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Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/3/22 11:54 a.m.

I've been daily driving my 96 Corolla a lot lately. It's bland and I don't worry about it much which makes it a great commuter. But, I want to upgrade the front and rear speakers to improve the quality of time I spend in the car. Front speakers are 4's and rears are 6.5's. I'm absolutely a Crutchfield man.

Assuming stock head unit (so far) which I use an FM bluetooth deal to Spotify through the OEM cassette headunit. Are there any particular speaker brands which stand out in a working man's budget ? I've used Polk, Pioneer, Rockford, and Kicker in recent years and I don't remember any of them standing out above the rest. Do I just shop for low price since basically any speakers will be an improvement over 26 year old Toyota units ? 

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
7/3/22 12:13 p.m.

Infinity reference is my choice.  

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
7/3/22 12:15 p.m.
Peabody said:

Infinity reference is my choice.  

This. Its my Franks red hot of speakers. Great sound, good price, long lived. 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
7/3/22 1:04 p.m.

Third vote for Infinity Reference. They're usually more expensive than the cheapest stuff but they also sound better.

IIRC Infinity does something clever with the speaker impedance where they use a marginally lower impedance with the expectation that your OE speaker wiring adds resistance to the circuit and I think that's part of the reason they typically sound nicer than other options.

3x recommendations for the same Infinity speakers is sending me a loud and clear message, no pun intended.

Crutchfield has the front and rears on open box and scratch and dent status so I can save some coin.

Now to decide if I want to drop a budget head unit into the car "while I'm there". I know any 100 dollar headunit is miles and miles ahead of a 26 year old cassette factory radio, but I do enjoy the theft deterrent of the stock radio. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/3/22 1:23 p.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) :

This came up in another thread recently...  Is car radio theft really a thing any more?  
When was the last time you heard of a car radio being stolen? 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/3/22 3:30 p.m.

Cousin Eddie... I'll chime in on this with a little more technical stuff.

I love Infinity Reference.  They kinda kick butt.  MBQuart, CDT, and some others are dandy as well.  My only hesitation is that you said stock head unit.  Any time you are driving speakers with a stock head unit (or an aftermarket stereo with the built-in amp) you need to be careful.  Better speakers are not always better sound.  

Think of it like this.  A 1.3L BP is a wonderful thing in a Miata, but if you put it in a bus it's going to suck.  Think of the amplifier (head unit) as the engine and the speakers as the vehicle.  Often times, the more expensive line of speakers within a given brand is designed to handle more power (a bus) and trying to drive it with a 1.3L (head unit) means they don't work well.  Some brands offer different levels of quality as you spend more, some offer different levels of power capacity, others don't change much but add LEDs or chrome grilles.

The short story is, sometimes the "better" speakers within any given brand are more expensive because they are designed to handle more power.  If you don't have good speaker sensitivity, your little head unit won't make enough power to move them very well.  A good example is subwoofers.  You've seen those monstrous subs with magnets bigger than your head, right?  They aren't louder because of the speaker, they're louder because of the thousands of watts running through the coils and they need those big components to handle it.  That is to say, the big magnets don't make them loud, the mountains of power put through them do, and the larger coil/magnet components are necessary to accommodate that power.  Trying to power them with a head unit would barely make them move.

The number you want to find is sensitivity (measured in db/w/M)  That number is the decibels of sound that speaker can make at 1 watt with the microphone 1 meter away.  Make sure that number is as high as possible.  It's not always about how expensive the speaker is.  Sometimes the cheaper line of speakers will actually sound better with the smaller wattage.

My suggestion is to maybe do some research at woofersetc.com (easy searching) and buy whatever you find at Crutchfield (amazing knowledge and customer service)

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
7/3/22 5:04 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

I went with Polks in my e36 because they had good sensitivity and efficiency. They work great with a low wattage head unit.

No Time
No Time SuperDork
7/3/22 5:38 p.m.

It might be worth calling crutchfield and then cross reference their recommendations with the ones here to get the right combination. 

As an example, my kid called crutchfield a couple weeks ago to order a microphone for the head unit in the truck and also talked with the support guy about speakers. 

He said they went through a series of questions including what vehicle, current head unit, type of music he listens to,  and some other other questions before recommending a set of speakers for his truck. He listens to stuff with a lot of base (hip hop, rap, etc) so they recommended speakers tailored towards heavy base and matched to his head unit at a reasonable price.

 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
7/3/22 5:43 p.m.
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) said:

3x recommendations for the same Infinity speakers is sending me a loud and clear message, no pun intended.

Crutchfield has the front and rears on open box and scratch and dent status so I can save some coin.

Now to decide if I want to drop a budget head unit into the car "while I'm there". I know any 100 dollar headunit is miles and miles ahead of a 26 year old cassette factory radio, but I do enjoy the theft deterrent of the stock radio. 

No one steals radios any more. Both my jeep and my Corolla had the same Bluetooth jvc bargain head unit, in Florida. Both cars were literally never locked. Jeep still isn't locked. My radios never went anywhere. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/3/22 6:01 p.m.

