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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
hey guys,
'
some of you may know that we recently signed on to become an audiofrog dealer, and our first brush with the project left us very impressed...this was that build:

http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/build-logs-project-install-gallery/169099-ribbit-ribbit-mdx-audio-frog-sq-build-review-arc-mosconi-illusion.html

but in reading that thread, you will see that i felt perhaps something was left on the table because we were starting with a non-pure signal source, namely, the acura premium sound system tapped POST stock amp. I stated that if the speakers were able to sound this good in this environment, i wonder what it will do with a better signal source.

so needless to say, i was eager to sample the products again with an aftermarket headunit, and the opportunity came pretty quick when a great local customer contacted us to do a system in his 2011 subaru WRX... initially, the car was to get another speaker that is much cheaper, but after agreeing to use the AF sub, i decided that this would be the car to do the all AF set in, so i switched to the higher end driver as a surprised :)
using this car to sample the AF set is beneficial to us because this is a car that i have done many times before, so i will be able to gauge more accurately how these speakers perform, taking out the interior nuances as a factor.

to changes things a bit, we chose to go with the AF top the line GB two way component set, witih the GB60 midbass previously reviewed, and the larger format GB15 1.5" tweeter. we also ordered a single GB10 dual 2ohm sub to pair with the two way upfront. though sometimes it may not seem like it, we tend to do a lot of two way front stage and single 10" combos, for the sake of stealthiness and cost....so with eager anticipation, i started the build.

first the goals:

1. achieve a good level of sound quality while maintaining a low key appearance

2. have a decently strong bass output

3. save as much room in the hatch cargo area as possible, this in this car, with itw two big metal covers upfront in the floor, is somewhat of a challenge.

Jesse performed most of the build while i did the A pillars.

lets get started:

first, as is standard practice with this generation of impreza based cars, we fabricated a metal mounting plate for the stinger fuse holder, welded to the top of the battery tie down brace:





the signal starts with a pioneer 8000NEX double din unit, it was previously installed by the customer, jesse went in and cleaned up the wiring a bit while running new signal cables:







Jesse also installed a pioneer ND-BC6 backup camera:





onto the front stage, which as mentioned is the AF two way. the GB60 midbass was installed into the stock lower door location. and as standard practice, Jesse ran new wires into the doors, sound proofed the outer metal skin with blackhole tile, and on the inner door panel, he did a combination of STP CLD damper and Stinger CCF:







he then fabricated two adapter spacer baffles and coated them with several coats of truck bedliner to protect them from the elements:





the baffle was then bolted to the door using stock hardware:



and then the GB60 was wired up and secured in place:





the outer door skin also received a liberal treatment of STP CLD damper to help with resonance:



the same procedure was then repeated on the passenger side:















moving onto the GB15 tweeter mounted in the A pillars. here you see them aimed at the opposite listener, and the entire pillar recovered with black vinyl. note the classy chromed trim ring around the tweeter, adding a nice extra cosmetic flair to the design:

















lets now take a closer look at the GB15.

here is the box and you can see it is quite a big bigger than any tweeter packaging box i have ever seen. open it, and you will find a plethora of mounting options and gadgets...a trade mark of Audiofrog products:





the three key components for the tweeter is the driver itself, a metal mounting ring, and a metal ring with threads on in the inside to screw on from the back of the tweeter, all beautifully crafted:





here is what it looks like with the three pieces secured together, note the signature AF grille, and the nicely crafted set screw terminals...again all just screams quality:









thought its hard to tell in the pics, but there is an intentional gap left between the grey mounting/trim ring and the tweeter housing, this is so you can actually just mount this ring to the pillars, mold around it, and the gap is left there to allow the upholstery material to sit in and then the tweeter can be pressed in place.

so first, the two metal rings were aimed and attached:



then mold cloth was pulled, resin applied, allowed to set, and the pods were reinforced from the inside via a resin/filler mixture:



then a few layers of filler followed by sanding made the entire pillar one smooth blended shape:





then the pillars were wrapped in black vinyl, and the tweeter wired up:



then the tweeters were press fit into the pods, and we are done. the only slight hiccup is that since i wasnt able to use the screw on ring on the back of the tweeter to secure it, the vinyl was a bit too thick to begin with to sit in the gap and still allow the tweeter to press into by itself. so i took a xacto knife and carefully trimmed off a surface layers of vinyl along that gap, and voila, the tweeter pressed in no problem:



