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Discussion Starter #1
A couple weeks have gone by since the system in my Tesla Model S was completed. It sounds nice, but I'm already thinking of upgrades to the front stage. Here's what I have:

Front
Infinity Kappa 60csx components (6.5 in door, tweet in stock a-pillar)
Infinity Kappa 20mx 2" midrange in dash (stock location)
Rear
Infinity Kappa 62ix coax
Sub
NVX VCW104 in Tesla-specific enclosure

Amps/DSP
Audison AP 8.9 Bit (ch. 1/2 tweeters, 3/4 mids, 5/6 + 7/8 bridged to doors)
NVX BDA7501 for sub

I have been an Infinity fanboy for 20 years. I know there are better speakers out there, but they have always been a good value from my experience. I am glad I added the additional mids to make a 3-way system. Previously I had not experienced as much sound "up front" as when the mids went in. However, even after tuning out some of the harshness, I am still getting fatigue. Not sure if I need further tuning or just different speakers. I'm leaning towards the latter.

My installer talked me into the Audison vs. a standard non-DSP amp and I am glad. I thought about running drivers from PE or Madisound down the road at some point - just not this soon. The DSP will let me do that. I have built a few pairs of home speakers from kits and all have sounded great. I know we're not talking apples to apples, but I have learned that off-the-shelf drivers can sound great, even at a modest cost. I have built these speakers already for reference:

Overnight Sensations
Speedster
Apollo MTM

Suggestions on which drivers to replace first and which to go with? I feel like the mids or tweeters are where I should spend my money. Despite having gobs of power, my existing mid bass drivers in the front doors feel like they're just along for the ride now. Not sure why that is. I'd say my budget for front stage upgrades extends to $500-$600, but I am more interested in finding the point of diminishing returns, so it is not fixed in stone.
 

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Don't replace the speakers and learn to fully take advantage of the DSP. I'm sure the installer did nothing more than a rough tune and you have a lot of room for improvement with what you already have.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I spent about an hour in the car with the installer with an RTA, pink noise, and a few problem tracks. Not saying there isn't more to refine, or that the system sounds like garbage, but since I have the flexibility to run other drivers, I am exploring those options as well.
 

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What do you dislike, besides the harshness, and fatigue? Those are 2 things that can be fixed with some EQ work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It feels like there is a lack of "chest thump" impact, which I'm guessing comes from the lack of midbass. Maybe my preference is just for more in the 80-120 range? This did not come up as a deficiency on the RTA though. The sub and midbass drivers are crossed at 80hz with a 24db slope. The sub is plenty loud for me.

I could use a lot of silly, flowery words in an attempt to describe it, but it is difficult to convey. Similarly, I used to run a pair of Klipsch Heresies as my HT speakers. They were very open and airy, but lacked punch. With such efficiency they could get as loud as I wanted, but when they got loud, they got harsh, and I didn't turn them up because of it. The Apollos I built are just exceptionally smooth and natural. With the power I have, they ultimately can't get as loud, but they are much more pleasant to listen to when I really want to turn it up. The Infinities have some of the same negative qualities as the Heresies, though they are not quite as airy. Strangely, before any amp/dsp/sub I just swapped the midbass into the doors and adjusted the factory EQ. It did not sound that bad and I could jam out at high volumes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've been experimenting with eliminating the midrange altogether, and I sort of like it. The stage drops significantly since the tweeter can't cross very low. Infinity pegs them at 5700. I've gone a touch below 5000 but don't want to risk blowing one. Other than the stage dropping into my knees, it's less harsh. I'm guessing this is a combination of the harsher midrange frequencies now coming in much lower and not reflecting off the glass, and that the 6.5" midbass driver is not as adept at reproducing them.

I've also been browsing the classifieds for deals, perhaps throwing money at a pricey midrange to solve my problems. There are a pair of Pioneer TS-S062PRS midranges that may work, and a set of Focal 165KRX mid/woofer combo. I have also considered the Satori MW16P-4 in conjunction with the Pioneers, though maybe I'm okay with the midbass now. Or just toss them in and go back to a 2-way setup?
 

