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Old 06-03-2009, 08:32 PM   #1
Johnny Kim
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ok, id figure i make a updated one, but mostly for aftermarket stuffs.
pm me info,links,thread,etc and ill add. but heres for now.

The list: Bad, Average, and Good Car Audio
NOT RECOMMENDED:
***Note*** The "NOT RECOMMENDED" catagory's purpose is that these line of brands are poor in quality and can breakdown even under recommended use. Distorted output is constant and the products eventually shut down and fry themselves.

Boss
DHD
Dual
Jensen
Legacy
Optimus (Radio Shack)
Lightning Audio (lower end models)
Pyle
Pyramid
Sony
Soundstorm
Thump
Verge
Volfenhag

AVERAGE
***Note*** "AVERAGE" catagory consists of most mainstream products. These products are somewhat good for the money, but will not satisfy your taste if your going for a true SQ or SPL setup. Ranging from amps to subwoofers, mids and tweets, the AVERAGE catergory is just that, AVERAGE. (decent, but nothing to brag about.)

Bazooka
X-site
MA Audio Visonik Cliff Designs (Anaba Group) (Execpt for high end amps)
Low end Alpine
Kenwood
Lightning Audio (high end)
Pioneer (Minus high end head units and premier series)
Lanzar
Audiobahn
Crunch
MTX (Minus amps)
Panasonic
Rockford Fosgate
Blaupunkt
Kicker (subs)
Alpine (Low end subs and speakers)
Polk
Audiopipe
Concept
Cerwin Vega
Infinity
Alphasonik
Digital Audio
JVC

GOOD
***Note*** The "GOOD" catagory suggests that these products are a better quality than your average setup. More money is put into the performance, but products still lack in overall reliability in some cases. There are many great products in this catergory that we would recommend, but we tend to stick with our "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED" products.

Autotek
Hifonics (for the price.)
MTX (Amps)
Profile (Price is AWESOME.)
Pioneer premier and high end HU’s
MA audio, Visonik, and Cliff Designs high end amps (Especially for SPL applications.)
Phoenix Gold
Directed
Orion
PPI
Viper
Alpine (Higher end subs and speakers, lower end head units)
Kicker amps
Avionixx
Alumapro
Audiomobile
Boston
Clarion
Crystal
Crossfire
Earthquake
JBL
Memphis
Soundstream
MB Quart


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
***NOTE*** "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED" section are products that have unsurpassed SQ, SPL and SQL capabilities, and are very reliable. These products can range in price based on your budget and specific needs.

Alpine (Higher model head units)
Cadence
Eclipse
JL Audio
Elemental Designs
Helix
a/d/s
Adire Audio
Arc Audio
Brax
CDT
Diamond
DD
Focal
Image Dynamics
Kove (Borderline good/highly recommended.)
McIntosh
MMATS
Morel
OZ Audio
PPI (Old stuff before they were directed)
RE Audio (Resonant Engineering)
US Amps
Zapco
Linear Power
Incriminator Audio
Ascendant Audio
Stereo Integrity
Sound Splinter
Audioque
Xtant
Tru Technology
TC Sounds
Rainbow

The Big 3, what it is, and what it does
Since this question comes up again and again here, I thought this might be a useful post. Performing a "Big 3" upgrade on your vehicle is one way to improve the electrical system performance and its ability to supply power to your audio system. This upgrade will help any vehicle using an after-market amplified stereo system, and most certainly should be performed on any vehicle after a high-output alternator is installed.

Please be sure you read and understand this entire instruction before you begin.

Definition: the "Big Three" upgrade means improving the current capacity of three cables: 1) alternator positive to battery positive, 2) battery negative to chassis, and 3) engine ground to chassis. Some people replace the factory wiring; others add additional cables to the factory wiring. This instruction is to add cables to existing OEM wiring.

Parts and Tools:

As a minimum, you will need to purchase the following:

• Sufficient length of high-strand count high capacity power cable.
- The length required differs for every vehicle. You can measure the length of the existing cables and buy the same length, or contact your dealer or a mechanic and ask, or sometimes you can look it up in a manufacturer's wiring book, or guess. If you guess, make sure you over-estimate and buy too much.
- High strand count cable is more flexible and more reliable than low-strand count cable. Never use solid-core wire in a moving vehicle as it will eventually break.
- The gauge of wire you need depends on the total current draw of your audio system, and/or the current generating capacity of your alternator. Never use smaller cable that you used to power your amps; never use smaller cable than what already exists in your vehicle; never use smaller cable than the generating capacity of your alternator; never use smaller than 4 AWG (it's just not worth the time to use anything smaller); if in doubt, always use higher gauge cable than you think you need. If you look at the Power and Ground charts and your amplifier current draw corresponds to 2 AWG cable, use no smaller than 2 AWG cable, and use 1/0 if you can.

