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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm interested in doing my first car audio install on my new (to me) 2016 Mazda CX-5 non-Bose. I don't need crazy bass or volume, just clean audio with decent bass. I'm interested in installing a subwoofer but don't want to sacrifice storage or appearance so I'm thinking about installing one under the floor, inside the spare tire (keeping the tire there). I've seen some great guides on on creating a fiberglass enclosure. Want to keep the factory head unit and existing speaker wiring.

My car has speakers in the following locations:
2 x Dash Tweeters: Supposedly can fit up to 3.5"
2 x Front door: Crutchfield recommends 6.5-6.75" speakers
2 x Rear door: Same as front door

Questions:
1) What should i do if I want to spend no more than $500? Fronts + sub + 3 channel amp?
2) How much should i budget towards sound deadening?
 

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For $500 and wanting to do a spare tire enclosure, I would go with sub first.

Assuming your factory system is ok, a sub is always the largest benefit increase for the money off the bat.

Sub options, you can also look into a bazooka tube style enclosure with an external amp (not the preamp'd ones). They sound good, are durable, and don't take up a lot of space. You can also go with something like the JBL BassPro removable thingy.

If you have the money initially, buy a 5-channel amp. You can use it as your sub amp now, and have it ready for when you do the rest.

For future, I can understand wanting to keep the factory unit but if you do, youll need the spend the money on a decent processor of some kind at some point.

You can also look into the integrated amp options if you want but they are more money.

Also, you can easily replace the headunit in this car and keep 99% of the factory features.

Speaker wise, once you have a sub, a good set of front components (tweet in dash / 6.5" / 7" in door and some good 6.5" rear speakers on an amp will sound great.


Stick your budget now, but plan ahead a bit.

A good 5-channel amp + sub now = happy times now and happier times later
 

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I’m almost done with a precision power 2200.5 5 channel I’ll sell you for cheap. It can run active 2 way front stage + sub. I paid $130 new, not a bad amp....I’m upgrading to JL amps. Get some 6.75” silver flutes from madisound for $55 and reputable but low cost tweets. Use the leftover money for sub and enclosure. Retain factory rears on deck power or simply fade out the rears. (Run sub channel input from front and use sub vol control on amp). Low cost SQ.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Been doing more research and seems like I may not need 5 channels. I'm coming around to not using the rear speakers and therefore just using a component set for the dash + front doors and then adding a sub. If so, I think i can use a 4 channel amp and bridge 2 of the channels for the sub.

What do you guys think about this setup?
Alpine MRV-F300 amp: $160
TS-SW2502S4 Sub: $80 (amazon)
JL Audio C1-650 component system: $120

This amp is rated for 50 watts per channel at 4 ohms, which will give each component set 50 watts and the subwoofer 150 watts at 4 ohms. Am I going to regret not getting more power? I really don't like to listen to music very loud (I want to retain my hearing!), but just want something that sounds good, won't distort, and will have sufficient amount of bass..
 

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Been doing more research and seems like I may not need 5 channels. I'm coming around to not using the rear speakers and therefore just using a component set for the dash + front doors and then adding a sub. If so, I think i can use a 4 channel amp and bridge 2 of the channels for the sub.

What do you guys think about this setup?
Alpine MRV-F300 amp: $160
TS-SW2502S4 Sub: $80 (amazon)
JL Audio C1-650 component system: $120

This amp is rated for 50 watts per channel at 4 ohms, which will give each component set 50 watts and the subwoofer 150 watts at 4 ohms. Am I going to regret not getting more power? I really don't like to listen to music very loud (I want to retain my hearing!), but just want something that sounds good, won't distort, and will have sufficient amount of bass..
Not using rear speakers is a matter of preference. To be fair your rears are at the foot level of the rear passengers so take your pick.

I had a truck for a number of years, no rears, sounded fine.

I recently got back into a 4-Door hatchback, I am adding them back in for a bit more fill and I do have folks in the back seat.

I will say keep in mind that having more power does not just equal louder.

It gives you head room so if you have something that needs a bit more omph, you have the power to back it up. Its almost selling yourself short to some extent. When you want a bassnote to hit, a shallow sub on minimal power might struggle. Same goes with the components (but a little less so)

For a bit more money than the 4-CH Alpine you can get a 5-Channel with a dedicated sub channel. And if you decide to want to run nicer components down the line, you can now birdge the full range channels, and run the sub channel at 2Ohm for double the power.

