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Old 06-29-2004, 03:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello,
I'm in the process of purchasing a 2004 325 ci, I'm debating if I should go with the factory Harmon Kardon speaker upgrade @ $675 or should I go and get it done privately? I am kinda picky on sound quality, if I was to upgrade the speakers, head unit and install an amp. CAN anybody suggest what brand and what's the best way to do this without having them ripping the car apart? Thanks!

Forgot budget would be $1000 or less.
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Old 06-29-2004, 04:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, any amp install is going to require a good deal of the car be "ripped out." A good shop, or even yourself, can put it back together just as well.

My usual reccomendation is Infinity components up front, coax in door, no rears, and sub/tube/basslink. Hard to get for 1k. Speakers will run you about 150-200 for the comps and 80 or so for the coax, 300 for a good HU and 300 for a good amp. You'll have great mids and highs, but you've ran out of money to build your bass. Sound is like a pyramid. It builds on the low end. Most people think subs are only for SPL, but they are equally needed in SQ apps. Anyway, add in a powered basslink for something around 250 and you're done. All of these are excluding installation, but if you can take about 30 minutes to learn how to take apart the interior (which is usualy very easy and only sounds complicated) then you will easily save yourself a good $3-400.

Of course, after saying this, you'll probably want to go HK. Thats not a bad price, but I haven't heard it, so I don't know if it is worth it. What I have told you is worth it and more.
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Old 06-29-2004, 05:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks great advice! The HK sounds good, another point I should take into consideration is that with a out of factory radio I will loose radion control on the steering wheel. Is that correct?
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Old 06-29-2004, 06:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You could build a decent system for $1k.

I have yet to hear an oem audio system that sounds adequate. IF you are not a big sound guy, go with the HK system, I'm sure it is decent. But you said you were picky with regards to sound, so I would probably take that grand an build a nice system.

Alpine Head Unit
Infinity Reference Seperates up front
Infinity Reference Coaxials in the rear
Alpine V12 Mono Sub Amp
Kicker CompVR 12" Sub
Sealed enclosure

This would run about $1K and would sound significantly better than the HK system.

As prez stated, you would likely need to do the install yourself, if you wish to remain within budget.

BTW, you can get an adaptor to retain use of your steering wheel audio controls...{HERE}
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, this helps alot!
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I waited two years but recently upgraded to an Alpine 9831 head unit and Infinity Basslink. I still have the stock speakers, but I'm very happy with the sound improvement.

Do you want to play MP3 disks? This was important to me because I never went for a CD changer, and am I glad I saved the money and put it towards the Alpine.

I think a good MP3 receiver is a superior solution to a changer, because you can read song names on the display, etc.

Point is, if you want MP3 capability, change your head unit. Otherwise, the upgraded speakers may be enough of a sound improvement to satisfy you. I haven't heard HKs, but I'm sure the dealer can arrange it.

However, for a little more than the $679 HK upgrade cost, you should be able to get the Alpine CDA-9831 and Infinity Basslink installed. You could always change your speakers and add an amp later, but this solution might be enough and you can easily put back to stock HU and remove the Basslink if you sell your car.
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