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Author Topic: What is the best speaker/sub/amp?  (Read 35243 times)
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DS
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« on: 07/04/05 02:29 PM »

Simple answer: There is no one best.

Despite what people on this and practically any other audio forum out there say, there is no one best-in-the-world coax, component set, subwoofer or amplifier. Some will say that JL is the best, some jump the Rockford and Kicker bandwagons, and you'll have fanboys out there for practically any brand that you can think of from Alphasonic to Zapco. Some of these people are blind followers that believe anything that they are told by marketers, some believe that whatever they happen to own is the best, some will tell you that a certain brand is the best because that brand sponsors them and so on, but none of them can scientifically prove that their reasoning this fact rather than mere opinion.

Full Range Speakers

When it comes to full range speakers, ie coaxes and component sets, you'll find everything from $10 sets that you've never heard of to sets in the thousands that ship in pretty wooden crates. What makes any of these better than the rest? It comes down to build quality, materials, engineering, research and innovation. People will describe the sound of speakers with just about any descriptor that you can imagine from the usual "warm", "bright", and "harsh" to the more unique "silky", "wet", "alive" and other terms that make you wonder how hard they had to think to come up with that term to describe a speaker's sound quality.

What really matters is how the speaker sounds to you! If you take people's word for everything in life you'll miss out on one of the main points of living. Go listen to speakers in your local shops and stores. Sure, they'll sound different when you put them into a car, but at least you can get some idea of what you're looking for. Any shop worth its mettle will have a demo car on hand for you to listen to or a customer's car that may be listenable. If you want to take things to the next level, check out local car shows or IASCA or USAC shows, or for you Europeans EMMA shows and you'll find plenty of people that'll gladly let you hear their cars. This will give you a reference of what speakers that are properly installed can sound like, as the install is more important than the speakers themselves.

What sounds good to your ears will be unique to you and what you deem as "good" sound quality. Obviously a person who listens to nothing but rap will have a totally different definition of "good" sound than a person who loves his heavy metal or Mozart. Also important: Your hearing. An adult male typically can't hear above 16000hz, and depending upon life experiences may have significant hearing damage. Therefore if you and a friend listen to the same car and music, you're likely to have totally different impressions of its sound quality. If you're looking for realism and a sound quality system, you need a good reference, and live, non-amplified music is the best that you can get. I'll guarantee that if you go and sit at a jazz club one night and really listen to the music you'll have a new impression of what music should sound like.

Subs

If it weren't for subwoofer debates, 50% of the car audio posts on the web wouldn't exist. People argue about subs like cats and dogs fighting. Much of the above material applies to subwoofers, from the engineering and build being of importance to the guys with blind brand loyalty spouting off their mouths. I can say this about subwoofers: The install is more important than the subwoofer itself. You can take a subwoofer and place it into different enclosures and  you'll hear totally different characteristics in the output. A sub system (box+sub+amp) can be optimized for sound quality, sheer output or just about anything in between. There is no one best enclosure or one best sub, plain and simple.

Amplifiers

Yet another source of pure stupidity here. I've had people tell me that their amp was the best in the world for reasons beyond my comprehension in some cases. People on forums will go on and on and on about how the sound quality of their amps really makes their system have a "warm" sound, others will create more unusual qualities that their amps somehow create.

The fact of the matter is that an amplifier is meant to be nothing more than a straight wire with gain. It takes its input and increases its magnitude, both the input and output should have the same waveform. If an amp is adding some magical properties to your sound, it's not doing its defined job.

Buy an amp that has a reputation for being well built and is reputable, and most importantly, fits your needs as far as output power and size are concerned. There are dozens of amps ranging from dirt cheap swapmeet amps to mid priced pieces up to amps in the thousands that will fit the bill, but always remember that you usually get what you pay for when it comes to amps. If you buy that $50 amp that has "5000Watts Max Power" proudly emblazoned across the top of its heatsink, don't expect it to make that much power, or any at all if you're really unlucky.



This is all just my opinion and what I tell people that I talk to in person that ask me audio questions, so your thoughts on these subjects will of course vary, and that's fine. If they do, post what you're thinking!  Grin
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Yakmar
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« Reply #1 on: 07/04/05 02:42 PM »

Great info, DS!! THanks!!  thumbs_up
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« Reply #2 on: 07/05/05 06:39 AM »

this should be tacked
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« Reply #3 on: 07/05/05 08:04 AM »

Damn DS your the man I'll drink to that you hit the nail on the head, I'm glad you brought this up like you said about the Amp, I always thought a watt was a watt, LOL, right now I have Infinity on my doors I love the way they sound, someone will tell me Infinity is garbage they are to bright (I never found the damn flashlight inside the speaker after I heard that), but for my Salsa and Regaeton, I think they sound great and no I'm not saying they are the best in the world but I happen to feel comfortable with them and really like them.
Amen
your my hero  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: 07/14/05 04:06 PM »

Very good points DS,  I have friends who have "10,000" watt amps and two "5,000" watt subs, and "custom enclosure" and they sound like crap. 
Do you think a $1000 would buy me a solid system that would fit the AV?  The factory sub is pretty weak.
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DS
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« Reply #5 on: 07/14/05 08:02 PM »

I don't see why it wouldn't buy you a solid system, maybe I need to do a "$1000 upgrade" post.  idea
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« Reply #6 on: 07/14/05 08:10 PM »

TTT alot of people need to read this
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« Reply #7 on: 07/14/05 08:30 PM »

Yup, I'll drink to that, these are your post that should count, when you make a contribution like DS made.
« Last Edit: 07/14/05 10:59 PM by HeavyD » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: 07/18/05 12:19 PM »

I work at a stereo shop and I think thats the number one question....WHATS THE BEST SUB.....AMP.....HEADUNIT....BLAH BLAH BLAH. I could do a blind test on 99.9% of the people who are hardcore "brand fans" they will never know what brand speaker is playing. Now if they could see what is playing they will pick the brand they like. People hear what they want to hear. I sell everything form Jl Audio, Mtx, Alpine, down to Power Acoistik. If the customer has a tight budget but still wants a amp to push 4-12's then I will sell them a power acoustik 1900w for $299. Sure its not 1900w but it still pushes as hard as a JL500 for 2/3 the price. Now if the budget is more flexible or amp mounting space is a issue then for $500 you can get a compact JL500. There is a different BEST product for every customer.
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« Reply #9 on: 07/18/05 12:32 PM »

Just anoteher story about the "old school loyalist" I has this guy maybe 30-35 come in with a Punch 45! That thing belongs in a museum. He said that he wanted it installed in his new truck. Well if you remember back in the day.....old school amps didnt have crosovers or bass boost features. I told the guy that by time he baught a crossover extra set of rca's and installation that he would be spending close to what a new entry level am cost. Well this "idiot" go on to tell me how I couldnt give him one of the newer JUNK amps that they make these days and that his punch 45 use to slam his pair of 15's louder than any car is today...........This guy must have a very bad memory. So I offered to hook it up on the display board and let him A/B it. You know what happed when it was hooked up. He swears that I rigged something. It wouldnt push the 8" W0 Jl's muchless the pair of 12's he wanted. After going through all the trouble hooking up his amp he still didnt buy anything. Some people are stupid.
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« Reply #10 on: 07/18/05 01:48 PM »

First of all welcome to the club CD.
You rigger don't you know the customer is always right, rigging the customers amp. LOL Grin
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« Reply #11 on: 08/20/05 11:23 PM »

For the past ten years, I've been using PPI, boston acoustics and jl audio.  I know these are older technology but they sound right and I get a good price for them so I stick to them.
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« Reply #12 on: 08/31/05 06:20 AM »

I am a big fan of Elemental Designs (http://edesignaudio.com).  They make great speakers and amps and offer a 3 year transferrable warranty.  Not many companies can touch that.
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« Reply #13 on: 09/27/05 12:54 PM »

Great post DS.  I've always said anything is better than stock. 
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« Reply #14 on: 10/07/05 04:55 AM »

Once again DS hits the spot!! great info,I have eight 260 watt pioneers in my doors and two 200 watt power acoustic subs, what would you recommend to power these components
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« Reply #15 on: 11/02/05 04:33 PM »

I don't see why it wouldn't buy you a solid system, maybe I need to do a "$1000 upgrade" post.   

