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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2008 Mazda Speed 3 GT build log

This is long overdue. Many of these pics have been sitting on my computer for nearly a year. I plan to update as I modify my setup. I have been in to home audio for a long time, but until last year, never knew that I could have a similar SQ setup in my car. Last March I was trying to figure out what running active meant. LOL. By documenting my build log, I hope I can give back to the community by giving suggestions on what to use for sound deadening, how to assemble a high quality system for not too much money, etc.

First, a very big thanks goes out to Glenn (GLN305) our resident car audio guru. Without him, most of us in Austin would still be trying to figure stuff out through trial and error. His experience and tireless enthusiasm has helped several of us achieve some really nice setups. I also want to thank my fellow DIYMA buddies, James (SublimeZ) and Andrew (Mooble) for helping me out with sound deadening, advice, etc. Glenn, James, and Andrew spent a very hot summer weekend in Texas in my garage helping me sound deaden the car. Now that is real friendship!

In Feb. 2008 I bought a new 2008 Mazda Speed 3. For those that don't know about it, it is a Mazda 3 hatchback that is hot rodded at the factory. Among the many upgrades, such as fog lights and climate control, the factory adds a turbocharger to the 2.3L engine, yielding 263 HP and 279ft lbs of torque.

Materials used: 2 rolls of Raammat, Damplifier and Damplifier Pro, 1 gallon of Spectrum, and 3/8" closed cell foam (Volara).

My setup at that time was a "budget" setup totalling approximately $800:

USA 4080 amp (4 x 80 watts @ 4 ohms and 12 volts) - Refurbished amp bought on ebay from Audio Clinic for $89.
Cadence A7Hc (Class D) - Refurbished amp bought from Cadence for $199.
Pioneer DEH-P880PRS HU - Refurbished HU bought from authorized ebay dealer with factory warranty for $225.
ID OEM mids - Bought new from hessdawg for $90.
Dynaudio MD100 tweeters - Bought from a forum member for $90.
Exact 10" sub - Bought from Andrew for $125. Glenn designed and built a ported box for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Re: 2008 Mazda Speed 3 GT build log

Friday afternoon: We stripped the car down.






That is Glenn on the left and Andrew on the right. As you can tell, Glenn is happiest when he is working on a car audio project. Andrew's setup is phenomenal; I still remember the first time I heard his car last year, and how I was in total awe of how amazing it sounded.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Re: 2008 Mazda Speed 3 GT build log

Friday evening and Saturday morning: Apply Damplifier and Raamat. We put in 2 layers - 1st layer went in Friday and 2nd layer in on Saturday.





Above: Andrew is on the left and James (with his back to the camera) is on the right.

Below: More pics of James and Andrew.


 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Re: 2008 Mazda Speed 3 GT build log

Saturday afternoon: 2 coats of Spectrum. The Spectrum was thick enough that I did not end up needing the activator.




 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
More spectrum pics. As has been mentioned elsewhere, the Raammat was very ooey-gooey and I'm glad I added the Spectrum on top because it sealed up most of the Raammat goo. My wife was not happy with the amount of goo that ended up getting into the house.

If I had to do it over again, I would have spent more money and bought Damplifier Pro exclusively because its a much better product. Very thick and very easy to work with. No mess, no fuss.




 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Re: 2008 Mazda Speed 3 GT build log

Sunday: We added 3/8" closed cell foam everywhere possible using a spray adhesive and then re-assembled the car. I forgot to take pics as we were hurrying to try and get everything completed. LOL!

Glenn dremeled out the stock tweeter "grill" in the sail panel and hot glued my Dyn MD100s (which already had the casing removed when I bought them). Because the tweeter casings were removed, he was able to angle the tweeters somewhat, resulting in a very wide soundstage. Below is a pic of the stock sail panel on the left and the mounted MD100 on the right. Very stealth! Unless you looked closely, you couldn't tell I wasn't using the stock tweeters.

