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Old 09-09-2010, 12:30 AM   #1
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I'm tired of this shitty headunit and ****-weak door speakers. My urine hitting the toilet bowl makes more toneful sounds than these pieces of ****, and my headunit literally skips if I run over a rock (Dead serious).

I'm tired of this. I'm trying to decide on what to do, so I'm looking at what some of you have done. So, to start:

1. I want bass. I don't listen to rap or anything really bass-heavy, but the bullshit in here now even ruins Coldplay with how little bass they have. I listen mostly to things like Pink Floyde, Collective Soul, Supertramp, stuff like that. Occasionally I crank the rock like Scorpions and Zepple. I have no idea where to even begin when it comes to subs. I don't want some show car, frame vibrating box that takes up the whole trunk, I want to retain as much space as I can. I was thinking a single 10" enclosed sub, though I don't know what I'm talking about.

I heard that the bigger you get, the "Lazier" the sub becomes. Things like "Gangster-rap" (Whatever that is) would be good with 15s because they're booming loud and lazy subs, but if you tried to play some Supertramp through those they wouldn't sound good because they're just not designed for it. Is this line of thinking somewhat correct?

2. I want to replace the bullshit door speakers. How big is the stock speaker opening and how far can it be expanded? I heard someone say (Over on M.net or something) that they managed to put in 5.25" door speakers and it improved things immensely, can anyone confirm that this would be a good improvement?

What will I need. I'm not really asking you to spoon feed me here, but I really know NOTHING about car audio so I don't even know where to begin. From what I can gather I'll need speakers and a sub (herp derp), a new head unit, a crossover (Will I need this? Will I see benifit enough to make it worth the price?) And an amp for the sub (Speakers too?)

NOTE: This is the kind of music I listen too. It's a good example because it really sums up the base, tone and pace of 9/10ths of my music.


Sorry for the very noobish thread, but I know nothing and would like to learn something.
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:31 AM   #2
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I recently replaced my door speakers for the second time, and am REALLY pleased with the results. I went with Polk DXi650 speakers in the doors, and I already have larger Pioneer 4'' speakers in the headrests, powered by a Pioneer HU. After upgrading the door speakers, I don't even feel the need to do an amp or sub. I was considering a small amp, but I really don't think I need it. The only thing you need to do to install 6.5'' door speakers is ditch the factory speaker tub, and drill new holes for mounting the speakers, which took me all of 5 minutes per side. Otherwise it fit perfectly. I would suggest at least trying good speakers first before going all out with an amp and sub. I produce enough bass to suit my music taste, surprising amounts for a 6.5'' speaker, maybe it's to do with the thin door skin acting like a drum. I could recommend the Polks more, they are the best I have ever heard, and I have done a lot of simple HU and speaker setups. In all honesty, I think more sub installs in cars sound like ****. Unless you go ALL OUT and add a **** ton of sound/vibration deadening material, you will hear a bunch of rattles and buzzes. Plus to me, the amount of bass a sub puts out is really too much for good music listening (outside of most rap, which is just a bunch of bass and **** anyway). The pressure waves from any considerable sub will distort everything else higher up in frequency. I actually turn my home theater sub off when listening to music because of this. But to sound like a broken record, seriously, try a good speaker setup first, with a decent HU. I bet you will be pleased, especially if going from stock or lesser quality. The change from 5.25'' I used to have in the doors to the 6.5'' is literally night and day. Much more volume and much more bass.

Big subs hit harder, but unless you are listening to rap, which doesn't really require a good and clean sound, smaller is better for clarity. Less mass to move means faster response and a much more musical sub. Big subs should be left for home theater applications, unless you are building an SPL car, which you are not.

As for my recommendations...

I have always been a fan of Pioneer HU's, anything above their bottom tier stuff will be fine, they are all rated about the same and have most of the same technology in them. Plus Pioneer typically doesn't have that cheap, ricey look most other brands (Sony) has. Very tasteful and most would match a Miata interior well. Mine even has the correct display colors and lights to match the gauges green.