• 6 ring terminals or lugs of the appropriate size for the cable chosen. Two of these need to be large enough to fit over your battery posts, or appropriately sized to bolt onto your existing battery terminals.
• 1/2" or 5/8" shrink tubing (or some other form of permanent electrical insulation. Tape is NOT recommended.)
• Cable ties (plastic zip ties.)

• Wire cutters large enough to handle the cable you choose.
• Crimpers large enough to handle the connectors you choose.
• Soldering iron or gun.
• Solder.
• Scotch brite and/or a small wire brush.
• Heat gun.
• Safety razor blade (or other tool for stripping cable).
• Heat gun (if using shrink tubing).
• Wrenches for removing bolts in your vehicle.

Procedure:

1. Make sure your engine is completely cool before beginning. Identify the three cables being replaced. Make sure you can reach both ends of all cables. NOTE: the engine block to chassis cable may be between the engine and the transmission, or connected to the transmission and the fire wall, and is often an un-insulated flat braid cable.

2. Determine the lengths of cable needed to reach between the three locations being upgraded. Be sure you measure with a flexible tape (a tape measure used for sewing works great) and record the total length along the path you intend to install the cable. You do not want your cables to be pulled tight between any two locations as things move and vibrate as you drive. Be sure to include at least 1 inch extra for slack. NOTE: there is no reason to copy the existing wiring layout in your vehicle unless you want to. Also, be sure that the path you choose does not follow or lay across anything that gets hot, like exhaust parts, or anything that must move, like throttle linkage.

3. Cut your new cable to the three proper lengths. NOTE: some people like to use red cable for positive and black cable for negative. Doing this is completely up to you and is nice, but not necessary. You can use cable with any color insulation you like.

4. Strip each end of all cables to the proper length for the terminal lugs being used. NOTE: after full insertion into the lug, a small "band" of bare wire is usually seen between the back of the lug and the beginning of the cable insulation.

5. Begin at any one end and insert the stripped cable into the lug. Make sure it is fully inserted. Crimp the connector to hold the wire in place. NOTE: crimping large cable can be difficult. The intention here is not to make the crimp the sole means of holding the wire, but only to make sure the lug does not slip around during the soldering phase. I do NOT recommend using hammers or pliers or vices to crimp the connector as over-crimping can break the strands of the cable, reducing the current carrying capacity. Do not over-crimp.

6. You may need to use a vise or some other set of "helping hands" to hold the cable while you solder it. Heat your soldering iron and place it on the connector (on the lug side) barrel. Hold a piece of solder against the tip of the iron and melt the solder into the strands of the cable. Use sufficient solder to fill the connector and completely cover all strands of the cable. NOTE: the lug will get hot and will burn you if you try to hold it. Also, if the insulation on the cable starts to melt, you are over-heating the cable and not paying attention to melting the solder into the cable. You do not need to try and melt the cable!

7. Repeat the above steps on each end of all three cables.

8. After the cables have completely cooled, cut a piece of shrink tubing long enough to cover the soldered barrel end of the lugs and reach about 1/2" onto the insulation of each cable end. Slide this over each lug and use a heat gun to recover the tubing in place.

9. Disconnect your battery, starting with the negative cable first then the positive cable. Discharge any caps you may have in the system.

10. Begin adding your new cables along side the existing ones. I usually begin with the alternator positive cable. Locate the output stud on your alternator and remove the nut. Slip the new cable onto the lug and replace the nut. There is no need to disturb the existing cabling. Route the new cable to the battery and position it to connect to the positive battery post (or connect it to the positive terminal on the OEM wiring) but do not connect the battery yet.

Last edited by sam o nela; 06-05-2009 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:36 AM   #2
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11. Secure the new cable in place by using cable ties every 6 to 8 inches. Secure the cable to cool non-moving parts!

12. Locate where the negative battery cable attaches to the vehicle chassis. Remove this bolt and the OEM battery cable, and clean the mounting area of the chassis using scotch brite and/or a wire brush. Make sure there is no dirt, rust, paint, undercoating, etc in this location. You want bright shiny metal. Connect both your new ground and the OEM ground back to the chassis. NOTE: Some people like to create a new ground location by drilling into the chassis and using a bolt with star lock washers for the new ground cable. Route this new cable back to the battery and position it to be attached, or connect it to the negative terminal. Do not reconnect the battery yet.

13. Secure the negative cable using cable ties every 6-8 inches. Again, don't tie it to anything that moves or that gets hot!