 

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Great job with the deadening. I just put in a huge order of second skin products and will be tackling a hatch with (hopefully) a similar result. I planned to get a couple buddies together to help me bang it out in a weekend but wasn't sure if it was doable. Looks like it is! I can't wait to see the rest.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Upgrades:

Last fall, the USA4080 was upgraded to a Digital Designs S4 that I bought off of Glenn. The DD S4 is a 4 channel amp with 2 channels of 100 watts each and 2 channels of 200 watts each. Perfect for running an active setup.

In December, the ID OEMs were upgraded to Seas W18NX woofers.

In January, the Dynaudio MD100s were upgraded to Scan Speak 3/4" Illuminators.

In April, the Scans were swapped out for some Seas RT27Fs.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Great job with the deadening. I just put in a huge order of second skin products and will be tackling a hatch with (hopefully) a similar result. I planned to get a couple buddies together to help me bang it out in a weekend but wasn't sure if it was doable. Looks like it is! I can't wait to see the rest.
It is doable, if you know what you are doing. I think we started Friday afternoon at around 3:00pm and then most of Sat and Sun. We didn't get everything back in so Sunday evening, Glenn just put the driver's seat in so I could get to work the next day and we finished putting everything back on Monday night. It was stinking hot that weekend which made it more fatiguing, though it did help with getting the Spectrum dry.

Good luck with your install! Where in TX are you headed?
 

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It is doable, if you know what you are doing. I think we started Friday afternoon at around 3:00pm and then most of Sat and Sun. We didn't get everything back in so Sunday evening, Glenn just put the driver's seat in so I could get to work the next day and we finished putting everything back on Monday night. It was stinking hot that weekend which made it more fatiguing, though it did help with getting the Spectrum dry.

Good luck with your install! Where in TX are you headed?
Ya, your comments about the heat make me worry as I've lived in the Pacific NW for about the last decade and getting ready to head down there in the middle of June. I'll be in San Antonio for the next 4 years at least. If I can make it through the summers, I think the weather will be awesome there compared to the rain up here. Any tips on living in the lone star state?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ya, your comments about the heat make me worry as I've lived in the Pacific NW for about the last decade and getting ready to head down there in the middle of June. I'll be in San Antonio for the next 4 years at least. If I can make it through the summers, I think the weather will be awesome there compared to the rain up here. Any tips on living in the lone star state?
My wife and I moved from Ottawa, Canada to Dallas, TX in mid-June of 1997! Yeah, a little bit of a change. Its hot. It will take some getting used to. Your body will adapt. Dallas was hot but dry. I liked Dallas 'cause its almost always sunny. In contrast, Austin seems to start out grey and then sometimes it gets sunny. I can't comment on SA. Austin is also more humid than Dallas.

Its only 1.5 hours to Austin so you are welcome to join in our meets. We have a very strong group. PM me before you drive thru Austin and maybe we can organize a meet or something.
 

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My wife and I moved from Ottawa, Canada to Dallas, TX in mid-June of 1997! Yeah, a little bit of a change. Its hot. It will take some getting used to. Your body will adapt. Dallas was hot but dry. I liked Dallas 'cause its almost always sunny. In contrast, Austin seems to start out grey and then sometimes it gets sunny. I can't comment on SA. Austin is also more humid than Dallas.

Its only 1.5 hours to Austin so you are welcome to join in our meets. We have a very strong group. PM me before you drive thru Austin and maybe we can organize a meet or something.
Thanks a lot, that would definitely be cool, it's always good to get a little creative inspiration!
 

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Greetings,
I recently picked up an '09 speed 3, and have been doing some research on stereo / sound upgrades when I found your build thread. First of all, thanks for creating the thread / posting up the pictures... I'm sure they will come in handy when I actually do get started.

The more I consider this project, the more I think the most important upgrade for this car is going to be to get it quieted down. The road noise / exhaust drone isn't "terrible" but I'm not sure I can justify spending money on stereo stuff without first addressing the noise issues.

Anyway, I'm not sure I have any specific questions, I was really just looking for any general advice (if you have any). Though I'd say I'm ok with tools etc., I've never installed deadener / stripped a car before. I'd be working by myself (though I do have another car to drive to work in the meantime). Do you think as long as I take my time and keep things organized that I'll be creating a giant disaster in my garage? I'm not afraid of putting some hours in but I really dont know what to expect...

