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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I've been reading the forum for a few weeks, and it seems like many members are using custom speaker sets (seas, scanspeak, etc) instead of pre-made sets.

For a cost of close to $200, I am looking at the following sets of components (using stock locations in a 1991 E30 BMW 325i convertible -- kickpanel for the mid, and high in the door for the tweeter)

1. Focal Access 130
2. Rainbow SLX 230
3. DLS Reference MS5 or R5

Is there a set of custom/active speakers that I should consider for the same price range that will sound better than the above sets?

Thanks!
--Carey
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Might want to consider the HAT Imagine.
Interesting, I didn't realize there was a HAT speaker in my price range. I notice that it doesn't include a full crossover... Has anyone compared it to the DLS or Focals? At the least, the DLS MS5's are reasonably high up in their model line, comparing to the HAT's where the Imagine spkrs are the entry level...

I don't have a local dealer of the HAT's, but I have read great reviews on the clarus speakers, and I am a touch worried that the focals are too bright (the focals are the only ones on the list that I have listened to), so the HATs might be a good fit.

Any opinions from someone who has heard multiple of the sets in question?

Thanks in advance!
--CK
 

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Interesting, I didn't realize there was a HAT speaker in my price range. I notice that it doesn't include a full crossover...
--CK

This question has been addressed in a white paper on HAT web site and also on the forums a lot. In short, it was designed not to need a "full crossover". The woofers rolls off naturally without crossover network and the tweeter uses an inline capacitor. The only shortcoming is that there is no tweeter attenuation control, but this shouldn't be a problem if you can go active. I have a new set in a box. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to install it yet...
 

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Hi All,

I've been reading the forum for a few weeks, and it seems like many members are using custom speaker sets (seas, scanspeak, etc) instead of pre-made sets.

For a cost of close to $200, I am looking at the following sets of components (using stock locations in a 1991 E30 BMW 325i convertible -- kickpanel for the mid, and high in the door for the tweeter)

1. Focal Access 130
2. Rainbow SLX 230
3. DLS Reference MS5 or R5

Is there a set of custom/active speakers that I should consider for the same price range that will sound better than the above sets?

Thanks!
--Carey
did you ever decide which speaker you were goign to go with? i have an 87 325ic that im looking to upgrade
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
did you ever decide which speaker you were goign to go with? i have an 87 325ic that im looking to upgrade
I'm still thinking about it. The current top-runner is the HAT imagine 5.25" set (see above for recommendations). This set gets great reviews, but I can't listen locally, which is why I am hesitant. The one thing in the reviews that keeps catching my eye is that it is less "harsh" than competition like focal. I do think the focals are a little harsh, even the more expensive set, so I am hoping that the HAT set will be "just right"... It's also relatively efficient compared to the other sets, so running it with the older 100wpc amp that I have should be fine.

I will probably try it as a coax for a while first, and only split it to component if I don't like it. This will be a much easier install, as I won't need to take the door panels off :) I think the kickpanels are far enough forward that the speakers might be fine as coax without legs getting in the way. Note that if run in component mode, you will likely need to build an L-Pad to attenuate the tweeter by some amount (this set doesn't come with a tweeter level adjustment).

I took a look at the kick panels in my 91, and there really isn't space for any modern driver between the sheet metal and the stock grill (the stock grill sits maybe 0.25" in front of the sheet metal.) Depth-wise, there is at least 2 3/8" of space (in my car, ymmv).

So the stock grills are going to have to be cut, but I have not yet decided whether I will add 1/4" of plywood behind the stock kickpanel, and mount the new speaker's grill "on top" of the kickpanel, or mount the new grill to the sheet metal, making it basically "flush" with the current kick panel.

One consideration is that by using the right speaker, and pushing the mounting point forward by 0.25" or so, a larger speaker might possibly fit. This assumes that the larger speaker "cuts in" at a sharp angle just behind the front edge, if that makes sense.

I'm not looking for the best-possible setup, so I will likely stick with the stock size, but something for you to think about.

One other thing to keep in mind with the E30's is that they are a common ground setup, so you will definitely have to re-wire all of the speakers to work with a modern amp or head-unit.

Let me know what you end up with!
--CK
 

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The HAT speaker also seems harsh unless you run it coaxial or active/bi-amp to turn down the volume of tweeter. The highs have to become bloody loud before can I hear some good lows from it in passive setup. Could be the lack of sufficient break-in issue though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The HAT speaker also seems harsh unless you run it coaxial or active/bi-amp to turn down the volume of tweeter. The highs have to become bloody loud before can I hear some good lows from it in passive setup. Could be the lack of sufficient break-in issue though.
Hi Zakoh,

I've been following your comments in the HAT Imagine thread, too, and based on a couple of reviews I have read, the Imagine tweeter is supposedly too loud to be used in component mode without either an active or passive bit of attenuation, and most of those comments were with the bigger 6" woofer rather than the 5.25 that I'm looking at). I'd be really interested to hear what you find out if you install a 3dB lpad -- this solved a similar issue someone else had with the set.

Looking around the web, it seems like a 3dB lpad would be a 1.17 ohm resistor in series, and a 9.7 ohm resistor in parallel to keep exactly 4 ohm overall impedance. Looking at mouser.com, the closest I could find was a 1.2ohm 50w resistor (pn 71-RH0501R200FE02) and a 10ohm 50w resistor (pn 71-RH05010R00FE02)

It's unclear to me how close the 1.2 / 10 ohm values will be to 3dB of attenuation, but the total impedance is still very close to 4 ohms (4.06). It would certainly be worth a try to see if it sounds better. Definitely let everyone know how it sounds if you do try it.

--C
 

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I'll drive around with stock (passive) setup for about a month to make sure that these speakers have been completely broken-in. I really want to see mid-bass open up a little before I tune them. If I decide to keep them, I will run them bi-amp mode with tweeter protected by a capacitor and see how it goes. This will give me more ability to tweak them. I am actually thinking of running the tweeters from head unit power. If this works, I won't even need a extra set of amplifier channels. If that doesn't work well enough though, I'll buy a cheap 2-channel "tweeter amp" to run tweeters.
 
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