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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This isn't really a start-to-finish "log" of my audio system - just a place that I can post my somewhat-random thoughts and questions on my system and the upgrades I do to it or want to do to it....

Brief background - I have a 2018 Dodge Challenger - it came with the "Alpine Premium Amplified" system - a 6-speaker setup (2 x Dash 3.5" speakers, 2 x Door 6x9" speakers and 2 x Rear Deck 6.5" speakers) - there was not a single tweeter in the OEM system - all of the speakers were just 1-way cone speakers. The OEM amplifier was called a "276 watt" amplifier - which I'm 99.9% sure is the MAX rating, not the RMS rating. :)

Originally, I upgraded all of the speakers to Infinity Reference speakers. Then I decided that I wanted more control - so I installed a JL Audio XD600/6v2 amp and a Rockford Fosgate DSR-1 DSP - as well as a JBL BassPro SL under-seat amplified sub. That kept me busy for a while since I've never installed a "real" system - let alone a DSP - and I had a LOT to learn. All of my previous audio experience from my "other" car (a 2012 Impala) was basically with low-cost speaker upgrades, plug-and-play headunit upgrades (Rosen, Advent, Dynavin and even a Chinese Android plug-and-play system) and small class-d "redbrick" amps (Alpine KTP-445U and Kicker KEY180.4).

After I got bored and tired of dealing with issues related to the DSR-1, I upgraded to the PAC AmpPro 4 / Helix DSP.3 w/wifi adapter combination and have never looked back (the Helix is in a whole different league than the DSR-1) . Then I upgraded my speakers to the Kenwood Excelon KFC-XP6903C component set (which was much better than the Infinity Reference speakers) for the front stage and then the Kenwood Excelon KFC-X174 6.5" coaxial speakers for the rear-deck (I like rear speakers).

Since then, I've been working on my tuning abilities and trying out all sorts of different speakers for the front stage. These include the CDT CL-69S (slim, carbon-fibre 6x9 midbass for doors), Illusion Audio C3CX (3" coaxials with high-quality tweeter for dash) and finally the Audiofrog GS25 (2.5" widebands for the dash). I also started "collecting" some higher quality speakers here and there, but still have not actually used yet (Focal coaxial 6x9's, Focal tweeters w/crossovers, complete Audiofrog G60S set and a set of Hybrid Audio Technologies L3SE widebands. Lastly, I just purchased a few more sets of CDT speakers which just arrive - the CDT ES-690 CFS (highest level of CDT "slim" 6x9 midbass speakers) and the CDT Unity 8.0 speakers, which are 2" aluminum-cone, 8-octave wideband speakers - with a frequency response of 200hz - 33khz.

So much for a "brief" background.... :)

Next post will be to talk about the CDT Unity 8.0 speakers. I purchased the "Pod" versions and wanted to get some input on pod mounting tips. :)

Here is a picture of my gear installed under the spare-tire "trap door" in the trunk:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So when I bought the CDT Unity 8.0 drivers, I bought the Pod versions - simply because that way I could remove the drivers from the pods and install them under the OEM dash panel speaker grilles, firing straight up into the windshield (with some custom baffles) - or I could actually install them on-top of the dash, in the pods, on-axis if I wanted to.

I think I'm going to just "set" them on the dash for my initial in-pod testing - just to do some brief listening tests and get some measurements. Although, I have a hard time believing that I'll get better results when I put them under the stock dash panel speaker grilles, firing up into the windshield. :) I've honestly never liked a-pillar "pods" - to me, they look like big tumors growing out of the a-pillars and I just don't like the look whatsoever. Putting the pods on top of the dash, in the corners would actually look a lot cleaner, I think - so who, knows, I may end up installing them like that even though I've always wanted to keep the OEM look. All depends on how much better they sound on top of the dash. I have to cut the speaker wires inside the pod to remove the drivers from the pods (the wires are soldered to the speaker terminals), so I guess I'll test them on top of the dash first. The only "issue" is that the dash corners have a slight downward slope where the pods will go, so they will point downward every-so-slightly (and on the drivers side, may cause some reflection-related issues from the dash area that goes around the driver instrument cluster (not the case on the passenger side).

Anyway, since I've never used pods before, does anyone have any "tips"? Do I really have to worry about that slight downward slope? Can I just mount them with velcro? I'm not going to screw into any of the cars plastic at this point since I don't know for sure if I'm going to keep them on the dash. Should I point them towards the driver (passenger side would be pointed differently than the drivers side) or point them both at the same angle? Again, just looking for any tips anyone may have when testing pods...

Thank you.