Always give yourself room to grow / adjust.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your reply.

Understood on the benefit of having more room. Do you have one in particular you recommend for ~$200? I considered the NVX JAD900.5 and Pioneer GM-9605.

Curious what you think of the NVX Micro V series. Rated at 50w per channel but Sonic tested it at 93w per channel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Actually, I overlooked the NVX JAD800.4. It's a 4 channel again, but I think it's a big step up from the Alpine. I really like the formfactor of it and I think it will make it easier for me to install.

RMS Power Rating:
4 ohms: 125 watts x 4 chan.
2 ohms: 200 watts x 4 chan.
Bridged, 4 ohms: 400 x 2 chan.

Sonic Electronix Certified Power Rating*:
4 ohms: 175 watts x 4 chan.
2 ohms: 297 watts x 4 chan.
 

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Do you have the ability to fabricate your custom under-floor fiberglass enclosure, or is this something you will pay someone else to build for you? If it is the latter, I think you are severely underestimating how much this is going to cost to build. From a good, reliable shop your entire $500 budget could get eaten up in the enclosure alone. The low end extension on those Pioneer shallow mount subwoofer is also not the best, especially in a small enclosure.

Have you considered starting with an easily removable powered subwoofer? Or perhaps something that could be used in your cargo area without much affect on your cargo space? I ask because Pioneer has a couple of options that might be worth considering. (Other brands have similar powered and non-powered options.)

In the easily removable enclosures Pioneer has a 10" and a 12" powered model in a sealed enclosure. Pricing is under $200 and this gives you everything you need (subwoofer, enclosure, amplifier, etc.) in one package. All you should really need is a little extra wire for the power and possibly ground cabling.
https://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_145309_Pioneer-TS-WX1210A.html
https://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_145311_Pioneer-TS-WX1010A.html

Another option that might be worth consideration is something that can be left in the vehicle and is designed to take abuse and have stuff loaded on top of it. Unfortunately, the cost for something like this is quite a bit higher. Again, this would likely eat up your entire budget of $500.
https://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/Subwoofers/Powered+Subwoofer/TS-WX70DA

If you can live with a solution that might require you to remove the subwoofer occasionally, I would definitely go with option one. If that isn't an option for you, I would consider option two. Or if you can increase your budget, you can certainly find ways to implement your original plan with a shallow subwoofer better suited for a small sealed enclosure (JL, Sundown, Dayton).

If you do go with one of the option one subs (I do know they can be had even cheaper on Amazon), I would take a look at the Zapco ST-4X SQ amplifier for your component speakers. Depending on your component selection you can use this amp bridged for more power or bi-amped for better control over the individual drivers.
https://www.woofersetc.com/st-4x-sq-zapco-4-channel-400w-rms-class-ab-amplifier.html

For budget 6.5"-7" component sets, my "go to" recommendations are the Morel Maximo 6, Sony XS-GS1720S and Pioneer TS-D65C.
https://www.crutchfield.com/p_210MAXIM62/Morel-Maximo-6.html?tp=106&awcp=1t1&awcr=109265425283&awdv=c&awkw=morel+maximo+6&awmt=p&awnw=g&awug=1014373&gclid=CjwKCAjw7vraBRBbEiwA4WBOn3KiKL8KELqLedOn2Tgjhhal_vG0Ll2l7wTGIfq1LBvELzXsibnhXxoCbWkQAvD_BwE
https://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_43372_Sony-XS-GS1720S.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=item_campaign&utm_keyword=sony+xs+gs1720s&gclid=CjwKCAjw7vraBRBbEiwA4WBOn-lBkhT-G1h8sXPWyOWeWYTir0JSfhFk9zbAQkPvIbTXkk4ci0J2gxoCFrYQAvD_BwE
https://www.crutchfield.com/S-gYvDL0tsxwE/p_130TSD65C/Pioneer-TS-D65C.html
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For me, part of the appeal of the project is the DIY nature so I'll say yes I have the ability to fabricate a custom enclosure :). I have purchased fiberglass supplies but will actually try to make the spare tire itself part of the enclosure first (basically, seal the spare tire with MDF on both sides) and see how that works.

I really don't want subwoofer that's just sitting in the trunk. I want a very clean, almost OEM solution so that's why i'm interested in putting it under the trunk mat.

