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Default Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

Iím building out a camper van and doing SDS-style insulation to the front doors, so now is the time to upgrade door speakers. Can you help with component speaker suggestions?

- Front door speakers 6-1/2Ē or 6-3/4Ē
- In dash Tweeters
- Crossovers
- Speaker budget ~$500?
- Last 20 years

Installation blog: https://sprintervanusa.com/2016/09/1...dash-speakers/

Another guy sells adapter rings: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pair-of-Spe...53.m1438.l2649

His notes: ďThere are also what the industry calls 6-3/4" speakers which allows for a bigger cone and improved base response. These speakers require the 5.62 or 5.75 ID cutout diameter (hole). We have 5.62 and 5.75 ID adapters for these speakers. Do not choose speakers with thick cast aluminum or plastic frames with protruding terminals. These are too large to fit into the smaller hole in the door sheetmetal. It is best to choose a speaker with a thinner formed metal frames and terminals that can be bent slightly should they interfere. Also do not choose a speaker that has a thick frame above the mounting face. This will interfere with the door panel. Overall height of the spacer and speaker should not exceed 1". The door panel can be trimmed to clear a taller speaker.Ē

One thing Iím confused about is the diameter of dashboard tweeters that will fit back into the same OEM location. One members of the sprinter-source forum used 39mm and another 51mm, but that doesnít tell me if they fit right. Soon I ought to pull the dash apart to figure out the right size tweeters?

Until I get the camper built out, Iím not driving the van much and getting a new head unit is delayed until last. When I do, itíll power another set of modest rear cabin speakers. A must-have for the head unit is a physical volume knob, integration with the steering wheel buttons, backup camera, and to interface with (Android) smartphone. Not to distract from the immediate speaker question, but candidates include Sony XAV-AX210, Xtrons PB79M245IP and Dynavin N7-MBA.

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Default Re: Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

If you're powering speakers with the amp built into a radio head unit your speaker budget shouldn't need to be more than $100. Having expensive speakers powered by a head unit is like putting 1000hp in a bicycle.

If you have the money to spare, you'll really benefit from having a separate amplifier, in which case buy the best speakers your budget can withstand.

You mentioned crossovers, any component set will include them along with tweeters and the midrange. The "thing" to do these days is get a DSP and use 1 amp channel for each speaker/tweeter, eliminating crossovers. This allows significantly better tuning flexibility.

If you're looking for quality sound, the first step is a clean signal, like CDs or FLAC files.

you need to take a caliper an measure your tweeter locations yourself. all tweeters will have dimension specs available online. you'll likely have to do some mild fabrication no matter what size tweeter you choose. a general rule of thumb is bigger tweeters play lower and thus sound better in 2-way front stages but smaller tweeters are easier to fit and install.

The 6.5 vs 6.75 shouldn't make a difference for install but bigger is generally going to play lower in the bass spectrum. depth is usually the most important dimension to pay attention to for the midrange
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Default Re: Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

Hello & thanks for the reply!

Assume that I'll replace the head unit with the Sony XAV-AX210 or something you recommend that has a physical volume knob and works well with smartphones. Figure 2-way separates up front now and similar in the back later. Not sure about adding a sub.

Size for midrange doors = 6.5 or 6.75"
Body size for dash tweeter = 46mm max is easiest. Some flange ok.

I'll do a full-scale paper fit on any suggestions.

I'm open to DSP if there's practical suggestions!

Thanks much! - Ralph

(p.s. I do run FLAC / DSD at home (link), but not sure about doing that mobile.
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I see you use Tidal. That’s what I use in the car. I run it on my phone and send Bluetooth to an Audioengine B1 that’s connected via toslink to my DSP. I recommend you do the same, this way you’re using the DAC in the DSP vs ur phone.

That Sony looks like a nice unit for you to get radio and a screen for navigation but since you’re used to a high end HI-FI home system you’ll definitely want a DSP to be happy with the sound. I personally have the stock head unit for radio and nav. Being you have an RV you may want a truck style head unit that has other features useful for long trips like weather radio or what have you.

As far as equipment goes. Start with the processor and amps. Almost all “car” speakers will have a 4 ohm resistance.

On the budget end I like the minidsp products. The 6x8 can do 24/48k while the 8x12 can do 24/192k. A lot of people on here seem to really like the Helix DSPs. These units provide rca outs to whatever amps you choose. I personally run digital all the way to my amps with the Audison full DA system but it’s an investment. When buying a processor, extra handles might be nice because you may eventually want outdoor speakers or something like that.

Based on your home system you have the knowledge to pick out your own equipment based on what you find and like. For me, Focal is the “best” most widely available speaker for cars, but a lot of others buy raw drivers from partsexpress or the like and everything in-between. I personally have a lot of JL, Illusion Audio and just tried Audio Development for the first time. I just go with my gut usually works out.
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Default Re: Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

Head unit & electronics later after camper build progresses further, which means passive crossovers for the time being.

