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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Howdy Folks,

Background: Bought a used Toyota MR2-Spyder about a month ago. Had an awful aftermarket Walmart Dual HU installed. However, had a solid pair of Rockford Fosgate Punch P165-SI's in the vehicle. I went ahead and upgraded the head unit to the Pioneer DEH-S4220BT.

Issue: The car audio sounds considerably better with the new head unit but is clipping at high volume. I believe this means the speakers need more power. I would like to solve this problem as simply and painlessly possible. To me, this means buying a different head unit with an amp built in.

Proposed Solution: I am strongly considering the Sony DSX-GS80. However, I do not like the idea of running a line directly to the car battery for this. Call me lazy, a simpleton, or a weenie but I really do not want to rip the car apart to upgrade the radio. The manual for the DSX-M80 states that if your car has a 10A radio fuse you must wire to the battery to prevent shorting. The spyder does have a 15A radio fuse so no concerns there!

Question:
Considering the above, would I see a clipping decrease at high volume if I put this radio in and do not run a wire to the car battery? The sound is almost there with the current head unit and no amp. it just needs a hair bit more oomphf to hit where I would like it with the top down. If this will not provide me with any increase whatsoever I must resign to the fact that the better and more cost effective idea is to use the already-purchased head unit and pair it with a small amp.

Thanks for the input!

Edit: Perhaps another option is to pick up a head unit with 55w (20w rms) out as opposed to the 50w (14w rms) out that the DEH-S4220BT has. Will that give me the slight bump I am after? Also worth mentioning the Rockford speakers have a 60w RMS rating.
 

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You are asking questions that have been raised many times on this site. I will give you my opinions on some of them.
The clipping you are experiencing is due to driving the small amps in your receiver to near maximum levels, not the speakers. Speakers simply reproduce what signal they are given, assuming they have the headroom, which yours do.
Cars, and convertibles in particular are a lousy listening space. You will never be able to overcome this. Many have tried and failed. Even with the top up, you are battling road and wind noise, as well as mechanical noise. Facts.
You may choose to get a head unit that has outputs to connect external amps. This will help, but barring huge investment, will only go so far. The internal amps in your(any)head unit will always be a choke point. Mid and low bass simply go away in an open car like the Spyder unless you are just listening at idle, or with the car sitting turned off.
Yes, you can install a more robust system, but be prepared for reasonable expectations of the outcome. I have a small external amp(70 watts RMS), a powered subwoofer, after market seperate speakers, and a high quality head unit and even when I use my hardtop(which does quiet the interior of the car a certain amount) I still battle the external noise sources.
Not trying to dampen your enthusiasm or plans, just sharing real world experience. Hope this helps a bit, and good luck with your efforts.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your reply murray. I consider myself an at-home budget audiophile so coming to terms with sub-prime sound quality in the Spyder, due to all the factors you listed above, has been a process.

I took the gamble and snagged the Sony DSX-GS80. It honestly does sound much better than the Pioneer DEH-S4220BT both at high volume and at normal/average volume. No more clipping for sure. Also no sudden shut down of the stereo at high volume like I was concerned about since I did not run the connection to the battery. The sound is also a bit less bright than the Pioneer, which is a plus since I do feel the that Rockfords do naturally sound brighter than most car speakers.

Keeping the old shitty head unit in case I ever want to sell the vehicle I can keep the Sony unit.
 
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