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I've been putting systems in my daily drivers for 25 years and in my last 3 cars I've rolled over the same system... I'm a teacher so I'm always working on a budget but it always sounds great to me. I totaled my Versa a few months ago and I'm getting ready to install into the 2013 Subaru Legacy I recently got. Here is the gear I've been working with: (I tried posting links in case you wanted to look at the specs but I'm too new here)

Alpine head unit CDE-HD148BT - Basic head unit with HD radio and 6 X 4v preamp outputs. I've had this head unit for a while and I really like the way it sounds. It does have a 9 band eq and a parametric eq built in, along with some alignment and crossover functions.

Maestro-SW steering wheel control adapter

Diamond D364.5 - Back in the day the diamond components were always highly touted and I used to have a hex series set 15-20 years ago, but these are nice, not too bright, I don't see a lot about diamond audio nowadays, they must've really fallen off

infinity kappa 6.5" coaxials - really old but good basic coaxials for the rear doors.

Alpine MRV-F300 amplifier to run the components and rear speakers - a nice little clean amp, 50 rms x 4 @ 4 ohms (not so little compared to the new amps, though)

2x 12" Kicker Comp VR Subwoofers in a kicker branded pre-made ported Subwoofer box. (I got a great deal on this and back in the day used to always go with sealed boxes for SQ but loved the way this ported box sounds)

Kenwood 9103D amplifier to run the subs. 900 rms x 1 @ 2 ohms. This amp is nuts.

I've done some research to get some ideas on where I want to do the install into the Legacy. I've already put in the head unit with the steering wheel control adapter (real nice being able to remove that from the versa and just reprogram it for the legacy) and even with the stock speakers it sounds loads better. Next weekend I plan on using my knuconceptz amp kit (the OFC 4 gauge) along with some 4 channel RCAs to install the rest of the gear and do some initial sound deadening. I decided to install the amp rack on the larger right rear seat back vs above the spare tire. I want easy access to the spare just in case and I don't want to worry about the amplifiers overheating above the spare tire.

DSPs are so much more prevalent now and I see a lot of folks ditching their passive crossovers that came with the components and running everything through a DSP. With the gear I am running, is it worth eventually getting into a DSP and doing some forward planning when I run the wiring? If I were to get started with a DSP, can I still make use of the passive crossover with the diamonds or is that just stupid? (I guess sort of pretend they are coaxials)

I always used the gains before to level match the two amplifiers but have read how to properly match the gains to the head unit, but given my kenwood puts out a LOT of juice I'm going to have to match the two amplifiers somehow. Is there a better way to do this without using a DSP?

Along with tuning I've been toying around with getting a calibrated USB microphone and given my headunit has some sound parameter control I might be able to do a better job tuning and practice using REW. The idea of time alignment really clashes with wanting to have great sound for everybody in the vehicle, but finding better crossover points and taming speaker responses seems a worthwhile goal.

Thanks for reading my long winded post and double thanks for any input or suggestions :)
 

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That Alpine 4 ch is one of the best out there, to this day. I am using one. (y) Those Kappa coaxials are some of the best coaxials also. I have the 6x8 version in my rear doors. My MRP-F300 is about 12 years old and my Kappas are about 8 years old(y) The little Alpine 4 ch amp would be great on mids and tweets if ya go active. To me, all I need for level matching is my ears. I have a Dayton DSP-408. It is the most cost-effective for someone novice to DSP's like me. Easy to learn on.
 

