Car Audio on a Budget, the $500 Recession Buster

Planning a System on a Budget

Firstly, we’ll start with a $500 budget system. {mos_fb_discuss:4}
Just because you have a thin wallet doesnt mean you need to live without a good sounding stereo! You wont be winning SPL competitions with these systems, but they're a huge improvement over any stock system.

Wanna spend a bit more ? $1000 System


any of the brand name units are ideal (Kenwood, Alpine, Sony, Pioneer etc). I have attached below some examples of what you should be looking at. As you can see from the links around the $100-$150 mark will get you a good unit.

Clarion USB / IPod:




Front Speakers:


as this is a relatively basic system (no external amps or subs) I would suggest going with cheaper front speakers as opposed to the rears, which when planning a mid to high end sound system this is reversed. 
A pair of 6-6.5" speakers will do the job fine, either 2 way or 3 way it doesn’t really matter and will not make a big audible difference. As you can see from the links below around the $50 mark will get you a good pair of entry level speakers.

Clarion 6.5” 3 ways: 

Kenwood 3 Way: 

Pioneer 3 Way: 

Kicker 2 Way:

Alpine 2 Way:


Rear Speakers:


I suggest if possible to go with a pair of good old 6"x9" speakers....once again 2 way, 3 way, 4 way or even now they make 5 way versions, it doesn’t really matter that much. By clicking on the links below you'll notice between $80 and $120 is enough for very decent speakers.
If you cannot (or don’t want to) fit a pair of 6"x9" speakers into the parcel shelf, I would suggest going with another pair of the selected front speakers.








Important: I really can’t stress how important a quality installation is, basically you could spend several thousand on components and they would sound like crap unless they are installed properly. Chain stores have been known to do some poor quality work, but there are some stores out there that are exceptions....if they have a good rep or you’ve seen / heard their work, then it shouldn’t be problem to take it there. If you haven’t, it’s best to steer clear and head to a specialist car audio dealer. I’m not saying every single specialist store performs perfect work, but your chances of getting a rough job are minimal.

That’s a grand total of $230-$320 before installation. Installation would be around the $150-$240 mark. If you were to buy the entire system and get it installed from the one shop, most will be happy to take a few dollars of the installation too.