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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all! :hi: I was wondering if anyone could recommend the best way to upgrade the standard factory sound system in the 2010 hybrid FWD? Meaning in a way that is both reasonably priced but will definitely improve my music experience. Please keep in mind that A: I'm a girl (so I do NOT understand tech-speak! :confused: LOL), B: I have absolutely NO experience with this kind of thing, and C: I'm a single mom on a fixed income (military), so I can't afford the "biggest and best" on the market. My previous car was an '02 VW Jetta GLS that already had a "premium" sound system in it (monsoon), and all I did was put a deck in it so I could plug my iPod directly into the system. IMO the stock speakers handled the sound very well, I listen to a lot of hip-hop and R&B so me likey da bass! LOL. Anyway, I am completely and utterly in :heart: LOVE :heart: with my new Escape and I'm determined to take great care of it AND really make it "mine" (ie: customizations, etc), I wasn't able to do a lot with the Jetta due to becoming a mom.

So yeah, any suggestions would be much appreciated! Oh and I'm hoping to not have to change out the deck again, I still have the one I put in the Jetta if I need to but I prefer to maintain as much of a clean, factory look as possible. Much thanks!!! :D

And yes, I really like smileys! LOL. :wave:
 

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showe84 said:
Hey all! :hi: I was wondering if anyone could recommend the best way to upgrade the standard factory sound system in the 2010 hybrid FWD? Meaning in a way that is both reasonably priced but will definitely improve my music experience. Please keep in mind that A: I'm a girl (so I do NOT understand tech-speak! :confused: LOL), B: I have absolutely NO experience with this kind of thing, and C: I'm a single mom on a fixed income (military), so I can't afford the "biggest and best" on the market. My previous car was an '02 VW Jetta GLS that already had a "premium" sound system in it (monsoon), and all I did was put a deck in it so I could plug my iPod directly into the system. IMO the stock speakers handled the sound very well, I listen to a lot of hip-hop and R&B so me likey da bass! LOL. Anyway, I am completely and utterly in :heart: LOVE :heart: with my new Escape and I'm determined to take great care of it AND really make it "mine" (ie: customizations, etc), I wasn't able to do a lot with the Jetta due to becoming a mom.

So yeah, any suggestions would be much appreciated! Oh and I'm hoping to not have to change out the deck again, I still have the one I put in the Jetta if I need to but I prefer to maintain as much of a clean, factory look as possible. Much thanks!!! :D

And yes, I really like smileys! LOL. :wave:
Feel free to look through my threads about audio setups, and if you want to learn how this stuff works there is no better place to start than http://www.bcae1.com

As far as budget goes, the ability to DIY keeps costs down. Are you going to learn how to do it yourself, or are you going to get a shop involved? Or friends who know what they are doing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@ fourthmeal:

Eh, in my limited experience with electronics -- AND "do it myself" projects -- I find it's always best to get a professional involved, even if that means spending more $$$. Not only is it more likely to be done correctly, but there is the added benefit that if it isn't, there's usually some sort of warranty or labor guarantee to fall back on. And I just don't trust myself OR any of my buddies to do something like this, especially on a brand-new vehicle. Maybe if I knew someone who did that for a living, but since I don't, then yeah, the shop it is LOL. I expect to feel the pain in my wallet for the shop work, which is why I was trying to find speakers, etc that were moderately priced but would still give me what I want. Also I don't really share the passion in that area that someone like yourself or any of the other DIY-ers in this forum do, so it wouldn't do me much good to try to learn about something that I'm just not interested in, LOL. But I do appreciate your feedback! :D
 

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OK, when a shop is involved the best thing you can do here is find one that is trust-worthy. I can tell you that in many shops I visit, I walk out shaking my head wondering how long they'll be in business. And sure enough, with few exceptions, they are gone in months. You see, there are a lot of hack shops out there. This is one reason why I do my own installs, money being another.

