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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, I am looking for a no limits system on my next install which is for a BMW 8 series Gran Coupe. I am looking for some ideas and am torn in direction.

1. the classic big name old school approach
Dynaudio Esotar speakers
Class A/B amps like Brax or Zapco
Helix DSP

2. newer school approach with great specs but not brands that big name retail pushes
Scanspeak speakers
Class D Amps (Hypex Ncore)
MiniDSP with Dirac Live

This second approach would probably end up with cheaper equipment costs, and lower power draw on the electrical system which seems great. I'm sure with good tuning and install, both systems would come out awesome. I don't have time or skill to do the high end fab work myself though. Certainly a custom shop is going to be more into the first approach...

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Additional background:

For the speakers, I really respect the Dynaudio. I have not heard a full scanspeak setup but enjoyed some high end speakers that had mixed Scanspeak drivers. Obviously much comes down to tuning once the drivers are this good.

My current systems are Morel speakers with JL amps and DSP. I definitely want nicer amps than the VXi series. The JL DSP hasn't been very easy to work with once you get into multiple amps and channels. And the Morel speakers sound good but haven't been very reliable, requiring a few replacements.

In home audio I have spent time comparing the Hypex Ncore with high end class A/B amps, and while I ended up with class A/B monoblocks for my main system I must say the class D was very competitive. I do have a setup with Purifi which is basically next gen class D and it is great. I am surprised that there aren't more manufacturers coming out with Ncore amps in car audio?!? Many home audio manufacturers have been coming out with amps based on the Ncore modules. Where are all the Ncores for car audio?
 

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Biketrnoix is the only company I know of making car amps with NCore modules. I'm not sure if they show up on their webpage or not, but you can call them and find out more. Their normal series amps are using the older class D modules (Hypex Unp ? too lazy to look it up). I don't know what other high end class D amps are using. MMats also make well regarded class D amps. I'm currently running a Biketronix amp and one reason is that the class D Hypex modules have been well reviewed in some pretty high end home amplifiers, so I know its a good design. I've been happy with the sound of these amps but i'm not a golden ear.

I don't have any personal knowledge, but the general sense on the forum and the reviews I read I think the top end Dynaudio Esotar speakers are pretty hard to beat and probably a step above what you'd put together with Scanspeak (and I'm a big fan of Scanspeak speakers).

Personally your first plan is more interesting to me, luxury high end gear and big amps - the second choice is certainly more practical, but the first choice would be something worth showing off. I personally wouldn't be able to tell the difference in SQ I'm sure. Stealth systems are super cool though too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks preston.

I think the more I think about it, the cool factor of the Dynaudio is probably going to win over Scanspeak.

The proposed speakers to power will be:
pair E110 (150W RMS at 6ohms)
pair E430 (150W RMS at 4ohms, rated 200W with high pass of 250hz)
pair E650 (200W RMS at 4ohms)
pair E1200 (400W RMS at 4ohms)

Helix DSP Pro 2 or Ultra as processor.

Amps?
-Zapco Z-150x6 AP x2
-Helix C Four x3
-Brax GX2400 x2 plus GX2000
-Brax MX4 Pro x3 (cost would get really silly if I upgraded to the Brax DSP processor to match)
 

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I'm not a huge believer in amplifier sound signature being that noticeable. The Zapcos are big and sexy and have been used in many succesful high end systems and certainly have the power needed. But Brax or Helix give off a strong whiff of luxury and elegance. I've heard Nick say there was an impressive difference between a Helix Ultra dsp and the Brax but personally I can't even imagine having ears that sensitive. But yeah full Brax would be something to show off - comes down to budget vs sexiness. Whether you can really hear the difference between high end and ultra high end I'm skeptical but as I mentioned I don't have golden ears.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Dynaudio speaker power ratings I am trying to match up amps to:
pair E110 (150W RMS at 6ohms)
pair E430 (150W RMS at 4ohms, rated 200W with high pass of 250hz)
pair E650 (200W RMS at 4ohms)
pair E1200 (400W RMS at 4ohms)

Well, here would be the amp setups:

Zapco:
-Zapco Z-150.6 (left 1 channel to E110 6ohm about 100W, 1 channel to E430 4ohm at 150W, 2 channels to E650 bridged 500W 4ohm, 2 channels to E1200 bridged 500W 4ohm)
-Zapco Z-150.6 (right 1 channel to E110 6ohm about 100W, 1 channel to E430 4ohm at 150W, 2 channels to E650 bridged 500W 4ohm, 2 channels to E1200 bridged 500W 4ohm)

Helix:
-Helix C Four (2 channels to E110 6ohm about 100W each. 2 channels to E430 4ohm at 150W each)
-Helix C Four (2 channels to front doors 4ohm, 440W each, bridged)
-Helix C Four (2 channels to E1200 4ohm 440W each, bridged)

Brax Graphic:
-Brax GX2400 (2 channels to E110 6ohm about 100W each. 2 channels to E430 4ohm at 150W each)
-Brax GX2000 (2 channels to front woofers 4ohm 290W each)
-Brax GX2400 (2 channels to E1200 4ohm 480W each, bridged)

Brax Matrix (2 amp):
-Brax MX4 Pro (2 channels to E110 6ohm about 200W each. 2 channels to E430 4ohm at 300W each)
-Brax MX4 Pro (2 channels to front woofers 4ohm 300W each, 2 channels to E1200 4ohm 300W each)
Is 300W enough to power the E1200 in an infinite baffle? Recommended seems to be more, hence this becomes a 3 amp setup...

