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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

Im looking to upgrade the front stage in my 2017 Forte. Currently running Kenwood Excelon component speakers active from the Amp. The tweeters are starting to crackle once I turn the volume up, not exactly sure why, and was planning on upgrading this summer anyway. Im running an Arc Audio X2 600.4 amp (150W RMS/Channel) for front and a Kenwood Excelon XR1001-1 for sub. Factory HU with an Audio Control LC2i.

What are some good speakers I can upgrade to? My budget is $800 max. I will also have to buy a DSP. Am either looking for raw drivers or a component set and just ditching the passives.

Thanks in advance
 

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Was pretty impressed with Focal Flax series. They've updated them to Evo set now... might not be quite as good. Not sure.
 

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I run Hertz Legends 1800/700/280. They are overpriced but I like the look. That tweeter in the 165.3 set is not anything special imo. I was trying to keep you below budget.
 
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Lots of popular raw drivers to try out. Plenty of info on the forum to go through.

The focals look great I'm just looking for something with a higher wattage rating.
Power rating for mids and high isn't a parameter anyone should be really concerned with. If you have particular output requirements feel free to explain those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lots of popular raw drivers to try out. Plenty of info on the forum to go through.



Power rating for mids and high isn't a parameter anyone should be really concerned with. If you have particular output requirements feel free to explain those.
Yeah for sure lots of good info on the forum, feels like my head is about to explode from all the reading LOL

Im still new to this whole car audio world, but basically Im looking for a nice and warm sounding setup but one that can also get nice and loud and since the amp can do 150w rms/channel i wanted to try and optimize that power. The speakers i currently have are 80w and I just find they dont get loud enough when i really wanna turn up the volume. I understand I need to find drivers with higher Sensitivity as well.

Are there any speakers that are exceptionally good and everyones go-to or is it basically as long as you pay over a certain $ amount youre gonna get a decent product?
 

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Hello all,

Im looking to upgrade the front stage in my 2017 Forte. Currently running Kenwood Excelon component speakers active from the Amp. The tweeters are starting to crackle once I turn the volume up, not exactly sure why, and was planning on upgrading this summer anyway. Im running an Arc Audio X2 600.4 amp (150W RMS/Channel) for front and a Kenwood Excelon XR1001-1 for sub. Factory HU with an Audio Control LC2i.

What are some good speakers I can upgrade to? My budget is $800 max. I will also have to buy a DSP. Am either looking for raw drivers or a component set and just ditching the passives.

Thanks in advance
Welcome to DIYMA.

What are your goals for the system?

Do you want a better soundstage and imaging out in front of you so the performers are spread out above and across the dash, or are you mostly looking for a louder system with more clarity, with the sound coming from all around you?

Do you have the sedan or hatchback?

Is it the 7" OEM Touchscreen with the top dash locations for the tweeters, or the smaller non-touchscreen with no dash locations?...

Where are your current Kenwood component tweeters mounted?

The individual tweeters or components I would suggest will be dependent on what OEM mounting location(s) you have available, or if you are willing to DIY or pay for some custom tweeter pods, etc.

For a 2-way front stage, if they will fit, I will always suggest the SB Acoustics SB29RDCN-C000-4 Ring-Dome tweeters. They offer incredible performance for the price. But they are large and not always easy to integrate into an OEM interior without some custom fabrication work.

For the 6.5" midwoofer suggestions, we would need to know the maximum potential top mounting depth that is available with your OEM door locations, including how thick of a mounting baffle ring can be used without the speaker cone or surrounds hitting the inner door panel grills when playing loudly at high excursion.

IIRC, the crash bar inside the door is directly behind the speaker opening, as well as the window glass of course, so the available mounting depth may be limited and would exclude a lot of otherwise good suggestions we would make.


Have you done any sound deadening or resonance treatment to your front doors?

The plastic inner door plates in the Forte (and most Kia's & Hyundai's) where the 6.5" midwoofers mount are extremely flimsy and will vibrate and resonate quite a bit with good components that get loud and have substantial midbass output. This results in really sheitty sound.

