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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! I just got my '04 hatchback with 40k on it and I'll have to say I'm pleasantly surprised with how much I like the car. I'd never before considered a Mazda and I'm sure glad this one came my way. Anyway...the one thing I can say about the car is "the speakers suk". I'm very used to riding around with a great (mostly) factory systems, which have always had plenty of bass, depth, mid-range, crispness & power. I don't want to go a-thumpin' down the road or interupt anyone's conversation in the car next to me at the red light. I just want to jam when I wanna jam...and these speakers sound like they were an after thought ("oh yeah, we've put in a great CD changer with lots of bells & whistles...I guess we'll need to supply speakers too"). I am considering replacing the speakers myself, but have seen all sorts of horror stories about how the doors come apart or magnets being too big or needing an adapter kit. I'm so-so handy, but not a mechanic or a stereo installer nor do I have a lot of fancy tools at my disposal. Would someone give me hints as to what to buy that will fit easily as well as hints about the installation itself? If it's too hard I think it'd be worth the $70 at the local Best Buy or Freeman's. Thanks to all who answer! Zoom-Zoom!!!!
 

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congrats on the hatch. It is a killer car (espically with some mods). I've rarely been impressed with a stock stereo. Most are shitty paper speakers. If your looking just for good sound, a speaker replacement will help. I would recommend replacing the head unit with a aftermarket unit, close to 2x the power and cleaner sound.

search around the stereo forum, you will find your answers there.
 

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I would definitely replace those front speakers and add an amp to drive them. The stock head unit sucks with CDs, but sounds much better with my iPod connected to the head unit via Audio Link. iPod is the way to go if you already have one.
 

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The stock head unit looks good in the dash, has a really good sounding CD player, but it is pretty wimpy in output. It has a couple of other issues as well.

Adding an amp solves the power deficit, but I am not really thrilled about the notchy volume control. I would prefer smaller steps, and if I add an amp to it, the steps are going be amplified too. So even though I don't wanna do it, I will probably be replacing the head unit in few months. I will at least be spending about $100 to add an amp in any case.

I am doing ok for the moment without extra amp power, but on some really old recordings, especially classical music, I can't turn the volume up enough to hear the quiet passages. I get good sound when the original recording is loud enough, but I have to turn the volume up to about 24 out of the 32 maximum setting on a lot of recordings. That indicates that I am using up a lot of the amp's dynamic range.

This is with some Focal Access 165 components, which are about as efficient as the best stuff out there (90 db @ 1 watt) So I am reluctantly persuaded now that most people will be happier if they replace the head unit along with the speakers. Which is what many told me all along.

But if you were just like me, after just purchasing a car you don't have a lot of money left over. So you can do it incrementally as you can afford things. First replace the speakers, but you have to stick with the more efficient choices to get that to work. If you really like the sound of a speaker that only does 88db efficiency @ 1 watt (which isn't bad, just not as good as the best) you are going to have to replace the head unit, or add an amplifier driven from the stock HU at the same time.

As I usually recommend, just replace the fronts, and fade out the rears. If you get really good front components, you don't need rears at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks to you geewhizbang & rman - I sincerely apprecate the input. Eventually I´m sure I´ll entertain the amplifier idea, since I love to crank up the sound and sing at the top of my lungs. However, again I´m at a loss as to what speakers to choose, specifically which size. I´ve heard from a few places that 6x9´s will work but from others that I need the 6x8´s. More importantly, for an extreme novice like me, which brand, wattage, etc. should I look into. I have no problem spending $200-$250 for a pair of good speakers that will work with my HU and the installation costs that go with that...but I need something that will work real well for at least a year while I get back on my $ feet. Can I call on you again for suggestions in that realm?
 

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[quote author=edrection link=topic=66604.msg1146947#msg1146947 date=1168648468]
yeah, your welcome too .
[/quote]

WTF?
 

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[quote author=ZoomZoomElaine link=topic=66604.msg1146924#msg1146924 date=1168647567]
Thanks to you geewhizbang & rman -Can I call on you again for suggestions in that realm?
[/quote]

I bought a pair of Alpine SPX177As and I think they sound pretty good but they are out of production. You can find SPX177Rs on eBay for about $170-$190 new. I think Infinity Kappa 6.5s have gotten a pretty good rep on the forum as well.

And as with any speaker, they need to be broken in a bit before they start sounding their best.
 

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The price of the cleansweep is a bit to steep in my opinion. I just think you'd be better off amping aftermarket speakers.
 

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I would stick with 6.5 in round speakers. They usually sound better than the oval ones. With an adapter most will fit. The only ones that don't are speakers with deeper than normal magnets, but most car speakers try to avoid intrusive magnets because they want them to fit as many places as possible.

I have Focal 165A Access A1s. They are efficient enough for use with the head amp. But you have to stick with speakers with at least as much efficiency/sensitivity as my Focals (93 db @ 2.83 volts / 90 db @ 1 watt ). These ratings are equivalent when comparing 4-ohm auto speakers. Even 1 or two db less isn't enough because decibels are logarithmic and the Focals IMHO are just barely adequate.

I was listening to a wonderful CSN (Crosby Stills & Nash) collection today, and I had to go all of the way to 28 of the 30 settings just to get a decent volume. And I have a subwoofer. Without a sub, I would probably want a couple notches more to make up for the lack of bottom end. This generally happens with stuff recorded for vinyl and digitized for CD. It is recorded very well, but at a lower volume level, and the stock HU doesn't have enough preamplifier gain to play this at an adequate level.

It not so much the amp running out of gas as the lack of dynamic range in the stock HU volume control. But it really does piss me off a bit.

There are several other highly regarded speakers that have really good efficiency like the focals, but I have not heard them myself. Unfortunately Focals are NOT as widely distributed in the US as some other brands, so you may have to find something else, but I don't know what else to recommend by experience.

Whatever you do, find a place that will let you listen to what you buy first. It's your ears and you need to make them happy. I bought two different sets of speakers by reputation and they weren't even worth the trouble of installation. I finally decided it was cheaper to pay list at a local shop and get the good sound I was looking for.
 

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[quote author=geewhizbang link=topic=66604.msg1147566#msg1147566 date=1168675134]
I was listening to a wonderful CSN (Crosby Stills & Nash) collection today, and I had to go all of the way to 28 of the 30 settings just to get a decent volume. And I have a subwoofer. Without a sub, I would probably want a couple notches more to make up for the lack of bottom end. This generally happens with stuff recorded for vinyl and digitized for CD. It is recorded very well, but at a lower volume level, and the stock HU doesn't have enough preamplifier gain to play this at an adequate level.

[/quote]

Do you have the factory 6-disc or single disc?

The volume on my factory 6-disc goes to 34.
 

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It may very well go to 34. I'm typing this away from the car, so I didn't confirm this directly. Even 28 out of 34 is using up most of the preamplifier gain headroom.
 
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