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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I finally took the step to get better audio. It is a 4 step install:
1. install new headunit (Done)
2. install speakers and hook everything up (Done)
3. make subwoofer box (To do)
4. soundproof the shebang out of the MR2 with Secondskin Spectrum (To do)

Stuff I used:

  • Head unit: Alpine IDA-305S
  • 1DIN mounting kit: Toyota "Mounting Kit Radio" (photo)
  • Audio source: iPhone 2G
  • 2-way speakers: Focal PolyGlass 165VR
  • Speaker rings: MediaDox speaker rings for MR2 (link)
  • Subwoofer: Focal Access 25A1
  • Amplifier: Pioneer GM-6200F (for now, it's not enough for this setup)
  • Cables: don't know, my dad bought them
  • Soundproofing: 2 gallons Secondskin Spectrum
My dad and I already installed the headunit last week, but it was without the 1DIN kit and it really needs that to look somewhat decent.

This is the photoshoot of today's (10/2/2011) install:


OK ready to rumble !


Door cards off, tweeter housing placement to align with the stock speaker grill.


With midrange woofer installed, on a fitting speaker ring I bought on eBay.


What custom install ?!


Hooking it up to the amp I had laying around (Pioneer GM-6200F). I'm not happy with the combo, it's not even louder than the stock Toyota headunit with the original speakers. I'll need something more powerful soon... To go under the seat it would also be a lot flatter apparently. Any tips on how much clearance you have underneath the seats would be helpful !


Alpine IDA-305S head unit with red illumination and red/pink wallpaper. It's perfect for iPhone/iPod use !

UPDATE 1:

Everything is fitted and connected ! The only thing to do is to replace the two amplifiers that I'm using now, by a single one that is more efficient (less heat, power loss) with a minor sound improvement as hopefully added bonus. Also the soundproofing needs to be done in the near future.

PICS !!!









On the last picture you can see the subwoofer enclosure doesn't fit perfectly. That's because the power cables are in the way and at the moment too short to resolve it. I also need to find a spare door to cut a hole into.

Some issues I've come across I didn't anticipate was that my measurements weren't including 2/3" thick power cables behind it and the latch hook that is in the way. I'll try to get something working.

UPDATE 2:

I digitized the "blueprints" I used.



PDF file A3 format

PNG file A3 format

Since I'm European, I made everything in millimeters, so people using the Imperial system, best use some online conversion tools. The files are made to be printed on A3 size paper but can always be printed on 2 sheets of A4 paper or a single sheet of A4 paper. It should be 1:1 when printed at the default size.

The enclosure is calculated to just fit behind the driver in the storage compartment. The only "modification" you need to do to the car to fit it, is removing the hook the latch of the compartment door falls into. I haven't tried it but I think you should clear it to put it back. To really finish it, I'd recommend getting another door to cut a hole into, for the subwoofer's extrusion.


More to come !
 

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Double-check the woofer install to make sure that the stock grille isn't pressing on the cone material. There are a couple points behind the grille itself that can pinch it and cause a tear, which happened to my speaker install after a few months. I took it out, dremeled the plastic for extra clearance, and sealed the tears with superglue. It sounds almost normal now.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thx for the tip, I'll do that tonight !

I'm really puzzled though. This setup cost me upwards of 600$ and the sound of the original Toyota setup is better in almost every aspect. It sounds like everything in the low-mid and low is missing. I can crank up the bass level on the headunit but then it starts clipping.
 

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Thx for the tip, I'll do that tonight !

I'm really puzzled though. This setup cost me upwards of 600$ and the sound of the original Toyota setup is better in almost every aspect. It sounds like everything in the low-mid and low is missing. I can crank up the bass level on the headunit but then it starts clipping.
There are good reasons for this.

1. You have to set your gains the right way and not the ghetto way.
2. Those focals are not made to handle low notes.
3. The subwoofer needs a generous amount of power so that it does not clip.

Questions I have for you.

1. Are you using RCA cables ?
2. Where did you ground the amp?
3. Are you using a crossover box for the 2way speakers?
4. How did you wire the speaker leads on the amp. Did you bridge them?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
There are good reasons for this.

1. You have to set your gains the right way and not the ghetto way.
2. Those focals are not made to handle low notes.
3. The subwoofer needs a generous amount of power so that it does not clip.
1. I did, they are almost at the minimum on the amp.
2. Hmm apparently they fall off quickly below 100Hz, I noticed on the tech specs. I'll tune the headunit accordingly.
3. OK I'm going to put it in bridged mode in a sec.

Questions I have for you.

