Originally Posted by NeedleSharp
why yikes? im sure you know i dont totally agree with my own statement there but lets be honest, will a noob that really doesnt know shit about car audio be able to tell a considerable difference in a Sony 12" sub/amp combo than a JL combo? once he looks at the price difference, most likely not.
there is a long answer to this, or there is the short one. for his purpose, stick with a good deal on a name brand.
Well, first you have the burden of defining what is "name brand" and what isn't. And there are several name brand pieces that aren't worth the cardboard box they are packaged in. I wouldn't let anyone I know spend a dime on Sony Xplod crap if I could help it.
There are sooooooooo many different brands out there. A lot of them are good. Some of the worst ones though carry a mainstream brand name that everyone recognizes.
My recommendation would be to not cheap out. Spend time doing research, reading reviews, and if possible go listen to some different stuff in stores or even better - in vehicles. A beginner doesn't have to start out with a bunch of high-end equipment, but a lot of times getting the "cheapest deal" equates to throwing money in the trash.
And what's the rush? Why not piece together a quality system over time? If I only had $200-$300 to spend, I'd probably use that for a quality head unit. That will make his stock speakers sound better, and will provide a foundation to add to later on.
It also depends on what he wants from the system. I remember my very first aftermarket setup was just an amp and subs added to an otherwise stock stereo. But all I cared about back then was adding bass.
Really, what we need to know here is what this guy's initial budget is, the result he is hoping for, and whether or not he is willing to spend any more money on it down the road.
That's just my 2 cents.