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In my opinion, the question about whether or not to use a DSP comes down to how much importance you play on staging and imaging. These are key elements to a good stereo recording, and if you want to reproduce them well in a car a DSP is a must. If you don’t care so much about the benefits of stereo imagining and staging, or just don’t think it makes a big difference in a car, then you can certainly have a fun, dynamic system without a DSP. It just won’t image well, so it won’t really represent the intention of the recording. This is very difficult, and expensive to do well for more than one seat at a time, and will always lead to a compromise for the main listening position. One way to improve the listening experience for all passengers is to keep all speakers below their beaming point. You want the on axis and off axis sound to be as similar as possible. This is tough to do, and won’t happen with a traditional 2-way component set. You would need a 3-way component set to pull this off, and it would have to be run actively with appropriate crossover points. Even then it won’t make up for the geometry of the car, so the sound still won’t be optimal anywhere, but a 3-way setup can help a bit.
If staging and imaging are important to you, then you have to have independent control of each speaker (or at least each side). The left will need different EQ than the right if you want it to image well. You need a DSP for that.

If you decide to use a DSP, there’s no reason to use the passive crossovers, that DSP will replace them completely. One exception is if you want to use the capacitor in the passive crossover for protection, but usually they will have too high of a HPF and they will interfere with the crossover you set with your DSP, so that approach isn’t particularly useful either.

Level matching should be done with the gains as much as possible. Having the ability to make some adjustments at the head unit is important, but you should be getting this as close as possible by matching the amp gains.

Having a USB mic will tell you a lot. It will also show you how limited your system is, and that you don’t have the tools to fix a lot of the issues without a DSP.
 

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You have a lot of great audio gear
I use or have used most of the gear you using, one thing I would do is install larger power and ground cable and do the big3 wire upgrades
As for a dsp, if your happy with the sound and happy with how your able to adjust the sound. Do t start using a dsp. You will be going down a rabbit hole of hanger and happiness, You’re in for a large learning curve you’ll be frustrated and then happy and then frustrated trying to tweak it to get something out of it that you’re not gonna get in chasing your tail so if you’re happy with the sound with it leave it as is just improve your power cables any other cabling that you have and keep noise out of the system you have a Lotta great Gear are there that will give you many more years of enjoyment as you can tell your bought top notch stuff and it’s lasted you for all these years so that shows you that you made a right choice at that time so keep using it be happy with it
I know so many people who nitpick over using REW and trying to get every little dip and peak out of the sound , that it starts sounding so sterile, they get to where they’re not enjoying the sound and all they do is adjust adjust and just and are never happy with what it is because you’re so transfixed on with the screen is showing him and not with their ears is telling them


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Since at the end you mentioned a microphone, then maybe start with measurements?

If you know your goals, then you can assess whether a DSP is needed to meet the goals... and exactly how a DSP may helps to meet the goals.
 

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I've been putting systems in my daily drivers for 25 years and in my last 3 cars I've rolled over the same system... I'm a teacher so I'm always working on a budget but it always sounds great to me. I totaled my Versa a few months ago and I'm getting ready to install into the 2013 Subaru Legacy I recently got. Here is the gear I've been working with: (I tried posting links in case you wanted to look at the specs but I'm too new here)

Alpine head unit CDE-HD148BT - Basic head unit with HD radio and 6 X 4v preamp outputs. I've had this head unit for a while and I really like the way it sounds. It does have a 9 band eq and a parametric eq built in, along with some alignment and crossover functions.

Maestro-SW steering wheel control adapter

Diamond D364.5 - Back in the day the diamond components were always highly touted and I used to have a hex series set 15-20 years ago, but these are nice, not too bright, I don't see a lot about diamond audio nowadays, they must've really fallen off

infinity kappa 6.5" coaxials - really old but good basic coaxials for the rear doors.

Alpine MRV-F300 amplifier to run the components and rear speakers - a nice little clean amp, 50 rms x 4 @ 4 ohms (not so little compared to the new amps, though)

2x 12" Kicker Comp VR Subwoofers in a kicker branded pre-made ported Subwoofer box. (I got a great deal on this and back in the day used to always go with sealed boxes for SQ but loved the way this ported box sounds)

Kenwood 9103D amplifier to run the subs. 900 rms x 1 @ 2 ohms. This amp is nuts.