 This sounds like a winner did you ever do it.
thanks Bob
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« Reply #16 on: 11/28/05 08:19 PM »

www.precisionpower.com  I'm not saying anymore.  true, there is other stuff out there, but I like these.
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« Reply #17 on: 12/01/05 12:55 PM »

Has anyone seen this? The Most Powerful Subwoofer in the World!

It's very pricey (nearly $13,000) but, if that's what you want.
(I don't have the funds to mess with audio upgrades at all. I just wanted to share.)



"... different versions are rumored: a car version and a smaller one for use in traditional subwoofer enclosures."

"The big fan--er, sub--with a blade diameter I'd estimate at 17-inches was operational, and clearly produced audible, high level output to at least 17Hz. Below that its action was more obvious in the way it shook everything in the rooms and, below 10Hz, caused the rooms' walls to literally flutter back and forth like a sheet in the wind. Scary, but impressive."

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« Reply #18 on: 12/01/05 06:23 PM »

Has anyone seen this? The Most Powerful Subwoofer in the World!

It's very pricey (nearly $13,000) but, if that's what you want.
(I don't have the funds to mess with audio upgrades at all. I just wanted to share.)



"... different versions are rumored: a car version and a smaller one for use in traditional subwoofer enclosures."

"The big fan--er, sub--with a blade diameter I'd estimate at 17-inches was operational, and clearly produced audible, high level output to at least 17Hz. Below that its action was more obvious in the way it shook everything in the rooms and, below 10Hz, caused the rooms' walls to literally flutter back and forth like a sheet in the wind. Scary, but impressive."




is this for real?
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« Reply #19 on: 12/02/05 06:57 AM »

Apparently.

Here's their site Eminent-Tech, when at their site click on rotary Woofer.

Or Google "eminent tech" or "eminent tech trw 17" there are lots of articles and reviews.
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DS
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« Reply #20 on: 12/12/05 03:05 PM »

Yeah, it's for real, but it's not an original idea. Sound Physics Lab innovated this idea of using a motor driven "cone" to move air rather than a magnetic motor assembly like conventional woofers. Check out Servodrive for more info. A company named TWD Audio had built a version of the Basstech cabinets for car audio use but had problems with cones ripping to shreds. Once the cone problems were fixed, belt issues came into play and finally the founder decided to head back into the sound reinforcement consulting business. Phoenix Gold also marketed a couple versions of these woofers in the eary 90's that were built by Servodrive for them and they had issues as well. You can, from time to time, find a PG Cyclone subwoofer, which uses a servo motor such as this one and a vane in a cylinder which is connected to the motor. It was revolutionary for its time but did not handle being pushed beyond its limits well at all and was quite noisy.
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« Reply #21 on: 02/01/06 12:55 PM »

You have to get what you think sounds best. It is a to "each his own" thing. With that said, definitely buy a good quality brand that YOU think sounds best. It is your music and your ears.
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« Reply #22 on: 04/04/06 08:30 AM »

As said, it's really what that person wants. What they listen to.

Best is really all ones choice.

I personally am an SQ person, don't like SPL that much.

A desired set up for me or I would sell to someone with a nice cash flow..

Addzest HX-D1 for the head

Dynaudio System 340/360

amps, this is where you can vary.. adcom, ppi art, genesis, brax, mcintosh, audison.

Subs, I still have a set in the box I will use personaly ss10r's "velvet hammers"

What I'd sell in today's world... a/d/s/, RE, Boston, MBQ

Electronics, mostly audio control, and The C.A.P.

Wire is pretty much wire as long as its oxygen free. but stinger.

RCA - Stinger.

and about $500 of misc things usually find there way in.

Again this is all just me.. most people dont know what to look for when looking into equipment. In complete boredom I'll go to best Buy just to see what the kids think is good. Then teach them about the specs, which ones matter and which ones dont. Watts! Newest think I learned is that an Alpine digital amp (though not true digital) is worse than a Jensen amp. Guess THD is an after thought?

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« Reply #23 on: 04/06/06 08:20 PM »

Why the Addzest D1 rather than its domestic brother the 9255, just out of curiosity?

As for the Alpine vs the Jensen, I'd bet that the Alpine is far superior in its parts usage, build quality and output. Keep in mind that while the a thd % of .002 is far superior to a thd spec of .02, you can't hear the difference in them despite the huge numerical jump in the spec. If this was the case, the Soundstream 10's you mentioned that had a huge following in their time would produce far more distortion than many of todays high excursion SQL subs using technologies like XBL2 to increase their output and their clarity.  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: 04/07/06 08:51 AM »

9255 doenst support HDCD or least I didnt think it did. Also d1 now has a brother d2.. Little pricy though and harder to get ahold.

THD comment was really only to warrent not many people at retail stores really know what it stands for. as for the ss10r's them being never used and hearing them in correct applications before I thought of them very highly. for now they are taking up test bench space in the box.... gotta figure out what car to put them in..
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« Reply #25 on: 04/09/06 11:07 PM »

Hey DS, I understand what your saying but I think when people ask "what is the best speaker\sub\amp?" they really mean "what is the best speaker\sub\amp for my situation?"

If they were to say it like that then you can give them options. Obviously you have a lot of experience with equipment, as do I. So I always recommend quality equipment from a reputable manufacturer that will suit the customers needs and install without any problems. Also if you've been in the business for awhile you know what manufacturers will have warranty and return loopholes and a high rate of defective problems.

I would never recommend equipment from manufacturers that will not warranty product without a hassle, or equipment that has a high rate of failure.

There are a lot of companies that take care of their dealers and customers and I would highly recommend them i.e. Alpine, JL Audio, D.E.I. etc.

Just my .02.
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« Reply #26 on: 08/11/06 03:51 PM »

at least for subwoofers, the jl midgate with jl 500 watt mono amp made my daughter's hair move.  great system.  i have it for sell (see posting). bought her a new truck.
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« Reply #27 on: 08/11/06 07:00 PM »

Will you adopt me.   love
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« Reply #28 on: 09/13/06 07:37 PM »

  Speaking of hair moving
http://www.realmofexcursion.com/videos/MassDestructionCarAudio/napalm12.2.wmv
 
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« Reply #29 on: 01/04/07 12:48 AM »

I'm a Pure "Kicker" Man.
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« Reply #30 on: 01/17/07 07:06 AM »

I'm a Pure "Kicker" Man.
Thats what I have as well......I have ss components in the doors....the best I have heard......really suprised me.....
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« Reply #31 on: 01/17/07 08:43 AM »

Great post DS  Cool!

