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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
First off let me say I have been away from car audio for a while now and I see that so many of the big names have been bought/sold to well you know what kinds of companies. So at this point I am actually a tad bit confused as to what companies still produce decent products. I also should point out that I am not rich and tend to be favorable of "more for your money" products then say having to have the best of the best because it costs the most LOL. With that said let me ask my Q's.


First car is an 03 Saturn Ion 4 door. I have one of two planned Polk MM1040dvc subs and a SS REF405 amp to power the whole system. I will be running a Pioneer double din 8000bt or 800bt (not sure what more the 800 has over the 8000). Since the amp does not have any option for a bass knob I am wondering what are my options to add one. I see many Epicenter look-a-likes out there but do not know what ones are of decent quality and also see that many state well over 5v preout voltage which would be bad for my amp. I think I would prefer something that works more like the typical bass boost that is built into most amp bodies rather then the filling in the gaps that WAS what Audio Controls description of the origional Epicenter was but I do not know if that is how any non built in bass knob setups work these days. My second need for suggestions for this car are for the component sets (6.5"/6.75") for front and rear. Being that I have two systems to build and need to stay on a budget I am looking around the $100-$150 or so (Ebay pricing here) per set. So far I have been looking into the Boston SE60's and SC60's as well as the non XXX RE Audio components. The main thing here is decent, reliable sound that is better then her POS stock speakers.


The second car is mine and is a 07 Chevy HHR. My main goal for this car is stealth but not because I want to hide the stuff, but to still be able to use the cargo area. But as always I still want decent, clean, reliable sound. I too will be using Polk MM subs but will be using 3 DVC 8's so that I can fit them where the factory sub is now. I will also be using the same Pioneer HU as her car but so far all I have for mine is 2 of the 3 8's. I need ideas on super uber small amps like the new Massive NX5 or the Rockford PBR amps. Both of these I have been considering for a while now but tonight I came across some threads about both amps that make me wonder if they will be worth it or not. Size wise both would fit the bill. Output would also work decently but the posts I read have me concerned for both but heavily for the NX5. I see JL and Arc audio also have nano sized amps but their prices seem up there. So any and all suggestions here would be greatly appreciated. I also need to pick out components and will probably run the same ones in both cars.

So those are my Q's. Any input will be greatly appreciated.

ThanX in advance.
 

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Why would 5 volts be bad for your amp?
 

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First car is an 03 Saturn Ion 4 door. I have one of two planned Polk MM1040dvc subs and a SS REF405 amp to power the whole system. I will be running a Pioneer double din 8000bt or 800bt (not sure what more the 800 has over the 8000). Since the amp does not have any option for a bass knob I am wondering what are my options to add one. I see many Epicenter look-a-likes out there but do not know what ones are of decent quality and also see that many state well over 5v preout voltage which would be bad for my amp. I think I would prefer something that works more like the typical bass boost that is built into most amp bodies rather then the filling in the gaps that WAS what Audio Controls description of the origional Epicenter was but I do not know if that is how any non built in bass knob setups work these days.
From what I was able to find on the REF405 it has separate inputs for front, rear and sub. Therefore there is no need for a "bass knob". Just use the level control on the subwoofer outputs on either of those head units and you have instant control of the amount of bass.

What you DON'T WANT is a bass boost. Boosting a single frequency does nothing good sonically, and increases the possibility of damaging your subwoofers.

If you need to boost or cut a bass frequency, it's generally best to use the built in equalizer on the HU.

As far as the epicenter goes, that piece of equipment is used for "Bass Restoration". In other words, if your source can only reproduce down to 35hz, it uses harmonics to fill in the frequencies below. Since everyone uses digital sources these days this is an unnecessary piece of equipment (despite what the Audio Control marketing dept is saying about ipods).

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My second need for suggestions for this car are for the component sets (6.5"/6.75") for front and rear. Being that I have two systems to build and need to stay on a budget I am looking around the $100-$150 or so (Ebay pricing here) per set. So far I have been looking into the Boston SE60's and SC60's as well as the non XXX RE Audio components. The main thing here is decent, reliable sound that is better then her POS stock speakers.
Why are you going to install components in the back? That's a waste. If you insist on having rear speakers, I would just stick to coaxials. That will help your budget. I don't see any problems with the speakers you're looking at. I've had good luck with the Polk dB series speakers.

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The second car is mine and is a 07 Chevy HHR. My main goal for this car is stealth but not because I want to hide the stuff, but to still be able to use the cargo area. But as always I still want decent, clean, reliable sound. I too will be using Polk MM subs but will be using 3 DVC 8's so that I can fit them where the factory sub is now. I will also be using the same Pioneer HU as her car but so far all I have for mine is 2 of the 3 8's. I need ideas on super uber small amps like the new Massive NX5 or the Rockford PBR amps. Both of these I have been considering for a while now but tonight I came across some threads about both amps that make me wonder if they will be worth it or not. Size wise both would fit the bill. Output would also work decently but the posts I read have me concerned for both but heavily for the NX5. I see JL and Arc audio also have nano sized amps but their prices seem up there. So any and all suggestions here would be greatly appreciated. I also need to pick out components and will probably run the same ones in both cars.
I've read good things about the PPI Phantoms.

