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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, new here. I'm not new to car audio, as I used to manage a car stereo department at a major high end store 20 years back. But, because I've been out of it for so long, I'm considering myself a noob, and I have no clue on what products are good today. Back in the day, I had Excelon head unit, Xtant amp, Boston Acoustics 3-ways up front and a JL Audio 12w3v2 in a custom stealth box. Since then, family, kids, animals, etc. all kept me away and I lived with Bose stock systems. Anyways, just picked up a 2018 Q50, this time with no Bose, and the system is just ok, compared to other stock systems I have had. So, time to build a budget system for this car. Plans are:
  • Stock head unit
  • 4 channel amp (for front and sub)
  • Components up front (either 2 or 3 way)
  • No rear (or leave stock rears that I can fade off when no one in backseat)
  • a 10" or a 12" sub in a custom fiberglass stealth enclosure
My thoughts are:

Pioneer GM-D8704 4-channel amp
Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 12"

So, not crazy like I had it, but something that is better than a stock.

I have no clue on the components. The car has room for 3 way setup, but trying to keep budget down. Been looking at:

  • JBL GTO609C
  • Polk Audio DB6501
  • Infinity Kappa 60.11CS
  • CT Sounds Strato 6.5 Inch 3-Way
The CT audio is the only 3 way, as its the only one in the price range I'm willing to go. But, that does scare me a bit, as the price may be too low for 3-way, plus not really familiar with CT Sounds.

If you're an OG, to give you my preference from 20 years back, I preferred the sound of the Boston Acoustics more than MB Quartz. the MBQs were too bright for my liking. With that said, any thoughts on which set of components to throw up front? And, yes, I understand none of the choices will come even close to the Bostons, given they were close to $900 price 20 years ago....

Thanks for your input!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Youre looking for 3 way only?
No, I most likely will have to settle for a decent set of 2 ways, due to price constraints. I'm only thinking 3 way because a) the door has spots for them and b) I used to really enjoy the BA 3 ways I had. Makes sense that having 3 speakers, playing a smaller range of frequencies each, should sound better than the 6.5 mid bass playing frequencies for both the 6.5 and the 3.5 in a true 3 way.

Another option is that I go with a 5 channel amp,, instead of the 4, and run 2 channels to a pair of 6.5" components and run the other 2 channels for a 3.5" coax all in the door. I'm worried this will be too much tweeter up front, though, and this way the 6.5 is still playing higher in frequency than having the true 3 way separation.
 

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No, I most likely will have to settle for a decent set of 2 ways, due to price constraints. I'm only thinking 3 way because a) the door has spots for them and b) I used to really enjoy the BA 3 ways I had. Makes sense that having 3 speakers, playing a smaller range of frequencies each, should sound better than the 6.5 mid bass playing frequencies for both the 6.5 and the 3.5 in a true 3 way.

Another option is that I go with a 5 channel amp,, instead of the 4, and run 2 channels to a pair of 6.5" components and run the other 2 channels for a 3.5" coax all in the door. I'm worried this will be too much tweeter up front, though, and this way the 6.5 is still playing higher in frequency than having the true 3 way separation.
Don't think of a 2-way as settling, a good 2-way is every bit as good as plenty of 3-way systems. Depending of the speakers, there are some strong arguments for 2-ways being superior.

Before you get to far, do you know if you can get an unprocessed signal from the OEM head unit? If you can't defeat the processing and get a flat, fullrange signal from the OEM head unit, swapping speakers might not give you the improvement you're hoping for.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Don't think of a 2-way as settling, a good 2-way is every bit as good as plenty of 3-way systems. Depending of the speakers, there are some strong arguments for 2-ways being superior.
I'm sure you're right, especially when comparing to what I have been listening to for the past 15-20 years.

Before you get to far, do you know if you can get an unprocessed signal from the OEM head unit? If you can't defeat the processing and get a flat, fullrange signal from the OEM head unit, swapping speakers might not give you the improvement you're hoping for.
That's a great question. I'm not 100% sure on that and I will need to do some more research now. It is the non-Bose/Basic system, so I'm sure there's only high level available. It also has that volume adjustment thing, based on cabin noise, and that "fake engine noise" generator, but I know both can be unplugged. Worst case, it's more money, but I can always add in an AudioControl, or alike, DSP at a later date. Maybe I ask for that for my Birthday...lol (I feel like I'm in my teens again).
 