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« Reply #32 on: 01/23/07 03:55 PM »

I think that the 80/20 rule can apply to the sound quality of in-vehicle audio.
Basically, the overall sound quality will be based on 80% installation quality and only 20% component quality.
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« Reply #33 on: 01/30/07 09:33 PM »

I'm partial to Infinity Subs, rather pricy, but as DS says, "You get what you pay for"

I will say this about any system: Make sure you get it new with warranty, don't buy subs or amps from a buddy and then pay 500 bucks for someone to install it only to find out something doesn't work right.  You'll lose money and your buddy!
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« Reply #34 on: 09/03/07 07:39 AM »

I can't beleive it has been eight months since anyone has made a post here.  Did ya'll give up or come up with a solid answer.  As a new member a figured I would give some of my thoughts.  DS was on the right track, but was leaving out a couple of things.  Recently, JBL did a study.  They took hundreds of random people from college students to trained listeners like  the ones that work for the magezines.  They gave them all the same blind listening test.  I've been in the room; it is pretty cool.  This test was not to prove that their speakers were better, the test was to determine a reference to what people like to hear.  The results were very surprising.  Everyone has the same the same idea as to what GOOD sound is.  Sure, some people want more bass or more treble some times but these are simple level adjustments.  The problem is that most people have not heard really good sound.

 The best way to get an idea of what your system should sound like is to go to a local, not big box, home electronics store.  Get a demo of a set of nice home speakers.  Listen to a CD with a good recording in two channel.  You should hear something you've never heard before and there are no words to discribe it.  Even at this level, speakers are the biggest variable.  I've listened to two pairs of speakers both sets worth more than $12,000 and there was a huge difference.  Both sounded good but only one was convincing enough to make you forget that you were listening to a pair of speakers.

I won't bore you too much more, but if I could say anything, it is that the single, most important thing about your system is the installer.  If the person does not have a healthy understanding of how sound works and how to set up a car, you don't have a chance.  I'm not talking about EQs or fancy processors since most of this make things worse.  But simble things like where to mount tweeters (not just where they look cool)and phasing.  In cars, speakers point in all different directions and that effects phasing.  There is no right or wrong way to connect the + and - on the speakers.  There have been many cars that by wiring the passenger side speaker backwards, it would actually fix the sound.  Also, when tweeters are mount in the pillar like on the bose systems in our trucks, the tweeters should be wired opposite (+,-) of the mids.  This will actually make the two speakers work together the way they are designed.

OK, thats propably too much.  Just find the best installer in your area and stick with him.



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« Reply #35 on: 09/03/07 07:53 AM »



... most important thing about your system is the installer.  If the person does not have a healthy understanding of how sound works and how to set up a car, you don't have a chance.  



good point lteeples,
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« Reply #36 on: 03/02/08 10:13 PM »

I have to take exception to some of your assertions. The first and most obvious is the statement you made about always wiring pillar mounted tweets out of phase to the mids. I am not going to sit here and say that this would never be a viable tuning option, but to say that it should always be done is just not true.

The problem with reversing phase is the fact that it will only have the desired effect within a band of frequencies. Once the wave form becomes too long or too short, you will be out of phase again. Obviously, if you are not working with a point-source setup, this may be more feasible, since the offending frequencies may fall outside the crossover points. It is also worth mentioning that phase and time alignment are other ways to remedy auto phase anomalies.

The fact is, there really is no best setup for a car. This is because it depends on too many subjective factors. If this was not the case, every speaker manufacturer would produce drivers to one set of parameters.

Every vehicle also has unique sonic characteristics that must be accounted for. Whereas door mounted woofers and sail panel tweeters may yield a rock-solid center image with an impressive stage width in one particular car, the same setup in another may sound worse than your factory system.

Another thing to take into consideration is the speaker's off-axis response. If a speaker has good off-axis response, it will be more amenable to less-than-perfect speaker placement. Using the same locations with an inferior response will sound very harsh. In a car, sound from the radiating surface is only half of the story. The human brain takes the direct sound and sound reflections and creates a sonic syllogism resulting in how the speaker sounds in your unique situation.

Automobiles are very hostile to high-end audio replication. Another thing you will see in a high-end listening room is an exorbitant level of soft surfaces. All of the hard surfaces in the mobile atmosphere necessitates great care be taken to control sonic reflections. By doing this, you can use to your advantage an otherwise disruptive element.

Another factor one must consider is cost. Nearly always, the question is not just what will sound best for my particular situation but, what will sound best for my budget.

Another issue unique to the car audio realm is that of near-field response. When the aforementioned study was conducted, there is no doubt that the speaker placement was optimal to negate the issues of a chaotic near field. This is not a luxury afforded to a mobile install. For this reason, auditioning speakers in a showroom lends nothing to your understanding of what that speaker will sound like in your car.

There is much more, but i think this shows there is no “best.” There are just better alternatives for different situations. However, I will say this to the issue of installation. I can take a pair of Pyramid 6.5” coaxials and make them sound better than a set of Focal Utopia Berylliums installed by someone not handed in the ways of speaker placement and surface treatment.
I can't beleive it has been eight months since anyone has made a post here.  Did ya'll give up or come up with a solid answer.  As a new member a figured I would give some of my thoughts.  DS was on the right track, but was leaving out a couple of things.  Recently, JBL did a study.  They took hundreds of random people from college students to trained listeners like  the ones that work for the magezines.  They gave them all the same blind listening test.  I've been in the room; it is pretty cool.  This test was not to prove that their speakers were better, the test was to determine a reference to what people like to hear.  The results were very surprising.  Everyone has the same the same idea as to what GOOD sound is.  Sure, some people want more bass or more treble some times but these are simple level adjustments.  The problem is that most people have not heard really good sound.

 The best way to get an idea of what your system should sound like is to go to a local, not big box, home electronics store.  Get a demo of a set of nice home speakers.  Listen to a CD with a good recording in two channel.  You should hear something you've never heard before and there are no words to discribe it.  Even at this level, speakers are the biggest variable.  I've listened to two pairs of speakers both sets worth more than $12,000 and there was a huge difference.  Both sounded good but only one was convincing enough to make you forget that you were listening to a pair of speakers.

I won't bore you too much more, but if I could say anything, it is that the single, most important thing about your system is the installer.  If the person does not have a healthy understanding of how sound works and how to set up a car, you don't have a chance.  I'm not talking about EQs or fancy processors since most of this make things worse.  But simble things like where to mount tweeters (not just where they look cool)and phasing.  In cars, speakers point in all different directions and that effects phasing.  There is no right or wrong way to connect the + and - on the speakers.  There have been many cars that by wiring the passenger side speaker backwards, it would actually fix the sound.  Also, when tweeters are mount in the pillar like on the bose systems in our trucks, the tweeters should be wired opposite (+,-) of the mids.  This will actually make the two speakers work together the way they are designed.

