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AustinThirdGen.Org _ Car Audio _ Where do you guys get your car audio stuff??

Posted by: ScrapMaker Jan 18 2005, 10:02 AM

Where around Austin do you guys go to get your car audio stuff? Either installed or just purchased?

I've purchased stuff from Alpha Audio, and Best Buy... that's it and I never plan on buying from Alpha Audio again, since they cracked my dashboard, and screwed up my plates when they installed them for "free"... I took off my dash one day and found my speakers all screwed up, and I went back and they let me exchange them for new(took about 2 months to get them in for some reason).... and I did it myself in about 20 minutes, with a screwdriver and an exact-o knife...

To top it off, when I showed them that they cracked my dashboard (in half)... the installer tried to say that it was my fault for having such an old car... and it just "happened"... I told him that the way this dash comes off, there is no way it would just crack like that.... so they were gonna give me a "SWEET DEAL" on some window tinting... Needless to say, I got pretty much the "SHAFT" not a sweat deal... After the "discount," I still ended up paying $150 for my damn tint!! arg! That's more than the STANDARD price at Mother's Window Tint... with the same exact tint, and same lifetime warranty!

Don't let their nice-guy attitude fool you... they intend on taking all your money and doing some half-ass install...

Posted by: kewl_blades Jan 18 2005, 04:40 PM

Custom sounds accidently tore a hole in my Fiero's Seat and paid to have it fully fixed. All new fabric not just a sown-up hole.

Posted by: StevenK Jan 18 2005, 05:04 PM

I went to Custom Sounds with 2 grand in my pocket. I stood there looking at stuff for almost an hour and noone helped me. So when I found someone and started asking questions they treated me like shit. I went to Alpha and got all my stuff. Now custom sounds owns that shop too. So I doubt I will buy anything locally unless I find a good hookup

Posted by: ScrapMaker Jan 18 2005, 06:08 PM

hrm this must have happened lately, because I (used to) go to Alpha Audio all the time... probably a few months ago, and the owner is this white guy... who's married to this asian lady... they had a sweet black bmw inside the showroom for a long time...

they must have just gotten bought out...

I must admit though.. if you pay them to do your CUSTOM work... like fiberglass... they WILL do a good job... because you = rich... and they love that about you... so if you are rich, go to Alpha Audio... they have everything you can imagine, and are very wise in the car audio area... just never buy an amp and have them install it for "free"... cuz it's gonna cost ya.

Also when I showed up with the cracked dashboard... the installer walked outside with me, along with their "lawyer," I guess.... anyways they were talking amonst themselves once they saw what idiots they were... and that's when they decided they couldn't do anything for me...

It wasn't until I went inside and talked to Bill McKinley... (who happens to be the manager now,) and he "straightened" it out... I'm not really sure if he knew I had to pay so much for my tint... but oh well... it's in the past..

Custom Sounds, Xtreme Sounds, Car Toyz, Alpha Audio are excellent examples of places where YOU WILL GET RIPPED OFF! If you, yourself can install your own car audio setup, I would never shop at these places... and even if you can't... just take your stuff to Best Buy where they have an AMAZING warranty on their installs... they will even remove all of it for free whenever the hell you want them to.

Posted by: StevenK Jan 18 2005, 06:23 PM

Best Buy doesnt carry jack shit.

Xtreme Audio is a good shop, I've bought stuff from them before and the even resoldered one of my sub wires for me when it came loose.

And I was thinking about it.....Xtreme on S Lamar was the shop that got bought out, not alpha

Posted by: kewl_blades Jan 18 2005, 06:42 PM

I got my head units from CAR TOYZ because they had the units a full month before anyone else got 'em. The guy that helped me out was more informed than any other place around. And yes, I checked his facts before I bought from there. The installer and manager also stayed late (2.5 hours) to make sure everything was 100% before they signed off on it.

Posted by: ScrapMaker Jan 18 2005, 07:50 PM

what unit did you buy, how much and how much was the labor?

I'm really just saying that the prices are rediculous....


plus I've been into Xtreme Sounds and the lead salesman is an asshole... when mp3 players first started coming out, I went in with my brother to get a deck for his '74 nova and he was real helpful, at first... then when we asked if he had any mp3 decks he said that "No Audiophile would ever listen to those wretchid things!"... needless to say I had to comment... considering that mp3 decks can play BOTH varieties of discs... but he wouldn't let it go that mp3s were so much worse than cd.. I asked him if he had ever heard an mp3 encoded at 320kbps... he had no clue what words I was saying out of my mouth... what an idiot (if you ask me)... The look on his face when I told him I was gonna come in with two cd's... 1 of the ORIGINAL cd, and one copy in 320kbps mp3 format, was wel, priceles...

