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Copy of the CAC Good, Bad, and Ugly List

There have been a lot of times when I have wanted to point someone to this list, but you have to be registered on CAC in order to view it. Therefore, I am creating this post on this forum so that we have a copy of the list here.

Note that you should check both the general section AND the equipment-specific section as not all brands are included in both!

This list is the property of:

Chris from Washington
GlassWolf
Ryan from Ohio
Justin from Detroit or
William from NOLA

At www.caraudiocentral.net

Posting this list in part or whole is not permitted without express permission or credit given.

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This is the infamous Good, Bad, and Ugly list.

These are some generalized groupings and very subjective. We’ve simply stated our experiences with the products whether they are direct installs, personal property or extensive research. You should always physically audition a product before purchase because you are the one who will determine whether or not an item “sounds good” or not.
The overall groupings are based on performance, reliability, and build quality, without regard to price.

This topic, while being controversial, is simply a generalized guide meant for beginners in the hobby. Many brands specialize in certain items, ie. better amplifiers than speakers, better mids than subs, etc… Also almost all manufacturers offer entry level products as well as high performance lines. Good luck with your decisions.

We’ve broken this section into 4 categories:

  1. Bad (avoid)
  2. Questionable (mixed reviews, disputed, unsure, or depends on the item)
  3. Good (just about always worth consideration)
  4. Highly Recommended (considered audiophile grade)

This is the general section:

Bad

American HiFi (Rockwood)
American Pro
Audiobahn (speakers and subwoofers)
Audiovox
Automobile
Becker
Boss
DHD
Dual
JDL
Jensen
Kenwood (speakers and amplifiers)
Kingwood
Kole
Kraco
Kronik
LA Sound
Legacy
Lightining Audio
MA Audio
Optimus (Radio Shack)
Power Acoustik
Profile
Pyle
Pyramid
Rockwood
SAS Bazooka (amplifiers)
Sherwood
Sony (anything by Sony except the older Mobile ES line)
Sound Storm (owned by BOSS Audio)
Sparkomatic
SPL Audio
Thump
Ultimate Sounds
Volfenhag

Questionable

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Blaupunkt (Bosch)
Aiwa
Crunch
Elemental Designs (eD)
Harmon-Kardon (current, Phoenix Gold owned)
Hollywood
Infinity (amplifiers, reference components)
Kenwood (head units)
Kicker Solobaric (L5, L7, Solo-X square subs)
Lanzar
Lightning Audio
Matsui
Onyx Mobile Audio
Panasonic
Phoenix Gold (anything after the mid 1990s)
Pioneer (amplifiers)
SAS Bazooka (bass tubes)
Soundstream (current Power Acoustik owned products)
Visonik

Good

Adire Audio
a/d/s (present DEI owned items)
Alpine
Altec Lansing
Alumapro
Ample Audio
Audiobahn (amplifiers)
Audio Development
Audiomobile
Autotek
Avionixx
Boston Acoustics
Bravox
Cadence (current amplifier products)
CD Technologies (CDT)
Cerwin Vega (subs)
Clarion (head units)
Coustic
Crossfire
Crystal
Directed (DEI)
Earthquake
Eaton
Elevation Audio
Helix
Hifonics
Illusion
Infinity
JBL (amplifiers)
JVC Digifine
Kicker (excluding square solobaric speakers)
Lunar
Memphis Audio
MTX
Orion (current DEI products)
Phoenix Gold (older 1990s amplifiers, subwoofers)
Pioneer (subwoofers)
Planet Audio (amplifiers, owned by BOSS Audio)
Polk Audio
Rockford Fosgate
Soundstream (older pre-Power Acoustik amplifiers)
US Acoustics
Viper

Highly Recommended

a/d/s (older 1980s, early 90s pre-ADST products)
Alpine (old “6 green preset buttons” head units)
Alpine F#1status
Arc Audio
Ascendant Audio
Audax
Audiocontrol
Brax/Helix
Butler Audio
Diamond Audio
Digital Designs (DD)
DLS
DynAudio
Eclipse (Fujitsu Ten)
Esoteric Audio/Streetwires
Focal
Harrison Labs
Image Dynamics (ID)
Infinity Kappa/Kappa Perfect components
Iraggi Alternators
JL Audio
KEF Kar components
Kove
LCY
Luxman
MB Quart
McIntosh Laboratories
MMATS
Morel
Nakamichi (tape transports)
Ohio Generator
Orion (older SX, GX, HCCA, GS, and XTR lines)
OZ Audio
Pioneer Premiere (head units)
Precision Power (PPI)
Rainbow
Resonant Engineering (RE)
Rockford Fosgate (older 1980s and early 1990s products)
ScanSpeak
SEAS
Sinfoni
Stinger
Treo
TRU Technology
US Amps
Vifa
Wrangler Alternators
Xtant
Zapco

This is the equipment-specific section:

Head units
———————-

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Highly Recommended

Alpine
Clarion ProAudio
Eclipse
JVC Arsenal
Pioneer Premier
Sony Mobile ES (from the early 1990’s only, rare)

