drmanny3
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 6:08 am
Delivery Date: 28 May 2011
Leaf Number: 3297
Contact: Website

Re: Probably not of interest to most, but - major audio over

Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:16 pm

Looks like this will be a killer.
Manny

defiancecp
Posts: 367
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:02 pm
Delivery Date: 25 Aug 2011
Location: Little Rock

Re: Probably not of interest to most, but - major audio over

Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:49 pm

One last quick update, finished up the shaping. Next comes the finish work.

Image

An another cool bit is now I got the box finished, I can check the weight - total weight of everything gained is around 65lbs. That sounds like quite a bit, but for a sub box, 3 12" subs, component set, crossovers, speaker pods, power wire, amp, etc.etc.etc. it's a really lightweight setup actually. And I've lost nearly that much in the past few months, so it's like nothing was added :D :p
Last edited by defiancecp on Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TangoKilo
Posts: 278
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:39 pm
Delivery Date: 09 May 2011
Leaf Number: 2212
Location: Moorpark

Re: Probably not of interest to most, but - major audio over

Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:53 pm

Cool... 8-)

DaveNagy
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 9:34 pm
Delivery Date: 26 Jun 2015
Location: Livermore, CA (Nor-Cal)

Re: Probably not of interest to most, but - major audio over

Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:43 pm

Very ambitious. I've never been able convince myself that I wanted to have anything to do with fiber-glassing!

How close do you think you will be able to get the color? Or, do you plan on going with a contrasting shade?

Somewhat off-topic: I noticed that you plan to use an Alpine integration unit. Probably the PXE-H660. I found this to be very interesting, since I wasn't aware that such things even existed! I spent some time reading up on the unit, which led inevitably to discussions of the JBL MS-8.

I'm currently lusting after the JBL unit. ;) I love the fact that the thing has got 8(!) channels of amplification built into it. I could do a fairly nice system upgrade without having to add any more amps. (Okay, I'd need a powered sub-woofer.) The downsides are that the JBL is dang expensive ($500-ish), and the internal amplifiers are pretty weak.

Still, the geek-appeal is off the charts. :) If I end spending that money, I'm blaming you!

defiancecp
Posts: 367
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:02 pm
Delivery Date: 25 Aug 2011
Location: Little Rock

Re: Probably not of interest to most, but - major audio over

Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:26 pm

Oh, I lusted after the JBL unit before the alpine! That thing looks amazing, and I've been a fan of JBL for a while... I just couldn't get past the price difference.

If I were planning to do any form of competition (iasca/usaci/etc), I'd have definitely sprung for the JBL though.


As for the color, I don't know. I know there's a spray texture that a lot of guys in the audio industry swear matches the 'feel' of most stock plastic interior components, and I've got that stuff on the way, but as for the color, I've got a sample of 3 different grey vinyl dies on the way that I'm seeing if I can match it. I think I should be able to get pretty close to *something*, since there's actually 3 different shades bordering there (the a-pillar, then two shades on the dash), but if not I may consider doing a darker charcoal color or something like that.

defiancecp
Posts: 367
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:02 pm
Delivery Date: 25 Aug 2011
Location: Little Rock

Re: Probably not of interest to most, but - major audio over

Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:05 am

Well, I've got it in the car and working ... Still a lot of cosmetic work to do; (pods color just looks bad, I need to trim the upper curve on them to mesh better; the sub/amp trim panel is still a skeleton; etc.etc.) but I'm taking a break and listening to them for now.

I gotta say I *REALLY* don't like the alpine unit at this point. It's firmware is glitchy, the PC software is crappy, the auto-setup doesn't work properly, etc.etc.etc. So far:

-The software wouldn't install on my laptop. Gets at 95% or so, gives an error (numbered without description) and backs out. A call to support just blamed the laptop (a dell netbook with win7, good antivirus, all updates, and no other issues). Ended up having to get my wife's PC, haul it downstairs, get an extension cord, and run it by the car.

-The software in the unit concerning the microphone is often disfunctional (mic tests out fine on my PC, but plug in to the box and try to run a sweep and it says "mic error"). Unplug and plug the mic 5-6 times and if I'm lucky it'll start working. However, if I connect to a PC - even WHILE it's got the mic error - it will pick up and utilize the mic no problem.

-The unit will not work until you've completed the auto-setup process. The auto-setup process must complete 4 mic sweeps (see above for why that became a HUGE issue).

-According to the instructions, if you get to the mic sweep portion of the setup, you can then plug in a PC to complete the setup that way. Great! Only if you do that, it doesn't consider setup complete, so next time you boot the unit up it tries to go through the setup process again.

