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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, so I've been doing research into upgrading my front speaker set up in my car. It seems like every turn I take in figuring out what I want I stumble onto this forum more and more, so here I am.

I currently have some JL VR650CSi components up front. They were my first aftermarket speakers ever that I got in high school (8 years old now IIRC), and I have certainly grown out of them in my listening ability and budget.

I've found quite a few sets of pretty nice components, but the more I read the more I want to move to an active crossover set up and choose my mid range woofers and tweeters myself. I've never done this before, so there is tons to learn.

As far as power goes, I currently run 100 W rms to my doors, and would like to take a bump up from that. 125-150W rms each side for the woofers seems like a reasonable target range. I think a realistic price point for really good woofers (for me) is between 300 and 400 dollars.

As far as tweeters go I know even less about shopping for them. I've heard so much pseudoscience about tweeter materials around my car communities, I'm digging for real facts to shop by.

As far as the crossover arrangement, I'm considering using something with a 24 db/octave L-R, and also building speaker pods into the doors to both aim the drivers and place them on the same vertical plane. This is just an initial idea though.

One big question I have with doing an active set up is how to match power of woofer and tweeter for a setup. When I do the install I fully intend to use a meter and map the response curves of the individual drivers in the car to set gains and crossover points, but in pairing equipment I need to at least get close.

I think that is plenty for now, thanks for any and all help sent my way. I will continue reading as much as I can find now.
 

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I think you're on the right track. Everyone seems to eventually start running active fronts if they maintain interest in car audio long enough.

Regarding setting gains, there are several tutorials on doing this. You can start by looking here:

http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/general-car-audio-discussion-no-question-dumb/116055-list-usefull-diyma-threads.html

I just switched to active setup, and also wonder about how to set gains. So far I have been satisfied with just using my ears and a set of decent headphones. I also use DSPs such as Dolby Headphone to make sure the sound coming out of headphones is somewhat realistic. The gains for the woofers are at 12 o'clock position (which seems about right for my HU voltage anyways) and I adjust the tweeter and subwoofer gains to achieve a nice blend. For tweeters, the goal is to have detailed, realistic, non-fatiguing sound. I keep increasing their gains until the tweeters are too loud, fatiguing or something is off. Then I back down, and compare to headphones. Then adjust if necessary. This is not perfect, but the result is better than most passive speakers I have heard. For subwoofer integration, I don't use the headphones. I simply increase the subwoofer level until one of these thing happens: the low frequencies (deep bass) are too loud, kick drum is too punchy, subwoofer becomes localizable, some instrument sounds off, bass guitar sound is too thick.. Once this point is reached, I back down the gains until the anomaly is eliminated. Of course, the crossover points and slopes are very important as well.

So far so good. I really enjoy the resulting sound. Much better than anything I have heard before, but I know this may not result in realistic or flat frequency response. Because of this, I would like to setup a TrueRTA on my laptop PC. It's free RTA software (up to 1/3 octave resolution). 1/3 octave seems like coarse, but it should be good enough for setting gains. It looks like I need a calibrated microphone and some kind of USB interface. I started a thread about this, and got a useful response:

http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/general-car-audio-discussion-no-question-dumb/120756-connect-dayton-emm-6-mic-usb-sound-card.html

Once I nail the gains, I assume the next step would be to buy a stereo or an external DSP with a more flexible equalizer and learn how to use it..

Regarding speakers, if you're considering using home audio DIY speakers, head over to Zaph|Audio and read the tweeter and 6.5 speaker tests. There is a lot information there. Also skim the klippel, member review, and bikinpunk review forums on this web site. A lot of information is out there. Also see

http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/member-reviews-product-comparisons/9237-subjective-comparison-popular-7-drivers.html

http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/member-reviews-product-comparisons/7256-diyma-tweeter-reviews-more.html