For whatever speakers you end up with, I would have them mounted to some sturdy and dense mounting baffles/rings to help reinforce the flimsy door mounting locations. I prefer UHMW polyethylene or HDPE for this purpose. Both are relatively inexpensive and can be cut with standard woodworking tools, albeit with care and a bit of a mess.

I would also use a healthy dose of good quality CLD in & on the inner door sheetmetal & the plastic cover panels.

Where possible, treating the door panels themselves with some CLD and CCF will help with resonances as well.

DIYMA forum member SkizeR has a new self-adhesive backed CCF + thin lead sheet product that is sandwiched together and available in his ResoNix brand of sound deadening/treatment products that would be great for this. There is an excellent product & installation guide on the ResoNix Sound Solutions website that discusses the what/why/how details. The guide on www.sounddeadenershowdown.com is excellent as well, even though their products are no longer available.

I mention this because if it is not done, you will most likely not be taking full advantage of the upgrade in SQ that better components could potentially offer. IOW, you could spend a lot of money on good components, but still not achieve significant gains in performance, and could be very disappointed with the outcome.

My last point is that in every Kia or Hyundai vehicle I have installed a system in, the SQ of the OEM head units have really been poor!

My first experience with this was in upgrading my GF's former 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE AWD.

The first thing I did was to swap out the OEM Head Unit for a 2018 Kenwood eXcelon Reference DDX9905s, and even with no amplifier and just using the OEM speakers, it was a Night & Day improvement in SQ!!! Huge difference!

So, if at all possible, I would start with the SOURCE, because Garbage In = Garbage Out!

Go to https://www.idatalinkmaestro.com/en

They make a Radio Replacement interface (Maestro RR) that retains all of the OEM features and actually adds features and functionality for your vehicle, including dual functions for each steering wheel control button (via a long-press option), and engine/vehicle performance gauges and tire pressure indicators (if your vehicle already has those sensors).

You could sell the LC2i to help pay for the Maestro RR interface. The 2018 Kenwood DDX9905s is still an excellent unit in terms of features & SQ, including 5V Front/Rear/Sub RCA preouts that don't clip or distort, and they can be found very reasonably either new or used. Of course, there are other good options as well.

I believe that METRA also makes several different DD dash mounting kits as well. Scosche and other suppliers may also make them for your vehicle.

Sorry for the long post. But to give you worthwhile speaker upgrade suggestions, we really need to know what will fit without custom mods, and where you plan to mount them??? This is especially important when trying to suggest raw DIY drivers.

EDIT: And a good DSP unit can offer a HUGE upgrade in performance no matter what speakers you choose! I would actually prefer a good DSP, and not spending as much on the component speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Welcome to DIYMA.

What are your goals for the system?

Do you want better a better soundstage and imaging out in front of you and spread out above and across the dash, or are you mostly looking for a louder system with more clarity, with the sound coming from all around you?

Do you have the sedan or hatchback?

Is it the 7" OEM Touchscreen with the top dash locations for the tweeters, or the smaller non-touchscreen with no dash locations?...

Where are your current Kenwood component tweeters mounted?

The individual tweeters or components I would suggest will be dependent on what OEM mounting location(s) you have available, or if you are willing to DIY or pay for some custom tweeter pods, etc.

For a 2-way front stage, if they will fit, I will always suggest the SB Acoustics SB29RDCN-C000-4 Ring-Dome tweeters. They offer incredible performance for the price. But they are large and not always easy to integrate into an OEM interior without some custom fabrication work.

For the 6.5" midwoofer suggestions, we would need to know the maximum potential top mounting depth that is available with your OEM door locations, including how thick of a mounting baffle ring can be used without the speaker cone or surrounds hitting the inner door panel grills when playing loudly (higher excursion).

IIRC, the crash bar inside the door is directly behind the speaker opening, as well as the window glass of course, so the available mounting depth may be limited and would exclude a lot of otherwise good suggestions we would make.


Have you done any sound deadening or resonance treatment to your front doors?

The plastic inner door plates in the Forte (and most Kia's & Hyundai's) where the 6.5" midwoofers mount are extremely flimsy and will vibrate and resonate quite a bit with good components that get loud and have substantial midbass output. This results in really sheitty sound.