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Your problems are almost certainly your tune, not your equipment. Midbass is actually pretty difficult to get right in a car. The midbass speaker has to blend with the sub and either midrange, or tweeter. It has to be level matched, time aligned, and EQ'd well at 2 crossover points. Swapping speakers won't help you, you need to learn to use your DSP.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It's already time aligned, level matched, and EQ'd. It sounds like you're saying that all speakers are effectively the same and there are no benefits to running better drivers and everything can be fixed with DSP settings.
 

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No, what I'm saying is that midbass is one of the toughest things to get right, and if not tuned well, the best midbass speakers around will still sound weak. The chest thump you want is mostly produced by the subwoofer, the midbass just anchors it up front, and creates the illusion that it's coming from in front of you, but the sub does most of the work.
 

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If you think your sub is plenty loud enough and your mid bass is severely lacking then they are not working together properly.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
I wouldn't say the mid bass is "severely lacking.". It's probably the lowest priority. I would like to improve the midrange, however.
 

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^Well, the midrange is the most important driver, so don't skimp there. IMO, your chosen Infinity midrange is less than ideal.

While I'm not a fan of the Infinity components, I will agree that the system's TUNING could still be a major contributor to your issues. As mentioned, the midbass-to-subwoofer integration can be tricky...it's a problem area in ALL vehicles due to the dimensions of the vehicle in relation to the speaker locations and frequency wavelengths that are being played.

The upper midrange & treble harshness can be smoothed out to a large degree with proper XOs and EQ. However, you will generally lose a lot of nice detail, realism, and natural "liveliness" factor when doing so with lesser midrange and tweeter drivers.

In addition, in your type of setup I would generally not have my subwoofer lowpass set above 60Hz, but every car/system is unique. I would keep those 6.5" midbass drivers around that 80Hz highpass, though. Of course, ALL of the system's crossovers and driver-to-driver integration are crucial in optimising the acoustical system response.

What shop and installer is doing the tuning? Have you heard their other car systems using this Audison DSP/Amp (or others), and if so, were their systems much better than yours, and/or what did you think? Did he tune to match a known "Target Curve" or just by ear?


A few more questions:

1. What year is your Model S?

2. Where are you located? We might know someone local to you that could offer their help/suggestions in regards to system tuning and in your system setup and components in general.

3. What are your current crossover settings between all drivers?

4. Was any sound deadening done to the doors for the 6.5" midwoofer installation?

5. What type of baffles or mounting rings are the 6.5" midwoofers in the door mounted to? Any deadening treatment done to the door panels themselves?


IME, I've never really cared for the Infinty drivers except for the old school Beta line. IME, and in general terms, the Infinitys are just "loud and harsh". Another thought came to mind...it might not be an issue, but I'm not sure the how well the AP8.9 Bit amplifier will handle the low-ish 2.5-ohm load of your components...Especially the Bridged Channels on the Midbass drivers.

Other than optimizing the system's tuning, here are my thoughts on how to improve the system:

I would recommend a midrange that will play much lower than the enclosed Infinity 20mx. You want something that will provide more depth and body in the lower midrange. Ideally, you'll want one that will play cleanly at volume without distortion down to At Least 300Hz. I generally like the midrange driver to be closer to the 160-200Hz range.

I would also recommend a proven or known "smooth" tweeter that will play much lower than the Infinity csx as well.


I've heard a few systems in the Model S that really sound great using the factory speaker locations, so I know that great sound is possible in this vehicle. Both of the systems I've heard in a Model S had a deep, wide soundstage that was at least at eye level, and with excellent tonality & impact, and with excellent up-front bass.

The best Model S system that I heard used the Audio Development M35neo midrange drivers in the dash, and the AD m/mm series tweeters. The AD W800neo 8" midbass drivers were mounted in the doors with no major modifications besides using solid, custom ABS/HDPE mounting baffles AND a healthy dose of Sound Deadening.

The front stage was processed and powered by a Helix P Six DSP Mk2. The system used a 15" Dayton Audio Reference Series HO driver in a ~2cf sealed enclosure in the trunk...can't remember what this was powered with, but I don't remember it being more than 500 watts.

