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Discussion Starter #1
Well after a year of fiddling with TA's, X-overs and tweaking the EQ, I decided to rid of my box as well as my "active" setup and went back to stock (except for Head unit). I'm shocked to hear that my stock system which consists of a pair 6 1/2 coaxials up front and a pair of OEM 6x9's in back, sounds just as good IF not better that when I was running active and had 2 Kicker 10" L5's for bass, 6 1/2 front and tweeters in sail panels. I'm thinking that I made it too complex as far as speaker placement and aiming goes. I was never really able to dial-in a satisfying sound. Go figure!
 

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Tuning takes a while and may not be everyones cup of tea. If you're happy going back to passives, that is all that matters.
 

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Well, sometimes make a system as simple as possible are way better than a complicated system....
Definitively you are right about that. And my system was in a 2001 Mitsubishi Galant. Doors were deaden, trunk lid was deaden but it just sounded terrible. My HU which is an Eclipse CD5030, definitively sounds better powering the basics.
 

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Sometimes I have to admit that I'm a dumb on this... From the basic HU to speaker on the initial setup, going for 2-way front then 3-way front + sub, now 3-way front no sub.... And starting to think going for the most basic setup....
I took my sub out too. That thing weighed a ton in my trunk. Feels good to have more trunk space and a lighter car, jaja.

In conclusion, I'm happy with my 6 1/2 JBL coaxials up front and my OEM 6x9's in back.
 

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I have been a mechanical design engineer @ the professional level for over 20 years. Although my expertise lies in suspension and chassis design, I work with the department that handles R&D on audio system design. They spend many hours and dollars and utilize the right equipment to get what they can out of the design constraints they are under. Most automakers outsource the equipment, but the system design for the most part is done in house. I am not saying that things cannot be improved or even completely blown away by an outside source (read stereo shop or private builder). The outside source’s constraints however are very different.
What I am saying is this. You can make a system sound much better in many ways than the factory set-up by just changing equipment. To get to the upper echelon of prime audio precision is not that easy. Especially if you start physically moving components all over the place. It takes massive amounts of time, a big investment in audio and testing equipment, and a genuine understanding of the principals of audio sound waves and cabin dynamics.
I myself enjoy the design work, the installation, and the dialing. I will build passive crossovers that to me sound better than many electronic crossovers just because I can. I will measure the driver frequency response in the car and build the passive networks to smooth the response to sound the way I want it to sound. That is the best part…..to me. I also like the end result (listening) or I wouldn’t do it. Equipment specs are not everything. Have you ever heard 2 amps back to back that have close to the same published specs but listen to one amp and you can barely get in the car because it sounds so ear fatiguing. The other amp sounds so musical you don’t want to get out? This happens with many home amplifiers as well.
What you describe has happened to me as well….although, not in a few years. It is only through patients, time and a quest for knowledge that it hasn’t. It is not a bad thing. It is a learning curve. You can’t take anything with you to the next level except what you have learned. Cars come and go, audio systems come and go……the only constant in the equation is you. So…take with you what you have learned and if you so desire…take it to the next level.
 

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The biggest challenge with car audio is definitely the environment. You start with the worst listening position and a ton of freebies like reflections, FR issues, arrival times etc. The fact that you're trying to overcome these challenges in the near field, is the cherry on the cake.

What you need to counter these challenges are:

1. DSP I list this first cause, dsp with crappy locations will still give you better sound than placement/install alone. I think my car is proof of that.

2. Placement / install.

3. Quality of equipment. It has to be above a certain level (stock speakers/amps), but beyond a point its diminishing returns. The $1500 amp that wows you with its sonic signature, is pure psycho-acoustics at play.

To my mind where most stock installs lack is in the quality of equipment, having too many speakers (sometimes with less than ideal placement) and and not enough or incorrect dsp. Doing even one of the three areas correctly will improve the sound. As you cover more ground the sound will get better.

Buying equipment and the install is the easy bit really. The toughest part in this equation is getting the dsp right. If you're starting from scratch with a processor, it could take you a few years to get the most out of it. Not everyone has that kind of patience. You have to be a bit of an OCD stricken masochist to enjoy this hobby:).
 

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Utilizing your stock speakers/locations isn't too badd if modified correct. I did some toying around years ago ending with dramatic results ( 2001 Toyota Avalon ). First, Speaker wire upgrades then added a Line Driver to the mix.
 

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I took my sub out too. That thing weighed a ton in my trunk. Feels good to have more trunk space and a lighter car, jaja.

In conclusion, I'm happy with my 6 1/2 JBL coaxials up front and my OEM 6x9's in back.
But I prefer a nice fullrange as it won't pierce my ears much compare to coaxial....

It is a learning curve. You can’t take anything with you to the next level except what you have learned. Cars come and go, audio systems come and go……the only constant in the equation is you. So…take with you what you have learned and if you so desire…take it to the next level.
Learning curve.... Well, sometimes it means that we did something stupid.... A fact that cannot be denied...
 

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Learning curve.... Well, sometimes it means that we did something stupid.... A fact that cannot be denied...
I feel that it is only stupid if you know better when you are doing it. Otherwise, you tried it and it didn’t work. To me….that is learning.
 

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Actually, these coaxials are not that bad. I was gonna use the OEM front fullrange but one of them was bad.
If were to use fullrange speakers, you really need to choose the best out of it and I can tell you that, it is very very hard.... And not all brand can make such good fullrange that can play from low till 20kHz almost flat....

I feel that it is only stupid if you know better when you are doing it. Otherwise, you tried it and it didn’t work. To me….that is learning.
Well, it depends on how we take it... On learning curve, we got learn from mistake(best), never learn(turning round and round in the same place) and refuse to learn.... So, we are you now? I admit I still at never learn stage since my equipments still can be used but not on my another car, where everything are stock(and I found it sound nice)....
 
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