Anyone with Gen 3 Mazda6 experience, feel free to step in... - Car Audio | DiyMobileAudio.com | Car Stereo Forum

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Old 07-25-2019   #1
 
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Default Anyone with Gen 3 Mazda6 experience, feel free to step in...

Hi all, new member. If you stumbled across my post in the new member area, you already saw that I have some background in car audio but it's been a while back.

So, I have a 2018 Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve with the Bose Centerpoint 11 speaker system. Here's what I know about the system so far:
  • 2 directional tweeters by the mirrors
  • 2 2-3/4" mids (not confirmed, but have read that Mazda switched to 2.75" from 3.5" mids in 2018) in the dash corners, center speaker in dash as well
  • 6.5" mid-bass/subs in the doors (size unconfirmed, have read that they may be 8"), same in rear doors
  • 2 2-3/4" or 3.5" in rear deck
  • Amp under passenger seat. Not sure if h/u is full-range speaker-level or low-level output, as I haven't been able to confirm either. I guess that makes a difference in component selection.

It's not a bad system at all, and there are quite a few things that I like about it. It's certainly better than most GM and Nissan Bose systems that I remember from doing audio professionally years ago.

The staging isn't bad, the mid-bass is acceptable with the windows up or slightly cracked even at highway speeds. The sound overall is fairly flat and pretty balanced, which surprised me with the mid-range speakers firing straight into windshield. I don't notice much frequency cancellation in the front stage, but I'm sure a meter would tell otherwise.

With that out of the way, there are some things that I dislike and would love to remedy:

First, it needs a sub. I'm thinking single 10" or 12", moderately powered.

Second, I'm lacking depth (or fullness maybe) and clarity in the mid-range. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's like when I'm listening to something like Tool, the guitar distortion doesn't isn't replicated in it's full range. It's just a single tone that changes with the notes. Sorry, this is really difficult to describe...

Third, a tweeter upgrade is a must. HF is just lacking, and what's there is sharp and unnatural sounding.



My goal is to improve these areas with as little change or disruption to the interior environment and trunk as possible. Here's what I'm thinking:
  • Morel 254's in the dash (open to recommendations)
  • No clue what type of tweeters I'm looking for (VERY open to recommendations)
  • Either a DSP/amp combo (I've been checking out the Alpine and AudioControl units) to power the mids/tweeters and sub and leave the mid-bass door speakers and center running off the Bose amp OR
  • DSP/amp combo or DSP with separate amps and eliminate the Bose amp altogether (this is certainly an option with some of the modern 8-10/12 channel DSP option these days.
  • Likely won't replace the door speakers or rear deck speakers, but I do want front and rear stage, although my listening is heavily front-biased. Sub will be a removable spare tire unit, though not sure if I'm going to buy one of the powered units on the market or build my own enclosure. I definitely want that signal coming from the DSP and not from Bose amp.

I won't have the ability to fully tune a DSP in the depth and detail that a lot of guys here do. I also don't really want to go down in a rabbit hole with this and end thousands of dollars into by the time I'm done. I just want a rich, warm, balanced sound.

Am I looking in the wrong direction and what would be recommended?
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Old 07-25-2019   #2
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Default Re: Anyone with Gen 3 Mazda6 experience, feel free to step in...

I've also got a 2018 Signature and I have gotten the car's audio wiring schematics from https://www.mazdaserviceinfo.com/ ($20 per day service charge to access the same info that dealer's service departments use.) I've mapped out the factory system fairly well but I'm getting ready to leave work. If you can wait until tomorrow morning, I'll get back on here and give you a good amount of info about the Mazda infotainment system.
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Old 07-25-2019   #3
 
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I’m not in a rush and that would be awesome! Thanks so much
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Old 07-26-2019   #4
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Default Re: Anyone with Gen 3 Mazda6 experience, feel free to step in...

I bought my 6 Signature in May of 2018. It was one of the early ones that did not automatically come with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. I did get a free Car Play/Android Auto upgrade last October but the stupid dealer mechanic (the first Car Play/Android Auto upgrade he had done) had to replace the USB module in the center console, which also included the factory NAV SIM card, which he did not insert into the new module. The original USB module did not provide enough electrical power to power iPhones and run Apple Car Play at the same time. Since I used Waze as my main NAV app, it was not until a few weeks later that I noticed the factory NAV did not work and the SIM card was missing. The Mazda dealer refused to take responsibility for removing the SIM card, so I had to pay $55 to buy one from another Mazda dealer off of eBay. Never the less, I really like the Car Play interface. I use the Vox app to play mostly hi-res FLAC files.