Although expensive, based on my impressions, I would recommend the AD drivers mentioned above. Others I would highly recommend depending on budget would be the following:

Tweeters:

Gladen Aerospace 28, or Aerospace 20 if your chosen midrange will play higher. These can be procured directly from Europe for much less than the MAP pricing stateside.

Just about any of the higher-end Scanspeak small format 1" silk domes or ring-radiators.

For a lower budget tweeter with top-notch performance, try the SB Acoustics SB29RDN-C000-04, IF it will fit. It is quite large but I've used it with the mounting flange trimmed off and just "press-fit" and hot-glued or epoxied in place with great results. It will also play significantly lower in frequency than most, although most of the 1" Scanspeak silk domes do this well, too.

Midrange:

The Pioneer TS-S062PRS are nice, but overpriced for what they are IMO. Again, I'd want something that will play a little lower in frequency. In a similar size category, I'd definitely go with the Audiofrog GB25 or GS25 depending on budget over the Pioneers. The GB25 can use something as small as a 2" PVC end cap as an "enclosure", where most 3"+ Raw midrange drivers would typically be ideal in a 0.4L-1.0L sealed enclosure.

I'd also look at the Illusion Audio Carbon C3 mids if you can get them separately, and this new little Eton Symphony 3" HEX midrange...though again, it'd be more ideal in a small sealed enclosure that would be a bit hard to accomplish in OEM dash locations. So at that point I wouldn't hesitate to go with the Audiofrog GB25. Tried & true stellar midrange...again, spend the money here.

If a 4" will fit, your options open up a lot...but again, most will work better in a small, sealed enclosure.
Audiofrog GB40, Scanspeak 10F...

Midbass:

I would definitely go with the AD W800neo if budget permits. However, with proper subwoofer integration, you should have plenty of output with a good 6.5" midbass.

Here, I would choose drivers with high xmax capability. Producing significant midbass output with a relatively small cone midwoofer requires a good bit of Linear Excursion.

A great budget price/performance option IME is the GR Research M-165X which is really a 7.25" driver. However, it is a deep driver as well at almost 3", so that may be a limiting factor. If it will fit, it is a great midbass to try with not much to loose. You'll probably need to make thicker, custom mounting rings. I'd suggest the Audiofrog GB60 as pretty much the end game in regards to 6.5" midwoofers, but they are $$$.

Hope this helps and doesn't complicate issues further, LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My car is a 2015 without the UHFS. Driven Mobile did the install/tuning. I didn't audition any other systems. We started with the factory EQ and worked from there with an RTA and pink noise to get some of the big peaks tuned out, then went back and listened to a few songs that sounded harsh. We were able to get those sounding better, but at the expense of detail in others. I felt this was the best compromise as I could now listen to everything. Here are the crossover points:

0-80
80-500
500-4250
4250+

For the doors, I have mounting adapters made from extruded PVC from Audio Designs in Florida. They are angled up as the stock speakers were. Tweeters are snapped in using PVC rings in the stock locations. Mids I have not seen, but I believe they use small acrylic adapters, also in the stock location. I installed a fair amount of RAAMmat and ensolite in the doors and the lift gate myself. I still have a few areas of resonance, but it's a lot better than stock.

In the absence of any other recommendations until last night, I ordered a pair of AMT tweeters from Aliexpress: US $29.88 20% OFF|High quality planar transducer AMT ribbon tweeter raw speaker driver Air Motion Transformer Car tweeter speakers 2/Pcs-in Combination Speakers from Consumer Electronics on AliExpress. By all accounts these are the same AMT Mini-8s you can get from PE. I know they don't play very low, but it'll be an interesting $30 experiment. I also have a pair of Kappa Perfect 300m mids from Crutchfield. I figure if they don't work out, I can simply send them back. I remember the Perfect 6.1 components I had in my 92 Miata were some of the best car speakers I'd ever heard.

I notice a lot of those drivers were 8 ohm. Not sure if that's a real issue. I believe I only have room for a 3" mid in the dash. The tweeter mount accommodates about a 50mm housing if I don't want to glue things in. I'm not totally against that, but it'd be nice if I could.

