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Hello everyone,

I realize I am a brand new member here, and as such I would like to qualify myself just a bit. I am currently deployed, and I'm about to come back to the states where I just got a new-to-me car, and I'd like to put a good system in it. I've scoured this site, and a couple others, trying to educate myself as much as possible during the free time I've had out here. I mean that I have spent hours upon hours totalling days looking over countless threads. I've tried to learn as much as I could by reading what others have already posted, knowing that for the most part I can find my answers there. Now that it's close to coming home time, I'd like to narrow down my options so I can purchase and start on the project when I get there, and I'd like some personalized help. I've got a 2002 IS300, it's a small sedan if you're not familiar with the car. At this point I'm going to focus on the front stage and abandon the rear fills, but I'll put a sub in the trunk of course. I want to fiberglass my own enclosure in the spare tire space for the sub, but I opened this thread to ask for advice on the front stage.

Initially I was looking at 2-way and 3-way component sets, but after reading a lot about the pros and cons of active vs passive, I'd like to try going active. My last car had a 2-way passive up front (cheap Infinity Kappas) that sounded decent, but I would like something much more realistic and warm. I think I'll have a lot more control and options with an active setup, but I've been cautioned regarding a 3-way active. I've actually got a few questions, I'll try to be as organized with them as possible, and I apologize for the long thread, but I've thought a lot about all of this, and at this point, I need some help, I can only have so many conversations with myself you know?

As I said, I'd like to go with a 3-way active front stage. I have read a lot about DSPs and TA, and realize that there is a lot of sound coming from drivers in a 3-way active setup, and if not placed, timed, etc, correctly, it could end up being an expensive wasted of sound. I am not a pro at any of this. I can disassemble a car and install just fine, but my car's stock locations only support a 6.5" and 1" tweeter. I am not opposed to fabbing kick panels and sail panels for the drivers, because I'd like to get as good of imaging as possible without TA. But... I realize even with that, TA will be crucial. If I go 3-way and put 6.5s in the doors and tweets opposite the mirrors, I'll still have to fab a kick for the mid driver..

For those of you that have successfully put in a 3-way active front stage in a smaller sedan, where did you place the drivers? I am pretty sure my best bet will be to hook it all up and listen for myself, and plan the install accordingly. I'm just looking for examples.

Say I find good locations for the drivers, and say I even stick with stock locations for tweet and woofer, and somewhere for the midrange, I will need some help from a DSP. This is where I am getting into deeper water, I'll admit. I've read a lot, but I haven't gotten my hands dirty in anything like this. I've been drawn to the JBL MS-8 because it looks very noob-friendly (I might need this) but I've been advised heavily from a good source that the Bit One will offer more tuning capability with the 3-way. They both can do 8-channel (6 in front and 2 for sub) but the MS-8 will autotune. This appeals to me because I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with what I've read. Now I feel like I am an intelligent guy, and if I do something with my own hands, I'm quick to learn and usually good at new things. But... while the Bit One may be able to do more, I still don't know if its capabilities will be lost on me. The MS-8 seems foolproof. This is where I'd like some advice: Which processor would be preferable in this instance, given my abilities?

I want to mention that while the MS-8 boasts an internal amplifier, I don't plan on using it. I want to use a JL XD600/6 for the front stage (100Wx6 at 2 Ohm) and a JL XD600/1 for the sub (a JL 10w6v2 (600W at 2 Ohm w/DVC in parallel).

Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read my post, and further time to reply. It is much appreciated. I am looking for advice and constructive criticism, so by all means if there are faults in my research/design please bring them to my attention. I joined the forum to learn. I look forward to hearing from you.
 

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For me personally, locating the drivers with minimal PLD gives you the best image and coherent sound without t/a for both front seat passengers. Also keeping the midrange and tweeter close allows for a more stable sound through the typical vocal range.

BitOne vs MS8 is a debate that has been discussed before, do a search. Both have their pros and cons, short summary is that the BitOne is fully adjustable, possible noise issues, DRC display problems, good CPU interface but the MS8 auto-tunes, logic 7 (which doesnt really apply in your case), adjustable frequency curve after auto-tune, lots of interface problems with come OEM systems, hit/miss autotune

My advice is that if you are going into active systems for the first time, start off simple with a 2-way frontstage. Use this phase to learn what effects xovers, t/a, phase, EQ do to the sound. With a 3-way, there is just an added driver to figure out problems with and trying to tune right without even having the basics down. Just plan for expansion as far as wiring, amps. processing etc to make the move to 3-way much easier in the future.
 

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My advice would be to run more power to your mid-bass whether it be a 2 way or 3. The XD amps look nice but most mid-bass are 4 ohms which would only be about 50 watts. Heck I ran over 300w to each of my mid-basses and they loved it!

If you're stuck on JL, try getting two XD 400/4 and use one bridged to the mid-bass. Or look into the Zed Leviathan for a beast 6ch.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for your replies. I think I may have to agree that attempting an active 3-way setup is quite a daunting task at this point. I have gotten the same advice from another friend that you just gave me, azngortskills. That is, I would do well to go with an active 2-way with room for expansion in the future. I believe I could still go with a 6-channel, such as the xd600/6, and either run it as 4-channel (not using 2 of the channels) or run 2 channels to the tweets and bridge the others to run the midbass drivers. Is that correct? This way I still have capability to go 3-way in the future, I'd just have to swap out midbass drivers more than likely (if I'm running bridged up until then), but that's doable, much easier than swapping/adding amps and rewiring.
 
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