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To be honest, for the longest time, i was very much against the idea of mounting amps and other components under the front seats of a vehicle. Perhaps over the years, i have simply seen too many poorly performed installs with the amps haphazardly velcroed to the carpet or screwed loosely into the floor pan that the entire idea of underseat mounting seemed like a negative thing...

but lately, i have come around a lot...the truth is, mounting the amps and or processors under the seat is perhaps one of the most economical and stealthy route one can take, it does not work on every car, but for those that can take advantage of ample underseat space, they can save a bit on fabrication costs and focus their budget on making the car sound better...and thats a win win in my book :)

this brand new Sti sedan build, was a great example of such a project.

The goals:

1. achieve a decent level of sq given a modest budget for an active dsp install

2. maintain a low key appearance in the cabin

3. retain as much space and stealthiness as possible in the trunk while retaining the oem spare tire

lets get started:

first, utilizing our new gal Julia's welding experience, she welded on a tab to the oem battery tie down that serves to bolt in place a stinger fuse holder:



here are two quick fab pics of the mount, first the area around the weld was ground off, the tab fabricated, welded together, mount holes tapped, and the entire piece painted:





the signal source is a customer supplied jvc double din nav unit, it is installed via the oem double din finisher:



i also installed a low profile backup camera:







The customer also supplied us with setting saver module, which allows the car to remember which dynamic driving mode it was left in, i had Jesse do the wiring on it and he did a very neat job, ziptying and organizing the harness every few inches all the way up the center console:









Moving onto the front stage, which consists of a set of the newly released Morel Tempo ultra 602 6.5" two way components. Having used virtually every other speaker set in the morel line up, and from talking to Casey at CES about them, i had very high hopes for them as we currently do not have a go-to speaker in the 400-450 dollar price point. I will review the speaker at the end the thread, so for now, lets just focus on the build log.

first, new speaker wires were run into the door and the door sound proofed with STP foam and CLD damper...not visible is the blackhole tile on the outter door skin:



i also fabricated two spacer rings to fit the tempo ultra midbass, and coated them with truck bedliner to protect them against the elements:





the spacers are then bolted to the car using oem points, andt he tempo ultra midbass secured:







the door card also received some CLD around the speaker grilles to help reduce resonance:



the same procedure was repeated for the passenger side:









the tempo ultra tweeters, were molded into the stock A pillars, and the pillars rewrapped with black vinyl:













a few build pics of the pillars. first, mounting rings were fabricated, aimed, and secured to the oem pillar covers:



then, mold cloth was pulled, resin applied, allowed to cure and the pods reinforced from the inside via resin/filler mixture:



then, filler was applied and the entire shape sanded smooth and blended in:



then the two pods were wrapped in black vinyl:



and the morel tempo ultra tweeters installed:



 

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lets us take a closer look at the morel tempo ultra.

here is the box and the various components:







compared to the higher end morel units such as the Virtus and hybrid, the crossover is perhaps the biggest noticable difference but since almost never use a passive xover, my focus on these speakers is how they perform under active power:



the tweeter is the same standard size and dimensions as the higher end morel tweeters, meaning it can fit in tiny locations such as a stock bmw sail panel, and all share the same mounting basket (other than the piccolo of course), the big difference is that this tweeter does not have a AP style vent on the back of it, and cannot reach down to the same level as the higher end morels, 3200hz range hp versus the others at 2200hz ish hp, this is still lower than the previous gen tempo tweeter which is 3800hz and up.





the midbass is a big departure and i have to say, I quite like it...even compared to the higher priced virtus set. it has a big beefy motor with a unique mesh cover. the motor feels quite substantial and morel claims higher power handling and less distortion over the previous tempo set. the cone itself is different htan the tempo as well, i dont have the scientific knowledge to say exactly what it is, but it feels similar to the virtus cone material. overall, the midbass seems to be suggest to me that it is well constructed and can dish out some good midbass :) but we will reserve that judgement until the listening portion of the review.







but all in all, the quality and feature set of the Tempo ultra is similar to the higher priced virtus, and easily above average in this price range.

