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Ultravox 08-27-2013 02:28 AM

Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
Hi guys,
The time has come for my 2011 Jeep’s audio system to be upgraded. To put it mildly I am not quite knowledgeable about this stuff so I would really appreciate your comments here.
The proposed set up is as follows:
Front doors: Hertz HSK 165
Back doors: Focal IC 165
Amp: Alpine PDX-v9
Sub; JL Stealthbox or custom made enclosure with one of slim line Phoenix Gold subs (I have not decided which way to go yet.
I do not have any experience in this field so the installation works will be done for me. The guys I contacted with this request suggested installing PAC SOEM-4 4-Channel Premium Line-Out Converter. I am not quite sure if it is really needed as I have not seen that anybody mentioned this thing here. On the other hand the installers are one of the best in town and obviously know their trade. I also read a ton of woeful reviews for this converter with complaints about adding noise etc. So, I am a bit lost here if it is really needed and if yes what should be used instead of this particular model.

The guys also suggested doing doors deadening which I guess should improve sound quality. Could anybody please tell if the results of the deadening are really worth it?

Finally, I am wondering if anybody ever dealt with Phoenix subs. I understand that they are inferior to JL. However, it may be possible that in custom made enclosure it will be possible to go with 12” slimline sub which may bring sound to a better level. Just a thought…

Could please anybody help me with this questions? It looks like the project is going to blow a hole in our budget of almost $4K so I do not have room for mistakes.

PS I have Laredo with basic 6 speakers (no sub or Alpine gear) and factory 430 unit which I am going to keep.

kkreit01 08-27-2013 01:19 PM

Re: Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
You are lucky you don't have the OE Alpine system, otherwise you'd be in for a lot more money/equipment. Your plan sounds OK, but....I would rethink the rear speakers. Either keep them stock, or get matching Hertz coaxes. It's not a great idea to run 2 different brands/types in front & rear. The PAC LOC should work OK for you. If not, step up to an AudioControl LC2i or LC6i. In general, regular subs outperform slim subs. PG makes some good gear, but it's becoming less common. If you go the custom box route, I'd pick a regular 10" over a shallow 12" (unless you can afford JL's shallow sub). Deadening and sealing your doors are worth it, but it will be quite expensive if you are paying someone to do it (especially if they use Dynamat).

Do you have a budget? $4k sounds like a lot for that gear. The parts alone are ~$1700. Bring it to $2K for wire/deadening. That means they are charging another $2K for install! I would find a buddy who can help (it's not that hard). You are also paying a lot for the front speakers. I'd think of a less expensive set (google JBL MS-62C, Morel Tempo, HAT Imagines, etc.) -- especially if you are running off of OE deck w/o a DSP. The sound coming from the crappy 430 will not do a $500 pair of speakers justice.

Ultravox 08-28-2013 12:29 AM

Re: Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
Thanks a lot for the input. Really appreciate it.

The thing is that I already bought speakers. It took a while to find online seller with reasonable prices who would agree to ship to Australia. They did not have matching Hertz models though so I thought it would be fine to go with Focals for rear doors as I practically will not be able to hear them. I will try to sell them when they arrive. I was initially set on HSKs because of good power handling. Loud music distracts me from the chore of driving. I also used to play music at a night club so I guess this thing never goes:)

I am wondering if it is worthwhile to go to say LCQ1 instead of LC6i? It has equalizer which would help adjust speakers’ totality if l go with Focals.

As far as the budget is concerned, it looks like I am going overboard with the project. Initially I was going to limit it with $2.5 ($3k max) but delivery to down under costs fortune. Installation works are also quite expensive (as everything else here, lol). Almost the amount that you mentioned. I am very hesitant to go with cheaper guys or to do it myself because the car is still under warranty and if I mess things up it may turn out very costly to fix. I will shop around anyways.

kkreit01 08-28-2013 12:21 PM

Re: Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
Ahh -- OK - I didn't realize you were down under. That would affect prices. If you already have the Hertzs for the front, I'd try them with your existing plan, but skip the rear speaker upgrade for now. You may need those funds towards a DSP, or the LCQ1.

All I know, is I'm currently using an LC6i on my Alpine 430N in my Ram. It sounds good, but I need more EQing. I'm tempted to try an AudioControl EQ after the LC6i, but I also may just splurge for the MS-8. You won't have as many problems, since you don't have the OE Alpine amp. You can always try it first with the cheap LOC, and see if it sounds OK. After all wiring is run, it's easy to swap in different gear.

jd31 08-28-2013 03:56 PM

Re: Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
For about $4K I completely redid my audio system (replaced head unit too so no need for a line converter). Check out my build thread. I think you can do better equipment wise. I'd suggest sourcing the products online from authorized dealers and then having the shop do the install. If you buy equipment from them get them to match the prices (or close).

One specific note on your equipment, get matching HSK speakers for your rears. You can get a lessor coaxial set since it's just rear fill...but definitely try to stay in brand.

I spent several weeks bargaining for top end equipment. PM if you have any questions or want to know more about how I went about it.

Ultravox 08-30-2013 02:14 AM

Re: Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
Thank you for your input guys:)
I will sell Focals when they arrive. After some thoughts I decided to step up to DSP (probably Audison Bit Ten) as I also like very specific type of sound. Hopefully it will be worth it.
Thanks a lot again.
There will be no pictures from me as everything should look factory:)

subbie09 08-30-2013 03:08 PM

Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
Here is my input. On my 2012 with Alpine audio, for about 3k I did a Kenwood Excelon HU, Alpine PDX V9 amp, JL audio stealth box, Focal IS165 components and IC 165 coaxial for the rear door, PAC audio adapters to retain rear camera and steering wheel controls, plus wiring and mounting hardware. Best route to go. Best sound and nice clear audio signal from the HU to the amp and the Focal speakers are amazing. So nice clean and crisp.