I just ordered the NVX JAD800.4. I was convinced by its numerous reviews. Appreciate the input on the component speakers, will look into them. Do you have specific shallow mount subwoofers that you recommend?
 

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For me, part of the appeal of the project is the DIY nature so I'll say yes I have the ability to fabricate a custom enclosure :). I have purchased fiberglass supplies but will actually try to make the spare tire itself part of the enclosure first (basically, seal the spare tire with MDF on both sides) and see how that works.

I really don't want subwoofer that's just sitting in the trunk. I want a very clean, almost OEM solution so that's why i'm interested in putting it under the trunk mat.

I just ordered the NVX JAD800.4. I was convinced by its numerous reviews. Appreciate the input on the component speakers, will look into them. Do you have specific shallow mount subwoofers that you recommend?
That would really depend partially on the enclosure that you build. In your case, I would say build your enclosure first and then decide on a subwoofer. Factors that should be take into consideration are mounting depth, enclosure volume and available power.

From JL the TW1, TW3 and W1 are all pretty good options. From Sundown, the SD3 is a pretty good choice. And from Dayton the LS and RSS models can both perform well in a pretty small volume.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I heeded your advice and decided to simplify my installation and not fabricate my own enclosure off the bat. I decided to order this subwoofer that comes with a slim, downward firing enclosure for $110. I went with this one because it's almost exactly the same size as our trunk organizer which we can place on top, therefore not really taking up any additional space most the time.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pioneer-TS-SWX3002-12-Preloaded-Subwoofer-Enclosure-Loaded-with-TS-SW3002S4/53833338

It only cost little more than the subwoofer itself ($90) so if I ever wanted to try my hand at making my own enclosure and integrating it into the car, I figure I can re-use the subwoofer.

I also ordered the JAD800.4 which when bridged, provides 400W @ 4 ohms, which is a LOT more power than most 5 channel amp's subwoofer channels, at least at the ~$200 pricepoint.
 

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Cool. I hope it works out well for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
So i've installed the PAC LOC and NVX 4 channel amp which is powering the stock front speakers (dash + front door) and the Pioneer subwoofer (bridged).

While i definitely hear the subwoofer, i can't help but think the factory head unit is rolling off bass or cutting the lowest frequencies all together. Is there a good way to test this without an expensive oscilloscope? Could i hookup my phone or another source directly to the LOC/amp? Or playing a low test tone and listen to it as I increase the volume? I'm trying to determine if it's worth replacing the PAC LOC with an Audiocontrol one w/accubass or replacing the headunit all together. I generally like the factory head unit as it already runs Android Auto and from the research I've done, getting aftermarket head units to working with the factory rear camera is not straightforward.

Regarding the front speakers, i definitely think there's room for improvement but is there any way to tell/test without buying them first? I would probably buy a set a 2-way passive components in the $150 range with the tweeters in the dash and woofers in the door. With my 4 channel amp also being used to to power the sub, I can't run the front active or do any time alignment with a DSP. Is that going to be severe handicap? (I realize a 5 channel amp would solve this issue but the 4 channel was able to fit within the spare tire where as the 5 channel wouldn't and mounting it under the passenger seat seemed much more difficult due to the air vents that are there).
 

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So i've installed the PAC LOC and NVX 4 channel amp which is powering the stock front speakers (dash + front door) and the Pioneer subwoofer (bridged).

While i definitely hear the subwoofer, i can't help but think the factory head unit is rolling off bass or cutting the lowest frequencies all together. Is there a good way to test this without an expensive oscilloscope? Could i hookup my phone or another source directly to the LOC/amp? Or playing a low test tone and listen to it as I increase the volume? I'm trying to determine if it's worth replacing the PAC LOC with an Audiocontrol one w/accubass or replacing the headunit all together. I generally like the factory head unit as it already runs Android Auto and from the research I've done, getting aftermarket head units to working with the factory rear camera is not straightforward.

Regarding the front speakers, i definitely think there's room for improvement but is there any way to tell/test without buying them first? I would probably buy a set a 2-way passive components in the $150 range with the tweeters in the dash and woofers in the door. With my 4 channel amp also being used to to power the sub, I can't run the front active or do any time alignment with a DSP. Is that going to be severe handicap? (I realize a 5 channel amp would solve this issue but the 4 channel was able to fit within the spare tire where as the 5 channel wouldn't and mounting it under the passenger seat seemed much more difficult due to the air vents that are there).
There are a couple of things to take into consideration and test before you start swapping equipment. I don't think the non-Bose Mazda systems high pass the signal, but I could be wrong.

