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Probably a dumb question, but were any of the wires that you cut connected to each other? Maybe the amp needs to see a certain load, or poor connection on the pins? Just guesses...
 

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First. I'm following this thread with great interest!

I believe that the original amplifier needs to have the load from the speakers to start. Just try to connect the wires from your connector to the original connector and see if this is the case. I also believe at least the Helix DSPs compensate for this.when using high level input. A MiniDSP is probably doing the same.
When it comes to a MOST-interface, I have replaced my original amplifier with a Helix SDMI25 in a Volvo V70 -14. Seems like it should work with at least some V60s as well.

And, (You will hate me for this) that plastic sheet under the wipers is probably 5-10 minutes to remove. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Probably a dumb question, but were any of the wires that you cut connected to each other? Maybe the amp needs to see a certain load, or poor connection on the pins? Just guesses...
Nope, none connected to each other. Just 16 wires coming out of that aftermarket plug each with about 3" of wire going nowhere other than the 2 I had attached to a speaker. I actually tested previously to be sure the amp didn't need something on every pin, so that should rule out the load requirement. Poor connection on the pins is possible though, even though the connector is very tight.


I believe that the original amplifier needs to have the load from the speakers to start. Just try to connect the wires from your connector to the original connector and see if this is the case.
I would have thought the same, but initially when I tested I only had one aftermarket speaker on the factory amp, nothing else on any other pin/wire, so the load would not have mattered. When I first tried and the connector was not fully seated, it didn't work, but after removing wires and checking again I made sure it was fully in place.

When it comes to a MOST-interface, I have replaced my original amplifier with a Helix SDMI25 in a Volvo V70 -14. Seems like it should work with at least some V60s as well.
I'll look into that, doesn't seem like an inexpensive piece of the puzzle, but if it works it may be worth it.

And, (You will hate me for this) that plastic sheet under the wipers is probably 5-10 minutes to remove. :)
No hate here, I've not yet ran the cable to the battery, its just tucked under there for now. Do you have instructions on removing it? Thanks
 

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Ah crap that it wasn't the load. Then I'm out of ideas.

No hate here, I've not yet ran the cable to the battery, its just tucked under there for now. Do you have instructions on removing it? Thanks
Have a look at 3:40 into this one.
It is in Swedish and it is on a V70, (Which in many areas is very similar to the V60) but I think you will get the basics.
In addition to this, you will also have to remove the strut bar on your car.
In this video, he also shows another option get the cable into the cabin. Don't know if this is present on the V60 as well, but I wouldn't be surprised.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
That video was helpful, might be able to pop the front of the plastic up enough to run the power wire over, that can wait for a minute though.

Looked up that SDMI25, $550 is the cheapest I can find it but then I also need a MOST Y- cable to code it to the Volvo. Going you have to think about that, on the one hand I'd love to run optical to the DSP, on the other, that's a lot of money!! At least it's an option though assuming it works with the V60, which according to the compatibility list it should be.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Not much of an update, thinking of going with this layout for the amps and DSP if I use that factory tray:



The way the tray is shaped makes it somewhat difficult to mount them anywhere else, my only concern with this layout is that accessing the gains on the front of the amp will be impossible with them fixed in place. But, at the same time, once the gains are set it's not like I need to change them again. I think I only changed them once or twice the entire time I had them in the Audi. I'll likely take another look at putting a piece of board under the trunk floor one more time and mounting the amps to that, but that has it's own challenges as it will need to have some sort of legs to keep it level since it will need to sit higher in some areas than others. Hoping I can make the factory tray work, I have some fiberglass mat that I can strengthen the bottom with, just need some resin and supplies although in all honesty I think it may be solid enough as is.

If I do go with the layout in that picture above, I just need to find some short RCA's! No concerns with the current ones I have, but only needing 10" or so would make having to tuck 6' RCA's somewhere annoying.
 

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Clean layout!
 
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Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
Made some more progress over the weekend, decided to move the DSP up towards what would be the top right of the tray (in the picture above). Cut power and ground wire to length from the distribution blocks and located what I believe should be a decent ground in the trunk. Additionally, ran the high level wires from the factory amp to the trunk:



Not much to look at, the darker green plug will be replaced with the lighter green plug and that blue wire will get spliced into the red wire on the darker green plug. I have no idea why it worked previously with that red wire (or blue in the case of the light green plug) not connected, but apparently it does need to be connected. To get a switched 12V I had to tap off the back of the front 12V socket between the cupholders, this meant removing the entire HVAC panel, in order to access a pair of screws just before the shifter to release the center console. I tried using a wire tap to retain use of the 12V socket, but for some reason never have any luck with those, since I rarely ever use the 12V socket I decided to just disconnect it and use spade terminals. At some point I may revisit getting the socket working again, but for now not overly concerned.

