PDA

View Full Version : Car audio help. -- What to add to a PT Cruiser ?



armandito
10-19-2004, 12:17 PM
I just was assigned a company car. 2003 PT Cruiser. I want to possibly modify/add to the audio system Anybody has any recommendations? Where to start? People have suggested changing the factory receiver and speakers, but since the car is leased I don't want to change too much. I have considered adding a subwoofer that could be easily removed.

Any recommendations/suggestions, are greatly appreciated.

dg-in-centralpa
10-19-2004, 12:38 PM
I'd ask for a different car. If they are willing to give a replica sports car, why not give the real thing? Sorry, I'm being sarcastic. I'm not a fan of the PT Cruiser or Prowler.

DG - original sports cars all the way

JPB
10-19-2004, 09:18 PM
The system probably sucks if it is a stock mopar stereo. I am not a real stereo nut who spends as much on the system as the car, but after getting even a decent system in my car I can't tolerate stock anymore. The car I have came with a Bose system, which of course is terrible stuff. You know, no highs, no lows etc.... Had to switch it. However.... you have a company car. I wouldn't add much, if anything. So if the company didn't care I'd get an XM or sirius plug and play unit running through the stock system. The radio is ID'd to you so you pay for it. You will lose some sound quality going through the FM radio with it, but so what, you have a stock system. I won't have a vehicle anymore without satellite radio. Sat radio is a great, great invention and a human necessity. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

eg8r
10-20-2004, 06:09 AM
One suggestion might be for you to be a little more specific in what you want. "Possibly modify/add " is not very clear about what you are looking for. If you just want to add a little bottom end to the music then add a sub. If you want the sub to perform even halfway decent, then you would need an amp (preferably with a built-in X-over). You would not believe some of the stuff I used to see when I use to install car audio. People would show up with their sub wired in parallel with their rear factory speakers. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

None of that really helps you out at high volume levels because you are not reducing any of the lower frequencies to the factory speaker, so they will begin to breakup.

eg8r

armandito
10-20-2004, 10:06 AM
Thanks for your replies.
Addressing the comments in order:

DG - I love the Cruiser. I also like the Prowler, although it is too expensive. I like the classic look, but with the "new" materials, and I don't consider the Cruiser a sports car. I like that it is the most customizable car nowadays, allowing for thousands of possible looks (just like my next purchase - a 60-70 convertible VW bug).

JPB - Yes, the car came with the factory stereo, but with the "best" one (if there's such a thing /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif). The stereo has the 6 disc changer. The reason I started looking into upgrading it is because my previous car was an Infinity G20 with the "premium" sound system. I agree with you on the Sirius system. I have one for home and the family car. I decided on Sirius over XM because of the NFL, and because of the programming in Spanish.

eg8r - I posted a short message just to see if there was interest. Thanks. I had posted several (longer) messages in other (sound & stereo) boards, like sounddomain.com. People in those sites don't seem to want to help unless you're looking at spending more than 1000 or are outfitting your car for a competition.

This is more or less what I had posted:
<font color="blue">
"I just was assigned a company car: 2003 PT Cruiser.
I had an Infinity Q20 with the premium sound, so I wanted to upgrade the PT Cruiser (it has the upgrade too, 6 disc changer included) as soon as I heard the difference.

The car is leased, so I want to add/change things that I can replace and maybe move to a new car when needed. I have a Town &amp; Country that is the family car, however, my boys will occasionally ride with me (6mth old and 3yr old). I am looking at improving the sound, I like bass, and my 2 yr old likes bass, so maybe subs would be the first thing to add. I however, do not want everybody to hear me coming from 2 blocks away. I have about $500 to put on the car (those of you with children will know that's a lot of money to have two months before Xmas /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif ). I'm not scared to install the stuff myself, but have no experience in car audio (I have done all of the installing in my home theater, and my home and work computer networks).

-I called Crutchfield (which I know a lot of you don't like), and the guy suggested I started by replacing the stereo (Alpine or Clarion), and the four speakers (suggested Alpine for front door and pillar). Next suggestion was to add an Infinity Basslink. These would add to about $600, and I would have to install all the stuff (as you might know, they are supposed to send detailed instructions, and a lot of the "adapters" to fit). Free shipping included, and 10% discount when purchasing several items.

-Next I went to Best Buy. Of course nobody helped, and the only reason I would consider them is because of a deal (50% off 2nd pair of speakers). Problem with BB or Circuit City is the installation fees -of course the warranty applies only with professional installation-.

-Finally, I went to a local audio/video shop (they installed my remote starter). Kid said the same thing than the Crutchfield guy. Replace stereo, then replace speakers. Then add subs. About 20% more than Crutchfield plus installation fees ($300-400 more). He looked at me funny when I asked about a deal if everything was purchased together and installed thru them. He finally said "I can probably give you a $30 discount on the install"... Disappointing.

Anyway. Open to suggestions. About $500 to spend, maybe a little more. If anybody knows somebody in or near Green Bay, WI that can help/give me a deal on installing the stuff, great!!!.