For speakers, try these. For $99 a set, they are a steal. Some of the best build quality I have ever seen, on top of the best sound I have heard.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Polk+Aud...i650&cp=1&lp=1

And if you want to spend the extra for headrest speakers, which I recommend (if you have the money to spend), two sets of these

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Polk+Aud...&skuId=1002797

I'm still running the lesser Pioneer 4'' speakers, but would like to get these eventually, just couldn't justify the extra $160 when I got the fronts. I heard them in store though, and the blew away any of the other 4'' speakers.

While I'm writing a book, I'll also add that the stock headrest speakers are not 4'', and they are a bit of a tight fit. I had to cut out a little of the foam to make room, and the magnet is touching the seat frame. Cover still goes on the seat and it still zips, has just a very very minor bulge (maybe 1/2'' from factory), but I never use my headrest anyway, too awkward of an angle on my neck. Are 4'' speakers in your ears good for your hearing? Probably not, but it sure helps to hear your music with your top down doing 80mph on the interstate. Can still hear the music clearly. I also keep the front to rear fade at 8 front out of 15, so very front biased, just the rear for the help at higher speeds when wind noise gets ridiculous.

All of that said, I couldn't imagine my system with a small amp powering it. I already have badly ringing ears when I get to work after blasting music for 30 minutes.

Last edited by NA6C-Guy; 09-09-2010 at 05:50 AM.
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:56 AM   #3
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I've used a set of Audiobahn 5.25" marine speakers in my previous Miata and they rocked! One thing to keep in mind is amount of water that actually gets into the doors in our cars thus my decision to go with marine speakers. They didn't really want to fit in OEM holes but I fixed with a little bit of dremeling and filing.

For a stereo I suggest going with Alpine units. You can pick up a very good condition used unit for under $100 and it will have things like MP3 playback and even an iPod connection if you are lucky.

Overall, install took about 4 hours including routing new speaker wires and installing new stereo. Sounded badass.

PS: You won't need an amp with decent speakers. Try to get something with decent mid-range since that is what your music mostly uses. As far as headrest speakers go - I say you don't need any. If you REALLY want to stuff a set of speakers in your seats - put some tweeters in there and turn down your highs a bit to get better range since they will be so close to your ears. Ether way - it will probably not sound too great with a top down unless you dump about $400 into your stereo system.
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanSoot View Post
I've used a set of Audiobahn 5.25" marine speakers in my previous Miata and they rocked! One thing to keep in mind is amount of water that actually gets into the doors in our cars thus my decision to go with marine speakers. They didn't really want to fit in OEM holes but I fixed with a little bit of dremeling and filing.

For a stereo I suggest going with Alpine units. You can pick up a very good condition used unit for under $100 and it will have things like MP3 playback and even an iPod connection if you are lucky.

Overall, install took about 4 hours including routing new speaker wires and installing new stereo. Sounded badass.

PS: You won't need an amp with decent speakers. Try to get something with decent mid-range since that is what your music mostly uses. As far as headrest speakers go - I say you don't need any. If you REALLY want to stuff a set of speakers in your seats - put some tweeters in there and turn down your highs a bit to get better range since they will be so close to your ears. Ether way - it will probably not sound too great with a top down unless you dump about $400 into your stereo system.
Any reason you went with the 5.25'' speakers? I also went that route the first time around for fears that 6.5'' wouldn't fit. I thought they sounded good, and they did, but after going to 6.5'', the sound is leaps and bounds better. Plus for bass, bigger is better with component speakers. The 5.25'' Pioneers just didn't do much for bass.

