DiyMobileAudio.com Car Stereo Forum banner

1 - 20 of 179 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is a build log for my 2014 Ram 1500 Limited. I have been working on it for a few months already. I am replicating at least part of it over here to be able to point to it from within this forum. Compared to others on here, this is pretty "Plain Jane".

Here is the shiny new truck from May.



My previous ride was a 2004 Tundra that had been modestly enhanced with an Excelon HU, less than $100/pr upgraded door speakers, modest 4ch amp, 300W old school RF Punch mono driving a pair of 8" Comp VRs under the rear bench in a Q-Logic enclosure. It sounded very good to me. Bass was deep and tight.

Stepping into the RAM with the "Premium" Alpine system with a 8.4AN HU was a clear step backwards sonically. The fundamental issue for me was boomy, muddy bass.

I bought a calibrated mic and took a bunch of measurements with REW. I characterized the factory system pretty well.

After a bunch of reading, I opted for the JBL MS-8 over the Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 because of two reasons:

1) MS-8 has an8 channel amp that drive the speakers allowing me to upgrade in slowly in measured steps rather adding new amps and speaker all at the same time.

and

2) The auto tune features are probably smarter than I am. I can always tweak personal preferences after it does most of the heavy lifting.

This is what I consider to be the problem that I was fixing.



For reference the measurements I took are located here:

Factory Measurement
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
1st upgrade was replacing L and R dash speakers with Infinity REF 3032 speakers. Much better response with those speakers.



The above is measured external to the vehicle with an external amp. So, it won't directly compare to the thread mentioned in post #1.

I found the soundstage much better with the Center disconnected. With the Center in place, I found that everything seemed to emanate from dead center of the dash with very little separation.

I bought an MS-8 off of ebay for $260 and started studying how I was going to do the install. The two issues were how to connect to the factory wiring and where to actually mount the MS-8 with the thought that external amps are coming in the future.

Attacking the connecting to the factory harness problem, I located the amp under the dash. There are two connectors.





I looked for awhile for to find something to plug that would prevent me from having to cut factory wires. I possibly found the automotive connectors at Mouser Electronics, but ultimately decided that would not have the crimp tools to populate the pins and the sockets to make the needed harnesses. I gave up on that and resigned myself to cutting into the harness. I looked at several connector configurations but opted for bullet connectors so I could reconfigure if necessary.

The second issue was location. Back wall was my initial thought but I ended up underneath the rear seat for now. I wanted to be able to get at the MS-8 without removing the seat. It will be easy to change in the future.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It was obvious that Front Dash and Doors need to be summed to get full range. I used the high level inputs as input to the MS-8.

Planned Inputs:

1 Dash Left
2 Door Front Left
3
4 Dash Right
5 Door Front Right


Outputs planned:

1 Dash Left
2 Door Front Left
3 Center (Reconnecting it after reading the MS-8 FAQ thread)
4 Dash Right
5 Door Front Right
6 Door Rear Left
7 Door Rear Right
8 Sub

If I had to do it over again, I would do the speakers in the following order to minimize the up and down arrows on the MS-8 when tuning:

1 Door Front Left (FL Lo)
2 Dash Left (FL Hi)
3 Door Front Right (FR Lo)
4 Dash Right (FR Hi)
5 Center (Center)
6 Door Rear Left (SL)
7 Door Rear Right (SR)
8 Sub (Sub)

Ran a bunch of wires and tied into the factory wiring rather than running all new wires.











Good view of the bullet connectors that I used. This proved to be a good idea as I took additional measurements later.



A look under the dash. The uncapped bullets are one of the headliner "mistakes" I made following the wiring diagram found online. Cables still needed to be dressed a but more, but you get the idea. I followed a convention of anything with a signal output got a socket and anything expecting a signal got a "pin".

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Initial impressions of the results were not entirely favorable. Best way I can describe it is that it sounds "thin". I suspected that I may have phase issues and the center channel sounded "different" from the left and right. It was still the factory 3.5".

I told the MS-8 that I had no rears/sides and listened to familiar music without rears going to and from work for awhile. I think I am hearing more detail out of the music and it doesn't sound overly "thin" if I have the volume loud enough. The content that has well defined Left and Right content sounds good (BNL's Gordon as an example). The thin comments refer to having Logic 7 turned only.

Since I had easy access to the leads to the speakers I was able to drive them with directly without going through the HU or MS-8.

