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Stereo Upgrade- Inexpensive

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by cary, Aug 13, 2003.

  1. cary

    cary

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    Okay, so you all know, in addition to having an oil addiction, a bike riding addiction, and a shooting addiction, I have been an avid audiophile for years. In addition to Home audio, I used to design and install mobile audio systems for friends (back in the days when you had to run thiel/small parameters for box design on a calculator). For those who may wonder my present main home system is (front to back) a Pioneer Elite Transport- Bel Canto 1.1 Dac, Adcom GFP-750 Pre-Amp, Sunfire Stereo Amp, Manepan 2.7QR speakers, stereo Velodyne ULD-12 subs, all tied together with wireworld cables. I believe I have an idea of what sounds pretty good (given that everyone has different taste).

    So fast foward to the crummy stock system in the LC. My wife says, no replacing the head unit, no sub enclosure, want it to look stock. So I am on a mission to find some drop in replacement speakers that 1) sound decent (almost all the new auto speakers are to bright in my opinion), 2) are shallow enough, and 3) are efficient enought to run off the stock head unit. After spending months looking I finally found some speakers that work. Elcipse entry level speakers (I found the discontinued 2 ways which are not as bright as the new 3 ways) which run about $100 pair, sound good, are efficient, and fit in the stock holes with no modification (slight trim in rear doors). I (had) installed the 5.5" in the front and 4" in the back. A great improvement and I highly recommend.

    Cary
     
  2. erics_bruisers

    erics_bruisers

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    Do you have any P/Ns or infos. where you bought them (and how much)??

    THANKS!

    eric
     
  3. cary

    cary

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    The discontinued two ways which I believe sound better than the new ones are the SE 8252 ($59 closeout) and SE 8242 ($49). I found mine at Good Guys. The current model numbers are SE 8353 and SE 8243 and they sell for about $99 and $89. Well worth the money.
     
  4. firetruck41

    firetruck41

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    Cary those are the exact speakers I got for my LC about a month ago, the 8252 two ways, I like 'em, but I'm no audiophile, got them at good guys for $59. I mounted them to the outside of the door panel and used little spacers on the screws between the back of the panel and the metal door to keep from "sucking in" the panel to the recessed door material. By mounting them this way I used the Eclipse cover, which is simple and looks good, and did not have mounting depth problems.
     
  5. cary

    cary

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    I bought them because they mount under the stock grills and look totally stock. For anyone that wants to keep the stock grills these are the way to go.

    Cary
     
  6. alaskacruiser

    alaskacruiser

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    cary- you say your wife doesn't want you to replace the head unit? Why is that?? The stock system isn't great, and you can get much better aftermarket stuff that will fit the double-din slot. As you know, with proper installation, it can look better than stock (and of course it will sound better than stock). Just curious why your wife wants to stick with inferior stock stereo equipment (and why you're listening to her on that!) ;)
     
  7. erics_bruisers

    erics_bruisers

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    Hey Cary --

    So, cash is cash -- I have stock speakers in my 80 now and am not thrilled with them, but $150 for a little noticeable difference isn't worth much either --

    -- is it a day-and-night difference, or is it negligible with these speakers??

    I did do the Hella bulb swap you mentioned -- the lows aren't really noticeable, but the brights... :eek:

    eric
     
  8. 80and100cruisers

    80and100cruisers SILVER Star

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    For most bang for the buck a new head unit may be the best option. In my 100 series I upgraded the head unit, 52 watts x4 channels. The factory head unit and amp were made to not even come close to maxing out the stock speakers. My new cd player can max them out, but the stock speakers are quality. They go much louder with the upgraded head unit and as long as you use them correctly u wont blow them. I had a 91 cruiser and the factory speakers were bad, so in a 91 I'd keep the head unit and get new speakers, which is what I did. But if the newer 80s have quality speakers like the 100 series I'd upgrade the head unit first.

    -Matt
     
  9. Jon916996748

    Jon916996748

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    mmmmmmm Nice system cary, espically the velyodyne and sunfire :D. Hard to be a student FJZ80-ophile, audiophile, bandophile, and computerphile at once. My dad has a set of Rogers RS1s with a Yamaha amp. Good setup. The speakers would sound great with like Vintage Acoustics tube amp or something but oh well no $$$. Its funny how speakers from 1960 are worth around 2k now. Bookshelfs none the less.
     
  10. cary

    cary

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    [quote author=alaskacruiser link=board=2;threadid=4310;start=0#msg32006 date=1060799169]
    cary- you say your wife doesn't want you to replace the head unit? Why is that?? The stock system isn't great, and you can get much better aftermarket stuff that will fit the double-din slot. As you know, with proper installation, it can look better than stock (and of course it will sound better than stock). Just curious why your wife wants to stick with inferior stock stereo equipment (and why you're listening to her on that!) ;)
    [/quote]

    I'm not fighting it to hard because I know that it will die soon and then I can put my Nakamichi CD-45 in. I'm getting lazy in my old age. I have a bunch of audio stuff laying around (A/D/S 335i/m speakers, A/D/S 440 and 640 amps, Infinity Beta Subs) but don't have the time to deal with fabing an enclosure to go where the factory "subwoofer" goes, pulling the lines for the amps, and making mounts for the amp behind the stock panel.

