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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK kind people. I'm a total stereophile when it comes to my home system, but really have no clue about how to upgrade a stock car system in a frugal yet rewarding way.

So, should I just swap stock speakers for some nice ones? Or go amplifier then head unit?

And my biggest issue is I don't want to lose the MP3 6 disc factory changer. Is there a way to add a head unit and keep that? Not sure how it interfaces behind the factory head unit....

I'll spend some cash, but would rather just cut to the chase and get some killer sound in the least painful way....
 

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Been wondering the same exact thing myself...I have the JBL 6 disk also...I think it sounds like crap...ESPECIALLY the rear door speakers OMG! Best Bang for the Buck....lets hear it! Or better yet....who to talk to at Crutchfield?
Mahalo,
KK
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Been wondering the same exact thing myself...I have the JBL 6 disk also...I think it sounds like crap...ESPECIALLY the rear door speakers OMG! Best Bang for the Buck....lets hear it! Or better yet....who to talk to at Crutchfield?
Mahalo,
KK
LOL, exactly...but I need to add I just have the 6 disc MP3 changer and the standard crap non-JBL speakers.

My deal is I want a relatively pain free upgrade! The stock sounds just ok, if I could achieve it sounds good, I'd be happy!
 

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You can keep the factory head unit if you like, I did in my Tundra in order to not lose the steering wheel controls, six disc changer, and bluetooth functions. I used and interface that plugs into the factory wiring behind the head unit and gives you three sets of pre-amp outputs. The interface is from PAC and ran me about $60.00. I changed out all the factory speakers with Memphis M-Class (You could go with the PR Series to save some $$$) and added in a four channel amp for my front and rear doors and a mono block amp for subs. (2-10'' Memphis S-Class) Memphis has been in the car audio game for a long time and I used to sell the crap out of it at my store. Not over priced and good quality. Just keep in mind you get what you pay for when it comes to audio products.
 

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IMO. The weakest link in the system is the head unit. There are head units that have changers in them but most head units will play USB or SD card music now so discs are basically obsolete. Plus do you want a double din with navigation? The speakers are pretty crappy but if you replace them you are still going to be limited by the stock head unit. I say to do the head unit first, then speakers, then amplifier. JMO. good luck with your system.
 

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just so you know,the 6 disc changer is actually built into the stock headunit,unless they changed something after i bought mine in2007.but just replacing the stock speakers will make a big difference,then you can go from there if you want to add a new headunit,amps,subs,or anything else.
 
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IMO. The weakest link in the system is the head unit. There are head units that have changers in them but most head units will play USB or SD card music now so discs are basically obsolete. Plus do you want a double din with navigation? The speakers are pretty crappy but if you replace them you are still going to be limited by the stock head unit. I say to do the head unit first, then speakers, then amplifier. JMO. good luck with your system.
Not to start any argument but I why waste money on a head unit when your speakers are crap? If a $100.00 head unit sounds like crap through the factory speakers then a $1000.00 head unit will unfortunately sound the same. Start with the speakers and amps and then if you are looking for more take the next step. I worked in the car audio business for along time and one of the biggest problems was customers buying high end receivers and running them on factory speakers then coming back and saying the receiver is junk. Adding the amps on the factory head unit will give you the option of setting the crossovers and gains to make up for what your head unit lacks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You can keep the factory head unit if you like, I did in my Tundra in order to not lose the steering wheel controls, six disc changer, and bluetooth functions. I used and interface that plugs into the factory wiring behind the head unit and gives you three sets of pre-amp outputs. The interface is from PAC and ran me about $60.00. I changed out all the factory speakers with Memphis M-Class (You could go with the PR Series to save some $$$) and added in a four channel amp for my front and rear doors and a mono block amp for subs. (2-10'' Memphis S-Class) Memphis has been in the car audio game for a long time and I used to sell the crap out of it at my store. Not over priced and good quality. Just keep in mind you get what you pay for when it comes to audio products.
Hey, this sounds exactly like what I would like to do! Thanks so much! A couple of questions:

What did you put in front and back doors? 6 1/2's ? I'd like to just swap front and back door and then add an amp without too many mods, you sound like you've been in the business so what would be your ideal setup considering no subs? And finally, if you don't mind how much where the door speakers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not to start any argument but I why waste money on a head unit when your speakers are crap? If a $100.00 head unit sounds like crap through the factory speakers then a $1000.00 head unit will unfortunately sound the same. Start with the speakers and amps and then if you are looking for more take the next step. I worked in the car audio business for along time and one of the biggest problems was customers buying high end receivers and running them on factory speakers then coming back and saying the receiver is junk. Adding the amps on the factory head unit will give you the option of setting the crossovers and gains to make up for what your head unit lacks.
This seems correct, if you think about a receiver/head unit, the electrical components are easier to replicate then speaker technology. The loss in signal would not outweigh the ability of the a crap speaker to handle it. Digital signals are hard to degrade, LOL!
 

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I used and interface that plugs into the factory wiring behind the head unit and gives you three sets of pre-amp outputs. The interface is from PAC and ran me about $60.00.
Nice info... where did you find this and whats the part number? I am quite interested. FWIW, I changed out the stock front door speakers about 2 weeks ago and got some nice, high sensitivity Alpine shallow mount speakers from Crutchfield. They sound much better than stock, the stock speakers are really poor quality, the smallest magnet I have ever seen....

I can crank the stereo up to max volume without distortion now. That being said, it would be nice to add a small amp to power the door speakers, I imagine the sound quality would be even better.
 

