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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m going to try and keep this as short as possible, but here's a quick backstory. Basically, I'm almost always driving with 3 or 4 friends in my car and I'm usually the one driving because I love driving and I have the best sound system. We all love music and I have taught my friends the basics of a good sounding system. Here's my dilemma though, all my friends love LOUD music, like to the levels my ears cannot tolerate. It's an issue because I'm always trying to turn it down and when three of those clowns are in the backseat I end up having to blow my eardrums out even more because the backseat speakers don't do much as just rear fills.

So for my ears' longevity and my friends' sound experience I'm willing to get creative and go a bit extra with this. Here's what I'm proposing. I’m currently saving up for a 2013 chevy silverado 2500 LTZ, ill include a diagram of speaker locations. i’ve been thinking and planning out in my head this system for almost a year now

And before anyone comments and says “YoU dOn’T NeED tHaT MaNy sPEakers” I KNOW. I know what a regular sq setup sounds like, what you can get done with a simple 3 way and TA is amazing, but it only serves the driver well. I want it to sound 90% good to everyone instead of 100% good to me and 0% good to everyone else. Plus, when i’m driving alone there will be a different tune to only include the front 3 way with TA.

First things first, A center channel will be used. I know there are a lot of conflicting opinions on center channels, but I suggest everyone listen to a PROPERLY executed center channel, if it can play down to 110 hz or lower it sounds amazing. A center channel is the only way to make it sound good to people in both seats, it's either a center or I run the left and right without TA and no way I'm doing that because it sounds horrible. The center allows the vocals to be right in front of you. It fills in the gap on your right if your the driver and the left if you're the passenger without affecting the width of the soundstage, that's the best way I can describe it. Most factory center channels in cars suck, they don't play low enough and just hollow out the music. I’ve heard it executed in an aftermarket system as well as factory on multiple different vehicles, including 2 Mercedes with harmon/kardon systems, I don't know what the hell the people at harmon/Kardon were doing, but it's appalling.

Ok now let me get into explaining/ justifying the system. We will start upfront. 3 way fully active up front, I don't know if the midrange will be dash mounted or whether I will build pods into the sail panels. Midrange will be 3.5 inch so it will fit in either. Tweeters will be mounted on axis in the A pillars. The center speaker will be dash mounted and will either be a 5 inch woofer with a tweeter or another 3.5 inch midrange depending on whether I get the GMC Denali vs the Chevy Silverado. The Denali has a factory 3.5 inch center channel, but I much prefer the outside look of the Silverado compared to the Denali. So I will most likely end up having to fabricate a mount and a grill in the dash for the Silverado.

On Top of these pretty normal speakers I will be putting 2 on the roof above the front seats. Sort of emulating the 36 speaker AKG system in the new Cadillac Escalade, which may I add has some of the highest reviews of any factory system. All of the roof speakers will be 2.5 inch memphis audio speakers, I don't need anything fancy. (they will be mounted behind grills ram makes for their headliner speakers, it will look clean) I am hoping to get anything above 500-550 hz out of them. They will be sent the same info as rear fills, left or right with center info removed.

Moving onto the backseat, there is going to be a 3 way set in each rear door, mids and tweets mounted at the upper part of the door panel to try and lift the soundstage in the back. Thats all pretty normal so let me introduce my other not so normal speaker locations in the back. My plan is to put a 4-5 inch center speaker in the back of the center console (it will have enough airspace in there so I am hoping to get down to 90Hz or lower out of it) and then right above it on the roof there will be another 2.5 inch wideband driver angled slightly back to face the backseat passengers. Let me explain why I'm splitting the center channel between two drivers and then why I'm using a center channel in the backseat. I've done a lot of testing on this and with a center channel it's very trippy because executed properly, you shouldnt be able to tell the center channel exists. There is no trace of the speaker, it's not localized. The crossover between the center console and the center roof speaker should be at about 500hz at 24dB slope. If these two sum properly, which they should, it should put the height of the stage at about the level of the midrange and tweeters on the rear door, that is the goal. I didn't want the center channel in the console to pull down the soundstage, that's why the center is split between the consol and the roof. And I should be able to get away with this because your ears will not even tell you where the center is coming from. The reason for the center in the first place is to make the rear louder while still giving the rear passengers a good soundstage. There will also be 2 more 2.5 inch wideband drivers behind the rear seats on the headliner, just for added surround. Those are just going to be delayed a bit and delete the center info like rear fills. If everything goes correctly the backseat should image to right behind the front seats at about chest level for the backseat passengers and should still have some surround effect coming from behind to make the small cab feel bigger than it is.

May I remind everyone, when listening to music by myself i will have a different tune that will only activate the front 3 way left and right and TA will be set like a normal SQ car. This extreme setup is strictly for when people are in the car. My friends aren't SQ experts and can't tell little things like we are concerned about. As long as the EQ sounds ok and the sound is kinda surrounding them they are happy. That's why there are so many extra speakers in the roof is for added surround to trick their ears into thinking it's louder than it really is. I’ve learned with them, the more surround and immersion I give them, the louder they think the volume is so i don't have to crank it as much. Lmao this system is calculated so I can keep my volume at the lowest possible while still giving everyone else in the car what they want.

My hope is that there is a volume/delay sweet spot where the backseat can enjoy their soundstage and the front seat can enjoy theirs without much interference(of course there will be some, but it's never an audiophile listening session while driving with my friends). I have been running my rears as full range recently to get more volume in the back and i keep the fader +3 to the back and it doesn't affect me up front and from the backseat you cant even hear the front so this leads me to believe I will be able to get away with my plan. What I've learned is as long as no speaker in the backseat is directly lined up with your ear in the front seat it doesn't mess with the stage too badly. I’ve looked at the rear speaker placement in the truck and I think it should be fine.

And for technicals, the brain will be a helix DSP mini, that will give me my upmixed center chanel and that will be feeding into an Alpine PXE-X09 16 channel dsp. Almost every speaker will be active. I might double up stuff like the rear tweeter and midrange in the doors. Or the tweeter and mid for the center in the dash. Problem is I have 20 speakers not including subs(of which there might be 2, one under center console and one under rear seats) and I only have about 19 workable channels. ( 16+ helix mini DSP adds 3 extra channels)

Really please give your thoughts on this!!! Or if anyone has heard of/ done anything like this let me know. I want to know if this idea is a bit too crazy.


· Registered
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Going to watch this one, rather ambitious. You must really like your friends. A buddy of mine would always ask me when I was getting rear speakers and I'd always tell him never. Personally I'd just build a pro audio front stage and wear ear plugs when I had passengers that want it that loud. Will be interesting to hear your thoughts once it's built.

Good luck hopefully it pans out well, will be lot of time and money for sure.

Maybe get in contact with Andy "GotFrogs" he may have some advice for such a build.
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