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Old 07-14-2014   #1
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Default Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

*thick redneck voice*
I tell yew what! I aint getting into all that fancy mumbly jumbly about Q and Fs and slopes and curves and possums, Ima jus gonna tell yew what I thank!


Seriously though, I am just an average dude that used to install stereos for a long time and is now a grease monkey and these are my thoughts on these particular speakers I own.


Let me start off by saying I have never owned anything really special car audio wise before. The best components I have owned were JL Audio ZRs, MB Quart Qs and Boston SPZ60 sets. More often it was the lower end series of the same brands. As a creature of habit I tend to stick with what I know but MB Quart went downhill and Boston is out of the car audio game and I never really cared for the JL. They were nice but not for the price.

Being that my Bostons were aging and showing it I wanted to upgrade. After much back and forth over what I wanted some people on here steered me to the Illusions. First thought was I didn't like them in the pictures, looked cheap. I was assured otherwise so I threw my money in the air, rammed my head into the door jamb and ordered them. I then sat on my front porch and waited.

They arrived and I was like a fat kid with a new cake, just overjoyed. I opened the box while the mailman was still talking to me and for the life of me couldn't tell you what he was saying as I was asking myself "Is all the sound deadening here? Is the drill charged? Where are those special screws I bought for these? Is the DVR on? Can I install these before dark? 3 hours! Yes I can!"

So I get the box open and see this:



Awesome!









As I stare at them my first thought is "Hey, that's a nice box!" and then go over the drivers. They are like an Aston Martin. Sleek, beautiful and heavy. I will soon discover they have other Aston martin traits. I notice aside from the one mounting screw blemish on both drivers that they otherwise look brand spanking new. Crossovers never opened, tweeter wires still bundled like new... it was great!
I proceed to give them the best home I can afford. I install them in my 1996 Chevrolet Silverado King Cab but before I do I double layer the outer door skin in Fat Mat, single layer the inner door skin, single layer the door card, bought some FAST rings, replace every single plastic clip and then replaced the doors seals and window seals. Beautiful.






I power them off of a JL Audio 450/4 using only the 150 watt channels and run them passive and set the tweeters at -3 while I tune. Source unit is a Pioneer DEH8400BH and the processor is an Audio Control ESP-2 Concert. Just really a soundstage enhancer from back in the day, when Vanilla Ice was still cool. They are accompanied by a pair of Dayton HO 12" subs powered off a JL Audio 500/1 to take care of the low end. I start with the high pass at 80hz and a 12db slope.

They are in, look fabulous and I am ready to jam! Speakers have other plans. As I said, like an Aston Martin. One tweeter is very very quiet. Well heck. I go through the standard troubleshooting then DVM the tweeter and see its bad. I inform the seller that informs me of his seller that informs me of his seller that informs me of Orca that informs me back the dealer and you put your right foot in, you put your right foot out.... oh wait. So I make the sad face and the seller hooks me up as does the first owner and even the distributor was able to get me a replacement. Yay teamwork!
At this point I would like to point out some special people that have earned my trust and business for life. Coppertone is one of the most stand up guys I have ever had the privilege of talking to. Patient, down to earth and has taste as well as a genuine love of our hobby. That man went above and beyond to help me and even sent me some Focal tweeters while I awaited my illusion replacement.
Tyroneshoes was also a nice guy to do business with and also sent me some TBIs to tide me over. LOL Gotta say, those tweeters are still running strong. I would not hesitate to buy from him again and am 100% confident he did not know the one tweeter was bad. Just one of those things.
Lastly I would like to thank Don of Unexpected Creations. What a knowledgeable dude! He too is a very patient yet very busy man. He took time out of his busy days doing his awesome installs to help me out being as he was the original distributor of the Illusions. He didn't have to do that but since he did I know his customer service is excellent and to me that is every bit as important as the product someone sells.
Kudos Don, you rock!