Candidates:

Focal Access 165AS (woofer datasheet)(tweeter datasheet)

AudioFrog G60S (little smaller woofer, little harder to fit tweeter) (info)

JL Audio C3-650 (info) (or cheaper C2-650)

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If you’re going to use head unit power those are all overkill. I’d suggest going with a real 4ch amp and going 1 step up in price range in the speakers.

The focal Access line is decent but not very popular, the flax line is much more popular. I also like the focal polyglass line quite a lot.

The JL components aren’t so popular either, the C5s would probably be their best offering. I actually like the C2s better than the C3s.

Audiofrog may be an interesting option for you because you can buy the GS60 or GB60 midrange and GS10 or GB10 or GB15 tweeter a la carte so you don’t waste money on a xover in the case of running active with a DSP.
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Default Re: Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

I cut out full size paper woofer models for fit test and:

Focal PS 165V1 polyglass kit may just bareeely fit the door (adding a custom spacer ring). ($270 eBay)

Focal PS 165F flax kit will require a bigger hole cut in the door sheet metal and then a spacer. I do have nice cutting tools tho. ($350 eBay)


It's a coin toss! Toss me a coin! It'll have to be passive crossover now, and wait to do amp & active until after bigger camper van projects get done.

And then I'll need a speaker wire suggestion...

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Both of those will sound excellent. You may find the tweeters to be a bit on the harsh side until you can run them active and control the level individually. They are known for being sharp but also having superb detail. You may want to explore options with soft dome tweeters as the nature of RVs will yield long listening sessions.

Don’t buy from eBay. Try my favorite dealer: ABT electronics in Glenview IL. Call and ask for Mike.

Stinger pro is a good wire. You don’t just want quality copper but you need a jacket that can easily withstand the tinning process. You definitely want wire that makes it easy to distinguish phase.

I recently used EWCS welding and marine cable for power and speaker wire and was extremely happy with it. I’ll definitely use the welding cable for power on all my projects here on out. Still haven’t found the perfect speaker wire.
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Default Re: Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

New question: What is the smallest amplifier that I can run: tweeter + 6.5" mid + 8" woofer pairs up front and tweeter + 5.25" mid in the back? How many amp channels does this add up to? This amplifier will have to squeeze in by other electronics under the driver's seat.

That Stinger speaker wire is oxygen-free parallel cable. The problem with parallel cable is high capacitance. Perhaps look at some basic open-woven cable to lower overall inductance. A basic good is Kimber 4PR.

I ended up going to CarToys for a listen, and the 6.5" Focal pairs had very uneven response with dramatic rolloff at 150Hz and below... worse than the datasheet would indicate.

What I've decided is to complete my sound/thermal insulation now, put the original door speakers back in, and do the whole sound system later. What I can do now is prewire for rear speakers from an amp that's hopefully under the driver's seat (where it's already congested like this: link).

Thanks!
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Default Re: Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

Unless you're willing to make space for an amp and processor somewhere that has ample room to manage thick wires (4awg), I recommend sticking with your stock system. The improvement over stock from an ultra simple, budget aftermarket system will not be worth the effort.

a 5ch amp will run F+R+Sub with passive xovers. Or you can use a 5ch amp to run your front components active (plus sub). I don't run rear speakers in any of my car stereos. Our ears are oriented forward for a reason. I recommend running the front active.

For an RV though, you'll probably want rear speakers as they'll be in the cabin area. If it were me building an RV, my rear speakers would probably be separate from my front stereo and mostly used for TV audio.

In your case, if you just want 1 audio system you can always run your rear speakers off the factory, or an aftermarket, head unit's built in amp. They won't add much to the driver's seat sound stage no matter how much power you put to them.
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Default Re: Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

don't expect any 6.5" class car speaker to play below 100hz. realistically, you don't need anything lower. Go with a sub that can comfortably be crossed over at 150hz. You mentioned an 8" sub, the JL 8w7 and either of those Focals would make a fantastic system with a 5ch amp like the JL VX1000/5i (which has a full featured DSP built in).
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Default Re: Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

One workable solution for you may be the Kicker Key180.4 DSP amplifier. The amp provides moderate power at 45W x 4 @ 4 Ohms, but the really cool part about it is the auto-tuning feature which is supposed to work quite well. I've heard much more positive feedback on the auto-tune from the Kicker than just about anything else out there. Feed the kicker with your front output and fade all the way forward for normal listening. Run the rear high level outputs of your head unit to the back speakers, and fade all the way to the rear when you want to run them. Then use the sub output for a mono amp to drive a subwoofer if (when) you add one later.

The amp will run you about $200, so if you pull that out of your speaker budget it leaves you with around $300. In that price range (and depending on fitment) I would look at the Audiofrog G60S, Kenwood XR-1700P, Sony XS-GS1621C, and Morel Maximo, Maximo Ultra and Maximus. The Kicker amp used a 3.2kHz 24dB/octave crossover point, so most of those should work pretty well. Though, the Sony tweeter might be a little strained crossing that low.


