Car audio upgrade questions

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Spikedriver

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OK, so I bought a brand new Toyota Tacoma last summer and the OEM stereo is junk. It has tweeter in the dash, 6x9 speakers in the front doors, and 6.5 round speakers in the rear doors. The stock head unit doesn't even have enough power to run the rear speakers. (I checked online and this is a very common issue. At 100% volume the rear speakers are so quiet you can barely hear them over the engine.) So I'm looking at upgrading, but finding it's a lot more complicated than it was back in the 80s. You have to take the doors completely apart to put new speakers in and to run an amp you have to take the dash apart to run the wires. Has anybody here done anything like this?
 

Peanut

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I started a stereo change back in the summer and I'm still not finished. The Gm stock radio/cd had been dying for months (2002 Silverado). I bought a bunch of crap I didn't need, including a radio that did't fit that I can't return. Probably wasted $150.

Then I finally found an old fashioned car stereo shop, in another state! (100+ miles) These guys knew everything about my truck and knew exactly what I needed. Using a couple things I'd already purchased they showed me exactly how to do it with a basic radio/cd/thumb drive port. They charged me $90 for the radio but couldn't do the work. They have a 2 week waiting list. But I did see my new radio fit in my truck. There is just a cable that has to be spliced.

I've been procrastinating since then, trying to pick a good time to pull my trucks dash apart.

In the 80's one radio would fit any vehicle, not now. There are many variations and have a completely different vocabulary.

This necessitates finding someone who knows all the particulars. I'd have saved myself lots of time, trouble and cash if I'd taken the time to speak to an expert first.
 
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Spikedriver

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I started a stereo change back in the summer and I'm still not finished. The Gm stock radio/cd had been dying for months (2002 Silverado). I bought a bunch of crap I didn't need, including a radio that did't fit that I can't return. Probably wasted $150.

Then I finally found an old fashioned car stereo shop, in another state! (100+ miles) These guys knew everything about my truck and knew exactly what I needed. Using a couple things I'd already purchased they showed me exactly how to do it with a basic radio/cd/thumb drive port. They charged me $90 for the radio but couldn't do the work. They have a 2 week waiting list. But I did see my new radio fit in my truck. There is just a cable that has to be spliced.

I've been procrastinating since then, trying to pick a good time to pull my trucks dash apart.

In the 80's one radio would fit any vehicle, not now. There are many variations and have a completely different vocabulary.

This necessitates finding someone who knows all the particulars. I'd have saved myself lots of time, trouble and cash if I'd taken the time to speak to an expert first.
This is what I'm finding. The radio head unit has a lot more functions than just sound. If you want an aftermarket unit that will work with your vehicle it has to be programmed to your vehicles specs.

Used to be you got under the dash, loosened some screws, took out the radio and wired in the new one. Same with speakers, a couple screws, take off the grille, take out the speakers, and put in the new. Now the grilles are integral with the panels and you need a special tool kit to get everything apart. I'm starting to think I'll just take it to an audio shop and pay 250 extra for their guys, who know what they're doing, to rig it up.
 

Peanut

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Sounds like a good plan. I wish the guys I found could do it but they're so far away. The guy was good enough to sketch me out a diagrams of the hookups/connections. It's not complicated given my background in electronics. It's just a matter of making time for it. The cd player still works in the old one but I'm about sick of cd's.
 

zoomzoom

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I'll second getting a professional to do it.
When I got my 2016 Silverado, like your Tacoma, the stereo sucked.
I had a professional install high-end Alpine speakers and amp. (I skipped the head unit as it was another $4500). Even they had issues getting everything together. E.g. There's a converter needed since replacing all the OEM speakers, you lose all your vehicle sounds that are now designed to pump through the speakers (e.g. turn signals, door chimes...). Without the converter, you lose all vehicle sounds.
 

Morgan101

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Pay the professional. If it doesn't work or something goes wrong take it right back until it works correctly. It will be money well spent.
 

Bacpacker

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I'd pay to get it done as well. Money well spent if you value your time.
I'd suggest looking at one that would do Sirius radio too. Wives car had it from factory and I'd love it, on trips in particular.
 

Spikedriver

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I'd pay to get it done as well. Money well spent if you value your time.
I'd suggest looking at one that would do Sirius radio too. Wives car had it from factory and I'd love it, on trips in particular.
I have XM in my Equinox. I do like it but I've found that I listen to Spotify about as much.

Looks like I'll be taking it to an audio shop whenever I get around to it, and I have a few hundred extra in my pocket for an amp and some speakers. Alternatively, I may just have some very high quality 6x9 speakers put in the front doors and call it good. I'm not 21 anymore, I don't need the music so loud it makes my ears bleed...
 

Bacpacker

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I have XM in my Equinox. I do like it but I've found that I listen to Spotify about as much.

Looks like I'll be taking it to an audio shop whenever I get around to it, and I have a few hundred extra in my pocket for an amp and some speakers. Alternatively, I may just have some very high quality 6x9 speakers put in the front doors and call it good. I'm not 21 anymore, I don't need the music so loud it makes my ears bleed...
I always tell my wife, If it's too Loud, Your too Old!!! She sometimes fails to see the humor.

XM was just a suggestion. It works for us, when we travel in particular. I'm sure it's not for everyone. I just like it lets you skip all them dang commercials. My radio don't have a mute button
 

Spikedriver

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I always tell my wife, If it's too Loud, Your too Old!!! She sometimes fails to see the humor.

XM was just a suggestion. It works for us, when we travel in particular. I'm sure it's not for everyone. I just like it lets you skip all them dang commercials. My radio don't have a mute button
I do long trips at least 4 times a month, sometimes up to and including trips of 28 hours drive time. I definitely do appreciate the commercial free radio. I find I listen to a lot of sports talk. I'm picky about my music and even with XM I sometimes can't find anything I want to listen to. I'm always scanning for a different song. Drives my daughter nuts...but it's why I like Spotify. I have several different playlists, each over an hour long, and since I chose every song, they're all songs I really like...
 

Spikedriver

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Good deal finding something that works right for you. I assume Spotify is similar to Pandora or I Heart Radio?
TBH I'm not sure about that. Pandora used to be similar to Sirius/XM bit I don't know about how it works now. Spotify is just an app for your phone. Basically every song on earth is available for you to choose from. You can compile your own Playlist or listen to other Playlists in any genre or category you like. You can also get podcasts. There's a subscription version that has no commercials and more features, or if you're a tightass like me you can stick with the free version. It has commercials but sometimes you can choose to listen to certain ones and then you get 30 minutes ad-free. The only downside is when you drive through a cell phone dead spot, you can lose service...
 

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