Advice on a stereo upgrade
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Thread: Advice on a stereo upgrade

  1. #1
    mj5150 is offline [OP]
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    Advice on a stereo upgrade

    Hello Everyone! I'm picking up my new Chevy Cruze on Saturday (Blue Topaz, 2LT) and I'm debating on having the dealership's aftermarket guys upgrade the sound system for me. The car I'm purchasing has the stock 6 speaker sound system and I'd like to put something better in it. I'm not looking to shake the doors off or anything but I would like a nice full sound. I tend to listen a lot of rock music so anything tailored toward that kind of music would help too! The only problem is I don't have much background in this type of thing so I thought you all might be able to provide a little guidance. The specs below outline the upgrade they are recommending for me. So basically we're just talking about replacing the existing six speakers and adding a sub and an amp. No change to the deck itself (outside of what's necessary to hook up the amp).

    What do you guys think of this? Does their recommendation make sense? Would it be worth it? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks Everyone!

    1-5ch amp (spec below on the amp ) Kenwood
    1 pair of comp two way speakers (frt doors)125w/ with x-overs Lightning Audio
    1pair of 4-way full range (speakers rear doors)125w max Lightning Audio
    1-10" dual 4ohm sub diamond 200w RMS
    1-10" ported box

    Specifications
    CEA-2006 Standard
    40 W x 4 RMS Watts per channel @ 4 ohms, 1% THD+N
    300 W x 1 RMS Watts per channel @ 4 ohms, 1% THD+N
    80dBA Signal to Noise Ratio (Reference: 1 Watt into 4 ohms)
    Max Power Output 1200 W
    Rated Power Output 14.4 V
    40 W x 4 / 300W x 1 (4Ω) (20 Hz - 20 kHz, 1.0% THD) (20 Hz - 200 Hz, 1.0% THD)
    50 W x 4 / 500W x 1 (2Ω) (1 kHz, 1.0% THD) (100 Hz, 1.0% THD)
    100 W x 2/ 300W x 1 Bridged (4Ω) (1 kHz, 1.0% THD) (20 Hz - 200 Hz, 1.0% THD)

    Frequency Response 20-20kHz(±1dB)
    Input Sensitivity 0.2 V - 5.0 V (MIN-MAX)
    Input Impedance 10 kΩ
    Signal to Noise Ratio 100 dB
    Low Pass Filter Frequency (-24 dB/oct.)
    50 Hz - 200 Hz (variable) Low-Pass Filter Frequency

    High Pass Filter Frequency (-12 dB/oct.)
    50 Hz - 200 Hz (variable) High-Pass Frequency

    Dimensions (W x H x D) 324 x 55 x 187 mm (12-3/4 x 2-3/16 x 7-3/8)

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  3. #2
    mj5150 is offline [OP]
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    The information I posted earlier is a little thin in some regards. I did some digging and I think I've found the model numbers for the speakers they're recommending from Lightning Audio's site.

    Front Speakers: LA-1652-S
    Rear Speakers: LA-1654

    I'm going to keep digging but any advice would be appreciated. I'd just like to make sure if I go ahead with this that the end result will sound good in the car with the stock deck. What's everyone's opinion on the stock deck, by the way?

    Thanks again! I'm looking forward to many more conversations on this board after Saturday!

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mj5150 View Post
    Hello Everyone! I'm picking up my new Chevy Cruze on Saturday (Blue Topaz, 2LT) and I'm debating on having the dealership's aftermarket guys upgrade the sound system for me. The car I'm purchasing has the stock 6 speaker sound system and I'd like to put something better in it. I'm not looking to shake the doors off or anything but I would like a nice full sound. I tend to listen a lot of rock music so anything tailored toward that kind of music would help too! The only problem is I don't have much background in this type of thing so I thought you all might be able to provide a little guidance. The specs below outline the upgrade they are recommending for me. So basically we're just talking about replacing the existing six speakers and adding a sub and an amp. No change to the deck itself (outside of what's necessary to hook up the amp).

    What do you guys think of this? Does their recommendation make sense? Would it be worth it? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks Everyone!

