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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
for the longest time people used kicks to put speakers in. but ive been noticeing more and more people putting them in A-pillers. is there an advantage over kicks. does it have to do to the way the vehicle is build.
 

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I think a bunch of people just started to realize that installing your speakers at your feet wasn't that great of an idea. I mean sure it can work if a lot of care is put into angling, but most probably don't. I've done a kick panel install before and it sounded ok, but it was mainly because it was really the only place I could put speakers. You have a point though that many cars today have fat a pillars making it much easier and cleaner looking to do then it used to be when most cars had thin pillars.

The biggest advantage to a pillars is the ability to get the speakers on, or close to on axis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for a great answer
 

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The main goal/advantage of kick panels is optimizing path length distances, this helps for building a 2 seat car where you don't want to time align the left and right side differently.

Nothing sounds good if you don't put decent effort into understanding why you are doing it, and taking care to do it right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thats why im asking
 

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If you have ears and patience [ The Sky is the Limit :cool: ]

different frequencies . . . require different implementations to be OPTIMAL ;)

Better sounding cars are put together with mirror imaging in mind ;)

average sounding car audio is accomplished by putting the speakers in the easiest way possible [ majority ]:(

:eek:
 

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A lot of cars are not setup well for kick panels. My Magnum is a horrible car to try and do them. My foot wells are really deep which would be good for PLD, but the dash/console area would destroy any chance of getting good sound, plus I have a dead pedal and removing it is not an option.

So in other words, the theory of kick panels is one thing, installing them in some cars is a completely different story. Same may be true with A-pillars, they work better in some cars than others.

I'm personally not willing to destroy my car or make it look retarded by putting speakers where they don't integrate with the interior. I've seen many people make those sacrifices, but I won't. I'll be using the stock door and dash locations for an 8" midbass and 3" full range/coaxial.
 

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I recently built and installed my first set of kicks and have been incredibly pleased with the result. The doors of my Civic, no matter how much damping and deadening, never seemed to provide a good home for speakers.

There would have to be a good reason to go back to door speakers for me. I don't miss my dead pedal, and the loss of footspace is not an issue. The loss of buzzes, rattles and resonances outweigh those issues. Not to mention the improved imaging.

I understand that car audio is about compromise and trade-off and I believe that all speaker locations have their own.

That being said, I look forward to getting something up on my dash/a-pillar and seeing for myself if that will work for me.:)
 

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IMO, highs are better up where you can aim them.
I have the Fountek 3" in my A-pillars firing directly across at one another. Definitely not on-axis like many prefer, but even this install sounds WAY better than anything I could ever dream up in the kicks. I can say one thing, with those drivers in that position, I most definitely do NOT need a tweeter ...

The hindered off-axis response seems to be helped by windshield reflections. It has a few peaks and valleys, but overall, it's pretty steady across the spectrum ...
 

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I drive a small vehicle (1989 Nissan Sentra) and the only location I've found that sounds decent for the tweeters is down in the kicks. Goes against what many people say about imaging, but on the A pillars they were way too loud an unbalanced, on the doors the stereo effect sounded backwards, so I recently tried the kicks.

With the tweeters in the kicks my left-right imaging is pretty much perfect (equivalent paths) and I'm honestly surprised at the height of the soundstage. I rarely notice that the sound is coming from the footwells. My car also had a plastic piece exactly where a fiberglass kick would go, it's even angled correctly, so I surface mounted the tweets there. If I ever get around to it, I may flush mount them later.

So A-pillars or door locations or whatever probably work great for many newer vehicles as noted previously, but as it stands I managed to achieve a fairly realistic front stage without time alignment, EQ, or fiberglass fabrication. Oh yeah, and my A-pillars are like 2" wide so I agree with the point about not having much to work with that way on older cars.
 

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I drive a small vehicle (1989 Nissan Sentra) and the only location I've found that sounds decent for the tweeters is down in the kicks. Goes against what many people say about imaging, but on the A pillars they were way too loud an unbalanced, on the doors the stereo effect sounded backwards, so I recently tried the kicks.