The first thing you might want to try is to pick up a 3.5mm to stereo RCA adapter cable and feed directly from your phone to the amplifier. That should tell you pretty much right away if what you are hearing is due to your source (OE signal) or your aftermarket equipment (LOC, amp, subwoofer, enclosure). If everything sounds good with the phone, you need to find a way to fix your source.

If the phone test doesn't point to your OE signal being the issue, I would check that you have the settings correct on your amplifier. Whether using the front or rear outputs on the amplifier, make sure the crossover selector switch is set to "BPF" or "FULL." FULL will disable the crossovers entirely and BPF will enable both the HPF and LPF. I would select BPF. Make sure both the HPF and LPF x10 buttons are set to x1 (out position). Set your HPF at the lowest setting 20Hz. And I know this might sound crazy, but I would set the LPF around 50Hz. (I'll explain more on why in the next paragraph.) For the gain setting, this could depend on the PAC LOC you purchased. Hopefully your LOC has its own gain adjustment.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the loaded subwoofer enclosure you got from Pioneer doesn't have the best low end extension. With typical cabin gain and no low pass filter your output will drop off rather than rise below 50Hz with a peak around the 80Hz range. This is caused by a higher than typical Qtc of the subwoofer system around 1.0 due to the very small enclosure volume (0.5CF). Ideally, you would want a larger enclosure (nearly 4x the size) to get your Qtc around 0.7. Using the previously suggested 50Hz low pass filter should get rid of the peak in output that could be "masking" your low end extension. 20Hz isn't actually any louder, it is just no longer 3-4dB down from your peak you'll likely have with a higher crossover.

Once you've checked your amp settings as described above, I would suggest checking out a your frequency response with an RTA app on your smart phone. My suggestion is AudioTools by Studio Six Digital, but they also build the AudioControl app. The other thing you can try is using a tone generator app and sweeping up and down in your suwboofer's range. See if you can audibly hear a significant level difference from 20Hz - 80Hz.

As far as components go, you may see some improvement from the OE drivers. Most likely in terms of longevity with the more powerful amp in place. My recommendations for the Pioneer, Sony and Morels would remain the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks so much for your help!

There are a couple of things to take into consideration and test before you start swapping equipment. I don't think the non-Bose Mazda systems high pass the signal, but I could be wrong.
I'm not following. Does not pass the high signal?

The first thing you might want to try is to pick up a 3.5mm to stereo RCA adapter cable and feed directly from your phone to the amplifier. That should tell you pretty much right away if what you are hearing is due to your source (OE signal) or your aftermarket equipment (LOC, amp, subwoofer, enclosure). If everything sounds good with the phone, you need to find a way to fix your source.
Yea that sounds like an easy test. I also thought that listening to a low test tone (50hz) through the sub only and see how the volume changes as i increase the volume could also be an indicator? If the volume stops increasing as i turn the knob, that would indicate that there's roll off?

If the phone test doesn't point to your OE signal being the issue, I would check that you have the settings correct on your amplifier. Whether using the front or rear outputs on the amplifier, make sure the crossover selector switch is set to "BPF" or "FULL." FULL will disable the crossovers entirely and BPF will enable both the HPF and LPF. I would select BPF. Make sure both the HPF and LPF x10 buttons are set to x1 (out position). Set your HPF at the lowest setting 20Hz. And I know this might sound crazy, but I would set the LPF around 50Hz. (I'll explain more on why in the next paragraph.) For the gain setting, this could depend on the PAC LOC you purchased. Hopefully your LOC has its own gain adjustment.
Yep it's set to BPF but the crossover is set to ~80hz. x1 / x10 switches are set to x1. The LOC does have its own gain setting, how should i set that versus using the amp's gain setting?

The other thing to keep in mind is that the loaded subwoofer enclosure you got from Pioneer doesn't have the best low end extension. With typical cabin gain and no low pass filter your output will drop off rather than rise below 50Hz with a peak around the 80Hz range. This is caused by a higher than typical Qtc of the subwoofer system around 1.0 due to the very small enclosure volume (0.5CF). Ideally, you would want a larger enclosure (nearly 4x the size) to get your Qtc around 0.7. Using the previously suggested 50Hz low pass filter should get rid of the peak in output that could be "masking" your low end extension. 20Hz isn't actually any louder, it is just no longer 3-4dB down from your peak you'll likely have with a higher crossover.
I understand that the smaller enclosure/shallow subwoofer has limitations. So you're saying that it's poor ability to play above 50hz is muddying/masking it's lower frequency? I could see that. Doing that would mean i should set my front's HPF to ~50hz then too?

