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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So for the last 2 weeks I've been getting some of my stereo components in the mail and have been installing them here and there in the evenings. As of now everything is in and running though I still have a lot to do to finalize it. Thought I'd share some of my early thoughts on the setup and then be able to comment in the future about how the sound changes once I get everything dialed in, get the doors properly deadened, etc...

For starters the car is an 06 Scion Xb. Goals were that I didn't want to lose my trunk or spare tire. Decided I wanted amps to go under the seat(s) and get a single sub in the back, hopefully inside the right rear cargo area and have it flush with the other side of the trunk. For now I'm just using a regular box to test my sub but eventually I will have this installed permanently, hopefully with some local sub box building expertise.

Setup is a Clarion DXZ785USB head unit with a Maxtor 250gb hard drive for music storage, ID OEM 6.5's in the doors with NX30 tweeters in the stock dash locations and a DIYMA 12 in a .7cu sealed box in the trunk firing sideways. A pair of Soundstream D200's are running the fronts while an Alpine PDX-1.600 is pushing the sub. I don't have any sound deadening installed anywhere yet but I have a Dynamat Extreme door kit I picked up off craiglist that I will be installing soon. It will actually be great to compare the sound of the system before and after the deadening to see how it improves things. So I'll break down the sytem by component and then review it together after.


Clarion DXZ785USB:

First impressions of this deck are great. I got it for ~160$ shipped and for that price this thing is a screaming deal. It seemed a bit fugly from the pictures but it's growing on me. I had a Pioneer in my previous car with the single rotary knob so the Clarion's slider setup was a bit different than I was used to. It seems to work fairly well though my biggest gripe is I can't seem to be able to switch folders with the remote so I have to continually reach over on the deck to do this. At any rate this deck has way more processing than my previous SQ deck (Alpine 7995) and overall the SQ seems on par. The 7995 was a dead head, the Clarion is not though it has a defeatable amp which I was able to turn off once I got my amps going. I've got it hooked up to a 250gb Maxtor portable drive (of which I'm only using 40 gigs so far) so it's great having a huge music library at such easy disposal. I also love option to save 3 different settings. I have one setup for driver, one for passenger so I can demo the system for friends without having them sit in the driver seat and then I got one setup without any time alignment for general both passenger listening. Only gripes with the deck so far is the limited EQ, lower voltage than I had expected(cover that later) and the lack of ability to change folders from the remote (unless I'm missing something).

ID OEM 6.5's/NX30 tweeters:

The previous owner of the car had some Blaupunkt Velocity mids in the doors and I thought they sounded decent running off of the deck power, but when I hooked up the ID's I couldn't believe the amount of midbass improvement. I've got them installed on the stock plastic standoff with no sound deadening in the doors and they still pound out the midbass with some authority. I can't imagine how much they'll improve when I install the deadening and mount them on the MDF baffles. I've got them crossed at 3.15khz/12db octave with the NX30 tweeters at 3.15khz/12db as well. Had them crossed at 2.5khz and it sounded good, though I heard the ID's could be crossed much higher so I thought I'd give the tweeters a break and let the ID's handle more of the load. So far I'm not disappointed by the choice.

Tweeters are in stock dash locations but I'm playing with the aiming so for now I've stuffed a towel into the dash and simply set the tweeters on top and put the grills back on. Right now I have them angle mounted and firing at the opposite headrests. Well I actually toed in the driver tweeter a little more on axis than I originally had it and it helped my soundstage just a tad. These sound great and seem to be able to handle a lot of power, at least where I have them crossed at. They don't sound harsh at all and blend well with the ID mids (not a surprise since I believe they were designed to match with one the CX64's which are similar to the OEM's from what I've read). I didn't do any A/B comparisons to my previous comps, though from memory alone I can say that these sound better than my Diamond D661s's I had in my previous car. The ID's midbass tromps the Diamond's, and they were installed on an MDF baffle with lots of deadening. I'm guessing when I get the Dynamat in the doors and MDF baffles in the midbass will only blow the Diamonds away even further. Overall they seem to be handle more power than the Diamonds did and sound far less strained at high volumes which is nice when I want to crank it up a bit.

Soundstream D200's:

I got a pair of these for very cheap and was excited to get a chance to hear them. I was into car audio in the late 80's and early 90's in the days of Soundstream and Linear power and I never was able to afford them back then(in high school). Was nice to finally get a hold of some of these old school amps and give them a proper test. Since they are dual mono amps I'm essentially running my front speakers in a 4 mono amp configuration which is a first for me. I attempted to set the gains by ear using a 1khz test tone though even at full gain I wasn't able to get it high enough to hear a definite change of tone to indicate clipping. I had heard that the Clarion had a strong output through the RCA's but I began to question that assumption. I basically had to crank them all the way up then used a DMM to match the 2nd channel. For the tweeter amp I scaled it back down a bit from max gain and also matched the 2nd channel with a DMM just as a starting point. The amps are very quiet so I don't think I've got my gains too high, I just think the Clarion's output voltage isn't as high as I'd hoped. I'll get to my listening impressions later but overall I was hearing details in some of my reference recordings that were more evident than before. Could be any number of things going on in the system but I can say they drove the ID's effortlessly without any signs of strain.

