This has actually been ongoing since mid 2009, back when i got the car. Here it is.
The primary goal of this install is SQ, but on a shoestring budget. The rule i made was not to hack up the interior or cut/drill any of the bodywork.
This is what i started off with in 2009, mostly kit donated by my dad and a few bits i'd managed to pick up cheaply. This was before the 4 way idea came in.
The Kit there is:
Alpine 7385R headunit - wasn't going to use it as it's tape only (and i found out the preamp is dead too)
Alpine 3552 4 channel amp
Alpine MRP-F356 5 channel amp
Alpine 6052GD 5.25" woofers
The car already had some infinity reference 6x9"s and alpine 3.5" speakers fitted in the stock locations running off the headunit.
The sub i was planning to use i built back in high school for my home cinema system. I'd been smart enough to design an interchangeable back panel to swap out the amp module to make it active/passive depending on where i wanted to use it.
The cad design. 1.5cu.ft 10" ported tuned to 32Hz.
The plotted frequency response.
The unit as it was before i swapped the rear panel out for terminals.
Then came to fitting the amps and sorting all the wiring out. Took the baseplate off the 3552 to check all was ok and found this.
Stuck with running off the headunit amp for a while longer i bought a few more bits and pieces. This is when i decided to go 4 way active and bought some tweeters and an active crossover.
I finally picked up a replacement 4 channel amp in the form of an alpine MRV-F400 and set off to fit it all. Was well stumped on how to fit it in the boot without ruining the use of the boot, so made a simple MDF false floor and screwed everything to that with the idea of building a cover for the amps in order to retain the use of the boot.
I got hold of some pins and sockets and fitted the door speaker wiring properly
The amps were linked up to the original saab/clarion stereo via the pre-out din socket, using a home made adaptor cable.
Put the battery back on and the V12 amp went bang, so that got removed and the dash speakers were reconnected to the headunit with the sub, doors and rear fill running off the flex 5 amp. Didn't sound too bad at this point as the door speakers and sub had made a heck of a difference. (but I was comparing it to how it was before, there was a lot of room for improvement)
I ran this for a couple of months whilst keeping my eyes peeled for another amplifier on the cheap. (as nothing in this install had cost me more than about £40 up to this point) I gave up looking at alpine as the prices were staying high, and looked at pioneer. Straight away i managed to score a GM-X404 4 channel amp for almost nothing.
So very quickly got around to fitting it the next day.
The pioneer powered the dash speakers as mids and the separate tweeters which were sat on top of the dash grilles aimed towards the seats. I then spent a few hours trying to set up the crossover points and gain controls for it to sound about right. (that took ages to get it to sound about right)
I'd been running with the flex 5 and pioneer from autumn 2010 till april 2011. I finally bit the bullet and bought a more expensive amplifier. I got an Alpine 3566 6 channel amp to replace the flex 5, as the lack of a dedicated subwoofer pre-amp input annoyed me. I had to give my door speaker channels 20Hz + and use the amp HP filter to cut it off for the doors and chop the mid off for the sub. Fitted the 3566 and gave the sub its own dedicated channel which is bridged (Ch 5/6), the doors and 6x9's also run off the 6 channel amp. The pioneer was still used for the dash mid range and the tweeters. 9 channels in total each with its own preamp input and individual amp channel.
The dash speakers were not exactly fantastic but better than before
I got an offer for an alpine 3553 that i couldn't refuse so bought and fitted that.
Also spent some time looking at swapping the mids and tweeters out for something much better than i had but without it costing the earth. Eventually came to the conclusion that the vifa TG9 3.5" full range and the vifa XT25 ring radiator were right for the job. Again no cutting of the dash was required although the tweeters needed to be on axis to perform at their best. The A-pillars need to be built to house them.
I had been looking for a replacement headunit for a while as i was under the impression that i could get something that would improve upon the saab/clarion unit i was using at the time. Due to my love of all things old/ordinary looking i was looking at these units:
Due to the budgetary constraints and a lack of these units on the 2nd hand market i ended up getting an Alpine 7915M off the same guy i got the 3553 from.
Not as pretty to look at as the 7909 but performance shouldn't be a million miles behind. Much prefer the units they made with analogue volume controls and the integrated click for turning it on and off. Also wanted a 1/2 din equaliser to go with it but gave up on that idea as they were selling for more money than i paid for the headunit and amp put together.
I had also been on the hunt for some Alpine 6062GD 6.5" woofers to replace my 6052 5.25" versions for the door as the low end would be better from the larger speaker. 2 years of hunting finally paid off and i found some on one of the UK forums for a good price.
At this point i did some videos of the system after getting some crossover/gain advice.
Spent some time with the system as it was but my hankering for an older alpine headunit got the better of me so I ended up buying a 7903 which sadly turned out to be a waste as it wouldn't read cds. Luckily the cd mech was actually in good working condition and i swapped it into the 7915.
This allowed the 7915 to work with cd's a little better than it was, but unfortunately it was still not quite right. It was picking up a lot of noise from within itself not to mention picking up noise from the various motors that operate the climate control, so a proper replacement headunit was on the cards. After a great deal of research i decided to go for a Clarion DRX9255 as it was proper high end with an analogue volume control and best of all a c-bus output to connect it to the old saab/clarion changer (a cdc9250 which had been in the boot since i got the car)
Fitted into the car.
