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  #21  
Old 12-30-2016, 08:52 PM
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IMO.... I value speaker Sensitivity over Impedance.....especially if they're not being driven below 50 hz.

Lower than 80 hz...you need a woofer/subwoofer that can cleanly re-produce the bottom octaves.....This is were Big amps and Massive Magnet brigade come into play.

At the end of the day....Your "taste" in music and "tolerance" in loudness... matters most.

Do you prefer Treble......Mid-range.......or Bass?
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  #22  
Old 12-31-2016, 01:47 AM
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Today was the day for the front door speakers/woofers and the A pillar tweeters. My buddy who is handy with a soldering gun is generally handy at a number of things, so he decided he wanted to trim the edges with tin snips instead of bending them upward. I'm generally the kind of guy who doesn't care about the details of *how* something is done- as long as it's done well and meant to accomplish the goal of the project. Trim away.

I'll admit that it probably took less time to fit well. It certainly required less test fitting. The ends were nice and clean. They did not need silicon as much to even the peaks of the bends. With a neatly trimmed install, the silicon really was there to serve it's true purpose- adhesion and vibration control. They also look better. Not that it really matters. You can't see them until it's time for window regulators. Here's a neatly trimmed front sub:

Removing the front door panels was also a lot easier. No window shades (which I'd never dealt with). We had the most difficult parts of this day's work done so quickly that we were waiting for silicon to set.

I was floored to see how well the tiny tweeters fit into the factory foam. The OE units use a plastic bracket that is held down with the bolts for the wing mirrors.


Of course, the new ones were just large enough that they were'nt going to fit into these brackets, so I decided to use some of the included mounting brackets to tighten up the install and keep them still/rattle free.


Behind all of that, I used a different, softer kind of foam pipe insulation. I wanted to ensure that the bracket didn't find it's way to the metal of the door behind the foam. Some generous application of silicon and tape to let it set was the perfect- if not really ugly solution.

/Mini rant:
Like the back, we used the original connectors spliced into the OE wires. Here is probably as good a place as any to share some thoughts on OE wiring, OCD, and my dose of reality-as-I-see-it:

Like many of us, I really really wanted to use the OE wiring, solder into the new units, and make it look as factory as possible. It's what we do, right? I mean.. wouldn't it be cool if you ever wanted to sell the car and go back to stock, right?

Wrong. (for me)

This is a $230 upgrade on a 12 year old car with nearly 100k miles on it. If someone wants these things when I am done with the car at 200k in another 4 years or so.. take 'em. Hell, even if it's 6 months. I'm going to do it right. It's not going to vibrate. It's going to be an improvement, and I am going to enjoy it. That's it. I appreciate and I understand folks who might drop $1,200 (or more) into a system and want to take it with them to the next car. But that's not me and it's not this car. I'm no less enthusiastic than the next OCD fella, but flipping the switch to the north side of my mid 40's has infused a strong, and deeply necessary degree of practicality.

In short, both me and the car are too damn old to worry that kind of thing for this kind of project. So there.
\rant

Now that that's done with... Allow me to demonstrate just exactly how OCD *can* be a fun thing to work with- when it works.

I mentioned above that I had found some speakers that I thought were close to the needed size for the dashboard mids. After we finished the fronts, I zipped up the road to an authorized dealer for Memphis Audio components. I'd removed the speaker from the passenger side and had it out so I could carefully study potential replacements. I was fully prepared to use all the tricks- foam, silicon, brackets, glue guns.. all of it. Let's see if they'll fit in the holes. The sales guy took a glance and said, yep. Right here. $50 for the pair. They matched so well it was outright spooky. It took me longer to drive there than it did to find and purchase the mids.
Here is a pic of the OE mid and the new Memphis Audio unit: (spooky close fit, rt?)
Removing the dash speakers is easy in concept, but space is tight. The rear screw can be removed with a stubby screwdriver. This means you either use a rt angle driver- which we did not have- or you get creative with ways to motivate the mounting screws. Creativity is one of the requirements for a project like this. Here's the fabulous solution we came up with to grab those screws so close to the base of the windscreen:
I promised you all that I'd share the joy of OCD meeting functional perfection, and here it is. With the very accessible leads on the new mids, we saw an easy opportunity not to worry with plastic splices rattling deep in the dash. Heat up the solder on the OE mids and attach them in place on the Memphis Audio units. Boom! Elegance.
I'll be dammed if that thing doesn't look exactly like stock and used the OE harness right up to the new mids. It sort of made up for the less than perfect solutions we'd employed over the last two days.

