Basic Audio Help

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Audio and Electronics' started by aproy1939, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. aproy1939

    aproy1939 New Member

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    I've read as many posts that I can regarding adding aftermarket audio products to the Prius. That said, I need some advice on a very basic level. I have an '06 Prius and would like to install a Memphis Belle amp and a pair of JL Audio subs. Unfortunately, installing any aftermarket system in the Prius (or any hybrid for that matter) is breaking new ground here in Salt Lake City.

    I went to the *leading* AV store, Car Concepts, on Thursday and have since had many answers which erode my trust in them doing anything right. The first answer that came back was that I would need to run an extra 12V battery. Ok, no problem. The next answer that came back was that I would need Stinger to build a custom alternator for the car for $700. Then Stinger found that my stock alternator was already the largest that could power the Prius (great, I didn't want to void my warranty). Then last night's answer was that they would have to contact Todd Engineering in Europe to get a custom (approximately $2,000) race car battery to run my system.

    My questions are: Has anyone installed a rather large, taxing AV system in their Prius (it's only one amp, but it's very powerful)? If so, how did you get around the power issue? Do I need to go to these extravagant lengths to ensure I don't drain the current electrical system? Are there any problems that I need to look out for when I get the install done (seems that the original amp needs to stay put for the Bluetooth?)?

    Thanks in advance for any advice. I am not a technical person or an AV installer. I just need someone to explain it in laymen's terms so I can explain it to the shop.
     
  2. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    You really dont have much of a choice. You simply cannot run a powerful system in the car without doing extensive modification to the charging system and utilizing a bigger battery. I would try to build a system that will keep you under 500w RMS and choose an efficient amp.

    Your problem is futher exacerbated by the fact our engines shut down at stop and while gliding so I would assume that charging is either shut down or at most very weak. So playing your system at a stoplight or in crawling traffic will pose major issues. Just a guess on that though since I am not aware of the exact nature of our charging system.

    Personally I would choose 2 very efficient 12s and a nice 300w RMS monoblock D-class amp to run them and then a small 2 or 4channel to run the mids and highs with about 50w per channel or 100x2+25x2. You could have a great sounding system this way and you shouldnt have too many problems. Stay away from the hyped up 2000watt type amps and all the other BS that surrounds the car audio industry. You simply dont need it. if you wanna be the next Alma Gates then go buy another car for that lol

    Ohh, also check into the Stinger batteries. I'm gonna see if one will fit in the Prius. They make basic Honda style batteries and I dont think they are that much different.
     
  3. mssmith95

    mssmith95 Michael

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tonyroy @ Aug 19 2006, 09:31 AM) [snapback]305863[/snapback]</div>

    Sorry to break this to you, and not trying to be a smartass or anything, this is the wrong car to attempt to do a crazy system.

    The electrical system in the Prius is the key to the cars success and value. Adding a system that taxes that electrical system so heavily would just not make any sense....and could easily void your warranty if you made any changes to it (like adding an additional battery or changing the alternator).

    As far as adding an amp and subs, many people have done it...what you need to tell us are the specs on the amp - wattage, amperage used, etc. This will give the technical people here a much better idea of what you are trying to do...and if it makes any sense. There is a direct link between the amperage you pull from the battery and loss of MPG...as well as the extra weight considerations. You could easily drop you MPG into the 20-30mpg range if you do too much.

    There are a few here who have removed the stock amp and replaced it, and still had bluetooth functionality...do a search and you will find them.
     
  4. aproy1939

    aproy1939 New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I realize what I am attempting to do is probably crazy and, quite frankly, I'm only doing it because I already own the JL Audio subs and the Memphis Belle amp (from my old WRX).

    I found the specs for the Memphis Belle amp. They are located at: http://www.memphiscaraudio.com/products/details.asp?id=28

    They have posted a .pdf document that has the comprehensive specs.
    http://www.memphiscaraudio.com/LiveImages/...ocumentURL1.pdf

    The Belle provides four 55 watt channels and a 400 watt @ 1 ohm 5th channel. Built in crossovers feature a selectable 12dB or 18dB per octave slope, and are fully variable from 40-6kHz.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  5. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tonyroy @ Aug 19 2006, 09:31 AM) [snapback]305863[/snapback]</div>
    Your Prius DOESN'T HAVE AN ALTERNATOR. The 12V battery is recharged from the electric portion of the hybrid powertrain through a DC-DC converter (201.6V->12V).

    At 650 watts, your system isn't large and shouldn't be a problem to power. Unless you regularly play your system at very high, pain-inducing distortion-filled levels, your average power draw is going to be a small fraction of 650 watts (divided by the amps efficiency, some number less than 1). Think about it - those huge bass notes only last a few tens of milliseconds with hundreds or thousands of milliseconds between them.