I do not use the Bose Centerpoint processing. When Centerpoint is turned off the center channel is only used for phone calls. The center channel is a matching mid to the left and right dash speakers. My settings are as follows: Centerpoint off, Fader set all the way to the front, Balance center, Bass set to 0, and Treble set to +1.

The factory speakers are cheap and fairly generic. The door midbasses play all the way down to about 50 Hz with a factory hi-pass filter in the Bose amp to keep them from distorting. The midbasses, although being about 9” in diameter, are very thin and the cone does not have much movement (X-max), which limits their low frequency performance. The door midbasses and tweeters play off the same channels of the amp, like in a two way component set. The midbasses have no passive crossover and play all the way up to their physical limits while there is a generic crossover hi-passing the tweeter. All three dash mids gets their own independent amp channel. It seems the left and right dash mid is just there to fill in the midrange that the door midbass can’t play up to and the tweeter can’t play down to. It’s like the Bose engineers said “we have a large gap in the midrange just using the midbass and tweeter, lets just add another midrange to fill in the gap. I haven’t tested if there are active crossovers built into the Bose amp yet.

The rear door speakers are on their own independent amp channels while the mids in the rear deck are on one channel and are played in mono. If you fade the system all the way to the back, you will hear no bass and no treble. I estimate the rear doors are cut off around 500 Hz and below.

Overall the Bose system does sound ok and slightly better than other factory systems I have heard but nowhere near audiophile quality level.

There is a “Tuner and amp unit” located in the dash to the right side of the glovebox. PAC audio makes an adaptor that plugs into this unit that has RCA outputs, but it is not certified to be used with 2018-2019 6s. Coming out of this unit and going to the Bose amp are left and right front and rear audio signal wires and an “Audio Pilot” wire that should be similar to RCA cables. The Audio Pilot wire should carry the center channel and NAV sounds. I have not tested them yet but I suspect the signal wires are probably un-equalized full range stereo. I’m hoping any eq/active crossover work is done in the Bose amp and that the factory volume knob adjusts the volume in the tuner unit and not in the Bose amp. If so one could just tap into these signal wires and run them directly into the RCA inputs of a DSP and still be able to use the factory volume knob!

If I have to use the speaker outputs of the Bose amp to go to my DSP, I have a JL Audio Fix-82 that will “correct” the Bose eq to give me a flat signal.

In my system I plan on not touching the center or rear channels coming out of the amp. Since I am not using Centerpoint processing, the center channel is used only for phone calls. Since I have the audio faded all the way forward, only the rear deck mids play the warning beeps when I am backing up. I will either tap into the front left and right signal wires before the Bose amp (preferred) or run the front four (L/R doors and L/R dash) speaker channels into my JL Fix-82.

As far as speaker layout I am going to use I will start out with tweeters in the factory dash locations, mids in the kick panels, midbasses probably under the dash on the firewall, and subs in the trunk. The a-pillars have the side defroster vents in them and unless you are willing to get rid of them putting mids and tweeters on the a-pillars will require you to build them out from the a-pillar and blocking forward vision, which is something I don’t want to do. I did buy a spare set of a-pillars from my Mazda dealer (at $276 a set!) if I ever want to custom build mids and/or tweeters into them.

As far as speakers go, Morels have a really good reputation, but the overall sound will mostly come down to install and tuning. I don’t know what your budget is so I can’t really recommend certain speakers yet. I would not recommend using the factory door midbasses. I would replace them with a thin (under 2-3/4” mounting depth) 6-1/2” to 8” midbass. Metra makes a speaker adapter plate that will fit the 6: https://smile.amazon.com/Metra-82-75...ronics&sr=1-12

I would bypass the Bose amp on the front channels and run the signal to a DSP/amp combo like from a reputable company like Audio Control, JL Audio, Arc Audio, Zapco and other well respected brands. That will give you the best bang for the buck.

As far as install pics go, look on page 3 of this thread: https://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum...ld-thread.html

Although Jay's 6 is a 2016, the metal structure of the 6 under the panels has not changed.

Hope this helps the let me know if you need any more info!
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Old 07-26-2019   #5
 
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That is great info, thanks so much.