Thanks. " </font color>

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

SpiderMan
10-20-2004, 12:29 PM

eg8r
10-20-2004, 08:22 PM
Well, installing does not take a rocket scientist. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Just a little patience and some common sense. If you swap out the headunit (HU) then you will definitely need a wire kit (this connects the wires from your new radio to the factory wiring harness) and probably a dash kit (this holds the radio in the dash). The two of those is around $30 - $45.

Buying a new HU these days is a little tougher because of the vast number of choices from quality mfgs. You could get something in the upper-lower to mid range of any mfg and get a decent HU. You should be able to find something suitable for around $150 to $200 (understanding you can spend much more).

The nice thing about the HU is that it will have low level output. This way you don't have to do any splicing of speaker wire (high level) to send a signal to the amp. You can continue to run your factory speakers through the new HU and they should sound better. Instead of spending money on the speakers you could by some dynamat and deaden the body panels. The vibration of the body panels is a big factor in the sound, plus there is less road noise.

You can then go in two directions as far as bass. If you are happy with "some" bass, then you can find a powered tube (bazooka, etc). Otherwise, you will need to buy an amp and a sub. You can definitely get away with a 100W amp and an 8 or 10 inch sub. This will not give you any bragging rights in the hood, but it will fill out the bottom end nicely. This option will give you more flexibility in the long run but will definitely be more expensive.

Extra things to remember is that you will be spending money on wire, and other misc items. If you go the sub and amp (not powered tube), then you will have to buy a small prefabricated sub enclosure, or you will need to buy the MDF wood, wood glue, and screws. You are going to need to buy, at the minimum, 8 gauge power wire and ground wire (more power than ground), a set of RCA cables, and some speaker wire. This stuff will probably run you around $60 - $75 (wood, wiring, etc). You can spend more depending on the quality of RCA and power wire, but that is up to your budget.

I was trying to be short and to the point, let me know if you need anything else.

eg8r

Popcorn
10-20-2004, 09:33 PM
What did you do wrong that they are making you drive something like that? Tell them you want a real car.

Cueless Joey
10-20-2004, 09:44 PM
I used to sell stereos at CC. Eons ago.
The problem with stock auto stereos are they are for the most part not upgradeable. They really only have 6 watts of power per channel (watts do not matter as much as current btw but that's another matter).
Chrysler is making it harder and harder for aftermarket audio to fit their dash so get ready to pay for dash kits.
I bet the cd changer can only be controlled by the stock radio. If that's the case, you'd need another changer.
Adding a sub might not be much of help as it might dominate the whole system. Too much bass not enough mids and highs.
Prolly your only best bet is to remove the speaker wires from the rear. Convert that to regular audio jacks. Hook it up to an amp and boxed speakers in the rear.
In time to turn in the car, remove the amp and box speakers.

armandito
10-21-2004, 11:06 AM
Thanks again,
I'll probably start with Crutchfield, because they include all adapters and wires for "free", plus with free shipping, it is very similar to Best Buy or Circuit City (cheaper really, because BB &amp; CC charge for the parts + labor). They claim they include detailed instructions (has anybody seen them?), and have lifetime support.
Like I had mentioned, it would be about $300 for a nice HU, and 2 pairs of speakers, which I would install myself.

That settled, I want to add a (pair) subwoofer(s), can anybody recommend certain brands? or setups? About $300-350 installed. Can I count on you guys (eg8r &amp; CJ) to help me if I get stuck installing it? Would you recommend a self powered sub, like the Infinity Basslink (http://www.crutchfield.com/S-lOwEQiH0exl/cgi-bin/Prodgroup.asp?g=51000&amp;cc=01&amp;search=basslink) ? is it easier to install?

thanks again

eg8r
10-21-2004, 02:29 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I'll probably start with Crutchfield, because they include all adapters and wires for "free", plus with free shipping, it is very similar to Best Buy or Circuit City (cheaper really, because BB &amp; CC charge for the parts + labor). They claim they include detailed instructions (has anybody seen them?), and have lifetime support.
<hr /></blockquote> In the past their instructions have been fine, as long as you use a little common sense (they will tell you which two wires to connect, including the color from your your factory harness and the color of the wire in the kit). The only problem would be if they sent you the wrong wiring kit for your car. Make sure they know exactly what type of car you have.

[ QUOTE ]
That settled, I want to add a (pair) subwoofer(s), can anybody recommend certain brands? or setups? About $300-350 installed. <hr /></blockquote> You should be able to get some pretty decent woofers for this price, but it will depend on size. Also, are you looking to put some money into an amp (with built-in crossover)? This will cost extra and you will need it to run the woofers.

[ QUOTE ]
Can I count on you guys (eg8r &amp; CJ) to help me if I get stuck installing it? <hr /></blockquote> I will help as much as possible.

[ QUOTE ]
Would you recommend a self powered sub, like the Infinity Basslink ? is it easier to install?<hr /></blockquote> This would definitely be the cheaper route. I have not heard this particular sub but if you can go somewhere and listen to it, see if you like it. Pay special attention to what amp they are using to run it.