Anywho, back to the review. Squirrel!
So the new tweeter gets in and once again I am like a kid on Christmas morning that can hear the box with holes barking.
I am oh so careful making sure everything is just so and then begin the tuning phase. Play some test tones, get phasing right, play with the crossovers and EQ and then enjoy. I ended up running the high pass at 63hz with a 36db slope and the low pass at 63hz with a 24db slope.
I start off with well known tunes from Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Talking Heads and a few others. I am blown away! The tweeters are so crisp and clear it almost brings a tear to my eye. So detailed yet not harsh or fatiguing at all. The mids were accurate and reproduced Lindsey Buckinghams guitar to near perfection. Piano and woodwind instruments really shined with this set. Midbass was okay, not as good as the Boston Pros or Hertz ML1600s but better than the Infinity Kappas, Mb Quart Onyx, Focal Polyglass, Boston SLs, Kicker Comps (dunno why I even tried those) and Memphis MClass.
This became more apparent with current music by Lorde, Lady Gaga, Nero and similar. Just not much punch and what was there was a bit behind me as it was really coming from the Dayton subs.
The tweeters though, oh the tweeters. Angle kisses in a box. So sweet and clean. They did have a couple downsides though. If your recording is not perfect, you will know. They also did not like the hiss of my 8400BH so a new source unit was in order to really enjoy them.
Now I have spent a week enjoying these speakers and figured now they were a bit broken in so it was time to see what they can do! Well as it turns out, not much. Hmph. Mind you with all the previous speakers and a much more aggressive EQ settings I could and would often listen to them with the volume at 38-42 (out of 62) when I wished to really rock out. With the Illusions I got to 35 before the tweeter protection said "No bueno!" Orca says "That's because the amplifier was putting out too much DC." Hmm, okay. Weird how none of the drivers before or since have had that issue but lets run with that. Or not. (side note, the Orca conversation happened much latter in this whole review)
I resigned myself to having better sound but a bit less output. Okay, I can live with that, lets get that new deck ordered! I sold my old deck thinking the new one would be here a day latter....... so a week latter as the new deck shows up I am once again thrilled to have my stereo back!
I get the deck installed and power it up making sure it was at 0 before doing initial adjustments. Set the high pass to 80hz (as per suggested by this site), make sure the EQ is flat and then add some volume...... some more volume..... hey where are my mids? Great. Recheck everything before suspecting the actual drivers. After all, they did work just fine when I removed the old deck. This is when I touched the passenger cone while the stereo was on and it made sound. A horrible ugly sound but it was sound. Went to the drivers side and it worked when I touched it and worked pretty well until I turn the stereo down and it will stop playing.
So I sat down and proceeded to cry. At this point I wish my lawn was as depressed as I am because then it would cut itself.
I guess the Illusions felt bad because the driver side started playing normally again.... or maybe it was mocking me.
So I cant really give a full review as they refuse to play nice.
My impressions are as follows:
When they work they work well. Clear detailed highs that have an impressive low end output as well. At low to medium volumes the tweeters are quite spectacular. They are not able to get "loud" but there is only so much that can be done with 89db speakers. The mids are also quite detailed and play guitar, piano and most instruments quite accurately. They do lack any form of kick and in my application required much tuning to get the most out of them, more so than any other speaker I have owned or installed.
I believe with a dedicated 8" mid-bass that these speakers can really shine. That being said, if a 63 year old man farts in a bank vault in Germany then these speakers will freak the hell out and stop working.
I do see many others have had the same issues mine have had but being as mine are third party Orca does not wish to replace the defective midrange drivers.

If they worked all the time I would say they are a pretty good component set. A bit overpriced but good. Even with what I paid (WAY under the g note they want) I believe they should have been better speakers.

As I said I am not a pro. I don't do this for a living and sometimes when I read peoples reviews I just nod and drool while trying to figure out what it all means. I did this for almost 15 years solid up until 2008 but have been out of the game since so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Look for the next review: Hertz and PHD.

