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Discussion Starter #1
I humbly submit to you my first SQ build. I will get into the details in a minute, but first, here is some hardcore auto pornography:








 

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Discussion Starter #2
OK, now for the boring part

Vehicle:
2011 Chili Red MINI Cooper S, custom ordered May 9 and built in the Oxford England plant, delivered June 23.

Complexity of installation:
11 out of 10. Probably a few watts / CPU cycles away from finding the Higgs Boson.

Competency of installer (me):
Pretty damn competent until my fifth beer or so.

Goals:
  1. To get as many Ess Que's as possible. These are mythical and subjective, so see below for my definition and requirements.
  2. It should be able to get LOUD but still sound good doing so. I don't trust people who don't listed to music at loud volumes from time to time. If I'm going through the trouble of recreating a concert-like soundstage, I would like to reproduce the concert-like sound pressure level as well. Admittedly, I am also a basshead and love the occasional Dubstep song or two.
  3. To have as much fun as possible working on my car, which is sort of a Zen thing for me. Not so much an ends to a means, but rather a journey of gathering real-world experience and enlightenment. The fact that I get something cool at the end is a bonus.
Install Summary:
  • Sound deadening: The stock MINI does make use of some clever sound deadening techniques, but they just don't cut it. Will be done in multiple stages: First, the front doors, hatch area and rear quarter panels. Then, the floor, firewall, and headliner. A few packs of Second Skin Audio Damplifier Pro CLD tiles have been purchased, and several rolls of Sound Deadener Showdown closed-cell foam and mass-loaded vinyl.
  • Head unit: Currently using the stock MINI head unit. I've taken frequency response measurements with a scope and test tone CD, and they look like ****. The radio equalizes the signals pretty hard to overcome the stock 3" speakers, driving most frequencies into cutoff if the volume is too high, with nasty harmonics up in the khz region. There is no volume readout on the rotary encoder, so I must be cautious never to turn the knob within 9 clicks of full volume. 20 Hz is attenuated to almost nothing. Obviously some serious processing will be needed, which leads us to…
  • DSP/Processing: The system was built around a JBL MS-8. My home system has Pro Logic surround and quite like it. The MS-8's Logic7 processing was a major selling point, along with the center channel and binaural phase averaging. I'm fully confident in my ability to tune a full-manual DSP box with TA, EQ, crossover settings, etc., but I'll still be happy if the MS-8 does all this for me.
    MS-8 Channel 1: FL midrange L3SE, tweet L1 Pro R2
    MS-8 Channel 2: FR midrange L3SE, tweet L1 Pro R2
    MS-8 Channel 3: FL midbass L6SE
    MS-8 Channel 4: FR midbass L6SE
    MS-8 Channel 5: RL wideband TB3" and midbass SLS6
    MS-8 Channel 6: RR wideband TB3" and midbass SLS6
    MS-8 Channel 7: FC midrange L3SE, tweet L1 Pro R2
    MS-8 Channel 8: Subwoofer, 4x SWR-843D
  • Front stage: Hybrid Audio Legatia SE series three-way in the doors/a-pillars, and eventually a center channel (this will be very challenging to integrate into the dash, but should be well worth it).
    • L1 Pro R2's in custom aluminum A-pillar pods (made by diyma user Headshok). These are by far the crown jewel of my system. They sound positively lurvely.
    • L3SE's temporarily mounted in the stock door location, and eventually in fiberglassed A-pillar pods.
    • L6SE's in the stock 100mm door location. Lots of fabrication required to squeeze these in.
  • Rear stage: I'd like to accomplish two mutually exclusive things with my rear stage. I will be able to flip a switch to do either: #1 provide Logic 7 surround, or #2, provide midbass reinforcement to the front L6SE's at the sacrifice of soundstage. I'll accomplish this with a relay and some custom RCA cables.
    • Tang Band TB W3-1364SA widebanders in custom ear-level pods
    • Peerless SLS 830946 6.5" mounted in the stock rear 6x9 location near the passenger's elbows
  • Sub stage: I chose 4x Alpine SWR-843D's for a few reasons: they are super cheap, have shorting rings, low Le, and get loud without much distortion. I am trying to eliminate muddiness, boominess, and harmonic distortion / non-linearities as much as possible (the idea here being that "up-front-bass" can be achieved as long as higher frequencies do not give away the true position of the subwoofers). Step response should be instantaneous. Using four of them should minimize excursion. I would also like the box to dig as low towards 20 Hz, although I'm not sure if this can be pulled off. Pete from PWK Designs is currently designing a sealed box to meet these requirements. It will be placed in the hatch / storage area in a false-floor setup, with the speakers pointing towards the roof.
  • Amp rack: I chose to go with four of the JL Audio XD series amplifiers. Amplifier size is the biggest requirement here, with low THD/IMD a close second. The MINI's hatch area is big enough for a grocery bag or two. This ruled out a lot of great amps that were simply too large. They will be set up as follows:
    JL XD700.5 #1, channel #1: FL tweeter L1 Pro R2 (4 ohm, 75W)
    JL XD700.5 #1, channel #2: FR tweeter L1 Pro R2 (4 ohm, 75W)
    JL XD700.5 #1, channel #3: FL midrange L3SE (4 ohm, 75W)
    JL XD700.5 #1, channel #4: FR midrange L3SE (4 ohm, 75W)
    JL XD700.5 #1, channel #5: Subwoofer #1 (2x 4-ohm voice coils in parallel, 300W)

