New car sound system help

Discussion in 'Electrical & Stereo' started by nic, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. nic

    nic New Member

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    I want to eventually get new speakers but i am more into getting a/some subs for my car.. what should i get and what do i need for a 96 mustang gt to make it compatible
    Thanks!
     
  2. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    I documented a new speaker/amp/sub install in my DD - it's not a mustang but the process would be similar. The original post might be interesting, if the rest of the posts aren't. Thread here.

    So what are you looking for? Something with a little bass to round out your music? Something to rattle a penny off your rearview mirror? How loud to you typically listen to music? What kind of music? Do you like tight sounding bass, or deep, loose sounding bass? Do you have a stock head unit, or aftermarket? If stock, do you want to keep it stock?
     
  3. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    what is the budget?
     
  4. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    ^ Yah, that too, lol that is super important :)
     
  5. nic

    nic New Member

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    The speakers are fine but cant handle bass.. I am not looking for an insane sub just something that can bump decently
     
  6. nic

    nic New Member

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    not sure depends on how much it cost for decent sub
    lets say 500>
     
  7. nic

    nic New Member

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    just to help Ill prove pics of my current setup
     
  8. nic

    nic New Member

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    [​IMG][/URL] [​IMG] [​IMG][/IMG]


    So in the first picture the one on the bottom side of door rattles a lot and cant handle much bass at all im talking very little. the back seem fine. The speakers are pretty clear and all around sound good except for the bass is super super low

    i took with phone with flash on thats why it looks weird
     
  9. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    All you want is a sub - okay, no worries. The Wattage though should depend on your other speakers - if you are running stock speakers with a stock head unit (or stock speakers with an aftermarket head unit), you won't need too much Wattage. ~250 Watts RMS should be plenty. 300 Watts if you want a little more. There are plenty of Mono amplifiers out there. I suggest going to Crutchfield.com and browse their amplifiers. If all you want is a subwoofer or two, then look at their Mono amplifiers. Personally, I have always run Rockford Fosgate. But people have different favorites, and if I'm being honest, they are all probably equally good. Stick with a known brand and you should be fine.

    The size subwoofer you choose will depend on a couple things: how much of your trunk do you want to lose being the biggest. I think a single 10" sub hits plenty hard for most people. And it's small enough, relatively speaking, to fit in a trunk and not take up all the space. Going with a larger subwoofer will result in more bass, of course....and less trunk space available.

    Basically, the goal should be this: determine the sub you want. Keep track of the resistance (Ohms, it will be either 4, 2, or 1), and whether it's a single voice coil (SVC) or a dual voice coil (DVC). Also note the recommended enclosure volume for a sealed box (might be something like 0.59) and a ported box (might be something like 1.4). Once you have picked your sub, note the RMS Wattage. Make sure you use RMS, and NOT Max. You want RMS. Whatever that number is, let's say 250 Watts RMS, go over to the amplifier section, and find an amplifier that puts out 250 Watts RMS at the same resistance as the sub.

    So, if you pick a 250 Watt RMS sub at 2 Ohms, then you want an amplifier that puts out at least 250 Watts RMS x 1 at 2 Ohms. The "x 1" means that it puts the Wattage out only to 1 channel - which is fine. A sub is only 1 channel. That's why it's called a Mono amplifier - only 1 channel.

    If you get a DVC sub, then it makes things more complicated, because you have to wire the subwoofer differently depending on the resistance you are shooting for. I can explain in more detail if necessary, but it's not really worth it in your case - meaning, a SVC sub will most likely hit hard enough to make you happy. Certainly rattle your trunk, that's for sure. As for the max Wattage your car can support, run through the calculation in the first post that I linked to, that will tell you how much headroom you have to play with. Don't just go pick the biggest Watt sub you see.

    The next hard bit is wiring the amplifier up. If you have a decent aftermarket head unit, this is probably pretty easy. If you have the stock head unit, then it's a bit more difficult, but still doable. So: stock head unit or aftermarket?

    Edit: Oh, I forgot: for a SVC 10" sub, an appropriate amp, an enclosure for the sub, and an amp wiring kit should be easily within $500. Might even be less if you can find some deals. If you install it yourself, then certainly. If you want to hire someone to do it, they will probably charge ~$150 or so, depending on your area and the shop. They might charge more.
     
  10. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    If your speakers rattle, they are either loose (like a screw or two is missing) or actually blown. They can still sound decent at higher frequencies because they might have tweeters and/or the higher frequencies do not move the cones nearly as much as lower frequencies (bass) does. My guess is your speakers are probably shot. Are they original?
     