My only problem with Crutchfield's recommendations (sometimes) is that if you call and say "I need spkrz for my factory head unit," they assume you're a noob who couldn't tell the difference between speakers anyway and they'll just recommend something that physically makes sound without regard to making GOOD sound.

If you call them, ask for Hogan.  He's a car audiophile nut and he has helped me make some great decisions.

The one thing I really do like about Crutchfield is that they do not work on commission.  More often than not, they have suggested something less expensive for me because it represents a better dollar-per-sound ratio.

I have a ton of reward points at Amazon so I ordered front and rear Infinity speakers, a cheap Jenson bluetooth headset and some Metra goodies for a sanitary install. I usually use Crutchfield for all my audio stuff but getting all this with no money out of pocket by using the Amazon points was the path I chose today.

Loweguy5
Loweguy5 HalfDork
7/4/22 8:57 a.m.

It's will be a night and day difference from the stock system.  You did good.

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
7/4/22 9:23 a.m.

I miss those Corollas. My mom had a Geo Prizm (same thing) and you couldn't kill it. It survived 4 teenagers coming home from Myrtle Beach to Philly at 75-80 on the highway in the wee hours of the morning.

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/4/22 10:41 a.m.
dxman92 said:

I miss those Corollas. My mom had a Geo Prizm (same thing) and you couldn't kill it. It survived 4 teenagers coming home from Myrtle Beach to Philly at 75-80 on the highway in the wee hours of the morning.

A few months ago I flew from DFW Texas to SeaTac and bought this car in a shady deal sight unseen and drove it solo back to Texas. Over 3000 miles by the time it was over with. Between Harbor Freights and OReilly Auto parts I was able to make it home with relative sanity.  As humble as it is, I love this little car after the adventure we had together. 
 

 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/4/22 10:49 a.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) :

Is the Corolla auto or manual trans.  If auto, is it 4 speed or 3 speed?  If 4 speed, there will be a secondary button in the shifter to defeat the overdrive.  If it is a 3 speed, it will not have the small button but rather a blank space for the "would-be" button.  

The 3 speed gets pretty bad mpg for its size.  If it is a '01 or '02, in 4 speed auto or 5 speed manual it got VVT and is capable of 40 mpg!  

EDIT: oh, I see in post #1 that it is a 1996.  That year offered:
5 speed: 32 hyw rated
4 speed: 31 hyw rated
3 speed: 27 hyw rated

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/4/22 10:51 a.m.

It's a DX variety with the dual cam engine and 4 speed auto. I've been averaging about 36mpg in the 9k miles I've owned it thus far. Worst tank has been 32mpg on the highway here in Texas with the AC blasting. Best was 43mpg coasting out of Trinidad Colorado to Amarillo Texas. That was big time down hill with a tailwind. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
7/4/22 11:15 a.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) :

Kick Ass!   That's an amazing value.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
7/4/22 6:05 p.m.

I would junkyard some speakers from a premium model.  Both of my Volvos had/have speakers night and day above anything aftermarket I have experienced.   Nobody is going to buy a $50k car and tolerate tinny audio.

Heck even the audio system in the shop loaner '14 Focus is really good.

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
7/5/22 7:45 a.m.

He already got the Infinity's, but the problem with that is that many OEM systems have proprietary setups that have really oddball impedance, and/or use very marginal drivers that are spec'd specifically for the application and use head units and amps that manage and control the frequencies for the particular application.

There are some decent components out there but even most of the quality OEM system speakers these days are not great, despite sounding pretty good.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
7/5/22 10:42 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Nobody is going to buy a $50k car and tolerate tinny audio.

*BMW enters the chat*

My E39 and E46 had absolutely piss poor factory stereo systems for how expensive they were and due to the weird impedance stuff Peabody mentions it was not easy to rectify. It's a common gripe on many 90's-00's BMWs.

Everything finally trickled in. 
 

Modern head units are comically small. 
 

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
7/9/22 8:03 a.m.
pointofdeparture said:

*BMW enters the chat*

My E39 and E46 had absolutely piss poor factory stereo systems for how expensive they were and due to the weird impedance stuff Peabody mentions it was not easy to rectify. It's a common gripe on many 90's-00's BMWs.

My E36 came with the 10 speaker stereo. Somebody had hacked Kicker speakers into the rear speaker wiring not taking into account factory impedance or even staging. Horrendous sound. So I ripped it all out and installed 4 speakers, 2 front and 2 rear, with new wiring and new head unit. Night and Day difference.

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/9/22 10:43 a.m.

Speakers installed with no issue. 
 

I got to looking at the original Toyota speakers and the foam was completely missing. 
 

That head unit turned out to be a hunk of E36 M3. I'm heaving that thing in the trash. I'll keep the original head unit until I can turn up one I like better. I'm not even bothering with trying to return the thing. 

psteav (Forum Supporter)
psteav (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/9/22 11:35 a.m.
John Welsh said:

In reply to Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) :

This came up in another thread recently...  Is car radio theft really a thing any more?  
When was the last time you heard of a car radio being stolen? 

Although to be fair, that is from 2003.

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