Upgrading speakers plus sound proofing

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Audio and Electronics' started by kronos89, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. kronos89

    kronos89 CHRRYPRL

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    Hi guys,

    So I bought new speakers and a jl amplifier based on crutchfield's recommendation. I also bought enough soundproofing material ( secondskin ) to do the entire car. I was looking to quiet the car and in the process get better sound coming from the speakers. This morning I took the vehicle to a shop here in new jersey, and the guy there says the amp is pretty much worthless, since I won't be replacing the stock headunit. I have searched a few posts here and some people have mixed reviews as far as keeping the stock head unit with upgraded speakers. What do you guys think? Is this guy [email protected]$$ me to sell me a new head unit, or should I go ahead install the speakers, amp and expect a major difference.
     
  2. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Are you doing the work, or are they doing it?
    Couldn't you simply install the speakers and the amp, and then evaluate?
    Seems like you could always make the decision to upgrade the head unit at any point.

    Expect a big difference?
    Well, I don't know.
    I would expect that better speakers, and an amp, would improve just about anything. How much? I don't know.
     
  3. rj250

    rj250 Junior Member

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    If you are doing the work yourself, I would go with The Electric Me recommendation. Then you will hear for yourself if the head unit needs replacement. After seeing how cheap the Prius front door speakers are, I can imagine the same is for the radio, So I can understand his comment concerning the stock head unit. I replaced the head unit before the speakers, and noticed a big difference. Then I replaced the stock speakers.
    If you find you are not happy with the sound after installing the speakers, and amp, with the old head unit. Then you can buy a new head unit. Or do as I did, find a good stereo store, tell them your budget, bring in your music, and listen to a complete set up. Head unit, speakers, and amp. Or ask the guy in the cubicle what head unit he recommends.
     
  4. Vman455

    Vman455 Active Member

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    The stock headunit is fine, and puts out a clean signal. There's absolutely no need to replace it. I'm running the signal from the front speaker wires to a digital signal processor, then to two amps. You could also use a lineout converter, or the amp itself if it has high-level inputs. The guy at the shop is trying to make a buck.
     
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  5. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    I disagree with the guy from the shop. The most improvement you can get, BY FAR, will come in replacing your speakers. I know this because I did it. In particular, the high-quality JBL 6x9's made a giant difference. Not saying it has to be JBL, but any pair of high quality 6x9's in your front doors will be fantastic. The rear door speaker upgrade didn't do much. The windshield squawker replacement helped but the front-door 6x9's are really the bang for the buck.

    There's a sticky thread here from a user named Spiderman who explains how to upgrade the door speakers. Basically, do not use the adapters from Crutchfield (or anyone). You remove the door speakers by popping out their rivets, then you tear out the paper cone, cut some plastic and re-use the stock speaker's frame. You mount the speaker in it as Spider-Man's photos show, then you buy something called a pop rivet gun and rivet the speaker back into the stock speakers location. Buy the highest quality pop rivet gun they have, like the Stanley brand. Don't save a couple of bucks with the cheapo China no-name brand.
     
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  6. rj250

    rj250 Junior Member

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    There is no doubt that the most improvement by far is replacing the speakers, providing you have a decent head unit. I noticed a major sound difference after installing the Kenwood HU with the stock speakers. I only know about audio from what my ears tell me, so this will be a leaning lesson for me. (although a little late) It would seem installing a digital processor, and two amps would be much more expensive than an HU. Would it not have been easier, and less expensive to install a better HU ?
     
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  7. franzfume

    franzfume New Member

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    I put a pair of Focal 6*9 in front door o my 2010 Prius and well.... Enough to hear music in a nice way. Stock speakers are very very basic.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  8. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Most music is digital and the head unit just provides digital to analog (D/A) conversion. You need dog-quality hearing to hear differences from one D/A to another. After the D/A comes amplification, and you can hear the difference, especially at high volume. And, if you want really loud, for sure you need to add an amplifier. The higher the volume, the higher the distortion, and so better amps aren't just louder, they're less distorted at the same volume as a lesser amplifier.
    External car mplifiers can accept low power (RCA) or high power (speaker-level) inputs. The RCA type is better because no amplifier distortion is added. But, when you use a separate amp, you should be able to set it up so that you don't need to turn your volume very high, so that the distortion of your head unit's built-in amplifier is minimized.
    I don't think the Prius stock head unit has RCA audio outputs, so you have to use the amplified speaker outputs.
     
  9. rj250

    rj250 Junior Member

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    What was the final outcome. Did you keep the stock head?
     
  10. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    The guy from the shop seems to not know what you want to do. An amplifier is just that, an amplifier. So, even with a crappy radio, an amplifier will make the output louder. And, with certain amplifiers, like Vman455 has, it can make the signal even cleaner. I have always customized my car units, but with the Prius, I found the sound system just fine. Just my tastes for me now. If I had the time and the money, I would keep the original head unit, install one of my samsung tablets permanently (haven't figured out where yet) and have the tablet bluetooth to the original head unit. Then, I would mound under the drivers seat my amplifier and under the passengers seat my equalizer. Once you have an equalizer, just having an amp won't cut it anymore. Your ears will be addicted to sounds usually hidden in the original frequency channels. Somewhere in here I read about a custom system that has amplifier and crossover/equalizer combo just for Toyotas. Anyway, good luck and I hope this helps.
     
  11. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    Guy who started this thread hasn't replied even once, so this thread is a zombie by now.
     
  12. Vman455

    Vman455 Active Member

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    Yes, a processor and amps are more expensive than most headunits. But, you have to compare what a headunit and digital processor do. Internal amplifiers in aftermarket headunits aren't any better than in the stock headunit, and that's a moot point anyway if you're going to use external amps. You could add features like navigation or DVD playback, but those have no bearing on audio quality. Or, with a digital processor I can take the signal from the stock headunit, sum it, split it in up to 8 output channels, and then individually adjust each channel for polarity, HP/LP/BP crossover with adjustable slope, 31-band EQ, and time alignment, the tools of audio tuning--and this is just a basic, relatively cheap processor. Headunits with the same capability built-in cost a tremendous amount of money, if they exist at all (I don't know of any offhand with all the capabilities I just listed), and your run-of-the-mill headunits most people replace their stock receivers with have no capabilities for tuning. This is too bad because, in the end, tuning has much more effect on soundstage (width, depth, height--the fundamental qualities of a realistic listening experience, where "realistic" means "replicating the position and quality of the sound sources as 'heard' by the microphone") than equipment.
     
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