With the tweeters in the kicks my left-right imaging is pretty much perfect (equivalent paths) and I'm honestly surprised at the height of the soundstage. I rarely notice that the sound is coming from the footwells. My car also had a plastic piece exactly where a fiberglass kick would go, it's even angled correctly, so I surface mounted the tweets there. If I ever get around to it, I may flush mount them later.

So A-pillars or door locations or whatever probably work great for many newer vehicles as noted previously, but as it stands I managed to achieve a fairly realistic front stage without time alignment, EQ, or fiberglass fabrication. Oh yeah, and my A-pillars are like 2" wide so I agree with the point about not having much to work with that way on older cars.
My A-pillars are not wide at all, and I was able to make it look relatively unobtrustive ...

I don't know if it's the case with all cars, but my A-pillars become IB once I get the driver in there and the pillar sealed up. Enclosure size was not an issue for me ...
 

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kicks are great if some common sense is used in the design. the goal is to max. pathlengths of the drivers.. the problems arrise with centre counsils, and sound loss into the lower part of the dash right above the pedals and behind the glove box... Gary Biggs used kick panels and slaughtered at worlds, and so with ever car ever touched by speaker works... so to say kicks dont work is wrong..... one problem is its hard to get a strong centre image with depth or as some refer to it as a rainbow effect in the imaging... also space. i find i kick those damn things all the time...
now a pillars are all the rage because a couple of really really smart and expensive installs used them and won at worlds. so its the new and kool thing to due in car audio. now are they any better than kicks... well yes and no.. first off your staging comes up but you now have a very narrow soundstage. also you take away from your veiw through the windshield, and are advertising steal me, steal me much more than with kicks...... so you decide...... kicks sound awsome when done right and so can a pillars, just know your limits and get help once you reach your limit!!!
 

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My A-pillars are not wide at all, and I was able to make it look relatively unobtrustive ...

I don't know if it's the case with all cars, but my A-pillars become IB once I get the driver in there and the pillar sealed up. Enclosure size was not an issue for me ...
Maybe I should add that my A-pillars are only covered by an 1/8" thick piece of plastic with about 1/2" of space behind it. When I tested the tweets up there they were surface-mount with some tape, I didn't get any further than that because I didn't like the sound. I would have had to build pods on the A-pillars to even get the tweeters in. Flimsy old imports... I can't justify replacing the car, because it just won't die, lol.

Currently I'm running 6.5" mids in the doors and tweeters in the kicks, so putting anything besides the tweeters up there would be quite obtrusive! :p I'm by no means saying kick-panel locations are always better, just that they can work well in some vehicles.
 

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I agree with a lot of the previous posts. Which option is best depends on the car and your tolerance for mounting large pods in the A Pillar area. I own a 1995 BMW 525i wagon and a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder. Neither one is a good car for kick panel speakers. The bimmer has the room behind the kick panels to mount good drivers but the footwell is narrow and has many obstructions and reflecting surfaces between the drivers and my ears. Getting the drivers aimed properly meant that I had a kick panel that got in the way of shifting and enjoying driving the car. The best SQ solution for me is a midbass behind the OEM kick panel and speaker pods in the corners of the dash with a 3" full range driver. My Pathfinder is similar. The kicks are low and way off axis to the driver's ears. Some kind of small A pillar speaker pod is the best SQ option for this vehicle too.

I think kick panels can work but you need a vehicle where the driver sits low and is not too far above the kick panels. Then, it has to be a car with relatively open areas around the kicks. That usually means front wheel drive with its flat floor pan and no clutch pedals to clutter the area near the kick panels. Unfortunately, I like RWD and manual transmissions so kick panels are not for me. I also think most SUVs and pick ups put the driver too high relative to the kick panels to get good frequency response without a lot of reflections.
 

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The thing I always hated about kick panels is that the sound very noticeably changed when I simply moved my leg.
There is nothing more annoying then having a leg crap because you don't want to screw up the sound.

