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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I have a 98 Tacoma extended cab with four speakers. I replaced the head unit this past summer and that helped out the sound quality quite a bit. Now I'm looking to replace both the front and rear speakers. While doing so, I'm also thinking about adding an amplifier to the mix. Will the amplifier provide a significant change in sound quality? If so, can I get some recommendations on which ones to purchase? I may add a sub later on, but as of right now I have no plans to. Also Crutchfield is in my hometown, so I'll pretty much buy everything from them.

Thanks everyone,
Lance
 

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It's been my experience that a good amp will improve the sound quality better than new speakers. A good amp with quality speakers will make a huge improvement. I haven't been in the market for a new amp for some time, but something to think about when making your purchase is how you think your stereo will grow. If you plan on stopping with an amp and four new speakers, you don't need as many options. A simple four channel amp will do. If you think you are going to add a sub, subs, or more amplifiers, it's nice to have an amp with built in crossover, 4+1 channels or bridgeable, and low-level (RCA) outputs. You should select an amplifier by first finding out your speaker's power handling ability. You will get the best sound quality by matching the amplifier's peak power output with the speakers power handling. Just don't forget to add the watt's from your aftermarket head unit.
 

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Mav2005 said:
I have a 98 Tacoma extended cab with four speakers. I replaced the head unit this past summer and that helped out the sound quality quite a bit. Now I'm looking to replace both the front and rear speakers. While doing so, I'm also thinking about adding an amplifier to the mix. Will the amplifier provide a significant change in sound quality? If so, can I get some recommendations on which ones to purchase? I may add a sub later on, but as of right now I have no plans to. Also Crutchfield is in my hometown, so I'll pretty much buy everything from them.
An amp will change the sound. External ampifiers tend to have much greater headroom and therefore usually sound better (very broad generalization there).

How many RCA preamp outputs do you have with your current head unit?
 

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If you want to amp the new speakers, you'll need to get speakers that crave wattage.. infinity Kappas are nice. I have them in my truck unamped, and they sound great, but need to be amped- some day I will.. I just have too many other off road mods to deal with at the moment!
 

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atwinda said:
If you want to amp the new speakers, you'll need to get speakers that crave wattage..
Why??? Efficient speakers (in other words, ones that don't "crave wattage") work just as well.
 

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atwinda said:
If you want to amp the new speakers, you'll need to get speakers that crave wattage.. infinity Kappas are nice. I have them in my truck unamped, and they sound great, but need to be amped- some day I will.. I just have too many other off road mods to deal with at the moment!
What good is having a speaker that "craves" 400 watts if your amplifier's peak output is only 50 watts (200w by 4 channel amp for example)? The highest quality sound will come from matching the speaker's power handling with the amplifier's peak power output.
 

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Breathegood said:
What good is having a speaker that "craves" 400 watts if your amplifier's peak output is only 50 watts (200w by 4 channel amp for example)? The highest quality sound will come from matching the speaker's power handling with the amplifier's peak power output.
I somewhat agree. But matching the speaker's power handling to the amp's peak output is not as big a consideration as one might think. Especially since power output/handling ratings are rather imprecise in car audio. The highest quality sound will come from having quality components and a quality install. A high-quality 50 watt amp on "200 watt speakers" can sound much better than a low-quality 200 watt (per channel) amp on the same speakers. $50 200 watt speakers can sound like ass next to a set of $300 100 watt speakers. Signal-to-noise ratio, signal damping and distortion specs, the quality of components, and quality of installation will be much greater determinants of sound quality.
 

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Well said, but you left out another scenario. A $300 set of 200 watt speakers can sound like ass when underpowered compaired to a $50 set of 80 watt speakers properly powered. Just because you spend more doesn't mean you are getting better sound quality, but if you're doing it all at once why not match the speakers you will be using to the amplifier. You are absolutely right though, proper installation and quality parts make all the difference.
 

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Breathegood said:
Well said, but you left out another scenario. A $300 set of 200 watt speakers can sound like ass when underpowered compaired to a $50 set of 80 watt speakers properly powered. Just because you spend more doesn't mean you are getting better sound quality, but if you're doing it all at once why not match the speakers you will be using to the amplifier. You are absolutely right though, proper installation and quality parts make all the difference.
Very true. I meant to say something along those lines too, but got distracted. LOL Matching sensitivity to output, and making sure you have quality components (not necessarily expensive) installed well will usually give the best results, regardless of outright wattage.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone for responding. My receiver has one pair of preamp outputs. From looking around, I'd say I would be adding speakers that are rated up to 50 watts of power each. As for my current receiver on power, it's putting out 22 watts RMS and 45 watts peak. Any general recommendations on amplifiers?