For whatever speakers you end up with, I would have them mounted to some sturdy and dense mounting baffles/rings to help reinforce the flimsy door mounting locations. I prefer UHMW polyethylene or HDPE for this purpose. Both are relatively inexpensive.

I would also use a healthy dose of good quality CLD in & on the inner door sheetmetal & the plastic cover panels.

Where possible, treating the door panels themselves with some CLD and CCF will help with resonances as well.

DIYMA forum member SkizeR has a new self-adhesive backed CCF + thin lead sheet product that is sandwiched together and available in his ResoNix brand of sound deadening/treatment products that would be great for this. There is an excellent product & installation guide on the ResoNix Sound Solutions website that discusses the what/why/how details. The guide on www.sounddeadenershowdown.com is excellent as well, even though their products are no longer available.

I mention this because if it is not done, you will most likely not be taking full advantage of the upgrade in SQ that better components could potentially offer. IOW, spending a lot of money without significant gains in performance, and being disappointed with the outcome.

My last point is that in every Kia or Hyundai vehicle I have installed a system in, the SQ of OEM head units have really been poor!

My first experience with this was in upgrading my GF's former 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SE AWD.

The first thing I did was to swap out the OEM Head Unit for a 2018 Kenwood eXcelon Reference DDX9905s, and even with no amplifier and the OEM speakers it was a Night & Day improvement in SQ!!! Huge difference!

So, if at all possible, I would start with the SOURCE, because Garbage In = Garbage Out!

Go to https://www.idatalinkmaestro.com/en

They make a Radio Replacement interface (Maestro RR) that retains all of the OEM features and actually adds features and functionality for your vehicle, including dual functions for each steering wheel control button (via a long-press option), and engine/vehicle performance gauges and tire pressure indicators (if your vehicle already has those sensors).

You could sell the LC2i to help pay for the Maestro RR interface. The 2018 Kenwood DDX9905s is still an excellent unit in terms of features & SQ, including 5V Front/Rear/Sub RCA preouts that don't clip or distort, and they can be found very reasonably either new or used. Of course, there are other good options as well.

Sorry for the long post. But to give you worthwhile speaker upgrade suggestions, we really need to know what will fit without custom mods, and where you plan to mount them.

EDIT: And a good DSP unit can offer a HUGE upgrade in performance no matter which speakers you choose! I would actually prefer a good DSP and not spending as much on the component speakers.
Thank you so much for the input! I really do appreciate the time you took to write all this.

To answer your questions, I'm not looking to build a SPL type setup, I do really enjoy SQ but at the same time i like to turn the volume up and and not be able to hear my own thoughts.

I have the Forte with 2 dash tweeters and 7" Touch HU. Currently my Kenwood Tweeters are installed on top of the factory grill and pointing towards the listeners as opposed to bouncing off the windshield. I will be doing the work myself and just getting it tuned professionally at the end, so I am open to installing speakers in the a-pillars although i would prefer to stick to the existing location.

The Kenwood woofers I have are 2 5/16" mounting depth and there is still a little room in case i get a bigger speaker but to be exact how much i would have to measure. How big a gap would i need to account for for the new speaker to function properly without hitting the door panel?

The doors are fully sound deadened using Noico Sound deadening. I put lots on the frame and the plastic inside and the door panel cover, but can always add more if needed. It works well now with minimal/nonexistent vibration.

You're right about the HU it really isnt the greatest as it starts to distort at 36/45 volume. That is what it is currently tuned to, so I am also open to upgrading it, just dont like the idea of loosing steering wheel functions but oh well.

And lastly yes for sure I would love to add a DSP to the system. Probably won't do everything at once as that would be really expensive and since the tweeters are crackling now I'm looking at new speakers.

Which piece or 2 of the system would you say would be the best to upgrade first?
 

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With $800 you can do speakers and DSP at the same time. And probably pick up a microphone for tuning while you're at it.

You need to measure that door location for the mid for mounting depth. Include depth w/ a baffle (speaker ring). No point in buying speakers that won't fit.

Next you need to measure the dash location for the tweeter (diameter of flange, cutout diameter, and depth).

You can spend about $150-250 for drivers, $300 for a the DSP, and Dayton Audio UMM-6 measurement mic for $80.