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Default Re: Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

Howdy rton20s -

Thanks for the reply and good input! Although I'll wait for now to buy the stereo, I will pre-wire as I build the camper van. I should have waited to do sound/thermal insulation on the front doors until later, but will just have to open them up again. It will take me a year to do the camper build-out, so no sense in buying a head unit until later.

It was to total eye opener going to listen to Focal PS165F on soundboard at the local Car Toys, where they were upfitting a Sprinter. What they had to show had terrible voice reproduction... my home Squeezebox Booms at half the size or my office bookshelf speakers are ten times better! What I learned is to look for drivers with a "warm" reputation. Also a little humorous or alarming is that the Car Toys manager didn't understand the difference between a Redbook 16/44 FLAC from CD and a hi-res audio file. Oh well!

While the biggest speaker that can be fitted into the OEM front door location is 6.5", the Car Toys shop cut new holes in for a pair of 7" or 8" woofers lower in the front doors (I forget the size, but they said JL). The door depth there is 3" and the plastic trim sticks out another inch for a total driver of maybe 3.5" or 4" depth. This appeals to me because that's space that's not otherwise used in the camper, but those wouldn't benefit the rear speakers. I for one believe that subwoofers still play in the directional frequencies. What do you think of that approach? Drive those with another amp?

In the back doors, the "convenient" speaker location will restrict depth to 2.25" or 2.5", so even tougher there.

So the plan could be:
(1) Front 6.5", the warmer of Audiofrog / Kenwood / Sony / Morel, driven active crossover with Kicker 45W x 4. Would be great if I could fit amp in the dash.

(2) Woofers driven by their own amp. What about that front door location? Or maybe one on the slider door? Most of the cabin will get storage cabinets.

(3) Small speaker pair in the back doors driven by the head unit with passive crossover. Head unit to have a physical volume knob (1, 2, or 3).

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Default Re: Front Speaker suggestions for 2018 Sprinter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reburns View Post
Howdy rton20s -

Thanks for the reply and good input! Although I'll wait for now to buy the stereo, I will pre-wire as I build the camper van. I should have waited to do sound/thermal insulation on the front doors until later, but will just have to open them up again. It will take me a year to do the camper build-out, so no sense in buying a head unit until later.

It was to total eye opener going to listen to Focal PS165F on soundboard at the local Car Toys, where they were upfitting a Sprinter. What they had to show had terrible voice reproduction... my home Squeezebox Booms at half the size or my office bookshelf speakers are ten times better! What I learned is to look for drivers with a "warm" reputation. Also a little humorous or alarming is that the Car Toys manager didn't understand the difference between a Redbook 16/44 FLAC from CD and a hi-res audio file. Oh well!

While the biggest speaker that can be fitted into the OEM front door location is 6.5", the Car Toys shop cut new holes in for a pair of 7" or 8" woofers lower in the front doors (I forget the size, but they said JL). The door depth there is 3" and the plastic trim sticks out another inch for a total driver of maybe 3.5" or 4" depth. This appeals to me because that's space that's not otherwise used in the camper, but those wouldn't benefit the rear speakers. I for one believe that subwoofers still play in the directional frequencies. What do you think of that approach? Drive those with another amp?

In the back doors, the "convenient" speaker location will restrict depth to 2.25" or 2.5", so even tougher there.

So the plan could be:
(1) Front 6.5", the warmer of Audiofrog / Kenwood / Sony / Morel, driven active crossover with Kicker 45W x 4. Would be great if I could fit amp in the dash.
By your description of your listening preference, I would probably lean toward the Morels. I am betting they are closer to the sound signature that you prefer. In a vehicle the size of a Sprinter, I would be shocked if you couldn't tuck that Kicker Key into the dash somewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reburns View Post
(2) Woofers driven by their own amp. What about that front door location? Or maybe one on the slider door? Most of the cabin will get storage cabinets.
Front doors can present quite a challenge for bass/subwoofer drivers. Unless you are willing to build enclosures and isolate them from the rest of the door to prevent vibration, you'll likely be chasing your tail for a long time trying to eliminate rattles and resonance. I would suggest finding someplace else in your spacious cabin to tuck away a subwoofer or two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reburns View Post
(3) Small speaker pair in the back doors driven by the head unit with passive crossover. Head unit to have a physical volume knob (1, 2, or 3).
Sounds like a plan. I don't know the Android Auto options you mentioned, and I have been pretty hesitant to try any of that stuff. Most of the reports on them from sources I would trust seem to be pretty negative. The Sony should be a decent choice. My sister in law has been using the Sony XAV-AX5000 in here Tahoe for several months and she seems to be pretty happy with it. Same UI as the model you are considering, but a larger screen and no rotary knob.


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