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Old 28th September 2005, 10:28   #1
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Default Simple Car Stereo

This is my attempt at trying to answer some of the most common questions regarding car stereo.

Before you are in the market ofr a car stereo you should determine your needs.

Rule 1. Go to a Professional
For most people it is better to get a professional installer to install the stereo. So PLEASE do homework on your installer. I would ask around and find an installer that is recommended by 3 of my friends whose stereos i have heard. Many installers are butchers. Visit the installer you are considering and see his work in progress (WIP).

Rule 2. Do not let ANY installer intimidated you.
Your car stereo is for you, paid for by your money, for you to listen to. You do not need to worry to much about anyone else's opinions no matter who that person is.

Rule 3. Start simple.
Determine your budget, muscial tastes and needs.

Short list 2-3 brands of Head Units (Head Units are the CD player that sits in your dash). I would prefer ones that are backed by am manufacturer warranty.

Short list 2-3 brands of speakers. Do not worry about subwoofers and amplifiers at this stage. One can always add them later or invetigate them after the Head Unit (HU) and speakers are done.

Rule 4. Prefer stock locations for speakers.
Do not destroy what are usually good interiors of your car with mounting speakers that stand out like ET's head.

Rule 5. Listen and Trust your ears.
Carry your own CDs.
Start with one Head Unit and listen to 2-3 pairs of speakers. Shortlist the speaker you prefer.
Now leave those speakers in the car and listen to the other Head Units with the same speakers.
Shortlist your Head Unit.
This process should take not more than 2 hours.
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Old 28th September 2005, 10:42   #2
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My further two bits to a well-presented list.
-Make sure the installer uses crimp or soldered connectors to join wires, never allow them to twist wires together and seal with tape. The most common problem is wires working loose due to vibrations.
- Check that speakers are wired correctly, +ve and -ve or common terminals are not interchanged. Makes a tremendous difference in the sound.
-Use the best possible wires for speakers, routed well and properly tied with harness.
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Old 28th September 2005, 10:50   #3
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thanks filcord. please guys feel free to add to this and suggest modifcations and additions.

the idea is to build a ready reckoner.
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Old 28th September 2005, 10:56   #4
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ya better use connectors to wire all the components..worst come worst u can even loose ur warranty by cutting wires in the mpfi vehicles..recently a swift had a total rebuild of the eletrical components as the wires were cut and due to some malfunction all the electrical systems were completely whacked inclding the ECU..repair costs 2lacs and he had to pay from his pocket as the insurance company said they wouldnt..so pls make sure no wire cutting no matter what..
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Old 28th September 2005, 11:12   #5
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Any installer who cuts wires should be cut from your list. that is why Rule one states that one should visit the installer and see WIP.
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Old 28th September 2005, 12:20   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navin
Rule 2. Do not let ANY installer intimidated you.
Your car stereo is for you, paid for by your money, for you to listen to. You do not need to worry to much about anyone else's opinions no matter who that person is.
I would also like to add this.
This forum is full of a lot of mad, funny and sometimes intimidating people that love sound. Often you may read answers that confuse you, or may make you feel out of place.

We like answering simple questions also, go ahead ask.

And if a so-called "expert" laughs at your opinion,your choice of brand , or your budget tell him to go scr*w himself.
In Navin's words

Your car stereo is for you, paid for by your money, for you to listen to. You do not need to worry to much about anyone else's opinions no matter who that person is.

Enjoy! And thank you Navin.
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Old 28th September 2005, 12:51   #7
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Sam , that is quite reassuring.

The highly technical level of discussions related to high end audio setups sometimes does get quite confusing (I'm stoopid ! - don't have the Icon selector beside my compose box - strange)

This is a very nice thread and should be a great help for people like me (and I believe there are lots out there like me) who want a simple and basic setup with 4 speakers and a MP3 HU, within a budget of say 15K (max).
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Old 28th September 2005, 13:58   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filcord
My further two bits to a well-presented list.
-Make sure the installer uses crimp or soldered connectors to join wires, never allow them to twist wires together and seal with tape. The most common problem is wires working loose due to vibrations.
- Check that speakers are wired correctly, +ve and -ve or common terminals are not interchanged. Makes a tremendous difference in the sound.
-Use the best possible wires for speakers, routed well and properly tied with harness.
hi there,,
i am an installer and i hardly come across people who want good wiring and all the allied accessories, they try to cut down on the wiring and not the equipment,, little do they understand that wiring plays a crusial part in the installtion, and the quality of sound,, which is the main goal of the install,,i am using audison connections for my installs and am quite impressed by the quality of the product.. it's not all that expencive as well,,
respect
driven
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Old 28th September 2005, 14:32   #9
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driven, what is the usual added cost for good wiring as a percetnage of the cost of the active components (HU,amps, speakers, etc)? My guess is 12-15%?
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Old 28th September 2005, 14:54   #10
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hi guys.

here are my inputs :

most of the well know car shops in hyderabad, still use the old insulation tape method, unless untill you are ready to pay extra for the wires.

as thier (the fitters and the consumers) point is that if the system isnt hi-fi, why go in for better wires if the sound quality isnt gonna be much of a diff.

what do the audio gurus think abt this?


wrt to the swift:

more of the installers/car shops in hyd arent doing swift coz there are very few people who have knowledge abt the installation procedure in swift.

they just give you the head units and most of my friends get it installed in the show rooms.

my question is will the showroom guys (generally) use proper method or the old insulation method?
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Old 28th September 2005, 15:12   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aadix

my question is will the showroom guys (generally) use proper method or the old insulation method?
atleast here in bangalore the showroom guys use proper methods to fit any accessories..actually my guy even asked me to avoid getting wires cut as i told him i was going to get the audio setup on my own..if there are any electrical problems then the company will have to pay for the damages if everything has been wired by the company..so they will stick to the connectors to avoid unnecessary trouble..well even the installers in J.C.Road are now using connectors and not the cut and tape method..btw we as owners should be careful as to what they do..so just keep an eye for the safety of our cars..
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Old 28th September 2005, 16:06   #12
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decent wires can make a difference in even the most modest systems. i am not asying use gold wires with a rs 10K system but a budget of about 10-15% for wires can go a long way.
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Old 28th September 2005, 17:00   #13
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Do the car dealers (say Maruti for example) generally stock any special brand of wires that one can ask for ? Something, that would make sense for a 10-15K setup ?
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Old 28th September 2005, 17:11   #14
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Nope. For a 10-15K setup, if you're lucky and buying speakers of a good brand, you will get decent speaker wires with it.
Otherwise just make sure they use atleast 16gauge wire. Or in Indian wire, 1.5sqmm.

Basically make sure they arent connecting your speakers with dental floss. Wires will be more critical in a higher budgeted install, with amps and better speakers.
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Old 28th September 2005, 17:32   #15
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I went over to the Hyundai showroom the other day and there was this interesting stuff happening :
1. Wires : They simply take the wires out of any speaker box.... You could end up with Sony, Blau or JBL wire - I guess all are decent

2. JBL warranty: I saw a few warranty cards strewn around - Seems like ppl don't care to take the warranty cards with them. They are just thrown out when the speaker box is opened for installation. I'd assume that similar stuff happens to other brands too.

3. Prices : I was really laughing at the way the guy was quoting random prices for stuff.... a sony 4 channel amp for 8K!

Bottom line is not many ppl care about these things - When I asked him if they carried some standard wire, he showed me a car which supposedly had 1 lakh plus worth of ICE equipment all done with teh OE wires!

Last edited by mohit : 28th September 2005 at 17:34.
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