Left and right rear appear to be in phase with one another (Low frequencies decrease when I swap the leads for one speaker).



Rears seem out phase with Sub (red trace is when I reverse one lead):



Checking the front doors versus rear door, I can't figure it out from this graph. I ran out of time before moving the mic to a different spot to see if it changed.



Left and Right Dash look clearly in phase. (Blue is in phase)



Not sure what to think about Center speaker versus the right Dash speaker. 60Hz to 250Hz says that it is wired correctly, then the weird crossover. (Blue is in phase)



I also don't know what to think for the Front door (R) vs. Dash (R). (Red is in phase)

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Since the graphs were not totally evident, I took a different approach to determining if I had a phase issue.

I used two different tools. The 1st is an MP3 file that has information recorded in and out of phase.

persiconi.com at Directnic

The second was the same concept, but in some cases it was a bit easier because it went back and forth between in and out of phase.


In both cases I fed the audio from the computer to a small amp to drive the speakers directly.



Dash Left and Right were in phase with each other.
Front Door Left and Right were in phase with each other.
Rear Door Left and Right were in phase with each other.

Dash Right and Sash Left were in Phase with Center.
Dash Right and Front Door Right were OUT of phase with each other.
Dash Right and Rear Door Right were OUT of phase with each other.
Front Door Right and Rear Door Right were IN phase with each other.
Front Door Right and Sub were OUT of phase with each other.
Rear Door Right and Sub were OUT of phase with each other.

So, Front Doors and Rear Doors were opposite how I initially labeled and connected them.

To correct I swapped the polarity on the MS-8 output channels 2, 5, 6, and 7.

I did not change the input polarity to the MS 8 for Front Doors. MS-8 must figure it out and correct for it.

Based on this post, I am thinking I should go change that thought now.

MS8 does not/can not correct for phase. You must make sure everything is correct prior to calibration.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I have created what I think is the correct wiring info for the 2014 Limited. Rear Door speakers polarity swap was my fault. Front Door speakers info appears to be wrong at techauthorityonline.

The C1 Connector:



The C2 Connector:



If I would have thought ahead, I would have made the ones I believe to be wrong the RED text, and the correct ones BLUE instead of the backwards way I did it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
At this point (end of August 2014), my impressions were as follows:

Since the Center channel has different tonal qualities and appears to play louder, I have it adjusted down a bit. I am still waiting on a set of Infinity 3.5s. (When I called at day 5, I was told the speakers were on back order. 10 hours later, I got an email saying the same thing. I call yesterday to switch to the 3002s and was told they were on backorder as well. Not very happy with those folks...)

I am impressed with the performance of the OEM front doors. Of course I am not asking them to do too much. Current Lo/High cross is 200Hz. Sub cross 80Hz. When I get the new center installed, I will play a bit more with the crossovers.

I think the OEM 8" sub is doing an amazing job with only one of the voice coils being driven by only 20W from the MS-8. Bottom end has authority that may be partially helped from the 6x9s in the front doors. Songs that have single strong bass lines like "Scream & Shout" by will.i.am, sounds very good. I think I am hearing a bit of distortion with more complex passages. It does not sound as strong as the dual 8's I had in the Tundra driven by 300W. No surprise there. I think it is completely passable at this point. It makes it a bit harder to commit to my currently planned Net Audio Dodge Ram Quad Cab Sub Box Single Low with a JL 10W3V3. ($250 for the box is cheap enough to avoid the do it yourself experiment based on my assessment of my "skills")

The MS-8 was a good $260 investment.

An update from October 5, 2014:

Infinity 3002s arrived on 9/17 and I installed one as the Center channel. Much to my surprise, doing the level channel test from the MS-8 still had the timbre of the center sounding brighter.

Installing the speaker revealed that the "baffle" for the center is a very small space where as the left and right empty out from the dash to the floorboard.

I still have yet to measure the 3002 and compare it to the previously measured 3032. I will do that for completeness.

I bought a 10W3V3-4 off of ebay for less than $150 shipped. I went to pick up a netaudio sub box and it was $80 more than I remember it. Dang. At $220 I was sold. At $300 I am pausing.

An update from October 19, 2014:

I did order the NetAudio Low box. I just got a response from them saying that I am about 6th in line right now, so it should not be a long wait. Paul from Net Audio has been very helpful.