Ultravox 08-30-2013 09:48 PM

Re: Audio build for beginner: Advice needed

Originally Posted by subbie09 (Post 885114)
Here is my input. On my 2012 with Alpine audio, for about 3k I did a Kenwood Excelon HU, Alpine PDX V9 amp, JL audio stealth box, Focal IS165 components and IC 165 coaxial for the rear door, PAC audio adapters to retain rear camera and steering wheel controls, plus wiring and mounting hardware. Best route to go. Best sound and nice clear audio signal from the HU to the amp and the Focal speakers are amazing. So nice clean and crisp.

I wish we had same prices.
Just stealthbox alone will cost me USD$600 + USD$160 shipping. This is the cheapest I could find online. In AUD currency it is about $870. A couple of months ago it would have been AUD$750:) Obviously it is before installation.

Similar story with the other components.

Installation and deadening will set me back by almost $2K. But I keep on shopping around. It is just a bit difficult to find guys who I could trust and who can do that at a reasonable price. We do not have such market as you guys do:)

Ultravox 10-02-2013 09:07 AM

Re: Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
A little update. Collected my Jeep today.

Frankly, after having spent AUD$4.5K (USD$4K) I feel somewhat upset. The sound actually sucks big time! There is not enough bass which is understandable given the size of the stealthbox/sub. The bass itself though is very muddy, not punchy at all. High frequencies are not actually high but more of a mid spectrum and seriously hurt ears. When listening at high volumes distortions are overwhelming and the system is far far far from being loud. Definitely better than the stock system (because nothing can be worse than that thing I guess), but not worth the money and the effort.

Not quite sure where I went wrong with equipment... I guess the HU is the culprit as it was mentioned before.

The guy told me about break-in period. I do not have high hopes about it. Very sad... :(

Mininuke 10-02-2013 11:51 AM

Re: Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
Below is what I did to my Jeep. I see that you already had the system installed but I thought I'd tell you what I did to my car. I am pretty happy with the route I took. A lot less work and money with excellent results.

Sorry to hear it didn't turn out like you wanted. I don't think the head unit is the culprit. Although an aftermarket one would give more sound tuning options and cleaner signal, the stock unit isn't that bad.

There is a break in period for speaker but from what you are saying I think it comes down to bad audio adjustments and mismatched speakers. Although what I just said about mismatched speakers may play a small part ( I have done it without any big impact in sound quality) I would concentrate on the crossover points from your amplifier and also check the Hertz crossover to see if your tweeters are attenuated. You should also check the subwoofer phase.

I did a little upgrade to my ’13 JGC Nav Laredo E with 6 speakers and it didn’t cost me a fortune. Maybe this will give you an idea of what options are there. Currently I’m running the stock speakers as they sound pretty decent after I installed an amplifier to run the 6 speakers.

The setup I installed consists of:

Alpine KTP-445U Power Pack Class D amplifier 45 watts RMS x 4 at 2 or 4 ohms

Small size, very efficient and does not require separate power cables, I connected the amp directly to the wiring harness going to the back of the factory Nav radio. Fits directly below the radio in a small space behind the A/C controls. I connected the amp through the high level input option. The system sounds twice as loud or more.

Rockford Fosgate Punch PBR300X1 class D amplifier 300 watts RMS x 1 2ohms, 150 watts RMS x 1 at 4 ohms

Powering a set of Pioneer 8” shallow sub-woofers.

A sealed dual box. About .40 cu ft per side.

They hit very hard and complement the front door 6x9 speakers bass output.

The amp was also connected using the high level input option. All connections were done right behind the radio except for the power cables which was connected to the battery.

So far I am happy with the setup but I wish the AUX function (possibly firmware issue) sounded better. I am experiencing a noise issue (present since new, no upgrades to stock system). I hear a constant hiss when using the AUX function. The noise is not present when playing CD or SAT radio.

Ultravox 10-02-2013 10:56 PM

Re: Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
Thank you for the input.

No, I actually went for Hertz HCX 165 (back speakers) and added DSP Audison Bit Ten (not tuned yet). So, the whole set is:
Hertz HSK 165
Hertz HCX 165
Audison Bit Ten
Alpine PDX V9
JL Stealthbox

I tried the system this morning when driving to work. Even more disappointed than yesterday:(

Front speakers do NOT produce any bass at all. With stock speakers my legs could feel the air movement though bass quality was appalling. Nothing of the kind now. All lows come from the sub whose performance is not too bad for its size but barely copes even at mid volumes. High frequencies are piercing at high volumes and cause ear fatigue after 5 mins of listening. The whole system struggles at volumes above 28 and there are terrible (I mean really terrible) distortions. I would be better off having in the car my boombox that I had in the 90-s.

There is no way the speakers can break in that much so all the above is gone.

I will try tuning DSP as a last resort. Anyways it is clear now that all this exercise was a total waste of money.

By the way, I can hear engine and break lights electrical interference at very low volumes. Is it how it is supposed to be?

subbie09 10-03-2013 07:04 AM

Re: Audio build for beginner: Advice needed
As I previously told you, to get the full effect you need to change out the Headunit so you have clear audio signals to the amp. Stop letting the stop amp, go through another unit before hitting the main amp. I am sorry you are disappointed but I told you you probably would be unless you went all out and got a new headunit.

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