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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good day all. As yesterday I finally got my teeth into setting up the system in my E36 M3, I figured that I should go ahead and start my build log. The goals of this build are simple, good, loud(ish) sound on the extreme cheap.

My car (ignore the pretty E46 vert, that's my girlfriend's ride. I'll be starting hers once she hears mine and finally believes me that car audio can sound better than her built in Harmon Kardon tunes).



Here's what $364.44 (shipped) and a lot of digging online will get you. Picture includes

Clarion DXZ785USB
Cadence TXA-3004 (will be running active 2 channels for tweets 2 for mids)
Cadence TXA-3002 (bridged at 4ohms to the 4ohm SVC sub)
Phoenix Gold RSD65CS Comps (passives aren't pictured and won't be used)
Phoenix Gold RSD12



Here's a couple of pictures of my trunk. My initial plan was to build a combination Sub\Amp rack that took the width\height of the trunk near the seats, but after laying everything out I determined that there was just no way to make it all fit that way. As such I've decided to either mount them horizontally from the rear deck (I have a few fans coming which would probably pull up and out on a diagonal), or I might try to tuck one in each of the sides of the car behind the wheelwell. I might ultimately wind up building a false floor, but for the moment I want to get everything up and running to replace the abysmal tunes I have ATM.





Yesterday I decided on the size\shape of the box I wanted to build, and got all of the pieces cut for it. The RSD12 likes 1.8cube sealed, and to that end my box will be a wedge measuring 24" wide x 15" tall x 15" deep at the bottom and 9" deep at the top. The calcs on 12volt had this at a tad over 1.8, but the hoop shaped things pictured are braces which I figured would bring me to right around the correct airspace (they are 1.5" inches of stock left all around the internal shape of the box). This will be rear firing and the angle matches that of the seats.



That's all I have at the moment. I'll be sure to keep this thread updated as I progress. I'm still waiting on my cabling from KnuKonceptz and Monoprice (should be here tomorrow). Tonight I plan to assemble the box and hopefully get it sanded\coated (using bedliner material, might wrap it in vinyl later).

Cheers, any comments welcome.
 

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Slapping me in the face with that $364!... I'm currently running the 785usb and snagged a pair of the PG RSDC4 12's for the shelf...
I think this build is gunna be a heck of a surprise to your ears -and a shock to anyone that hears what you paid for it!:cool:
 

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You'll enjoy the RSd, especially for the price ;)

Considering picking up the big brother -6004 to run my whole system since the RSd likes power in sealed boxes :) In which country are the Cadence amps built?

Budget builds have a place in my heart <3
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Did some work last night, got the box assembled, and I believe I've changed where I'm going to mount the amps.

Here's a picture of the back of the box before putting the back and top on. The bracing might have been overkill for the size, but I figure it can't hurt. Overkill is usually good in my book...




Here's the completed box





Set in the back of the car. Always feels good when something actually fits in the area which you intended it to go, especially something that you just glued the hell out of and put a box of screws in.



I've been agonizing over the placement of my amps ever since I started this, but I think I figured it out last night. I think I'm going to mount them directly behind the seats side by side (they just barely fit like this) on a panel that would attach to the sub box with build outs and likely be screwed to rubber panels to minimize vibration to the amps. I'll also likely build a channel\cavity to hide the cabling. It'll also have a couple of fans probably pulling through toward the back of the trunk.



That's all I have for the moment. tonight I plan to route the edges of the box, fill and sand, and hopefully get the amp rack constructed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Slapping me in the face with that $364!... I'm currently running the 785usb and snagged a pair of the PG RSDC4 12's for the shelf...
I think this build is gunna be a heck of a surprise to your ears -and a shock to anyone that hears what you paid for it!:cool:
I really hope it all sounds good when it's done. Everything that I've read about both the RSD12 and the RSD65C's has been positive, so I figure that has to be a good sign.

And I'm still scratching my head over the price I paid for everything. When I told my girlfriend her response was, "I thought that just the radio, I mean the CD player thingy was supposed to cost that much."
 

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cheap skate?? nahh... just thrifty with your shopping!

Well done bud, nice car though E36 was for a long time a performance and car audio nirvana!
 

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I really hope it all sounds good when it's done. Everything that I've read about bot her response was, "I thought that just the radio, I mean the CD player thingy was supposed to cost that much."
Hey, win win! Keep it going, I want to see it done!
 

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I have had a couple e36 cars. They can be challanging to install in but it looks like you are off to a good start. Keep up the good work and post some more pics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Not a big update, but got a little further along. I laid out, measured, and cut my amp rack and spaced it out from the box by 2-1/4" blocks (three blocks of 3/4" MDF). I also plan to find and cut a few 1/4" rubber strips to mount the amp to, I figure between the spacers and the rubber it should isolate it sufficiently from the vibration from the box, along with providing me with a non-visible void area where I can roll up and tuck wiring.