    My system has about the same amount of power as what you're considering and power has never been a problem. But I only play the system to listen to inside the car, not to annoy pedestrians and people in their homes as I drive by. At my normal listening levels, the amps typically do not even get warm to the touch.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. GeoGeek

    GeoGeek Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(priusenvy @ Aug 19 2006, 07:30 PM) [snapback]305995[/snapback]</div>
    Once again, I have to agree with everything Priusenvy said.
    I'm running an Xtant 3300c (60wx2 + 360Wx1) using 4 gage power wire off the
    factory 12v battery.......no issues to date (even any noticible MPG effects).
    You'll be fine. Have it installed (by someone who knows what they're doing) & enjoy.
    Forget about extra batteries or alternators.
     
  7. Bill Merchant

    Bill Merchant absit invidia

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    For grins, you might ask those geniuses at Car Concepts to show you where they would mount the alternator they are recommending. Or don't bother, since they clearly don't know their burro from a burrow. Look in this forum for lots of install instructions which you can show to someone helpful.
     
  8. kDB

    kDB New Member

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    the only thing special you need for an amp in a prius is a Hi/Low adapter, and that's not very special. as for the bigger battery, it's not needed unless you plan on running the stereo in AUX mode. though there really is no need to run in AUX mode in a prius seeing as the ICE will only run for short intervals.
     
  9. c4

    c4 Active Member

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    Actually, a larger 12V battery *can* still help in ig-on mode by supplementing the converter output during extremely high current demand; this is why it's normally recommended to connect high current draw devices directly at the battery terminals, as it's got a better transient response. But, whether it *will* help, is completely dependent on the system you install and the volume levels you typically listen at..
     
  10. Presto

    Presto Has his homepage set to PC

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    There will be no problem, at all, running that setup, the most you could pull down with that amp is 700w RMS. I have a similar setup installed for the last 6 months, and it is running great. I just powered the amp with a direct connection to the 12 volt battery in the back of the Prius. I pound the system hard, and other than a bit of interioir light dimming, I have had no issues. Don't let them try to sell you anything other than an install.
     
  11. tmorrowus

    tmorrowus Member

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    Agreed. I've got a Rockford T8004 amp and a Memphis MCA2004 amp in my 2004 Prius. Together those amps are rated in the ballpark of 1000 watts. I never use that much power because I don't enter SPL competitions and don't listen at ear splitting levels, so I have never had any problem. Just install your stuff and enjoy.
     
  12. Anubis

    Anubis New Member

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    Hey TonyRoy -- I'm sorry to hear about your experience at Car Concepts. Many years ago (late '80s) there were some really good people who worked there (Cub Carpenter & Spike) who really knew their stuff. I still have the Rockford Fosgate Punch 150 amps, the two Punch 10"s, crossover, several Alpine co-axials and the SoundStream head unit I bought from them. I used to move everything from car to car, but never got around to installing it all in my minivan (my last vehicle before now).

    Now, I have my Prius, and I've been considering installing the speakers & amps there, but since I now have kids with all their various sports accessories needing hatch space, and since I still occasionally need to fold down one side of the back seats when I visit Home Depot, I don't think my great big subwoofer boxes are appropriate. I've been planning on visiting Car Concepts again -- and after hearing your experience with them, I may not.

    I visited Sound Warehouse (2763 S. State) a couple of years ago to get a new head unit for my minivan and got a great deal on a Clarion with a Sirius Satellite receiver. They got it installed for me the moment I purchased it -- it didn't take them long (they even pulled a guy in early from his lunch break and he was really cool about it all), and I never had a problem with it. Maybe I'll go back there, instead.

    I'm sad to hear that Car Concepts (yes, the A/V store to visit) gave you such a bad install diagnostic.

    I like PriusEnvy's little bass box, maybe I'll do something like that instead. It'll give me the bass and still leave me lots of room for my kids' gear (and groceries) in the back as well as plenty of "long stuff" room when I shop at Home Depot.

    BTW, what is a Pkg #9? I thought I had the highest package you could get here in Utah (pkg #8 = leather, bluetooth & nav as well as all the other fun stuff)
     
  13. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Anubis @ Aug 20 2006, 10:03 PM) [snapback]306569[/snapback]</div>
    Since I'm not too keen on fiberglassing myself, I've got a guy building me a fiberglass sub box for my Acura. When he's done, he's supposed to build me one for my Prius. Unfortunately, his day job is getting in the way of him getting them done. The box for the Prius will fit in the right side cubby just like the one that eagle33199 built (http://priuschat.com/index.php?showtopic=17259). Before he got busy at work he was interested in possibly selling his enclosures here, but I don't know what his plans are now. He's charging me $300 for a 10" sealed enclosure for my Acura MDX. The one for the Prius is a little less (don't have a price yet).

    Package numbers are year-specific, a #9 in 2005 is comparable, but not identical to a #7 in 2006 I believe.
     
  14. aproy1939

    aproy1939 New Member

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    Wow, this forum is great. Thanks for all the replies over the last couple of days. The more I learn about the Prius, the more I realize I don't know. Fun stuff.

