I recently finished putting together my first sound system. I figured I’d share my experience and hopefully give someone else a few ideas. When I was planning my system I really appreciated all the info and pictures of other builds I found on here. It gave me a good idea about how I wanted to do things. Any way let my know what you think of my setup. Its a bit haphazard, but it gets the job done.
My goals for the setup were
• Good sound quality
• Decent volume
• Discreet OEM-ish look
• Preserve existing storage space
•Keep within a reasonable price range (I Got deals through a friend at bestbuy)
I wanted to mention crxblues setup
. I liked the discreet practical style his setup had and ended up taking a lot of inspiration from his build.
Here are my system specsFront/Rear Speakers: Pioneer TS-A1685R
(60 watt RMS, 4-way coaxial, 91 db sensitivity)Subwoofer: Pioneer TS-W254R
(10”, 250 watt RMS, 93 db sensitivity)Amplifier: Alpine MRX-V70
(5 channel D class )Head Unit: Pioneer DEH-80PRS
(5V preamp, 16 band EQ, USB/SD playback)
Setup Pics (album
FYI I was a bit rushed and had to do the entire install and fabrication in a week or so. Front Speakers
I had to cut out the back of the stock speaker mount cup to get these to fit. I also had to fabricate a custom speaker ring/spacer since the stock screw holes didn't line up with the speaker. I use some weird PVC grate/pipe fitting from Home Depot for the custom ring. Rear SpeakersHead Unit
My new Pioneer unit on top and my old Panasonic unit on the bottom. The Panasonic sounded awesome but i was tired of skipping CDs. Like a lot of new head units DEH-80PRS will play MP3s (upto 320kbps) right from a flashdirve/SSD. The drive needs to be formatted in FAT32 which I'm not a huge fan of. Still, FAT32 can support drives up to 2TB in size, which is a lot of music. Music Storage
I had an extra 128 GB SSD lying around so I decided I'd dedicate it to store my music. Windows will only let you format a FAT32 drive to the size of 32GB
, so I had to format the SSD in Linux to access its full capacity. I secured the SSD in a 2.5" cage I salvaged out of my Xbox 360's old 20 GB hardirve. The cage helps secure the SSD better, and prevents the connections from vibrating apart.
I attached the SSD under the center console. I liked that spot because was well concealed, difficult to get at and kept the drive mechanically secure.
On a side note I fabricated a rear mounting bracket for my headunit. I was tired of my old head unit squeaking and shifting because it wasn't securely mounted in the rear. My new unit just happened to have a screw point in the back heat sync for me to attach a bracket to. In case you were wondering I only used OEM holes to attach bracket to the car. Amplifier
I mounted my amplifier in my rear lock box. I made some custom mounting brackets but eneded up having to cut some holes in the box to route wires
I also added some vent holes. When I originally tried to have a professional install my amp he refused saying it would overheat in there. To help the airflow further, I added a low profile centrifugal fan since they make high static pressure (i.e push air better). I wired my defunct AC button to a small relay circuit I built to enable/disable the fan while driving.
The vents/fan actually come in pretty handy. On long 5+ hour drives where i typically hauling stuff, I cant prop open the lock box. I've ball-parked the amp temp using a meat thermometer and it can get pretty hot after a while. Having some airflow definitely helps. Big Three Wiring
Did the big three to reduce the strain on my stock alternator/battery.Subwoofer
Last but not least I built a custom enclosure for my 10" subwoofer. I wanted the sub box to be discrete and not take up to much trunk space. I opted to place my sub in the rear corner (like crxblues) and ended up making a hybrid out of MDF and fiberglass. I bent chicken wire to approximate the curves in the rear corner of the trunk then stapled it to the subbox. Then i laid fiberglass over it and painted on epoxy resin to make a seal. The chicken wire does not add any structural strength, it simply provided a mold for the fiberglass cloth.
I know the sub box looks pretty sketchy but it has no major leaks and the bass hits plenty hard (enough to rattle my car). My only complaint is the box is roughly 0.6 cu. ft (I measured using crushed packing peanuts) and the minimum recommend sealed volume for the sub is 0.65 cu. ft. The deep low notes are noticeably weaker, but my I always preferred my bass a bit more tight and punchy.
I devised a way to secure the sub to the car pretty well. This was important part of the sub box design for me because I like to go on spirited drives while I listen to music. I ended up using two bolts (which fit through OEM holes) to keep the box from sliding.
The bolts do a fantastic job, but on hard corners the box still likes to tilt a little bit. To fix this I stuffed some firm foam between the sub box and plastic panels. The extra pressure keep the box firmly in place and helps prevent rattling near the sub. System SPL
The aim of the system wasn't to be excessively loud but it was loud enough to make me worried. I like to listen at high volumes for long periods of time, so I wanted to know I was destroying my hearing. I picked up a decent entry level SPL meter rated for IEC 651 TYPE II standards.
The loudest i could get it to go was 105.2 db A weighted and 121.6 db C weighted (both readings from the same song).
The C weight reading is higher because it includes the lower frequencies, while the A weight reading ignores them. Either way the speakers get PLENTY loud for me and now I know I am in the hearing damage range when I crank the volume.
Sorry for the long post! I hope somebody finds this useful or interesting.