Good

Clarion
JVC
Nakamichi
Panasonic MXE
Pioneer

Questionable

Blaupunkt
Kenwood
Panasonic

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Avoid

Audiovox
Boss
Dual
Jensen
Sanyo
Sony

Amplifiers
———————-

Highly Recommended

Arc Audio
Audison
Brax
Eclipse
Esoteric Audio
Elevation Audio
Genesis
Harrison Labs
Helix
JBL (Crown made models)
JL Audio
McIntosh Laboratories
Memphis Audio
Orion (pre-DEI)
PPI Art series
Rockford Fosgate (early 90s, Punch and Power series)
Tru
US Amps
Xtant
Zapco

Good

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Alpine
Autotek
Avionixx
Cadence
Concept
Crossfire
Diamond Audio
Directed (DEI)
Earthquake
JBL
Kicker
MA Audio
MTX Audio
Phoenix Gold
Planet Audio
Rockford Fosgate (Power and Punch series)
SoundStream
US Acoustics

Questionable

Alphasonik
Audiobahn
Cerwin Vega
Coustic
HiFonics
Lanzar
Lightning Audio
Power Acoustik
Tsunami

Avoid

Bazooka
Crunch
Jensen
Legacy
Optimus
Pyle
Pyramid
Sony
Visonik
Volfenhag

Main Speakers
———————-

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Highly Recommended

Adire Audio
Alpine (F1 Status components)
Arc Audio
Beyma
Boston Acoustics
Bravox (component sets)
CD Technologies (CDT)
Diamond Audio
DLS
Dyn Audio
Eclipse
Focal
HI-VI Research
Illusion Audio
Image Dynamics
Infinity (Kappa Perfect series)
JL Audio (XR components)
JL ZR component line
LPG
Max-Fidelity
MB Quart
Morel
Rainbow
Resonant Engineering
Scan-Speak
Seas
Vifa
Visatron

Good

Alpine
Boston Acoustics (lower model lines)
Bravox (coaxials)
Cerwin Vega
Crystal
Earthquake
Fusion
Infinity (Kappa and Reference series)
JBL
Kicker
Memphis Audio
Pioneer
Polk Audio
Rockford Fosgate

Questionable

Planet Audio

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Avoid

Audiobahn
Boss
Crunch
Dual
Jensen
Powerbase/Powerbass
Sony

Subwoofers
———————-

Highly Recommended

Adire Audio
Alpine (Type-X series)
Alumapro
Arc Audio
Ascendant Audio
Boston Acoustics
Crystal
Diamond Audio
Digital Designs (DD)
DLS
Dyn Audio
Earthquake
Eclipse
Elevation Audio
Focal
Funky Pups <—- This being in the highly
recommended section is a joke,
in case anyone doesn’t know.
Image Dynamics
Inhuman Audio
JL Audio
Kicker (CompVR series)
MB Quart
Memphis (Mojo series)
MMats
OZ Audio
Rainbow
Resonant Engineering
Treo

Good

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Alpine (Type-R or S series)
Bravox
CD Technologies (CDT)
Cerwin Vega
Concept
Earthquake
Fi Audio
Fusion
Infinity (Kappa series and up)
MTX Audio (8000’s and up)
Onyx Audio
Phoenix Gold
Pioneer
Polk Audio
Rockford Fosgate
Xtant

Questionable

Coustic
Elemental Designs
HiFonics
SoundStream

Avoid

Alphasonik
Alpine (Type-E series)
Audiobahn
Autotek
Bazooka
Boss
Crunch
Dual
Jensen
Kenwood
Lightning Audio
MTX (6000’s and under)
Pioneer (lower models)
Planet Audio
Power Acoustik
Pyle
Sony
Volfenhag

Wiring
———–

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Highly Recommended

Audiopipe
Audison Connect
Hooker Audio
Knukonceptz
JL Interconnects
Streetwires
Tsunami

Good

Directed
Kicker
Phoenix Digital
Raptor
Scosche

Questionable

American Bass
Audiobahn (RCA cables didn’t last long)
MA Audio

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Avoid

(none placed here yet)

Batteries
—————

Highly Recommended

Deka
Interstate
Kinetic
Northstar
Optima
Stinger

Good

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Die Hard (sold by Sears)
Duralast
Eagle Picher
Everstart (Maxx battery only)
Exstatic
Scosche
Tsunami

Questionable

(none placed here yet)

Avoid

(none placed here yet)

Alternators
——————-

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Highly Recommended

(none placed here yet)

Good

Excessive Amperage
H/O alternators
Iraggi Alternators
Motor City Reman
Ohio Generator

Questionable

(none placed here yet)

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Avoid

(none placed here yet)

Dash Kits/Install Accessories
———————————————

Highly Recommended

Metra

Good

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American International
Scosche

Questionable

Scosche (the ones found at Wal-Mart only)

Avoid

(none placed here yet)

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. DimDDR

    October 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    This info needs update asap!!!

  2. Jesse James

    December 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    lets get that 2013 list up to date!

    • MotoChrome

      June 19, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      most of it is still accurate here now in the 2015

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