 

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Discussion Starter #2
next come some wiring pics as jesse ran the cables from the front to the back, ziptied to stock looms every few inches or less:













now for the cargo area build. as mentioned before, we wanted to safe as much room as possible and keep the floor height as low as possible. so here if the normal view, and as you can see, the floor came up by about 2.5 inches, but still sits comforable below the hatch opening. there is a irregularly shaped cutout in the middle, and basically its a stealthy fake floor design:





lift off the breathable grille and here is what you see. two arc audio xdiv2 amps are nestled next to the audiofrog GB10 subwoofer. a 600.4 powers the front stage active with 4x150 watts, while a 1100.1 sends the full 1.1kilowatt to the GB10. everything is trimmed in black vinyl. the layout of the amps and sub is pretty much necessitated by the gear and how they fit within the confines of the sparetire "well"...though i think Jesse did a great job coming up with a classy design for his first non symmetrical fake floor layout:







now a quick look at the GB10 subwoofer itself. and you will notice that in some sense, it looks very much like its smaller cousins....which means awesome build quality and attention to detail. the tapering top gasket provides a nice classy appearance and the combination of the gray cast bakset and machined backplate means you can install this sub backwards and it would still look stellar (though you would probably want to remove the top gasket). especially nice is the switch that toggles between 4 and 1ohm for this 2ohm DVC sub, which saves us time and i wish every DVC subs came with this feature!









onto the build pics.

first, jesse stripped bare the cargo area, and lay down CLD damper on the floor:





then basically he taped off the area and laid down the floor mold, and then top it with a flat baffle to make it a shallow sealed enclosure...but uh...someone forgot to take pictures of that...cough cough jesse cough :D

but basically then the equipment was bolted in place, a stack of rings was fabricated to raise the sub to the same height as the top of the amps. the mosconi 4to6dsp was mounted next to the two amps, and two spacer boards were facbricated to the left and right of the well to provide support for hte top floor. jesse also wired up the whole thing. everything is secured to the car via the main spare tire well retaining point:



this is the trim panel before and after vinyl:





this is the two piece top floor before and after carpet:





and this is the breathable grille before and after carpeting:









and finally, a shot at Jesse's wiring job under the top panels:





 

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so thats it...now for the mini review:

so...how does it sound?

well, people that know me knows that i dont like to overhype products....i try to be as objective as possible and almost believe there is room for improvement for any product.

having said that, i feel that i am being very honest in saying that this could be one of my favorite 6.5" two way components of all time, ranking right up there with the Morel titanium elate, with and without the piccolo tweeter!

now let me backup my statement:

imaging wise, the car does a great job, the stage is nice and high, about 6 inches above the dash, with great depth, width is decent as well. i do feel that the ability of this tweeter to go now (2000hz at 24db) means a bit more of the freq range can be put above the dash at more favorite listening and aiming angles.

Hotel California live: right off the bat the sound can be best described as smooth and natural. the guitar pics sounded great and detailed, but never blaring, even at high volume. but really impressive was when the big drum beat came in. right away, the GB10 reminded me of some of my other favorite sq subs, such as the older DLS nobelium, the morel Ultimo, and the illusion audio CXL...in that its very dry sounding devoid of any boominess. maybe some others prefer fat bass notes all the time, but i LOVE a sub that just seems to right away, dissappear into the music. at the same time, the extension, impact was there as well, replicated superbly.

The best is yet to come - Michael Buble: his voice again is reproduced very very well. it has the right tone and extension, never sounding too sharp or too nasally, and when the big orchestra came in, it was again very dynamic but never sharp.

The way you make me feel - MJ: wanting to let the speaker stretch their legs a bit, i always tend to play this track loud and crank the subs up. and the GB10 did a great job filling the interior with high impact bass. you can literally feel it in your chest, yet MJ's voice remained natural, without harshness. it was quite a blast to listen to this song.


Keith Don't go - Nils Lofgren: by now, i already expect this song to sound great with this system. the guitar's picks were full of detail but natural, and the reverb of the guitar's body and plucks were effortlessly reproduced, it is probably one of the nicest reproductions of this song with a simple two way active system i have done.