I’ll note that it is confirmed that the harness on the tuner behind the glovebox is different in the 2018 and the PAC adapter will not work.

So if I’m understanding your info, you have not confirmed if the output from the radio is full-range or if it is speaker-level or pre-amp level?

Can you confirm if the dash speakers are indeed 2.75”? I’ve seen multiple sources say they moved to that size from 3.5” on all of the facelifted models.
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Old 07-26-2019   #6
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Default Re: Anyone with Gen 3 Mazda6 experience, feel free to step in...

Correct, I have not confirmed if the radio tuner output going to the Bose amp is full range. However I do think it is since Bose most likely only worked on the amp and speakers. The tuner module would have been designed by Mazda to work with the infotainment system.

Also in my previous car, a Lexus IS250, the factory system was set up in exactly the same way. Once I found the signal wires going from the factory radio to the amp, I just tapped into them and had a full range flat signal just like out of an aftermarket deck. The only downfall was the factory volume was done in the amp, so I had to add an aftermarket volume control (JL Audio CL-RLC).

If the factory volume control works in the Bose amp and not in the tuner radio, I can always use the volume control of my DSP as the master system volume if I choose to tap the signal before it going into the Bose amp. This will get the cleanest audio signal to send to the DSP.

Hopefully I will be testing the factory amp shortly.

I have only lifted the speaker grills off the factory speakers once last year to get a quick look at them, but they look larger than 2.75". I haven't measured them but they look to be 3.5".
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Old 07-26-2019   #7
 
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Since Mazda uses the same h/u in both the Bose and non, and being that have mastered the art of cross-platform architecture, I’m assuming, as you said, that it’s a full-range speaker-level signal either off the h/u or out of the tuner. It makes sense so that the same equipment could be used in Bose and non-Bose.

I like your idea of integrating a DSP for certain channels and letting other channels continue to run through the Bose amp. I think that is the best (maybe even only) way to keep the functionality of the phone support and b/u warnings, etc.

I’m not completely sold on the Morels and if it is a 3.5” in the dash then I have a lot more options. I need to pop a panel off and measure it. A 3-way active set off of a dsp/amp up front could be pretty incredible and not terribly expensive.

I’m surprised that it’s such a large woofer in the door. My original plans were to leave those alone and keep them on the Bose amp, but holy hell I could put together a great setup by ditching them.

Thanks for the info and all the time to type it out. Are there any sources that you know of for wiring diagrams of the h/u to tuner to Bose amp?
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Old 07-26-2019   #8
 
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Just popped the grill off of one of my dash speakers. Speaker size confirmed at 3.5” with a 4.25” mounting space.

Hello bright new world lol
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Old 07-26-2019   #9
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Default Re: Anyone with Gen 3 Mazda6 experience, feel free to step in...

https://www.mazdaserviceinfo.com/ is the best place for info about the car. It's the same info all Mazda dealers and service departments use. However it is expensive, it's raised to $29.95 for a 24 hour access period. You can't print out info from the site, but you can use the snipping tool (in Windows) to capture screen photos of the various pages of information.

If you get on this website, search for the following pages for the wiring schmatics:

Bose amp plug diagrams: 0920-322A, 0920-322B, and 0920-322C

Bose amp and speaker wiring diagrams: 0920-3f, 0920-3e, 0920-3d, 0920-3c, 0920-3b, 0920-3a

You can also search terms like "driver's side door removal" to find step by step pictures and diagrams of how to take the interior panels apart.

Hope this helps,
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Thanks so much. I appreciate all the info.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
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Default Re: Anyone with Gen 3 Mazda6 experience, feel free to step in...

I finally got around to testing the Mazda audio system. I have the good, bad, and the ugly (for me only).

The Good

The factory infotainment system consists of three units. The Connectivity Master Unit (CMU) is the master control unit of the infotainment system. It controls the display screen and everything the infotainment system does. The CMU is located in the dash. Next is the Tuner and Amp Unit (TAU) that is sort of an audio pre-amp/equalizer where volume, balance, fader, bass, treble, and other audio functions are done. The TAU is located to the right side of the glovebox. Last is the Bose amp under the passenger seat. It just a multi-channel amplifier.

