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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

Finally got myself an Xterra! A new 2013, it was a good price so I went for it. Plan on doing a few things to it but my question today is what do you guys think is a good stereo set up for $1500-$2000? Willing to go a little over if need be but I'd like to keep it around there. Im a sound engineer and producer so sound quality is a big deal to me... I'd also like to mount a rear view camera (is there a better option than mounting to license plate?) so the head unit needs to have that capability. For now I'm looking for a direction to start researching, I'd like it to have a couple subs, probably 2 10" in an enclosure but Im not certain the sizes yet. Also if you guys have any pointers I'd appreciate them.

Thanks in advance,
shaboo.
 

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Hi everyone,

Finally got myself an Xterra! A new 2013, it was a good price so I went for it. Plan on doing a few things to it but my question today is what do you guys think is a good stereo set up for $1500-$2000? Willing to go a little over if need be but I'd like to keep it around there. Im a sound engineer and producer so sound quality is a big deal to me... I'd also like to mount a rear view camera (is there a better option than mounting to license plate?) so the head unit needs to have that capability. For now I'm looking for a direction to start researching, I'd like it to have a couple subs, probably 2 10" in an enclosure but Im not certain the sizes yet. Also if you guys have any pointers I'd appreciate them.

Thanks in advance,
shaboo.
Are you doing the work yourself or paying someone to do it? As labor costs would have to be factored.

I run what I would consider a clean, modest, system that's on the more budgetfriendly end of high quality. Between paid labor (my own labor) and materials I was right around your budget. My system is also a few years old, so likely you can get similar or better.

Headunit:
- JVC KW-NT3HDT (only indash nav with removal face and quick boot at the time, likely better ones for the price)
- Axxess Controller (for steering wheel controls)
- Steering Wheel Controls (my X was not equipt from the factory with them)
Labor: $0 (Did myself)

Speakers (I like Focal):
- Front: Focal PS165 6.75" 2-Way Component Speakers w/crossovers
- Rear: Focal Access 165 6.5'' Need some modification: http://www.thenewx.org/forum/showthread.php?p=1000148#post1000148
- Sub: JL Audio 10W3v3-4 10" Single 4 ohm W3v3 Series
- Custom Sub Box (similar to JL Stealth Box)
- Amp: JL Audio XD400/4 4-Channel Amplifier 400W RMS
- Backup Cam: Some generic Kenwood
- Misc Labor: $500 - I had a shop wire the amp, front speakers, and backup cam

Then I sound proofed the entire thing...
http://www.thenewx.org/forum/showthread.php?t=62846

Which was about $300, and a couple weekends of my time.

I bet you could get those components and likely be around your budget.
 

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You should ask Mtbx about this too as he has very extensive knowledge on the subject.

I would suggest going with Focal components in the front and back doors.They have many levels of prices, and are known to sound fantastic to the ear across all models. I'd go with 6.5 inch mid drivers because the factory sized 6x9s in the front don't sound as good. Same 6.5s in the rear doors. Then i'd go with the tweeters mounted up high.

The sub question comes down to what you listen to, and what is your goal spl wise? You can achieve massive amounts of bass with 1 subwoofer. If it is enclosed properly, wired correctly, and given ample amounts of clean power.

I would suggest running high sound quality amps with CEA-2006 compliance. Some example brands would be Massive Audio, Crescendo Audio, Incriminator Audio, Arc Audio, etc..

Go with any Pioneer double din head unit. You will have no issues with sound quality or any auxiliary features such as rear view cameras.

Sound deaden the entire cab.

Lastly, go with very high quality wires all around. The wiring makes a large difference, especially in sound quality. I hope I answered a few questions.
 

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For the backup camera, you can do like I did and put it inside your rear window mounted on the 3rd brakelight. I love it there, even with the tint it works great, and it never gets dirty because it's inside, and the wiper cleans the window. It's pointed down so that I can see things within inches of my bumper. No need to point it towards the rear, that's why I have mirrors...





Check out my how-to, I posted 2 links to videos I made of my installation.

http://www.thenewx.org/forum/showthread.php?t=29949

This is a standalone setup which is what I needed, but I'm sure you could mount any camera there to hook into your stereo (If that's what you're looking to do)

:drink:
 

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^ genius. I may move mine.
 

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If youre going for true sq, Id start with the headunit. Pioneer DEH80PRS, about 350, time alignment (really important for sq) and also can go full active if this is something youd be interested in.
Second I would go with either a 3 way (if you can squeeze it in your budget, this will require you to install) or a 2 way component set. As stated focal makes great product but $$$$, arc audio is great, CDT makes some nice 2 and 3 way sets also. You can also try piecing a set together from Partsexpress.com if you plan on running active.

Most of my recommendations would require knowing how much fabrication you can and are willing to do (i.e 3 way components will require you to either modify the door for the midbass or fiberglass a kickpanel for it, as well as fiberglassing the a pillars for the full range and tweeter)

As far as amp, alot of headroom will be your friend. on the cheaper end, JL hd series. On the more expensive end, ZED, Zapco and Arc audio.