I've read that the LD22 tweeter is actually a Wavecor W022WA03, and the flange can be removed with some work. I love the Wavecor tweeters in my Apollo HT speakers and the LD22s are pretty affordable and can play down to 2k: SHOP | css-audio
 

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+1, Driven Mobile seems like a very knowledgable and competent shop, though being on the West Coast I'm obviously not familiar with their work or personnel. And the door and midrange mounting and deadening/treatment you described seems to be solid. (y)

Do you know if they tuned the system using crossover & EQ settings to obtain a smooth acoustic & phase response at the crossovers from both the left & right speakers at your listening position? This typically will result in implementing asymetrical crossover slopes/orders and frequency points, rather than symetrical left & right settings all around where both the left & right HPFs & LPFs are all set at say, a "perfect" 500Hz HP to a 500Hz LP between drivers.

IME, ribbon & planar ribbons can be difficult to "get right" in a highly reflective vehicle environment. This is because we generally want all of the direct on-axis & off-axis frequency response, in addition to the REFLECTED FR, in all axes to be similar. Most ribbon & planar ribbon drivers have significantly different Horizontal and Vertical Dispersion patterns. This can sometimes work to your advantage, but in the reflective auto environment it's incredibly difficult to accurately judge how this is actually affecting system response and coherency. I'll be interested to read your impressions of the generic AMT Mini 8 planars in your system.

The LD22 is a decent tweeter. Try it if it will fit. However, it seems as if you might continue to throw money at the problem, and these multiple incremental uprades usually end up being equal to or more time and cost than a single major jump to a known quality "end game" product. If you want to make that singular jump, I would suggest the ScanSpeak Illuminator D3004/6020-00 Tweeters or the Gladen Aerospace 28 tweeters...whichever will fit with the least amount of modifications and/or is least expensive. If those are too expensive but you are willing to do the work to make a larger tweeter fit, that SB29RDN-C000-04 is golden. IMO, it is highly under-rated regardless of its price.

And I know that the "general public" reviews of those Infinity Kappa Perfect 300M mids look very compelling, but from personal experience, I'm afraid you might be in for quite a disappointment. I would also guess that your expectations and tastes have probably changed or "adjusted" a bit over time, especially with your more recent home audio DIY speaker experience compared to when you had the previous Infinity Kappa set that you really liked in your other vehicle. Comparing those older product lines to Infinity's current products is basically Apples-to-Oranges.

So if you want to make a singular jump to a high-quality midrange that should fit your OEM locations with little to no modifications, just grab the Audiofrog GB25 mids and be done. Sure, with more money and probably a fair bit of custom installation work, you might find another driver that performs a bit better in your particular install. But IMO it would probably be more of a lateral move with perhaps other tradeoffs besides the already noted extra expense and custom fabrication.

You can get the Audiofrog GB25 from a dealer here on DIYMA or a local VA dealer at a decent discount compared to the standard MAP and Crutchfield pricing. If the GB25 are still too rich for your blood, I would at least get the Audiofrog GS25 set from Crutchfield and compare them against the Infinity Kappa Perfect 300M mids. Then return one or both if you are still not satisfied. Again, I believe that the GB25 would satisfy you completely as long as proper implementation and tuning is done.

Many here can attest to the unique physical properties and SQ of the AF GB25. Here is DIYMA member ErinH's test report and impressions of the GB25...

Audiofrog GB25 Test/Review - Erin's Audio Corner

You will also find several other driver tests on his site that you may be interested in, including the above-mentioned ScanSpeak and Gladen Aerospace tweeters. He has extensive personal experience using the Audiofrog and Scan drivers in his daily driver SQ vehicle. You can read more in his extensive, long-term build log of his Honda "2006 Civic Neverending Tale" thread.

And I wouldn't be too concerned with using other DIY or raw drivers that are rated as 8-ohm nominal as long as their efficiency is decent and not crazy low. For tweeters and midranges, the drivers will rarely be needing anything more than 15 watts to get to unbearable levels. Just think about the SPL/efficiency spec at 1w/1m in regards to the relatively nearfield listening distances we're at in a vehicle and this will make sense.


One other thing that I would seriously urge you to try is to use a separate, "clean" digital or analog playback source connected directly to the digital Toslink input or the analog RCA line-level inputs of your AP8.9 Bit DSP/amp.