Coming out of the TAU in the dash next to the glovebox are a set of signal wires that are essentially the same as RCA signal cables. The factory volume control works in the TAU and therefore if you tap into the signal wires going to the amp, then you can add aftermarket DSPs and amps and still retain the factory volume control. I plugged my SMD DD-1+ and got a healthy 3.1 volts of output at 1 KHz with no distortion at full volume. Then I plugged the signal wires to my RTA and got a flat signal from about 40 Hz all the way to 20 KHz. There is a small 4-6 dB rolloff below 40 Hz that is similar to a subsonic filter to keep from damaging the factory 9” midbasses in the front doors. A simple boost of 20-40 Hz on an eq or DSP will fix this very slight problem. Overall this is excellent performance out of the factory system.

The signal wires go into the Bose amp in the right plug (or the plug nearest the front of the car). There are three plug going into the Bose amp. The left (black) and middle (green) and right (black). The color codes are as follows:

Right Front + = red
Right Front - = green

Left Front + = black
Left Front - = white

Cut these wires and solder RCA cables onto them and your good to go to any aftermarket equipment you install. I also put some RCA plugs on the wires going into the amp so I can use a RCA connector and run the audio signal back into the Bose amp to use while I install the rest of my system.

On the middle green plug there is a violet colored wire that when the plug is plugged into the amp it is on the top row, seconded one from the left (next to a light green wire) that is a remote turn on wire that is activated by the ignition button. There is another violet wire on the top row on the very end, don’t use that violet wire. Tap a new wire to the correct violet wire and run it to a relay to use as a remote turn on lead for all the aftermarket equipment. Don’t run this lead to all your equipment without using a relay because it probably can’t handle the load of several amps, DSPs, EQs, and other stuff.

The Bad

All music (from radio, XM-Sirus, Apple Carplay, Android Auto) and phone call audio will play through the audio signal wires. The warning beeps from the front and rear parking sensors and audio from a nav app (either the factory or one on your phone) plays through a second audio input on the amp. What happens it when you are listening to music of phone call audio and the warning beeps or the nav needs to be heard, the Bose amp mutes the music and plays this secondary audio. In the same plug that the signal wires are in there is a white wire labeled AMP CTRL and a yellow wire labeled PWM. On another plug there is white and red wires twisted together labeled DATA LINK CONNECTOR-2. The secondary audio gets into the amp by one of these extra wires.

The problem is that if you unhook all the factory speakers you will lose the secondary audio. That may not be a big deal if you don’t care for the warning beeps on the nav audio playing through your car’s system. But that does mean a speaker has to be hooked up to the factory Bose amp if you want to retain the secondary audio.

I don’t plan on replacing the door midbasses and tweeters. I may put a tweeter in the midrange dash location so I will move the factory 3-1/2” to somewhere under the dash so it plays in to the foot well. Since the factory speakers are still hooked up to the Bose amp, they will still play the secondary audio but since I interrupted the primary audio for my music and phone before the amp, the speakers will not play anything during normal music and phone use.

The Really Ugly (applies to me only)

In the past few weeks I have been installing my midranges into the kick panels. They are installed and wired, but I have never heard them playing music because I don’t have my DSP and Zapco amps installed yet. At the install rate I am going it may 6 months to a year before I get the rest of my system installed. I have an old 50x2 home amp that I use on my test bench for equipment testing. I got the big idea to run a set of RCA cables from the factory signal cables to the test amp, which I have not used in over a year, and then run the speaker wires from my mids in the new kick panels and have a listen to them.

I hook everything up to the test amp, turn it on, and hear a LOUD 60 Hz hum through the speakers. I stick my head into the car and smell burned voice coil. The amp had went bad and sent 110 volt AC house electric through the speaker wires and blew up my right side Scan Speak 12 MU mid.

Then I plug the factory signal wires back into the Bose amp, and the right channel is extremely quiet. I check the L/R balance and the left channel plays good but there is something wrong with the right channel. I play a 1 KHz test tone and measure the voltage. I get 2.6 volts on the left channel at max volume and 0.6 volts on the right channel. The home test amp had not only sent 110 volts AC house current through the speaker wire and blew my Scan Speak mid, it had also sent 110 volts AC into the RCA signal wires and blew out the front and rear right channels on the TAU. The CMU does not seem to be affected and since the Bose amp was not connected to the test amp, it or the factory speakers were not damaged.