I did notice a good bit of evidence of moisture in the doors. My speakers had some water spots on them and clear evidence of dried dissolved dirt. Fortunately FYI, the Polk's I currently run are also water resistant, though not marine grade. Even my Pioneers which weren't rated for moisture worked fine with the little bit of water that gets in there. Any speaker really, that isn't paper cone will likely be fine. Not like a speaker is complex.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:03 AM   #5
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When my dad installe momo speakers before I owned the car, he used pint sized plastic containers on the back of the speaker to keep water from getting inside the unit. It worked for 6 years until I took them out for weight savings. Holes were cut in the bottom in case any water did get in.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the good replies guys, I'm going to go with 6.5" door speakers and a decent headunit. Probably the speaker's NA6C-Guy recommends and I'm going to try to pick up a cheap headunit from target or CL or something.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:28 AM   #7
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I remember the first time I bought a new head unit. Dropped $130 on a sony (in hindsight, it was a POS, but I was 16...) for my Silverado. On OEM speakers, it absolutely blew the OEM HU out of the water. I was like "Holy ****, it sounds like I added a stadium sound system in here!".

Lesson: Replace your head unit one weekend, and then decide on replacing the speakers the next weekend, it might save you a dollar or six.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:43 AM   #8
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Just for conversation sake, I think this is my next head unit.

Damn link not working, anyway, its the DEH-3200UB model number, for $149.

Colors aren't quite right, but it is Pioneer, is an upgrade from my 3 year old unit, and has USB input! I happen to have an 80GB portable HDD laying around that would just barely hold my entire 15,000 song collection, that runs on USB power. Get a right angle USB cable and route it nearly into the glove box and have all of my music on the go with no more CD's. Depending on how well the menus navigate, which I have yet to see. I wonder if the unit is smart enough to separate by artist, or if it simply displays whatever folders you have in the drive. Either way, I get bored with stuff and have to upgrade every now and then. For $150, why not. Typically it would control an MP3 player/iPod from the head unit, but anything formatted FAT32 will work the same.
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:00 PM   #9
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Best thing to start with: Dynamat the doors.
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Old 09-09-2010, 12:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rider384 View Post
1. I want bass. I don't listen to rap or anything really bass-heavy, but the bullshit in here now even ruins Coldplay with how little bass they have. I listen mostly to things like Pink Floyde, Collective Soul, Supertramp, stuff like that. Occasionally I crank the rock like Scorpions and Zepple. I have no idea where to even begin when it comes to subs. I don't want some show car, frame vibrating box that takes up the whole trunk, I want to retain as much space as I can. I was thinking a single 10" enclosed sub, though I don't know what I'm talking about.
Simple enough.

Quote:
I heard that the bigger you get, the "Lazier" the sub becomes. Things like "Gangster-rap" (Whatever that is) would be good with 15s because they're booming loud and lazy subs, but if you tried to play some Supertramp through those they wouldn't sound good because they're just not designed for it. Is this line of thinking somewhat correct?
No this isn't at all true.

Badly designed speaker systems sound bad. I can make an 18 as punchy as an 8. The only difference in speaker size is the requirements of the box and the amount of air it cam move--ie more surface area is going to get you more loudness. Also, a larger speaker will play lower generally because of its increased mass (and ability to play louder at lower frequencies than a small speaker).


Quote:
2. I want to replace the bullshit door speakers. How big is the stock speaker opening and how far can it be expanded? I heard someone say (Over on M.net or something) that they managed to put in 5.25" door speakers and it improved things immensely, can anyone confirm that this would be a good improvement?
Door speakers are key since they handle the majority of the frequency range (or all of it if the tweeters are attached). We set up Braineack with some bitchin $7 buyout drivers that I specified for him at PartsExpress and he is happy. But they are 6.5"s I think.

Quote:
What will I need. I'm not really asking you to spoon feed me here, but I really know NOTHING about car audio so I don't even know where to begin. From what I can gather I'll need speakers and a sub (herp derp), a new head unit, a crossover (Will I need this? Will I see benifit enough to make it worth the price?) And an amp for the sub (Speakers too?)
I can help specify a system but most people think they know better and ignore my guidance and end up with something shitty and then complain about it.

I've helped braineack with his and he is very happy. It'll do what you want. It is cheap and effective and would work great for guitary kickdrum music like collective soul (though I'd be embarassed to play that in my car heh heh).

here's the short version of the truth:
  • the head unit doesn't matter (below a fairly high price point). Get the features you want for your budget.
  • the amp doesn't matter as long as it has enough power (50W RMS per DRIVER is good. driver = tweeter, mid, or woofer. subs need more.)
  • crossover points for tweet-to-mid and mid-to-sub are important but not SUPER important.
  • cutting off frequencies below 50Hz is the secret everyone ignores becuase they are ******* morons.
  • you have to choose speakers that work with the car. name brands are meaningless. only y8s knows the secrets.

