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Discrete Sound System Install

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Discrete Sound System Install

Postby Vipex » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:55 am

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 specs

Front/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.

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Rear Speakers
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Head 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.

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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 :x, 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.
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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.
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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.
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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 :cry:

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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Re: Discrete Sound System Install

Postby daveb91 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:35 am

Nice install...I love what you did with the drive.
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Re: Discrete Sound System Install

Postby suspendedhatch » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:13 pm

Nice. I like your stereo support, that is a smart thing to do. Nobody does car audio builds anymore, which is sad. That's why I got out of the business five years ago. The economy crash probably had something to do with that but it hasn't bounced back. In the meantime I've put together some pretty cheap setups and used what I know to get the most out of it for people.

Couple suggestions:

If you get a block of mdf and a big hole saw, you can make your speaker mounts out of that, careful that they're air tight, and the speakers will sound better.

It's a PITA but running new, heavier gauge speaker wires into the doors makes a big improvement. Also, run 12 gauge power and ground wires from the under hood fusebox and battery ground position direct to the stereo. The power wire should have an inline fuse of 10 or 15A. After doing this, I deemed it unnecessary to add an amplifier in my EG. Maybe after I sound deaden the car some...

Rear speakers are completely unnecessary in a CRX and pretty much anything else. The only benefit to them is for rear passengers in like a minivan. Rear speakers draw power away from your front speakers and they degrade the soundstage and cause frequency cancellation. Go without them and see how much your sound quality improves. Spend that money elsewhere.

Pioneer makes excellent decks but their speakers suck - unless something has changed in the last couple years. Build quality is crap and they sound thin and weak. Infinity, Alpine, Kenwood, Polk are all decent. My personal favorites are Kicker components and square subs, but they cost a bit more.

Pioneer decks were my favorite ever since Alpine took a slide, but recently I got a Pioneer media deck and it would only play the first 3 gigs of my USB drive, so I sold it and reluctantly got a Kenwood media deck after confirming it plays the whole 32 gigs. It's ugly as hell and the equalizer is basic, but it sounds really good. I hope that Pioneer will fix this issue when they come out with a new line and then I'll switch back, but so far, their tech support couldn't figure it out and none of the display decks at Best Buy would play any of my USB drives. It works fine for you?

If you want to maximize your sub box, you can seal it up 100% with some fiberglass resin on the inside. Makes a big difference to how punchy and clean the bass sounds.

What did you set the crossover frequency at? Right around 100 is best.
How to install your own car alarm.
http://www.civic-eg.com/causeforalarm/
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Re: Discrete Sound System Install

Postby JDMCrx91 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:31 am

Stealth
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1991 Crx Si(turbo)
My Build Thread http://crxcommunity.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=34412
1991 Crx Si (sleeper) 3/17/13
viewtopic.php?f=26&t=64610
1992 240sx coupe
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Re: Discrete Sound System Install

Postby Vipex » Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:15 pm

I never thought about hiding a head unit in the glove box haha
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Re: Discrete Sound System Install

Postby Vipex » Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:20 pm

Thanks for the feedback SuspendedHatch. I always like to get opinions from installers since you guys have lots of hands on experience. My computer engineering background tends to make me put a little too much faith in the “paper specs” of stuff.

I’ve considered sealing the front speakers and running Heavier Speaker Wire. I know a better seal and less ohms means I get more oomph, but I’ve decided to keep things simple for now. I’m also going to look into better connections for my stereo wires. Last thing I want to be doing is denying it enough current. I stayed away from using the head unit’s internal amp because I wanted plenty of clean power to subdue ambient road noise. I know I can use sound deadening to get rid of ambient noise, but I want to try to avoid adding extra weight since I also autocross.

As for the rear speakers I personally like a bit of fill from the back. I agree that rear speakers can be overpowering and muddle up the sound if improperly tuned. My head unit has a Auto EQ/Time Align feature. I set up a mic and it tuned things nicely to the acoustics of my car. The Auto EQ really mellowed out the rears so they aren’t over powering but still fill the rear how I like.

I don’t have much hands on experience with speaker brands. I went with the pioneers because their specs looked good on paper and they had good reviews. They weren’t my top choice but my selection was limited since I was getting a deal though BestBuy. Important thing is I like how they sound, and they weren’t too pricey.

As for my deck I like it a lot. Pioneer added some great features. I almost got a Kenwood KDC BT958HD because I heard they sounded really good. I went with the pioneer because it had voltage real time voltage display and a few other features I liked. Its a bummer you were having trouble getting the decks to read your flash drive. The fact that it only read the first 3 gigs seems really odd to me. The only reasons for this that come to mind are

1. The flash drive wasn’t properly formatted and the Pioneer deck was being picky.
2. You exceeded the max number of Files, Folders or Folder Teirs.
3. The display decks you tested didn’t have up to date firmware.

I'm not really sure what else it could have been.

My subox looks questionable but I sealed it pretty good. I put wood glue and screws where all the corners meet. I painted the inside with left over epoxy resin to help seal things better. Then I sealed all the seams with silicone sealant. It might not be perfect but its good enough for me.

I had my crossover at 80 Hz, but I bumped it up to 100 and it does seem better. I have to use the cross overs on my head unit since I can’t turn them off. The crossover on my amp is currently at 400hz so it doesn’t conflict with head unit crossover.
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Re: Discrete Sound System Install

Postby JDMCrx91 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:57 am

Im using 8 gauge for my componet speakers. Waay over killed! But it works lol. Ill post more pics in a few..cell gonna die.
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"Correct Me If I'm Wrong... That's Why I Joined" Crxcommunity.com
1991 Crx Si(turbo)
My Build Thread http://crxcommunity.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=34412
1991 Crx Si (sleeper) 3/17/13
viewtopic.php?f=26&t=64610
1992 240sx coupe
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Re: Discrete Sound System Install

Postby JDMCrx91 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:25 am

Loooooove them!
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Power by hifonics amp.
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Only place I could think to install them without making holes or using screws.
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"Correct Me If I'm Wrong... That's Why I Joined" Crxcommunity.com
1991 Crx Si(turbo)
My Build Thread http://crxcommunity.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=34412
1991 Crx Si (sleeper) 3/17/13
viewtopic.php?f=26&t=64610
1992 240sx coupe
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