OEM integration can be expensive to do correctly and IMO not really necessary. Most DSPs have plenty of input options (analog and digital) to use another source for music. I prefer using my phone w/ a USB DAC to a digital coax connection at my DSP (Minidsp cDSP 6x8). No stupid noise issues, no worry about factory manipulated signal, etc.
 

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You don't have to loose your steering wheel controls (SWC) when adding an aftermarket head unit!

With a simple and relatively inexpensive PAC-Audio SWC interface ($40-60) you can retain all of your OEM SWC's with just about any aftermarket head unit.

I only suggested the iDataLink RR SWC & OEM integration interface because when combined with most of the Kenwood XR head units which directly support iDataLink Maestro, it offers additional SWC functionality as well as other vehicle performance & display/control options that a lot of people like.

Since your current speakers are failing you, you'll obviously want to start with replacing them first. Try to get accurate measurements for the available 6.5" mounting depth (with the windows down).

But again, you'll have to be careful when using your amplifier's HPF & LPF settings in order to not damage your new speakers as well, until you get an aftermarket head unit with better built-in active XO's, or preferably a good DSP.

Regarding the 6.5" speaker top clearance, it depends on the speakers that you choose, but in general you'll want to have at least 1/4"-3/8" of clearance from the top of the speaker's surround to the underside of the OEM speaker grill in the door panel.

Head units such as the Kenwood eXcelon Reference series (XR) have a decent built-in active 2- or 3-way DSP that will provide much better X/O options compared to most amplifiers! Just know that it still won't come close to using a good standalone DSP unit, but it's much better than only having the limited amplifier X/O filters. Often you can combine both to achieve better control of the X/Os in your 2-way + Subwoofer setup until you invest in a DSP.

So next, I would upgrade to a good aftermarket head unit with those built-in X/O & DSP features ASAP, or at the same time as your new speakers if at all possible!

Again, the older Kenwood XR HU model I listed (and others in the Kenwood XR line) can be found at very reasonable used prices, and often brand new at discounted pricing. They include Apple CarPlay & Android Auto as well. People are always upgrading to the latest & greatest so you can often snag a deal on their older unit.

With a good aftermarket HU, you'll gain MUCH better SQ overall with all of its sources compared to your OEM head unit, as well as the benefit of the built-in active DSP & X/O features so you are less likely to damage the new speakers.

If you have a smartphone or portable DAP (like a "higher-end" iPod), as lithium stated, you could forego the new Head Unit and use one of those as your SQ source directly into a good DSP. But most people prefer to have the more fully featured & integrated options of a good head unit, retaining it's SWC's, BT hands-free, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto for music and NAV, etc.

FYI, aftermarket head units that include Apple CarPlay or Android Auto allow you to use your smartphone much in the same way as lithium suggested using it connected directly to the DSP. i.e. the smartphone connects directly to the head unit which acts as the DAC, but doing it this way, your smartphone's features are also integrated into your aftermarket head unit's Touchscreen display and your SWC's still control the track selection/playback and volume.

I use lithium's method as well, but in real-world listening, the more direct and potential Hi-Res functionality of a direct connection from a smartphone or portable DAP to the DSP don't equate to significantly improved SQ (IME), and it also can't be controlled by your HU Display or SWC's.

Since you can do a bit of custom mounting for the tweeters, I would still suggest those SB Acoustics SB29 tweeters. You'd have to spend significantly more to get better tweeters, and they will easily provide the smooth and detailed response you are seeking with a bit of EQ, as well as excellent SPL output capability compared to most tweeters that can't play as low in frequency.

IMO, I would save up for a GOOD DSP rather than going for one of the extreme budget options. They are cheap for a reason.

Keep your eyes open for a used Helix DSP.3 or post a WTB in the Classifieds here for a DSP that's a good step up from the Dayton DSP-408 or RF DSR1, which I wouldn't bother with. While the AudioControl DSPs are good quality, IMO they have some significant limitations compared to others that are less expensive, so I don't recommend them.

IMO, it's better to save and do the DSP installation work just once with a good DSP rather than buying a cheap one and having to redo the DSP install again later when you find the cheap DSP is underperforming.