moving back to the build itself. as mentioned the components were mounted under the seats, so the wiring bundles travel from the front of the car to the B pillar area, and then under the carpet to under the seats. here are pictures showing the routing. the only wire that went back to the trunk was the subwoofer speaker wire:













moving on to the mounting of the components themselves. A mosconi 4to6 DSP went under the driver side seat. first, an area of the stock carpet was trimmed, and two rivet nuts were installed:



then a small platform was fabricated out of mdf and wrapped in black vinyl:



this was then bolted into the opening and all the relevant wires routed in place:



and finally, the 4to6 was secured and wired up:









A single Arc Audio XDiv2 1100.5 5 channel amp powers the entire system actively and located under the passenger side seat. the same procedure was used to solidly anchor the amp to the floor via bolts:





 

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a closer look at the newly released 1100.5. very similar to the 1200.6 that i reviewed in this thread:

http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum...eat-review-two-new-products-arc-am-morel.html

it features a nice and classy outter metal shell that covers the amplifier underneath. this little guy is slightly narrower than the 1200, and provides 4x150 watts RMS with a [email protected] mono channel. perhaps the biggest difference vs the 1200 is the lack of on board crossovers to enable the amp to actively power a component set, but for our MO, it really isnt a big deal. you can find out more details about the unit here:

XDi 1100.5 | Arc Audio













so here is the amp all wired up and secured:





and with the seat back in, tho really, the only time you can see this view is still wtih the seat unbolted and tilted back:



moving to the back of the car, the rear deck is a major source of rattle on these newer impreza sedasn, so the rear deck cover was remoted, cld and foam used on the two sides, and some simpliciflock material went onto the third break light to help prevent buzzing against the rear window:









the final piece of the puzzle was the sub enclosure...as stated above, the main goal was to save as much room as possible, so to that end, we came up with a design that pushed the sub box as far outboard as possible.

here is the view from directly behind the vehicle, and as you can see, you can barely see it:



here is the box, showing the vented grille in place to help hide and protect the sub:



pop off the grille and you see a single arc audio arc10 dual 4ohm sub, the enclosure is right around .5 ft^3 sealed. so nothing really that fancy, just a nice and clean low profile side enclosure:











moving onto the build pics, and this box was done almost entirely by our man Jesse. first, the entire area was taped off and protected with plastic sheeting, the lower part of the box was cut out of mdf, it was duraglassed in, and then in went 6 layers of mat:





here jesse may have skipped a few steps in picture taking haha but a ring was made, it was aimed and secured to the back mold, mold cloth wrapped, fiberglass reinforced, and then filler applied. once it was sanded down, it looked like this:





then the box was carpted, wired up and ready to go into the car:





it secures to the car via a rivet nut through an oem clip mounting point, and some HD velco strips help it grip the carpet along the other side and corners:

and a shot of the vented grill:



so thats it...perhaps one of the most cost effective DSP controlled active sq builds...lets get to how it sounds.

first, the sub sounds quite nice in this configuration...we have used the arc subs a lot and its a good all around performer, good extension, nice impact, just waht you would expect from your average 10" sub woofer...

I wanna focus a bit on the tempo ultras.

i will say this upfront: this is perhaps one of the best sounding $450 (MSRP) class speakers i have ever heard.

to me, midbass performance is perhaps its strongest aspect. right off the bat, i noticed how much authority and extension it has...if i have to say, i may even say it is a match for the virtus set and not too far off the much much higher priced sepakers that we typically use such as focal flax, and illusion c6. the midbass really is very very good...this is both by ear and on the rta, nice natural extension, a lot of impact and really helps to anchor the bass notes upfront.

the midrange and highs were also very good, with nice resolution and that natural smooth sound morel is known for. these tweeters are quite forgiving and really never offends. Despite a much higher xover freq and and a wide separate between the mid and tweeter, i never noticed too much negative ill effects. like most newer morel speakers, these have a lit bit more top end sparkle than the traditional units, but in this car at least, i feel that these were smoother right off the bat than the virtus set. i would have a better feel for them once i get another set under my belt.

