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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys,

This is my first serious install, with my previous experience being limited to swapping head units and speakers, and throwing a box in the trunk.

The car is a 2006 Civic Si with factory nav. I really wanted the factory nav for reasons of stealth/theft, and I love it. It can play 4gb CF or SD cards full of MP3's (my music collection is in MP3 format, sue me), it looks slick, and the nav is sweet.

So the theme of my install is factory integration and stealth. I wanted the interior of the car to appear 100% stock. I'm also on a tight budget, and I don't want to add a lot of weight, so the acoustic treatments are limited to where they are most important.

Lucky for me, the factory source unit outputs a flat, balanced signal out to the factory outboard amp, which performs the task of screwing up the EQ and freq response. So if I can tap into the signal before that, and run it to an amp with balanced inputs, I am golden. There is a dude (mercman) on the Honda and Acura boards that makes a harness just for this purpose.

I listen to a fairly wide variety of rock and rap, but my goal is simply good SQ. If I had a really good-sounding system I would probably listen to other kinds of music too.

I don't plan to compete, so this is just for my personal enjoyment. After fawning over all the beautiful installations on here, though, I tried to pay as much attention to detail as possible to clean wiring, proper termination, etc. So, by all means, I am open to constructive criticism. But FWIW, I'm not losing sleep if my zip ties are more than 6" apart.

Thanks to everyone!!! She wouldn't be close to what she is if it weren't for this place.

The gear:
Power wire: Kicker 4ga
Signal cable: mercman's harness
Amp: JL 500/5
Front stage: PG RSD65cs run actively off the 500/5 in tri-amp mode
Sub: my brother's old 12W0 in a pre-made box that I found in my parents' garage (temporary, but I'm diggin it right now).

and a roll of Raammat + Ensolite.

I still need to figure out how to finish off the trunk. I don't really have any woodworking or fiberglassing tools or experience.

Here she is:


And here we go. I re-used the factory firewall grommet and cut a hole for my 4-gauge Kicker power wire:




Wrapped with electrical tape so that I can pull it snug from the inside of the car:


From the engine compartment:


Where the wire enters the cabin, above the accelerator:


Running down the center console:


The factory outboard amp for the "premium sound system" is located under the center console in front of the shifter. I don't need it, so I removed it:


Output from factory source:


Here's the signal harness I bought from mercman on AcuraZine. It plugs into the factory plug above, and sends the balanced signals back to the amp. I added the Techflex.


Plugged in:


Power, signal, and speaker bundles all running down the center console. That's right, my power run is 4" away from my signal run here. :p But the signal is balanced.


Running up the back seat:


And into trunk:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Amp mounted to plywood behind factory carpet:


I can still fold down the seats:


Finished signal and speaker wire runs, looking at where the factory amp used to be.


Finished center console wiring. I cleaned up my old radar detector hardwire job while I was in there:


With the center console reinstalled:


This is the R speaker wire bundle, anchored to factory looming behind glovebox:


I loomed the mid and tweet together, and split them up here. The tweet wire runs up to the top corner of the dash, and the mid goes down into the hole that leads to the door:


Which brings me to my absolute favorite part of the installation: running Techflexed 16-gauge Kicker speaker wire into the doors through the factory rubber tubing.


Top of grommet (leads into cabin). Most of this plug is occupied by molex plugs, but at the bottom there is a snug hole in the rubber.


Bottom of grommet (leads into door). There's no molex on this side, and plenty of extra room for more wires:


Voila! Heatshrinked and properly crimped:


Just like factory:


Same treatment for the tweet:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Raammat on outer skin:





I fabbed up some Coroplast (bought from a sign shop) covers for the access holes:


It was a very scientific process:


Finished w/ the Raammat:


Mounting MDF speaker ring to door with countersunk sheetmetal screws.


The small terminals I bought from Parts Express fit extra snug:


Finished passenger door:


On to the driver's side:











Tweet superglued into factory mount. I wrapped the bare terminals in electrical tape after I took the picture:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
And that pretty much brings me to where I am today.

I also dremeled a 1/4" ring of plastic off of the door card to clear the MDF speaker ring.

I should have taken some pics of the buttoned up interior, but it just looks like a stock Civic with nav. :p

And I am a little embarrassed to post pics of the sub in the trunk right now. That will be my next project, along with Raammatting the rear deck and trunk lid.

I have never heard a real SQ car, but it sounds GREAT to me so far. Right now I have the tweets highpassed at ~2.5kHz 24db slope, the mids playing down to ~75Hz, and the sub playing from ~70Hz or so down. I tried all the different combinations of polarity on the mids/tweets, and decided that reversing the polarity on the tweets gave me the best image/stage. I guess T/A would be nice, but I am a minimalist and love the simplicity of the system right now. And it sounds good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ha! Another Si with a 500/5 :D

Any noise issues running down the center of the car?

Nope, or I wouldn't have gloated about it. ;)

I'm assuming it's due to the fact that the signal run is balanced from the factory source (which is an Alpine, fwiw). I can't hear a noise floor unless it's in the recording, and there are no signs of any alt whine or anything.