IME you will find a significant difference in SQ (for the better) when bypassing the OEM system. Many SQ competitors here that have to keep their OEM head units due to factory integrated features will also implement a separate, high-quality source such as a FiiO, Astel & Kern, iBasso, or other type of portable DAP, using either the analog Line Output, or the Digital output from the DAP fed directly into the DSP.

IME, even using the analog Headphone output from an iPhone (an older model that still has a 1/8" mini HP jack) connected to the DSP via an analog stereo RCA adapter will be superior to nearly all bastardized OEM head unit signals that typically need significant correction in order to obtain even a somewhat decent, flat, full-range output.

Of course, this will require a "re-tune" and another Tuning Preset on your DSP when using this "clean", outboard source.

I'm able to use my iBasso DX220 DAP with both its analog Line Output or Digital Output into a few of my personal installs and can tell you that it is a NIGHT AND DAY improvement from the mediocre output of the OEM head unit.

In one vehicle where I still have an "old school" install and I still want the option of playing CD discs but am using just my iBasso DAP with no head unit, I use a portable Sony CD Walkman player that has a mini-Toslink Digital Output and connect it directly to the DSP's optical input.

The small CD Walkman stays tucked away in the center console and I use its small wired remote to control playback. These CD Walkmans can be found on eBay for less than $30, and a $10 optical Toslink cable with mini-Toslink adapter is perfectly adequate for the connection. You need to make sure that the CD Walkman that you purchase has an Optical Output...not all of them do. One model that I have is the Sony D-EJ715. I've listed some other Model #'s that have the Digital Output. If you go this route, get a player that uses standard AA batteries, not Sony's long-discontinued "gumstick" rechargeable batteries!

This is a relatively inexpensive way to test the SQ of your system using the direct digital input of your DSP.

Sony
  • D-NE900
    D-NE9
    D-NE1
    D-EJ1000
    D-EJ2000
    D-E706CK
    D-E705
    D-E556
    D-E551
    D-E555
    D-E556
    D-303
    D-Z555
    D-555
At the very least I would try using your current smartphone's or tablet's analog HP output fed into your DSP to test & compare the difference to your Tesla's OEM HU output.

I think I've rambled on enough! ;)

Good luck with your experiments.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
We didn't fiddle with the EQ of individual speakers or their phase. They offered to do a follow up tune a few weeks later, but I have not taken them up on it yet. I figured that time would be better spent getting another good baseline with new components. The original goal was not to get everything flat, just sounding good. I spent some time with REW, a calibrated mic, and my laptop trying to get things flat, but the sound wasn't getting better. IME, flat does not always sound the best to me anyway, so I agree with their methodology. I'm not entering a competition here.

I got the Perfect midranges in, but they don't fit in the dash. :( They are about 4mm too wide, and the basket interferes with a piece of the dash below the mounting surface anyway. Back to Crutchfield they go.

Looking at the Gladen or Illuminator tweeters, how ridiculous is it for me to consider going back to a 2-way setup? Those tweeters can go much lower than what I have now - and maybe with an upgraded midbass (there is a pair of Satoris in the classifieds now) I could do away with the midrange altogether. I have had other advice say that I'll still be better off with 3-way though.

And thanks for the advice on a different source. I agree that a clean signal would definitely be an upgrade, but convenience rules in the car, and I'll probably run what's available. I'll do the real critical listening at home anyway, which is why my first plans did not even include a DSP! Since the CD is cheap anyway, I might try running it just for kicks. I might even have an old toslink cable around here already...
 

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We didn't fiddle with the EQ of individual speakers or their phase.
...
Well pulling out all the "bad equipment" and starting over makes sense then.
 

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We didn't fiddle with the EQ of individual speakers or their phase. They offered to do a follow up tune a few weeks later, but I have not taken them up on it yet. I figured that time would be better spent getting another good baseline with new components. The original goal was not to get everything flat, just sounding good. I spent some time with REW, a calibrated mic, and my laptop trying to get things flat, but the sound wasn't getting better. IME, flat does not always sound the best to me anyway, so I agree with their methodology. I'm not entering a competition here.
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bbfoto:
Well, that's unfortunate. I realize that you are not entering a competition. But the goal for ALL music lovers is to achieve the most accurate and best possible playback quality that we can, given the equipment that we've choosen.