Once you've checked your amp settings as described above, I would suggest checking out a your frequency response with an RTA app on your smart phone. My suggestion is AudioTools by Studio Six Digital, but they also build the AudioControl app. The other thing you can try is using a tone generator app and sweeping up and down in your suwboofer's range. See if you can audibly hear a significant level difference from 20Hz - 80Hz.

As far as components go, you may see some improvement from the OE drivers. Most likely in terms of longevity with the more powerful amp in place. My recommendations for the Pioneer, Sony and Morels would remain the same.
For the RTA app, i assume the goal/ideal reasult would be to try to measure an equal level for each frequency when playing pink noise?

What would noticing significant level difference between 20-80hz indicate? That there is bass roll off or that the subwoofer is not able to play higher tones well? I assume i'd need to set the sub LPF well above 80hz first to do that test, right?.
 

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I own a 2014 CX5 and have changed just about everything in that car. I hope you didn’t get the NVX MVPA4, I own that amplifier and the single channel version and it’s one of the few amplifiers where I can tell a difference in sound quality, plus 50 wpc isn’t really enough power. There’s no way it’s putting down 93 watts either (at least not mine). I think NVX is stretching the truth about that! I swapped it out for a Pioneer D9500F, rated at 75 wpc, and noticed a large difference.

I have the SB Acoustics SB17 6.5” mid woofers in my CX5 doors and they sound nice and I have the SB29 tweeters in my van and man those tweeters sound good. The SB29 ring dome tweeters would make a good match to those mid woofers and fit nicely in the dash of the CX5. A DSP like the Dayton 408 running them active would make for a nice SQ system.

The Sundown SD3 10 with a JBL GTX 500 ($99 on Crutchfield right now) would pound when you want it too with the cabin gain and have great SQ too, plus it’s modest box requirements and semi shallow depth would be good for that tire well install. For the money, the Alpine SWS 10 is hard to beat in a ported box.

I own all the speakers and equipment mentioned above, so I recommend them with experience.
 

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Thanks so much for your help!
Glad to help where I can.

I'm not following. Does not pass the high signal?
OE car audio manufacturers can do a few different things with the signal. Maybe V8Toilet can chime in if he happens to know if Mazda does any EQ, filtering or loudness adjustments with the signal from the OE head unit. For instance, I know on the Bose Centerpoint2 systems that Mazda currently uses there is no subwoofer, so the signal after them amp has both a high pass filter as well as loudness adjustment on the bass. So, on those Bose systems, you can grab full range, flat signal prior to the amp. Because the non-Bose system doesn't have a separate amp, I don't know what processing they might be doing at the head unit.

Yea that sounds like an easy test. I also thought that listening to a low test tone (50hz) through the sub only and see how the volume changes as i increase the volume could also be an indicator? If the volume stops increasing as i turn the knob, that would indicate that there's roll off?
Yep, this would be the loudness adjustment I described above. Bose calls this "Dynamic EQ." Depending on the sophistication of the system, the EQ and high pass can be adjusted simply based on volume level, or based on the input signal.

A companion test to the one we're talking about here would be to keep the volume at a fixed level and sweep the tone up and down from 20Hz to about 80Hz. This could indicate whether or not there is a high pass filter in place.

Yep it's set to BPF but the crossover is set to ~80hz. x1 / x10 switches are set to x1. The LOC does have its own gain setting, how should i set that versus using the amp's gain setting?
This thread is a great place to start when you're talking about setting gains. Especially by ear. https://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/how-articles-provided-our-members/542-tutorial-gain-setting-amplifier-power-usage.html

As far as gain setting between the amplifier and the LOC. I would set the amp gain to minimum and set the gains on the LOC first. Then bring up the gain on the amp as needed. I was told by someone I trust implicitly to never have the gains all the way down to a minimum, but to at least have them up slightly above the minimum. If you want to start with the amp gain slightly cracked above minimum when you start setting the LOC gain, it certainly won't hurt.