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Old 07-14-2014   #2
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

sounds like a wiring issue

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Old 07-14-2014   #3
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkizeR View Post
sounds like a wiring issue
Could be. I cant rule it out being the most obvious thing. On the other hand, I haven't changed a wire (even used the Illusions tweeter wire) for what is in there now and they have been pushed a little bit (read; A WHOLE FREAKIN LOT) harder and seem perfectly fine yet they are rated at 1/3 the power handling. Hmmmm, interesting? Don't know. Others have had identical issues, some repeatedly, but it could also be wiring.
All I can tell you is I installed how I always install but did not get the result I have always got. I have checked and rechecked and while I am no showman its a clean install. All speakers (and there were way to many) installed before and the few after have not suffered the same fate as the Illusions.
I guess that is all I can say.

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Last edited by LaserSVT; 07-14-2014 at 06:55 PM..
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Old 07-14-2014   #4
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

maybe try to bench test em

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Old 07-14-2014   #5
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

this whole ordeal was so crappy. I was worried I would have the lack of output issue with the woofer as well so I never got to listen to the set. Do the woofers work if you hook them up to your home stereo?

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Old 07-14-2014   #6
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyroneshoes View Post
this whole ordeal was so crappy. I was worried I would have the lack of output issue with the woofer as well so I never got to listen to the set. Do the woofers work if you hook them up to your home stereo?
One mid started to work fine all by its lonesome. After bench testing one (the blown one) is open coil at rest and readings all over the place when touched. The other mid stayed right around 3.7 ohms touched or not. I did not try to "stroke" the cones to see if there were other changes for fear of further damaging the woofers until I had the word from Orca if anything could be done. Now that I know they will not be replaced I can do whatever you want me to do to them. But no, I have not hooked them up to a home stereo to test further. They have only ever been driven by the JL.

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Old 07-14-2014   #7
 
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Sucks to hear man. Reading reviews like this make me wonder if I made a mistake in my purchase of mine.
Only time will tell.
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Old 07-14-2014   #8
 
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaserSVT View Post
One mid started to work fine all by its lonesome. After bench testing one (the blown one) is open coil at rest and readings all over the place when touched. The other mid stayed right around 3.7 ohms touched or not.
Like the bad one has a problem with the lead connected to one or both sides of the coil.
Out of curiosity, did you happen to check to see if one of the leads is shorting to the case?
Not that it sound help fix anything. Just more curious than anything.
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Old 07-14-2014   #9
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

I will check tomorrow. They are on my desk at work.

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Old 07-14-2014   #10
 
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

IT'S cap lock..

anyway, here I sit, thought I farted...


sorry about all that, Average Joe.
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Old 07-14-2014   #11
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

This was pretty much what i expected to hear when I clicked on the link to "review of my C6 carbons"...i don't know why, but it was almost word for word what i expected to read. They are at least named appropriately.

Sorry man...hope it all works out for ya.

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Old 07-14-2014   #12
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Quote:
Originally Posted by socapots View Post
Sucks to hear man. Reading reviews like this make me wonder if I made a mistake in my purchase of mine.
Only time will tell.
You may have good luck with them, several members have. I still think its an early production issue as it seems all those with problems were also some of the first owners. I don't know if latter ones are standing up better or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by miniSQ View Post
They are at least named appropriately.

Sorry man...hope it all works out for ya.

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Old 07-14-2014   #13
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Sorry to hear your problems with these.. We have successfully done many installs with them.

Just a note, I would look to move that crossover out of the door. IMO you are asking for further problems. I don't believe crossover networks belong in doors..

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Old 07-14-2014   #14
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon


I see the problem. Different speaker wire...



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Old 07-14-2014   #15
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

I ran my set for 2-3 days and decided they were not for me.
Like Bing and the guys at SIS many have installed these drivers successfully and are very happy so to each their own.

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Old 07-15-2014   #16
 
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

and it's official.


Illusion arc has burnt itself out, retail pricing to reflect growing surpluses in stockrooms...

3.4 months to 20% off.

6.8 months to 44% off.


18 months until new made in China versions hit the market with retail cut in half, chrome on the magnets and gold-plated tweeters replacing beryllium, citing 'quality upgrades'
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Old 07-15-2014   #17
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Quote:
Originally Posted by cajunner View Post
and it's official.


Illusion arc has burnt itself out, retail pricing to reflect growing surpluses in stockrooms...

