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beautiful jackass
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm buying a new head unit for my car stereo. It's a Kenwood eXcelon KDC-X492 with 50W x 4 RMS. I chose that one mainly for the front USB and 3.5mm inline input.

My car is a 2002 Subaru Forester with a stock head unit and a stock 6.5" component set up front with 4" in the rear. I will be disconnecting the rear speakers and going front-only.

In addition to the head unit I'd like to get some new front components but I don't want to purchase an amp just yet. Are there any decent component speakers that would be sufficiently driven by my head unit? I'd like to stay around or below $130.00.
 

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one incredible donkey said:
I'm buying a new head unit for my car stereo. It's a Kenwood eXcelon KDC-X492 with 50W x 4 RMS. I chose that one mainly for the front USB and 3.5mm inline input.

My car is a 2002 Subaru Forester with a stock head unit and a stock 6.5" component set up front with 4" in the rear. I will be disconnecting the rear speakers and going front-only.

In addition to the head unit I'd like to get some new front components but I don't want to purchase an amp just yet. Are there any decent component speakers that would be sufficiently driven by my head unit? I'd like to stay around or below $130.00.
I recently replaced my old Alpine with a Kenwood similar to yours. I also like the USB jack on the front panel. I purchased two 32-gig USB thumb drives that can hold all my music collection. Simple and effective.

I recommend spending whatever it takes to achieve optimum sound for the cabin. Rear speakers are essential for fill and balance, and a sub-woofer is the only way to get accurate low frequency sound. Maybe down the road, you can add an amplifier, a sub, and rear speakers to complete your system.

I'm running four Focal speakers in my GMC Sierra. The Fronts are separates, with the tweeters mounted as high as possible. The rears are mounted in the door panels. I have a fairly large amp mounted under the rear seat driving all the speakers and the custom built sub-woofer, also mounted under the rear seat with the amp. It's not quite the monster system I had in my old Suburban that registered 114 decibels, but it reproduces my music quite well at all frequency ranges and at all volume levels.
 

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one incredible donkey said:
I'm buying a new head unit for my car stereo. It's a Kenwood eXcelon KDC-X492 with 50W x 4 RMS. I chose that one mainly for the front USB and 3.5mm inline input.

My car is a 2002 Subaru Forester with a stock head unit and a stock 6.5" component set up front with 4" in the rear. I will be disconnecting the rear speakers and going front-only.

In addition to the head unit I'd like to get some new front components but I don't want to purchase an amp just yet. Are there any decent component speakers that would be sufficiently driven by my head unit? I'd like to stay around or below $130.00.
Are you planning on getting a good quality amp sometime down the road? Component speakers generally like a good quality amp, and will not sound as good as they could running off a head unit. If you're going to be running them off the head unit for a while, I would look at a pair of coaxial speakers. My friend had some Alpines running off his Pioneer deck, and they sounded OK in his car.

I have a pair of Focal PolyKevlars in my car right now, and they sound amazing. For around $130, maybe look into some entry leve JLs, or Infinitys.

Speakers are just like bikes, you'll have to somewhat know what you're looking for, and go out and listen to a whole bunch.

Good luck,

Ming
 

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I don't consider myself a car audio nerd, but i appreciate a good system. I've got some infiniti reference speakers and some pioneers with a trick compression horn thing for the tweeters and bigintegrated caps, both cost me about 130$ per pair. The infinitis in the back are more crisp, the pioneers have a touch more punch, and both can handle all the power i can make without distorting. Look for good RMS power, not peak, of course. After having my head unit stolen 5 times (crappy 100$ units, too) i left the hole in the dash and run an ipod to an amplifier. Even though the ipod can't push enough power to really drive the amp the system sounds MUCH better than any head unit did. I won't bother with using a head unit to drive the speakers again. Run your own speaker wire, of course, the stuff subaru uses is good for about 5w rms.

I think kenwood and pioneer make pretty solid speakers at the price point, they both sound the same at a given $, but i prefer my infinitis.

I wouldn't consider running half your speakers, it sounds horrible. I accidentally unplug a speaker or two in the back occasionally, and i'll stop the car to fix it. If you're on a budget replace your speakers and keep using the stock head unit.
 

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beautiful jackass
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
macming said:
Are you planning on getting a good quality amp sometime down the road?
I haven't ruled out purchasing an amp. I just didn't want to spend a ton of money right now. I was just hoping for a cleaner sound without too much fuss.

scottzg said:
I wouldn't consider running half your speakers, it sounds horrible. I accidentally unplug a speaker or two in the back occasionally, and i'll stop the car to fix it. If you're on a budget replace your speakers and keep using the stock head unit.
My left-rear speaker has been dead for a while and the sound coming from the rear-right is muddy at best. I've had the fader set to front speakers only for about two months now and it sounds perfectly fine. I don't miss the negligible fill from the rear at all.

I want a new headunit mainly for the USB and 3.5 mm inputs.

I'm thinking of buying the headunit and some sound deadening material with the stock speakers to see how it sounds.
 