It was your posts about the silly Honda ELD system that got me wanting an amp with a regulated power supply :p (not that that was your point). The 500/5 also accepts the balanced inputs that I need, takes care of bandpassing my mids, and powers the whole system from one chassis, so I couldn't be happier with it. Got a good deal from a member on here, too. :cool:
 

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Damn good amp, love mine! Now explain this balanced out thing, what level is it running at output wise? Is Honda sending that down twisted pair?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Damn good amp, love mine! Now explain this balanced out thing, what level is it running at output wise? Is Honda sending that down twisted pair?
I haven't measured, but it's perfect low line-level. The amp's set to low and I don't need the gains up much.

I think it must be twisted pair up to the factory amp (where we tapped in). And mercman's harness is from there. Out of the DIY spirit I was tempted to make my own twisted pair harness, but honestly, the only way I learned enough to be able to do that was from reading mercman's posts on AcuraZine. He has clearly done the research and engineered a good solution, so I was happy to the pay the man for my time saved. And because the plug for the factory harness is super cool (and needs to be custom made, since it can't be bought from Honda).

I think there might even be a 3rd drain wire in the factory harness, but I'm not sure about that.

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. I am in debt to you all for the result I got.
 

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I did most everything about the same as you other than going with an 8120, x4r&x10d amp dsp setup, so I could just post the direction I went with the trunk in this thread if you don't mind.

Might provide ideas for your future box as it was really lightweight which I think was one of your requirements as well.
 

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line-level. The amp's set to low and I don't need the gains up much.

I think it must be twisted pair up to the factory amp (where we tapped in). And mercman's harness is from there. Out of the DIY spirit I was tempted to make my own twisted pair harness, but honestly, the only way I learned enough to be able to do that was from reading mercman's posts on AcuraZine. He has clearly done the research and engineered a good solution, so I was happy to the pay the man for my time saved. And because the plug for the factory harness is super cool (and needs to be custom made, since it can't be bought from Honda).

I think there might even be a 3rd drain wire in the factory harness, but I'm not sure about that.

Oh there is absolutely NO DOUBT that that harness and it's abilities are just titties and beer! if every auto maker did this we'd be set!

Now, let's see pics of the sub and stuff, there is no shame in DIY, you gotta test things somehow right?
 

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Any noise issues running down the center of the car?
FWIW, I have my ai-net cable and speaker wires running down the center w/no issues. These Civics are nice. :)



Capn, nice job. I would like to suggest that you try (at least) those tweeters in a different location. I had mine there for a long time and swore that it was a fine location, until I realized that it wasn't. :blush:
 

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The speaker lines won't pick up noise but I chose to run those down the sides just for ease and not wantign to clutter up the underside of an already PACKED dash area (remember I have more than audio in there) but even balanced (yes I tried it) down the center I was getting RF hash from that damn fuel pump, ran them under the pass seat and problems gone... unbalanced. Maybe they got it figured out after '05, dunno but it's a common issue in the EP3 and I even researched it with a gauss meter and RF feild strength meter (because I was under the influence, and it was driving me batty)
 

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"titties and beer"... Chad you kill me! :) bwahahahaha

Excellent write-up.. Thank you!!!

I've been hoping for someone to do a diy with Mercman's kit with the civic oem balanced outs. I'm considering his kit and possibly the balun to have the option to run out to stuff that doesn't necessarily have diff balanced inputs.

I'd love to have active x-over, ta and eq processing.

Considered possibilities:

3sixty.2:
haven't read too many happy campers running oem diff outs into it yet.
mercman himself tells me he's seen a few guys that didn't have good results with it.

PXE-H650:
I have NO idea if that thing would be happy with the balanced lines.

Another potential would be to use mercman's harness with his balanced to unbalanced converter to run to a KAC-X4R kenwood amp. This might be cool as all that juicy processing power is built into the amp. I wish there were more 1-box solutions like that.. Man if JL built such a thing, THAT would truly be "titties and beer". :)
 

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nice clean job with the wiring install. Looks good.
well done Cap'n
 

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"titties and beer"... Chad you kill me! :) bwahahahaha

Excellent write-up.. Thank you!!!

I've been hoping for someone to do a diy with Mercman's kit with the civic oem balanced outs. I'm considering his kit and possibly the balun to have the option to run out to stuff that doesn't necessarily have diff balanced inputs.

I'd love to have active x-over, ta and eq processing.

Considered possibilities:

3sixty.2:
haven't read too many happy campers running oem diff outs into it yet.
mercman himself tells me he's seen a few guys that didn't have good results with it.

PXE-H650:
I have NO idea if that thing would be happy with the balanced lines.

Another potential would be to use mercman's harness with his balanced to unbalanced converter to run to a KAC-X4R kenwood amp. This might be cool as all that juicy processing power is built into the amp. I wish there were more 1-box solutions like that.. Man if JL built such a thing, THAT would truly be "titties and beer". :)
You are overlooking the Behringer DCX2496 with the PS mods! They have balanced IO already! Sittin on XLR connectors!

Chad
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
flomo,

Feel free. I remember your pics from 8th and your trunk looks great. That's exactly the kind of look I'm going for. At this point I'm leaning towards leaving the amp where it is, and putting a fiberglass sub box in the passenger corner.

bikini,

Good suggestion. I just love the stealth. Can you explain what you didn't like about the sound?

Babs,

If you need to integrate with the factory head unit, the harness is what you need, period. I believe the PPI DCX-730 accepts balanced inputs.

Chad,

You reminded me, you're right about the RFI. So I guess the harness is, in fact, doing more than just sending a balanced signal.
 
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