Thoughts about my system! | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Thoughts about my system!


March 21, 2010
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Year, Model & Trim Level
So I just got my first car! 1998 ford explorer very sexy, and I was just wondering what would be a good set up for her, it has the stock cassette head unit, so how would I go about replacing it with a new deck? Im also wondering what size subs to put in my trunk, im looking for a nice clean hard hit but I don't want extreme bass heard across the block, would I be able to get good use out of a single 12 or two 10's?

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I have a 97 and put a new deck in, but after a couple wks I wanted a little something extra.. I found a 10" sub / 240w RMS amp on craigslist, threw it in the back, and it sounds really good IMO.. It's not crazy loud bass, but it's definitely enough to raise the eyebrows of an average person if they hear or rather feel it.. Unless you're gonna have a separate amp for your door speakers, 200-300w for a sub seems like a nice amount.. It's a good balance where the bass doesn't overpower the mids/hi's and you can still hear all the words but also really feel the bass punching.. All in all it cost me a little less than $200, but most of that was the amp/sub, and getting that installed professionally.. I wanted to do it myself, but I'd never done an amp installation, and the difficulty factor is definitely a bit higher than just a deck install..

what are you talkin about? an amp is deff easier to install then a head unit in my opinion... i have a pioneer head unit (i forget the part number but its the "premier" edition), pioneer door speakers, and 2 alpine type E 10s in an xscorpian ported box with an alpine 450 watt amp, and it sounds AMAZING! everybody that gets in my car comments on it whether they have a system themselves or not. it cost around 800 for everything and i installed it all myself but i bought the amp and subs from a friend of mine for 200 so it would be a bit more if i got them new.

what are you talkin about? an amp is deff easier to install then a head unit in my opinion...

not in my opinion.. the deck just pops out, you match up some wires, and pop it back in.. an amp you gotta deal with making room to get a power cable thru the firewall, hooking up the fuse to the battery, and properly grounding it to the chassis, on top of the speaker/RCA/remote wires.. and then if you want everything to look neat, gotta hide all those cables underneath the whole length of the car.. I took a look at all of those issues, and never having installed an amp, they were all more work than I wanted to get into.. The stereo is like a one man 20 minute job.. But the amp took 2 guys a solid hour at the install place, and that's with nothing bolted down or anything..

thanks for the replys guys, when I go buy a head unit what exactly should I be looking for like specs and how do I know if It would fit properly when I take out my cassete deck. Could i go buy any head unit pop my am/fm cassette unit out? Should I be looking for head unit that will match the same brand of speakers,sub,amp for the future? sorry for the noob questions :)

You can basically get any deck you want, the only technical things you gotta be concerned with is getting the correct harness and dash kit.. If you bought a new deck on say, I believe they throw in the install gear, but you're spending over $100, ya kno? I went with a used deck on ebay for less than $20 lol, but it works fine and has all the features I want like mp3, aux input on the front, cdplayer, etc.. and I also got the harness/dash kit on there too for about $20 total.. That stuff would run probably about double in a store, but it just depends on what you're looking to spend.. If you bought everything new, you'd probably be looking at at least $300 for a new deck, sub, amp, accessories, and then possibly more depending on if you install it yourself.. But you can definitely score stuff cheap on ebay or craigslist, trust me.. There is the possibility that you get unlucky and it ends up crapping out, but it's not something I was really worried about.. I've honestly never personally seen a deck, amp, or speaker break from normal use.. I have receivers and speakers that are like 20 yrs old that still pump.


1. New Head Unit
2. Subwoofer
3. Standard Speaker

As far as the subwoofer, anything less than 400watts is hearable but not WoW factor. And, a lot of factors come into play regarding hwo much "punch" you feel. I always tell my friends, Quality over Quantity. One well designed, good quality eight inch subwoofer can out play (in dB and SQ) a poorly designed fifteen inch.
Take your time, and do some research on what you really want.

My best advice is know what you want. To many times, I have settled for a less than I wanted, and ended up scrapping it and getting what I should have bought in the first place.

Would it be best to get a headunit that matches my subs and speakers? and for subs is it better to have more dB ??

Some like more db (loudness level), when I built my system I wasn't wanting crazy bass, just to balance the system and after tuning amp, and plaing with some settings I got it the way I like it, it also hits really well, enough so that all my friends with multiple subs, and a couple thousand watt amps, were impressed and got tired of my sub fast, lol

Well, the "db" rating needs to clarified. It doens't partically stick to BASS notes. It more the sensitivity of the speaker per watt that is used by it.

Basically, the higher the DB rating, the less power is required to play a speaker at a specific volume level. This also means that a speaker will not over exert itself getting to that volume level.

As far as brands, get something you are comfortable with. I have Kicker Mids, Kicker Sub, but a Pioneer Head Unit, an Audiobahn Amp, and a Soundstream Amp.
Sony makes great standard head units now too.

I mean, if you aren't getting something that is competition worthy, almost any manufacturer can make something that will make your ears tingle with excitement.

There are sometimes that I ride in my wifes car that has all Pioneer 3-way Coaxials and it makes my ears twitch as I hear a sound that I nenver noticed before. Of course I can't crank it as loud as my truck, but at lower volumes it is hard for me to really nit-pick much difference.

Before you get started establish a few things. Make some notes on paper or here.

1) Budget (Now, near future and long term)
2) Type of music you listen too.
3) Are you an Sound Quality guy or a SPL (loud bass) type?
4) Ipod or other MP3 player integration? USB port?
5) Space conscious? Do you want a huge box in back or just use the stock sub location?
6) What is your install ability?
7) Do you want to buy online and have a shop install? Can be problematic.

With those questions answered you will have a good idea of where you are going with this. We can help you if we know too. There is soooo much car audio product out there, most that you should avoid, that knowing what you want out of it sound wise will be pretty easy to help.

For example I was just reading over at (Do it youself mobile audio) and found out that there are some absolute steals to be had in the amp market. Like in days gone by there are a line of Clarion amps that were designed (partially) by amp guru Robert Zeff (Arc Audio, Zapco). These amps can be found for cheap and they ROCK. Very similar to the 3X price Arc Audio amps.

Here is the source and trust me, these guys know their amps.

Let us know more about where you want to go (list above) and we can offer suggestions.

Would it be best to get a headunit that matches my subs and speakers? and for subs is it better to have more dB ??