I've done some research to get some ideas on where I want to do the install into the Legacy. I've already put in the head unit with the steering wheel control adapter (real nice being able to remove that from the versa and just reprogram it for the legacy) and even with the stock speakers it sounds loads better. Next weekend I plan on using my knuconceptz amp kit (the OFC 4 gauge) along with some 4 channel RCAs to install the rest of the gear and do some initial sound deadening. I decided to install the amp rack on the larger right rear seat back vs above the spare tire. I want easy access to the spare just in case and I don't want to worry about the amplifiers overheating above the spare tire.

DSPs are so much more prevalent now and I see a lot of folks ditching their passive crossovers that came with the components and running everything through a DSP. With the gear I am running, is it worth eventually getting into a DSP and doing some forward planning when I run the wiring? If I were to get started with a DSP, can I still make use of the passive crossover with the diamonds or is that just stupid? (I guess sort of pretend they are coaxials)

I always used the gains before to level match the two amplifiers but have read how to properly match the gains to the head unit, but given my kenwood puts out a LOT of juice I'm going to have to match the two amplifiers somehow. Is there a better way to do this without using a DSP?

Along with tuning I've been toying around with getting a calibrated USB microphone and given my headunit has some sound parameter control I might be able to do a better job tuning and practice using REW. The idea of time alignment really clashes with wanting to have great sound for everybody in the vehicle, but finding better crossover points and taming speaker responses seems a worthwhile goal.

Thanks for reading my long winded post and double thanks for any input or suggestions :)
I'm with Holmz on this, measure what you have, tweak what you have, measure again, then determine if you need a DSP.
 

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The advantage of that is that one thinks through what the goals are what the DSP is supposed to fix.

Without that step the DSP becomes just a magic cure-all box, which it sort of is to an extent.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I really appreciate all of the input. I forgot to mention I have enough zero gauge left over to do the big 3. Based on the fuse size and the run length 4 gauge should be pretty sufficient power-wise for the amp run, but I could see how much zero gauge I have... I'm assuming a DSP doesn't use more than 5-10 amps if I want to allow for that in the future. The knuconceptz wiring is pretty solid. Now that I think of it if I go active I will need to run another set of speaker wires to the front for active tweeters, might as well do that while I'm in there.

This imaging talk makes me rethink just dumping the tweeters into the factory dash location. (dash corners) In the versa I had to customize the door some and so I just mounted the tweeters right above the woofers in the door and used velcro so you could aim them. With the legacy I have these speaker adapters and extension clips so I won't have to change the door. I've seen some people mount the tweeters on the sail with pretty good success, I wonder if I just mounted them above the factory dash location (not in the dash but sitting on it in pods). I don't want to do anything that will reduce visibility or put the tweeters 'in the weather.' Some people say that the higher frequencies can bounce off the glass and the angle is planned to make it on axis (through reflecting off the windshield), but I know in a saab I had with similar spots that you got distortion off the windshield as well with certain shit like cymbal crashes. I might have to demo a few spots once I get that far, but I know running wire into the door is going to be a pita on the subaru.

I agree about avoiding the rabbit holes with testing and adjusting and testing. Once I get my gear in I typically don't mess with it. I think I'll wait a few weeks for my cash to catch up from the installation gear and then pick up a UMIK-1 and see how it looks.

Good to hear that my gear isn't too obsolete I know sometimes with home stuff the good speakers can age really well and solid amps are solid. New head units don't seem to have the eye for sound clarity but I must admit I'm a little jealous of those bawlin pioneer double din units with hd radio, 4v outs, cameras, etc... When waiting for the insurance I'd been driving my mom's newer car with backup cameras / parking sensors and it is nice to have.
 