I can help you but you have to let me.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:07 PM   #11
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Listen to Y8S...

For another data-point, my set-up is as follows:

6-1/2-in woofer + 1-in tweeter in each door, married to a 12-dB crossover. (Highs to the tweets, everything else to the woofer.)

3-1/2-in pairs in the head rests

Head unit that allows me to cut everything (24-dB slope) below 250 to the rear (read: headrest) speakers.

This configuration has allowed me to hear clear, non-muddied mids and highs via the headrests and pushes the bulk of the bass work to the 6-1/2s.

- L
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:07 PM   #12
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Honestly, if I actually had a stereo, all I'd want would be a blank face plate with volume control, power button, and aux in for my ipod. I've been toying with the idea of finding a cheap pair of battery powered speakers or 12v speakers to wire into my car for when it's on the road some.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:47 PM   #13
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In my experience, the lower the ohms you run your subs at, the "lazier" the bass. In other words, subs ran at 4 ohms will have a quicker response and have more punch than subs ran at 1ohm, which will be louder but will sound better with rap than rock.

If I'm wrong, someone correct me. This has just been my own experience.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:08 PM   #14
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Subscribed for y8s whizzdom....and hopefully lack of Collective Soul content.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ThatGuy85 View Post
In my experience, the lower the ohms you run your subs at, the "lazier" the bass. In other words, subs ran at 4 ohms will have a quicker response and have more punch than subs ran at 1ohm, which will be louder but will sound better with rap than rock.

If I'm wrong, someone correct me. This has just been my own experience.
at your service...

the impedance of a speaker is a fixed property. the crossover can change the input impedance of a speaker SYSTEM, but not the driver itself. running them in parallel or series has zero effect on the response of the speaker. the impedance curves are the same. only the load on the amplifier changes. If your amplifier cannot push a low impedance (ie high current) load, sound quality suffers.

now, what might account for crappy sound at low impedance is the amplifier. generally amps that put out more loudness at lower impedances have higher signal-to-noise and THD at the higher power outputs. Pretty much every amp has better sound quality at less than 50% of its maximum output.

Here's a graph of a Tripath "Class T" amplifier to show what's up:



Running a single 8ohm speaker at 8 watts is pretty good. <0.1% distortion.

if you replace the speaker with a 4 ohm version, it will be twice as loud but require twice the power of the amp. at 16 watts, distortion for a 4 ohm load jumps to almost 1%. 1% distortion is considered audible.

so it's a tradeoff. play something louder and it sounds worse. hence my suggestion to run a reasonably high powered amp to keep it from being strained.
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Old 09-10-2010, 05:45 AM   #16
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Ah, MT guys. I was just trying to come up with a cheap and easy, store bought setup, and you smarty pants have to bring in engineering and home built stuff.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:44 AM   #17
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I know, it's a curse.

But the truth is the $7 woofers we picked up sound as good or better than most $50 woofers in a miata door.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I know, it's a curse.

But the truth is the $7 woofers we picked up sound as good or better than most $50 woofers in a miata door.
Are they still available? I'd be interested in buying some at that price.
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:28 AM   #19
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Yes, please...fill us in. I was planning to look into Focals but I'm a cheap bastard. If I can get a fraction of that kind of sound quality at an even smaller fraction of the cost, I'm all in for an experiment.

I plan to steal the Phoenix Gold 2x50 amp out of my 4Runner and plop that in the Miata in the spring...I'm guessing it should be plenty.

What's the best method for rolling off the low end? Let me guess...just throw a cap in the circuit?
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Old 09-10-2010, 12:08 PM   #20
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I heard cheapo walmart 6.5"s speakers are a good upgrade from stock. Any input? I am thinking of trying them out.
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