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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Owned my first Z for about two weeks now, and this marks my first post here. Looks like a good community!

I was very disappointed in the sound quality in my 2005 350Z Roadster after my local installer replaced the Bose head unit and amp/sub with an Eclipse AVN5435 HU, JL e1200 amp (in the glove box behind the passenger seat) and JL 10W3 sub (where the Bose sub was, behind the driver's seat).

The amp has gone out twice (and is not working right now - scheduled for another replacement on Tuesday), the front/rear speakers do not sound as clear as they did with the Bose (might just be to my ears), but worst of all, the sub sounds terribly muddy and undefined. The Bose sub sounded great with higher bass notes inside the car, but with low bass notes or outside of the car, it couldn't even be heard. The 'upgraded' sub sounds horrible; not clear at all.

My question is, what's wrong with this setup, and how can it be improved? I paid the installer $4,500 total for the upgrade, and I know I got taken, but where do I go from here?

From what I've read, I basically need to move up to a much more powerful amp (in the 350-500 watt RMS range) and replace the door speakers/tweeters with Infinity or JL components. I believe the subwoofer crossovers may be set incorrectly as well, as there is a range of bass (mostly heavy rock) that simply doesn't come through in this system.

Outside the car, the highs seem fairly quiet and the bass, again, just sounds very boomy and undefined. No nice thunder, sweet vibration, or earth-rumbling whatsoever. Just...mud.

So, again, what should I do to get this system sounding impressive, both inside the car and out? I don't mind spending the money, but I'm clueless as to what I should have done.

Sorry for the long-winded post, and thanks for any advice in advance!
 

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I'd say you need to finish the upgrade by adding better component speakers up front and an additional amp to drive them. The e1200 amp isn't the greatest but should be ok for now, especially if the sub is 2 ohm. Should have used a class D amp. Sound issue may be location based, but not much to do about that since you have a roadster. Could try playing with the crossover point, EQ, and other settings on the amp need to be set correctly..gain, bass boost, etc.

If you want to keep it JL, check on a set of XR comps, and a 2 or 4 channel amp like 300/2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dan, thanks for the ideas. I actually took the car back to the installer and they put in a JL 250/1 amp, and things do sound better, but they said not to crank it for two weeks while the sub gets broken in. So I can't really give it a a good test yet. From what I've read, this is a good amp/sub combination.

I agree, I'm limited in what I can put in the Roadster, but I'd like to get the best bang for my buck. I'll look into those XR's for the front, as now, the mids and highs sound very tinny against the improved bass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, I do believe my situation with the installer has been resolved. As I said above, we did some haggling and I ended up having them install a JL 250/1 amp to power the JL 10W3, and they sound very nice together.

They said that I have to wait a couple of weeks before I start playing it loudly or bumping the bass up, so I don't know what it will sound like at full power yet, but as it is, it sounds 110% better than it did with the JL e1200 amp, which was severely underpowered. The sound is much cleaner and feels much better.

For a final question on the amp/sub subject, they currently have the bass boost on the amp turned all the way down. After the two week breaking-in period, from what I've read, I should do the following:

Turn off all equalizers and turn down all the boost from the amp. Set the volume on the head unit to about 75%. Then turn up the equalizer on the head unit until I begin to hear distortion from the bass. Then turn up the bass boost on the amp until I begin to hear distortion again, then back off a bit. Then go back and use the equalizer on the head unit to lower the bass to a level congruant with the other speakers in the car. That way, if I ever want more bass, I can crank it up from the head unit all the way to its maximum.

The installer said I shouldn't touch the gain or crossovers, as they are set by the installer to match the other speakers.

Is this the correct method of tuning the bass for maximum usage?

Having the nice bass now, though, does make the stock speakers sound pretty tinny, but I'll save those thoughts for another thread.
 