  11. nic

    nic New Member

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    i believe they are after market from the dealer... like not the base speakers
     
  12. nic

    nic New Member

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    will this hurt my battery or anything like that
     
  13. Nighttrain

    Nighttrain Well-Known Member

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    Nah, with the setup hes talking about youre not pulling many amps. The amps affect your alternator, not neccesarily your battery. Just shut it all off when you shut off the car.
     
  14. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    the stock speakers are rattling because the stock amps took the bass out of the tweeters. Get a 1000 microfarad capacitor and wire it up inline to the the tweeters and it will take the bass out. You should be able to get these through crutchfield since radio shack is so much harder to find these days.
     
  15. nic

    nic New Member

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    so if i took the bass out i could put it all into the subs
     
  16. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    So the speakers have been there since the car was new?

    No, not with the Wattage we are talking about. If you run more Watts then your alternator can handle, then yes, it will hurt your battery.

    It doesn't quite like that. The bass to the speakers is coming from the head unit/OEM amp if there is one. The bass to the subwoofer will come from the new amplifier that you install.

    I don't think I've seen an answer yet - do you have the stock radio?
     
  17. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    yes/no on the tweeter capacitor question. By taking the bass from them, it allows them to play the notes they are designed to better. You will not phisically take that bass from the tweeter to add to the woofer, but you will now be able to turn the bass/volume up more before the tweeters start to distort. Even if the stock speakers were swapped out the tweeters are big enough that most people do not swap them out but simply hook them up. I would not worry about hurting your battery or alt until you are into some really big wattage amps. If your just adding a sub don't sweat it but then also stay away from under drive pullies if you like your amps power.
     
  18. o36

    o36 New Member

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    Lots of good info in this thread, here's my two cents:

    Stock stereo: you have a couple of options, you can buy something called a line out put converter which will take input from your stock speaker wires which carry the full range signal to the speakers (this is called high level inputs) and it will convert the output to rca or low level input which you can then run directly to the rca input on the Amp then speaker wire to your sub enclosure.

    Why people do this is a line output converter will typically clean up the signal output so you get distortion events much less frequently.

    The other option is to take those high level speaker wires and send the signal straight to your amps high level input if it has one.

    The easiest way to do either of the above is to use t-taps to double up on the speaker wire and send a dedicated length of wire to either your line output converter or the high level input of your amp.

    If you have an aftermarket stereo you can do all of the above or send rcas directly from the stereo to the amp.

    Regardless of what you do, tuning the amps gains and crossover frequencies is crucial to getting the best sound you can regardless of how powerful the sub is.

    Think of gain as a pseudo volume knob, what it does is adjust the power output of the amp to correctly match the power handing of your sub. It seems daunting but it's very easy using a bit of math and having access to a digital multimeter/voltmeter.

    First the math, we will be using ohms law which is basic electrical algebra.

    We want to figure out what voltage we want the amp to be outputting to determine the correct rms output.

    Volts = Square root of (Power in RMS * Resistance in ohms)

    Using the above example of 250w rms @ 2ohm

    V = sq(P*R)
    V = sq(250*2)
    V = sq(500)
    V = 22.36

    Keep track of this number.

    Burn a cd or find an MP3 of a 40 Hz sine wave and hook your Amp up to your stereo but not your sub.

    Find your max undistorted volume of your stereo. Generally speaking you can get by with setting it to the absolute max then take that number (say 50) then multiply by 0.75 and round up. Set your volume to this.

    Take your sine wave source and play it on repeat, now go to where your amp is and grab your multimeter.

    Turn the gain on your amp all the way down (to the left) and turn the multimeter on setting it to D.C. Volts (DCV) if multiple dcv settings exist set it to 200 this should set the display to 0.00

    Now take the positive or red lead and secure it to the positive speaker output of the amp, and like wise for the negative or black.

    Now while keeping an eye on the multimeter output, SLOWLY turn the amp gain up (to the right) until you get as close as you can to the above number (22.36) without going over and it stabilizes and stops jumping around.

    This is important if you choose to buy a more powerful amp so you can upgrade subs later, but is still important to do even if the manufacturer claims a specific number.

    For your crossover there will be two dials called subsonic filter aka high pass filter and crossover for low pass filter.

    High pass filter allows frequencies over a certain range to play and prevents frequencies lower than that to play and vice versa for low pass filter, it allows frequencies lower than the value to pass and blocks frequencies higher from passing.