I read somewhere that a 320kbps or a 230kbps WMA file is actually HIGHER quality than a cd... but I dunno really... I just know that human ears can't tell the difference.

Oh yeah, I've never been back to that shop since... If that shop was gonna hire a jackass as their sales manager, I'd rather go put my money in a garbage desposal than in that guys wallet...


And I think you mis-understood my point about Best Buy.... yes, you are correct that they carry "Jack," and I'll admit what they carry is 90% crap, but when it comes to installs, I've got no complaints... they are billion-dollar company... if they screw something up, be prepared to get some cool free stuff... like all new interior, or a new paintjob or whatever the hell they screw up... not like Alpha Audio and their "amazing" discount on tinting-- as an alternative to fixing my $200+ dashboard... asses...

I hope not all car audio shops are so expensive and rude, but I've only been to the four I've mentioned.

Posted by: BigBabyLou Jan 18 2005, 09:15 PM

I totally agree that Best Buy and other stores like it don't carry exactly wide variety of everything. That's not their intention.
So if I want to pick a specific unit, specific amp and specific speakers, I go online. Lots of variety there. Once I know what I need, I find it on eBay.

As for installs, I don't let anyone touch my cars. No way. I know how these things end. You guys have stories to tell. And why would I waste big money on something I can do myself and the right way?

I'm just waiting to finish my interior ... then the "fun stuff" is going in. Can't wait.

Lou

Posted by: kewl_blades Jan 18 2005, 10:30 PM

Kenwood excelon x859 and x959.
Salesman only had the x759 in stock. The x859 and x959 had yet to come out on the market. He sold me the x759 for a little under $400 and the following week when the x859 was released, the MSRP was $450 but he just did an even exchange because I waited and he wanted my businees back for the custom amp rack and the 2 JL 12w3D4's I was interested in. A week or 2 later the X959 was out and the MSRP was around the $500 mark...he sold it to me for the same price as the X759 ($400). I can choose which car I want the X959 in...just debating on which car.

Posted by: StevenK Jan 18 2005, 10:39 PM

Yeah, I don't let anyone touch my car, especially when it comes to car audio.

The day I got my car loan went something like this

0800, start the paperwork on car loan
1200, still waiting for money
1600, get the loan, go get the car
1650, get the title transfered to me
1800, go to xtreme, purchase HU, speakers, subs, amp.
1830, go to custom sounds and get my sub box.
2000, unpacked everything and called a few friends.
2200, Start install
0200, bumping down the street with my new car and new system.

:twisted:

Posted by: ScrapMaker Jan 19 2005, 10:25 AM

are you talking about the day you bought a 'new' car, or a thirdgen?

Posted by: StevenK Jan 19 2005, 03:13 PM

that day I bought my current car, two years ago

Posted by: ScrapMaker Jan 19 2005, 04:00 PM

sounds like you had one hell of a day! smile.gif

nothing's better than the feel of a newly-acquired car... wait... or is it nothing's better than a brand new stereo system??? shoot... I guess either way you couldn't have had a bad day.

Posted by: Heritage Z Jan 29 2005, 11:26 AM

I work at Ultimate Electronics at Parmer and I-35. If you guys need any a/v, security, or custom work, just gimme a shout. I can work out of my garage also, so labor is alot cheaper for ATGO.

Posted by: kewl_blades Jan 29 2005, 07:19 PM

will be looking into a alarm w/remote start before to long.

Posted by: BigBabyLou Jan 29 2005, 09:04 PM

You'll find great deals on eBay. If you get an Astra alarm, I have an extra glass breakage sensor. I got a convertible and most of the time, you won't even see my windows up. smile.gif

Posted by: ScrapMaker Jan 29 2005, 10:34 PM

hey heritage how much would it run me to get the window up/down module for my viper 790xv? I've never installed one, so I'd have to get you to put it in...

I know the module itself is like $99 but I've seen some really high prices at some audio shops

Posted by: Heritage Z Jan 30 2005, 10:07 PM

SCRAP- I can pick up a window module for you for $60. Just stop by the store sometime and look for me. And I can install it for $50, which altogether will save you about $70 or so. Give me a heads up if you decide to stop by. 296-9104.

Posted by: ScrapMaker Feb 1 2005, 01:45 PM

thanks heritage

Posted by: ScrapMaker Feb 7 2005, 10:04 AM

guess I'll call you on Saturday morning sometime.... what's the best time to head on over there heritage?

the reason I wouldn't want the windows to go with my alarm arm/disarm, is there are a lot of times where I am delivering, and I arm the alarm without wanting the windows to go up... I don't want to wear them out unnecessarily...