-During bootup it gives you an option to set your crossovers for a multi-way setup (as mine is). Then it just ignores your selections and you have to set it again later. No idea whether it uses the settings for the mic sweeps.

-Manual includes not one single shred of instructions for the PC software, only a vague reference to being able to use it.


In short, it does exactly what it says it will do ... but only after several hours of armwrestling the stupid thing around its own firmware. I don't think I've ever messed with a less functional setup process in my life.

It's in and working and sounding great now, but I just can't recommend this thing. Maybe I got a defective one, but other than the mic error these all seems like design flaws...



Having said that, I'm liking all the rest of the setup! The crossovers in the JL amp are excellent - I'm not using them because I want to keep the time delay from the Alpine working... If it wasn't for REALLY wanting time alignment, a $20 line converter and the amp could do the job without the alpine being in place at all. And it's got plenty of power - The subs will boom if I make them, and the whole system gets crazy loud with no clipping. The speakers are excellent; I've got the mid/highs crossed over in the 400hz range, which I was nervous about considering it's a 2" mid, but it handles it fine even at very high volume. The midbass is almost like a little sub; I'm playing around with the crossover point there - I think 70hz is probably going to give the smoothest transition while still maintaining bass-up-front illusion (any higher and I start picking up cues from the subs), but I was able to go down to 60 without losing any significant oomph! :)


I'll get some pics later, but right now the RCAs are something of a rats nest from the fight with the Alpine, so I need to at least straighten those up a bit first :)


Also... I don't listen to a lot of extremely bass-heavy music, but as a test of power consumption I cranked the subs quite a bit past what I normally would and listened to Rage Against the Macine on my drive in this morning. Not enough to see the impact, that's for sure. I pulled in with the dash showing pretty much exactly what it normally shows for efficiency, range, and battery. I didn't see any change at all in power consumption on the energy meter. I'm starting to think none of the gauges really measure the energy that goes to the 12v battery... or maybe consumption is even lower than I thought. Either way, good news, but there might be room for an even larger amp system without major power impacts.

I know that's not enough of a long-term test to really say for sure, but I'm not going to do that more, so that's all the high-output test you're getting :) The long-term test will be "enthusiastic normal" :)

bradleygibson
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:18 pm
Delivery Date: 30 Jun 2011
Leaf Number: 4680

Re: Probably not of interest to most, but - major audio over

Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:47 pm

You've inspired me, defiancecp!

My all-time favorite car audio speakers were a/d/s/ 346is's back in the day when I used to drive a car with Sound. The poor factory stereo sound quality and the fact that I love this car and plan to keep it just about forever mean it's time to do an install for the first time in probably 15 years!

I'm a bit of a purist with respect to audio--I generally feel the less processing and manipulation the better. My musical tastes are probably best described as 'schizophrenic'. I like a little bit of music from a lot of different genres. For example, I listen to a variety of music from bass-heavy rap to classical, to pop, Electronica, folk music with rich, strong vocals, and unusual stuff like Apocalyptica.

My goal is to do justice to whatever the material is, from 20 to 20K. ;)

The plan:
Front: a/d/s/ 346is two-ways; for sound stage tweets need to be within 24" of the mids, so I assume I'm going to need a small kickpanel for the tweets, as I plan to mount the mids in the doors.

Rear: My concession to non-purity--a/d/s/ 346is mids only

Trunk: 2x10" 4ohm JL Audio subs, sealed enclosure; push-pull configuration. Wired in parallel for as a 2ohm load

Amp: JL Audio HD 900x5

Cabling: Kimber Kable

Questions:

1) Any recommendations on what to buy to restore the signal to line level for the amplifier?
2) Any suggestions for subwoofers? I'd consider 12's but I'd like to hear thoughts on driver sound quality. I'm looking for a good, detailed bottom-end to handle whatever I might row at it well.
3) Thoughts on adding capacitance for transients? (If yes, how much?)
4) Thoughts on Dynamatting the (front) doors for improved speaker resonance? Do people still do that, or is there a new, improved way to do this?

Pretty excited to hear that your install hasn't hurt your mileage appreciably. I'm hoping for the same.

All the best,
Brad
Questions

bradleygibson
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:18 pm
Delivery Date: 30 Jun 2011
Leaf Number: 4680

Re: Probably not of interest to most, but - major audio over

Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:54 pm

[quote="bradleygibson"]You've inspired me, defiancecp!

My all-time favorite car audio speakers were a/d/s/ 346is's back in the day when I used to drive a car with Sound. The poor factory stereo sound quality and the fact that I love this car and plan to keep it just about forever mean it's time to do an install for the first time in probably 15 years!