With no 2018-2019 TAUs listed on eBay, I called my Mazda dealer and ordered a new TAU this morning. Whereas the CMU would require a dealer service department to reprogram it to the car, both the parts person I talked to and I think the TAU will be a simple unplug the old and plug in the new one. $657.21 was the cost on a new TAU and the Scan Speak 12MU mid will cost about $280. So almost $1000 in damages due to the bad home test amp. It made me think of selling all the equipment I have collected for this install and just stick with the factory system but I am too much of a car audio nut to do that.

So for the time being I am running my Fiio DAP into the audio signal inputs on the Bose amp. It sounds just like before and the secondary audio still plays too.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #12
 
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Wow, so sorry to hear about the malfunction and damage caused by it. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

I really appreciate all of the info and the time you’ve taken to write all of this up. I’m sure that I won’t be the only one to use this info.

What I’m gathering, and correct me if I’m wrong, is that I can the input signals at the Bose amp and run those to a DSP to set up an active 3 way (replacing all the speakers, and for me it will be in factory locations powered by a 6ch). But, by doing this, I will lose the interrupt feature when a call comes in and navigation (I don’t have front parking sensors, so no worries there, and I believe the rear parking sensor audio plays through the rear deck speakers).

If that is true, does the audio also interrupt via the amp for CarPlay navigation, or is that controlled by the source (iPhone). If the iPhone controls the interrupt, then I would be fine since I only use Waze and Google Maps. I have not even tested the Mazda nav to see how it works. And I only listen to Apple Music, never any local stations or Sirius.

Edited: I reread what you wrote and I see that you already answered the question about the nav coming in from a secondary audio input. That is going to be challenging to overcome.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #13
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Default Re: Anyone with Gen 3 Mazda6 experience, feel free to step in...

You have it correct, cut into the front signal wires before the Bose amp and run them to the RCA inputs of your DSP, amps, and speakers. You will still be able to use the factory volume knob on the center console and hear all music sources and your phone call audio.

If you want to hear the nav audio you will need to relocate the left factory mid (or basically any midrange speaker) to somewhere else in the car (under the dash on the driver's side there is plenty of room) and connect it to the left front factory speaker wires. The speaker wires are brown for the + and green for the -. The nav audio only plays through the left side. The nav audio will probably not sound as good since you are losing the left midbass and tweeter, but it should be clear enough to hear the directions. You can still adjust the nav secondary audio by turning the factory volume knob up and down when the nav audio is playing.

Yes, it does suck that the amp went bad and damaged so much stuff. But I have had equipment failures before and recovered from them. What I think has happened is my test bench is in my garage and over time dust, dirt, and other stuff has gotten into the amp and when I turned it on, something internal short circuited and blew everything up. It was a cheap amp when I bought it years ago and it is in the garbage now, but unfortunately it has cost me nearly $1000. When I bought my Mazda last year and told my wife I was putting a system in it, she told me not to tear anything up. Thankfully she is gone on a business trip and so far does not know what I have done. When she rides with me, she wants the stereo off so hopefully I can get everything replaced and back to normal without her knowing.
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Will the audio still mute when the nav is speaking if I were to mount the stock mid under the dash?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #15
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Default Re: Anyone with Gen 3 Mazda6 experience, feel free to step in...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike2.5T View Post
Will the audio still mute when the nav is speaking if I were to mount the stock mid under the dash?
I think it will but I can't be sure until I get the new TAU installed.
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Good news! I did some testing during my lunch break. Since my TAU's audio outputs are damaged I'm running my Fiio DAP into the Bose amp using a 3.5mm phono plug to RCA cable. (Remember I soldered on RCA plugs to the signal wires going into the Bose amp so I could keep using it while I build the rest of my system.) The secondary audio from the NAV and parking sensors still work out of the damaged TAU and play to the Bose amp through the other inputs that I did not test.

Before I damaged the TAU the whole left channel would mute while the NAV audio was being played. Same goes for the parking sensors.

Now when I am playing the Fiio DAP directly into the Bose amp through its audio signal inputs, the secondary NAV audio still plays with the music playing. Remember there is no music being played through the TAU. The amp is combining the music from the Fiio DAP and the secondary NAV audio into the left channel outputs of the amp.

Therefore there is no channel muting going on in the amp. Then the muting must then be going on in the TAU. So I predict that when I get my TAU replaced the left channel will mute again when secondary audio is played, regardless if the regular audio signal wires are hooked up to the Bose amp or to an aftermarket amp.
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