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I’m OG and found DSP a few years ago....a whole new experience


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I vote the JBL Stadium or Infinity Kappa components with the add-on midrange. I love mine. I just wish I had more power for them. That midrange will blow your mind. The woofers have midbass to spare. The tweeters are so smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I vote the JBL Stadium or Infinity Kappa components with the add-on midrange. I love mine. I just wish I had more power for them. That midrange will blow your mind. The woofers have midbass to spare. The tweeters are so smooth.
Thanks!! Yesterday, the Kappa's got added to my short list. Ability to have 3 way add on and they can be had for a steal right now. Just wish I could find a store that has them on display, to hear them. Some people are saying that the Kappa's are super bright. Seems to be opposite of what you just said and I'm inclined to believe ya. I'm sure, either case, they sound miles apart from the stock crap I have. How much power you got on them? I'm thinking of upgrading to the 5 channel now. This way, I get 2 channels for the 6.5 and tweeters and the other 2 channels for the 2" and keep the gains down low on them. At 2.5 ohms, on the Kappas, that should give about 90 watts a channel or so (100w @ 2ohm rated).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Updated system, now that I've had a little more time to research:
  • Pioneer GM-D9705 5 channel amp (100 x 4 @ 2ohm 600x1 @ 2ohm RMS)
  • Infiniti Kappa 60CSX (6.5 inch component set powered by 2 channels)
  • Infiniti Kappa 20MX (2" mid range add on for 60CSX powered by the other 2 channels)
Now I don't know what to do about the sub. I liked the shallow mount pioneer box, as the box can get me through the winter, until summer starts and I can go outside and lay some fiberglass for a custom stealth box. So, I need a decent sounding 12" sub woofer, shallow mount that works in small air space, in 2 ohm or dual 4 ohm, that preferably comes with a box or I can buy an inexpensive prefab box to get me through winter. Any ideas?

I found the Infinity Reference REF1200S 12" Shallow Mount Subwoofer, which has a cool switch to go either with 2 ohm or 4 ohm from the same sub. No idea if they sound any good, though, but they do have a 250 watt RMS rating.

Should I buy an LC2i or use the speaker level inputs built into the amp? I'm thinking trying without it and, if the bass don't sound right, add this in after...

Also, I was looking at what other things I need, to complete install, and came up with this:
  • Small sheet of ABS plastic to make speaker rings from
  • NVX XBAF65 Silicone Rubber Speaker Baffle Kit for 6.5"
  • Noico 80 mil sound deadening for the doors and trunk
  • Metal roller tools for sound deadening installation
  • 4 gauge OFC amp kit
  • 100 foot spool of 14 gauge copper speaker wire
  • speaker wire spade terminals
Anything else I should add on?
 

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Lc2i has a cutoff freq of 33hz I believe which is one reason I didn't go with it. I bought a brand new lc7i for $100 but you can get them used for around $80.

Plus lc7i allows you the option to use a dsp for the front if you decide to use like a minidsp 4 channel for $100 and just get some good mids plus tweeters for like $100. Not sure how much those components cost.

I have the lc7i, Alpine dsp, Alpine 4 channel, silver flute mids plus peerless tweeters for the fronts and it sounds great.

And I have a tc9 12" sub plus arc audio 1100.1 for sub.

I'm putting a 15" ported though as soon as stereo integrity sends me the 15"SQL.

I'd consider the SQL 12" if you want a small sealed box.

I used noico sound deadening also, pretty easy to work with.

Got a 4 gauge OFC kit off eBay for like $35 shipped.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@zeebo56, thanks! Didn't think to look for the amp kit on eBay. Cheapest I found on Amazon was $60. So, I'll check eBay before I buy.

Just checked and I see that you are right. The LC2i stops at 30hz. So, scratch that. I'll look for the LC7i, like you suggested.

That sub you're getting looks beastly! I'm sure it's gonna hit hard and low. Checked out the 12 and it's too deep for what my plans are. Considering spending a few dollars more and getting a 12TW3, but let's see...
 

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Lc2i has a cutoff freq of 33hz I believe which is one reason I didn't go with it. I bought a brand new lc7i for $100 but you can get them used for around $80.

Plus lc7i allows you the option to use a dsp for the front if you decide to use like a minidsp 4 channel for $100 and just get some good mids plus tweeters for like $100. Not sure how much those components cost.

I have the lc7i, Alpine dsp, Alpine 4 channel, silver flute mids plus peerless tweeters for the fronts and it sounds great.

And I have a tc9 12" sub plus arc audio 1100.1 for sub.

I'm putting a 15" ported though as soon as stereo integrity sends me the 15"SQL.

I'd consider the SQL 12" if you want a small sealed box.

I used noico sound deadening also, pretty easy to work with.

Got a 4 gauge OFC kit off eBay for like $35 shipped.
The GM-D9705 is a great budget amp. I have one running my whole system and my car can get to concert level volume without distortion. Small footprint and it does over rated power on the 4 channels.
One more thing you might add to the list is fast rings for the midbass speakers to direct as much sound as possible into the cabin. If you haven't picked up the amp wiring kit yet, knuconceptz makes a good 4 guage ofc kit.
The jl audio 12TW3 seems to be a popular choice for a shallow mount sub. But those are pricey. Maybe look at the sundown SD-3. It would match up well with the pioneer amp and it's made for small sealed enclosures.