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Originally posted by Outlaw@Aug 31 2005, 08:00 PM
Well, I do believe my situation with the installer has been resolved. As I said above, we did some haggling and I ended up having them install a JL 250/1 amp to power the JL 10W3, and they sound very nice together.

They said that I have to wait a couple of weeks before I start playing it loudly or bumping the bass up, so I don't know what it will sound like at full power yet, but as it is, it sounds 110% better than it did with the JL e1200 amp, which was severely underpowered. The sound is much cleaner and feels much better.

For a final question on the amp/sub subject, they currently have the bass boost on the amp turned all the way down. After the two week breaking-in period, from what I've read, I should do the following:

Turn off all equalizers and turn down all the boost from the amp. Set the volume on the head unit to about 75%. Then turn up the equalizer on the head unit until I begin to hear distortion from the bass. Then turn up the bass boost on the amp until I begin to hear distortion again, then back off a bit. Then go back and use the equalizer on the head unit to lower the bass to a level congruant with the other speakers in the car. That way, if I ever want more bass, I can crank it up from the head unit all the way to its maximum.

The installer said I shouldn't touch the gain or crossovers, as they are set by the installer to match the other speakers.

Is this the correct method of tuning the bass for maximum usage?

Having the nice bass now, though, does make the stock speakers sound pretty tinny, but I'll save those thoughts for another thread.
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Sounds like you are on the way to having a nice setup. As far as the front & rear speakers go I'd suggest Infinity Perfect 6.1's for the stock location (doors) & Kappa 5.52's for the stock rear location. I currently am running this set up & am really enjoying the sounds from them. Leaps & bounds beyond the old Blose. I'm over killing my speakers with the JL 300/4 amp (in the glove box) but it's nice to know that the power is there IF I want it. I went with the basslink in the stock sub location & have been VERY impressed with its performance.
Since I did the install with a friend of mine I wasn't told anything about a break in period, but I have spent a few hours now tuning the system to get things situated for clear listening. Eveyone's ear is different so you should take a tune that you know well & tune your system that way. (Just my opinion)

Best of luck & :welcome: to Tech :shiftdrive:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Buff, thanks for the suggestions. All good info to take to my installer before I lay any more money down.

From my reading, the Infinity Perfect 6.1's are more powerful than the JL XR series, and I've heard good things about the Perfects. Is there any issue with having different brands of speakers installed, or is it better to stick with all-one-company, such as all JL?

As the Infinity's are rated at 100W continuous, isn't the 300/4 underpowering them? As I understand it, the only thing worse than overpowering a speaker is underpowering it.

How is the sound different with these speakers than with the Bose ones? Right now, my Bose fronts/rears sound very tinny, very flat, and start puking brightly at high volume. The higher bass notes (not sure if they're supposed to be handled by the sub or midranges) sound very flat and unimpressive. Would improved door speakers make a difference in this range?

Thanks again for the great info!
 

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Originally posted by Outlaw@Aug 29 2005, 03:08 AM
Owned my first Z for about two weeks now, and this marks my first post here. Looks like a good community!

I was very disappointed in the sound quality in my 2005 350Z Roadster after my local installer replaced the Bose head unit and amp/sub with an Eclipse AVN5435 HU, JL e1200 amp (in the glove box behind the passenger seat) and JL 10W3 sub (where the Bose sub was, behind the driver's seat).

The amp has gone out twice (and is not working right now - scheduled for another replacement on Tuesday), the front/rear speakers do not sound as clear as they did with the Bose (might just be to my ears), but worst of all, the sub sounds terribly muddy and undefined. The Bose sub sounded great with higher bass notes inside the car, but with low bass notes or outside of the car, it couldn't even be heard. The 'upgraded' sub sounds horrible; not clear at all.

My question is, what's wrong with this setup, and how can it be improved? I paid the installer $4,500 total for the upgrade, and I know I got taken, but where do I go from here?