I understand that the smaller enclosure/shallow subwoofer has limitations. So you're saying that it's poor ability to play above 50hz is muddying/masking it's lower frequency? I could see that. Doing that would mean i should set my front's HPF to ~50hz then too?
What happens with that subwoofer in the small enclosure is that (even with cabin gain) you get a peak in response in the upper bass with less output as you move down in frequency. Setting your high pass lower helps "tame the peak." You'll actually reduce your max output, but have better overall response.

A quick model in WinISD with simulated cabin gain shows the following (YMMV)...
100 Hz LPF = 113.5dB @ 67 Hz / 110.4 dB @ 20Hz
80 Hz LPF = 112.7dB @ 60 Hz / 110.4 dB @ 20Hz
50 Hz LPF = 110.5 dB @ 32 Hz / 110.3 dB @ 20Hz

As far as the HPF for the front speakers, it doesn't necessarily need to be at the same frequency. In fact, I believe the NVX amp likely uses Butterworth filters. In that case, using the same crossover frequency could create a bump in response near the crossover. I'd start with keeping your high pass where is currently is to see how it sounds and then adjust down and listen for what sounds/blends the best.

For the RTA app, i assume the goal/ideal reasult would be to try to measure an equal level for each frequency when playing pink noise?
Not necessarily equal level, but certainly a "smoothed" without big peaks and valleys. A "flat" response is not desirable in a car. The link below is a good place to start when looking at "Target Curves" for your RTA measurements.

https://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/technical-advanced-car-audio-discussion/131029-target-curve-comparison.html

What would noticing significant level difference between 20-80hz indicate? That there is bass roll off or that the subwoofer is not able to play higher tones well? I assume i'd need to set the sub LPF well above 80hz first to do that test, right?.
See my responses above.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Glad to help where I can.

OE car audio manufacturers can do a few different things with the signal. Maybe V8Toilet can chime in if he happens to know if Mazda does any EQ, filtering or loudness adjustments with the signal from the OE head unit. For instance, I know on the Bose Centerpoint2 systems that Mazda currently uses there is no subwoofer, so the signal after them amp has both a high pass filter as well as loudness adjustment on the bass. So, on those Bose systems, you can grab full range, flat signal prior to the amp. Because the non-Bose system doesn't have a separate amp, I don't know what processing they might be doing at the head unit.
My car has a Tuner Amp Unit that is located behind the glove box and is wired in between the speakers and the head unit. I would think that trying to grab the speaker signal before that would be best but it's not easy to find information on how to do that or if it's necessary.

The PAC adapter i bought is designed to intercept the speaker wires that come out of the Tuner Amp Unit therefore the RCAs it provides is after the Tuner Amp Unit. Additionally, it appears that Bose systems also have that same Tuner Amp therefore taking the signal before the Bose amp would also be after the Tuner Amp Unit.

Anyway, i'll try running those tests (sweeping 20-80hz, increasing volume at ~30hz, playing pink noise and measuring with phone, and playing directly from phone into amplifier) to see if there is really is much bass roll off or if I simply need to continue to tune (and turn down the LPF on the sub)

Thanks
 

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My car has a Tuner Amp Unit that is located behind the glove box and is wired in between the speakers and the head unit. I would think that trying to grab the speaker signal before that would be best but it's not easy to find information on how to do that or if it's necessary.

The PAC adapter i bought is designed to intercept the speaker wires that come out of the Tuner Amp Unit therefore the RCAs it provides is after the Tuner Amp Unit. Additionally, it appears that Bose systems also have that same Tuner Amp therefore taking the signal before the Bose amp would also be after the Tuner Amp Unit.

Anyway, i'll try running those tests (sweeping 20-80hz, increasing volume at ~30hz, playing pink noise and measuring with phone, and playing directly from phone into amplifier) to see if there is really is much bass roll off or if I simply need to continue to tune (and turn down the LPF on the sub)

Thanks
If there is an amp separate from the head unit, then the head unit is sending the signal to the amp somehow. If that signal is similar to the Bose system (and I would suspect that it is) then you should have Front Left/Right and Rear Left/Right signal wires. These should be full range. Grab signal from the Front Left/Right wires and it should eliminate any potential processing happening in the OE amp.

I would be curious is the CX-5 is actually compatible with the AOEM-MAZ2 even though it isn't listed on their application guide. If it is, it makes the whole ordeal a "plug and play" affair.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The PAC is plug and play but it plugs in between the amp unit and the speakers therefore its output is post-amp.
 
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