We've put this kit together to give you a Premium Sound Upgrade to your vehicle without major modifications. We say premium, but this is a leap ahead of what you can get from most car manufacturers. Most Manufacturers charge $5,000-$20,000 for their "premium sound" upgrades, which still come with paper-cone speakers, tiny amplifiers and 150w subwoofers.
Our stage 2 Sound System is leaps and bounds ahead of this. You get a mixture of the best brands in the business, matched together by us because it works. Depending on the car's layout, sizing etc. we then take these components and pre-wire them for your vehicle to make the install as easy as possible.
So why did we pick what we picked? Here's why.
So we start with the amplifier because it is the first component after the factory headunit. So, the criteria we take into account are these;
- High-level input that works with a variety of different head units. To avoid running an external Hi-Lo Level converter, we need an amplifier that can take the high-level input and convert it to a low signal it can use. The amplifier also requires an excellent Auto-sensing feature, as all cars have very different on-and-off audio requirements. The amplifier needs to do this the right way in all of these vehicles.
- The quality of components in the amplifier. We cant use some cheap amplifiers; this is super important. Size is also important. Small amplifiers are a good idea, BUT size comes at a cost. You always hear this at the end of the build. Small amplifiers never sound as good as you'd expect. They tend to have lots of power and volume, but the distortion level is always lower; they lose clarity and ruin the result.
- Power output. 30-50w RMS is plenty. Everyone wants more power, but the truth is that a system around these levels will be sufficient for lots of volume and clarity using original wiring. Anytime we run more than 70w RMS per speaker, we upgrade the wiring. This is not easy and certainly not something we can put together as a DIY Kit. 30-50w RMS is where we want to sit.
- Power consumption. We want an efficient amplifier that only requires a maximum of an 8GA power cable (60Amps) so most people can easily run the cable inside the panels, thru the firewall and to the battery without too much hassle. Even going up to a 4GA will be challenging to hide under the trim and get thru an original grommet in some firewalls.
- Reliability. After we spend an hour wiring this up and have you spend another hour or so installing it, the last thing we want is to have to take it out because the amp is faulty. We need something that will last and perform for a long time.
- Cost. We've found that $2000 is a good benchmark for a system that people are happy to fit themselves or can take to their local store and have fitted for a few hundred dollars. So for the amplifier, we only have $500-$600 to invest before we start working on it.
- Physical size. We need an amplifier that can fit under the seat of all the vehicles we make the kit for. So again, not too small to sacrifice component quality, but small enough to do this.
Cool, so with all that, THE ONLY Amplifier that Currently works is the Alpine S-A55V
it is simple; there is nothing that comes close to it. We have a range of Kicker, Kenwood, Focal, Rockford Fosgate, JL Audio, Audio Control and more. Right now, there is nothing on the market that is better than the Alpine S-A55V taking our criteria into consideration. If you have any other suggestions we may have forgotten to look at, leave it in the comments
Most of the criteria are similar, so I'll expand on the ones that are different.
- Compatibility. We need a speaker that is small enough to fit into our variety of speaker adaptors and as flush as possible on the face to avoid touching the door panels.
- Cost and reliability. Again, the price has to be taken into consideration. We need a set of components that are under $300 and a set of coax that is under $200. They need to last at least 3 years of pounding all different genres of music.
- Power. These speakers need to make use of the 30-50W Power, we are providing them, as efficiently as possible.
- Crossovers. Super important! The layout of the crossover was a major factor in picking the speakers. We integrate into lots of vehicles with all sorts of different woofer/tweeter layouts. So we wanted a speaker set that has an inline crossover on the tweeter and an inbuilt woofer crossover for ease of installation.
- Performance. Probably the biggest factor of all. The speakers need good mid-bass response, clarity, volume and a clear soft-delivering tweeter to be suitable to all different genres of music. this is not easy to get from $300 speakers...