3.4 months to 20% off.

6.8 months to 44% off.


18 months until new made in China versions hit the market with retail cut in half, chrome on the magnets and gold-plated tweeters replacing beryllium, citing 'quality upgrades'
Such a negative Nancy

Many other people seem to be perfectly happy with the Illusions including the guys at SIS who have used them god knows how many times. It seems like the ones that actually have problems were from the earlier runs and also keep in mind the OP in this thread is the 3rd owner of this particular set. I don't know how they were used prior or how many times they were installed/uninstalled plus being shipped several times now but I would imagine those things could certainly play into the odds of something being wrong with the drivers at this point.
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Old 07-15-2014   #18
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

here's my 2 cents.

i probably would have sent them back after opening the box. phase plug speakers, reverse magnet, etc. you need to be a tiny bit careful with stuff like dust, plastic, metal, chips/shavings getting into the voice coil. seeing that tapered screw hole would instantly worry myself. once inside, it can sound all messed up, and damage the voice coil.

good example of buying something and getting it installed locally. you would have had a 3 year warranty. sorry you had to go through this.

i'm also kind of curious on this image.


was the woofer smashed into the foam and not breathing into the door cavity? the next image looks like you installed them differently?


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Old 07-15-2014   #19
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

I am not quite sure what your post says?

There are some new, very promising drivers coming out soon from Illusion. I don't see any arc being burnt out quite yet...

Here is one thing I like about Illusion. I have talked numerous times with the guy who designs them. The guy is not some dude at a build house who throws parts together to make a speaker. He is a home audio engineer. He is in California. He knows what makes stuff sound good. He knows WAY more about things like that than I do. He can stand there with a C6 set and tell you stuff that went into its design that would give you some insight into the depths of thought that went into those drivers.

There are a number of cars on the west coast that compete with Illusion audio products and do very well.

And, to put all of this in perspective somewhat, I will exit with this picture..





Quote:
Originally Posted by cajunner View Post
and it's official.


Illusion arc has burnt itself out, retail pricing to reflect growing surpluses in stockrooms...

3.4 months to 20% off.

6.8 months to 44% off.


18 months until new made in China versions hit the market with retail cut in half, chrome on the magnets and gold-plated tweeters replacing beryllium, citing 'quality upgrades'

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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

that was me being subtle....



you however, make a good point, and for those who missed my wry wit, I will admit to being facetious.

there, that's 3 explanations of my post, subtle, wry, and facetious.

you can decide on the amount of wit?

and Illusion shall ride this wave, because this too...



shall pass.








Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I am not quite sure what your post says?

There are some new, very promising drivers coming out soon from Illusion. I don't see any arc being burnt out quite yet...

Here is one thing I like about Illusion. I have talked numerous times with the guy who designs them. The guy is not some dude at a build house who throws parts together to make a speaker. He is a home audio engineer. He is in California. He knows what makes stuff sound good. He knows WAY more about things like that than I do. He can stand there with a C6 set and tell you stuff that went into its design that would give you some insight into the depths of thought that went into those drivers.

There are a number of cars on the west coast that compete with Illusion audio products and do very well.

And, to put all of this in perspective somewhat, I will exit with this picture..

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Old 07-15-2014   #21
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtaudioacc View Post
here's my 2 cents.

i probably would have sent them back after opening the box. phase plug speakers, reverse magnet, etc. you need to be a tiny bit careful with stuff like dust, plastic, metal, chips/shavings getting into the voice coil. seeing that tapered screw hole would instantly worry myself. once inside, it can sound all messed up, and damage the voice coil.

good example of buying something and getting it installed locally. you would have had a 3 year warranty. sorry you had to go through this.



was the woofer smashed into the foam and not breathing into the door cavity? the next image looks like you installed them differently?
Was more than carful. Door was vacuumed and washed inside and then sound deadened before the speakers ever saw the truck. I was apprehensive about the tapered hole but did not see any shavings or issues on the driver so continued on with the install.

