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The Equipment We Chose for Our Project Car

Head Unit/Processor

  • Alpine IVA-D900 (MSRP $2,300 USA)

    The IVA-D900 is one of the first head units on the market that offers an LCD screen, MP3, and DVD/CD. The 7" pop out screen that this model uses is light years ahead of all the other players on the market. The LCD is clear and bright.

    Alpine has a bus called Ai-Net. This bus allows the head unit to connect to and control any other Alpine equipment in the car. Simply put, this head unit will be able to control the Processor, Changer, and XM Receiver. We will utilize the optical out of the head unit to connect it to the sound processor. This will eliminate the possibility of induced noise in that long connection.

  • Alpine PXA-H700 (MSRP $799 USA)

    The PXA-H700 is an extremely powerful unit. It has 3 optical inputs and decodes Dolby Digital 5.1, as well as DTS 5.1. The unit will also take a two-channel input, and output DPL-II.

    The unit features a 1/3 octave equalizer per channel, along with time delay. These two capabilities are extremely important in the car, as most of us don't sit in the middle.


  • Five Main Channels - JL Audio 300/2 (MSRP $479.95 USA) and 450/4 (MSRP $799.95 USA)

    JL's amplifiers are unique in that they produce the same power regardless of power supply voltage (12 v with engine on, 14v with engine off). This means that your system will have a consistent sound regardless of whether the engine is on or off. These Class A/B amplifiers produce 150 watts per channel, and they often bench at 170+watts per channel.

    They are also clean. They  have been benched by other publications and performed VERY well. They have a frequency response of +0 dB and -0.1dB, with a THD of 0.007%. The amplifier also offers a very high signal to noise ratio of 120 dB on the bench.


  • Sub Channel - JL Audio 1000/1 (MSRP $1,099.95 USA)

    There a quite a few car audio amplifiers on the market specifically tailored to subwoofers. There has been a big push towards higher and higher efficiencies. The 1000/1 boasts decent efficiency, and it has a very good sound quality. There is nothing wrong about bragging about efficiency, but don't forget about the overall sound while doing it. JL remembered this, and delivered with the 1000/1.

    This class D amplifier can maintain a 108 dB S/N, and 0.17% THD at full output (1,000 watts). Most class D amplifiers on the market have almost double that THD at full output.


  • Front Left / Right - DynAudio System 360 (MSRP $1,099 USA)

    I had a chance to listen to the DynAudio 360 components at CES, and instantly fell in love with these speakers. They are very natural, very smooth, and very detailed. I simply can't wait to get these installed. The 360 component set includes a 7" bass, 5" mid, and tweeter. The system comes with a matched crossover.

    These will be the main drivers for the system. Each component set will be installed in a door, with the mid and tweeter aimed for the best imaging.


  • Center, Surrounds - DynAudio System 220 MKII (MSRP $599 USA)

    It's important to timbre match the main speakers, so a similar set came to mind. The 220 MKII offers a 5" mid and tweeter, and comes with a matched crossover. This will be perfect, as it will fit in the existing rear locations without to much effort.



  • Subwoofer - JL Audio 12W7 (MSRP $749.95 USA)


    This is the bad boy of the group. I had a chance to listen and hold a 12W7 at CES. JL has broke ground by offering a subwoofer driver that can play loud, but sound extremely good as well.

    The W7 line offers a unique surround (the rubber ring at the outer edge of the cone) that maximizes cone area. In these modern day high output drivers, the surround takes up 2" of a 10" driver! JL moved the surround all the way to the edge, gaining back most of that lost cone area.


    The motor structure is built to handle 1,000 watts of clean amplifier power input. When I say built, I mean built. This is a massive driver.

Click on the link below to see the layout for this system.

System Diagram - Layout


Selecting components for that dream audio system is a lot of work, but well worth it. The next article will deal with installing all these neat goodies, problems we ran into, and how we solved them.


- Brian Weatherhead -

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