Here is a link to the exact speakers I have: CDT Audio Unity8.0P
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, I ended up just removing the Unity 8.0 drivers from the pods and installing them in my OEM dash locations. I'll tell you what, after trying a few different types of dash speakers, including a few inexpensive coaxials (Infinity Reference 3.5" coaxials, Kenwood coaxials from the KFC-XP6903C set), expensive coaxials (Illusion Audio C3CX coaxials) and even a good wideband (Audiofrog GS25), I like these Unity 8.0 speakers better than them all - easily!

These things are just so smooth and detailed - without any harshness whatsoever - while still providing plenty of highs. So far, I've found them to be the best sounding solution for my OEM dash locations.

Here are a few pictures of them:

Here is a picture of a Unity 8.0 next to an Audiofrog GS25 (the Unity is already installed into a baffle for my dash here):


Here are a few pictures of the Unity 8.0 installed in my dash:



And here are a few after I installed some Soundskins Rings (like FastRings, but way better):



Since the grille is permanently attached to the driver and is not a completely "flat" grille (has an arc to it), I figured the Soundskins would be beneficial to avoid losing some of the speaker output underneath the dash panel since there is no "seal" between the speaker and the dash panel, like there would be with OEM speakers).

I love this version of the Soundskins - they give you rings for speakers from 1" to 8" (I think) - two rings for each size. Only problem is that they never sold them in the US. I've been buying from an Ebay seller in Canada.

Here is a YouTube video that shows them:

And here is a link to the EBay seller I've been buying them from, if you are interested (I've been offering them $30 shipped and they've been accepting):
SOUNDSKINS RING KIT - acoustic baffles / spacer rings | eBay

But yeah, absolutely loving these CDT Unity 8.0 widebands (2" aluminum cone driver with a freq response of 200hz - 33khz). By far the best-sounding dash speakers I've tried. Highly recommended!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
So I've always wondered if these "Fast Rings" type products really made any difference or not. In theory, they seem like that would be beneficial, but do they really make any difference?

I took "before Soundskins" and "after Soundskins" un-EQ'd measurements of my Unity 8.0 dash speakers - here are the results:

Red=Before Soundskins
Green=After Soundskins

Left Speaker


Right Speaker


So there you have it... At least with these small 2" wideband dash speakers, they definitely do make a difference. For the most part, you get more volume from the speakers - up to a 3dB increase. However, there are some freqs where the output was actually a little lower with the rings. I would assume the response with the rings is the more "truer" response? Not sure how to know for sure either way though.

Keep in mind that these response graphs are with the speakers behind my very restrictive factory speaker grilles. The response is MUCH better without the OEM speaker grilles in place.

Also, I did take before/after-OEM-grilles-in-place measurements as well as comparison measurements between the CDT Unity 8.0 and Audiofrog GS25 speakers, which I will post shortly.
 

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Thanks for sharing the details of your build and thought process.
I think you may have bought the last set of those Soundskins Rings! I can't find them with that ebay seller you lined.
I wonder if if Soundskins has replaced them with the "SoundSkins Rings v3"?

What product did you use to measure the frequency response?

The Unity 8.0P speakers look interesting. For my own use, I would probably keep the pod mount for versatility in aiming them, but would really need to see how they look and sound on the dash... they aren't the most aestheticly pleasing.

Please keep sharing!
 

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Very nice build! I am interested in hearing what you think of the CDT Unity 8.0, I have installed them for customers and use them in my car. I think they are one of the better widebands available today.
 

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Thanks for sharing the details of your build and thought process.
I think you may have bought the last set of those Soundskins Rings! I can't find them with that ebay seller you lined.
I wonder if if Soundskins has replaced them with the "SoundSkins Rings v3"?

What product did you use to measure the frequency response?

The Unity 8.0P speakers look interesting. For my own use, I would probably keep the pod mount for versatility in aiming them, but would really need to see how they look and sound on the dash... they aren't the most aestheticly pleasing.

Please keep sharing!
SQL Audio sells something similar, I actually prefer them. I really like their sound deadening as well
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Very nice build! I am interested in hearing what you think of the CDT Unity 8.0, I have installed them for customers and use them in my car. I think they are one of the better widebands available today.
I absolutely love the CDT Audio Unity 8.0 speakers. I've tried many different solutions for the dash speakers, including inexpensive coaxials (Infinity, Kenwood Excelon, etc), expensive coaxials (Illusion Audio C3CX) and Audiofrog widebands (GS25) and I like the Unity 8.0's the best of them all.

I don't miss having a dedicated tweeter one bit - like not AT ALL. With a little EQ, you'd never know there was no tweeter - and my stock speaker grilles are very restrictive to boot - wouldn't need as much EQ if I didn't have those restrictive OEM speaker grilles (they are part of the dash, so I can't just "fix" the grille part easily - would require major customization to improve the dash grilles). The Unity 8.0 speakers are very impressive. I hate using words to explain how something sounds, but I'll try... :) They just sound so smooth and clear. I have no harshness at all like I did with some other 3.5" speakers.