Here's the fun thing about most shops that you need to know: If you want them to install something, they will probably be the ones to sell it to you. What that means to you is that you will have to balance the fact that they will want to sell you something they stock, not necessarily the best thing for your needs. I've gone to many shops that simply say "brand x" is the best, and that's that. If I mention a brand that is also top-tier but not on their buy-sheet, they will disparage it. This btw is my sign that I am dealing with some idiots. Example: If I want into a shop, and they carry JL Audio, Clarion, Eclipse, Pioneer, and ARC, they will probably lead me toward JL or ARC being the best. They are like the Lexus or Mercedes Benz of car audio. But say I own a Sinfoni or Brax amp. Those are more like a Bentley, or Rolls-Royce. These yahoos are quite likely to disparage them simply because they do not sell them. Know what I mean?

Anyway, given that a shop will be involved, its time to put in the groundwork and look for a nice shop. The DIY mobile audio forum that I'm a member of might be a good place to start. We have a "professionals" sub-forum that you can place a request for a local shop to work with, and most shops that bother with the DIYMA forum are pretty solid. You may need to register, here's a link to the professionals section though:
http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/pro ... nstallers/

And if you don't want to register to post, I'll post on your behalf but I need to know your location and level willingness to travel, as well as that max distance.
 

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Congrats on the new Hybrid, not too many Hybrid people here working on installs. What all do you feel that your sound system is lacking? I assume it does not have the NAV or the Sub? Does it have Sync? Do you have an estimate as to what your budget is? As far as what fourthmeal has said I view his advice as Golden :kneel: @ fourthmeal
 

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LOL...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
dyceskynes said:
Congrats on the new Hybrid, not too many Hybrid people here working on installs. What all do you feel that your sound system is lacking? I assume it does not have the NAV or the Sub? Does it have Sync? Do you have an estimate as to what your budget is? As far as what fourthmeal has said I view his advice as Golden :kneel: @ fourthmeal
@ fourthmeal:

Thanks so much! At first I was worried no one was going to help me, I kept seeing all these views but no replies. :(

Honestly, I was thinking of just going to Best Buy to find the speakers and have them install them, being that they did the deck and GPS in my Jetta and then re-installed the GPS in the Escape.....exactly what level of stupid would that place me at?? LOL. :lol: :blush:

@ dyceskynes:

Thank you, I absolutely LOOOOVE my hybrid! :heart: My favorite part is how quiet it is, especially when you first turn the key in the ignition -- if you don't know any better, you wonder what's wrong with it that it didn't start up? LOL. My bf did that the first time I let him drive it, he was like :confused: "Why didn't it start??"

It's actually the base model, but SYNC is standard in all the hybrids (another AWESOME feature!!!) But nope, no NAV or sub (didn't want to spend the extra $2,000 on the NAV and leather, etc, when I had a GPS already). As I think I mentioned before, my Jetta had a "premium" sound system, Monsoon, and the sound quality including bass was good enough for me. Adding the deck did improve it. I just don't think the factory system handles bass or even high notes very well. I like to listen to my music LOUD too, btw. :shades: As far as what my budget would be, I'd prefer to spend no more than $200, but if that's unreasonable, hey, there's always credit cards! LOL. ;)
 

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Yeah, $200 isn't going to cut it.

This Ford and its audio "system" has too much going against it to get $200 to do anything productive. The MONSOON audio system, which I had in my Pontiac Trans Am Ram-Air, has upgraded parts all around and is indeed "decent". However, most aftermarket gear, properly installed, will sound far better.

My minimum recommendation for the Escape/Mariner/Tribute vehicle is to deaden/seal the front doors (they are rattle traps, and better speakers will display this fault all too quickly), install a new set of front speakers (preferably component speakers with the tweeters installed in the A-pillar), a 4ch amplifier powering the front pair of speakers, and a single modest subwoofer, and finally if you wish a different head unit or at least a processor that can take the signals from the stock unit and do something with it to improve the sound quality.