14. Disconnect the engine ground strap at both ends. Using the wire brush or scotch brite, clean both the engine block and the chassis as you did for the first ground strap.

15. Line up the lugs on both the OEM ground strap and your new ground cable, and use cable ties to secure them to each other. This is much easier to accomplish in your lap or on the floor than it is while lying under your car or hanging upside down in the engine compartment. Reinstall both cables at the same time using the factory bolts.

16. Double check to make sure all bolts are tight. Be careful not to over-tighten them as you don't want to strip anything! Also, on some factory alternators it is WAY too easy to twist off the positive output lug. If you break it off, well hell, you really wanted a high-output alternator anyway, right? It is also a good idea at this point to measure resistance of the new cables. Take an ohm reading between the battery end of the new ground cable and the engine block. It should read less than one ohm. Also check between the alternator bolt and the disconnected positive battery terminal, which should also be less than one ohm. If you read too high resistance, double check all connections and make sure you do not have something c**ked sideways or hanging loose.

NOTE: Realize that the "absolute ground" of the electrical system is not the battery negative terminal or the vehicle chassis, but is the case of the alternator itself. This is why perhaps the most important cable among the Big 3 is the engine ground strap, as this is what connects the alternator ground to the vehicle's chassis. Be certain the resistance between the alternator case (the engine block assuming the alternator is properly bolted to the engine) and the battery negative is minimized. (Thanks to the12volt for pointing this out!)

17. When you are sure you are done and anything in your system that you may have disconnected are re-connected, clean your battery posts and reconnect the positive battery terminal first, then the negative one.

18. Start your vehicle. Hopefully the engine starts. Examine the engine compartment and make sure none of your cables are getting hot or are vibrating or shaking around. If they are vibrating too much you may need to relocate them or use more cable ties. If you see smoke, immediately shut off the car and disconnect the battery. Seek help.

19. Assuming all looks good, take a voltage reading at your amplifier and ensure you read 13.8 (or higher) volts. This indicates a properly operating charging system.
-the12volt.com



Questions and Answers
Q. Will other honda/acura radio work with ours?
A. Yes and No. if its a regular radio(cd/am/fm) then it will be an easy install.
If its a navigation unit, things will be complicated.
http://acura-legend.com/vbulletin/sh...ad.php?t=86803

**will add more later**


basic wire gauge recommendation.
PHP Code:
Total RMS
   Power 
(watts)                             Distance 
                                   4 feet     8 feet     12 feet  16 feet    20 feet 

100                              10 gauge 10 gauge 8 gauge   8 gauge   4 gauge 
200                              10 gauge  8 gauge  8 gauge   4 gauge   4 gauge 
400                              8 gauge   8 gauge 4 gauge    4 gauge   4 gauge 
600                              8 gauge   4 gauge 4 gauge    4 gauge   4 gauge 
800                              4 gauge   4 gauge 4 gauge    2 gauge   2 gauge 
1000                            4 gauge    4 gauge 2 gauge    2 gauge   2 gauge 
1400                            4 gauge    2 gauge 2 gauge    2 gauge   2 gauge 
The truth about capacitors




This is a real world test that was measured by Richard Clark on a Audio Precision unit to portray what happens with a typical capacitor install.
The main point for those who point out the obvious differences between the Red (cap installed) and yellow (cap not installed)Öhow much of a dB difference is .1-.4 volts in terms of music? And do you feel you are going to hear this within a car? On with the explaination:

Dark Blue curve---
For our first test we played the system with the engine off and no cap. The result was the purple trace at the bottom. We played the system as loud as we could get it that seemed to produce no audible distortion. This was track 30 of the IASCA disc. It starts off with fairly low level sounds for the first 34 seconds. In order to insure the electrical system was stable we did not start the measurement until we were 20 seconds into the song. This means that our 0 starting point is :20 on the CD counter.
The battery was able to maintain it's voltage just below 12.5 until the loud bass hits at 34 seconds (14 seconds into our chart) At this time it dropped to about 11.5 and had a few large variations due to the music. According to the computer calculations (third chart) the average voltage for this test was 11.7volts. This test was done as a baseline for the following tests.

Yellow curveóno cap
For this test the volume was left as it was for the baseline test. The engine was started. Notice that at low volume the alternator was able to maintain about 14 volts. When the loud music hit the voltage dropped to about 12.5 where it remained
except for a few short moments where it actually climbed back to over 13.5 volts. The computer averaged calculations for the average voltage during the 100 seconds of this test was 12.973 volts.