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of this.

I did, however get a few pictures of a little work I did in the trunk last night. One thing BMW's are well known for is being relatively well insolated\damped, and as such it's pretty hard to get bass into the cabin.

A couple screws out and I now have two nice ports.


Like nothing ever happened


Here are the icepicks, er, non-musical vibration and pop generating devices that I pulled out of the rear deck. Looks like one of the previous owners replaced the stock rear deck speakers with some 3-3-1/2" Infinity coax's. This is my second run in with these horrendous little Infinity coax's. I bought a set years and years ago to replace the rear shock tower mounted speakers in my Bose equipped 300ZX, along with some old JBL Comps in the front. I was so disgusted with the sound from them that I either disabled them or just kept the fader all the way to the front. I did a similar thing with making adaptors to seal them to the Bose enclosures. I didn't know a thing about stage back then, but I had already determined that I didn't like rear speakers.



Here they are along with the BMW CD Changer that I won't be needing. Might even be able to get a few bucks for it on the Bimmer Boards.



I also started removing all of the rear carpeting to get to the speaker wire areas that I'll need to tap into. Factory BMW speaker wires are I think 16ga and twisted, so most people re-use them. I plan on doing that. Looks like I'll have to figure out what was already hacked here by whoever installed those Infinity's and the Blaupunkt comps. in front.

If you look you'll see a smallish (maybe 10-12g) ground wire here. There's also a similarly smallish power wire rolled up in the tire well still connected to the battery. I guess whoever installed this abysmal system had a small amp connected to it at one point. Who knows, maybe it sounded a bit better with a bit of power behind it.



Crossovers for the Blaupunkt comps that I'll be ripping out and ritualistically burning.


That's about it for now. This weekend will be my big push to get everything in and installed. I have all of my cabling and the fans now, so the only thing I still need to acquire is at least enough deadening to do my kicks. Maybe I'll break down and buy a small Dynamat Extreme kit from like Best Buy or a local audio joint.
 

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Looking forward to your install. You are off the a great start, great equipment for what a HU should cost.

I am also doing a budget build but have spent way more than you and don't have as nice a list of hardware.

Looking forward to your progress. I love e36 M3s, would love to have one for the track some day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's odd, somehow my photobucket account just "disappeared", got deleted. My email address wasn't even in the database anymore. I had to re-create it, and I'll get around to fixing the pictures in my earlier posts on this when I get a second.

All right, got quite a bit accomplished this weekend.

I started by finishing up my box and amp rack. I ultimately plan on covering it in something a bit out there (maybe Alcantara or like raw leather that will develop a patina), but for the moment just to get it looking somewhat presentable I quickly sanded it a 60grit belt sander and coated it with the Rustoleum bedliner. The tutorials that say to coat it with enamel first must be dead on, as I didn't and went through CANS of the stuff to get any kind of coverage\buildup.

Oh well, live and learn.

Coated box front:


Back, notice the stands for the amp rack:


Here's the amp rack:


I'm a little nuts about wiring, I can't bring myself to leave something be without soldering and heat shrinking it. Here's the terminal cup, I found some old 8 gauge Monster Cable lying around from a previous install and decided to use it for the speaker wire inside the box. Complete overkill, but no biggie.


Box with the amp rack mounted:








Here you can see the fans I mounted to the top of the amps. They came from a hard drive cooler I bought from Monoprice for like $3.00. They'll be wired to a relay mounted to the back of the amp rack. You can also see the 2-1/4" void I have between the amp rack and the box which is where I'll coil up and hide all of the excess wire.


 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Test fitted into the car, slides right in while assembled and fits like a glove. Should be easy to pull out if I ever decide to Autocross or something.


Here you can see the top of it where the fans pull air. They have a nice bit of free air above the unit.


Here's the front with the seats folded down. They fit perfectly behind the seats.




Interior all yanked apart


The old 5-1/4" Blaupunkt next to the RSD65 Mid


And the corresponding enlarging of the kicks that had to be done. I tried using a jigsaw, but you really can't control it in that area. I ultimately wound up using the Dremel reinforced cut-off wheels on a flex shaft on my Dremel. The non-reinforced wheels cut all of maybe a 1" slot before disintegrating.


Wiring harness all soldered\heat shrank up. You'll notice that I already have my RCA's run here. I settled on running straight up the console and under the carpet then under the back seat. I'll get some better photos of that later.




Here's an 1/8" plug "bulkhead" that I soldered onto an old pair of RCAs. This bulkhead threads to the back of my little sunglasses pocket so that I have an easy (hidden) place to plug into the aux-in.


That's all I have for now. I feel like I'm in the home stretch here. I'm hoping to get it far enough along to be able to fire it up tonight.
 

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I can't wait to see more and see how you like your new hu. your first several pics didn't work but oh well. the box looks awesome with the way you mounted your amps. great work.
 
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