I agree with others in that you should optimize the TUNING of the system before trying to throw new equipment at the problem! That way you will truly know what the real deficiencies of your system are.

Independent L & R EQ for the system is one of the MAJOR advantages of using a DSP, and it is ABSOLUTEY NECESSARY in a car, much more so than in a home system (where it can still be very advantageous). You are throwing your money away if you are not taking advantage of this feature of your DSP!

In my previous post I mentioned "Tuning to a Target Curve". Tuning for a perfectly FLAT frequency response will sound dull and lifeless because that is not how we perceive the frequency spectrum. Check out the Fletcher-Munson curve.

As a baseline, you want to adjust and balance the L & R frequency response to a known Target Curve for car audio such as the JBL/Harman Target Curve shown below. When measuring, the L & R sides should match this target curve at your listening position. Generally you will measure & adjust the Left and Right sides independently to match the Target Curve. You will have to make some global adjustments to the response after you combine L&R for normal stereo listening as there will be some nulls & peaks due to the L/R interaction.

But you'll need to be careful here, as in many cases these nulls & peaks will be associated with the speaker locations and cabin dimensions, and can be somewhat difficult to effectively remedy.

There may (will) be acoustic cancellations or deep nulls & dips at your listening position at a few particular frequencies. And no matter how much you try to boost those frequencies with the EQ, you will not hear or see much change in the measured response. You'll just be sending an exponentially increased amount of power to the speakers at those frequencies that will jeopardize their health due to overexcursion as each L & R speaker is cancelling the other's output at your listening position.

These types of Peaks are usually easier to effectively cut and balance, but the anomolies created when doing so often create side effects at adjacent frequencies that create unnatural or wonky response, so sometimes it's better to just leave it be, or to only make small corrections in these areas.

Here's the JBL/Harman Target Curve:


JBL-Harman_Target_Curve.jpg


262181


Original JBL/Harman Target Curve
Enhanced JBL/Harman Target Curve

These are not "perfect" Target Curves for everyone across the board due to personal preference and our individual aural capabilities or the health of our hearing. But this is an excellent guideline that will get you VERY close to a well-balanced and great sounding system. There is an execellent Step-By-Step Tuning Tutorial on the Audiofrog website. Here's a link...

A Straightforward Stereo Tuning Process and Some Notes About Why it Works - Andy Wehmeyer/Audiofrog
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mbeatle:
I got the Perfect midranges in, but they don't fit in the dash. :( They are about 4mm too wide, and the basket interferes with a piece of the dash below the mounting surface anyway. Back to Crutchfield they go.

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bbfoto:
Bummer they wouldn't fit, but I think that you're better off not using those particular mids anyway.
:p
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mbeatle:
Looking at the Gladen or Illuminator tweeters, how ridiculous is it for me to consider going back to a 2-way setup? Those tweeters can go much lower than what I have now - and maybe with an upgraded midbass (there is a pair of Satoris in the classifieds now) I could do away with the midrange altogether. I have had other advice say that I'll still be better off with 3-way though.

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bbfoto:
There are tradeoffs and compromises with both setups. If you have decent mounting locations for a 3-way system, personally, I would always go with a 3-way front setup.

A 2-way front setup can sound excellent, but it's even more important to choose the absolute best drivers that you can afford and install them in the most ideal locations because they both will have to cover much more of the frequency spectrum, cleanly, without distortion, AND with minimal beaming (narrowing of polar dispersion off-axis with increased frequency). IMO, installing & tuning the 2-way system will be much more critical due to the unique limitations or compromises.

The main problem in a 2-way setup is that the critical midrange & upper midrange frequencies are usually coming from 6.5" midwoofers placed in the lower front doors. This creates a vastly different On- & Off-Axis delta in the Frequency Response between the Left midrange and the Right midrange at your off-center listening position. Obviously, with the DIY home speakers you've built and enjoyed, this is not an issue because you can sit perfectly centered between the speakers, AND both the Left & Right speakers are perfectly on-axis to your listening position.