For subs, jl w6 is their real sq sub, Image dynamics, Arc etc. Id say either sealed or 4th order enclosure would be your best bet.

Also sound deadener is a big deal. Read up on that, sounddeadenershowdown.com

This is all kinds just thrown in real quick. PM me if you want
 

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Right now I am running a 4ch Arc Audio amp with Hybrid Imagine Components up front and one Herts Energy 8". It sounds damn good, tweets are mounted in the pillars. Soon it will have two Herts 8's in a custom fiberglass enclosure, Herts Energy components up front, another Arc amp to run the subs and an Arc PS8.
 

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Hertz high energy is a great brand. My local shop pushes those and arc audio amps together all day haha. Both brands are solid quality. My buddy has the hertz 6.5 components with ported 2x12 JL w6's on all JL amps. With sound deadener, the whole system sounds great.

Right now I am running a 4ch Arc Audio amp with Hybrid Imagine Components up front and one Herts Energy 8". It sounds damn good, tweets are mounted in the pillars. Soon it will have two Herts 8's in a custom fiberglass enclosure, Herts Energy components up front, another Arc amp to run the subs and an Arc PS8.




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Hertz high energy is a great brand. My local shop pushes those and arc audio amps together all day haha. Both brands are solid quality. My buddy has the hertz 6.5 components with ported 2x12 JL w6's on all JL amps. With sound deadener, the whole system sounds great.







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I had to check where you live because thats what my friend here in vegas carrys. He mostly pushes Audison amps though.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you for all the awesome responses! I've begun to look into all of this info more but it might take awhile, also that backup camera location is pretty genius.... might steal that one from you :)

I've begun looking into speakers and heres what I'm looking at so far...
-Pioneer AVH-X5500BHS headunit
-2 Stealth Boxes w/ JL 12w3v3 Subwoofers (trunk)
-2 pairs of Focal PS130s (front & rear)

missing anything?

I haven't chosen any amp yet, was hoping you guys could help me with that. One more thing, I couldn't find any head unit from Pioneer's site that said it could hook up to a rear view cam. Can it? or could someone point me in the right direction?

If anyone has anything against any of the components im looking at let me know. Also if there good choices I'd appreciate knowing from some of you. Also it looks like i'm going past my price limit but wth if it means better sound then im going for it :)

thanks again
 

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Thank you for all the awesome responses! I've begun to look into all of this info more but it might take awhile, also that backup camera location is pretty genius.... might steal that one from you :)

I've begun looking into speakers and heres what I'm looking at so far...
-Pioneer AVH-X5500BHS headunit
-2 Stealth Boxes w/ JL 12w3v3 Subwoofers (trunk)
-2 pairs of Focal PS130s (front & rear)

missing anything?

I haven't chosen any amp yet, was hoping you guys could help me with that. One more thing, I couldn't find any head unit from Pioneer's site that said it could hook up to a rear view cam. Can it? or could someone point me in the right direction?

If anyone has anything against any of the components im looking at let me know. Also if there good choices I'd appreciate knowing from some of you. Also it looks like i'm going past my price limit but wth if it means better sound then im going for it :)

thanks again
I dont think you can run 2 stealth boxes, and have 2 subs in 2 seperate enclosures isnt really a good option as far as cancellation and phase go.

I think you would be fine output wise with a single 12 or 10 if youre set on the stealthbox. but you could probably get a better box built for the same $.

Those focals are nice as hell, but why are you going with a set with 5.25" mids? you can easily fit a 6.75 in mid in every door.

This is a nice 4 channel that would do well on those mids without breaking the bank.
http://store.soundsolutionsaudio.co...ms-4-channel-class-d-amplifier-zed-audio.html
And theres a matching monoblock that would probably do well on some w3s also.


If you want to spend more than that, Id go for some jl hd series. Tiny footprint, regulated power supply. The 900/5 would be perfect for your application.
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_20135_JL-Audio-HD900-5.html

Also, headunit will be ifne with backup camera. I have an avh3200bt, which is a lesser model and you can hook a camera up to it so i dont see why that one wouldnt.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Now i know why people said talk to you! As you can see I don't have much experience (or any really...) with swapping out a sound system. Ok so scrap the PS130s, the pc165s a better route? Also im not set on the stealthbox but i like the idea, may try to build something myself but if I'm only going to use one sub i'd like it to be centered so the sound is balanced. I do see your worries about phasing issues with using 2 set up like that. If you got any other good ideas please share them!

and thanks mtbx
 

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Now i know why people said talk to you! As you can see I don't have much experience (or any really...) with swapping out a sound system. Ok so scrap the PS130s, the pc165s a better route? Also im not set on the stealthbox but i like the idea, may try to build something myself but if I'm only going to use one sub i'd like it to be centered so the sound is balanced. I do see your worries about phasing issues with using 2 set up like that. If you got any other good ideas please share them!

and thanks mtbx
Haha thanks.

I mean you can use either. The sensitivity on the 165s will be a little more since they have more cone area, and this will help them play a little lower also.


What type of music do you frequently listen to?
Are you looking for volume? Clarity? Accurate reproduction? Or a fair compromise of all of the above?
Do you have any fabrication skills (ie fiberglass or carpentry)? Or are you willing to pay for more than basic install?