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one incredible donkey said:
I'm thinking of buying the headunit and some sound deadening material with the stock speakers to see how it sounds.
Before you spend money on sound deadening or arguably even a new headunit get new speakers first. The stock speakers in most cars have literally $3 speakers which are terrible paper cone mids with a whizzer cone in the center for a tweeter and no headunit will make them sound that much better - particularly if the already sound bad. I have a Subaru as well, and even new, the stock speakers were pretty weak at best.

Basically, you need to decide how much you want to spend and what sound you are after before you begin or it will cost you a lot more in the long run. A basic system with new coaxial speakers, a new headunit and some well placed sound deadening will get you a huge improvement for a pretty decent cost - particularly if you shop online. After that, things begin to cost quite a bit more as you look to put component speakers in your front doors, an amp, a possible sub, RCA cables, amp wiring and so-on.

one incredible donkey said:
In addition to the head unit I'd like to get some new front components but I don't want to purchase an amp just yet. Are there any decent component speakers that would be sufficiently driven by my head unit? I'd like to stay around or below $130.00.
Most component sets won't sound that great wired directly to a head unit as they just won't have enough power to drive them to their full potential. Also, depending upon your price range, there are some nicer coaxial speakers that are much better suited to running straight from a head unit and will sound better in the long run than a more budget component set that is not adequately powered. The real advantage to components is they generally have much nicer crossovers between the drivers which help flatten the poor frequency responses of the raw drivers and two they allow more flexibility of installation to maximize driver placement - which if done correctly will bring about much better imaging and sound stage in your car.

one incredible donkey said:
I will be disconnecting the rear speakers and going front-only.
This is actually often recommended - unless you often have rear passengers - because music being 2 channel audio should only have 2 point sources to create the soundstage. Four speakers can often sound better when the system has flaws helping to blend and more commonly bolster the bass response, but if you have well set up front drivers you do not need rear speakers.

I would post this question on one of the Car Audio boards as you will get much better advice tailored to your car and budget, because, like bicycles, not all speakers, amps and headunits are equal regardless of price brand or popularity.

Here are two examples, although there are hundreds.

http://www.caraudio.com/forum/index.php

http://www.caraudioforum.com/vbb3/index.php
 

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beautiful jackass
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
happybrandon said:
awesome info
Thanks for the informative reply!

Since my stock system has components up front would there be any issue in replacing them with coaxial speakers? I kind of figured I should get components since that's what I have now.

Like I said, my main goal is keeping things simple while getting a decent improvement in sound so I like this idea.

Would I just disconnect the stock tweeter or run the new woofers with the stock tweeters providing additional sound?
 

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one incredible donkey said:
Thanks for the informative reply!

Since my stock system has components up front would there be any issue in replacing them with coaxial speakers? I kind of figured I should get components since that's what I have now.

Like I said, my main goal is keeping things simple while getting a decent improvement in sound so I like this idea.

Would I just disconnect the stock tweeter or run the new woofers with the stock tweeters providing additional sound?
If you just used coaxials, then yes you could just disconnect the stock tweeter. I don't know in the case of the Forester, but my outback had 6.5 fullrange drivers low in the door and a pair of tweeters high and forward just ahead of the door latch that were capped really high to serve as a little fill rather than a specific tweeter - some component sets have a second tweeter you aim across the windshield for this same purpose. That said, when I installed my component speakers in my car I originally put the mid down low in the stock location and the tweeter up high in its stock location and they sounded pretty bad - really bright and harsh. So after a bunch of reading, testing and online recommendations from fellow Outback owners I finally moved my tweeter down to mount in a coaxial type setting - although aimed upward a bit - and it sounds amazing. The problem being - at least in my car - the stock tweeter location was to high compared to the mid and essentially because of its closer proximity its sound was reaching my ear before the mids and sounded way too bright no matter how much I cut it with the crossover. So I guess what i am saying is, depending upon where the tweeter is in your door exactly, even if you went with a component set you may wish mount them coaxially as opposed to their stock locations.

I'm sure there are many owners of similar model year Foresters out there that have all different levels of systems that could tell you what works best for them as it is really a vehicle to vehicle specific thing. In fact I found several Outback specific forums that ended up being invaluable regarding speaker placement, where to run large gauge power wires through the firewall and cabin and even basic things like how to take a door panel off or remove a seat. If you can get your speaker placement correct, a new headunit, new speakers and a bit of well placed deadening will go a long way regarding sound. After that you quickly reach a point of diminishing returns where you need to spend a lot more money and time compensating for a pretty noisy and poorly shaped acoustic environment.
 

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Appreciate a good system. Brought my old Alpine head unit out to Germany with me, along with my speakers and the amp is coming in the next care package from the family. It was a mid end unit, but sounds great, even compared to their better units. Has BBE and I got a AUX adapter for my music player. Stock speakers suck and the frequency response isn't flat, so I gotta turn the volume up real high to get some of the vocals to stand out.

My old car I had to customize a lot, and rewire the f*cker because it had that crap-ass Bose stuff and proprietary wiring in it.
 
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