As far as the foam goes it showed up a few days latter so that picture with just the driver in the door was taken 5 minutes before I did this:




I did not like that foam as it did not adhere well and was hard to form so I went with the FAST rings. I did neglect to take any pictures of them until the drivers were changed for these:









Now Joey said something interesting. "There are some new, very promising drivers coming out soon from Illusion."

Will these shoot flames?

I kid, I kid.

I was planning on ordering my Illusion C12XLs next week but I was fortunate enough to have this experience and thus have saved $2000. I believe SI MB MKIV will be the better choice. Sure they may not be as powerful but a pair I think will go well with what is in the truck now. Plus Nick backs his stuff.

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Old 07-15-2014   #22
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Sorry to hear your problems with these.. We have successfully done many installs with them.

Just a note, I would look to move that crossover out of the door. IMO you are asking for further problems. I don't believe crossover networks belong in doors..
I don't like beliefs, they start religious wars.
This is an issue some take, well, issue with. I have never had an issue with them in the door unless it was inside a door that leaks too much. Learned that one about 20 years ago. Now I tend to put them behind the door card if there is room. Sometimes I get creative.
Oddly enough the only part that never failed and is still in use is the crossover. That will change soon as I rewire for active just so I don't have to always hear "I wouldn't put the crossovers there." LOL


And Joey, no shot at you at all. Your installs eclipse mine by eleventybillion. Very impressive stuff. Always done right and always done clean. You have a good crew there. Its always 50/50 with installers about the door thing.

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Old 07-15-2014   #23
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Quote:
Originally Posted by mires View Post
Such a negative Nancy

Many other people seem to be perfectly happy with the Illusions including the guys at SIS who have used them god knows how many times. It seems like the ones that actually have problems were from the earlier runs and also keep in mind the OP in this thread is the 3rd owner of this particular set. I don't know how they were used prior or how many times they were installed/uninstalled plus being shipped several times now but I would imagine those things could certainly play into the odds of something being wrong with the drivers at this point.
I should point out at this point the speakers history. They were purchased from Don at Unexpected Creations and installed in Coppertones car. They stayed there for a very short time before he went back to UC to have them replaced with something a bit more special. They were boxed and shelved for another short time before being sold to Tyroneshoes. He never installed them and they again sat for a month on a shelf before I showed up shouting "Shut up and take my money!" So my truck is their second and final install.


On that note here is a short video of the "good" driver. Somehow they have gotten worse just sitting in their box. Maybe I packed them wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnXX...ature=youtu.be
http://youtu.be/RnXXwMai_Rg

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Last edited by LaserSVT; 07-15-2014 at 09:29 AM..
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Old 07-15-2014   #24
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaserSVT View Post
I don't like beliefs, they start religious wars.
This is an issue some take, well, issue with. I have never had an issue with them in the door unless it was inside a door that leaks too much. Learned that one about 20 years ago. Now I tend to put them behind the door card if there is room. Sometimes I get creative.
Oddly enough the only part that never failed and is still in use is the crossover. That will change soon as I rewire for active just so I don't have to always hear "I wouldn't put the crossovers there." LOL


And Joey, no shot at you at all. Your installs eclipse mine by eleventybillion. Very impressive stuff. Always done right and always done clean. You have a good crew there. Its always 50/50 with installers about the door thing.
before i went active, i usually put the crossovers in the doors with never a problem. If the door was at all leaky, i covered the XO with a plastic bag.
The problem i did have, and maybe this is what joey is refering to, is the door opening and closing has caused problems for me with the screws loosening on a pair of ID XO's . I added Loc-tite and that went away

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Old 07-15-2014   #25
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Default Re: Average Joe Review: Illusion Audio C6 Carbon

My issue with crossovers in doors is that I have seen about 4 pr of crossovers in doors over the span of my career that had coils, etc coming off the board. I don't think they are designed to be on a door that is constantly experience the shock that a door does.

I don't think it is a 50/50. I think if you asked skilled installers VERY few would say they belong in the door. To me, why take the risk? Kind of like running a wire through bare metal without a grommet. Sure, it might work for a while, but is it the right solution?

(I didn't take any offense, just offering my insight... Others could feel differently..)

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