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Discussion Starter #1
I've just bought a new base model 2006 Commander that has the bare bones audio, no upgraded amp.

The audio quality is really mediocre at best so I want upgrade without overspending. Ideally I'd love to just buy new 6x9s for the doors, replace the dashboard speakers and then do the rear speakers also, but I'm not sure that will boost the sound quality enough...or will it? My concerns are:

a) Is the stock deck adequate enough to drive quality speakers (no plans to add a sub whatsoever by the way)?

b) If the stock deck is good enough to drive quality speakers, is it simple to install new speakers myself if I buy from Crutchfield (which supplies the instructions supposedly)?

c) If stock deck isn't adequate...what deck is recommended for $300 or less that will take an iPod, have a decent EQ, and ideally...is the same size or bigger than the stock deck. I've seen the pics on this forum of the Alpine install, and it's really well done, but the dash looks kinda funny (empty really) with such a slim stereo in there...

Thanks for any help you guys can give...I'm can't WAIT to get my Commander filled with decent sound.

FWIW I listen to Christian Worship bands, Jazz, Piano soloists, and an eclectic mix of Pop and a little Rock. No need for slammings bass, but I do like my bass to as good and tight as possible without a sub.

Thanks again,

Jay
 

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You will get better sound by just replacing the speakers. The base speakers are horrible. It is easy enough to replace them yourself and you should be fine. Crutchfield usually sends you adapters for the speakers so you don't even have to do any splicing. I would recommend getting the door remover tool if you haven't done this before. You wouldn't want to break any clips or crack any plastic trying to remove the doors. The head unit that you have is a 1 1/2 DIN and most of the aftermarkets you've seen on here are 1 DIN. That is the reason for the 'look' that you described. It's also an odd radio shape with the controls curving into the bezel. I wasn't bothered too much by the look of mine, and I got used to it quickly. I would recommend replacing the headunit as you will really see a change in the sound. You should have plenty of options for under $300 to get what you like. I got the Alpine CDA-9856 and it is under $200. Good luck!
 

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rubicontrail.net said:
Ideally, if you replace the headunit, get the nav system bezel. Then install a dual DIN nav system.
This would be great, but you can kiss your $300 budget goodby. I suggest starting with the speakers, that is where you will get the most bang for the buck.
 

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Wiley said:
I've just bought a new base model 2006 Commander that has the bare bones audio, no upgraded amp.

The audio quality is really mediocre at best so I want upgrade without overspending. Ideally I'd love to just buy new 6x9s for the doors, replace the dashboard speakers and then do the rear speakers also, but I'm not sure that will boost the sound quality enough...or will it? My concerns are:

a) Is the stock deck adequate enough to drive quality speakers (no plans to add a sub whatsoever by the way)?

b) If the stock deck is good enough to drive quality speakers, is it simple to install new speakers myself if I buy from Crutchfield (which supplies the instructions supposedly)?

c) If stock deck isn't adequate...what deck is recommended for $300 or less that will take an iPod, have a decent EQ, and ideally...is the same size or bigger than the stock deck. I've seen the pics on this forum of the Alpine install, and it's really well done, but the dash looks kinda funny (empty really) with such a slim stereo in there...

Thanks for any help you guys can give...I'm can't WAIT to get my Commander filled with decent sound.

FWIW I listen to Christian Worship bands, Jazz, Piano soloists, and an eclectic mix of Pop and a little Rock. No need for slammings bass, but I do like my bass to as good and tight as possible without a sub.

Thanks again,

Jay
The stock deck is crap and will not drive any aftermarket speakers anywhere near enough to even be worth it. I would change everything. Alpine has 9852 deck which is iPod ready, all you need is the cable and you'll be under $300. If you can do $400 you can do the 9857 with the cable and you'll have a killer deck, that with the right speakers will sound awesome. But, tight Bass without a sub, no way!

I do agree that the aftermarket deck does look small and kinda out of place with just a face kit in the dash. But here's were sound quality comes in to play, it blows the factory deck out of the water hands down. I'm trying to find the metal plate stuff that's on the lower dash and doors so that I can custom cut it to only have the Alpine and the bottom opening cut out, hiding the 1/2 circles and factory little opening. I listen to Blues, Jazz and Rock and without a sub there's no way your going to get any kind of "tight bass", audiophile quality or "decent sound".
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much you guys, I appreciate the advice. By the way, my budget of $300 is for the head unit alone, it's not my total budget. I should have made that more clear.

I went looking at head units today and am leaning toward Alpine myself just based on specs, feel of the volume knob, looks and price. If I could get a nice deck for $200 that has good EQ and iPod integration I'd be really happy, and then I'd have another $300 to spend on speakers, with which I think I'd just buy 6x9s for the doors and replace the dash speakers too, and just not worry about the rear speakers until I had budget for that later.