Brax Matrix (3 amp):
-Brax MX4 Pro (2 channels to E110 6ohm about 200W each. 2 channels to E430 4ohm at 300W each)
-Brax MX4 Pro (2 channels to front woofers 4ohm 300W each- this leaves 2 channels free for expansion, maybe rear fill or center in the future)
-Brax MX4 Pro (2 channels to E1200 4ohm 600W each, bridged)

So what do you think? Seems like 2x Zapco has more rated power than 3x Helix or Brax Graphic. The 3x Brax Matrix is not surprisingly the overall winner of a setup here. But at an astronomical price, size, and power draw.

Speaking of power draw, are these setups going to be too much on my electric system? I just realized I've run class D for my last four setups!
 

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While one of the best sounding front stage combos I've heard was the E110/E430, do you have the room for a full format tweeter like the E110 in your BMW? I'm not familiar with the vehicle, so just asking.
Also, if you can fit an 8 inch driver as a midbass, you'll get more cone area for a bit more punch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
None of these drivers can really go in stock locations and do them justice in this vehicle.

Probably mill down the E110 faceplate and go custom dash pods or A pillars with the E430 up there too.

The stock midbass location is under seat and is too small volume. Probably need a custom space there (some have apparently vented outside to make it like an IB). Kickpanels may just take up too much space. If the Dynaudio MW182 would fit, it is a consideration (and it has been done apparently). But there is something nice about going full Esotar setup with the E650. Plus the E650 is smaller at 6.5in diameter, 5.35mount cutout, 2.64in depth. MW182 is 9.4in diameter, 7.6mount cutout, 2.95in depth.
 

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I'm not a huge believer in amplifier sound signature being that noticeable. The Zapcos are big and sexy and have been used in many succesful high end systems and certainly have the power needed. But Brax or Helix give off a strong whiff of luxury and elegance. I've heard Nick say there was an impressive difference between a Helix Ultra dsp and the Brax but personally I can't even imagine having ears that sensitive. But yeah full Brax would be something to show off - comes down to budget vs sexiness. Whether you can really hear the difference between high end and ultra high end I'm skeptical but as I mentioned I don't have golden ears.
It wasn't minor. Unmistakable. I was able to tell from another room
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It wasn't minor. Unmistakable. I was able to tell from another room
I saw another thread where you basically said that Brax DSP and Brax Matrix would be an end game setup for you... that says a lot given all the gear you've heard. Would that really be that far ahead of Zapco Z AP with Helix Pro? I've heard Graphic not Matrix series before, so perhaps I just don't know what I'm missing! And if so, do you think I need the 3 amp set-up of MX4 Pro for the planned speaker setup? Ideas on fitting these speakers- I am guessing you've done 5 or 8 series before? E650 or MW182 under seat? Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So, do you think that 300W x2 to the Dynaudio Esotar 1200 would be sufficient with this in infinite baffle? That would mean two MX4 Pro, not three! Rating is 400W thermal on the subs, but it sounds like it will hit max excursion with less power in an IB setup? I've never had IB, just sealed.
 

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I saw another thread where you basically said that Brax DSP and Brax Matrix would be an end game setup for you... that says a lot given all the gear you've heard. Would that really be that far ahead of Zapco Z AP with Helix Pro? I've heard Graphic not Matrix series before, so perhaps I just don't know what I'm missing! And if so, do you think I need the 3 amp set-up of MX4 Pro for the planned speaker setup? Ideas on fitting these speakers- I am guessing you've done 5 or 8 series before? E650 or MW182 under seat? Thanks for your thoughts.
Yes, this would be it for me. Brax electronics, Accuton Automotive speakers.

IF I had to compromise somewhere, I'd step thr brax matrix down to graphic. If I had to compromise more, down to Helix C. Even more, Mosconi Pro. Only then would I step the brax dsp down to the ultra. Accuton Automotive speakers are staying put if anything similar to "end all" is the goal.
 

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Find a HIGHLY reputable shop with top tier installers (Musicar in Portland, for example but there are others) and work with them on system design. You're talking about a $25k+ (more for Brax) job in a $150k vehicle.
 

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Hi, I am looking for a no limits system on my next install which is for a BMW 8 series Gran Coupe. I am looking for some ideas and am torn in direction.