I think its really the seating position. In a lot of trucks or SUVs the seats are basically straight up and the speakers are only a foot in front of you but 4 feet below you. In these cars, the kick panels are not going to work and may be even worse then the doors.
In a sports car and some sport compact cars, the speakers are further in front of you but not as low. In these cars a kick panel works. I had good luck in my protege, MX-6, and Subaru impreza.

For my Xterra, the door speaker locations were god awful and the kicks would make a bad thing worse. So I went with A-pillars. They are aimed straight across the dash like some other people except I have a tweeter recessed back a little further then the mids to help attenuate the top end.
Imaging wise, the kicks in my suby were better, but detail, clarity, volume per power applied are great with the A-pillar mounts. I tried a lot of mounting positions and angles but this was the one that gave the best balance for both front passengers and they is dead on even for both people as I have it.
I am sure that if I had a 1/3 octave EQ and some time alignment I could make a different angle sound even better on axis but for that I would have to tune the car for the drivers seat only and sacrifice the passenger seat's sound.

One not of caution, many apillars are now surface wise large enough because they have an air bag in there. Careful of those.
 

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the great thing about tweets in the pillars is that you establish stage height. the challenge is making sure your mids can blend evenly with that without creating a separate soundstage. that being said, i'd prefer them over in the kicks just about every time.
 

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After having dash mounted mids I could never go back. The stage height is amazing as well as the clarity. If you want to successfully run door midbasses and mids up on the dash or a-pillar you almost have to have time alignment unless you want to mount the mids so that they are the same distance to your ear as the door speakers. As long as you have them t/a to one another you will not be able to tell you have speakers in different places. Right now I have door midbasses, dash mounted mids and tweeters in sail panels yet you wouldn't be able to tell how many speakers I have running due to how well they blend.

It makes sense though having your speakers up that high. So long as you can aim them well and work around reflection issues I don't think you can go wrong. I'd suggest a dashmat as a minimum and also wrapping your a-pillars in speaker cloth(or very thin foam like ensolite with speaker cloth on top) to reduce reflections in all areas but the windshield. And if you aim your speakers away from the windshield and carefully choose speakers with your desired dispersion characteristics this shouldn't be a huge problem. Ie; don't buy a speaker that performs well off axis and then aim them so they're 30° off axis to the windshield. Right now I have my 4" mids firing up near my dome light so I have less reflection issues with my windshield and front door windows than if I had them crossfiring across the dash or aimed directly on axis to me. This dramatically helps my imaging as well.
 

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I think you need to be specific about systems before you go off and generalize. Good tonality and a wide, deep, accurate soundstage are difficult at best to achieve when your tweeters are separated from your mids. That being the case, if you are talking about a 3 way system and you can get your tweets and mids in the pillars then I think it's a fine option.

With a two way system putting your tweets in the pillars and mids in the kicks or doors will make good tonality and an accurate soundstage extemely difficult to achieve. On the other hand, a little time spend aiming tweeters in the kicks for a two way system and you can get great staging, inlcuding stage height, right ouside the windshield, without sacrificing tonality.

I started with Rainbow SLCs and later Profis in the A-Pillars.


Yes, it was a no brainer to get the stage height up, but I never could get it to sound just right. It seemed like I was always sacrificing something for something else.

I decided to re-do the system with HAT L61-2 Pros and a full kick install






Obviously, it's not done yet, but I've had the rings and speakers installed for several weeks (Yes, I've tweaked the aiming several times during that time) and the difference is astounding. It really is the best two way setup I have ever heard. The soundstage is high, wide, deep and accurate. It also allowed me to drop the crossover frequency (the L1Pro is great at that) to minimize off axis roll off on the mids. Also, this is a BMW Z3 so the footwells are as deep as any and the kicks are small. I still managed to get a 7" mid and tweeter in without giving up my dead pedal. In fact, I'm thinking about adding a pair of L3s in the kicks and going for a full 3way kick install just for...um...well.....kicks.:)

So, basically I would say if you have a 3 way install and you can get your tweets and mids in the a-pillars then it's a good choice. If you have to separate the tweets and the mids, or if you are doing a 2 way install then you are better off spending a little more time and getting your tweets and mids together in the kicks.
 
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