I'm a bit of a purist with respect to audio--I generally feel the less processing and manipulation the better. My musical tastes are probably best described as 'schizophrenic'. I like a little bit of music from a lot of different genres. For example, I listen to a variety of music from bass-heavy rap to classical, to pop, Electronica, folk music with rich, strong vocals, and unusual stuff like Apocalyptica.

My goal is to do justice to whatever the material is, from 20 to 20K. ;)

The plan:
Front: a/d/s/ 346is two-ways; for sound stage tweets need to be within 24" of the mids, so I assume I'm going to need a small kickpanel for the tweets, as I plan to mount the mids in the doors.

Rear: Door mounted a/d/s/ 346is mids only

Trunk: 2x10" 4ohm JL Audio subs, sealed enclosure; push-pull configuration. Wired in parallel for as a 2ohm load

Amp: JL Audio HD 900x5

Cabling: Kimber Kable

Questions:

1) Any recommendations on what to buy to restore the head unit signal to nice, clean line level for the amplifier?
2) Any suggestions for subwoofers? I'd consider 12's but I'd like to hear thoughts on driver sound quality. I'm looking for a good, detailed bottom-end to handle whatever I might row at it well.
3) Thoughts on adding capacitance for transients? (If yes, how much?)
4) Thoughts on Dynamatting the (front) doors for improved speaker resonance? Do people still do that, or is there a new, improved way to do this?
5) I'm able to do much ofmthe install myself, but will probably have to farm out the kick panel manufacture. No Fiberglas experience here!
6) Any additional thoughts are welcome.

Pretty excited to hear that your install hasn't hurt your mileage appreciably. I'm hoping for the same.

All the best,
Brad

defiancecp
Posts: 367
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:02 pm
Delivery Date: 25 Aug 2011
Location: Little Rock

Re: Probably not of interest to most, but - major audio over

Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:33 pm

Nice amp choice - given the complete lack of impact on range I'm seeing with mine, a step up definitely doesn't hurt :)

For the signal, I just picked it up right at the back of the head unit. I can't find anywhere that's not speaker level, so I just picked it up as close to the unit as possible.

As for subs, so far I don't think I like these ... They have this occasional artifact that sounds kind of like subs sound when clipping, but at volume levels well below clipping levels... I think it's some kind of resonance in the materials. Almost inaudible (and in a trunk it probably would be inaudible), but enough to prevent the subs really being completely transparent. That's really my only complaint, and I can't say for certain that it doesn't originate with the alpine or with the amp, but it seems far more likely to be the subs... I've had great luck with dayton before, but these just didn't impress me. Unfortunately I've been out of the game for a while, and other subs I have used are no longer in production, so anything I recommend would be based on specs and brand preference, not any actual experience.

I personally was never much of a fan of caps; With a high-current battery and sufficient size power wire, given that a good amp will have built-in capacitance to avoid short-term loss, it shouldn't be necessary... In the leaf I could see going with one, though, given that the leaf's battery is so small in comparison to a normal 12v system. Plus, it would reduce peak load requirements on the inverter.

Dynamating is definitely still done and is still highly recommended... I chose not to because of weight, but it could definitely use it, and I think I'm probably going to back up and do it.


I need to get pics of the 'not-finished' version of my dash pods. Not happy with how they came out, I need to reshape the window side a bit, the texture didn't come out right, and the color didn't come out right, so that'll all get redone... It's just hard to pull it apart now that it's WORKING :)

defiancecp
Posts: 367
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:02 pm
Delivery Date: 25 Aug 2011
Location: Little Rock

Re: Probably not of interest to most, but - major audio over

Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:40 am

Few quick updates, and a not-so-quick realignment...

For the pods, they're in there and they work great, but the texture is all wrong and the color's way off too... Need to pull & refinish. There's a little bit of reshaping I'm going to do as well, just to mesh better. The stage sets up nicely though, so I like them.

Also, the three sub config wasn't quite right; the subs were being underdriven and the enclosure was a little tight, leading to some noticeable very low frequency dropoff. I tried it with two and it sounded pretty good and I used it like that for a while - but I really liked the aesthetics of the three. So after playing around with a bunch of things, I came up with - two, but leave the third in place as a passive radiator. I had to add a bit of mass to the third to get the tuning low enough (epoxied some small washers evenly distributed around the underside of the cone). Sounds extremely good and keeps the look I was hoping for. I'd originally wanted to do a low-tuned ported enclosure in here anyway, but didn't have the room for the size port I'd need - this gets close to that effect.