OK, thats propably too much.  Just find the best installer in your area and stick with him.




« Last Edit: 03/02/08 10:16 PM by Dmack » Logged
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« Reply #37 on: 03/03/08 12:34 AM »

Good Points Dmack,   In high school on a very very limited budget i built a system from left over amps and speakers from friends(with a decent deck).  All the rich kids systems couldn't compare.  Truth is i spent every weekend rewiring the whole system and playing with different speaker placement and boxes, I was a little obsessed..   But as good as that system sounded, In another car it would of been crap.. 

the biggest problem in cars is those damn rear speakers..   Not to mention a drivers speaker aimed at your leg and a passenger one right at your head, parametric EQ help but throw in passengers and that goes out the window..  I agree with Dmack cars are just not the perfect building block...
Bottom line is that it comes down to the type of music you listen to,  And how good of an ear you have.  If you have a good ear go to a "true" stereo shop, someone that builds systems for sound quality, not just bling,
Building nice systems is truly a dying art.  With so many people moving to mp3's, people are losing the ear for quality.

I'm was fortunate enough to have lived close to speakerworks/USD (true pioneers in car audio) And I'm  still impressed with a simple system with a pair of waveguides and nice 6 1/2's in the doors with a pair of tens in the back...  6 speakers,

For most people adding a little bottom end is enough.... 


Just my .02
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« Reply #38 on: 03/03/08 01:50 AM »

I have to say this has been very interesting reading - and it really brought home to me how a person uneducated in audio equipment can really be taken in.  When I have gone to stereo shops, the salesman quickly realizes I don't know squat about audio, the whole tone of the conversation changes.  It's kind of like "here, just put this stuff in to the tune of 2500 bucks, and you'll be fine."...sort of the pat on the head type thing.  Know what I mean? 

You all seem to be very knowledgeable on this subject.  Could I challenge you to take this a step further for us audio idiots?  Maybe explain watts/amps and what they mean to each other?  What's a crossover?  You know, just basic info.  Why do I need a certain size amp?  Tune a sub?  What does "push" mean?  "In" phase "out of" phase?Huh?  Have absolutely no clue on that parametric EQ thing...

I've researched on the web for info, but each store has their own info geared toward their own equipment.  Is there a way to cut through all the crap and maybe start a thread with audio 101 for idjits?  Or is there site somewhere that I haven't found that will explain all this simply?   Help me!

I hope this makes sense.. Tongue
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« Reply #39 on: 03/03/08 10:28 AM »

I have to say this has been very interesting reading - and it really brought home to me how a person uneducated in audio equipment can really be taken in.  When I have gone to stereo shops, the salesman quickly realizes I don't know squat about audio, the whole tone of the conversation changes.  It's kind of like "here, just put this stuff in to the tune of 2500 bucks, and you'll be fine."...sort of the pat on the head type thing.  Know what I mean? 

You all seem to be very knowledgeable on this subject.  Could I challenge you to take this a step further for us audio idiots?  Maybe explain watts/amps and what they mean to each other?  What's a crossover?  You know, just basic info.  Why do I need a certain size amp?  Tune a sub?  What does "push" mean?  "In" phase "out of" phase?Huh?  Have absolutely no clue on that parametric EQ thing...

I've researched on the web for info, but each store has their own info geared toward their own equipment.  Is there a way to cut through all the crap and maybe start a thread with audio 101 for idjits?  Or is there site somewhere that I haven't found that will explain all this simply?   Help me!

I hope this makes sense.. Tongue
You post could elicit literally volumes of text. However, I will give you a brief rundown of car audio basics.

Head unit: This is commonly known as your radio or your CD player. Most have a built-in amplifier for running full-range speakers such as those installed from the factory. However, in a high-end system, the radio power will never be used. A good head unit will have several sets of low level outputs—commonly known as RCA outputs. These pass the same signal as does the powered outputs, however they are not amplified and operate at relatively low voltage. The voltage of the low-level outputs, however, is very important. The more output voltage you have means the more power your amplifiers will make before clipping. Clipping is when your amplified output attempts to exceed the product of the input voltage and the operating power. It is called clipping because, instead of producing a pretty round parabolic wave form, the tops and bottoms of the waves are square, or “clipped.” This is also known as distortion, and this also means death to speakers.

Crossover/processor: A crossover is the unit that divides up the audio spectrum into units manageable for your individual speakers. For instance, a woofer cannot produce the same portion of the spectrum as can the tweeter—so why try? A crossover will allow you to send only, for instance, 80hz and down to your subs, discarding the remaining portion of the spectrum. Likewise, will will only want to send high frequencies to your tweeters—say, 35khz and up. If you try to make the tweeters do the work of the subs, they should last all of about three seconds before you release the speakers magic smoke. The more channels a crossover has, the more segments you can divide the sonic spectrum into.

A processor is usually combined with a crossover, however, sometimes it is a standalone unit. Not everyone needs a processor, as this is to fine-tune your system to a more audiophile level. A processor can delay signal to any of your channels to allow the sound to reach your ears at the same time. It can align the phase of the speakers to adjust for sonic reflections, it can adjust independently small portions of the spectrum—also know as an equalizer—and it can add cool effects like echo to simulate different listening environments.

Amplifiers: An amp is the testicular grunt of your system. Amps are measured in watts. Be sure to pay attention to watts RMS, or route mean squared. This is the amount of power your amp can comfortably sustain. The max wattage is usually produced in a lab under unrealistic, unsustainable conditions. Wattage=voltage*amperage. So, a safe means of figuring what an amp is capable of doing is this: Take your input voltage—12 volts—and look at the fuse ratings—lets say, 40 amps. 12*40=480 watts. This is the higher limit of what the amp is capable of producing for a sustained period. However, all of the wattage is not being produced as music wattage. A percentage of this is being used up in the amplification process. The amount of wattage produced as music power is called the amp's efficiency. For instance, if the amp has 50% efficiency, then that 480 watts is reduced to 240 watts of music. The other 240 watts is being outputted as heat. Most amps nowadays have an efficiency of at least 65%, with many digital amps having an efficiency of around 85-90%. Obviously, these amps will produce more music power, while using less amperage. The down side to digital, or “class D”, amps is that the amplification process produces high frequency switching noise. Therefore, these amps can only be used for low frequency production. The up-side to this is the fact that higher frequencies can be produced by amplifiers with lower efficiency, because not as much power is needed to produce a proportional level of this portion of the spectrum. There are also variable such as impedance curves and so on that we really don't need to get into during a remedial survey of this subject.

Speakers: Most everyone is familiar with coaxial speakers. These are the inexpensive speakers that you can find at Wal-Mart. These are identified with a larger speaker with smaller speaker suspending in the center. If you are trying to assemble a system of any degree of quality, then treat these like the plague. A higher-end option is that of component speakers. This is a set that consists of a set of mids/woofers, a set of tweeters, and sometimes a separate set of mids. These will also come with a passive crossover, though sometimes, you can buy individual component speakers without purchasing the set. The word “passive” refers to a crossover that is on the amplified section of the music stream. This is to say that it is located between the amp and the speaker, rather than between the head unit and the amp. A crossover that falls between the head unit and the amp is called an “active” crossover, or sometimes an electronic crossover. An easy way to think about this is: If a crossover required a power input, then it has to turn on to work. When it turns on, it becomes “active. If a crossover's only inputs are speaker wires, then it just sits there waiting to filter music—therefore it is “passive.” Usually, Active crossovers are superior to passive crossovers. The reason for this is that it is easier to filter a low-powered signal without introducing a large amount of distortion than it is to accomplish the same with a high-powered (amplified) signal.

