NEED HELP(Car audio)

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
NEED HELP(Car audio)

I have just purchased a BMW 318i and im looking to put a wicked sound system in it.
BUTT im a bit of a beginner when it comes to these things soo what would be a good set up to get and how much???
Any advice would be greatly appreciated !!!


p to the izzle
Re: NEED HELP(Car audio)

Fist and foremost, if you are a beginner I would recommend having a professional installer unless you are naturally good with electronics.  If you choose an installer don't got o Best Buy! Go to a locally owned high end car audio specialty store. You'll find better products and better custom install jobs for not much more money than Best Buy will charge. If you do want to install your own I'd recommend Their prices can't be beat and they have Fit My Car feature that tells you before you buy if it will fit you car. Only problems is you can't listen to the speakers before buying them. 

Now, on to the harder part. Wicked stereo system means something different to everyone. My idea of a wicked stereo system would cost more than the car you just bought. But really it just depends on what you want. Are you connecting an iPod or another brand of MP3 player? Do you want the head unit to play back MP3s or every file format know to man? DVD playback. GPS. Right now I have a JVC which let me directly connect my iPod without having to use the dreaded FM trnasmiter. You can control the iPod directly from the head unit or from the iPod itself. I could have afforded to spend more but this unit won out for this reason. The more expensive units only offered control from the head unit.

I would replace all the speakers. I like Boston Coustic, MB Quart, and Polk Audio.You'll want new wiring to run to those speakers. 

I would add two subs in the trunk. If you mostly listen to rap go with two twelve inch subs. If you mostly listen to other stuff go with two ten inch subs. Rockford Fosgaste would be first choice in a dream setup. Boston Coustic and JBL are also excellent choices. If room in your trunk is an issue get a dual voice coil sub and you can get away with just one. 

You'll need amps. Again, Rockford Fosgate would be my first choice but there are a lot of new digital amps out there that I have no experience with. They might be better but I don't know. I would say one for the subs and one or two for the other speakers depending on how many other  speakers you have. Speakers will blow easier on too little power before they'll blow on too much. Check the speakers rating to determine how many amps you need. RMS is the only rating you should pay attention to. Maximum means distortion, RMS means clean sound. 

You'll need an amp wiring kit with a distribution block for the power. Don't skimp on you main power wire or your ground wire. 

Capacitors are nice if it's a dream system. They ease the load on your car's electrical system. A larger alternator would be sweet too.

Some sort of sound shaping would be another add on. Like a preamp. I've never had the money for one so I've always done without.

If you don't have an MP3 player I'd go with an in dash changer. Cd Changers in the trunk are a pain and with in dash changers you don't have to leave your seat.

I don't know how good the factory alarm is on a BMW but I'd look into a high end alarm to protect all your new stuff. They'll get you when you least expect it. I had a car broken into at 7am.

I don't think I answered any price questions.  You can get a decent system for under 2 grand. You can get a stellar one for twice that. The sky is the limit really. I could spend tens of thousands on a stereo and on custom instillation.

Here's an old thread on stereo stuff.

I don't want to die without any scars. 

Re: NEED HELP(Car audio)

yes - see the thread that p to the izzle suggested. my stance hasn't changed any. my equipment of choice:

if you are looking to drop some coin, our preference has always been McIntosh, and we will only deal with them on a factory to purchase level.  our preferred audio systems:


AMP = the MC4000M

control center = their MDA4000

equalizer = the MEQ450 (currently now sold with their MDA4000M)

for an electronic crossover, i recommend the MEN456

cd changer = their MCD410 is flawless

speaker system = MSS472


Tuna ><((((*> the other white meat! I am Keeper Of The Whip!

Re: NEED HELP(Car audio)

When purcahasing amps p to the izzel is correct in laymans terms, about distortion of the amp. What maximum output uaually means is that the manufacturer is not telling you the true maximum RMS value. The output in RMS watts at a THD distortion level +or- 3db over a stated frequency level.

What does that mean??? I'll try to explain. Reputable manufacturers will state you the output of the Amp like this:

For say a 120 watt output amp, 120 watt output RMS per channel, + or - 3db over 20Hz -20khz, .10% THD, 4 ohm impedence

OK here what all that stuff means:

1) 120 Watts RMS per channel means that the true output per channel of the amp is 120 watts, sound simple enough.

2) the +or- 3DB means that the output may vary plus or minus 3DB at that stated output over the frequency range that's given. Db is a measure of sound pressure.

3) Over 20 - 20Khz is the frequencys that the human ear can detect. (although below 20HZ you can feel them).

4) THD stands for Total Harmonic Distortion, We all know what distortion is, the lower the number, the better.

5) 4 ohm impedence is the the load applied to the amp (your speakers). Most speakers for car audio are 4 ohm, and 8 Ohm are usually in home systems.

6) Remember the wattage output may be stated as total output, or given as per channel. If listed as total output, then divided that numberby how many speakers will be used.

Now those manufacturers that make amps and state TOTAL MUSIC POWER!!! or give the output in watts peak power, or peak to peak power, you will have to do some math to figure what it's output is.

If you have a 1000 Watt amp peak to peak, it's the same output as 500 Watts peak. to calculate RMS value of peak multiply it by .707. So .707 times 500 is

353.5 Watts RMS. SO that 1000 watt amp is really 353.5 watts. They have other tricks too, they don't state how much distortion at that level (THD), yea it's 1000 watts but at 20% distortion!

Add new comment