Thanks,
Lance
 

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Who manufactured your head unit? My personal preference is to match head unit with amplifier. If it's a Pioneer, look for a Premier amp, if it's Alpine, V12, Sony with Sony. You get the idea. Sounds like you're looking for roughly a 200 watt by four channel setup. Any more would be overkill at this point, and you're wasting your money. The only thing left to consider is, will you be adding a sub at some point. If yes, look for an amp with 4+1 channels and/or bridgeable. If no, save a few bucks and just go straight four channel.
 

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Mav2005 said:
Thanks everyone for responding. My receiver has one pair of preamp outputs. From looking around, I'd say I would be adding speakers that are rated up to 50 watts of power each. As for my current receiver on power, it's putting out 22 watts RMS and 45 watts peak. Any general recommendations on amplifiers?
So you only have one pair of RCA's? As in one for left and one for right? What brand and model head unit do you have? As far as amps, I would look at Rockford, MTX, Alpine, PPI... there's so many. A good idea would be to check sounddomain.com and check out some of the amps they sell, because they have customer reviews to give you a good idea of what others' tend to like or dislike from particular models. One thing you may want to consider, to help save money, is using the head unit to run the rear speakers and use a 2-channel amp to run the fronts. Rear speakers aren't as critical for good sound and do fine with the head unit's power. Additionally, a 2-channel amp is usually much cheaper than a 4-channel unit with the same wattage per channel.

Breathegood said:
Sounds like you're looking for roughly a 200 watt by four channel setup.
You mean 50 watts by four (50 x 4), for a total of 200 watts. :p
 

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Breathegood said:
The highest quality sound will come from matching the speaker's power handling with the amplifier's peak power output.
That's what I was trying to say, it just didn't come out right.. haha
 

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atwinda said:
If you want to amp the new speakers, you'll need to get speakers that crave wattage.. infinity Kappas are nice. I have them in my truck unamped, and they sound great, but need to be amped- some day I will.. I just have too many other off road mods to deal with at the moment!

What size kappas are you running in the front? 5 1/4?
 

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Super Doody said:
What size kappas are you running in the front? 5 1/4?
i'm running 6.5" kappa components with 1" tweeters in my 2000. i think they make kappas in 5x7 for your 2001, might want to check before settling for smaller.
 

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Rice Taco said:
i'm running 6.5" kappa components with 1" tweeters in my 2000. i think they make kappas in 5x7 for your 2001, might want to check before settling for smaller.
According to cructhfield all the kappas component are too big for front door speakers. They magnetic is too big but I would like to if anyone has gotten to fit in a 2003.
 

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I have been reading up on upgrading my stereo with an amp and speakers. I want to keep the OEM HU for now - mainly for security reasons. I am looking at 2 options

1 - 30X4 Kenwood amp, rear sp 5X7 2 way 70 RMS, front 6X8 3 way 110 RMS. ($275)

2 - 4X60W Kenwood amp 4 6X8 Kenwood 110 RMS 3 ways ($350)

Mostly looking for thoughts on how well the wattage matches the RMS and all that. I am not looking do blow my doors off or win any contests, but I like good tunes and like it loud sometimes.

Also, How hard is it to install an amp (and where)? I have read up on the speaker install and that sounds doable - the rear looks like a challenge.

Thanks
 

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I just finished installing new speakers all around and a amp about 3 weeks ago. The hardest part is the disassembly and running all the wires. But once installed you will love the sound you get.
 

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I have the eclipse 4/3/2 amp amp it powers my speakers very well. It is an awesome amp compared to some of the other ones that I have used. If you are in the market to spend $300 on an amp, the eclipse is my suggestion. Here is a link to it: http://www.eclipse-web.com/index_amp.html
It is the PA5422. I have also heard the amp right above it(PA5532) hooked up to a sub and it sounds good also. I have a friend with the same amp as me and he has his four door speakers powered by the front two channels, and a JL W0 12 powered by the rear two channels(bridged). His system is a good all around sounding system.

As for the first amp(kenwood), I would not waste my money on something that only gives the speakers 30W.

Here is a hint that makes installation easy: Take out the seats and pull up the carpet where you need to run wiring. It seems like something that wouldn't save time, but it will.
 
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