    1-5ch amp (spec below on the amp ) Kenwood
    1 pair of comp two way speakers (frt doors)125w/ with x-overs Lightning Audio
    1pair of 4-way full range (speakers rear doors)125w max Lightning Audio
    1-10" dual 4ohm sub diamond 200w RMS
    1-10" ported box

    Specifications
    CEA-2006 Standard
    40 W x 4 RMS Watts per channel @ 4 ohms, 1% THD+N
    300 W x 1 RMS Watts per channel @ 4 ohms, 1% THD+N
    80dBA Signal to Noise Ratio (Reference: 1 Watt into 4 ohms)
    Max Power Output 1200 W
    Rated Power Output 14.4 V
    40 W x 4 / 300W x 1 (4Ω) (20 Hz - 20 kHz, 1.0% THD) (20 Hz - 200 Hz, 1.0% THD)
    50 W x 4 / 500W x 1 (2Ω) (1 kHz, 1.0% THD) (100 Hz, 1.0% THD)
    100 W x 2/ 300W x 1 Bridged (4Ω) (1 kHz, 1.0% THD) (20 Hz - 200 Hz, 1.0% THD)

    Frequency Response 20-20kHz(±1dB)
    Input Sensitivity 0.2 V - 5.0 V (MIN-MAX)
    Input Impedance 10 kΩ
    Signal to Noise Ratio 100 dB
    Low Pass Filter Frequency (-24 dB/oct.)
    50 Hz - 200 Hz (variable) Low-Pass Filter Frequency

    High Pass Filter Frequency (-12 dB/oct.)
    50 Hz - 200 Hz (variable) High-Pass Frequency

    Dimensions (W x H x D) 324 x 55 x 187 mm (12-3/4 x 2-3/16 x 7-3/8)
    Quote Originally Posted by mj5150 View Post
    The information I posted earlier is a little thin in some regards. I did some digging and I think I've found the model numbers for the speakers they're recommending from Lightning Audio's site.

    Front Speakers: LA-1652-S
    Rear Speakers: LA-1654

    I'm going to keep digging but any advice would be appreciated. I'd just like to make sure if I go ahead with this that the end result will sound good in the car with the stock deck. What's everyone's opinion on the stock deck, by the way?

    Thanks again! I'm looking forward to many more conversations on this board after Saturday!
    I'd do this yourself if I was you. That, and the parts you listed aren't particularly great. Lightning Audio is not known for their quality or performance. In fact, they're known to be not much more than a budget brand. I personally don't like Diamond subs very much. If you're going mostly for sound quality, I can provide you with a new set of parts to install or have installed. What's your budget for hardware, and would you be willing to do some of this work yourself?
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  6. #4
    Handbrake Released dannylightning's Avatar
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    i have the stock stereo in mine, i am what you call a audiophile, my home stereo can only be high end equipment, even if it sounds like a million bucks i alwas think it could sound better, right now i have a denon receiver and energy speakers with a polk subwoofer, its not to bad, not as good as my old stereo which was amazing but it was many years old and the cross overs in the speakes burned up, the foam rinngs were coming off the spkeakers and the receiver did not seem to have as much power as it did,

    i did not havethe money to spend on the really high end stuff so i got the best book shelf speakers i could find in my price range and a nice reveiver, it sounds great but not as good as my old one. when it comes to the stock setereo in my cruze i am pretty happy with it, to me it does not sound all that good, just kind of OK but when i get in some one else car and hear their factory stereo i always think wow the stereo in my car does sound pretty good. i would like better but its kind of a waist of money to upgrade your stereo system, that is how i look at it, it may not be a waist of money to you or some one else. i perfer to spend the money on my home stereo and not my car stereo these days. there was a time when i would put a nice stereo in my car.


    my suggestion is to give the stereo a try.. and if you are not happy with it get a ne one.. lighting audo sucks bad from the ones i have heard, the best speakers i ever had in a car were eitehr polk audio or infinity speakers.. always hated infinty home speakers but they car speakers seem to be awesome for the money...

    as far as suboofers and amps i am not sure what all is out there these days so i cant relly reccomend a brand of amp and sub for your car. i halve always liked JL subs over any thing else, i am sure there are better ones out there these days.

    i never liked pioneer home stereo receivers but i like the pioneere head units for your car.. they always sounded killer, my pioneere head unit and infity speakrs sounded amazing in my old GTi, the main speakers were run thew a descent amp, my sub was nice in that car, i cant remember what it was but my amp for the sub was crappy but good enough to give it that bass that was missing.. i used the good amp for the main speakers.

    i would like to get a stereo in my car agian but i have allot of other thigns i would rather spend my money on. in some of my old cars the stock radio sounded so bad i did not even turn it on or if i did i left it at really low volume just for some back ground noise,

    i have not heard the cruze stereo with 6 speakers but the stock one is not too bad, i would expect that one to sound better.
    Last edited by dannylightning; 07-19-2012 at 11:58 AM.
    2012 cruze eco 1.4 Turbo, manual transmission, red, no modifications.

