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Car audio brands- what's junk, whats good enough?


Chapap

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I was going to respond to an existing thread, but this might be worth its own. Allot of google results for the more obscure brands I like are 10 years old. I want general brand quality/rep. My particular needs are plenty of bass and decent enough SQ for a loud, rattly interior.

Say we're in a low-mid budget range of:
<$150 per pair of speakers ($100 is very do-able)
<$300 for an amp (1, 4, or 5 channel)
<$200 for a sub (without box) (200w range)
<$150 for head unit

My current short list, no particular order:
DD Red Line series
Pioneer D series
Rockford Punch and Power series(Prime looks like it has a tiny magnet)
Memphis PR series
Kicker KS series
Infinity Refrence series
Focal Access and Auditor series (really not a fan of anything more than 2-way. seems gimicky)
Image Dynamics (very little to read about them, but they appear to be same quality as 10 yrs ago)
Pioneer, JVC, Kenwood head units (for single din, no clue about touch screens)
Amps- No idea. Same brands as above I guess. I used to say Zapco

My former top picks, but appear to have gone downhill due to bean-counting or company acquisitions:
Alpine S series (10yrs ago in a '94 explorer they were awesome, just got some for '94 ranger AND coated door in dynamat and not at all impressed)
Alpine head units (mainly cause my current one the loudness/bass boost button overrides eq settings making it useless. I don't know about the functionality of my above picks)
Zapco (fairly sure an acquisition killed them)
Polk (they used to be somewhat mediocre speakers at a high price i think)
 
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Roert42

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Honestly just upgrading the stock speakers to a set of kickers will rattle your door panels. A pioneer with a build in amplifier, and a little sub under the seat will kill the little cab of a ranger.
 

RangerFabWorks

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For a budget minded build, I always stick with Polk or infinity for speakers.

if the budget is more open/you want a crisp. Clear sound? Image dynamics are my personal favorites.

anything under 150 for a pair of speakers. Will all sound similar. Stay away from “Walmart brands” boss. Dual. Lightning audio. Sound storm. Scosche. Lanzar. Pyle. Planet audio…… you get the picture.
 

Chapap

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Honestly just upgrading the stock speakers to a set of kickers will rattle your door panels. A pioneer with a build in amplifier, and a little sub under the seat will kill the little cab of a ranger.
No doubt there. I really wouldn't want to get a foam surround tho. I think $80ish is min for butyl surround. I think Kicker was close to $200 to get away from foam.

The tiny ranger cab makes choices easier/cheaper, but want to get a somewhat universal list.
 

Ranger850

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Stock HU's aren't horrible. Some Rangers even came with Rockford Fosgate Sound Systems ( Tremor, before is was an Off-Road package ), but the speakers are usually crappy paper ones. I would start with speaker upgrades, and stay away from the Department store Brands, as mentioned above.
 

superj

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inifinity are really decent speakers, as noted above. all those head units are decent too.
 

rubydist

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I just got a Jensen head unit for the Mustang this spring, and its at least as good of quality as the Kenwood that it replaced, so I would add Jensen to your list of head unit brands.

Nowadays, its hard to find any head unit worth buying for the $150 that you listed for your budget. I think you need to open that up some.
 

Roert42

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No doubt there. I really wouldn't want to get a foam surround tho. I think $80ish is min for butyl surround. I think Kicker was close to $200 to get away from foam.

The tiny ranger cab makes choices easier/cheaper, but want to get a somewhat universal list.

These are the ones I have. They are plastic "polypropylene ".



I upgraded from my stock head unit to another stock head unit with a 6 CD changer. The sound quality is pretty good for what it is. The speakers made a big difference when listening to CDs.
 

superj

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i used to always use jenson amps for my subs. way cheaper and still ran 12s all day long. this was in the 90s though
 

Chapap

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These are the ones I have. They are plastic "polypropylene ".



I upgraded from my stock head unit to another stock head unit with a 6 CD changer. The sound quality is pretty good for what it is. The speakers made a big difference when listening to CDs.
You're right. They're on the list too. I may have ruled them out before I bumped the price range over $120
 

superj

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don't forget to check your local junkyard. you would be surprised what very nice high end speakers for find people leave in their cars when they get in an accident. and 5 bucks a speaker is a great price
 

sgtsandman

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It’s been a long time since I was in the audio business. At the time, Sony and JVC were the best bang for the buck with JVC taking the lead.

As mentioned above, the factory head units are often not the problem. The crappy factory speakers are. I would chase after the speakers first and go from there.

Much like troubleshooting a problem, it would be best to take one step at a time so you know what makes the biggest difference and whether you want to stop there or keep going.
 

Chapap

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Total Drop
1.5” till I get these springs replaced
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225-70-R14
According to an audio forum I joined, Image Dynamics is a subsidiary of powerbass as of early 2000's. So as of now, they are my speaker of choice.
 

racsan

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This brings to mind a old comercial, mid to late 1980’s. For a audio system, forget which one, daiwa? Anyhow this kid is driving, jamming to “another one bites the dust”, they pan out after a bit of the song playing to reveal he is drving a hearse! Im not sure that brand exists anymore. Ive done nothing with sound systems for over 30 years, I did have a neat speaker called a “bass cannon “ in the trunk of my ‘84 tempo. Im not sure those exist or if any of y’all under 30 know what im talking

Edit: Aiwa sound systems, google/youtube it if this link doesnt work.
 
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CavVet2

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I just upgraded to 4 kenwood speakers and a double din kenwood w/ dvd and touchscreen and apple car play. Mostly listen to pandora thru the CarPlay. Sounds great and when I’m jamming on it the rear speaker vibrates the seat back and can feel it vibrating on my kidney. Weird feeling.
 

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