.ThanX in advance.
No problem :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Why would 5 volts be bad for your amp?
It will saturate my inputs. This amp is rated only to 2.5v inputs. It is possible that since the amp was first introduced when HU rarely put out more the 2.5v's that Sound Stream never tested above that. The next gen version of this amp was rated to 5v inputs. I contacted Sound Stream last week and asked if this was the case and also asked them if the input stage had been redesigned to handle the higher input voltage. They replied that I was correct with the timing theory but AZVRT pointed out something interesting. This Sound Stream I contacted is not the same Sound Stream from back in the day so they may not truethfully know one way or the other what the old engineers did back then. The rep did say specifically that after 5v it will for sure saturate.

From what I was able to find on the REF405 it has separate inputs for front, rear and sub. Therefore there is no need for a "bass knob". Just use the level control on the subwoofer outputs on either of those head units and you have instant control of the amount of bass. .
For me that way works fine but then I am always tweaking with the tuning on the HU but for her, well she does not like to navigate thru menus on her decks. So having an actual bass knob works easier for her. She really won't touch any settings ever. Her last amp was a Rockford power 800a4 bridged to two older l5's. She really like having that bass knob. And heck I prefer the simplicity of having a bass knob as well.

What you DON'T WANT is a bass boost. Boosting a single frequency does nothing good sonically, and increases the possibility of damaging your subwoofers.

If you need to boost or cut a bass frequency, it's generally best to use the built in equalizer on the HU.
Aren't they CENTERED around specific frequency's. My MTX JH600 mono amp had both bass boost on the amp and a remote knob. Same with that Power 800a4. If this only boosted one sigle frequency then why would they give you 2 places to increase this same frequency? I would think they would increase the stated db's at the center frequency and then the db's would roll off as the frequency's go lower and higher. For example say it is centered at 45 there still will be increase at 35 and 55.


Why are you going to install components in the back? That's a waste. If you insist on having rear speakers, I would just stick to coaxials. That will help your budget. I don't see any problems with the speakers you're looking at. I've had good luck with the Polk dB series speakers.
Because I do not like the sound typically of coaxials. I do agree though that they are overkill for the rear but I just haven't found ones ever that I would want and could afford lol. I am sure there are some out there that sound as good as any seperates but the typical ones I have come across just do not have the same sound as seperates.

I like the sound from my polk db set and even like them better then the MM's running off of a small amp. Of coarse that amp was not driving the MM's all that well. Only thing for my set is that the crossovers fell apart on me. But the sound is nice. I see the db's on ebay for just over $100 and the MM's around the $150 mark but then more wattage would be needed.
 

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Because I do not like the sound typically of coaxials. I do agree though that they are overkill for the rear but I just haven't found ones ever that I would want and could afford lol. I am sure there are some out there that sound as good as any seperates but the typical ones I have come across just do not have the same sound as seperates.
There are many very excellent 2-way coaxials available today that will sound as good as component speakers. Check into a convertible coaxial if you really must have a crossover, as that type of speaker can have the tweeter mounted on the midwoofer for an easier install. The benefit most people seem to overlook from coaxials is the sound all comes from the same point source. This makes for better integration of the mid and treble frequencies. Depending on the factory speaker location it can lead to a better focused sound stage with minimal effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There are many very excellent 2-way coaxials available today that will sound as good as component speakers. Check into a convertible coaxial if you really must have a crossover, as that type of speaker can have the tweeter mounted on the midwoofer for an easier install. The benefit most people seem to overlook from coaxials is the sound all comes from the same point source. This makes for better integration of the mid and treble frequencies. Depending on the factory speaker location it can lead to a better focused sound stage with minimal effort.
Same point source is nice if the placement is right but most factory locations are not good for this. Then ther is the sound factor. Convertable ones I would probably like. The speakers in my car in the bottom of the rear doors so coaxial there is not really good anyways. In the Ion they will be in the rear deck so the converts might be used as coax there.
 

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1. You would not have any issues running "5 volt" input signals into your soundstream amp because a) you only get 5 volts with the volume all the way up with a 0db track and b) you can just turn the volume down if your source material starts clipping the signal. Two clicks on the volume knob would take care of it.

2. If the song is lacking in bass, it's the recording. You shouldn't need to add bass if you're concerned with listening to songs as they were recorded. Maybe you're not interested in that.

3. Bass boost is basically a fixed single band of eq yes, but most people don't understand how to use eq appropriately. Music should not need the bass boosted unless there is a null in the response in that area due to the acoustics of the listening area. The fact is that most cars have a natural boost due to cabin gain, so boosting it more is pointless. What you want is a remote level control, that acts as a volume control for all frequencies below the low pass for the amp, just like the built in level control on the HU. Some amps come with a level control, some come with a boost control, some come with both, regardless if you set up your system right you should never have to touch them again.

I attached an illustration showing the difference of the signal between using a bass boost control and a subwofer level control..

Another note on bass boost, if you're worried about saturating your amp's inputs, you want to avoid boosting any frequencies. Period.

4. If you're actually hearing your rear speakers enough that you can say you don't like the sound of them because they're coaxials you're doing it wrong. If you're sitting in the front seats, 95% of the sound should be coming from the speakers in front of you.
 

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