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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannylightning View Post
    i have the stock stereo in mine, i am what you call a audiophile, my home stereo can only be high end equipment, even if it sounds like a million bucks i alwas think it could sound better, right now i have a denon receiver and energy speakers with a polk subwoofer, its not to bad, not as good as my old stereo which was amazing but it was many years old and the cross overs in the speakes burned up, the foam rinngs were coming off the spkeakers and the receiver did not seem to have as much power as it did,

    i did not havethe money to spend on the really high end stuff so i got the best book shelf speakers i could find in my price range and a nice reveiver, it sounds great but not as good as my old one. when it comes to the stock setereo in my cruze i am pretty happy with it, to me it does not sound all that good, just kind of OK but when i get in some one else car and hear their factory stereo i always think wow the stereo in my car does sound pretty good. i would like better but its kind of a waist of money to upgrade your stereo system, that is how i look at it, it may not be a waist of money to you or some one else. i perfer to spend the money on my home stereo and not my car stereo these days. there was a time when i would put a nice stereo in my car.
    How good are you with woodworking? If you have an appreciation for sound, you should get into speaker building. There are hundreds of proven designs out there built by speaker designers and published for everyone to use that you can build a set of speakers off of. What you build will sound better than anything you can buy retail.

    I designed a set of speakers last year that have been dropping jaws and giving people goosebumps every time they listen to them. A buddy of mine thought his floorstanding Infinity towers were absolutely awesome till he heard these. Everyone who I demo these speakers for is humbled. Most end up building their own and selling off their current equipment.



    Linear response down to ~55hz with an F3 around ~50hz in a 12" tall x 8" wide x 13.5" deep cabinet made of solid southern yellow pine. I can provide you with the crossover schematic and full dimensions if you're interested. Total cost of parts (drivers, crossover components, port) is just under $170 shipped. If you used solid wood like I did, you can get a set of these knocked out for ~$250. These are just one of a myriad of excellent designs you can find out there. Head over to www.techtalk.parts-express.com.

    If you lived nearby, I'd be more than happy to demo these for you. I can guarantee that you won't find anything better for under $1000 retail.
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    mj5150 is offline [OP]
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    Thanks! That's exactly the type of feedback I was hoping to get! I've honestly never heard of Lightning Audio until now. Well, the dealership quoted $1,340 for all of this, so anything at or below that would be doable for me. I'd probably have someone install it, to be honest. Its been a very long time since I've personally done a stereo upgrade on a car!

    If you wouldn't mind recommending a set of parts, I'd appreciate it! Do you think there plan of replacing just the six speakers and adding a sub/amp is a good one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mj5150 View Post
    Thanks! That's exactly the type of feedback I was hoping to get! I've honestly never heard of Lightning Audio until now. Well, the dealership quoted $1,340 for all of this, so anything at or below that would be doable for me. I'd probably have someone install it, to be honest. Its been a very long time since I've personally done a stereo upgrade on a car!

    If you wouldn't mind recommending a set of parts, I'd appreciate it! Do you think there plan of replacing just the six speakers and adding a sub/amp is a good one?
    Yeah, that's a pretty good plan. I actually removed the rear speakers entirely, upgraded the front tweeters and door speakers, and added a subwoofer. Out of curiosity, where are you located?

    The reason why I recommended doing this yourself is that you would be able to spend money on better parts instead of spending money paying someone else, and few shops out there can perform a truly clean install. I've read way too many stories of shops screwing up customers' cars. It's up to you though.

    How much bass do you want? What have you heard in the past that you liked or gave you the amount of bass and full sound you're looking for?
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    mj5150 is offline [OP]
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    I'm actually in Michigan (Grand Rapids to be exact) but I'm picking the car up in Chicago. Long story short, none of the dealers in GR could find me a 2LT with a manual transmission. I'd be tempted to do it myself to save costs, etc. but not being very familiar with these systems (and not wanting to screw up my new car) kinda leads me away from that. As far as bass goes, I tend to listen to a lot of rock music so as long as I get that nice thump with the bass drum and a really good full sound I'm pretty happy. I had my G6 upgraded when my rear speakers finally died (another long story, Pontiac likes to do things a little differently when it comes to stereos) and I had a 10" sub put in as part of that and its seems to deliver pretty good bass although it was a bit under-powered. I don't remember all of the brands that went into my G6 but I think we had everything running off of a 4ch 200W amp. I think if I were to do it again, I'd definitely go with a 5ch amp instead. That set up struggled at times especially if I had it one for a long period of time.