Fortunately Alpine made the S Series range. The S Series range was the clear winner. Some notable candidates were the JL Audio C1 Range, Focal Integration, and Kicker CS., but in the end, Alpine is the one that puts all these factors together the best. (for now...) If you have any other suggestions we may have forgotten to look at, leave it in the comments
Everyones favourite... the Subwoofer
Old, young, male or female, everyone wants clear deep bass. Maybe not at the same Volume, but it needs to be present. Remember we said we use what works? Well, in the Subwoofer's case, we take that to the next level. We change the Subwoofer in each kit to match the vehicle. Some vehicles get a slim 8", full size 8", slim 10", 12" or 2 12"s. it really depends on the car.
- Size. Number 1 factor. It needs to fit the car! A dual cab will only have so much space behind the seat. a wagon or sedan will be completely different. so we change accordingly
- Performance. Whatever the size is, we pick the best sub available on the market for that size. (to an extent... usually up to $600)
- Cost. Probably the least important factor due to the size limitation. Because we are so restricted by the size, we really have to invest in quality for this one. So the sub typically is the most expensive component of the system.
- Durability. Subs are always the ones to go first. Once you get used to the bass, you want more. We know this, so we pick subs and tune them in a way that they will last as long as the rest of the system. If you choose to take this past its limits, it is on you. And you take the warranty with you.
For the Subwoofer, we use multiple options. Like the Focal PSB200, Kicker Comp R/T in different sizes and boxes, Kicker CompS and R Full Size enclosures etc., really to give you the best out of your system. If you have any other suggestions we may have forgotten to look at, leave it in the comments
Now that we've told you why, here are some questions we get often.
Does mixing brands matter?
No... the brand ends at the cables. Speakers don't know what brand the amplifier or the headunit is and vice versa. It is a popular belief that "it is good to stick to the same brand" this makes no sense, really. It might be nice to get all the same boxes and have the same logos, but it really doesn't matter.
If we know a speaker is better by this brand, but an amplifier is better from a different brand, why wouldn't we take advantage of that and mix and match the best of each component?!
How long can I expect the system to last?
If you stick to the parameters we set, 3-5 years without a problem. (this is not a warranty claim) there will be some that last 10 years and some that last 2 due to abuse. The warranty covers you for 12 months, providing you stick to the warranty guidelines.
How much better is it than my original?
Much better! It is hard to quantify without hearing it, but this will give you much more volume, clarity and bass. Much more. It is not something you'll be used to in a month, let's put it that way.
How easy is it to install?
How good are you at taking your car apart? that is how simple it is. If you can take your door panels, seats and headunit out, running the cables is very easy. The headunit side is Plug & Play. The speakers are Plug & Play, bolt holes will line up etc., some tweeters will be completely Plug & Play; some you may have to glue into place. For the Subwoofer, you will typically need to remove a Cabin Pressure Vent and cover the hole with provided sound-deadening pad, plug it in and off you go. Running the power cable to the battery is also very easy; most vehicles will have a big firewall grommet easily accessible in the engine bay thru to behind the glovebox with spare harness nipples. 4 hours is a good estimate from start to finish.
What other upgrades can I add?
- Sound deadening. Grab a box of roadkill ultimate and do 2 layers in the doors and 1 layer on the rear firewall. This will help with clarity, bass response and cabin temperature. Also, it will make you feel like your closing a Mercedes door. check it out here.
- Bass Knob. if you want to be able to control the Subwoofer separately, grab an Alpine RUX-KNOB.2
- Headunit. If we have it available for your vehicle, grab a headunit as well. This will take it to the next level again! Check them out here.
Who do you recommend to fit this?
You. no one will treat your car as well as you do. Unfortunately, it is hard to find a good shop nowadays that will respect your car as if it's theirs. I'm sure there are some shops out there that will do a fantastic job. If you want my advice, when you go out there and look for a suitable workshop, pay little attention to the showroom and the fancy-dressed salesperson. Ask to speak to the fitter and maybe even see the workshop. That is who is working on your car and where your car will be.
Ok, so that concludes it. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dre, Oz Audio