    JL XD700.5 #2, channel #1&2: FL midbass (bridged, 4 ohm, 200W)
    JL XD700.5 #2, channel #3&4: FR midbass (bridged, 4 ohm, 200W)
    JL XD700.5 #2, channel #5: Subwoofer #2 (2x 4-ohm voice coils in parallel, 300W)

    JL XD500.3 #1, channel 1: FC tweeter L1 Pro R2 (4 ohm, 75W)
    JL XD500.3 #1, channel 2: FC midrange (4 ohm, 75W)
    JL XD500.3 #1, channel 3: Subwoofer #3 (2x 4-ohm voice coils in parallel, 300W)

    JL XD500.3 #2, channel 1: RL midbass SLS6 (4 ohm, 75W)
    JL XD500.3 #2, channel 2: RR midbass SLS6 (4 ohm, 75W)
    JL XD500.3 #2, channel 3: Subwoofer #3 (2x 4-ohm voice coils in parallel, 300W)

    JBL MS-8, channel 5: RL sideband TB3" (8 ohm, 15W)
    JBL MS-8, channel 6: RR sideband TB3" (8 ohm, 15W)
  • Crossover settings:
    • Subsonic filter: 20 Hz, 24dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley via MS-8
    • Sub to midbass: ~63 Hz, 24 dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley via MS-8
    • Midbass to midrange: ~200 Hz, 24 dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley via MS-8
    • Midrange to tweet: ~4-5KHz, 12 dB/octave State-Variable / Sallen-Key via JL XD700/5
  • Installation:
    • The installation theme will make heavy use of genuine carbon fiber, chrome, carbon techflex, and possibly a chili-red fiberglass panel or two
    • The passenger compartment and dash must remain stock. The hatch area must look stock after a carpet-covered panel is placed over it.
    • All RCA and signal cabling will be DIY'd using red Canare Star Quad signal cable. All RCA and signal cabling will have its braided shielding tied to chassis ground on the transmitting end
    • All exposed cables will be wrapped in carbon techflex
    • All unexposed cables will be wrapped in fleece tape
    • All cables will be secured every 6 inches using stock BMW/MINI wiring mounts
    • All LED's will be changed to amber-orange to match stock MINI color scheme
    • All parts should be USA-made or purchased from a local or privately-owned company when possible
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Doors

The stock MINI midbass speakers were roughly 5 inches or so diameter. After seeing necrophidious's build log, I decided to follow suit and squeeze a pair of 6.5's in their place.


First, remove the door skin and enlarge the basket hole.






Then, I designed a set of MDF rings in CAD and had them laser cut via Ponoko Personal Factory. I'm still trying to dig up a picture of the laser cut sheet as it arrived.


Non-hardening modeling clay was liberally applied to keep everything air-tight, and add some mass


Now I need to fabricate some badass custom grills
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Power wiring

The BMW/MINI engineers were nice enough to provide a watertight passage through the firewall that was large enough for the Knu 1/0 AWG Kollossus Fleks Kable




Fleece tape will be added on top of the techflex, and will be routed down the passenger side of the vehicle


Techflexed and heat-shrunk. The fuse block is an Audison/Connexion SFH-11WP. I hadn't decided how the heck to mount it at this point. I will probably be making a custom mount sometime in the future. For now, it's ziptied into a pretty inconvenient spot underneath the plastic cowl.
 

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Nice work!

I hope the stock HU does not prevent you from meeting your SQ dreams.

You've given me an idea to remount my midbass on the outside of the door panel. I also look forward to your grill ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sound Deadening part 1

Care package from Don at Sound Deadener Showdown. Not shown are the packs of Second Skin Audio Damplifier Pro


Removed stock quarter panels








I gave him a beard:


My favorite way to do the Damplifier Pro. Cut in half. Then cut into 3" and/or 2" strips. I use a hobby self-healing cutting board and a carpeting razor blade.