From what I've read, I basically need to move up to a much more powerful amp (in the 350-500 watt RMS range) and replace the door speakers/tweeters with Infinity or JL components. I believe the subwoofer crossovers may be set incorrectly as well, as there is a range of bass (mostly heavy rock) that simply doesn't come through in this system.

Outside the car, the highs seem fairly quiet and the bass, again, just sounds very boomy and undefined. No nice thunder, sweet vibration, or earth-rumbling whatsoever. Just...mud.

So, again, what should I do to get this system sounding impressive, both inside the car and out? I don't mind spending the money, but I'm clueless as to what I should have done.

Sorry for the long-winded post, and thanks for any advice in advance!
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A couple of things,
First take your car to a reputable shop and make sure the system is tuned properly. A poor tune with an emphasis in the mid to upper bass regions, say 90 hz and above can give you a very boomy sound at the sacrifice of clean powerful bass.

Second no matter which components you go with make sure your car is sound dampened, i.e. dynamatt brown board etc...
This made one of the most significant improvements in my cars sound.

Third What type of enclosure is it, Band pass, sealed, ported, free air. Subwoofer box design is the only major low frequency variable in typical car audio systems. A ported box can be very loud but also rather boomy.

Finally a JL 10w3 should sound very nice with a 250 watt monoblock so you probably do not need more power but better midbass from door components and good cross over frequency selection. I had my jl 10 crossed over at 80hz with a 18 decibel slope. I have run this setup with everything from a very nice and pricey set of lotus' to fairly cheap but surprisingly good sounding set of cdt's. With both speakers the sq was dramatically improved by crossing over the sub low and allowing the midbass driver play to it's full potential. This also helps with imaging and sound stage. I would recommend something along the lines of the cdt 61 or the step up models if your budget allows and maybe something along the lines of a another jl or alpine amp for the front with at a minimum 150 watts per side ( it is my opinion that amplifiers brands are the most overrated portion of a car audio system).

If you need any specific info or want to take a stab at tuning the car yourself and saving the cash, pm and I would be more than willing to help.

And one final thing, if you are still using the bose speakers up front, they will not sound as good with a aftermarket head unit due to bose use of odd impedance levels which can kill the actual output power of your head unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Fillip, thanks for the great information.

The shop I'm using is supposed to be the best in San Antonio, and the only real issue I've had with them so far was them choosing an underpowered amp to power the sub, but they replaced that with the 250/1 at cost, so I can't complain too much.

It does sound like the sub crossover is set too high; on higher bass notes, the sub makes quite the farty/wobbly sound. Not tight or clean at all. I was thinking that having nice front/rear speakers installed would solve that problem, as they could then lower the crossover point from where the Bose speakers are set.

Are Dynamat and MDX the same thing? I know they said they fiberglassed and MDX'd the stock enclosure for the sub. And the sub is in the stock location, but again, with the fiberglassed enclosure. As I understand it, that's the best way to go in the Roadster.

Regarding the front speakers, are the Infinity Kappa Perfect 6.1's an improvement over the CDT 61's you mentioned? And when you say 150 watts of power per side, do you mean 75 per speaker (150 for front, 150 for back), or 150 watts per speaker (ala 300/4 bridged to 2 channels)? Also, with the improved door speakers, should the rear speakers be disabled? I think I've read about that being a smart option on this forum.

Thanks again for all the great help!
 

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Originally posted by Outlaw@Aug 31 2005, 09:49 PM
Also, with the improved door speakers, should the rear speakers be disabled? I think I've read about that being a smart option on this forum.

Thanks again for all the great help!
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Fillup & Buff are both familar with roadsters, so they will have a better feel for disabling the rear speakers in the ZR. In the coupe, disabling is recommended.

Good luck with the completed project.
 

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Originally posted by Outlaw@Aug 31 2005, 07:49 PM

Fillip, thanks for the great information.

The shop I'm using is supposed to be the best in San Antonio, and the only real issue I've had with them so far was them choosing an underpowered amp to power the sub, but they replaced that with the 250/1 at cost, so I can't complain too much.