HTH
 

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I have the hertz Mille Legends also. I have the 3 way 1650.3, 700.3, and 280.3. I have ran it without the mids and it still sounds really good with the 2 way. I run the arc audio amp also at 150w per channel and the mids hit nicely. If you got the 2 way set you could Bridge the amp and use the crossover, or just run active. Cheaper just to get the drivers without the crossovers, which are bulky as hell.

Definitely need some sound deadening, more than you think, as those mids rattle everything. Cross them at like 3k with the tweeter, which can play low, and you got yourself a really nice sounding front stage. You can get then from some trusted ebay sellers for under 800 for the set I believe.

Also a dsp is ridiculously useful. I used a kenwood head unit in my old system with Focal K2 powers, and the hertz sound much better. I couldn't tame those focal tweeters for some reason, way too bright for me. Could be the dsp tuning or the speakers, I used the same arc audio amp. More midbass and cleaner with the hertz. Go figure.
 

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I have the hertz Mille Legends also. I have the 3 way 1650.3, 700.3, and 280.3. I have ran it without the mids and it still sounds really good with the 2 way. I run the arc audio amp also at 150w per channel and the mids hit nicely. If you got the 2 way set you could Bridge the amp and use the crossover, or just run active. Cheaper just to get the drivers without the crossovers, which are bulky as hell.

Definitely need some sound deadening, more than you think, as those mids rattle everything. Cross them at like 3k with the tweeter, which can play low, and you got yourself a really nice sounding front stage. You can get then from some trusted ebay sellers for under 800 for the set I believe.

Also a dsp is ridiculously useful. I used a kenwood head unit in my old system with Focal K2 powers, and the hertz sound much better. I couldn't tame those focal tweeters for some reason, way too bright for me. Could be the dsp tuning or the speakers, I used the same arc audio amp. More midbass and cleaner with the hertz. Go figure.
The Hertz Mille Legends are excellent speakers. But they are also at the top of the OP's price range, and that wouldn't allow him to acquire a good source unit (most important IMO because Garbage In = Garbage Out), nor would they leave any money left to put towards a good DSP.

In addition, I believe that there are some better raw DIY drivers for the same or less money.

This all depends on what will fit in his OEM speaker locations, tho'.

Where is your local surf break? I used to be a surf photographer for SURFER magazine, & later on, Surfing magazine back in the day.
 

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The Hertz Mille Legends are excellent speakers. But they are also at the top of the OP's price range, and that wouldn't allow him to acquire a good source unit (most important IMO because Garbage In = Garbage Out), nor would they leave any money left to put towards a good DSP.

In addition, I believe that there are some better raw DIY drivers for the same or less money.

This all depends on what will fit in his OEM speaker locations, tho'.

Where is your local surf break? I used to be a surf photographer for SURFER magazine, & later on, Surfing magazine back in the day.
I am guilty of not reading all the posts on the thread. You put out some good info on here. Nice and detailed with solid advice. I might have to ask a few questions about my install I'm in the middle of now.

I was under the impression that he had 800 for speakers and dsp would be separate. My bad. I had an older kenwood HU and there are lots of options for EQ and speaker set up, time alignment, etc. Good stuff. I sold it for like 200 also, surely the OP could pick one up for a good price. That, deadening, and some decent drivers is a good start for sure.

For me, for some reason I get better Sq now when using Bluetooth streaming from Amazon HD than using Android auto, wirelessly or even when plugged in usb. Not sure why that is. I also have used the aux straight into my Audison Bit Nove using a cheap dac from my android device, and that sounds really good.

I did try a maestro AR that the installers couldn't figure out on my 2021 Rav4 Prime, but the Pacamp worked beautifully. Good clean signal.

I surf Huntington Beach mostly. All around orange county with a trip to Nicaragua in the summers.

That must have been a Rad gig shooting for those magazines!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The Hertz Mille Legends are excellent speakers. But they are also at the top of the OP's price range, and that wouldn't allow him to acquire a good source unit (most important IMO because Garbage In = Garbage Out), nor would they leave any money left to put towards a good DSP.

In addition, I believe that there are some better raw DIY drivers for the same or less money.