    It's important to ensure the sub only plays frequencies it was designed to handle. Rule of thumb values are 25-30 Hz for subsonic and 80-100 for low pass.

    If your door speakers aren't playing much bass, you might want the sub to handle more of the midrange bass frequencies, you can do this by setting the low pass crossover to 300 to 400 Hz or so but it will depend entirely on the specs of your sub. You can safely tune the low pass crossover by ear to what sounds good to you, but tools do exist to do this accurately like with setting the amp gain.

    Once you do this you can crank the stereo to that max undistorted volume we found earlier without fearing that your amp or sub will blow up.

    Enjoy!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  19. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    the only reason people use the stock stereo and a line out converter is because they like the look/options of the stock equipment. Using an good quality LOC correctly(directly behind the radio) is better then the high level outputs to the amps, but is still another piece in the audio signal that will add some noise no matter how good it is.

    Now when you say t-taps will be the easiest - you also fail to mention its a system that will eventually fail and honestly has no use in tapping an audio signal and many will argue they have no use in a car at all(and I agree). The only connection system I would say that belongs less in a car is home twist nuts as neither of these are good long term in a car environment. A military splice is uglier but still more reliable if you want something easy...

    I have made the analogy before that using a volt meter to tune your car is about the same as a sculptor using a flat head screw driver instead of the proper chisel. Yes it will get you close but you would be better off listening, using your ears and adjusting it that way. I am sure you know the proper technical tool to set up the gain correctly would be an o-scope and that most people don't have access to those but when their ears are the final judge of it it sounds good you are better off trusting them then what is probably a $10 volt meter on a 1/2 dead battery used by someone that doesn't really understand the difference in ac/dc using it to tune a stereo.
     
  20. o36

    o36 New Member

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    Oh yeah, for sure. However when it comes to tuning the amp, setting the gain using a multimeter is about as precise as you need to be to limit the power output in the proper range. I did point out that tuning the crossover points by ear will yield decent results as where the frequencies get cut off is more apparent to an amateur enthusiast then an arbitrary raising/lowering of the volume which in effect the gain handles (decrease gain, decrease output, decrease SPL; increase gain, increase output, increase SPL).

    For me personally I use a DD1 (distortion detector) to set my gains and a CC1 (crossover calibrator) from Steve Meade Designs as they are purpose built tools. Sure I could use an o-scope but thats a lot of fiddling around and messing about, not to mention most amateurs tend to set it and forget it, so dropping the expense on those tools for a one time set up is a waste; where even if you have to buy a cheap voltmeter for 10 bucks from Walmart, and tune the crossover points by ear after setting to rough rule of thumb measurements is probably as accurate as anyone really needs to be.

    I still maintain that using a voltmeter is the most precise, cheapest alternative to safely dialing in your gains, it just take using your noggin a little bit to think through the fundamentals of electrical properties. An oscope actually really wouldn't help you much at all when it comes to setting gains.

    As for T-Taps, they are a quick and dirty way to cleanly divert a signal for a specific purpose. I should state for the record that I always splice, solder and shrink wrap any electrical connection whether it be audio signal, 12v or ground. Putting a 500 dollar system in a car is likely a temporary solution, and it's shelf life is likely less than what it takes for the T-Tap to fail. When it comes to installing a big boy system, I always advocate properly soldered connections.

    Line output converters while true add noise as you're introducing componentry in the signal path, but the addition of that noise is so minute (short of a ground loop) that it generally takes well calibrated devices to detect. Line output converters also typically contain a line driver which boosts the output voltage of the signal via RCA which helps to reduce artifacts in the end result.

    Honestly speaking, we're talking about a guy with a 500 dollar budget to put a moderate system to augment his listening experience, but all of these practices are good to learn as they establish good habits, as invariably people always get the itch to upgrade to bigger and better.

    The absolute best way to implement a stereo system in a car is to maintain a fully digital signal from head unit to amplification, and only have analog where it's absolutely required (in order to produce sound) so in this case from signal processing to amplification to speakers.

    Having a head unit/carpc with an optical digital output into a digital signal processor to analog in to the amp and analog out to the speakers is probably the best possible compromise, unless you look at those new fangled fully digital systems like from Clarion where even the speakers are "digital" and don't use a traditional voice coil setup for the speakers, and instead use a multi layer voice coil configuration and a proprietary digital chip to convert the digital signal to analog at the speaker; that's neither here nor there, but I stand by my suggestions given the context we're dealing with :)