I am already using 1 output for my locks, and 1 for trunk release... so if I understand the alarm specs, I should have at least 4 more pulse/latching trigger outputs.

it would not be possible to have the window roll down when I press and hold the lock button, and roll up when I press and hold the unlock button, right? That would be so much better than actually having to hit the "AUX" button twice or whatever.

Posted by: Heritage Z Feb 7 2005, 11:03 AM

I'll have to check the specs on the other aux channels on the 790. I know that I can hook it up to where pressing the aux channel will vent the windows about 2" with every press of the button. Or holding it down for about 2 seconds will cause the windows to roll down completely. I can connect the "up" trigger wire on the DEI 530T module to another aux channel from the 790 so that it does not roll up everytime you arm the system. Also, the DEI 530T will add "One-Touch" operation to your windows, instead of having to hold the switch.

Posted by: ScrapMaker Feb 7 2005, 03:01 PM

man this sounds great... are you going to be in the shop Friday morning?

also, I already have the trunk release set up on when you hold down the aux button for about 1 second... if that matters... that's what Circuit City did when they installed the unit.

Posted by: ScrapMaker Feb 7 2005, 03:25 PM

oh yeah I forgot to mention, that my passenger window is geared slightly slower than the driver... so I was wondering how the module knew the windows were up... time or switch? because it doesn't hurt the driver window motor if I just hold them both down until the passenger one is full rolled up.

Posted by: Heritage Z Feb 7 2005, 05:07 PM

Yea, I'll be at the shop Friday.
We'll have to look at the other aux channels if your trunk release is already using channel 2. But that shouldn't present a problem.
As far as the module knowing the positions of the window- Once the window motor reaches full travel, the current load will become much higher at that instance, and the module will see the higher load, then shut off power to the windows. So it doesn't work by how far the windows travel.

Posted by: Heritage Z Feb 7 2005, 06:18 PM

(ScrapMaker)
... just take your stuff to Best Buy where they have an AMAZING warranty on their installs... they will even remove all of it for free whenever the hell you want them to.


Through my many years of experience in this field, I always suggest NOT to go to places like you mentioned above (big chain stores), as I have seen a lot of their work and have personally re-done a lot of it. While they are out there, it is hard to find an installer at a lot of the bigger chain stores that actually do quality installs. An install doesn't consist of just throwing in a deck or alarm that works. HOW it is put in has a lot to do with the install. You have to keep in mind that the enviroment which mobile electronic products are installed in are vehicles, which constantly see vibrations. Therefore, connections and harnesses, and the components themselves have to be secure. I have seen plenty of times where an alarm is just thrown under the dash and held up by another harness instead of mounted with zip ties,screws, or other means of aceptable mounting hardware. I have seen installs that are t-tapped, butt connected, and even just bare wire twisted together then taped. All of these are potential areas of future problems once vibrations and all the movements from being inside of a vehicle start making things come loose. All connections should be soldered and heat-shrinked. All harnesses should be neatly zip tied and secured to factory harnesses or other secure points.
Aside from wiring and installing the components properly, the installer should know how to troubleshoot a problem with any type of system.
"My main fuse to my stereo system keeps blowing." Is it because there is a short somewhere? If so, is it in the wiring or one of the components? Or is the system drawing too much current for that particular rated fuse? A seasoned installer with a background in electronics can apply Ohm's Law to determine which fuse would be right for a particular system.
"The picture quality on one of my screens is very poor." Could be a bad video cable, or a bad connection. Maybe the installer didn't recommend a video amp if multiple screens were installed. Or EMI could be coupling into that certain cable feeding that particular screen. Could even possibly be the screen itself.
Ask questions when you decide where to get your equipment installed. Find out how many years of experience the installers have, and if they are MECP certified. If so, ask if they are at least 1ST CLASS certified. Ask if their connections are soldered, rather than crimped. Ask about warranties on their labor. If you are getting a custom job done, ask if they have a picture album of some of their work. Good installers always have an album of their work to show to customers. I have an album at my shop, along with a couple certifications and a magazine with my Expedition featured in it so I can show customers the kind of work I can do. You can avoid a lot of headaches and even money by asking other people where thay have had their equipment installed and who they recommend.

Posted by: ScrapMaker Feb 8 2005, 11:10 AM

Well I've seen some pretty horrible installs come from both chains and audio shops... so I guess I'm pretty biased towards NO installer! smile.gif There are good and bad in both worlds... I mainly talk of the warranty on the products at chains... like my 4-year renewable warrnanty, no-question-asked... I like it... but everyone has their preferences.