Since I had the center console taken apart I took the time to also run the DSP remote and a coax cable for an Fiio from the arm rest to the trunk as well. Of course, this did not go 100% smoothly, after getting the wires under the carpet and into the trunk, I realized I had put the coax cable in backwards, thankfully I was able to just tape a piece of old speaker wire to it, pulling the coax back through pulled the speaker wire through and I then reversed things to get the coax facing the right way.



I'd prefer a more fixed location for the DSP remote, but so far have not found any places suitable, so it may just stay in the arm rest. If I get time to this week I plan to drill a couple holes in that factory tray to pass power, ground and signal wires through before starting to permanently mount everything to it. With that done the trunk should come together fairly quickly and I can then move onto mounting speakers in the front doors. If everything goes smoothly, hopefully another week or two and I should be up and running.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
With the social distancing in place currently, I have been home and so able to get on with the install. First up was figuring out a way to mount the tweeters, the stock sail panel is a fairly complicated thing in that you can't actually buy it without a stock tweeter mounted due to the way it is constructed. With it removed from the car there are 5 plastic rivets that need to be carefully drilled out, while making sure not to drill through the side or front of the housing. Oddly, the drivers side the rivets were much simpler to drill, the passenger side the top of them had been melted with something which meant having to drill more to get them out. Eventually I was able to separate the 3 pieces and remove the stock tweeter, unfortunately the tweeters I had planned to use were too large to fit exactly in the stock housing. Some thinking and drilling a new hole later and I was able to secure them with a screw and nylon washer I had:



You can see the white nylon washer and screw in the center of the picture, as well as some of the points I had to drill (screw bottom left, black screw on the right as well as a hole near the top left and 2 more on the bottom right). Annoyingly, when I went to test fit this into the car the nylon washer stuck out so far that it would not allow me to mount the housing. I had no shorter screws, so in the end decided to try and use some contact cement and glue the tweeters. Left them sitting overnight and sure enough, next morning they are solidly mounted.

The mids were fairly straight forward to mount, although I suspect they may be touching the grill so might have to mount them slightly differently. The white plastic baffle screws to the back of the door card:



Volvo left me this nice little rubber flap that I could cut a hole and slip the speaker wire through, I wish I had noticed this before as I would have left my tweeter wires about a foot longer and used the same hole. Instead, I had to drill a hole for the tweeter wiring, but at least this worked perfectly for the mid:



Mounting the midbass was fairly simple, I had ordered a pair of brackets to use and they lined up perfectly. You can also see the hole I had to drill for tweeter wire in the top left of the pic (it's large due to needing to fit the XT60 through):



As you may notice, there is currently zero sound deadening treatment applied to the doors, as I mentioned earlier in the thread this is due to an open recall that I am waiting on being performed which requires dismantling the inner door to replace the door latches.

I decided on this for the final layout, the amps still need final mounting (I need to access the front for the gain controls) and wires tidying up some, but this is ultimately where everything will sit:



With that done, I ran the power wire across the engine bay to the battery and it's alive:



Unfortunately, it sounds like garbage when using the speaker level input. As in, next to no output, muffled and crackly. In the picture above you can see my Fiio that I temporarily connected via RCA to rule anything post DSP out as being a problem, when using the DAP everything works perfectly. So, something is not right with the speaker level input, either a setting in the DSP (I can't find any) or something else going on. I am hoping to figure out what it is fairly quickly so I can get a baseline tune set up and secure the amps.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Tried a factory reset on the DSP as well as changing internal switches. No difference, well, its slightly louder garbage.

I'm debating cutting into the factory wiring now, I'm fairly confident the wiring harness I'm using is good. I hooked it to a spare speaker and it sounded ok (for a single speaker twisted to some wires). But, the DSP plays fine via DAP, so it must be something on the speaker level input. The hardest thing with cutting into the factory wire is the minimal room to access the wires.

If it's still no good after that, then I'll have to get the Helix adapter.
 

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Discussion Starter #31 (Edited)
Trying to figure out the issues with using high level input, I took the following videos. The first is using the speaker level inputs into the DSP and as you can hear, it sounds awful:

[VIDEO]

The second is the same speaker wire I am using for the speaker level inputs, but this time connected to a pair of old surround speakers I had laying around (rules out an issue with the wiring between stock amp and DSP input):

[VIDEO]

And finally, the 3rd is using my Fiio into the DSP via RCA (just to rule out any issues on the output side of things):

[VIDEO]

A member on the Volvo forum mentioned the stock amp being Class D and the original speakers being 2ohms and that the MiniDSP input spec of 68ohms could be causing the stock amp to have stability issues with it seeing the 68ohm load. However, I am not smart enough to understand that, even though I think it makes sense. Going to reach out to MiniDSP tech support and see what they have to say. Anyone has any ideas?