This all depends on what will fit in his OEM speaker locations, tho'.

Where is your local surf break? I used to be a surf photographer for SURFER magazine, & later on, Surfing magazine back in the day.
So I tried to measure the max speaker depth I can have. Basically what i did was rolled the window all the way down, took out the speaker, put the door panel back on, and stuck a thin straight piece of metal from the outside of door panel till it touched the window (did this all around the top, bottom, left and right side of grill). The smallest measurement i got was 90mm, so i assume minus about 3mm for the thickness of the panel and minus another 3/8" for the speaker clearance. That would leave me with about 77mm. Now not sure how far off from the window the speaker has to sit, so it would be 77mm - whatever that measurement would be. Did I do this right or is there a better way?

With much thought today I think I would be willing to change the speakers and HU at the same time and add a DSP later down the road so its not such a hight price tag at once. I looked at the kenwood you suggested and I will try to find it on the market, but in case i can't is there anything specific I should look for in an aftermarket HU? Ive seen the kenwood Xrs have HI Res audio which obviously would be a huge factor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I found these 3 awesome looking Kenwood HUs. The only really difference I can see is the cheaper one doesnt have HD Radio, has 4v preamps vs 5V on the others. are these 2 features worth the extra $250?




Advice?
 

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Typically I take a look at the factory speaker and see how that interfaces with the door card. Sometimes there alot of space for additional baffle rings, sometimes not. Then using the factory speaker I approximate the baffle I could use and measure depth out to the window.

I think with about 3 inches you have plenty of depth for most mids. Raw drivers can sometime be a bit deeper than your average car audio driver (example: SB Acoustics SB17MFC35-8)


Just looking at the cheapest option on crutchfield they show the HU has some basic features for A 2WAY + SUB active setup. HPF on the tweeter, bandpass on the mid, and LPF on the sub.

302135


It also has time alignment but the EQ looks like it might be fixed bands and not L/R independant. Double check the manual to be sure..

According to the crutchfield summary, it doesn't look like the DSP gets any better on the more expensive models.


Personally, I would skip the HU and go for DSP but your call. I never use my factory HU for much and typically only have a short commute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Typically I take a look at the factory speaker and see how that interfaces with the door card. Sometimes there alot of space for additional baffle rings, sometimes not. Then using the factory speaker I approximate the baffle I could use and measure depth out to the window.

I think with about 3 inches you have plenty of depth for most mids. Raw drivers can sometime be a bit deeper than your average car audio driver (example: SB Acoustics SB17MFC35-8)


Just looking at the cheapest option on crutchfield they show the HU has some basic features for A 2WAY + SUB active setup. HPF on the tweeter, bandpass on the mid, and LPF on the sub.

View attachment 302135

It also has time alignment but the EQ looks like it might be fixed bands and not L/R independant. Double check the manual to be sure..

According to the crutchfield summary, it doesn't look like the DSP gets any better on the more expensive models.


Personally, I would skip the HU and go for DSP but your call. I never use my factory HU for much and typically only have a short commute.
Thanks lots for the input, I really appreciate it. I just feel like with the current head unit it holds me back in volume, as it starts to distort at 36/45. The data you attached to the post, that is for the cheaper Kenwood HU correct? You think it looks decent?

One other question i have is, is it possible to achieve a decent SQ system with a 2way setup or only with 3way?
 

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That screenshot is the same for all three according to crutchfield.. Usually they're pretty accurate.

2way + sub is plenty for most folks. You can start there with these HU's and move up to a 3 way later with DSP. Other option that is popular is 2way with a fullrange and mid bass rather than tweeter + woofer.

The one thing holding you back with the HU is no L/R EQ and fixed bands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That screenshot is the same for all three according to crutchfield.. Usually they're pretty accurate.

2way + sub is plenty for most folks. You can start there with these HU's and move up to a 3 way later with DSP. Other option that is popular is 2way with a fullrange and mid bass rather than tweeter + woofer.

The one thing holding you back with the HU is no L/R EQ and fixed bands.
Would it be better to look for a different HU then? I have no idea what the L/R EQ and fixed bands mean or if they're a deal breaker.. still trying to learn hah
 
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