I think the basslink would be easier to install by yourself, since you will not have to worry about building an enclosure. You will still have to run some wires since it is amplified. One thing to pay attention to, those subs are powered with class-D amps. These amps became really popular around 5 or 6 years ago during the SPL explosion (in the car audio world). In just about every car I have been in that use this amp, the bass is loud but not very musical. If you are interested in sound quality, these amps are usually steered clear of. I am not saying there are not any cars out there with good sounding cars using these types of amps, but they are rare. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

If you listen to rap, it would work fine. If you were listening to classical music and wanted to hear a good representation of a tympani drum, then it would not be so nice. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

eg8r

armandito
10-21-2004, 02:54 PM
Thanks again,
I have everything set with Crutchfield. They know the car and have the extra stuff included in my shopping cart. The speakers are Alpine, both pairs. Several people recommended them because of the bass quality.
I have a Clarion HU listed, but am not sure if that's what I want. Does anybody have an opinion on Blaupunkts? They have one that is 40% off right now (Casablanca (http://www.crutchfield.com/S-TYm1xBDf3Zm/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?g=300&amp;I=023CASCD52)).

Circuit City is the only place that carries the Infinity Basslink, I'll try go hear it soon. However, when I called, the guy said that I'd need about $120 in parts plus about $60 labor to install it.
I think I'm looking for 2 12", I'm not sure what kind of box would be appropiate for the Cruiser (hatchback). I would also need an amp (can you explain to me how to know what kind of amp power is needed when using two subs)?
At sounddomain.com everybody has been advising to stay away form the "commercial" subs (like Sony), and to get something like an Audiobahn or RE's. Any advise on brands?
What about purchasing a "kit" on ebay?, something like this. (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&amp;category=18796&amp;item=5726703 318&amp;rd=1 ) .

Thanks for all the help.

eg8r
10-22-2004, 05:03 AM
[ QUOTE ]
I have a Clarion HU listed, <hr /></blockquote> Any chance you have an iPod? I believe Alpine HU with Ai-Net can now connect to the iPod and you can play your iPod through the stereo. Pretty cool. I have a Kenwood TV/Radio set-up and I play my iPod through the audio inputs in one of the brains. It is great to go days without hearing the same song again.

Anyways, I personally am not a big fan of Blaupunk (sp?) but that is a personal preference, I don't believe I have heard much bad news about them. I really think they are very unattractive HU. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I am not sure what the extra parts are for the Basslink, but I am sure they are selling you higher end RCAs, marked up wiring, etc. This will certainly drive the price up. Not sure what else they are bundling for $120.

[ QUOTE ]
I think I'm looking for 2 12", I'm not sure what kind of box would be appropiate for the Cruiser (hatchback). I would also need an amp (can you explain to me how to know what kind of amp power is needed when using two subs)?
At sounddomain.com everybody has been advising to stay away form the "commercial" subs (like Sony), and to get something like an Audiobahn or RE's. Any advise on brands?
What about purchasing a "kit" on ebay?, something like this. .
<hr /></blockquote> Once again, this is more important depending on what you listen to. If you are just listening to the radio and would like a little extra bass, then the "commercial" subs will do fine. If you are looking to keep up with the lowered Caddy, with wire rims and a noisy trunk, then stay away from commerical subs. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Since you asked for advice on brands, my personal favorite is JL Audio. I think they are the best sounding sub, but my preference in a subwoofer is not based on a love for rap music (However they handle rap just fine). /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif I believe you could probably get 2 10in W1s for about $200.

As for figuring out which amp to get, it is best to just ask the guy selling you the subs (I know he could talk you into more than you need). The best bet for something like this is to shop around the car audio stores. Best Buy and CC do not always have the best equipment.

eg8r

armandito
10-24-2004, 12:29 AM
Hi,
No, I don't have an Ipod. I have the Sirius unit, so I'll just purchase the car kit, and plug the unit when I want. Great programming, even in Spanish, plus the NFL.

I think I'm going to do more research on the Blaupunkt (BP). I like how they look. The car is black, and the previous owner added chrome inside. I like how it looks, and have been looking for something that will not clash with the dashboard. The latest Alpines have green/teal buttons, and I don't like how they look, same for the Sonys (red). The neutral ones, are the Clarion, Kenwood and BP.

Thanks for all your advise. I will look around and ask a lot of questions regarding the amp/subs. I will contact you (if it's OK) for more recommendations. I will look into the JL. I have heard good things about the AudioBahn, Kicker, Phoenix Gold and others. Do you have any recommedations for a box? I'm not sure I want to build one, but the ones in BestBuy didn't look too appealing.
Gracias.

Ross
10-24-2004, 10:41 AM
Sounds like you are well on your way to a much improved system. But I will throw in my 2-cents.

It has been many, many years since I sold car stereo, but when I did I learned over time to avoid Blaupunkt. Although they had decent features, unique "sexy" designs, and good marketing hype they proved to be pretty unreliable. Of course this was in the tape cassette days, so none of this may apply now. But having seen them come back for repair so often I developed a permanent distrust of the brand. Anyway, I imagine there is some car-stereo brand reliability data you can find on the net that you could check out to see if things have improved for the company, if you haven't already.

Good luck with it!