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You have a lot of great audio gear
I use or have used most of the gear you using, one thing I would do is install larger power and ground cable and do the big3 wire upgrades
As for a dsp, if your happy with the sound and happy with how your able to adjust the sound. Do t start using a dsp. You will be going down a rabbit hole of hanger and happiness, You’re in for a large learning curve you’ll be frustrated and then happy and then frustrated trying to tweak it to get something out of it that you’re not gonna get in chasing your tail so if you’re happy with the sound with it leave it as is just improve your power cables any other cabling that you have and keep noise out of the system you have a Lotta great Gear are there that will give you many more years of enjoyment as you can tell your bought top notch stuff and it’s lasted you for all these years so that shows you that you made a right choice at that time so keep using it be happy with it
I know so many people who nitpick over using REW and trying to get every little dip and peak out of the sound , that it starts sounding so sterile, they get to where they’re not enjoying the sound and all they do is adjust adjust and just and are never happy with what it is because you’re so transfixed on with the screen is showing him and not with their ears is telling them
This ! Mostly ...
I like my DSP but damn. It's not for OCD people like me. I will stop and adjust it for 30 minutes on the side of the road, idling. So much for MPG ! Thinking about disconnecting and re-connecting my LC7i. I need to sell one of them. I think my sound is about as good with summing everything together and creating a sub channel and everything flat and gains set all -5db.


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If I may recommend something, before going to buy a DSP, it's always been my experience that it takes a while to chase down rattles first. Its a 2013 Headgasket/Oil/LEAKS model. so there may be other things you may have to do first before you spend money on a DSP unit.

If all is good, then I would focus on the sound deadening. I know personally, those doors don't really like to stay still with Hertz Gear. And I have a feeling that the TRUNK could use some TLC before the subs go in. No point in building a house on a shaky foundation.

How many miles?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If I may recommend something, before going to buy a DSP, it's always been my experience that it takes a while to chase down rattles first. Its a 2013 Headgasket/Oil/LEAKS model. so there may be other things you may have to do first before you spend money on a DSP unit.

If all is good, then I would focus on the sound deadening. I know personally, those doors don't really like to stay still with Hertz Gear. And I have a feeling that the TRUNK could use some TLC before the subs go in. No point in building a house on a shaky foundation.

How many miles?
96k. These ones don't have the headgasket issues but they can have CVT problems. I'm having the CVT inspected by Subaru on Monday (which is why I've been waiting to do more than just the head unit). Its been hard waiting the weeks to install and dealing with the factory speakers. I'm ready with the neoprene, adhesive foam, tesa tape, pipe insulation, door weatherstripping, etc to chase the rattles. I still have the nissan noise chasing kit. My plan before the subs go in is to strip down the trunk and CLD that and resecure the rear seat latches. I'm going to go for between 25-50% coverage throughout the car but I will not be taking down the roof at least at first. The spare tire cover moves a little too much it will need some velcro, I think. It has been surprisingly solid sounding and the doors sound solid on closing (much better than my versa did). The dsp will be a ways off I think but I plan on getting the calibrated usb mic at some point and playing around with the head unit settings.

Given you know the vehicle where do you suggest for the tweeters? :) I've seen builds where people put them in the dash but my gut tells me an on-axis pod is going to sound better.

Holmz, I did a big 3 in the versa and noticed a difference (no more light dimming), so I plan on doing it in the subaru. I noticed specifically the chassis ground and alternator ground in the subaru are really awful looking. I haven't found a great spot for the engine ground when I was scouting around but I'm sure I'll find somewhere to help that out.

Car audio has changed a lot in some ways but the basics are still the same. I have the amp rack cut out of mdf and getting
 

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I think you've received some good advice already. Gijoe's comments are particularly helpful, imho. One of the comments you made about the use of time alignment and single seat vs multi-seat listening is that you have the option to create presets. Say, preset 1 for single driver's seat listening, preset 2 for 2-seat listening, and maybe even a preset 3 for single passenger seat listening.

And what is really cool is that you don't need to wait to purchase a stand alone DSP to test this out. The Alpine CDE-HD148BT has the capability of creating tuning presets, just like a DSP. I did this with the 147BT we used to have in my wife's old GLI. The presets save your crossover, EQ and time alignment settings.

Check out page 20 of the manual linked below to see how to create and recall presets.
CDE-HD148BT Manual
 
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