It does sound like the sub crossover is set too high; on higher bass notes, the sub makes quite the farty/wobbly sound. Not tight or clean at all. I was thinking that having nice front/rear speakers installed would solve that problem, as they could then lower the crossover point from where the Bose speakers are set.

Are Dynamat and MDX the same thing? I know they said they fiberglassed and MDX'd the stock enclosure for the sub. And the sub is in the stock location, but again, with the fiberglassed enclosure. As I understand it, that's the best way to go in the Roadster.

Regarding the front speakers, are the Infinity Kappa Perfect 6.1's an improvement over the CDT 61's you mentioned? And when you say 150 watts of power per side, do you mean 75 per speaker (150 for front, 150 for back), or 150 watts per speaker (ala 300/4 bridged to 2 channels)? Also, with the improved door speakers, should the rear speakers be disabled? I think I've read about that being a smart option on this forum.

Thanks again for all the great help!
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I am not familiar with mdx, I think it may be a type of paneling (wood) but I am not sure. The sound deadening that really helped was in the doors.

Speaker preference is a kin to preference in lovers, everyone has their own taste. I think the cdt's sound far superior to the alpines. I thought the midbass had better presence and the tweeter was very smooth but still accurate. If you asked 8 other people you would get 8 other opinions. The best thing to do is listen for yourself. Unfortunately that are not any cdt sound boards that I know of but maybe a member in your area has a pair. Either way you will not be disappointed.

Power should be 150 watts per channel for a total of 300 watts. Abandon or destroy your rear speakers. How many high end home audio systems that are not multichannel sourced do you see using rear speakers. Rears imho screw with your soundstage and imaging.

I reread your title and if money is really not a object ignore all the recommendations you have read and go buy yourself a set of tru's or maybe some macintosh's and look into rainbows or seas lotus series. That with a good install and tuning can equal eargasm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
KShep, sounds like it might be best to just leave the rear speakers out of the equation and have them unplugged when install time comes.

Fillup, again, thanks for the great info. I will ask my installer about CDT's. I am not sure if they sell/install those, though. If I were using the JL XR's or the Perfects, would you suggest 150 watts to them also?

As I read it, the CDTs run 120W RMS, the Perfects 100W RMS, the XR's 75W. I would like the CDTs, but I'm not sure that I can even get them installed in S.A.

Well, money is indeed an object; didn't mean to imply big bucks here. I just meant to get across that I didn't mind spending money to get good gear, but I'm no audiophile, so something as high end as McIntosh would likely be wasted on my ears.

Thanks again for the great info!
 

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Originally posted by Outlaw@Aug 31 2005, 11:18 PM

KShep, sounds like it might be best to just leave the rear speakers out of the equation and have them unplugged when install time comes.

Fillup, again, thanks for the great info. I will ask my installer about CDT's. I am not sure if they sell/install those, though. If I were using the JL XR's or the Perfects, would you suggest 150 watts to them also?

As I read it, the CDTs run 120W RMS, the Perfects 100W RMS, the XR's 75W. I would like the CDTs, but I'm not sure that I can even get them installed in S.A.

Well, money is indeed an object; didn't mean to imply big bucks here. I just meant to get across that I didn't mind spending money to get good gear, but I'm no audiophile, so something as high end as McIntosh would likely be wasted on my ears.

Thanks again for the great info!
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Speaker efficiency does play a role in power requirements, but Dynamic head room (simply,having more power than required) allows speakers to play loud and clear without overworking. Same kinda of thing as a 4 cylinder vs a 8 cylinder driving at highway speed they will both do it but the 8 will turning less rpm therefore doing less work. Any speaker shop will install any speaker you want. If you want to go with cdt's order them online and have the shop install them otherwise take a listen to what your installer has. I say 150 watts but it can very a bit and not cause to many problems.
 

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MDX is a dense wood fiber product used to create speaker enclosures...and other things.

