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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Help putting together audio system for 07 EXL

Hi, all. I've been doing a lot of reading of previous threads, talking to the sales guys at Car Toys and Best Buy, and I'm still not sure which direction to take with my car's stereo system, so I thought I'd ask you all:

I'd like a solid-sounding system for a max of roughly $1,200 total, and I'd like it to include the ability to play music from my iPhone — and. ideally, control it at least somewhat via the factory deck.

Best Buy suggested:
* A pair of Infinity component, 2-way speakers for the front ($200)
* No amp for the front speakers (they said the deck was sufficient)
* A 100-watt, 2-channel amp for a subwoofer
* A 10-inch subwoofer in a custom box, installed in my lazy susan. (They said this would involve removing the Lazy Susan lid and replacing it with a custom panel.)
* For the iPhone, they said to get the newest version of iSimple's kit.

Car Toys suggested:
* The same pair of Infinity components.
* However, they said these speakers needed power from an amp, not the deck's built-in, to really sound good.
* A 4-channel amp to drive the subwoofer and the front speakers
* A 10-inch subwoofer in a custom box. They said they could keep the Lazy Susan lid.
* A USA TEch (I believe that was the name) aux input kit.


Best Buy wanted $1,200 for their recommended set-up, and Car Toys wanted $1,548 for theirs (both prices include the extended warranties, for whatever that's worth ... or not worth).

So I'm confused about several things. The larger, easier question is which, if either, of these packages is the right one?

The particular questions are:
* Do you guys think I should get a 4-channel amp to drive the sub and the front speakers, or just get a 2-channel amp for the sub and let the deck's amp drive the front speakers?

* Isn't $200 (iSimple, installed) or $300 (USA TEch, installed) pricey? Crap, I just want to get my music into the deck.

* Do you have any recommendations on Car Toys' service/installation vs. that of Best Buy? The guys at Car Toys definitely seemed more knowledgeable, but that comes with a price bump of roughly $200...

* Does anyone know if the Lazy Susan lid can be retained if I install the subwoofer inside a custom box in it?

* And finally, if the CFO (my wife) cuts me off at closer to $800, which is fairly likely, should I leave out the subwoofer, custom box and 4-channel amp...or where should I try to cut expenses? (FWIW, I'm terrible with tools, unfortunately, so there's no way I could do any of this installation myself.)

I'm confused enough that I'm debating just getting the connection installed for my iPhone and calling it a day. But I do like a solid system with some thump to it!

Thanks in advance for any and all help you can provide.
 

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If you can't do any of the work yourself and the wife cuts you off at $800 then do the amp, sub, and iPhone adapter. Sending the bass to the sub will take the strain off your other speakers and let them sound clearer. I suspect that the Car Toys adapter was USA Spec. They built a solid reputation when I was still installing. Don't know much about iSimple as they are newer. Both of them should work fine, just check their features and compatability with your generation phone and also how upgradable they are when you get a new phone. You do not want to be buying a new adapter just because you got a new iPhone.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Greg:

How much difference do you think it a different deck would make in the system's sound?

The reason I ask is that installing the USA device is nearly $300...FOr that much, I could get a nice Alpine deck with iPod control. According to the guys at Car Toys, this would sound noticeably better than my factory deck.

The tradeoff, of course, is that I'll lose steering wheel control. But I might be willing to do that, if in fact a different deck would sound better than the factory one.
 

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An aftermarket deck will sound better than the stock one and be more flexible. You can keep your steering wheel controls with an adapter, the Metra Axxess one is my favorite. You can find them for approx. $45 online. If you don't mind the change in cosmetics then that is the way to go. Just remember to factor in the costs of the dash kit, wiring harness, and if you want, steering wheel control adaptor.
 
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