Love them and can't recommend them enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
SQL Audio sells something similar, I actually prefer them. I really like their sound deadening as well
They actually look VERY similar with the Soundskins Ringz V3, which come in "strips" - which I also have:



However, for round speakers, I like the other style better, where they came in pre-made circles. They aren't as wide as the strips, which I found to be a little too wide for a lot of speakers - the round ones just seem to work better since there are no ends that "meet up" (since they are made as one round piece).

Unfortunately, the pre-made round SoundSkins are almost impossible to find anymore...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm kind of curious - does anyone know why the Helix folks recommend 12dB Butterworth xovers for just about everything (except maybe the subwoofer)?

It seems like everyone else in the world recommends 24dB Linkwitz-Riley. Just kind of curious why Audiotec-Fischer recommends 12dB Butterworth xovers in their Sound Tuning magazines... Specifically, I'm talking about this one:

http://audiotec-fischer.de.dedivirt284.your-server.de/media/pdf/4c/6d/b3/ATF_Sound_Tuning_Magazine-DSP_Special_Vol2_Web59e70d008e6b1.pdf

Is there any reason why someone might want to use 12dB Butterworth filters in an active system (acoustical xovers)?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Can't answer your question about the Butterworth crossovers, but regarding your dash grills, can you mod and wrap them with speaker grill cloth? I did something similar in my WRX.
I'm sure that it can be done - but I don't have the skills to do it.

Here is what I mean when I say that they are "built into" the dash panel (they are actually part of the dash panel itself - there are no separate removable grilles that I can easily modify and wrap - I'd have to cut them out and replace them with custom-made grilles somehow):

 

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Discussion Starter #14
Aaah. I see what you are saying now. Is that a spot for a center channel?
Yep - some models of the car come with a center-channel speaker (18-speaker kind of OEM system). Mine did not, but the grille is still there. Would be pretty easy to add a center-channel speaker if I ever wanted to go that route, but I doubt that I ever will. From what I've read, two-seat tunes are a real "challenge" - and most of the time, I'm by myself when I drive the Challenger.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If the area where the grills are is flat, could you use something like this?

View attachment 275618
Yeah, I started looking into simple round aftermarket grilles, but just not sure how that would work out. Wasn't sure how they would "mount" to the dash panel. I just don't have the skills when it comes to that kind of stuff. I'd rather the speaker grilles not be "tied" to a specific speaker in case I change the dash speakers out at some point in the future (not planning to change them, but...). So I'm assuming that we're talking about using some sort of adhesive to mount them - and that makes me nervous (I like screws!). :)

Thoughts?
 

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I’m curious about the benefit of opening up the grills or making them less restrictive, specifically when using widebands. My thought is that fairly restrictive grills act as wave guides in a way, in that they guide the sound waves toward the windshield. I could see this being fairly useful with a wideband where you have the lower frequencies that are not beaming and would reach your ear more directly (if not guided by the grills) vs the higher frequencies which definitely are beaming into the windshield only.

Basically I wonder if the restrictive grills actually help by making most or all of the sound bounce off the windshield instead of a mix of direct and indirect. I think this depends on a specific car, grills, and relative speaker position (and the use of widebands). But just a thought.

I totally get that the speaker measures differently with the grills off. I would think it would be louder and I would think you would get a boost in the lower frequencies in particular as you’ll get a lot more direct energy/sound waves.

In the end it probably comes down to listening preference, but just was thinking that it might not be an automatic win in every case. I could be wrong though :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I actually listened and took measurements before and after installing the stock speaker gilles. The difference was pretty dramatic. It basically sounded like I put pillows over the speakers when I installed the stock dash panel with the speaker grilles! I was really surprised. On the back side of the dash panel, there are no "guides" that help seal the speakers to the dash panel or help "direct" the sound at all - it's just completely flat, but the plastic "slits" covering about 50% of the speaker openings. I do use some Soundskins foam fastring-like closed cell foam to help "seal" the speakers against the dash though (mentioned earlier in this thread) - which did actually make a measurable difference.

I noticed that Nick (@SkizeR ) also found the same thing on a Challenger that he did (Hellcat model, which has the exact same dash/speaker grilles). He actually ended up cutting the stock grilles out and replaced them with custom grilles that were much less restrictive.

I'll find the measurements of each and post them. From what I remember, it actually impacted the mid/higher frequencies more than the lower frequencies.

Like you said, every car will be different, but the stock grilles in these Challengers are pretty bad....

WIll be back and post the with/without grille measurements shortly.
 

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Yeah, I’m sure they are bad. Was just a thought. ;-). I have a similar situation in my car. I haven’t done the measurements, I don’t find the sound to be lacking, but I wonder.

The install that skizer did was a three way, so without the beaming issues that a wideband has.


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call Nick Apicella and have him make you a pair of these...
275810
 
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