DIYMA 12:

This will come off as totally cliche, but I have to say it anyways. This thing is transparent. I've never heard a sub(or "not" heard) a sub blend in so much that you almost forget you have one. I'm not talking about turning it down so much that you can barely hear it, I mean as in you can let it sing a bit and it will still sound like the bass is coming out of the door speakers when you know it isn't. As everyone has said it is not an output king, however with normal music it will give you all the volume you'd ever need. I played with xover settings for awhile trying to find the best settings to blend it in with the ID's and ended up putting it at 125hz for now. I've never ran a sub that high before but this thing is so fast and transparent it does it with ease and makes me consider crossing the ID's up a little higher and letting the DIYMA more of the work. When I pushed it a hard I could hear it bottoming out a little, but it only did it with some Hip Hop and again I think this is the only type of music that would have any output issues. If you want filling loosening bass then you'd need at least 2 of these guys, but it still has some respectable output good enough for all but the true bass heads.

Alpine PDX-1.600:

This amp proved to me that the Clarion output voltage is a bit low. It has a gain switch that allows you to choose between 0.1-1.0 volts and 1.0-6.0 volts input signal. I initially set it to the 2nd thinking that the Clarion was going to be putting out 2v at least. When I did this I had to max the gain and still had very low output. I was thinking "man I knew this sub was no output king, but is it really this low?". When I switched over to the 0.1-1.0v setting it instally came to life and I had to crank it down quite a bit. I even had the Clarion sub volume at maximum +6 when setting the gain since this was common practice on my Alpine unit, so the Clarion was putting out full output as far as I could tell. At any rate once I got it dialed in it performed wonderfully. Birthsheet said 635 watts and I know it was giving the DIYMA 12 all it could take with a lot of room left over. I could easily run a 2nd DIYMA 12 with this thing or a higher power sub. I was pretty impressed with the power of the amp considering it's small size. I'd love to see how it would have powered my old Brahma 15 compared to my Tsunami 1100db I had running just to see how it kept up. At any rate I like this amp and could only imagine what it could do with a higher power capable woofer.


Tuning:

I haven't really tuned it much yet, just tried to get everything level matched, and get some preliminary xover settings and rough EQing. Mids and tweets are crossed at 3.15khz/12db slope. Mids are playing down to 63hz with an 12db slope and are are reverse phased from the tweeters as it sounded better. DIYMA 12 is crossed at 125hz and then I just let it play all the way and have the Alpine subsonic filter set to 15hz and is phased opposite of my mids as I got much better bass this way. I crossed the sub at 200hz for a bit and I didn't notice any negatives but I wanted to bring it down a bit so I wouldn't confuse what the mids were truly doing versus the sub. My EQ adjustability is minimal but I found there are some preset "DZE" EQ curves that are independant of the PEQ. I found that one of the DZE settings gave me an overall better sound and actually lifted my soundstage so I used "DZE 1" but left it at a gain of zero. I then played with some EQ settings at 2k, 5k and 20k. I cut 2k a few steps, bumped up 5k as it seemed to help my soundstage and then boosted a tad at 20k. As I said just some rudementary settings that sound better to my ear though I'd love to get an RTA in here so I know I have my speaker gain matched correctly and see if I have any nasty spikes or dips. I also set my T/A for all speakers as well as for the sub. Anyways for now this gave me the best sound without too much work, though I'm sure once I deaded the doors and work on my tweeter aiming and get my dashmat I'll get some improvements.

My only reference right now is the previous system I was running in my little Acura. Had Diamond D661s running semi-active (tweeters still using passive xover) and had a Brahma 15" in a 3cu ft ported enclosure with an 1100 watt amp. Since my buddies aren't into car audio I don't have a lot of other good systems to hear and compare to so my only reference is my previous system. Had my 250gb hard drive plugged in so I had a lot of music to play with at my disposal but for most of my really intensive listening I sat down with my all time favorite reference CDm "Alice in Chains Unplugged". This was my reference CD before I even knew it was a defacto standard SQ disc for so many others. I used my actual CD for this test so I didn't have to worry about any compression issues hampering my listening.