The term “phase” refers to the portion of the wave form that is being heard. For instance, imagine a parabolic (up and down) wave form. If the wave from one speaker reaches your ear and the wave form is at the top and when the wave from the other side reaches your ear, it is at the bottom, you are hearing  output that is “out of phase.” Your brain will interpret these two conflicting wave forms as a cancellation. That is to say that, it will sound somewhat as if the canceled frequencies are not even being produced. Cancellation can be interpreted by your brain as it interprets signals from your left and right ears, or it can occur mechanically between two speakers in proximity of each other. A good example of this is swapping the + and – on one of two subs. You will hear that they are playing, but you will not hear very much output, and no bass at all. That is because these lower frequencies are being canceled out. The reason that it is sometimes beneficial to invert the phase on one tweeter or mid is because, at certain distances, the inverted phase of the speaker will allow two speakers with different path-lengths (the distance of the speaker to your ear) to actually be in phase when processed by your brain. This is because higher frequencies have a much shorter wave form, and therefore they can be aligned with minimal differences in distance. This is also known as phase alignment, and can be accomplished by many higher-end processors.

Subwoofers: These are also known as woofers, though this is a misnomer. A woofer is a speaker capable of producing somewhere between 40 and 1000 or so hz. A sub-woofer, is a speaker capable of producing sound to the lower limits of the audible spectrum—around 20hz. These are the large speakers capable of inducing bowel movements and female happy times. You really need to know more about subs than you do other speakers—that is, if you are a audio novice. This is because certain specs will cause greater variances than with higher frequency speakers. This is true also because, most novices want bass before anything else.

The first spec is size, or displacement. When it comes to being loud, there is no substitution for size—sorry, this is the truth. There is a saying in the world of racing: There is no replacement for displacement. This is also true when it comes to bass. However, larger speakers can have a difficult time being articulate. Articulation of a speaker is known as the “attack” and “decay” times, however, this is better left for Audio 102. For now, lets just say that smaller subs are better for “tighter” bass.

The next spec is power handling. Again, you need to be sure that you are looking at the RMS or continuous power rating. However, please note, if you say to a person that knows anything about audio; “my speakers make 500 watts” and you base this assertion on the wattage rating of the subs, they will look at you funny and laugh at you behind your back. Speakers do not make wattage. They consume wattage. They take this wattage and convert it to sonic energy through the energizing of a resistive coil which causes the piston (cone) to move up and down, being propelled and contracted by counteracting magnetic forces. The wattage rating is how much power your speakers can safely consume without releasing aforementioned “magic smoke.”

The next spec, and the hardest to understand, is the resistance, or “ohm” rating. The term “ohm” is derived from ohm's law, which is a set of calculations used to measure the different facets of electricity. For instance, when we used the formula of V*A=W, this is an ohm's law equation. However, here the word “ohm” refers to the speakers resistance. Most people do not realize this, but the + and – connectors on a speaker are connected.  Between these connections is a tightly wound copper coil. Many people have seen a demonstration where a copper coil can be energized to create an electromagnet. This is what is happening inside your speakers. The more wire in the coil means the higher the resistance. However, the higher the number means the speaker will consume less power. 0 ohms is tantamount to a dead short. For instance, it you take your speaker wires and touch them together, this is a 0 ohm load—this will also make your amplifier very unhappy. Most subs are either 4 or 8 ohms. This must coincide with an amp's ohm load stability. If an amp is 4 ohm stable, then you can use it to run a single 4 ohm speaker. However, you can also run two 8 ohm speakers wired in parallel—parallel meaning the speakers are connected positive to positive and negative to negative. The other method of wiring is know as “series” wiring. Here, when using two speakers, the ohm load is doubled. So, instead of 4 ohms, two 8 ohm speakers wired in series would yield a 16 ohm load. I won't get into this any further as this may again be a topic for another day. To figure your parallel ohm rating for more than two speakers, use this shorthand method. Lets say you have four 4 ohm speakers and you wire them in parallel. Take the ohm rating, 4, and divide it by the number of speakers, 4. 4/4=1. This would yield a 1 ohm load. This is the ohm rating for higher-end subwoofer amps. However, groupings of three speakers has become popular. For this, use the same equation. 4 ohms /3 speakers= 1.33 ohms. This trend is the reason why JL Audio began producing dual voice coil 6 ohm woofers years ago. If you wired one of the two voice coils from each speaker in parallel, you get 2 ohms. Then, you wire the other three voice coils in parallel. Finally, you wire these two ohm connections in series and you get a 4 ohm final load, making this a perfect fit for 4 ohm stable amps. For those who know about this, I know there is another way of wiring this configuration, but I am trying to keep it simple.

If you see that an amp's rated power is 500 watts at 4 ohms, this means that it will produce 250 watts at 8 ohms and about 1000 watts at 2 ohm if it is 2 ohm stable. I say “about” because when you get closer to a dead short, the doubling factor is compromised a bit due to increased strain on the electrical components.

Now, I honestly just barely scratched the surface of what is out there on the topic of audio. This is why this is such a difficult subject to master. The good thing about of many of the more affordable products is that, seeing that the products are aimed at an audio novice, much of the guess work has been engineered out of the product. For instance, you can buy 4 6.5” coaxials capable of handling 100 Watts, and buy an amp capable of producing 100 wattsX4, hook it all up, set the gains and built-in crossovers, and then your rocking. Given it won't sound as good as an advanced setup, but you also don't need the equivalent of a PhD in electrical engineering to figure it out.

In closing, I would like to say this: If you find a really good installer that you can work with, count your blessings and treat him well. Being a really good installer is far more difficult than anyone can imagine. This requires that you be masterful in electrical knowledge, acoustic engineering, carpentry, upholstery, fabrication, fiberglass working, and many other fields that are recognized as professions in and of themselves. On top of all of this, that person must have a wondrous imagination and the ability to translate mental imaging into tangible, real-world manifestation. I labor for 12 years to become a good professional installer. I managed to secure installer and management positions in the top shops in the state, and even became MECP certified. Despite this, I never made more than 35K a year, and ended up with a quirky back from too much time laying upside down with my head buried under a dash.  I went back to school at 27, and right now I am working on realizing my second preference profession—being an attorney.
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« Reply #40 on: 03/03/08 10:42 AM »

I managed to secure installer and management positions in the top shops in the state, and even became MECP certified. Despite this, I never made more than 35K a year, and ended up with a quirky back from too much time laying upside down with my head buried under a dash.  I went back to school at 27, and right now I am working on realizing my second preference profession—being an attorney.


Maybe once you become an attorney you could help the poor souls that have had installs performed by Best Buy and Circuit City!!!  Big laughter with tears  Just kidding

Great writeup by the way...wish I could find a decent installer around here.  Thumbs up!
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« Reply #41 on: 03/03/08 10:52 AM »

Maybe once you become an attorney you could help the poor souls that have had installs performed by Best Buy and Circuit City!!!  Big laughter with tears  Just kidding

Great writeup by the way...wish I could find a decent installer around here.  Thumbs up!