Eyes on Fire - Blue Foundation: this is not SQ music, but a dubstep song to see how well the midbass and sub work under duress. and again, i was impressed with both. the big big bass notes didnt do much at all to stress the drivers. despite being powered by an amp that is nearly double the recommended power, the GB10 never bottomed out or fall apart. just a lot of big big bass that ruffled hairs and shook mirrors. subsonic performance of the sub perhaps isnt as good as something like a C12xl, or idmax, but very much inline with other comparable subs in its class.

Havannah: forgot who did this techno song, this i use to see how fast the sub is and if its can keep up with the music, and the GB10 had no problem with it, anchored by the strong bass note of the GB60, the sub did everything fine, blending the two part bass note (midbass and sub) seemless into one, even at high volumes.

so overall:

subbass: the GB10 just jumped into my list of all time favorite subs. i prefer subs that are good all around performers, rather than just sq, or just spl, and this is a pretty good definition of what i am looking for. from a sq standpoint, its hard to imagine that for me personally, i would want anymore...it just instantly disappears into the music, and i had ZERO eq adjustments on the sub, it just performs in the .5 sealed enclosure. a bigger enclosure probably could have gotten me slightly better bottom end, but this was still terrific. it handled a lot of power without complaint, and was able to get up and boogie when asked. compared to my other favorite sub, the illusion c12xl, i would say perhaps the audiofrog is even more SQ oriented, and gives up a bit in overall output and low freq extension, but we are comparing a 12 to a 10, and a price point (even for a gb12) that is several hundred dollars apart.

midbass: ulike the MDX, which had good midbass but i felt the impact could have been a little better, perhaps due to the stock signal source; this car had no problem giving me the impact and extension i desired. if i really want to nitpick, i could say the morel elate titanium is still a smidgen better on impact, this this is really great, and i would have no problem running it, and i believe i could have put another 50 or 100 watts on it and get even better dynamic headroom.

midrange: there was very little problems with the midrange, sometimes a weakpoint for two ways. its got great resolution and perhaps the low extension of the tweeter helped somewhat, as i didnt feel i needed to do much adjustment in the 2500 ranges as some other cars.

highs: like the GB10 i sampled in the MDX, the GB15's top end is exactly to my liking. it walks that line between detailed and smooth perfectly, never harsh and never dull, i also noticed i needed less time to eq the tweeter versus many other two wayhs in the same configuration in the same car. if anyone wants to second guess how the odd looking grille can affect the sound, please dont, i truly believe Andy's statements about how the speakers are voiced with the grille in place...it just sounds so...right! right out of the box even, before any eqing.

so are there any negatives? well, i dont consider myself a SQ master, and my ears are golden, or even silver. so to me, its hard to find fault with the perhaps of this two way set from a sonic perspective. those who are far more critical listeners than myself, or those with instrumentation can maybe find small faults with it, but for me, its exactly how i would like a two way to sound.

i would say the sheer size of the tweeter can present a mounting problem for some, its probably not going to go into too many stock locations. and some may want a more low key black tweeter versus a shiny one for stealth purposes.

the tiny set crew terminal can be an issue. the set came wtih the smallest alen wrench i have ever seen for that purposes, but it is so easily lost and perhaps broken, so if you do, you may have an issue trying to unwire the terminals. p0erhaps a simple tiny philips can be used instead so anyone with a micro screw driver set can wire the speaker up. and the only other thing i can think of is the vinyl gap issue i mentioned earlier.

so yeah overall, i am very pleased with the performance of these drivers, and it gives me confidence in recommending them time and again in the near future, especially considering that at their performance level, they are slightly more cost efficient than anything else we offer.

BRAVO!

cheers,

Bing
 

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This is an awesome install showcasing the new Audio Frog gear. Andy and Gary seem to have come up with a pretty impressive set of speakers and subs.
 

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Great install and write-up, Bing!

This is making me want to sell my Hybrid Audio Legatia and Focal PS 165 FX separates (so I can quit wrestling w/which to install) and go all in on Audiofrog!
 

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Discussion Starter #11

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Bing's review is spot on and I could not be any happier with the finished product.

I never thought I could have this caliber of sound quality and output in my car without spending many times what I did.

I feel that Andy, Bing, and Jesse have outdone themselves in delivering a great product and an absolutely stunning installation.

If anyone wants to demo the car let me or Bing know and if I am in town I can bring the car by SIS or meet you somewhere so the car can be truly appreciated.

Words do not do this car justice.