Having said that, I'm going to end up going to some extremes to get rid of this head unit. The alpine integration unit is CRAP for someone like me; there's basically nothing really user configurable beyond crossover points, levels, and time delays - all the eq stuff is autotuned by mic and not user-configurable, and the software is horribly glitchy. And I like to tweak. Plus, doing line level conversion is a problem; I managed to get the signal *somewhat* clean, but not as good as I'd hoped for. The factory unit clips at different volumes across different frequencies, and I think even that varies based on the overall level at other frequencies. So I can get it to where I *think* there's no clipping, then I'll play a different song and it goes nuts. Not to mention hugely imbalanced relationship between frequency response and volume. I could put a remote knob from the alpine to control volume, but it would look out of place and would not be as ergonomic. Not to mention nissan's UI design is, in my opinion, complete and utter crap. There's a lot of awesome stuff about this car, but the head unit/control center UI is probably the worst single aspect of the entire vehicle, in my experience.

Of course replacing it is going to be more of a project than the entire rest of the audio system has been... the head unit handles all kinds of things: Besides the obvious audio/phone/nav/backup cam stuff, I already know it is responsible for sending the remaining range estimation to the dash, recording charge timers & turning on the charger as needed, displaying power/efficiency-related info, displaying climate control info, displaying and changing settings related to how door locks, lights, and other bcm functions operate, etc.)

So my plan is- build a car-PC, and write the software to handle the functions it's replacing. I plan on using one of these: http://www.bybyte.com/BBX-1_content.htm as the screen/case in the factory location, with an AMD e-350 APU/motherboard (I thought APUs were pretty stupid until I started looking at what I needed for this project - The mobo I'm looking at has a good audio chip, toslink output, reasonable efficiency, passive cooling, draws less than 40w in cpu/gpu burn-in testing, and can even play some older games), a small (60gb) ssd, and this PSU (80w, 96% efficiency, TINY!: http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-80 ) - plug in a USB GPS & bluetooth dongle (the mobo has wifi built in), then either a usb 3g/4g modem or just autoconnect to my phone for net (it's rooted and will do wifi, bluetooth, or USB tethering). Then this guy for interpretation of all the buttons: http://store.mp3car.com/Joycon_EXR_S..._p/com-159.htm .

Still deciding whether a USB AM/FM radio and/or CD/DVD drive is worth it. I rarely (but not quite never) use either. The AM/FM would be easy to hide, but they're ridiculously expensive for what they are (~$120); the CD/DVD is just the opposite - dirt cheap, but not sure where I'd put it.

The real interesting part will be the CAN interface. I figure I'll just build a little board with a USB controller, Atmel ATTiny chip, and 3 CAN chips - I initially thought I'd just program it to act as a 'dumb' go-between, sending the PC everything and letting the PC interpret and act on the signals, but that would mean the PC would have to operate 24/7 since it controls charging as well... at 40w that could run for hundreds of hours on a charge, but that would be wasteful- So instead I guess I need the miniboard to function as a standalone charging controller at a minimum. Nothing else I've found needs to function when the vehicle is off, so everything else can still go through the PC software.


As for audio, the plan is to completely yank the alpine. Send a USB and toslink cable from the head back to where the alpine was, and input it this guy http://www.minidsp.com/onlinestore/deta ... t?sef=hcfp by way of a minidig. Basically that means the optical signal goes to the minidig, which interfaces directly with the minidsp via digital i2s, where all crossover/time delay/ equalization/ etc. will be done - all before the first DAC. The only RCAs will be the 1-2ft long RCAs from the minidsp to the amp. (I do love this amp, btw... slightly larger than a paperback book, but quite surprisingly powerful, and dead cool every time I've checked it). Also bonus - I can then pull the minidsp configuration up on the screen and configure crossovers, eqs, delays, channel designations, levels, everything!


Also as a note, before I was just doing 3-way crossover & time delay, then driving the rear speakers with the factory outputs (faded almost to nothing so they didn't interact with the driver, but the rear passenger could still hear them). The minidig would allow me to independently control each of the 8 channels, so I'd be able to do left/right mid/twt, left/right midbass, sub, a true rear fill (low volume, crossed over, eq'd, delayed, and driven with something tiny like a miniamp), and still have an extra channel (center channel maybe? whatever I later decided I wanted.)



So anyway - the canbus is going to be a major hurdle. I've already got a bunch of AVR USB kits just lying around anyway, so once the mcp2515 & 2551 chips I just ordered get here I should be able to get a monitor running in no time. Then it's just a matter of logging the messaging and interpreting it all (or at least all that relates to the head unit)... No problem right??? :D

wish me luck....

Return to “Music / Navigation / Handsfree”