Another possibility is to buy a nice set of car speakers, and then throw away the passive crossover and run active. Something made by Focal, Hertz, etc. JL Audio C5 should be some good speakers for your price range as well. I am personally running Hybrid Audio Imagine active fronts. They have been compared to a lot more expensive speakers before. They are great speakers that come with a primitive passive crossover (so perfect to run active). There are many reviews of them on this web site including a 10+ page discussion thread on review section. Hybrid Audio is specializing in raw midbasses, midranges, and tweeters for car audio. The certainly have passive crossovers if you need them, and sets of speakers that come with passive crossovers, but overall their speakers are great drivers to run active. The only problem is that they're kind of expensive. You can easily spend $500-$1500 on your front stage drivers with HAT Clarus or HAT Legatia products. I think this is the reason Imagines got everyone excited. For only $200 (now $250) you get a slice of that quality sound and with reasonable mounting depth (important for me).

I am noticing a dichotomy here.. the home audio speakers such as Dayton, Peerless, Seas, etc may not be the easiest to integrate in a car (due to mounting depth, tweeter diameter, impedance, sometimes narrow usable frequency range, etc) but they can produce quality sound and for the most part they are cheap (of course there are exceptions, such some of them as expensive as say HAT Legatia gear). Car Audio speakers like HAT, Morel, etc usually work great in car but can be ridiculously expensive.

Regarding power, aim for at least 50watts for tweeters, and 100watts for woofers. This is not set in stone of course. Each speaker is different. Tweeters may not always need the full 50 watts, but who sells a 20watt tweeter amp? I just use the same as for the woofers. My observation is that the more power you have the better your speakers sound (specially woofers/subs). It may have to do with bigger dynamic range. Power seems to become very cheap.. There are plenty of newer higher power Class D 4-channel amplifiers pushing 140-150watts per channel. Good examples are Kenwood, JL Audio, and Alpine. And then more budget options are available from companies like PPI or Polk Audio.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. I read your whole post, but I'm going to wait to reply to most of it specifically until I can read down the research paths you've directed me on.

I absolutely want to get a RTA setup going. I've been looking into that for a long time.

I also thought about just getting some high end components and then ditching the crossover to go active when I'm ready. At the same time, it's hard to justify wasting the money on that over doing the homework to come up with a great speaker combination on my own.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Well the more I read the more I am realizing that I'll probably shatter my original price point. I can't help but want some of the best stuff.

So far I'm digging through stuff like Morel, Legatia, Supremo, and Hertz. I'm sure all amazing options, but I'll keep going until I settle on at least a top two specific speakers and then just sit and wait for a deal to pop up for me. I'm in no rush as I don't have the active crossover yet to use them (car is already wired for it though, I kept my crossovers in the trunk before anyways).

I think I'm pretty close to settling on scanspeak illuminator tweeters. I have to figure out a little bit more about on axis vs off axis but these seem like an awesome choice I won't regret. The only concern I have with these is that some people dog them for the off axis response.

My next big step is figuring out the pairing of a woofer, and what crossover point I'll be using. I have to make sure that the woofer can plan up to the ideal crossover point of the tweeter (still within it's ideal range). I read the recommendation to start at 3k and work up or down from there, but it sounds like I really wouldn't want to stray too far from that point (2.5 - 3.5?).

EDIT: The more I read the more I want to cross lower. The rule of thumb I've picked up is double the resonant frequency of the tweeter, and stay above that. The steeper the crossover the closer you can get. The 1" Scanspeak has a resonant frequency of only 420Hz (super low for tweeter). I am planning a 24db/octave crossover, and that double is only 840 Hz.

With using a 6.5" driver paired to the tweeter it starts to beam above 2000Hz, so if I set the crossover point down at or close to 2k I could avoid beaming issues completely (from the woofer, not the tweeter) and still be far above the lower limits of the tweeter. This also means that I really don't have to worry too much about upper extension of the woofer when shopping around because I'm going to use a lower crossover point.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well I know I want those scanspeak tweeters, now for woofers.

Image Dynamics X65 set looks like a great choice for 300 for the pair.
Hybrid Audio Legatia L6 set looks awesome too as a step up in SQ, 490 for the pair. I need to take some measurements of the overall diameter that I can use for where the speakers will be installed to make sure they would fit.

Those are the two I've come back to a few times, but I'm still digging.
 
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