Thank you Andy
Thank you Jesse
Thank you Bing
Thank you Simplicity In Sound


Truly, Truly amazing.
 

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Question,
Based on more than just this system, because most of your installs use the same location.
Why the pilar mount? Is there a large difference there compaired to the stock locations? Also what about airbags mounted there?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Question,
Based on more than just this system, because most of your installs use the same location.
Why the pilar mount? Is there a large difference there compaired to the stock locations? Also what about airbags mounted there?
In this particular car, i have tried the stock location. the biggest issue is that it wont come close to fitting this tweeter, nor would most 1" tweeters do well because the opening to the stock grille is so tiny, at i think about only 80 percent of most aftermarket tweeters, and i have experienced some bizarre freq response from having the tweeter in this location in this car. if we mold it out, then its not only just as much work if not more, but also from experience, from the constant slamming of car doors and the heat etc, it is more likely to develope cracks over time. for the pillars i feel like we give us a bit of width by not aiming them fully on axis, but the rest, as in center image, height and depth is all very good :)

b
 

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In this particular car, i have tried the stock location. the biggest issue is that it wont come close to fitting this tweeter, nor would most 1" tweeters do well because the opening to the stock grille is so tiny, at i think about only 80 percent of most aftermarket tweeters, and i have experienced some bizarre freq response from having the tweeter in this location in this car. if we mold it out, then its not only just as much work if not more, but also from experience, from the constant slamming of car doors and the heat etc, it is more likely to develope cracks over time. for the pillars i feel like we give us a bit of width by not aiming them fully on axis, but the rest, as in center image, height and depth is all very good :)

b
Awesome response!
What about airbags?
I bug you on this because of my car, I still have the tweeters in the stock locations. I also have airbags in the pillar and it worries me to deal with them. I do have Marc K's tweeters comming.....well someday ...and I need to start thinking of a plan.

I totally enjoy your installs and consider myself part of a group that flock to them. I get so excited when you post new logs.
 

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Awesome response!
What about airbags?
I bug you on this because of my car, I still have the tweeters in the stock locations. I also have airbags in the pillar and it worries me to deal with them. I do have Marc K's tweeters comming.....well someday ...and I need to start thinking of a plan.

I totally enjoy your installs and consider myself part of a group that flock to them. I get so excited when you post new logs.
airbags is something i dove into years ago, back in the earl 2000 when i started doing them. i asked a freind who is an engineer with the big three and he told me to watch the videos of the airbags deploying, and note that most of them have the bag blow down through the weather stripping into a curtain, they dont, in other worse, blow OUT through the pillar send it back to you. in other words, there wasnt a lot of chance of the srs not functioning with a pillar or a even a mid pod. even a dash pod, for the most part, isnt strong enough to prevent the airbag from deploying downwards through the headliner, the pillar edge, and weatherstripping. its not an official word, but over the years, after a few hundred pillars and a handful of people actually end up totaling their car in accidents, i am pretty confident in doing them without affecting the safety of the occupants. :)
 

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airbags is something i dove into years ago, back in the earl 2000 when i started doing them. i asked a freind who is an engineer with the big three and he told me to watch the videos of the airbags deploying, and note that most of them have the bag blow down through the weather stripping into a curtain, they dont, in other worse, blow OUT through the pillar send it back to you. in other words, there wasnt a lot of chance of the srs not functioning with a pillar or a even a mid pod. even a dash pod, for the most part, isnt strong enough to prevent the airbag from deploying downwards through the headliner, the pillar edge, and weatherstripping. its not an official word, but over the years, after a few hundred pillars and a handful of people actually end up totaling their car in accidents, i am pretty confident in doing them without affecting the safety of the occupants. :)
Well awesome then! Thanks for the scoop on it!
I like how you not only gave an answer, but how you got to this conclusion.
Thanks sir!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Any thoughts on the 3 way from audio frog and which tweeter would you recommend for their 3 way install and why?
i think andy is better at answering this question. i want to wait until i do a 3 way with an aftermarket signal source first before if i think there is any real difference between the gb10 and the gb15, but i believe there really shouldnt be much sonic difference other than the 15 being able to go lower. perhaps it is then dependent on where the speakers are located? for example, if the midrange is forced to be lower or less than ideal location, the bigger 15 with its lower response can help?

but again, i defer to andy on this question :)

b
 
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