...copied from the Celestial web site...

Each pair of speakers is hand built using MDX. MDX is denser and more rigid than MDF. It is moisture resistant and will not swell, so joints remain tight and box resonance is easier to control. Each box is internally braced to further inhibit cabinet resonance. In speakers where a midrange or more than one woofer is used, each driver has it’s own complete and separate enclosure. This ensures the drivers will not interfere with each other and produce unwanted distortion and phase anomalies.
You will find no pink stuff in our speakers. After using almost every type of dampening material we stumbled on a special grade of fibreglass. It doesn’t look or feel like fibreglass but the manufacturer assured us that it is fibreglass. Whatever it is, it is the best dampening material we’ve ever used.
All the processes are used to ensure as little cabinet coloration of the sound as possible.
 

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Outlaw, plus 1 on the CDT components. I have had 4 pairs of comps in my Z so far (RF, Diamond Hex, Phoenix Elites, and now CDT HD62) and the CDT are definitely my recommendation for wonderful midbass and clear highs. I'm using 100x2 watts to them from a JL 500/5.

Regarding soundproofing, personally I used 50sqft of DynaMat Extreme plus 10lbs of acoustic foam. You will definitely need to mat the doors and cubby area..at least

Lastly, regarding rear fill..I chose the 500/5 amp because it gives you 25x2 to rears. I rarely have them playing,, but occassionally a little rear fill can be a nice thing based on road noise and the selection.

Oh, tweeter placement was something that I spent some time on. I have one set in the kick panels and another imaging set on the dash (CDT).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Fantastic advice, guys; thanks so much. I called my installer today, and they said they will happily install anything I want. Where did you guys purchase your CDT speakers, which ones did you buy, and what do you have powering them? Now it's just narrowing it down to the gear.

What amp would go well with the HD-62's? They rate at 180W RMS, so I assume a 400x2 amp would be best? What specific amp would y'all suggest? Would a JL 300x2 be sufficient? I don't want to underpower them.

Is this a good deal on the HD-62's? http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...g=UTF8&v=glance . $299 seems a good deal cheaper than anywhere else I've seen them. Includes "Free 6.5" Rear Fill Speakers (CL-6E)", so sounds like a decent deal.

I'll also ask about dynamating the car, but I may have to save that for a later date. One step at a time, of course.

Thanks for all the great advice!
 

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Unlike other manufacturers, CDT actually sells their gear right on Ebay. Name of the seller is CDTSTORE. You will get the best prices there as they have a summer sale going on.

I wanterd to use their Upstage technology, so instead of getting the basic HD component set, I went with just a pair of CDT mid-range drivers (about $180), plus the 200US crossover set which has an output for upstage tweeters. Then I bought a pair of 1" tweets for the kickpanels and a seperate pair of 3/4" tweets (upstage) to place on the dash.

CDT has about 5 different options for crossovers, 4th order, 5th order, one that corrects blaring mid-range problems, and one that has upstage built in. Oh, and one that does it all... They also have the neat corner stage and centerstage now

A 300/2 amp is more than sufficient for the set IMO.. In fact I'm only running 100x2 using the 500/5 amp.

Secondskinaudio has some nice products and competing prices if you email anthony. Their liquid paste worked well in the tire wells and the extreme mat is very good.
 

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P.S. for those unfamiliar with CDTs, the recommended wattage they list is PER SET of components, not for an individual woofer/tweeter pair. So per channel the recommended wattage RMS is 90W. Of course the HDs can handle more but this may clear up confusion about what size amp to purchase.

I've spoken to John at CDT tech support many times. He says the speakers are very efficient and will actually produce suitable quality at 50W per channel and above. If you have your gains set right, a 100W to 150W per channel amp will do very well.. It did for me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the great info, Dan. I'll be placing an order for some CDTs this week. I can't wait to hear how they sound over the Bose stocks. A world of difference, I'm sure.

Thanks again!
 
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