Yeah, you need to avoid the “big box” stores at all costs. Your friendly moderator DS can share with you the procedural shortcomings of such establishments. Unfortunately, audible battery is not currently an actionable tort. If it was, it would be a very lucrative field of practice.
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« Reply #42 on: 03/03/08 12:18 PM »

Now THAT was informative. Thanks, DMack! Thumbs up!

That was articulate clarity defined. You will make an outstanding professional of law. Just out of curiosity, what's your poison gonna be? PA or DA?
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« Reply #43 on: 03/03/08 12:20 PM »

I started typing a book and then saw that someone pretty much hit everything..  but here is a few points

There are alot of components(building blocks)  to car audio..  so Ill just list a few and what the funtions are..
1. Head Unit. The main component that supplies all the sound to the system
Unless you are going to compete in sound compitions, It doent have to be High end, Go for features and ease of use..  In high school i had a broken headunit and used a sony walkmen with a headphone to rca jacks plugged into my EQ and it sounded just as good..
2. EQ's (equalizer for short)  
  1st what do they do,  Think of it this way,  the bass, treble and mid adjustment on your radio is a form of EQ, It limits certain frequencies from getting to your speakers..  An EQ boosts or reduces certain frequencies.
Now these little guys come in two main forms.
 a. passive eq's, - these are usually little boxes that come with component speakers. (made of coils and capacitors)
 b. active EQ's - These are powered, (made of solid state components)
Passive's are installed after the amp and before the speakers.  They eat up some of your available power, consider this when picking your amp.
Active are installed between the headunit and the amp.  
EQ's essentially have cutoff frequencies.  For example your mid bass x-over will cutoff(not allow) frequencies above 200hz
Now there is a whole other side to EQ's.
Good article on sound stage http://www.crutchfieldadvisor.com/ISEO-rgbtcspd/learningcenter/car/speakers_imaging_soundstage.html
Ill add to this later..  need to get to work..
« Last Edit: 03/03/08 12:28 PM by ajk2000 » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: 03/03/08 12:42 PM »

Now THAT was informative. Thanks, DMack! Thumbs up!

That was articulate clarity defined. You will make an outstanding professional of law. Just out of curiosity, what's your poison gonna be? PA or DA?
I never really wanted a Prince Albert—too painful. However, I have been called a Dumb Ass on more than one occasion.

All joking aside, I am going into private practice, specializing in real estate transactions, estate planning (wills, trusts, etc.) and city planning, including smart-growth planning and comprehensive planning.
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« Reply #45 on: 03/03/08 12:47 PM »

Dmack - what can I say   THANK YOU!!

That is one of the best explanations I have seen.  After reading that I went and checked the boxes of the equipment my installer put in and it matches up with a lot of what you said.  He said "this is what you need for what you want" and I wrote a check.  That was all I could understand.  He had his own shop for years, until health issues forced him to close (MS).  Now he will only work on what he calls "worthy" vehicles in his garage.  Luckily, I'm one of them!!  I have a whole new appreciation for what he knows/does. 

Again - thank you for the stupendous write up-this newbie appreciates it  Wave
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« Reply #46 on: 03/03/08 02:21 PM »

 Big laughter with tears
I never really wanted a Prince Albert—too painful. However, I have been called a Dumb Ass on more than one occasion.

All joking aside, I am going into private practice, specializing in real estate transactions, estate planning (wills, trusts, etc.) and city planning, including smart-growth planning and comprehensive planning.

By far the funniest thing I've read all day! Sounds like you actually plan on making money. Good luck and thanks again!
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« Reply #47 on: 05/17/08 12:18 PM »

Nice Post Dmack.Very informative.I would like to add some info from my days of having a good system.

As far as subs go,it is best if you can get all of the specs that you can get on them.The 2 specs i looked for was the DB=1w/1m,and if i could find it,the efficiency ratio of the sub.The db at 1 watt at 1 meter is a pretty good indication on how good the speaker makes use of its wattage going into it.Tweeters are around 95-100db,mids are about 90-95db,and subs are around 80-95db,depending on the construction of it.But as with anything make,there are exceptions to this rule.

As with any speaker,reguardless of design,it takes a doubling of wattage to increase the db of the speaker by, i think, 1.5-2db.So,if you have the DB=1w@1m figure,you can do the math on roughly how much the DB speaker can produce at its maximum wattage.

But the hardest spec to find is the efficiency ratio of the voice coil.i would take a guess that a subwoofer voice coil is only 75-85% efficient.If say you have a 1000 watt SVC woofer,multiply its wattage by 75%,to give you a safe wattage to work with.That would be around 750 watts to put on the woofer.This would give you a margin of safety in the case of clipping of the amp pushing it.Also by putting about 75% of the speaker max,you can save the voice coils by not pushing them too hard.

My old system i had in a 77 Suburban was a wall of Lanzar PC15L svc 15" subs being driven by 1 Cadence Z7000 mono block amp.The subs DB=1w@1m ratio was 100DB=1w@1m !!! The amp was rated a 50watts RMS@4ohm, and was stable to 1500watts RMS@1ohm.

If you want more info on wiring and such, check out www.the12volt.com
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« Reply #48 on: 11/26/08 08:13 AM »

My question is for a 2007 chevy avalanche under rear seats with two 8" subs sealed enclosure using a phinox gold 4300xs amp what is the best subs to use for sound quality also I want to feel the subs in the sense as if a 5 year old is kicking the back of my seat.
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« Reply #49 on: 11/26/08 09:39 AM »

Sparkomatic, Pyramid and Jensen rule  Big laughter with tears
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« Reply #50 on: 11/26/08 04:33 PM »

My question is for a 2007 chevy avalanche under rear seats with two 8" subs sealed enclosure using a phinox gold 4300xs amp what is the best subs to use for sound quality also I want to feel the subs in the sense as if a 5 year old is kicking the back of my seat.

You may want to step up to 10's for that kind of sound.

Check into MTX, MA Audio, or Crunch
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« Reply #51 on: 01/31/09 11:33 AM »

good post, my kicker amp came tested with max Watt power certificate! and yes it was less then specified but only by 5watts
Thanks for the post good info you have there.
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« Reply #52 on: 07/20/09 07:45 PM »

Man . . . my tastes do change from era to era. I mean I have been buying and installing (of having installed) stereo stuff in my cars since the early 80's. I really wasn't into quality in the early days . . . I just wanted loud and little distortion; pretty much rock music. In the 90's I dug Orion reproduction/amplification and Eclipse sound processing. I have lent myself a little latitude lately and am digging Diamond Audio 6.5's in all 4 doors (coaxels in the back, components in the front); talk about clean. Eclipse SW 6010 will fill my 10" sub needs and I have a pair of Alpine PDX's to amplify the cones. I have the 150.4 for the mids/highs, and a 1000.1 mono block for the subs. In the dash I have the Alpine IVA W505 using the blackbird II navigtation docked in it.

Not the best . . . not the worst. I can say this --> It is similar to what I had in my 2005 Avalanche that I removed and it was KLEAN!!!! That is all I ask from my system is to hear every note, every sound, every voice.