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Discussion Starter #14
@jbird61801, glad to hear from someone with this amp. I know it's a budget amp, but I've seen the dynos and they are impressive. The distortion numbers are impressive on paper as well. I think it'll do fine to get me going.

I know fast rings are the norm, but figured I'd try the NVX XBAF65 Silicone Rubber Speaker Baffle Kit for 6.5". They look like an awesome accessory for the doors, along with the noico of course.

The 12TW3 is on my list. But, as you said, they're pricey. I'll check out that sundown you mentioned now.
 

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Thanks!! Yesterday, the Kappa's got added to my short list. Ability to have 3 way add on and they can be had for a steal right now. Just wish I could find a store that has them on display, to hear them. Some people are saying that the Kappa's are super bright. Seems to be opposite of what you just said and I'm inclined to believe ya. I'm sure, either case, they sound miles apart from the stock crap I have. How much power you got on them? I'm thinking of upgrading to the 5 channel now. This way, I get 2 channels for the 6.5 and tweeters and the other 2 channels for the 2" and keep the gains down low on them. At 2.5 ohms, on the Kappas, that should give about 90 watts a channel or so (100w @ 2ohm rated).
I have the JBL Stadium GTO 3 way set. My tweeter is 3/4" soft dome and very smooth. I assumed the Kappa set tweeter was similar. Maybe not. I have them on a 50w RMS per channel Alpine. Maybe 65w per ch ?
 

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Updated system, now that I've had a little more time to research:
  • Pioneer GM-D9705 5 channel amp (100 x 4 @ 2ohm 600x1 @ 2ohm RMS)
  • Infiniti Kappa 60CSX (6.5 inch component set powered by 2 channels)
  • Infiniti Kappa 20MX (2" mid range add on for 60CSX powered by the other 2 channels)
Now I don't know what to do about the sub. I liked the shallow mount pioneer box, as the box can get me through the winter, until summer starts and I can go outside and lay some fiberglass for a custom stealth box. So, I need a decent sounding 12" sub woofer, shallow mount that works in small air space, in 2 ohm or dual 4 ohm, that preferably comes with a box or I can buy an inexpensive prefab box to get me through winter. Any ideas?

I found the Infinity Reference REF1200S 12" Shallow Mount Subwoofer, which has a cool switch to go either with 2 ohm or 4 ohm from the same sub. No idea if they sound any good, though, but they do have a 250 watt RMS rating.

Should I buy an LC2i or use the speaker level inputs built into the amp? I'm thinking trying without it and, if the bass don't sound right, add this in after...

Also, I was looking at what other things I need, to complete install, and came up with this:
  • Small sheet of ABS plastic to make speaker rings from
  • NVX XBAF65 Silicone Rubber Speaker Baffle Kit for 6.5"
  • Noico 80 mil sound deadening for the doors and trunk
  • Metal roller tools for sound deadening installation
  • 4 gauge OFC amp kit
  • 100 foot spool of 14 gauge copper speaker wire
  • speaker wire spade terminals
Anything else I should add on?
I think you will do better using the midranges in the component set plugged into the crossovers as they are intended. You would need them bandpassed with a DSP otherwise and I doubt they will handle 100w each anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
@F150Man, I misunderstood you. I thought you had the Kappas. The kappa 2 inch matching set, to the 2 way 6.5 set, comes with its own bandpass crossover and the 6.5 has a gap setting you can turn on that lowers the mids going to them. This gives the ability to separately power the 6.5 with tweeter and the 2" mid range and have a 3 way setup.

I went and listened to a 2 way jbl set today, the $150 Best Buy special, and I really enjoyed them. The tweeters were nice and smooth and those weren't even the stadium line. So, I'm not discounting the stadium 3 way now. Gonna see if any other shop around me has them on display to hear.

JBL and Infinity are owned by the same company, right? That's why you were saying they might be similar?
 

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@F150Man, I misunderstood you. I thought you had the Kappas. The kappa 2 inch matching set, to the 2 way 6.5 set, comes with its own bandpass crossover and the 6.5 has a gap setting you can turn on that lowers the mids going to them. This gives the ability to separately power the 6.5 with tweeter and the 2" mid range and have a 3 way setup.

I went and listened to a 2 way jbl set today, the $150 Best Buy special, and I really enjoyed them. The tweeters were nice and smooth and those weren't even the stadium line. So, I'm not discounting the stadium 3 way now. Gonna see if any other shop around me has them on display to hear.

JBL and Infinity are owned by the same company, right? That's why you were saying they might be similar?
Right
 

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Looks like the GTO stadiums are the same way. Buy 6.5 set and add on a 2" misrange.?
Yes. That is the set I have except I have the 6x8's. You must keep the components together with the crossovers for the best sound. I might be misunderstanding your intentions.
 
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