I picked up a JL Audio JX500/1D to drive the Sub.

That sub is sure bigger than a 3.5"!

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #10

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
An update from October 26, 2014:

Per a suggestion from BradKnob, I raised the Front Hi/Lo front low crossover point to get more out of the 6x9s in the front doors.

I had been using this for awhile:

Sub/Front Cross: 80Hz/24dB slope
Front Lo/Hi Cross: 150Hz/24dB slope
Center Hi Pass: 150Hz/24dB slope
Side Hi Pass: 50Hz/24dB slope

(with no other adjustments)

I raised the Front Lo/Hi Cross to: 350Hz/24dB slope. It sounded a bit thinner but raising the Bass tone control helped some. Front lows were still not supplying much energy. I spent several days riding around with this setup. I played a bit with the EQ, but never got to happy.

I tried raising Front Lo/Hi Cross to: 500Hz/24dB slope (with the Tone and EQ settings flat). The Center became VERY pronounced and overpowering.

I had measured the following for the levels at the output diagnostic stage (from the driver's seat) during the setup process:

L: 52 dB
R: 52 dB
C: 54/55 dB
SL: 46 dB
SR: 46 dB
Sub: 42dB

After calibration, dialing back the center to the mid point greatly improved the imaging.

In preparation for the next experiment (inserting an amp with a crossover for the 8" sub while I wait for the real sub enclosure) I reworked the connection. Instead of the MS-8 driving one of the voice coils I wired the two of them in series to present ~ an 4 ohm load. I did not expect one, nor did I get a noticeable difference in bass.

The next day I reworked my power distribution and added the JL JX500/1D to the mix and tried again.

Sub/Front Cross: 80Hz/24dB slope
Front Lo/Hi Cross: 400Hz/24dB slope
Center Hi Pass: 150Hz/24dB slope
Side Hi Pass: 50Hz/24dB slope

I had the sensitivity way down and LPF of the amp set to 65Hz.

I had measured the following for the levels at the output diagnostic stage (from the driver's seat) during the setup process:

L: 52 dB
R: 52 dB
C: 54/55 dB
SL: 46 dB
SR: 46 dB
Sub: 35dB

Basically the 35dB is the noise floor.

Post calibration, I set the sub LPF to 80Hz.

This setup "woke up" the front 6x9s as the MS-8 was trying to overcome the lack of subwoofer output. The sound stage opened up and lost most of the center pronounced overbearing sound stage. While it is a little on the heavy side, this is the best results I have had.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Per another suggestion from Brad (at the other forum)

if you haven't already, try dropping the sub/front x-over to 55-65ish or so. It may help pull the stage forward and blend the sub and mids a little better. Although I'm not sure what the stock 6x9 are designed to play down to but my understanding is that they receive a full signal in the factory setup anyway. plus I doubt 20 will damage them too much anyway.
I am pretty sure this is a good graph for the 6x9s using an external amp.



With the MS-8 output set at -20dB, I used the output diagnostic to measured speaker responses.

Front Left Dash and Door:



I measured about 3" from each of the speakers to minimize the modal effects of the cabin.

Hmmm....Crossing at 400Hz, might not be the best idea. Sort of a weird artifact at 400Hz. Same speaker in the rear, looked a bit different at that specific frequency.

Front and Rear door Factory 6x9s:



Center and Front High (Infinity 3.5" speakers) sure sound different even if the graph does NOT show it.



Zooming the scale in:



It appears that the difference is the environment that the two speakers play in. Left and Right dash basically fire up into the windshield and their back is mostly unobstructed down towards the floorboard. The Center only fires up due to some hard plastic preventing any sound from escaping towards the floorboard. As another way to capture how different they sound I did a little iPhone recording.

Tonal difference between LEFT dash and CENTER dash speaker in Ram 1500.



The subwoofer diagnostics:



It is a bit hard to measure a level at the driver's location in attempt to try and get the levels matched for the MS-8 to do its sweeps. Right now my set point for sensitivity is 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock (about 1/4 turn from all the way down)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
OK, finally trying what was suggested ("dropping the sub/front x-over to 55-65ish")

Sub/Front Cross: 65Hz/24dB slope
Front Lo/Hi Cross: 400Hz/24dB slope
Center Hi Pass: 150Hz/24dB slope
Side Hi Pass: 50Hz/24dB slope

LPF of the sub amp set to 65.