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« Reply #53 on: 11/11/09 06:50 PM »

I have to say this has been very interesting reading - and it really brought home to me how a person uneducated in audio equipment can really be taken in.  When I have gone to stereo shops, the salesman quickly realizes I don't know squat about audio, the whole tone of the conversation changes.  It's kind of like "here, just put this stuff in to the tune of 2500 bucks, and you'll be fine."...sort of the pat on the head type thing.  Know what I mean? 

You all seem to be very knowledgeable on this subject.  Could I challenge you to take this a step further for us audio idiots?  Maybe explain watts/amps and what they mean to each other?  What's a crossover?  You know, just basic info.  Why do I need a certain size amp?  Tune a sub?  What does "push" mean?  "In" phase "out of" phase?Huh?  Have absolutely no clue on that parametric EQ thing...

I've researched on the web for info, but each store has their own info geared toward their own equipment.  Is there a way to cut through all the crap and maybe start a thread with audio 101 for idjits?  Or is there site somewhere that I haven't found that will explain all this simply?   Help me!

I hope this makes sense.. Tongue


Looks like you open a can of worms again Mo.  Big laughter with tears


That was a nice write up in response.


PM me if any of that doesn't make sense.
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« Reply #54 on: 12/13/09 01:34 PM »

as far as subs go i prefer ORION HCCA series subwoofers.   to make it short here is the link to why. read the page and watch the videos  http://www.orioncaraudio.com/Promos/HCCA_Challenge_Results.aspx
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« Reply #55 on: 12/14/09 10:08 AM »

Has anyone seen this? The Most Powerful Subwoofer in the World!

It's very pricey (nearly $13,000) but, if that's what you want.
(I don't have the funds to mess with audio upgrades at all. I just wanted to share.)



"... different versions are rumored: a car version and a smaller one for use in traditional subwoofer enclosures."

"The big fan--er, sub--with a blade diameter I'd estimate at 17-inches was operational, and clearly produced audible, high level output to at least 17Hz. Below that its action was more obvious in the way it shook everything in the rooms and, below 10Hz, caused the rooms' walls to literally flutter back and forth like a sheet in the wind. Scary, but impressive."


well they deff. covered the human hearing range
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« Reply #56 on: 06/14/10 08:19 PM »

after all the changes Ive done with subs and amps i found a really good setup and it sounds amazing and has huge bass i have two 12" alpine type R subs and an alpine 1000 watt mono amp the only problem I'm having is where to put it because the folding back door takes a lot of the sound away i really don't wanna have to take out the back door again but i may have too so if you guys have any ideas that would be great
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« Reply #57 on: 06/23/10 11:28 AM »

i would also check out digital designs
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« Reply #58 on: 10/19/10 09:46 AM »

I just recently purchased a 2010 Chevy Avalanche and was seeing what sub and amp best suit the 7 speaker bose system that came with the truck. Also, I am looking to install the subs myself under the back seat and was seeing if anyone knew of a place where I can purchase a box to put my subs. Any idea if the subs will sound better face down or up?

Thanks,
-B
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« Reply #59 on: 10/19/10 11:00 AM »

I just recently purchased a 2010 Chevy Avalanche and was seeing what sub and amp best suit the 7 speaker bose system that came with the truck. Also, I am looking to install the subs myself under the back seat and was seeing if anyone knew of a place where I can purchase a box to put my subs. Any idea if the subs will sound better face down or up?

Thanks,
-B

I have mine face up firing into the bottom of the seat recently when to a drive in theater and saw the expendables lets just say I now understand why Harleys are so popular I have 2x 8'  cvt's kickers the bass sound awsome would like to feel them more 10's  would be better for that but I've all ready spent the money and time I will stick with the 8's
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« Reply #60 on: 10/19/10 07:27 PM »

HIM8NINS,

Did you install a custom box under the seat or did you purchase one and if so from where?

Thanks,
-B
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« Reply #61 on: 10/20/10 04:57 PM »

made them myself out of 1/2 mdf cost me about $20.00 in material to make made them strong enough to hold an elephant. I used the 3d design sketch that Jeff D provided I was surprised how easy it was to make. hardest thing was taking the back seat up / out to put the subs in I recommend using some one to help lift it out save your back I'm young but felt old after struggling with the seat for a bit.
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« Reply #62 on: 10/21/10 02:56 PM »

made them myself out of 1/2 mdf cost me about $20.00 in material to make made them strong enough to hold an elephant. I used the 3d design sketch that Jeff D provided I was surprised how easy it was to make. hardest thing was taking the back seat up / out to put the subs in I recommend using some one to help lift it out save your back I'm young but felt old after struggling with the seat for a bit.

Yes it is very easy for someone who knows what they're doing or only doing a sealed box. But for more efficient boxes (ported or 4th/6th order Bandpass) mistakes are very easy to make, but the performance is far beyond a sealed box.

Futhermore, under the seats are not the greatest place for them unless you are absolutely intent on keeping your midgate function since that is the best sounding location.

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« Reply #63 on: 10/24/10 08:08 AM »

I agree but it sounds like he was a simple nice sounding set up and the online stuff is cheaply made and very over priced. just my 2 cents
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« Reply #64 on: 10/25/10 02:41 PM »

I agree but it sounds like he was a simple nice sounding set up and the online stuff is cheaply made and very over priced. just my 2 cents
Unfortunately this is true for over 80-90% of it.  Beating
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« Reply #65 on: 04/18/11 01:20 AM »

I have been out of the competition stuff for a long time now and I am looking to but some speakers but I don't know who has a good name anymore in speakers or amps. I am looking to go SQ not SPL, I'm a little old and have enough hearing problems from working on augmented jet engines for the past 9 years. Does anyone have any suggestions for me. It doesn't matter the size, I am going to custom out the door panel anyway but looking for full range speakers
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« Reply #66 on: 04/18/11 05:02 AM »

Man . . . my tastes do change from era to era. I mean I have been buying and installing (of having installed) stereo stuff in my cars since the early 80's. I really wasn't into quality in the early days . . . I just wanted loud and little distortion; pretty much rock music. In the 90's I dug Orion reproduction/amplification and Eclipse sound processing. I have lent myself a little latitude lately and am digging Diamond Audio 6.5's in all 4 doors (coaxels in the back, components in the front); talk about clean. Eclipse SW 6010 will fill my 10" sub needs and I have a pair of Alpine PDX's to amplify the cones. I have the 150.4 for the mids/highs, and a 1000.1 mono block for the subs. In the dash I have the Alpine IVA W505 using the blackbird II navigtation docked in it.

Not the best . . . not the worst. I can say this --> It is similar to what I had in my 2005 Avalanche that I removed and it was KLEAN!!!! That is all I ask from my system is to hear every note, every sound, every voice.


You should be able to hear every note regardless. The important part is balance and phase correct. The one thing that's inherent in any system is positioning. You either balance it for a sitting position or an all around, everyone approach. The Bose in my a AV is lousy. No stage, no real low bass, and highs lousy. In my last truck 93 Dakota, I spent 40 hours installing and modifying crossovers, and I typically try tp treat oem speakers to get them to perform as needed, or use another brand. Used Madisound woofers, and other tweeters. It's not so necessary to just buy pricey drivers, but to be able to get what you want with what ever you need. The average person might know 10% what I know about speaker building. If you install and say it's good, it's probably not!!