So at a minimum that's:

deadening/sealing
Either replacement head unit or possibly a processor to make use of the stock HU (smart if you want to keep the stock look AND SYNC)
a small but capable 4ch amp
a small 6.5" - 8" sub, built in a well-made box (I make boxes.)
a pair of front coaxial or component speakers (with the A-pillar up front housing the tweeter if component)

If you were to DIY everything yourself, the wiring, and deadening alone would total over $200. Two bills will barely get anything done in install terms, as well. Simply put, more money is needed to complete this task properly and with satisfaction. If DIY is involved, then the minimum I see this turning out to cost would be around $700. That would be either with the stock HU and a processor to handle it, OR your head unit you have and the proper wiring to get it to fit this vehicle. Fair warning, this vehicle needs a special dash kit and wiring harness when you replace the deck, and the price off all that done perfectly right costs a couple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
WOW! Well thank you for being honest, I will definitely keep this info in mind when I decide to do the upgrade. :D
 

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As I mentioned to showe84 in another post. I think that she can do the install herself. At least the door speakers. With all the how do's (some with pics) here on E-C and help all around.
 

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oskerb said:
As I mentioned to showe84 in another post. I think that she can do the install herself. At least the door speakers. With all the how do's (some with pics) here on E-C and help all around.
That's how I would do it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
fourthmeal said:
oskerb said:
As I mentioned to showe84 in another post. I think that she can do the install herself. At least the door speakers. With all the how do's (some with pics) here on E-C and help all around.
That's how I would do it!
The only way I'd do that is with someone who knows what they're doing physically there with me and helping guide me. I don't mind getting my hands a little dirty (that's what gloves are for, right? LOL), but I'm paranoid about spending money on something only to f*ck it up....and if I'm doing it myself, there's no warranty to fall back on. :worry:
 

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Warranty shmoaranty.

Viva la DIY!

Seriously though, there's not much a warranty will do for you about your door panels. You can do this. But you need some tools.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
fourthmeal said:
Warranty shmoaranty.

Viva la DIY!

Seriously though, there's not much a warranty will do for you about your door panels. You can do this. But you need some tools.
....and preferably a garage or some shade, it's waaay too hot to be doing that stuff outside in front of my apartment! :shock:
 

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showe84 said:
fourthmeal said:
Warranty shmoaranty.

Viva la DIY!

Seriously though, there's not much a warranty will do for you about your door panels. You can do this. But you need some tools.
....and preferably a garage or some shade, it's waaay too hot to be doing that stuff outside in front of my apartment! :shock:
Yes. I was fortunate to have a garage in my apartment dwellings before I stepped up to houses. BTW, given the market of today you will likely find houses to be significantly cheaper to rent than apartments. Though if you are on-base, the rules may be different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
fourthmeal said:
showe84 said:
fourthmeal said:
Warranty shmoaranty.

Viva la DIY!

Seriously though, there's not much a warranty will do for you about your door panels. You can do this. But you need some tools.
....and preferably a garage or some shade, it's waaay too hot to be doing that stuff outside in front of my apartment! :shock:
Yes. I was fortunate to have a garage in my apartment dwellings before I stepped up to houses. BTW, given the market of today you will likely find houses to be significantly cheaper to rent than apartments. Though if you are on-base, the rules may be different.
From what I've seen they're about the same or a little more, just very rare. My bf and I are actually moving closer in September when our lease is up (he's on the lease and if we break it early he has to pay money, otherwise we'd have moved sooner). I've found a couple websites that cater to military moving into the area, but otherwise there aren't too many like on rent.com, just apartments and townhouses.
 

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I'm at ft campbell where r u guys stationed. There couple if websites that cater to buying or renting in military towns when one pcs's or just moves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
oskerb said:
I'm at ft campbell where r u guys stationed. There couple if websites that cater to buying or renting in military towns when one pcs's or just moves.
I just moved from APG, MD to Ft. Meade, MD (had to re-up for it). My bf works as a federal po-po on base. We share an off-base apt about 50+ miles away right now, it was closer to APG for me but now that I don't work there anymore, we want to move closer. That commute kills me in the evening!
 

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I think you could do your front door speakers and deadening without anything special. But for the sake of simplicity I would suggest sticking with the 5x7 speaker size. I would definitely amplify these, but you can use stock wiring and simply connect to it at the wiring in the dash harness area, a simple job of soldering or even just crimping with the right parts.