It blends pretty well. Certainly making progress. Center is too pronounced still. Dialing the level of the Center back using the MS-8 helped a bit.

Given that the Front Lo looked a bit "wonky" at the 400Hz level, I tried going up to 600Hz for the Front Lo/Hi cross. Also lowered the center to 100Hz..... YUCK.

Next try:

Sub/Front Cross: 65Hz/24dB slope
Front Lo/Hi Cross: 350Hz/24dB slope
Center Hi Pass: 120Hz/24dB slope
Side Hi Pass: 50Hz/24dB slope

LPF of the sub amp set to 65 for calibration, then adjusted to 80Hz.

The center was still too prominent. Physically disconnected the Center without recalibrating, and I think it sounds better. Still not happy. I have lost connection to the Factory starting point in my head since it has been so long since I have heard it. I know it clearly sounds very inferior to my very modest home set up. I think that is my stable reference point now as to what sounds good (enough).

Here is what remains constant through all of this. Songs with great L/R separation with a strong bass bottom end, played loud, sound good. (Talking Heads - Stay Up Late, Will.i.am - Scream and Shout, Green Day - Brain Stew, Muse - Madness and Uprising). Songs that don't are disappointing.


At this point I am still waiting for the Netaudio sub enclosure that should be getting close. I don't know if I am also fighting distortion from the plastic factory enclosure for the 8" sub flexing too much.



Not sure if I am wasting my time experimenting in the current configuration or if it is time well spent....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
From an earlier post

Dash Left and Right were in phase with each other.
Front Door Left and Right were in phase with each other.
Rear Door Left and Right were in phase with each other.

Dash Right and Sash Left were in Phase with Center.
Dash Right and Front Door Right were OUT of phase with each other.
Dash Right and Rear Door Right were OUT of phase with each other.
Front Door Right and Rear Door Right were IN phase with each other.
Front Door Right and Sub were OUT of phase with each other.
Rear Door Right and Sub were OUT of phase with each other.

So, Front Doors and Rear Doors were opposite how I initially labeled and connected them.

To correct I swapped the polarity on the MS-8 output channels 2, 5, 6, and 7.

I did not change the input polarity to the MS 8 for Front Doors. MS-8 must figure it out and correct for it.

Based on this post, I am thinking I should go change that thought now.
MS8 does not/can not correct for phase. You must make sure everything is correct prior to calibration.
I went back swapped polarity on the MS-8 inputs for Channels 2 and 5. (The inputs are only channels 1/2 and 4/5)

I connected the center back up on ran a calibration on 11-11-14 with the following

Subsonic: 20Hz/12dB slope
Sub/Front Cross: 65Hz/24dB slope
Front Lo/Hi Cross: 300Hz/24dB slope
Center Hi Pass: 130Hz/24dB slope
Side Hi Pass: 50Hz/24dB slope
Sweeps Level: -40

LPF of the sub amp set to 65 for the calibration and then adjusted up to 80Hz.

Latest sounds pretty good. I would say sound image is up front and very well defined. Bottom end is a bit heavy.

Overall Response



MS-8 was set to "Driver" with the mic vertically oriented about where my nose is.

Looks to have quite the peak at 500Hz and a fair size valley at 220Hz. About a 20dB swing using a sweep on REW. Not sure if that is a visualization of my "thin" sound or not. I have not tried very hard with the graphic equalizer yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
From an earlier post
I went back swapped polarity on the MS-8 inputs for Channels 2 and 5. (The inputs are only channels 1/2 and 4/5)
Does post #7 have the latest wiring information?

Subscribed! I'll be installing an MS-8 in my '14 ram cc (alpine) in a couple weeks and will be using this and bradknob's threads as a guides. do you know of anyone else with ram build threads?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #18

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
At this point I am still waiting for the Netaudio sub enclosure that should be getting close. I don't know if I am also fighting distortion from the plastic factory enclosure for the 8" sub flexing too much.
Got a tracking number yesterday. NetAudio Sub enclosure will be delivered on Wednesday. I can get the factory 8" out of the equation and get the JL 10W3V3 in place. Looking forward to that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
308 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Got a tracking number yesterday. NetAudio Sub enclosure will be delivered on Wednesday. I can get the factory 8" out of the equation and get the JL 10W3V3 in place. Looking forward to that.
Look what showed up a day early!









Did a rough install
 
1 - 20 of 179 Posts
Top