Greg
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« Reply #67 on: 04/18/11 08:43 PM »



Is this an insult or advice? If it is advice like I would think, than are you trying tho say go by the spec's and I'll find the right speakers? I have a great knowledge of speaker systems and built them for many years but I was also plugged into that world at the time. I even hit 156db in a soft top 93 tracker with only 2 12's. This is not what I want though. My hearing is bad enough from my past career in the military. I was just wondering if there was any brand names that have proven to be good now. I know that most audio companies come out strong and then use their name to ride on and put out crap. I just saw a version of my amp while talking to a alarm installer. It was terrible, light, small fuses, no controls for frequency, and generally poorly made with high wattage claims. This is what I was talking about and asking if there were any known makers of good components and quality made speakers. I am looking for sound quality not just SPL.
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« Reply #68 on: 04/18/11 11:09 PM »

Is this an insult or advice? If it is advice like I would think, than are you trying tho say go by the spec's and I'll find the right speakers? I have a great knowledge of speaker systems and built them for many years but I was also plugged into that world at the time. I even hit 156db in a soft top 93 tracker with only 2 12's. This is not what I want though. My hearing is bad enough from my past career in the military. I was just wondering if there was any brand names that have proven to be good now. I know that most audio companies come out strong and then use their name to ride on and put out crap. I just saw a version of my amp while talking to a alarm installer. It was terrible, light, small fuses, no controls for frequency, and generally poorly made with high wattage claims. This is what I was talking about and asking if there were any known makers of good components and quality made speakers. I am looking for sound quality not just SPL.

I've had good luck with Boston Acoustics, MB Quart, JL Audio, Kenwood, and Rockford Fosgate, as far as the mainstream audio equipment for sound and quality. But I'm in that 90% of people that don't care about speaker building. I like it to sound good, and last. Just my opinion. Good luck with your choices!
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« Reply #69 on: 04/19/11 03:51 AM »

Is this an insult or advice? If it is advice like I would think, than are you trying tho say go by the spec's and I'll find the right speakers? I have a great knowledge of speaker systems and built them for many years but I was also plugged into that world at the time. I even hit 156db in a soft top 93 tracker with only 2 12's. This is not what I want though. My hearing is bad enough from my past career in the military. I was just wondering if there was any brand names that have proven to be good now. I know that most audio companies come out strong and then use their name to ride on and put out crap. I just saw a version of my amp while talking to a alarm installer. It was terrible, light, small fuses, no controls for frequency, and generally poorly made with high wattage claims. This is what I was talking about and asking if there were any known makers of good components and quality made speakers. I am looking for sound quality not just SPL.

There are a lot of good brands. It NOT driver, it how you use them. Buying expensive components gets you nothing. You have to read the spec sheets or measure them yourself in order to use them. Getting 156 dB of bass tells me the highs cannot compete. 120 dB in my basement is too loud to listen to. I use brands like Madisound, and Madisound sell many good brands. I use Peerless tweeters. midranges are all about peaks and roll offs. A peak is undesirable, but some peaks are off axis. Just an example, a driver might roll off at 6 kHz. It often also has a peak in this region. the phase shift is also present, as well as the impedance increasing. You can cross over on this unless you make compensation. so it's better to roll off, say 4 kHz below the danger. If you don't understand this, don't try to put a system together. 

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« Reply #70 on: 04/19/11 03:57 AM »

I always consider using two cheap woofers rather than one expensive one. Sometimes in an isobaric design, or two drivers. consider two drivers fed the same power will produce a louder sound by 3 dB. Consider four woofers fed the same power will produce a 6 dB louder sound over one, and only have to move 1/4 the distance with lower distortion.. Just speaker basics.

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« Reply #71 on: 04/20/11 01:09 PM »

Thanks but I am going to build my own system. I'm going to build a kappa system. Not too much bass though, My ears can't take it.
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« Reply #72 on: 04/21/11 02:43 AM »

Pyramid watts !!!!

There are too many topics to comment on.

A couple thing. Before an installation one has to decide on low frequencies, either natural or overblown. Most go for way overblown. With the natural amplification of bass in the vehicle, one would normally go with a high cutoff closed box system at around 60 Hz which then gives you good bass to 30 Hz. Having the woofer go to 30 Hz gives you overblown bass, not flat.

When usin a driver a complete set of specs makes it a lot easier if not mandatory unless you got a lot of time on your hands.

About tweeter phase. Every system will be different. Reversing phase is either going to give you a peak, sickout, or be correct. The position of the drivers, crossover frequency, and sitting position is going to determine this as well as crossover order.

Last truck used pillar tweeters pointed at opposite seat. I also like to use a center tweeter to compensate for sitting positions. It gets the LR sum.

The position of the woofer,s will get varying amounts of performance in that in certain positions bass could be weak.

Each woofer is either designed for a closed box or ported. Some go either way. Ported woofers have higher efficiency but require slightly bigger box. And there are at lest 6 different alignments for ported boxes. Ever hear of the boom box. Why is a ported designed woofer more efficient? The qes is dominant getting more control of the driver also lowering qts giving a higher cutoff bass point, and you then need the port to stretch the bass response downward.

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« Reply #73 on: 04/22/11 05:09 AM »

Thank you to the people with actual suggestions. If I do decide to go with woofer(s), I will use a sealed box because when built properly, they offer a cleaner sound. Greg I understand everything you are saying and I don't know if you are trying to insult peoples intelligence, offer advice, or just make it sound like you know all. I am not your average builder either. When I hit 156db, that was a set up for SPL only. In SPL competitions mids and highs do not matter. It is how loud can you get. This is why I used ported boxes also because it does not matter about distortion. Ported boxes if not built correctly, offer a great deal of distortion through the vented air waves that are sound. You cannot just through any sub in any ported enclosure either. The box has to be built to specs. The ports have to be x long, x wide, and x distance from the woofer internally.  I realize That I will need a crossover in this process also so I can tune it to the range of the speaker so the speakers do not hyper-extend trying to hit frequencies that they were not designed for. Sorry if I have mistaken your advice, but I do know a thing or two also.

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« Reply #74 on: 04/22/11 07:30 AM »

To  H.O.
Most of the stuff I said was just info trying to explain stuff for those who do not understand.I.certainly would look elsewhere for mor audio info.
I find it hard to distinguish quality woofers, except stay within power and excursion boundaries, and don't buy woofers with foam surrounds. If I could name one brand it would be JL.

I do what I have to do in situations, like in my old 280Z, I installed a stealt system using 4-6 1/2 inch drivers. Those were built in, with no external box, except for the door speakers.

Pics
http://zekfrivolous.com/280z/page_01.htm
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« Reply #75 on: 04/23/11 10:22 PM »

Thanks, I was thinking 1 10 or 12, w-7's if I go with any woofers.
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« Reply #76 on: 11/07/11 02:30 AM »

I just went with a single 12 in my custom center console box and I have to say it's awesome...I had 2x10's and that was OK...but 10's get down to about 30Hz and this new 12' gets to 24hz on spec sheet provided by Alpine...I'm hear to say there is quite a difference...

It was a tight fit but I got her in there...
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