Red curveócap added
This test was identical to the previous test except the cap (15 farad type) was added 6 inches from the amp with 4 gauge wireóno relays or fuses. The red curve seems to overlay the yellow except that the actual peaks donít rise as fast or as high during the brief quiet moments. I feel this would be due to the alternator having to recharge the cap. The voltage on loud passages hovered around 12.5 volts. The computer averaged calculations for this test show the average voltage to be 12.878 volts. I see no meaningful differences with or without the cap. I certainly donít see the voltage sitting solid at 14 volts. One note I might add is that this was a two thousand watt system driven right to clipping and the average voltage stayed above 12.8 with a stock 80 amp alternator. Under these conditions the battery would never discharge! The green and light blue curves were done just for kicks while we had the system set up. In both these tests we turned the volume up until the system was very distorted. This placed a severe load on the alternator and caused the voltage to dip as low as 12 volts. The curves seem to follow each other so closely that unless you have a good monitor it is doubtful you can tell there are two curves. The average voltage for these two curves were both 12.277 and 12.295 volts. If this volume were sustained for very long periods of time this battery would discharge

Breaking in subs

Here's a procedure I learned that is fairly simple to use to break in a woofer. If you are installing your own woofers, be it for car or home use, and have found this thread because you're the type who wants to go about the installation systematically, covering all bases, then this procedure is for you:

You need a test tone CD (here is a download) with a 10 minute track of the tone that corresponds with the Fs of the woofer. You need to be able to hang the woofer up in mid air, through one of the mounting holes in the frame, letting it hang freely. There should be no walls close to the woofer, and the woofer certainly shouldn't be laying on the table on its magnet (as you often see in videos). The nearby table or wall acts to compress the air behind the cone so avoid those types of disturbances.

The idea is to play the sine wave tone through the woofer at resonant frequency in free air. A very slight amount of power will enable the woofer to move at full excursion. You have to first find out what the Xmax is so that you can look at the excursion and gauge (by eye) the approximate excursion you're putting the woofer through. A subwoofer with a one-way excursion of 12 mm would look like its moving about an inch as the voice coil moves back and forth. You'll note that you are allowing only a few watts of power to reach full Xmax, so be careful with the volume control.

If you're working with a car subwoofer, you can prop the trunk lid and hang it from that. If you're working with a home sub, you can hang it from the ceiling of the room near the amplifier. Play the tone at Fs, watch the cone movement while adjusting volume, and let it flap and whirrr for the 10 minute period. It will sound more like a fan than a subwoofer. Allow 10 minutes cooling time, then run it again a few sets. Your woofer is now broken in.

There is only a small percentage of DIYers who will go through this procedure. They are the ones who make sure they have a test tone CD for setting gains, who make sure they damped all the sheet metal while the car is torn apart, who made sure they grinded all the paint off the metal before securing the ground wire. This is just another of the steps to ensuring that when you are ready to debut the system, it will sound the way you had hoped it would.
http://www.the12volt.com/installbay/...N=1&TPN=2#post
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Last edited by sam o nela; 06-05-2009 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:55 AM   #3
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Woah woah woah. Why is Volfenhag in the bad category?
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:50 AM   #4
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kicker no good? i..am so..confused
hey wat about cerwin vega???
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:09 AM   #5
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cerwin vega is average at best

I wonder where my seas excels rank haha
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:02 AM   #6
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YES! I totally agree with JL Audio, Diamond, and Focal. They are pretty awesome and dependable. Also Eclipse and Clarion make pretty good HU's.
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:05 AM   #7
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see thats what I hate about w7's. I like them but EVERYONE noobs mostly say "W7'S are the best ever made etc" I give them credit they are nice sounding subs but they shouldn't be a industry standard level for measuring power. I mean if thats the case for me if your blowing away FI BTL's then I care. Till then I don't care what you got haha cause even my little system can take on a w7
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:14 AM   #8
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yeah big I know your stuff I don't hate on you I'm just saying alot of people that don't know nothing and say my type-R's can beat w7's. Its like you do know a million other subs out there can beat both of them right?
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:29 AM   #9
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wow i'm surprised that most of my equipment has gone up into the "good" or "highly recommended" range. i used to use infinity, pioneer, kenwood, and name brand stuff.

currently using eclipse HU
elemental designs amp and sub
diamond audio comonents
mb quarts for the rear
only sub-quality product im using is a kenwood amp
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:44 AM   #10
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wes well theres a way to look at that though. I could say I have diamond audio speakers they are d3's. But would they rank were d9s are? no see what I'm saying?

even though most gear you listed is still in the good or "i'd rather have it over xxx brand" for me lol


edit wtf bigboy why did you delete your posts?
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