In your car, the driver's side 6.5" will be Extremely OFF-Axis, while the passenger side 6.5" will be in the neighborhood of 15° from being perfectly ON-Axis. This is NO BUENO. At frequencies below about ~300Hz, the aiming of the 6.5" midbass drivers is completely inconsequential. But above that frequency, aiming the drivers, or the differences in listening to them On- or Off-axis, becomes much more important.

This is because when using 6.5" drivers to cover the Midbass as well as the Midrange frequencies, beaming of the upper midrange frequencies excabberates this issue. For a typical 6.5" driver, beaming will start to be evident around 2kHz and up. An easy way to check this is to play Pink Noise and quickly adjust the Balance control to Full Left & then Full Right before doing any EQ or L/R level corrections. You will easily hear the difference in tonality (FR) and amplitude between the L & R speakers. Again, this is NO BUENO.

Even with a good DSP, it will be much more difficult to balance the individual L & R frequency response to match that Target Curve, and all aspects of the system's SQ will be negatively affected... This includes tonality, soundstage width, depth, height, L-to-R image placement & spacing/separation, pinpoint imaging & focus, dynamics, etc.

I'm not saying that choosing drivers for a 3-way front setup is less important, but it gives you a greater range of options. Most importantly, the critical midrange frequencies will usually be coming from locations that offer much more even and balanced response between the left and right sides to your listening position. You should theorhetically need to do much less EQ, and that means better phase response.

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mbeatle:
And thanks for the advice on a different source. I agree that a clean signal would definitely be an upgrade, but convenience rules in the car, and I'll probably run what's available. I'll do the real critical listening at home anyway, which is why my first plans did not even include a DSP! Since the CD is cheap anyway, I might try running it just for kicks. I might even have an old toslink cable around here already...

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bbfoto:
Can't hurt to try it. I think you'll be surprised at the difference with a good, clean source.
;)

#1, I would advise to put your money towards the best speakers/drivers that you possibly can, as this will have the most significant impact on the overall SQ of your system. The PROPER install and TUNING of the system will make the next largest difference, bar none. I could just imagine the smile on your face once you hear your system with a proper tune on it, even with your current components. It's Night And Day.

Go with the best Midrange drivers that will fit in your location. Again as far as quality and ease of fitment, IMO you can't go wrong with either the Audiofrog GB or GS25. Then choose the best tweeters that you can afford. While ultimately I would choose different 6.5" midbass drivers, the Infinity's should work well provided that the system is tuned properly. Again, midbass response and integration is one of the most difficult to get right, but you'll know when you get it dialed in.

However, I do still have real concerns regarding the low nominal impedence of your 6.5" Infinity midwoofers in combination with bridging the Audison AP8.9 Bit amplifier channels to power them.
Expand the post above to read my responses.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ah, I forgot about this one. A few things have changed. I upgraded the mids and tweeters to GS10/GS25. This made a difference right off the bat - mostly the mids. I also did a little more tweaking and flipped the phase of the mids. I am still running the Kappa midbass in the doors and they are still doing a pretty good job. Upgrading them would require new speaker mounts as the ones I have right now aren't big enough for most larger mids. I might be able to swing that if I put my head down and spend some time in my shop, but their upgrade path is on the back burner for now due to other hobbies. There might be a bit more fidelity in the system with some more tuning, but I am largely happy with how the system sounds now with the new components. Consider me a new AudioFrog fan boy.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think I reached the limit of overdriving the Audison. It is on the bottom of the amp rack below my NVX sub amp, so airflow is almost non-existent. Even playing at a very moderate volume, I put the amp into thermal shutdown about 2 hours into a long drive this past Friday with ambient temperatures in the 90s. I'd consider this almost worst case as I typically don't drive for that length of time. At any rate, I should probably not abuse the amp any more by running 2 ohm midbass drivers on a couple of bridged channels, so the Infinities need to go.

Audiofrog currently hasn't done me wrong, but I'm unsure if the GS60 is what I should upgrade to. It would fit in my existing speaker mounts which is a plus, but I've heard there are better drivers. It seems like many are unobtanium though, like those from SI or NVX. I'd like to keep the budget around $300 or less. Used is okay. The Audison gives me about 130w to play with on a 4 ohm load.
 
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