Now, if you've made it this far, you deserve to know the true challenge for the dash mids: The OE speaker grills. The grills attach with two plastic tabs at the windscreen base and a single tab further to the rear. This single tab is where we were challenged. The grill would not lay flat. There wasn't much leverage to push the OE mounting clips back to make room for the tab, so we got out the snips. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics of the modified Memphis audio units. It's not terribly difficult to do, so I will try to explain.

This picture is taken fron the outside of the car, standing at the A pillar and looking down at the installed mid.

To make the grill sit flat, we needed to trim the metal edge of the speaker at the green arrow above. Not much. Just about 1/2" or so to make room for the tab on the OE grill. While this helped, we weren't done. We ended up carefully trimming the fairly brittle plastic tab on the grill itself. We probably snipped 1/8" from its width. This and the trimmed metal around the new speaker had the grill sitting flush on the dash with no indication anything was different. Between this bit of fun and the OE wires, it was elegant, clean, and functional. The OCD trifecta!

That's the install. I will share thoughts ab the results in another post. Hint: It's fncking oustanding. Forgive my candor.
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  #23  
Old 12-31-2016, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jopecasa View Post
IMO.... I value speaker Sensitivity over Impedance.....especially if they're not being driven below 50 hz.
Another new concept for me in this world. I can look it up for the specifics, but if you'd help me understand what it is ab this spec that is important to you, I would love to learn some more.

Also, if you (or anyone else) would like to comment on the sensitivity specs of the speakers I've used so far- and how that might translate into my experience with them, I'd love that new understanding as well. I even went and snipped the sensitivity specs for both the JLs and the Memphis Audios so everyone who is so inclined might more easily make me smarter.

Memphis Audio (Dash mids): 85%



JL Audio: (front/rear) 91%

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  #24  
Old 12-31-2016, 10:08 AM
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Prop Thanks for taking this speaker upgrade to the next level. Ooh Ha!!!!
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  #25  
Old 12-31-2016, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by X53Jay4.8is View Post
Prop Thanks for taking this speaker upgrade to the next level. Ooh Ha!!!!


I wasn't really thinking ab it until my buddy started counting. "You diiiid.. 2... 4.. 8.. and 10.. TEN speakers! And we haven't done the sub yet!" Not bad for under $300. But what did I get for it?

WOW! It is INCREDIBLE!

I don't think I need to say again that I am no audiophile. But I'm not completely deaf, either. (yet) Talk radio? I can hear the voices more clearly. Classical radio? I understand what people say ab 'depth' in sound. Radio, radio? Well... there's little more effective way to reinforce a disdain for popcorn, lollypop, or whatever tweeny word is right for this generation's Madonna and Prince. I can really, really hear Lady Miley Swiftiana's music. Who knew I was making the right choice based on shitty sound for all these years? OTA analog signals are improved.

But streaming digital? YOWZA! I plugged into the aux audio and streamed some Beatles, Pink Floyd, and some Yo-Yo Ma. The highs are there like they never were. The singer's voices are clear enough to hear the words- a challenge I have always had. We listened to some string music, and I said, "Wow! That really sounds like a guitar!" My 12 yr old sm@rt@ss chimes in from the rear: "Daddy, that's a harpsichord." Oh. Well. See?

If you can believe it (I couldn't), I found myself thinking.. Man, this sounds awesome. You know what would be really nice? Just a tinge more bass filling in the lows. It so will sound better, too. I sound like such a snob. But I think it may just be true. I'm now as anxious as I have been to get the BSW sub installed.

My wife wasn't in the mood to agree with me last night, but she's not deaf either. She knows it sounds good. She'll admit it when it's not a Friday of a busy week.

I found the transaction for the BSW sub on clearance. I didn't remember that I paid nearly $500 delivered. That seems like a lot of money, now. I suppose at the time I hadn't planned on replacing anything but the sub, so it was ok. I don't think I would have considered $800 for sound all at once. I can't say that what I have today is worth $800 bc I haven't installed the sub. Truthfully, I can't imagine that it will give me nearly twice the enjoyment of the $280 spent on speakers so far. But I'm gonna dance with the one what brung me and power through the final install. Once that's done, I'll update here again.
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  #26  
Old 12-31-2016, 08:57 PM
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^Welcome to clear audio my friend. Very few people care about it... until they hear it. Most people really do enjoy good audio reproduction but don't care enough to prioritize it in their homes and even lower in their cars..

Speaker sensitivity is a measure of how much volume will be produced by a speaker at a power input of 1 watt and a listening distance of 1 meter. The higher the rating, the better the speaker. I don't know what the factory ratings are, but >85 is considered pretty good by mass market speaker standards.
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  #27  
Old 01-01-2017, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalworks View Post
^Welcome to clear audio my friend. Very few people care about it... until they hear it. Most people really do enjoy good audio reproduction but don't care enough to prioritize it in their homes and even lower in their cars..

Very True.