Right off the bat I was impressed with the quality of the sound. There was a lot of detail and clarity that I had not heard as much with the Diamonds, not to mention more midbass authority. I had listened extensively to the setup without the sub and the ID's alone were no slouch. Once I installed the sub and dialed it in though the midbass really came alive. It also seemed to bring my soundstage up a lot and gave everything a much warmer feel. I had expected to mostly hear the kick drum addition to the music, but I was amazed at how much clarity I was hearing with the acoustic bass. I was actually hearing the tones of the guitar in the lower regions whereas before I was just used to "hearing" it in general. I slowly had to turn down the sub due to it being a little overpowering to my frontstage. It was still transparent, though it was just a little heavier in the lower regions than it needed to be. In the end I probably left the sub a little louder than flat but I was having so much fun with what I was hearing that I just left it that way and enjoyed the clarity of the bass. My imaging isn't perfect by any means yet, but Layne was clearly positioned about 10" above my speedo(in a Scion Xb this is mid dash). Jerry's voice was also about this high though it seemed just a tad more to the right. Not sure if it was my mind helping me out here since I've seen the DVD of this concert and know their placement, but when both Layne and Jerry were singing together Layne definitely seemed more left in the soundstage than Jerry. Jerry's guitar was clearly placed far off to the right, the other guitar was placed to the left and the bass guitar was placed somewhere between the left guitar and Layne's voice. This is something that I never noticed in my last system, and again it could be attributed to my knowledge of the performers but honestly I had forgotten where the bassist was. I attribute this to the ID's midbass clarity which wasn't as pronounced in the Diamond's. My soundstage overall feels like it's at about my chin level which seemed a little lower than what my Diamonds were doing though in that car the tweeters were placed on the top of the door and not the dash, and I also had a dashmat which I remember helping immensely at the time. Depth wise I would say that Layne sounded like he was just at the cusp of my windshield, perhaps even a few inches out onto the hood. In the "Rooster" track I could tell that the female voices were behind Layne and the guitars but I don't remember exactly where they were on stage during the concert.

I listened to "Rooster" a few times and while I had always clearly heard the "buzzing" on the right lead guitar(either the pick vibrating across the strings, or the strings against the neck of the guitar) I had never noticed that amount of detail on the other lead guitar on the left. I remember that song was very right heavy as far as clarity goes from my other system, but I noticed a lot of detail on the left side that I had not heard before. I could hear some buzzing on this guy's guitar as well as a few times where his hand would slide down the neck and make that feint squeeking sound. I love hearing this in a recording because it reminds you that this isn't in the studio and little things like this just make it that much more intimate when listening. I could honestly say I was hearing that song in a different way than I had heard it before and it was bringing a huge smile to my face.

Next I listed to "Heaven Beside You" which is sung mostly by Jerry Cantrell. Most people who aren't as familiar with Alice in Chains don't realize just how much vocal contributions that Jerry makes and probably think it's Layne a lot of the times. Their voices match up very well, but it was easier to tell them apart with this setup. When both of them would sing together in the chorus I was able to pick them out much better than I had heard before. Usually they ended up getting mashed together, but as I had said earlier it almost sounded as if I could tell Jerry was to the right of Layne, I'm just hoping it wasn't just my imagination working since I knew where they were sitting relevant to eachother. On "Got Me Wrong" about 2 seconds in you can hear Layne sigh/breathe, which I hadn't remember as being so clear on the Diamonds. It was very evident and I could cleary hear his breathe with the ID's. About 8 seconds in I could hear something that sounded like a water drop followed a couple seconds later by a thump which could have been the drummer bumping his foot or maybe someone had dropped something. At any rate I was hearing a lot of details that weren't as evident as before and the speakers were doing it effortlessly. Since I installed this system together I can't say which part of it is offering some of the details, but I can't help but wonder if it has to do with the D200's. The detail I was getting on either side of my soundstage was more than I had remembered and I can't help but wonder how much of that is due to the D200's great stereo seperation from them being dual mono's. I'm more of a proponent of the "amps sound the same" croud but perhaps the fact that they're true dual mono amps could have an effect on my staging.

Overall based on that reference recording I had a much improved sound over my last system, with more accurate imaging and clarity than before. Each track offered something for me to smile at and I couldn't help but think how it would sound once I get the doors deadened and some more tuning time.

I listed to a few other random albums and songs to get a feel for what this system could do. I loaded up Best of MTV Unplugged which is another of my acoustic favorites. "Linger" by The Cranberries was a favorite of mine and in the beginning the singer humms a bit which usually has a bit of a nasaly quality to it. It was still evident with this system though to a much lesser degree. I'm not sure if this is just a tough vocal to play or if it is something inherent in the recording but I'm sure some EQing would fix it. I also put in some Metallica to see how the DIYMA 12 could handle the double kick drums and I must say I was pleased. The opening of "Harvester of Sorrow" has some nice, quick double bass work going on and the DIYMA pulled it off effortlessly. My Brahma used to muddy up some of the fast kick drum stuff, but this woofer didn't even break sweat. Each drum was clearly separated and I could hear more detail on the drums that I had ever noticed before. When I upped the volume on this track it got extremely loud without breaking up and the woofer kept up completely. Sometimes I like listening to my metal a bit loud, especially Tool, and I was happy at the ability to crank it up without sounding strained at all.

