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I'm planning to get a new LX soon - the audio is really the biggest drawback for me to LX over EX (though map lights would be nice). If I go with the LX, I'd like to make a couple of simple upgrades. I am not an audiophile, and have always had cars with poor sound quality, so i'm used to it - but, I love music, and want to step up a bit. I listen to indie rock, folk, etc...just want crisp sound. I don't need extreme bass/volume or audiophile sound quality. Hoping to keep total cost under $300.

Speakers: How much of a difference will this make? Obviously no tweeters or sub, but with the stock stereo and upgraded speakers will the sound be significantly improved?

Head unit: May decide to upgrade the HU as well, since adding ipod compatibility would be nice. Will this impact sound quality at all? Again, won't be adding an amp, sub, etc but if this alone will improve sound quality and give me a USB jack, then I may consider it.

Any suggestions for a head unit that looks "stock"? Everything I have seen looks gaudy/cheap...i just want a simple unit with intuitive controls that, ideally, looks seamless and not like a cheesy add-on. Anything that fills up the entire space...or will I end up with a "hole" below the unit?

Did some searches but couldn't find this info anywhere - thanks for your help!
 

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I would do a new set of front speakers and a new head unit. I just got a Premier fh-p800bt and LOVE it. Its a double din, so it takes up the whole opening. I've gotten so many compliments on how nice it looks. Not to mention all the features. The premier version is just slightly different in that it has the option to turn off the amp, but the regular version can be had for 200-250. I HIGHLY recommend it. Here is a link to the Pioneer website info.

ElementPimp also installed one and took some pics in this thread.

If you do a little searching on here, you can find plenty of models of speakers that fit in the factory opening with little to no modification. I had a pair of simple infinity coaxials at one point and was pretty happy until the audio bug hit :D

*Edit* Forgot to mention some of my favorite things on the fh-p800bt. Its got great ipod control. You can hook a usb or harddrive up and play music off that. In addition to the usb aux, it has an additional regular rca aux you can you at the same time (you could hook that up to the factory aux in) as well as the ability to add xm or sirius (i've added xm, which functions flawlessly). Its got decent crossover controls and 4 volt preouts if you ever decide to add some aftermarket amps. All this plus a remote control.
 
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