    Anubis - Do you know anything about Audio XTreme Sound & Security in Ogden. They are a JL Audio and Memphis dealer. I called them this morning, and while they haven't done an install on a Prius, they have done one on a Civic Hybrid. They said they had a number of problems they had to troubleshoot, so I'm thinking they might be the best route for an area install. One of the owners is on the Rockford Fosgate team - - not that I even care about competing or having a system anywhere near what he uses.
     
  15. eagle33199

    eagle33199 Platinum Member

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    Since they haven't done an install on a prius, i would definately recommend caution. I'm sure they'll be able to do a good job with the basics of it, but there's at least one thing to make sure of: ensure that they are connecting directly to the 12V battery under the passenger side cubby hole, and NOT the HV battery. If you need specifics on how to do this, do a search for my install (i think the title says fiberglass in it somewhere, should be easy to search for that and limit it by my posts). i put a lot of pictures in my documentation, which could be of help to both you and them (even if you aren't going the fiberglass route).

    *edit* or just follow the link a couple of posts ago to my install :-p thanks priusenvy!
     
  16. aproy1939

    aproy1939 New Member

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    Eagle33199, your detailed pics of your install blew me away. I'm sure this will save me $$ with the shop, my Prius from any wrong-doing and the installers from scratching their heads.

    Is there anyone that has detailed how to interface an aftermarket amp with the JBL amp in the 9-speaker package? I saw a picture of someone who used a Peripheral connection, but I haven't found info on how this all works, how to adjust the beeps, etc.

    Thanks.
     
  17. eagle33199

    eagle33199 Platinum Member

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    Check out pages 11-14 on my guide... i used a simple converter box and tapped into the rear door speakers to produce line level outputs to feed into the sub. The pinouts are also listed (i think they're for the 04-05, cause the 06 has 3 plugs, not two, but the order stays the same, as indicated in the guide). I ordered the part listed from crutchfield, got it in about a week... should be something easy for any audio shop to do as part of the whole system.
     
  18. Anubis

    Anubis New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tonyroy @ Aug 21 2006, 11:31 AM) [snapback]306777[/snapback]</div>
    The first time I heard of them (I haven't lived in Ogden for over 5 years) was recently when my new boss got a system put into his new company truck. They took off the inside door panel and built a custom stand for a DVD system & large monitor (he's on tour advertising his product, and he needed his video to show out the back passenger side window of his truck, and have it be secure enough so he can drive thousands of miles to Texas, around the Gulf to the bottom of Florida and then up the east coast and back to Utah). They did a really great job for him. They also installed a Sirius Satellite system for him.

    A lot of installers are experienced and can install most anything, so I'm sure you could go most anywhere. I, however, would feel safer with a custom install shop rather than go to a Circuit City, Best Buy or other "department" store with installers. At the specialty shops, no one has to know anything about other products besides car audio/video stuff, so they can focus better on exactly what you want.

    I know this isn't necessarily true, but this is just my initial gut feeling if I were to get something installed. The same goes for having the Sirius satellite system installed in my Prius by a Toyota Dealer. When they come out, I'm not sure I'll have the dealer install it for me. I may just buy the package and then find a specialty shop to install it for me.

    Just check around and go with whichever installer "feels" good for you. I would definitely look into Audio Xtreme because of their innovative (and very quick) work they did on my boss' truck. I'm sure there will be no problem with their workmanship on the Prius -- they seem to be very conscientious and willing to learn new things in their efforts to do a job in exactly the way the customer wishes. I will look to them first when I finally get my Sirius Satellite installed.
     
  19. priusenvy

    priusenvy Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(tonyroy @ Aug 22 2006, 06:22 AM) [snapback]307424[/snapback]</div>
    If you're willing to spend a few dollars, you can do this without cutting or tapping into any of the factory wires. What you do is buy a Bazooka subwoofer harness, which goes between 1) the head unit and the JBL amp and 2) between the JBL amp and the speakers, and modify the Bazooka harness rather than your car's wiring.

    See this thread for a pic: http://priuschat.com/index.php?showtopic=18632

    There's really nothing to it since you're keeping the JBL amp, but converting the output to line-out levels and feeding that into another amp.
     
  20. aproy1939

    aproy1939 New Member

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    Well I dropped my Prius off at Audio Xtreme in Ogden today. They were completely attentive to me and explained the process to me thoroughly. Funny, I got a call from Car Concepts in SLC yesterday. There was a message telling me that they were ready to solve my problem and, again, told me that they would have to build a special alternator for me. Now the price was $2K. LOL!

    Anyway, looks like I'll pick the Prius back up on Tuesday. I'll report back on the quality of work. I had them disconnect the center channel speaker and asked them to make sure that my iPod would still work with the factory input. I'll keep my fingers crossed. Turns out, they don't believe that the JL ZRs will fit in the car without lots of modification (based on depth). I decided to give the Diamond Hex 6" components a go. I also asked them to install a JL Audio Clean Sweep between the factory amp and the rest of the system. Hopefully that will make a big difference.

    Thanks again to everyone who weighed in over the last couple of weeks. You guys have been a big help - - and saved me from wasting $2K.
     
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