All of the stock sound deadening is being removed. First go at it with a gasket scraper until it looks like above. Then remove residue with 3M General Purpose Adhesive Remover. Let car air out for about a day.


MLV rough-cut to size


Passenger door panel
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I hope the stock HU prevents you from meeting your SQ dreams.
That's kind of a mean thing to say, lol :D

The stock HU won't really prevent me from doing anything. I'll be wiring an Apple Airport Express under the seat, which will give me A2DP audio streaming from my iPhone and iPad directly into the JBL MS-8 aux input. I don't listen to CD's or FM radio, and XM/Sirius never sounded great to begin with. This should at least guarantee me a direct signal path where it counts (my iTunes collection)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Door Midbass wiring

Stock midbass wiring was ~20 or 22 AWG. All door wiring runs through a door jamb connector, which makes it difficult to upgrade. **** you, BMW/MINI!


12 AWG Dayton speaker wire was spliced into the harness within 1" on both sides of the connector. Ohm's law works in my favor here... The voltage drop across the pins and 1" 22AWG pigtails isn't much in the grand scheme of things.
 

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I can't wait to see how you squeeze 4 amps in here. I'm going to do dual HD900/5s in my Clubman and that's been interesting to lay out. Are you going to use the underseat areas at all.
 

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You are the king. I've been wondering every single time I saw someone drill out the connector and mash a bunch of wires through why they didn't just add pins to the empty sockets. So much cleaner and more serviceable.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can't wait to see how you squeeze 4 amps in here. I'm going to do dual HD900/5s in my Clubman and that's been interesting to lay out. Are you going to use the underseat areas at all.
The JBL MS-8 ain't a looker, so it's going under the passenger seat :D

The four amps are about 37" across, so they should fit perfectly above the four subs in the false floor box. I've modeled it up in CAD, and it looks pretty damn sweet. The wiring will be exposed like those oldschool installs did it, where they feed down through a rubber grommet past a plywood floor. All the wiring will go to hidden terminal blocks on the underside and will be able to be rerouted to try different configurations.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Melbourne. If anyone else from Florida is up for a mini diyma get together, let me know...
 

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Looking good!
 

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That's kind of a mean thing to say, lol :D

The stock HU won't really prevent me from doing anything. I'll be wiring an Apple Airport Express under the seat, which will give me A2DP audio streaming from my iPhone and iPad directly into the JBL MS-8 aux input. I don't listen to CD's or FM radio, and XM/Sirius never sounded great to begin with. This should at least guarantee me a direct signal path where it counts (my iTunes collection)
I missed my crappy typo.... :(

Not many MINI builds out there, and yours is really squared away.

Do you plan on competing?
 

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I just bought a used 2008 Cooper S and I am accumulating equipment right now for it. Interested to see what you come up with in the boot.
 

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Nice build man. I'm really interested in your venture to reverse engineer the MS-8's common functions, which you mentioned in another thread. Hope that goes well.

Question about the APE idea. Did you mean wireless digital audio (ie Apple encrypted wireless ALAC transmission) instead of Bluetooth audio A2DP? Because I don't think the APE has that bluetooth or any bluetooth option really. :confused:

If so and assuming you'll be running Airplay, I then suggest you see how your iphone will function when it is not connected to the internet on the APE's end. Naturally, how it would be in a car solution. I've tried my iphone with my home router unplugged from the cable modems input. It messed up a bunch of apps like weather and maps. Dunno how it would behave today though after so many OS revisions though. Just a heads up.

Have you considered hardwired solutions like a Pure i-20? Better quality analog out, 2V RMS output, digi out option, DC input, VERY fast boot/sync, affordable ($100), and won't compromise the phones network functions. It also doesn't loose sync while pausing and trackfowarding which on all but the most competant DAC will result in pops and ticking noises.

http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/member-reviews-product-comparisons/109034-pure-i-20-digital-ipod-dock-analog-output-rmaa-measurements.html
 

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Nice so far! In the next few weeks I will be putting a Pioneer Stage 4 3 way in my chili red/silver Coupe. How much work did you do getting the 6.5" in the doors, any problems with depth? Do you have any more door pics?
 

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Nice so far! In the next few weeks I will be putting a Pioneer Stage 4 3 way in my chili red/silver Coupe. How much work did you do getting the 6.5" in the doors, any problems with depth? Do you have any more door pics?
I removed my door panels and measured the dimensions. To the front edge of the factory speaker, there is 3.5'', a 6.5'' mid will fit BEHIND the panel easily. If you go on top of the panel, you have more than 4'' of depth. For the midrange in the door, the biggest OD is 4.5'' and the opening is 3 3/4'', depth without trimming is 2'', with minor trimming is 2.5''.
 
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