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Hey, this sounds exactly like what I would like to do! Thanks so much! A couple of questions:

What did you put in front and back doors? 6 1/2's ? I'd like to just swap front and back door and then add an amp without too many mods, you sound like you've been in the business so what would be your ideal setup considering no subs? And finally, if you don't mind how much where the door speakers?
I have the Memphis M-Class 6x9's in the front doors (They will require spacing for window clearance) and M-Class 6.5'' in the back doors (No spacing required in my truck). The 6x9's ran me $169.00 and the 6.5's $150.00. Well worth every penny in my opinion. Memphis also makes a PR class that is a little cheaper in price but still has a good sound quality. I would not however skip out on the sub. It will make a world of difference. I would suggest running at least one to bring out the low end in the system. If it's space you are worried about (Like me) check around as I found a dual 10'' down fire box that let me keep my jack and everything in place. Hope this helps.
 

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Nice info... where did you find this and whats the part number? I am quite interested. FWIW, I changed out the stock front door speakers about 2 weeks ago and got some nice, high sensitivity Alpine shallow mount speakers from Crutchfield. They sound much better than stock, the stock speakers are really poor quality, the smallest magnet I have ever seen....

I can crank the stereo up to max volume without distortion now. That being said, it would be nice to add a small amp to power the door speakers, I imagine the sound quality would be even better.
I will have to look into the part number for you. I picked the interface up at my local car audio dealer. Nice job with the shallow mount Alpine's, and adding a amp will help the sound quality as you can cut the unwanted frequencies out that the speaker cannot produce anyway.
 

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I went the whole nine yards and replaced the head unit and the speakers and I have to say while I hated the crappy HU the stock speakers are a joke. As I posted in another thread the magnets are about the size of 2 nickels - I have no idea how it can even move the paper cone! It was so small it wouldn't hold a paperclip. I put Polk Audio speakers (db651s and db651) in mine. You can get a pair off of eBay for less than $70 a pair. I have the CrewMax where you are suppose to use 6.5 shallow in the front and 6.5 regular in the rear. As someone else said you can go with 6x9 as well. Will just changing the speakers sound as good as HU and speaker- uh, no, but you should see a big improvement.
 

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If you want to keep the Head Unit so it looks factory, then keep it and add an amp & better speakers (like described above).

But for less than $500 you can have an aftermarket head-unit with much better functionality than stock, with better sound. I must be the odd-man out, because I think the stock speakers sound OK once you add a better head-unit; they're not "high-quality" by any means, but the Pioneer unit I used to have in my truck was pushing 50x4 watts and I thought it sounded pretty good. I was still missing that really good lower-bass response that you can only get by adding a sub, but adding that Pioneer head-unit over stock was a 100% improvement.

So personally, I'd start with changing out the head-unit.... if you're still wanting more, then change the speakers.... and then add a separate sub amp & sub.

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On a side note - I swapped IN the OEM Toyota Navigation unit along with a Toyota JBL AMP, pushing my stock speakers. While not as good as the Pioneer was, it's definitely better than the stock NON-JBL setup. I'm planning on adding a small sub with a variable gain control (separate controls from the radio) and I think that'll keep me pretty happy... the only other thing I'd do is change out the speakers later.

Good luck!
 

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I hate to agree with you because I originally thought speakers must be replaced first as well..... I replaced the crappy broken head unit in my wifes crappy econobox and WHAMO killer sound out of the stock crappy speakers! Ok, killer sound may be a bit of an over statement...but 100% better than before. I'm more confused now than ever? Is the JBL head unit crap or is it the speakers?? AAARGH!
 

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If you want to keep the Head Unit so it looks factory, then keep it and add an amp & better speakers (like described above).

But for less than $500 you can have an aftermarket head-unit with much better functionality than stock, with better sound. I must be the odd-man out, because I think the stock speakers sound OK once you add a better head-unit; they're not "high-quality" by any means, but the Pioneer unit I used to have in my truck was pushing 50x4 watts and I thought it sounded pretty good. I was still missing that really good lower-bass response that you can only get by adding a sub, but adding that Pioneer head-unit over stock was a 100% improvement.

So personally, I'd start with changing out the head-unit.... if you're still wanting more, then change the speakers.... and then add a separate sub amp & sub.

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On a side note - I swapped IN the OEM Toyota Navigation unit along with a Toyota JBL AMP, pushing my stock speakers. While not as good as the Pioneer was, it's definitely better than the stock NON-JBL setup. I'm planning on adding a small sub with a variable gain control (separate controls from the radio) and I think that'll keep me pretty happy... the only other thing I'd do is change out the speakers later.

Good luck!
I agree, did the same and the speakers sound much better. not great but better
 

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Would aftermarket speakers on the JBL system sound better without changing the head unit or anything else?
 

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I've been doing car and home audio for over 24 years and you will get the biggest "bang for your buck", IMHO, by doing it in this order:
1- Replace the stock speakers
2- Add an inline amp to the speakers- they are not as good as line level setups, but easily integrate into stock systems
3- Add a powered sub with speaker level inputs- JBL, Kenwood, Bazooka, etc.- they all make fine add on subs for a budget
These are the 3 things that would transform your system the most without having to get into the HU and building boxes, etc. I had a few leased cars in my day and would have died if I had to live with the stock setup.
PM me if you want some more specific information or product suggestions
 

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Okay, so for the lame when it comes to speakers, what do I need to buy to replace all 4 speakers in my truck. I can pick the brands, but what sizes? Do I need some type of shims? Please be specific. I don't want to order the wrong stuff. :( Its and 07 Double cab.
 
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