Quote:
Speaker sensitivity is a measure of how much volume will be produced by a speaker at a power input of 1 watt and a listening distance of 1 meter. The higher the rating, the better the speaker. I don't know what the factory ratings are, but >85 is considered pretty good by mass market speaker standards.


There's plenty of brands to choose........depending on your budget.

I'm biased on Focal speakers and JL Audio amps.
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  #28  
Old 01-01-2017, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PropellerHead View Post
I can't say that what I have today is worth $800 bc I haven't installed the sub. Truthfully, I can't imagine that it will give me nearly twice the enjoyment of the $280 spent on speakers so far. But I'm gonna dance with the one what brung me and power through the final install. Once that's done, I'll update here again.
Today was the day for the BSW sub install. I think I mentioned I purchased it in 2016- I didn't recall that it was nearly a YEAR ago in Feb, 2016. Well.. I *was* in the middle of a full-on kitten herding exercise with my home audio and maturing smart home project. This bit of speaker diddling with the car is nothing compared to the 12-year-long smart home process. Tons of work, many iterations, and there will be more. But that's a story for a place where we don't talk ab E53's.

The sub install was probably the easiest of them all. If you've ever been under the spare tire cover, or installed anything like a Bluetooth ULF, you'll be familar with the process for gaining access. Even if not, BSW's YouTube videos are still around. Follow them as closely as you need for the install.

The only things we needed to alter were a notch on the positive battery terminal and a similar notch on the module cover in front of the battery. Once notched, the cables needed to power the sub are easily routed. Again, the BSW instructions won't betray your mission here.
Comments ab the BSW amp: Yeah, it was a year ago. But I never broke the seal on the boxes. What we found is that the amp they sent had been installed on something, somewhere. The paint on the mounts was scratched as it would be from the most basic mount.

Indeed, when we got to the physical hookup, one of the terminals was stripped and would not clamp the speaker cable. This realization was aggravating, but it was solved by stripping the copper out of extra wire and using it to tighten up the threads. Also, one of the mounts had a screw stuck in it that looked like it's been cut off its mount. We cut the screw and were able to back it out. Not a new amp, that is for sure. I was dissapointed even if I'd bought on clearance. I didn't understand I was getting a unit from BSW that was used.

Anyway, once installed, it was time to fiddle with amp output and step-down balance. As shipped, the damn thing sounded like it was meant to rattle windows in other cars. It sounded like @ss. A few minor adjustments at the amp (tiny screws), and we were doing better. But it was still a bit too 'thump' for me. The step-down has a couple dials you can tune as well. In the end, it sounds pretty good and fills in some of that low that was missing. I can say that it was not at all worth $500 (to me) for the BSW sub.

But, like I said, I chose it. I'm not going to sell it. I might as well get the damn thing out of my storage room and into the car where it belongs. It also allowed me to button up the full speaker upgrade, satisfying my curiosity about what I'd learn through the whole thing.

I have thoughts ab an observation off to the side of this project. I'm not ready to share them bc I don't know if it's possible. I will look into it as I can and share what I've learned.

Sub installed- mostly.
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  #29  
Old 01-01-2017, 09:45 PM
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I should have linked you to my BSW install... or rather reinstall, as I was less than impressed with BSW's method of recommended installation.

As to your thoughts on the sound, about what I had anticipated. It fills in some areas, falls short in others, and is definitely not worth $500. I'm glad mine came "gratis" with the X5. A very pleasant surprise because the way the PO had it tuned you couldn't even tell the thing was in the truck. Sounded like garbage. Some fiddling around (I've gotten decent at tuning by ear) and it performs well enough for something that doesn't take up any space.

BTW, it will sound better if you install a grille in front of it on the panel. Like this:



Edit: BTW what was your mounting solution for the amp? Zip tied as BSW shows in their videos? *bites nails*

Here's what I came up with after some noodling about with some ideas:



This makes adjustments very easy and convenient... though admittedly once it's set properly you shouldn't really have to mess with it again. I've been known to use nail polish or other means to lock gains/xover settings on customer installs after tuning and getting "auditory approval" from a customer when installing systems. Prevents someone getting all hamfisted with them and blowing speakers or amps.
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  #30  
Old 01-01-2017, 11:16 PM
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Thanks for the recommendations Prop! :thumb up:

I just bought the Memphis Audio mids for the dash and will do the doors a little later, maybe closer to when I install the Eonon GA6166X.

I put the factory DSP sub in and am driving it with a separate mono block amp using high level inputs for now. It gives me enough low end to please me.







Can anyone point me to a DIY on cutting the right rear cover for a proper subwoofer grill install?

I measured it up and it looks like a 10" will give me a nice enough opening to let the pee wee subs breathe

Thanks,

Mike
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