Things you probably can't do out in the parking lot might be A-pillar tweeter installation, but you could easily pop them out of the vehicle, and do them inside or on a porch or something. A hole saw and a drill and you're golden.

Running power wire to an amp is cake, too. A small 4ch amp would need nothing more than 8 gauge wire, and that will fit on the left side of the car with nothing more than a few panels popped off and put back on. Its a 10 minute job without any tools other than a panel popper, which is something you can buy on your way through buying your speakers and whatnot.

For a sub, I can definitely build you a simple subwoofer design if you want. I'm a huge fan of small subs. I find they are fun to play with and when properly made a small sub box can really impress. They are also cheaper and require less box size to work with. A big 10 or 12 also works great, but may take more space. Either way, I own the same vehicle and I can build and ship just about anything. Buying "generic" sub boxes somewhere works ok with some designs, but if you want to get the most from the least, you should invest in a custom box that is specifically made for a certain subwoofer, as they work together. The word "universal" is often used in audio boxes but in reality it means "extreme compromise" in most situations.

Getting back to reality for a second,

If you want to do this, I recommend you do it in stages. Probably start with the head unit. You can purchase your dash kit, wiring harness, and adapters for your SYNC or whatever you want, and install your head unit. When you are in there, you can pre-wire some things for future upgrade-ability. Depending on your head unit of choice, you will probably spend $400-600 here, about 1/3 of that being just the wiring and dash kit stuff. There will be good instructions that come with it, and with basic tools it is DIY work. If you do buy a deck, I urge you to get one that has 3 RCA pre out sets. Front/Rear/Subwoofer. This is how amps connect to the head unit.

2nd stage can be either amplifier/sub, or speaker/deadening. I would probably do the speaker/deadening first but if you want bass you could do the amp/sub first. We can cover that in a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
fourthmeal said:
I think you could do your front door speakers and deadening without anything special. But for the sake of simplicity I would suggest sticking with the 5x7 speaker size. I would definitely amplify these, but you can use stock wiring and simply connect to it at the wiring in the dash harness area, a simple job of soldering or even just crimping with the right parts.

Things you probably can't do out in the parking lot might be A-pillar tweeter installation, but you could easily pop them out of the vehicle, and do them inside or on a porch or something. A hole saw and a drill and you're golden.

Running power wire to an amp is cake, too. A small 4ch amp would need nothing more than 8 gauge wire, and that will fit on the left side of the car with nothing more than a few panels popped off and put back on. Its a 10 minute job without any tools other than a panel popper, which is something you can buy on your way through buying your speakers and whatnot.

For a sub, I can definitely build you a simple subwoofer design if you want. I'm a huge fan of small subs. I find they are fun to play with and when properly made a small sub box can really impress. They are also cheaper and require less box size to work with. A big 10 or 12 also works great, but may take more space. Either way, I own the same vehicle and I can build and ship just about anything. Buying "generic" sub boxes somewhere works ok with some designs, but if you want to get the most from the least, you should invest in a custom box that is specifically made for a certain subwoofer, as they work together. The word "universal" is often used in audio boxes but in reality it means "extreme compromise" in most situations.

Getting back to reality for a second,

If you want to do this, I recommend you do it in stages. Probably start with the head unit. You can purchase your dash kit, wiring harness, and adapters for your SYNC or whatever you want, and install your head unit. When you are in there, you can pre-wire some things for future upgrade-ability. Depending on your head unit of choice, you will probably spend $400-600 here, about 1/3 of that being just the wiring and dash kit stuff. There will be good instructions that come with it, and with basic tools it is DIY work. If you do buy a deck, I urge you to get one that has 3 RCA pre out sets. Front/Rear/Subwoofer. This is how amps connect to the head unit.

2nd stage can be either amplifier/sub, or speaker/deadening. I would probably do the speaker/deadening first but if you want bass you could do the amp/sub first. We can cover that in a bit.
OK, about the dash kit though....the A/C, heat, etc are all part of the head unit, how would I deal with that? I have a deck with USB audio connection, etc that I had in the Jetta, but idk if it would work with the SYNC.
 
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