My tentative plan for right now is to damp everything with damplifier, then install closed cell foam / mass loaded vinyl over the top (thinking floor / footwells is probably most important for that, and then see what I have left over). While I have everything apart I'm thinking I'll replace the front speakers and factory sub. I'll probably go the relatively cheap route for now, perhaps a powered sub like the infinity basslink in the hatch, and something cheap-but-better (100 - 150$) to replace the fronts.

Anyway, thanks again for posting and great job on your car. If you get a free minute and can give me any pointers / things to look out for I'd really appreciate it.

Also, how well did all that deadener work? Drone / road noise reduced?
 

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^^These cars are very noisy in the firewall and wheel well areas. Definitely pay attention to those areas.
 

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Thanks for the build log! I just got myself a Mazda3 sedan and have been getting to work on deadening and putting together a system.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Greetings,
I recently picked up an '09 speed 3, and have been doing some research on stereo / sound upgrades when I found your build thread. First of all, thanks for creating the thread / posting up the pictures... I'm sure they will come in handy when I actually do get started.

The more I consider this project, the more I think the most important upgrade for this car is going to be to get it quieted down. The road noise / exhaust drone isn't "terrible" but I'm not sure I can justify spending money on stereo stuff without first addressing the noise issues.

Anyway, I'm not sure I have any specific questions, I was really just looking for any general advice (if you have any). Though I'd say I'm ok with tools etc., I've never installed deadener / stripped a car before. I'd be working by myself (though I do have another car to drive to work in the meantime). Do you think as long as I take my time and keep things organized that I'll be creating a giant disaster in my garage? I'm not afraid of putting some hours in but I really dont know what to expect...

My tentative plan for right now is to damp everything with damplifier, then install closed cell foam / mass loaded vinyl over the top (thinking floor / footwells is probably most important for that, and then see what I have left over). While I have everything apart I'm thinking I'll replace the front speakers and factory sub. I'll probably go the relatively cheap route for now, perhaps a powered sub like the infinity basslink in the hatch, and something cheap-but-better (100 - 150$) to replace the fronts.

Anyway, thanks again for posting and great job on your car. If you get a free minute and can give me any pointers / things to look out for I'd really appreciate it.

Also, how well did all that deadener work? Drone / road noise reduced?
Difficult to give general advice where there are no specific questions and I have posted a detailed log. :) The Speed 3 defintely benefits from noise reduction as it is very noisy. The exhaust, as it turns out, is one of the biggest culprits. Almost everyone who has heard my car has asked me if I have an aftermarket exhaust becuase it is so loud. In fact, some say that some of the aftermarket exhausts are quieter than stock!

Last year, after the above deadening effort, I still found I had a lot of exhaust noise in the cabin. I went back and put in 2 layers of closed cell foam in the spare tire well, which only had damplifier and spectrum. That helped a bit but there was still quite a bit of exhaust noise. I had bought a roll of mass loaded vinyl (MLV) and finally got around to putting it in. So here is what the spare tire well has now:
- 2 layers of Damplifier
- 1 coat of Spectrum
- 2 layers of CCF
- 3 layers of MLV
- Stock panel to access the spare tire (I'm thinking of replacing this)
- 1 layer of MLV
- 1 layer of Cascade VB-4 (MLV + foam)

This has tamed the exhaust noise reasonably well. I am thinking of adding a layer of CCF in between one of the 3 layers of MLV and am also thinking of adding a layer of dense cotton. I'm also thinking of fabricating a new access panel that will have more sound absorption capabilities.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
^^These cars are very noisy in the firewall and wheel well areas. Definitely pay attention to those areas.
Any specific suggestions for the firewall?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My friend Glenn (GLN305) had built a box for 2 IDQ 12s for his Dodge Magnum. When he decided to move to 2 JBL GTO 15s, he offered the box to me and it fits as though it was made for my car. Managed to squeeze 2 Boston Acoustics G512-44 subs into the enclosure - Glenn had to build some spacer rings to make them fit.

 
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