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I have a Pioneer AVIC-Z120 BT that has a built in 4-way 50 watt amp and I want to change out my factory speakers and put in component 3-way speakers up front. The folks at the stereo shop are saying that the Pioneer is too underpowered to drive these speakers efficiently? I said that I thought 50 watts would be more than enough power but they are telling me that it is a waste as I won't be getting nearly enough bang for my buck. I'd appreciate hearing an unbiased opinion. Thanks!
 

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I have a Pioneer AVIC-Z120 BT that has a built in 4-way 50 watt amp and I want to change out my factory speakers and put in component 3-way speakers up front. The folks at the stereo shop are saying that the Pioneer is too underpowered to drive these speakers efficiently? I said that I thought 50 watts would be more than enough power but they are telling me that it is a waste as I won't be getting nearly enough bang for my buck. I'd appreciate hearing an unbiased opinion. Thanks!
Let's try to kill a common misconception that appears frequently in stereo shops and discussion forums.

There is no such thing as "underpowered" or "not enough power" to "drive" a speaker - period - end of story.
The size of a speaker does not affect how much power is required to "drive" it, and neither do it's so-called power ratings.

So, what can we state for a fact as true?

1) A speaker system will produce sound with 1 watt of power. The question is how much sound. A speaker usually has a dB (decibel) rating for 1 watt of input measured at 1 meter distance from the speaker. A lower number such as 87 means the speaker will put out approximately 87 dB of volume measured at 1 meter distance, which is considered fairly inefficient while a higher number such as 91 means the speaker will put out approximately 91 dB of volume measured at 1 meter distance, which is considered fairly efficient.
2) 3) 6 dB SPL increase is perceived as an approx. 50% increase in volume by a sample group.
3) 10 dB SPL increase is perceived as an approx. 100% increase in volume by a sample group.
4) 3 dB increase = twice the power required
5) Any amplifier, whether in your head end unit or an external amplifier, is only as good as its power and ground. So, if you are going to use the head end unit to power the speakers without an external amplifier, it will need the proper wiring - minimum 8 AWG power and ground. See http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/stereo-electronics-electrical/122575-2011-audio-mod.html Part 7 - Real Power to the Head End Unit.

So, the real question is, what speakers are you using and what is their rated SPL at 1 watt at 1 meter, and the next question is how loud is loud enough? How quiet is your truck? Will you be using any sound control like Dynamat? Road, wind, and engine noise are very important considerations. If you post some more info about your system, like the model numbers you are using and your expectations for the system, I would be happy to do a little research on it.

I have speakers that produce about 91 dB at 1 watt at 1 meter, and although I would like a little more power sometimes, I do not want to go deaf, and the power from my head end unit is adequate most of the time since I ran the 8 gauge power and ground to it. Would I like to have an external amplifier? Yes. Do I need an external amplifier? No. Would an external amplifier sound better? It depends on the quality of the amplifier and on the quality of its power and ground and on the quality of the speaker wiring also.

-FJ Florida-

Footnote: for anyone who wants to read super technical stuff:

Loudness volume sound level change factor of perceived loudness formula calculate power level noise levels volume logarithm dependence three four fold loudness sound - by what factor does level decrease dependence comparison decibel levels 3 dBSPL 6

Decibel Levels and Perceived Volume Change ConradAskland.com

Sengpiel Audio has some really good stuff online, unfortunately, some of it is in German. Their calculators are in English though Audio calculations in English - acoustics calculator convert audio formulas microphone formula sound recording studio useful audio stuff free audio calculator recording studio acoustic audio engineering online education sound calcs energy calculation
 

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Thanks guys, I like reading your posts Florida you really do have a passion for sound. It is really a great blend of science and art that I feel most people don't appreciate enough. I remaster & preserve film & television sound masters for living so I know where you are coming from. I don't need to blow the doors off the truck but I do like to crank it up sometimes. Having a great system in my car has always been a priority for me but a car or truck is not what I'd consider a good space for critical listening. So that is why I wanted to see what other folks have experienced with the Pioneer. I noticed a huge difference when I swapped out the fjammer for the Pio keeping the stock speakers.So I have to admit that when I heard the folks at my stereo shop really treat me like I was committing some kind of sacrilege because I wanted to save a lot of money and use the onboard amp it really threw me. I know it's their business to sell but really? I know all amps aren't created equal but electronics have come a long way and the cheapest of car gear today is better than some of the best stuff not long ago. I better stop here or I'll start in on how "These young whipper-snappers never heard a full range analog recording so they don't know what they are missing"...
 

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Thanks guys, I like reading your posts Florida you really do have a passion for sound. It is really a great blend of science and art that I feel most people don't appreciate enough. I remaster & preserve film & television sound masters for living so I know where you are coming from. I don't need to blow the doors off the truck but I do like to crank it up sometimes. Having a great system in my car has always been a priority for me but a car or truck is not what I'd consider a good space for critical listening. So that is why I wanted to see what other folks have experienced with the Pioneer. I noticed a huge difference when I swapped out the fjammer for the Pio keeping the stock speakers.So I have to admit that when I heard the folks at my stereo shop really treat me like I was committing some kind of sacrilege because I wanted to save a lot of money and use the onboard amp it really threw me. I know it's their business to sell but really? I know all amps aren't created equal but electronics have come a long way and the cheapest of car gear today is better than some of the best stuff not long ago. I better stop here or I'll start in on how "These young whipper-snappers never heard a full range analog recording so they don't know what they are missing"...
Full range analog? I use analog Sheffield Labs direct to two track live recordings for a lot of my tests. Also 'Jazz at the Pawnshop.'

No need to stop here with the love of audio accuracy and truth, and please do not. Continue to join in with Jim Wolf and me sometime at http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/foru.../127532-stereo-sound-cents-2-concert-pro.html.

Let us know how the onboard amp works out. Make sure it has beefy wiring, and if not, fix it. It's cheap and easy.

I have to frown on the Toyota speakers that I just listened to in the 2011 audio upgrade package though - one note bass thump, no mid bass, and a whole lot of tweet. Maybe your upgrades will fix some of that. NO EQ and NO using the treble and bass controls - that's cheating! :lol: My tube preamp at home does not have those because a properly engineered system does not need them. I don't use them in my modified 2011 FJ audio system either - FLAT and NO ASL. Period.

I lied. Sometimes on the highway I use the 'low' setting on ASL.

Keep us up to date on your findings and experiences.

-FJ Florida-
 
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