I also decided to claw back some boot space by moving the amps up onto the back of the seats. The sub in place still means i lose a lot of space though.
This brings us up to the present as i fitted the clarion last week. This was the last video i did of the system as it stood. I am presently working on sorting out the tuner out to allow it to tune to european frequencies. May also be adding the aux in from a mcintosh MX406 if i can polish up my SMD solder skills. (not actually butchering it from an actual mcintosh before anyone shouts sacrilege, just adding the missing components using the MX406 circuit diagrams & component lists)
I've had an amazing stroke of luck lately. Fingers crossed I've secured 2 spare headunits for parts (one addzest and one clarion with US tuner) I will be posting some comparison shots of the JDM tuner next to a US tuner at some point. I also managed to score a CDC1235 12 disc changer on ebay for a stupidly low price. (with 2 magazines too) All I need to find now is a DCA-001 optical cable for a reasonable price. ( like that's ever going to happen)
Took the car for a drive today (first time since i fitted the DRX) and all the system noise issues i had with the alpine 7915 are gone. There is no high pitched whine (was possibly the alternator, never found out but it was only present with the engine running) and the climate control stepper motors no longer cause screeching & static through the speakers. I noticed that the headunit buzzes in the cage slightly with cabin vibration so I'm going to have to sort that out as it'll drive me crackers.
Cheers Daniel, still a WIP, lots of things to finish yet. Those cable tied tweeters don't look too pretty. Definitely need to do some sound deadening as the mid bass is competing with road noise. (and loosing) The car is quite well deadened as standard, but the doors really need some work.
Had another fiddle, seems to be about right now even though the settings aren't greatly different. I get the impression that the aiming of the mids and the lack of deadening in the doors may be hindering me slightly. Difficult to really pinpoint any potential areas for improvement without another set of ears.
These are the current crossover settings. (better to take a pic than try and write down rough guesses)
Done another video, this time i moved the camera around various heights to show how it affects the sound. (recorded by the mic at least, doesn't help that its on the top of the camera rather than the front)
Clarion CDC1235 arrived yesterday and after a small repair it now works perfectly. Just got to figure out how to mount it as it didn't come with any of the installation hardware. (just 2 magazines and another 5m cable, not too bad considering i paid just shy of $25 for it) The brackets off my old CDC9250 are completely different which put pay to that idea. Got to find a DCA-001 cable as well now.
I've spent a lot of time working on the DRX to improve and maintain it over the last 2 months, giving it a full set of new electrolytic capacitors and some newer opamps.
Having lived with it for a while, I found that it was too bright. The sound was sharp and was beginning to get to me, as it could be quite painful when reasonably loud. I'd suspected the opamps may have been oscillating before due to the temperature they were running at. Some advice i was given back when I was wondering about oscillation was to fit some small film caps across the + & - supply pins to the opamps. Took some fiddling to get the one cap in place under the tone pot, but it all came together. I used 68nF wima MKS which seems to have done the job as they sound much smoother now and far better. They still run reasonably warm, but they are a fair bit cooler than before as i didn't manage to burn my fingers. I also tweaked the FM stop pot which solved the radio tuner issues i was having where it was seeking past everything except the strongest signals.
The CDC1235 ended up having to come back out as it had some fractured solder joints on the c-bus connector causing it to loose its connection with the headunit. Once i'd repaired it I found that there was some serious distortion towards the outer edges of discs which appears to be caused by the laser pickup, so I'm in need of a new QSS-100 laser. (tried cleaning and regreasing all the pickup gears and rails to no avail, along with changing all of the motors) I've put my trusty CDC9250 back in for the time being.
Been a very long time since i updated this. I Have spent some considerable time working on home hi-fi kit and having listened to some harbeth monitor 20's in work i quickly came to the conclusion that my system was excessively bright. Didn't help that my home made Kef chorales were also on the bright side with their new tweeters. (had to fit a -4dB L pad into the crossover for them, and now they sound fantastic) I've been gradually knocking the HF level down. Not 100% certain what its at now but IIRC LF level is 0dB, Mid level is -4dB and HF level is -3dB. Crossover points haven't changed much at all and all channels are in phase. I have been enjoying the system a lot more since making these changes, mainly because i can listen to it at a reasonable volume level without fatigue.
Done another video of it, but i used an iphone this time as i'd never tried one for videos before. The sound certainly isn't as clear as the canon camera, but the video quality is better.
Hi, Kei, We have talked a few times before.I was looking for an alpine 3672 crossover to go active and now I have finally found one.I know you to be one of the most knowledgeable when it comes to old school alpine sound quality, and equipment. I have the opportunity to add a parametric 3402 equalizer to my alpine 7909 and alpine 3672 active crossover set up. Will it be a wise choice to add the 3402 Equalizer to the system to gain better sound quality.,or is adding one of those 3402 equalizers, going to degrade the sound quality,since I'm introducing more into the signal chain.I was told they were made to complement each other,and that having an equalizer would allow me to tweak the sound, to achieve the maximum acoustics for my vehicle. Will the alpine 3402 be a benefit for getting maximum sound quality out of my vehicle, or am I looking for trouble adding it to the system.Seems like it would be good to be able to tweak your system to match your car acoustics,but nothing beats talking to some one like yourself that has personal experience,years of experience with the alpine 3672 crossover, and instinct to know if the alpine 3402 will be truly beneficial in achieving the best possible sound quality. Thanks Carey