    Why do I listen to my wife? Same reason any married man does, they will nag you until the end of time if you don't. :-*

    As far as the stock head unit versus the speakers, I would do the speakers first. The factory ones are horrible, mine like everyone elses, had the surrounds rotting out, and the new ones are more efficient making better use of the available power. As far as I am concerned the amps in all head units suck, they are IC amps with poor power supplies. The wave of the future will be Class T Digital amps (i.e. Blaupunkt, in the home world, Bel Canto, PS Audio) which are small, put out nearly no heat and offer great power.

    BTW, the best bang for your buck comes from doing the front speakers. The 4" rear speakers make an improvement but not as noticable. Also I disconnected those horrible 2" tweeters in the lower dash. For $100 (probably $60 if you look around on the internet) they are a worthwhile investment.

    Cary
     
  11. cary

    cary

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    [quote author=80and100cruisers link=board=2;threadid=4310;start=0#msg32023 date=1060803739]
    But if the newer 80s have quality speakers like the 100 series I'd upgrade the head unit first.

    -Matt
    [/quote]

    My cruiser is a 96 and all the speakers in there were 99 cent paper coned full range garbage. Likely the only different between the 91 and 96 speakers is the 91s have completed the rotting process of the foam surrounds.

    BTW, the 100's stereo suck also, been in my sisters 99 and 2001 and they sound like crap. Makes it worth the extra for the lexus.

    Cary
     
  12. Jon916996748

    Jon916996748

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    I like the LX470s system. Mark levinson :D :D :D. If i felt like it and had the money id prolly go with a Mac setup. I really like their headunit and the meter module you can get. Plus they make GOOD stuff just expensive.
     
  13. cary

    cary

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    McIntosh likely makes the best quality car audio stuff available today. That said, their home stuff is decent but not great. It does last forever. As for the Levinson stuff (actually Madrigal Audio Labs), it is fabulous and I have heard the Lexus Levinson systems are worthy of the name. If you want to see what the actual Mark Levinson is doing now go to redrosemusic.com

    Cary
     
  14. Jon916996748

    Jon916996748

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    Mac has always made good stuff. Ever seen their XRT30s wicked system. Just now they are owned by Jensen. As for Red Rose, my bro is considering buy theri mini system the umm forrogt the name, but i like it too. I wan Mac stuff sooo bad cuz it has that cool look and they sound great.
     
  15. Jon916996748

    Jon916996748

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    nother pic. SOmewhere around 40 mid range drivers per tower with around 55 tweeters :eek: :eek: :eek: :D
     
  16. cary

    cary

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    Okay, while we are off topic (pulling out tape measure :D) here is a picture of the main system prior to the Sufire amp and second velodyne. The system is now sitting in a different room.

    BTW, that is a 55" TV.
     
  17. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    Looks like alot of size compensation to me ;). Got myself a 47" WS panny, Harmon Kardon AVR 520, Klipsch RP-3s and Klipsch Surrounds. Not sure how it rates but the price was right.
     
  18. Jon916996748

    Jon916996748

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    Those are megaplanes right? My dream system is 3 sets of Rockport Hyperions each with its own Halcro amp hooked up to say ummmmm mabye a NAIM cd system, with a Krell Master Reference Sub. Dont konw to much aobut the CD part of home stereo more speakers/amps. oh and of course a set of Norst Vallhalla cables and a projection screen.
     
  19. cary

    cary

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    [quote author=Jon916996748 link=board=2;threadid=4310;start=0#msg32085 date=1060813292]
    Those are megaplanes right? My dream system is 3 sets of Rockport Hyperions each with its own Halcro amp hooked up to say ummmmm mabye a NAIM cd system, with a Krell Master Reference Sub. Dont konw to much aobut the CD part of home stereo more speakers/amps. oh and of course a set of Norst Vallhalla cables and a projection screen.
    [/quote]

    You have been reading to much Absolute Sound!!!! BTW, they are Magnepan speakers (aka, Maggies). Great sound, and very power hungry, 500w/ch to get them going, they shine with 1kw per side. I am pushing 600w per side and they work pretty well.

    The rockport system sounds nice, but you need to work on the system matching, it sounds to bright to me. Most important part of a good system is setup and component matching. My former boss has a full Proceed/Levinson/Revel System (about $80,000) but his room doesn't work and hence the system really suffers. I have helped set up very inexpensive systems that with careful attention to detail sound great. For example I did a system for a friend with used Kef Q15's, a Paradigm PDR-10 sub, and Sony receiver, about $700 in total. Every time I am there, I am blown away at how good it really sounds.

    Cary
     
  20. firetruck41

    firetruck41

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    I really like my ~400 watt $300 Costco Panasonic surround sound system, it's killer ;), my wife won't let me listen to it at more than half volume, as the neighbors will begin to notice, plus she just doesn't like it loud :( Plus it gives me an extra $79,700 of spending money!