Edit: Per the recommendation of a guy on swedespeed, I wired those speakers in video 2 above in parallel with the MiniDSP input so that the stock amp sees the lower load. Sure enough, doing this everything works. What I think I will have to do is remove the aftermarket harness I am using and try to swap the pins over (although removing any from the aftermarket harness proved incredibly frustrating) or either cut the wiring for the front speakers on the stock harness / use t-taps for the signal to the DSP, then plugging the factory plug back into the factory amp. That way the factory amplifier will still see the load of the rear speakers, which in turn should resolve the issue with the DSP input. I can fade the factory head unit all the way to the front which should mean the rears are not playing anything and causing problems with the sound stage. Not ideal as I had hoped to avoid any modifications to the factory harness (no real reason why, was just hoping not to do so), but it looks like I either do that or buy the Helix.

Edit 2: Went out to the car (working from home) cut the factory harness, spliced onto the wires going to the DSP input, thinking finally, I can move on with things. Nope. Still sounds terrible. Fade to the rear and the rear speakers are working, I can't figure out how to turn off the center speaker (I am sure I can pull the grill and disconnect it). But, at this point I am going to say screw it and order the SDMI25.
 

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Wow! I can’t believe I missed this or I thought I was already following it - old age is yucky!

I’ve sort have been following vs text, but so much better to see it on here. Very cool that several dudes are pushing out good ideas and resources - what I love about these build threads! I’m so looking forward to hearing this - either at the rescheduled NCSQ Meet or a mini-Meet in the near future (when this COVID-19 crap is over with).

Great job Ian!!!


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Have you considered running a JL fix after the amp to get a sum’d output that’s flat before the MiniDSP? That should get a stable signal for you but adds a part and complexity to the whole project. Not certain of Volvo specific options other than the JL that will work on anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
I had briefly thought about using the JL Fix, I know @swiffcliff uses one in his Volvo and it works perfectly with the factory amp in the chain. I am hopeful though, that the Helix SDMI25 will work to give me a flat stable signal to the MiniDSP. Just have to wait a couple weeks to find out.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
While I wait for the SDMI25 to arrive, I figured I will just use the Fiio as a source and try to get a quick tune set up. This is where the MiniDSP comes into it's own IMO, took me all of 10 minutes to get something set up that while not perfect, is already an improvement over the stock Volvo system. I think I need to change the amp gains slightly, at least on the midbass as it is lacking a little (this could also be due to there currently being no real treatment on the door, although it is sealed up almost completely from the factory, but I suspect the plastic is a little flimsy that they used to seal it). At the moment I am just using a small fiberglass subwoofer enclosure that I had in the Audi before the suitcase, it does the job, but looking forward to getting the SQL-12 eventually.

I did discover that I need to swap the ends on the MiniDSP remote wire, the little retainer clip has broken off on one end. Of course, this end happens to be the end that I have the remote connected to and so it falls out constantly. In time, that would not be a problem, but since I will currently be using the wired remote as the volume control (line out from the Fiio) the plug falling out is not helpful. At least I am hardly driving at the moment, so it's no rush.

I think as well I am going to try to implement some form of rear fill in the D-pillar area. Not sure exactly how or when yet, but I really enjoy the effect that it gives so ultimately would like to run it again. There are speakers in the rear doors, but from previous experience that location does not work as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Thanks to @GubbNicke for bringing this to my attention...




Also picked up a Y-cable in order to program the Helix with the Volvo serial number:



I believe the factory amp has a 12V and ground that I can use for powering the Helix, so will likely figure out some way of mounting it under the passenger seat. It's pretty small and not at all heavy, so I may just use some strong double sided tape or velcro. If I can remove the factory amp without removing the passengers seat I will, but I don't know that will be possible. Might try and temporarily wire it up later to get it coded to the Volvo.
 

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Discussion Starter #37


It works. Gave me a bit of a headache, at first I tried splicing into the factory amp for power, but this was awkward due to needing the factory amp plugged in at the same time to copy the serial number over (I could not cut the factory amp power wire and t-taps were not getting through the insulation) . Couple attempts and failures at that, I decided to temporarily just run a wire direct to the battery to get the Helix powering on. Plugged in the MOST Y-cable, powered everything on and waited a few seconds until I figured it would have had long enough to copy the serial. Unplugged the factory amplifiers power and removed the MOST Y-cable, next I set the jumpers for the Volvo, but noticed the LED on the side blinking away indicating the jumper settings were wrong. There are actually 2 x V60 listed in the manual, tried the second one and the LED stayed constantly lit.

Opened up MiniDSP plug in, switched over to TOSLINK and it works. Now I just need to figure out a permanent mounting location for it and then onto the next step.
 

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That is awesome! I feel like doing what Homer is doing (but I don’t think I can at my age). I’m very happy that worked, and now you have a very solid source for the MiniDSP. Well done!


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If you are pulling the factory amp due to it not being needed anymore, then that sounds like a perfect spot for it to go. I don’t know if door chimes and other alerts need to still go through the amp though.
 

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
Door chimes, navigation and bluetooth audio seem to all still work with the factory amp unplugged. I would assume bluetooth phone calls will still work as well, although I have not tested that. Looks like I either need to see if I can remove the factory amp without removing the passengers seat, or if that has to come out first.
 
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