1. the classic big name old school approach
Dynaudio Esotar speakers
Class A/B amps like Brax or Zapco
Helix DSP

2. newer school approach with great specs but not brands that big name retail pushes
Scanspeak speakers
Class D Amps (Hypex Ncore)
MiniDSP with Dirac Live

This second approach would probably end up with cheaper equipment costs, and lower power draw on the electrical system which seems great. I'm sure with good tuning and install, both systems would come out awesome. I don't have time or skill to do the high end fab work myself though. Certainly a custom shop is going to be more into the first approach...

Thoughts?

Where are you located?
 

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I’ll chime in my thoughts I run a full 3 way esotar2 front stage with zapco ap amps and zapco hdsp with a es9038pro dac upgrade plus tru technology class a line conditioners. Tuning is going to be important factor no matter how you dice it. If you want to continue to spend more money on higher end amps just remember that brax mx4 hardware is great but there line hasnt been updated oh idk prob about 10 years. There hardware is good but it’s not latest tech that’s personal preference of course. If your gonna spend that much money on brax amps you might as well by super expensive custom rcas with WBT connectors specifically the 0102 or 0105 ag. If you want high end you need to continue to buy everything high end eventually you will hit a point of diminishing returns and idc what anyone tells you this won’t make a difference that won’t this won’t that won’t. Guess what all those this and that’s all add up to make more differences. That being said. There more then one way to get good sq out with the tuning factor And you will never fully utilize it all if you don’t buy good solid speaker wires. I’m talking about the expensive kinds for home audio man. car audio rcas and wire is a poor mans dream. The difference between me and you and them is the amount of money we will all put into it. Some people will say it’s a waste while some will agree others won’t. If you plan on going brax because you dont want to miss out then you better be ready to drop some cash on High end rcas and speaker wire and don’t listen to what other say about wasting your money on 3k speaker wire how the hell would they know they aren’t using it because they don’t believe it will make a difference because they haven’t tried it because they won’t spend the money to try $1500 rcas for a pair. Remember that before people try to sway you off a path of buying high end stuff your sq will only be as good as your weakest link.
Anyways if you want high end stuff to buy I’ll lead you to the right directions I’m not a dealer im a person who is single with no kids. Brax is a great brand so is zapco snd every one else they all have different sound signatures just as dacs do with dsps. Dirac live is great I hear I’ve never used it and I probably never will because they use cheap ass hardware and rely solely on dsp processing auto tune. Ask yourself this why do they use usb 2.0 when usb 3.0 came out in 2008? Because I will tell you right now it doesn’t cost much to get usb3.0 it’s all about money Nickel and dime to mark up somewhere to keep prices low. Regardless of what I have to say I know there is no ****ing way miniDSP is gonna be cheaper than all the other highend dsps and somehow both be cheaper and use the same parts it’s not possible. Just look at the cheap rca connectors they use. Anyways I’m done ranting about miniDSP I never used them so I don’t have a real opinion on them just the hardware I do. So let me recap anything you get will be directly influenced by everything you buy don’t believe me?
Feel free to drive to Colorado to test out some high end rcas and wire from zenwaveaudio it’s where I’ll be getting my stuff from. All amps and dacs dsps speakers have a different sound signature. Esotar are more natural neutral which is My preference. Everyone will tell you won’t hear this when your driving so it’s a waste of money well that depends on two factors how quiet is your vehicle and tires and also how loud listen to music. I can tell you driving in the highway with no deadening sure I lose sq but not all of it not like what people will say how you won’t ever hear the difference that’s bs also how would they know? They aren’t in your car! They don’t have your ears ! Driving I the city I can hear my eq fine with our deadening and one day I will deaden it just for me I’ve had a bad experience where I do my whole car the. Something happens to it and I get to start over so I’d rather buy my gear first.
Idk what your true intentions for your mind to hear is but if you want good stuff it’s not as easy as saying this is the best and this isn’t as good. Everyone listens to music different everyone tunes different. I do t blend my vocals with my midbass but that’s me I currently have my midrange xover at 180 hz 48db -105db @ 230hz range me a q of I think 4 my midrange and tweeters are crystal clear and my e650 for midbass are fine I also have mine crossed at 180hz on a I think 12db slope using cherub filter but that’s me everyone is different I know I can use multiple midbass drivers to compensate the lack of areas and change the xover some with the added pairs of midbass in to blend because if you want clear muddy sound vocals go ahead they don’t sound bad you just miss out on a ton of details because you can’t hear it. Tuning fixes a lot but choosing the right dsp with the right functions also matter for what you want to hear things. It’s always about you the driver bit the audio installers ear. They might have great tuning skills and it probably sounds great to them but might not to someone else these are examples. But also the truth.
 

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Yes, this would be it for me. Brax electronics, Accuton Automotive speakers.

IF I had to compromise somewhere, I'd step thr brax matrix down to graphic. If I had to compromise more, down to Helix C. Even more, Mosconi Pro. Only then would I step the brax dsp down to the ultra. Accuton Automotive speakers are staying put if anything similar to "end all" is the goal.
AF posted this on their facebook page today, built by MSC, looking pretty sweet and I bet the sound is as well.

Circuit component Audio equipment Automotive design Font Auto part


 
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