the stage remained nice and high, with pillar to pillar width, overall imaging and staging isnt very different than the other newer gen imprezas i have done in the past, most of them utilizing higher end speakers...which is to say pretty good.

so what we have here is a speaker set that can get quite loud and remain composed, doesnt hurt your ears at that volume level, can provide the delicate nuances at low to moderate levels for critical listening.

if i have to nitpick anything, i would say that becuase the tweeer cannot extend down as low as the other morel sets, the midbass has to reach up higher, and perhaps the overall effect to me is that the virtus and higher up morel sets sounds slightly more natural and realistic overall. I would be pretty tempted to hear what a tempo ultra midbass and a virtus tweeter combo sounded like.

again, i was really impressed with this set, and i think it will be our go to entry level speaker from now on for actively powered builds. it isnt often that i am impressed with a speaker right off the bat, infact, often times i feel quite the opposite, but this set really shines, especially given its price tag and position in the morel hierarchy. of course, please bear in mind this is all based on an initial impression, and i am sure i will gain more insight into these once i install a few more thoughts.

if you are in the market for something that is a great all around performer and is worthy to be DSP tuned and actively powered, you should consider the tempo ultra :)

okie dokie, onto the next build log.

cheers,

Bing
 

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Very nice build! Loving the Morel/Subaru combo :)
 

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Nice work!!!

Any concerns about two vents blowing heat at the amplifier?
 

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Nice work!!!

Any concerns about two vents blowing heat at the amplifier?
heat is always a factor in that respect, i would imagine if its on full hot and blowing on the amp for long periods of time it wont be good, however, conversely, the only time the heat is on like that is when its really cold, and if heat rises and cold air falls..then they may be okay :)

as mentioned i dont have huge experience in underseat mounting, so maybe someone else can chime in on that factor :)

the handful or so i have done in the past though, i dont recall any issues.

b
 

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Doubtful it'll become a problem, but never know. Depends on how often the heater is used over there in California on the floor setting. Living in Georgia, I didn't even know an actuator that mixed the air for heat was broken until I drove up to Chicago for winter... and had to drive with two snuggies wrapped around me while heat blew out of the passenger side and the coldest A/C on earth blew out of the driver side. Don't ask why I had two snuggies - let's just say Mom's "leave this in the car just in case pack" that I have not opened in years was actually useful. You can get vent plastic tube to extend or divert them, but probably just as good to divert the vents with a piece of plastic so the air goes up vs. straight into the amp. I did have an issue once with an underseat amp and the heater blowing on it.
 

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I think I might get a Subaru again (probably a Legacy) after I exhaust my free cash flow with this truck of mine. They're starting to look good again. Good cars!
 

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I wanted to ask if you had a standard size of rivet nut that you used? If so, which size is it?
Thanks.
 

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I wanted to ask if you had a standard size of rivet nut that you used? If so, which size is it?
Thanks.
Hey Chayse,

We stock rivet nuts in 6-32, 8-32, 10-24 and 1/4-20. We also stock hardware in those sizes of various lengths.
 

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Always impressed with SIS installs. Unless you are doing a "showey" system then you guys really do it to OEM standards. Very nice.
 

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Thanks guys. This is a really cool build. Interested to hear more about the 4to6 unit, and the 1100.5 from Arc audio. They might be really useful in my upcoming build. Does the 4to6 unit do summing of channels in its DSP? Trying to integrate with a factory Ford My Touch system.
 

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heat is always a factor in that respect, i would imagine if its on full hot and blowing on the amp for long periods of time it wont be good, however, conversely, the only time the heat is on like that is when its really cold, and if heat rises and cold air falls..then they may be okay :)

as mentioned i dont have huge experience in underseat mounting, so maybe someone else can chime in on that factor :)

the handful or so i have done in the past though, i dont recall any issues.

b
I've done several under seat amps in SoCal, and I've come to the conclusion that the a/c blowing when it's 110 out is actually beneficial and outweighs the 2 days per year we actually use the heater. I used to have issues with my Steg amp getting hot in the summer in the trunk of my old car, but since I put it under the seat in my truck, not anymore.
 
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