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    Handbrake Released dannylightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XtremeRevolution View Post
    How good are you with woodworking? If you have an appreciation for sound, you should get into speaker building. There are hundreds of proven designs out there built by speaker designers and published for everyone to use that you can build a set of speakers off of. What you build will sound better than anything you can buy retail.

    I designed a set of speakers last year that have been dropping jaws and giving people goosebumps every time they listen to them. A buddy of mine thought his floorstanding Infinity towers were absolutely awesome till he heard these. Everyone who I demo these speakers for is humbled. Most end up building their own and selling off their current equipment.



    Linear response down to ~55hz with an F3 around ~50hz in a 12" tall x 8" wide x 13.5" deep cabinet made of solid southern yellow pine. I can provide you with the crossover schematic and full dimensions if you're interested. Total cost of parts (drivers, crossover components, port) is just under $170 shipped. If you used solid wood like I did, you can get a set of these knocked out for ~$250. These are just one of a myriad of excellent designs you can find out there. Head over to www.techtalk.parts-express.com.

    If you lived nearby, I'd be more than happy to demo these for you. I can guarantee that you won't find anything better for under $1000 retail.

    Quote Originally Posted by XtremeRevolution View Post
    How good are you with woodworking? If you have an appreciation for sound, you should get into speaker building. There are hundreds of proven designs out there built by speaker designers and published for everyone to use that you can build a set of speakers off of. What you build will sound better than anything you can buy retail.
    I designed a set of speakers last year that have been dropping jaws and giving people goosebumps every time they listen to them. A buddy of mine thought his floorstanding Infinity towers were absolutely awesome till he heard these. Everyone who I demo these speakers for is humbled. Most end up building their own and selling off their current equipment.

    Linear response down to ~55hz with an F3 around ~50hz in a 12" tall x 8" wide x 13.5" deep cabinet made of solid southern yellow pine. I can provide you with the crossover schematic and full dimensions if you're interested. Total cost of parts (drivers, crossover components, port) is just under $170 shipped. If you used solid wood like I did, you can get a set of these knocked out for ~$250. These are just one of a myriad of excellent designs you can find out there. Head over to www.techtalk.parts-express.com.
    If you lived nearby, I'd be more than happy to demo these for you. I can guarantee that you won't find anything better for under $1000 retail.
    unfortunately i am not very close to you, i would love to hear your speakers some time but i am not big on driving long distances, building half pipes for bmx bikes is abotu the extent of my wood working EXP so i am not exactly sure how well i would do at buiding speaker boxes... i have a set of energy C-200 book shelf speakers now, i think i paid about 300 for them and they are some of the best sounding speakers i have heard that cost less than 1000 bucks ( slighly harsh at times though) i like a warmer sounding speaker. i am happy with them but dont love them, but the the money i feel they are exceptional, i was thinking about getting some tube mono blocks, my receiver has the correct out puts to run mono blocks, i figured that might warm up the speakers a bit.. i also have a polk audio 8 inch sub that is amazing, i have never heard a 8 inch sub that could hit the lows like this one does, some one gave me the sub for free and i actually sold my 12 inch subs i liked this one so much, the big subs were great for lows and shook the floor but kind of muddy for music and i am a music guy, i dont wantch that many movies, this little 8 inch sub is not muddy at all and almost produces the kind of lows that the 12 inch subs did, it reproduces any type of bass perfectly. untill this sub dies i have no interest in getting a new sub.
    my old speakers were bipolar mirage speakers, they were about 15-20 years old before they wore out, to this day i have never heard a better sounding set of speakers, they were pure pleasure to my ears..
    i took a pic of my RC helicopters a while back and the stereo i have now is in the pic so ill post it up..
    2012 cruze eco 1.4 Turbo, manual transmission, red, no modifications.

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    Handbrake Released dannylightning's Avatar
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    unfortunately i am not knowledgeable about what is out there today as far as car stereo brands available so i probably would not be much help but i am sure someone else can help reccomend some good speakers and amps.. its been allong time since i have been into car stereos
    Last edited by dannylightning; 07-19-2012 at 01:54 PM.
    2012 cruze eco 1.4 Turbo, manual transmission, red, no modifications.

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