone. My Z4 had the Carver HiFi in it. At freeway speeds with the top down, that system had zero issues keeping up and sounding great. Just loved that sound system. Had a Lexus with Mark Levinson prior and my latest also has Mark Levinson. Both have been exceptional sounding. That’s good too, because far too much runs through the HU, so no way to replace.
 
JTFVegas

JTFVegas

Audioholic
The one thing Ive noticed these days is that all of the high end audiophile headunits of yesteryear are gone. No more Alpine F1 or Pioneer Premeir units. The only thing I saw was a Pioneer P99rs that you really cant even buy new except at Crutchfield for 5,500 when packaged with speakers a sub and amplifiers. I have a Pioneer DEX P9 headunit and when mated with its sibling DSP, the DEQ P9 the ability to truly shape the sound is unbelievable. The DSP offers in depth crossover management, time alignment, a stereo 31 band graphic 1/3 octave EQ along with a parametric EQ. Real nice stuff.
Its just ashamed to see that they just dont make these kind of consumer products anymore.
All the nice imported stuff is really hard to get brand new as well.
I guess theres just no market for car audio anymore.
 
Montucky

Montucky

Full Audioholic
Haven't had aftermarket in a while, but I have been SUPREMELY happy with the stock Dynaudio 12 speaker + 650 Watt amplifier setup that came with my 2008 Volvo XC70. 12 years old and still bangs. I've been tempted to toss in the factory optional "sub" that fits into the spare tire to see what that's like.

Factory car stereos have come SSSOOOOOO far since the 80s/90s that I just don't think it's quite as imperative to upgrade as it used to be. Especially when you opt for the "premium stereo" option from the manufacturers. It's a big ticket upgrade though, so they BETTER sound decent. Usually to the tune of thousands of dollars since they're typically bundled with some sort of premium tech package. Glad I wasn't the guy who bought my car new! Whew!
 
JTFVegas

JTFVegas

Audioholic
Haven't had aftermarket in a while, but I have been SUPREMELY happy with the stock Dynaudio 12 speaker + 650 Watt amplifier setup that came with my 2008 Volvo XC70. 12 years old and still bangs. I've been tempted to toss in the factory optional "sub" that fits into the spare tire to see what that's like.

Factory car stereos have come SSSOOOOOO far since the 80s/90s that I just don't think it's quite as imperative to upgrade as it used to be. Especially when you opt for the "premium stereo" option from the manufacturers. It's a big ticket upgrade though, so they BETTER sound decent. Usually to the tune of thousands of dollars since they're typically bundled with some sort of premium tech package. Glad I wasn't the guy who bought my car new! Whew!
Right and Ive always thought if im going to spend thousands of dollars to upgrape, IM picking the equipment. Its going to be aftermarket. Nowadays you have Harmon and Mark Levinson etc i suppose. Still however, I dont think those premium audio upgrades can hold a candle to any of the equipment I mentioned, or some of the other equipment that was mentioned above. Car audio used to be a magical place.
 
C

ClairET

Audioholic Intern
Right and Ive always thought if im going to spend thousands of dollars to upgrape, IM picking the equipment. Its going to be aftermarket. Nowadays you have Harmon and Mark Levinson etc i suppose. Still however, I dont think those premium audio upgrades can hold a candle to any of the equipment I mentioned, or some of the other equipment that was mentioned above. Car audio used to be a magical place.
They can definitely not compete, but man it’s expensive to upgrade with all the integrated stuff. If I do anything, it’s an amp and sub with a power run straight to the battery. That’s about it.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Right and Ive always thought if im going to spend thousands of dollars to upgrape, IM picking the equipment. Its going to be aftermarket. Nowadays you have Harmon and Mark Levinson etc i suppose. Still however, I dont think those premium audio upgrades can hold a candle to any of the equipment I mentioned, or some of the other equipment that was mentioned above. Car audio used to be a magical place.
I could not disagree more. Those ugly systems of old invariably sounded awful to me. They were Frankenstein systems that displaced room for passengers and luggage, and looked awful to boot.

These new systems are wonderful, considering the constraints pf a vehicle cab. The system in my new RAV 4 hybrid, is excellent. It is discreet and I never have to adjust a control, everything is set to flat and well balanced. It is also integrates with all the rest of the wonderful functions. No way do we want to return the era you seem to idolize. In my view it was awful and all orientated to the ghastly pop culture. My current and previous vehicle are definitely orientated to the classical ear and appropriately voiced for it.
 

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