Lastly I put in some old school Rap to hear what bass would sound like, and while it's output wasn't anything near what the Brahma did, it was still quite enough to make me smile and not feel like I'm missing out. The quality of the bass was actually improved over the Brahma. Instead of just "feeling" it, I could actually hear the tones much better and it sounded much more like it was coming from in front of my than behind. The Brahma was great in the output department but it clearly let you know it was there and where it was. The DIYMA has less output, but it doesn't want you to know it's there and you definately can't tell where it's at. My amp has plenty of power to go around and I was able to bottom out the sub pretty easily. I could probably put another DIYMA 12 on the same amp and get more output while driving them less hard.

Anyways this went on a bit longer than intended but I have to say I'm very pleased with what I hear so far. After I get my doors deadened I'll be doing some more listening to hear what kind of improvement it gives me. I'm always looking forward to getting my dashmat which I'm sure will clean up my soundstage and imagine due to windshield reflections, but I got an email saying they were having trouble with one of their suppliers or something. At any rate I hope to have it soon. I'll probably update this review once I get things more dialed in but I'd love to find someone local with an RTA that would help me tune my system and get me going in the right direction.
 

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Now I have to hear it! I just got my DIYMA 12 in too and have it in a 1 cu ft. box, would be very interested to see how it is at .7 cu ft.

I've always wanted to hear some ID oems too, we need to meet up sometime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Absolutely, I'd love to meet up with some Bay Area locals to hear some other installs and equipment, get some ideas on improving my sound and do some tuning.

Now I have to hear it! I just got my DIYMA 12 in too and have it in a 1 cu ft. box, would be very interested to see how it is at .7 cu ft.

I've always wanted to hear some ID oems too, we need to meet up sometime.
So I got the mids installed onto the MDF baffles and put some dynamat in the doors last night and I can say it made a huge difference. My midbass punch increased dramatically as did the overall volume nor do I hear those pesky door resonations like I did before. They also sound far more composed at higher volumes than before and it also seems like it cleaned up my soundstage a bit as well.

I did however run into a new issue. My ID's are moving so much that they actually hit the stock door panel grills if I give them a lot of volume during some intense midbass music. Looks like I'll have to shave down the baffles a bit so they can't touch anymore. Thing is they didnt look like they stuck out much farther than the stock plastic mounting rings so it seems some of it is due to them moving more now that they doors are properly deadened.

I can honestly say that I am impressed with the midbass capabilities of the ID OEM's and at their price they are an absolute steal. I had no idea these guys could move so much air and sound great while doing it.

I'm tempted to try out a ported box for the 12 just to see how much of an increase of output I get versus the quality of the sound. If it sounds as tight and transparent and I gain 3db in volume I might just go for it. I could easily order one more and run it off the same amp but not sure if I want to waste the real estate back there for 2 woofers. I might consider getting a hold of a SI MAG for extra output without having to add woofers but for now I'm very happy with the sound, I'm just a bit worried about killing this woofer since I have been able to bottom it out occasionally.
 

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Where do you have the IDs high passed at? You can probably get away with upping the x-over a bit, or possibly using a steeper slope to stop them from hitting the door panel.
 

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I just bought a dxz785usb hours ago on ebay for 138$ shipped. Your review helped out a lot on making me feel secure about my purchase. I am also really leaning towards the DIYMA 12 now the more i hear about it the more I want it lol
 

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so the clarion can use an usb external hard drive instead of a thumb drive?hows the interface? is it easy to access the files?
 

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That Clarion HU is so incredibly cheap for what it is it's insane. You can effectively grab them for the price of a cheapy deck and have so much processing.
 

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I'm tempted to try out a ported box for the 12 just to see how much of an increase of output I get versus the quality of the sound. If it sounds as tight and transparent and I gain 3db in volume I might just go for it. I could easily order one more and run it off the same amp but not sure if I want to waste the real estate back there for 2 woofers. I might consider getting a hold of a SI MAG for extra output without having to add woofers but for now I'm very happy with the sound, I'm just a bit worried about killing this woofer since I have been able to bottom it out occasionally.
Fill the box with 1cu ft (i think 16oz) of polyester filling from Home Depot or Lowes. I am running a DIYMA in a .7net cu ft box and the output difference was huge. Before stuffing I was very happy with the DIYMA but wanted more output, now I have it...
 
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