Hey Heritage, what time is best for you? Any time on Friday is good for me, 'cept I have to be at work in south austin at 5pm.... so if you can work it into your schedule its cool.. if not then that's cool too.

later

also installs are pretty much always higher quality at installer shops... as long as they have enough experience.

edit: hey Heritage, does the window current load monitor sense when each individual window hits its current load, or is it a combined load? either way I just hope it can compensate... I hate buying used cars, I'm sure that door is a replacement from another year or something... or at least the window motor and gears...

also... how hard would it be to get the output connectors that you can plug into the alarm? Circuit city seems to have not left me with any ability to use the other channels... I wanna be able to use a few latching output channels for my stereo and headlights and maybe some stuff in the future... it didn't seem like I could just screw in a wire... you actually need another harness I think, but I'm no alarm expert.

Posted by: ScrapMaker Feb 9 2005, 10:49 AM

what do you think of before noon?

Posted by: Heritage Z Feb 9 2005, 06:33 PM

SCRAP- bad news. We are out till the next truck comes in. We MIGHT have some more in by Fri., but I won't know til then. If so, I will let you know.
Hmm...also, the module monitors current load on each seperate window. And I might be able to get some of the harnesses you need. I'll try to get some by the time we work on it.

Posted by: ScrapMaker Feb 10 2005, 10:08 AM

ah man thanks for everything, and is it fairly easy to hook up the horn output on the alarm, that's something I've wanted to do, but that whole harness thing, plus the manual doesn't even tell me what connections do what...

thanks, I'll just give you a call around 11am on Friday, if you're awake by then! smile.gif

Posted by: ScrapMaker Feb 11 2005, 10:37 PM

hey heritage, don't worry too much about getting the part by tuesday, as I'm gonna be out of town from monday to thursday of next week... I get back in town mid-day thurs.. I have all morning til 5pm on Friday, same schedule all weekend. Thanks again for this.

Is it possible to set it up like this?
1. connect horn output of alarm to car
2. make a single push of the aux button roll the windows all the way up, and when I press it twice it rolls them down? that way if I accidentally hit the remote in my pocket, it will only roll them up

the remote would then be set up like this...

hold aux: pop hatch - channel 1
single aux: roll up windows - channel 2
double aux: roll down window - channel 3
tripple aux: unused - channel 4 -- future expansion
quadruple aux: unused - channel 5 -- future expansion
5 aux: unused channel - 6 -- future expansion

I don't know what channel these buttons correlate to but I assume these configurations are fairly standard?

so if the truck comes on tues or thurs it's not really important to me...

Thanks,

Steven

let me know how much this harness and whatever parts are needed to do all this... if any...

Posted by: ScrapMaker Feb 24 2005, 03:18 PM

hey heritage do you know if you have any of those modules in stock? I may be able to come by this weekend.

Posted by: StevenK May 18 2005, 10:38 PM

So, didn't Ultimate Electronics close down? Do we have a new hookup?

Posted by: BigBabyLou May 19 2005, 08:11 AM

Yup, closed.
Hook up for equipment - eBay. biggrin.gif
Hook up for labor - yourself ... or one of us! :mrgreen:

Posted by: ScrapMaker May 19 2005, 08:47 AM

dang, I guess I'll have to learn how to wire in that window module myself...

it can't be that hard... you probably just need to access the window switches in the console, and some always-on power....

(window up/down module for viper alarm)

Posted by: iwannaracecar May 19 2005, 09:24 AM

i bought my sub from Ultimate Electronics, i payed like 250 for my Rockford Fosgate HX-2 in a box and then i bought my amp from a friend for 50 bucks, i used to have a panasonic deck i got from Circut City but i lost it when i totalled my integra and now i just use the OEM acura deck but when i want new stuff i get it from friends that have it for sale cuz its cheap.

Posted by: Heritage Z May 19 2005, 11:14 AM

Yep, we (Ultimat Elec) are shutting down. Someone bought us out and decided to shut down 32 of the stores. Liquidators have taken over and everything is on sale. Car audio is 30% off right now, if anyone is interested. They shut my install bays down, but i am doing some work out of my home when I have time, in case anyone needs anything.

Posted by: TexasSilhouette May 19 2005, 01:28 PM

Sorry to hear they are shutting you down, sounds like you did good work (rare in this industry). Hope you can find something or startup something of your own soon. It's sad but the general public does not want high quality. They want cheap that they can convince themselves is high quality.
Good luck man. :banghead:

Posted by: ScrapMaker May 19 2005, 01:38 PM

Hey Heritage... I just ordered that 530T window up/down module...

You interested in installing it, for the right price?

smile.gif

and I may just go buy your store to see what they've got, although I'm assuming that all the employees scavanged through the good stuff before it went on sale...

Posted by: ScrapMaker May 28 2005, 03:36 PM

oops... I guess I won't go 'buy' it....

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