I saw today at Best Buy that you can actually buy a sub-in-a-box for $149...are these COMPLETE garbage?, or are they decent enough to add a little thunder to my bass?

Any thoughts on what's the best bang-for-the-buck 6x9s? I'm willing to spend about $150-200, but I'd like to spend less of course if quality speakers exist at the $100 price point. Any such thing?

For the record, I tried to look today at speakers but the demo wall at the store was broken. Just don't want anyone thinking I expect strangers on a forum to do my homework for me. I'm researching this stuff but would love all the help I can get in order to save time.

Thanks again everyone,

Jay
 

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At your budget, I would do the Alpine 9852 $249 with the iPod cable $30 and look at Rockford Fosgate speakers. Around a $125 for 6x9's and $100 for 6 1/2's for the back doors, the 6 1/2 mounting bracket $15 and a $100 for 3 1/2's for the dash. Your going to need a face kit $15, wiring harness another $15. Then wait untill your budget allows for a sub setup. All this is ballpark, shop around at your local car audio install shops and you most likely will get good deals and get to demo before you buy. Best Buy is low end stuff at higher end prices, I won't buy car audio or home audio from them.

Good Luck!
 

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To really get the most for your money, I would recommend going around to your local car audio shops (specialists, not best buy etc.) and trying out the equipment you are interested in, pick it all out, but order it online. You can easily step up to the next level of speakers and head unit just by ordering online and not paying the store markups. Also be careful when you are demo-ing the speakers because many times they are hooked up to external amps, not just the receiver, so the sound quality can be deceiving. Ill find some reputable websites and recommend what equipment I would use later when i get off work lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey thanks for the help guys, I'm still researching this out but want to move soon with buying a new system.

I'm definitely going to buy online from Crutchfield or the like, and am leaning toward Rockford Files speakers (Rockford Fosgate I know :) ) or JL speakers. Anyone else here fond of JL or know what they compare to in terms of like sound? I heard some Boston Acoustics at a store as well and they sounded good, but the JL's so far seem like more speaker for less money. (my favorite combination!)

Also looking at either an Alpine deck or a JVC dual-din unit. I'm liking some Pioneers head units too, but I'd really like to fill that whole stereo cavity with a full-size stereo and most Pioneers are single din size...there's not a whole lot out there that's din-and-a-half or dual-din.

Will dual-din head units fit?

Anyone know who can make a custom faceplate for where the stereo sets into?

If I get the Nav unit faceplate for my Commander, will a din-and-a-half deck fill that space completely? Will a dual-din size unit fill that space completely?

Can I install the speakers in the dash and doors myself or does it get a little tricky?

What size speakers go in the dashboard top? The Specialists are telling me it's only 3.5" speakers, but I could've sworn people in this forum are installing 5 1/4s...? Maybe I'm wrong in remembering what I read...?

I think I'm going to take people's advice about doing a head unit and speaker replacements first...then add a sub later since it seems to add about $500+ for an amp, the box and the install.

Thanks for the help from everyone thus far...please keep the advice and answers coming in!

Thanks again,

Jay
 

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With the nav faceplate you get a dual-DIN opening. Suitable for something like the Pioneer AVIC or any other dual-DIN unit. There are very few 1.5 DIN units out there which is funny since most DCX or GM cars without nav systems use the 1.5 DIN systems.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks...that was one of the key answers I needed.

Now..where do I get that Nav faceplate from? My dealer is thus far not familiar with what I'm wanting to buy. Is there a part number? Mopar.com doesn't have anything listed either which is strange to me.

Any help on this would be great and appreciated!

Thanks again, your answer simplifies what I need to research as now I will definitely just go with a Nav plate and a double-din head unit. This is going to look pretty nice. :)

Jay
 

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Wiley said:
Can I install the speakers in the dash and doors myself or does it get a little tricky?

What size speakers go in the dashboard top? The Specialists are telling me it's only 3.5" speakers, but I could've sworn people in this forum are installing 5 1/4s...? Maybe I'm wrong in remembering what I read...?
You should be able to install them yourself as it is pretty easy. If you order through Crutchfield, they will send you the necessary adapters for the speakers so you don't have to splice, as well as detailed instructions and great support should you need it. I would recommend getting the tool to remove the door panels. It makes it much easier if you have never removed them before. The dash grills pop off, you just need to get something down in there for assistance. You shouldn't have any problems with the speaker install. Head units can be a little trickier if you have never done them before, but again Crutchfield provides fairly detailed instructions on how to do it yourself.

The dash speakers are 3 1/2. I haven't heard of anyone putting in anything bigger as it would require some cutting. A good 3 1/2 should suffice as you will definately 'hear' it with it being closer your ears. Redhouse, if I'm not mistaken, went with tweaters in his dash. That could be done with a little bit of tweaking to get them mounted.

Good luck with it all. You will be amazed at how much better it is going to sound.
 
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