Answering those will help me recommend some equipment more tailored to your liking.

I see you are a producer and sound engineer. Making a car match the quality of a well designed studio monitor setup or home audio setup is a huge task. It's really hard to get alignment, and on axis in a vehicle without fabrication and process.

I'd also recommend that you look into sound dampening and reduction. Murdermat makes great deadener and pretty cost effective. I'd look to sound deadener showdown for a mlv layer.

The subwoofer should be the last element. Filling a car with a decent level of bass is easy.

I would probably opt for something other than a stealth box.
If you're set on jl for the sub I would go with a single 10 or 12 w6 in a sealed enclosure (Mdf, and I would probably double baffle) firing toward the hatch.

Whether or not it is centered will not be a big deal. The sub frequencies are the hardest to perceive placement from.

As far as subwoofer and amp choice, here's a few questions...

How much cargo area can you give up? All of it? Half? As little as possible?

Are you willing to do electrical upgrades? Alternator? Larger battery? Secondary battery?

I'm not asking these questions to imply that without and alternator and 10 batteries and a bunch of fiberglass work a system is going to fall flat. I'm just trying to gauge what your capability and how deep into it you want to go.






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Discussion Starter #17
Yea I understand that it won't be as good as a proper studio setup. The best that I can get it without being ridiculous Stereophile prices, if you know what I'm talking about. I'm looking for a well balanced system in sense of volume and clarity, though I am willing to sacrifice a little volume to make the sound better.

What I listen to ends up varying a lot but mostly classic hip hop, jazz, and experimental weird crap. Hip hop most of the time.

Now that I think about it I see what you mean about one sub in the trunk will be hard to locate sound wise. I'm thinking a studio, but a studio is typically so much larger that left and right makes a big difference even for a sub. In such a small area I probably won't be able to tell.

Though I do have some experience with fiberglass and a sense of how everything should connect I'll probably end up getting it done to make sure its done right. I saw a picture on here of someone with their amps in the trunk compartment, I'd love it if that was possible but I'd definitely want someone who is better than me to do something like that.

And yes, I'd be willing to pay for more than the basic install.

Though I am willing to go pretty deep into it, I'm not sure about upgrading all the electrical components. I need to look more into my warranty information to see if thats acceptable.

Also I'd like to take up as little trunk space as possible, but if need be I'm willing to give up around a third of the space.
 

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Yea I understand that it won't be as good as a proper studio setup. The best that I can get it without being ridiculous Stereophile prices, if you know what I'm talking about. I'm looking for a well balanced system in sense of volume and clarity, though I am willing to sacrifice a little volume to make the sound better.

What I listen to ends up varying a lot but mostly classic hip hop, jazz, and experimental weird crap. Hip hop most of the time.

Now that I think about it I see what you mean about one sub in the trunk will be hard to locate sound wise. I'm thinking a studio, but a studio is typically so much larger that left and right makes a big difference even for a sub. In such a small area I probably won't be able to tell.

Though I do have some experience with fiberglass and a sense of how everything should connect I'll probably end up getting it done to make sure its done right. I saw a picture on here of someone with their amps in the trunk compartment, I'd love it if that was possible but I'd definitely want someone who is better than me to do something like that.

And yes, I'd be willing to pay for more than the basic install.

Though I am willing to go pretty deep into it, I'm not sure about upgrading all the electrical components. I need to look more into my warranty information to see if thats acceptable.

Also I'd like to take up as little trunk space as possible, but if need be I'm willing to give up around a third of the space.
Yeah, I get what you're going for.

I'd say for now atleast, ignore rear fill and focus on getting the front stage absolutely right.

I'm not sure if you're 100% set on a double din h/u, but you would save $ and gain a lot of functionality and quality by switching from the avh5500 to the single din pioneer deh80Prs. This will give you active crossover capabilities, great clean preout voltage, and time alignment.

Then I'd do something like this...
http://www.the12volt.com/installbay/forum_postsm.asp?TID=132139&PN=8&TPN=8
But with probably like a 4inch coaxial for imaging and bringing up the soundstage. I'm thinking like a focal ps100.


And then do a 6.5 inch midbass like this one...
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/anarchy-woofer/anarchy.html
I've seen this woofer free aired on about 600watts at 20hz, and the response curve for it is impressive. And it's really quite inexpensive. Since the pair would be <150.

I'd say since you like things that are going to want a smooth baseline, I would go either sealed or 4th order but a sealed will fit your space constraint better.

I'll look for subs and amps later since I'm in class


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If I was doing this sort of build, I would probably go with this sub:
http://store.ficaraudio.com/q12/
on this amp:
http://www.woofersetc.com/p-11040-saz-1200d-sundown-audio-1200w-1-channel-monoblock-amplifier.aspx

In a good sized sealed box firing back at the hatch.

As far as electrical upgrades I'd say youd be fine running 1500watts or less. Just upgrade your starter battery to the biggest agm that will fit (I think a group 31 will fit, I'm running a kinetik hc2400) and run OFC power, make sure you have solid grounds, and upgrade your stock grounds.
 
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