1. Are you using RCA cables ?
2. Where did you ground the amp?
3. Are you using a crossover box for the 2way speakers?
4. How did you wire the speaker leads on the amp. Did you bridge them?
1. yes, quality ones with decent insulation.
2. To one of the bolts sticking out below the storage compartments.
3. Yes, they are included: pics
4. Not yet :)

EDIT: put it in bridged mode, so each set gets 150W RMS and the sound is tons better !! Indeed, they need lots of power ! No low range but I know that wasn't to be expected. Now I can finally sleep. Thx for all the help and input, guys !
 

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To set your gains you should crank up your volume with music playing to full.
Then you should turn up the gains until you hear it distort then you should back off on the gains until you do not hear any distortion.

When you bridge your amp it is no longer a four channel amp but now a 2 channel amp with more power. Once you do that you cannot run the sub off of the amp and what you will need to do is purchase a separate amp for the sub woofer. A good Class D amp should work great.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah that problem is sorted apparently, my dad has about 4 or 5 amplifiers with +200W of power just laying around so that won't be a problem :) On sunday we'll check which ones would be a good fit.
 

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Are you using a speaker baffle? I noticed during my speaker install that the speakers needs the whole air space of the door interior to get the mid punch. With the baffles surrounding the speakers, all I got was highs.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I only used the plastic rings you see in the pictures. The stock speaker with everything attached to it, came out.
 

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It doesn't look like you ran a remote wire but only 12v and ground.....how is the amp turning off?
 

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To properly set the gain on the amp without any gear you need to record (and then play back) a single continuous tone around 500Hz. There are lots of ways of doing that, but I have used a program from NCH (Google 'em). Turn the amp gain all the way down. Set your head unit to about 75-85% of full volume. Turn up the amp gain until you hear the tone of the speakers change (they will get slightly higher in frequency). Turn the gain back down to just below the tone change. That tone change happens as you begin to distort the sound - the top of the sine way signal is cut off introducing higher frequency harmonics and that's why the tone will change. Do NOT use this method on tweeter frequencies - they don't handle the power delivery all that well. Assuming a factory matched set, just trust the factory Xovers to properly manage the tweeter volume.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Good stuff, I'll try that soon when I get the subwoofer hooked up to the rest. Then I'll tweak it completely.

Does anyone know if the plastic sheets behind the door cards are there for a good reason ? I think they are vibrating and causing bad noise, I'd like to remove them if it wouldn't mean moisture would reach the insides. I guess it won't but I'm not sure what they are for.
 

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Don't remove them, just make sure they're well attached with the "black goo" (they are hopefully still attached with), or a suitable replacement. I doubt they're rattling and they do serve a purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Can I get more input on this ? I see people advising to not remove the plastic sheeting and people who say it doesn't matter. Both without motivation why.

If it has no real use or if the soundproofing I'm planning to do is going replace the fabled plastic sheets, I'm all ears.
 

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Gain structure.

Also, loud does not mean good. The stock tweeters are easy to outperform. And do not test with compressed poo, please. Only WAVs @ 16 X 44.1 (CDs) or better. MP3s are not worth the effort and insult your fine Focal drivers.
Realize that you are still in a mobile acoustic environment and it will be challenging.

Bonn courage!
 

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Can I get more input on this ? I see people advising to not remove the plastic sheeting and people who say it doesn't matter. Both without motivation why.

If it has no real use or if the soundproofing I'm planning to do is going replace the fabled plastic sheets, I'm all ears.
Plastic is there for water (rain) and dust shield. Sound-proofing material works as a replacement. Might I suggest plastic card stock or sheet aluminum over the openings, all covered in Dynamat (the most recognizable brand, I actually use another product YMMV). It should tighten up the mid bass a bit, but in the Spyder I'm not sure you could hear the difference so it's mostly a good practice (IMO).

You might wish to consider a water shield for the Focal mid-bass units. The first set of speakers I put in a Spyder (CDT HD series) obviously had some water issues when I pulled them out. For the second set of speakers I bought some of those cheap foam speaker cups - cut them in half and put a half cup on the top of the speakers. They have been in there longer than the CDTs and still look much better.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
And do not test with compressed poo, please. Only WAVs @ 16 X 44.1 (CDs) or better. MP3s are not worth the effort and insult your fine Focal drivers.
Good quality MP3's are almost indistinguishable from the human ear to CD tracks. Here's a good how-to. Anyway, even if I could seperate a good MP3 track from a CD, then I wouldn't be able to hear it in the MR2. I'm bothered more by crappy mastering (on CD's) than encoding defects.

For my "hifi" experience, I got a Pro-Ject turntable hooked to a tube-amp at home ^_^

Plastic is there for water (rain) and dust shield. Sound-proofing material works as a replacement. Might I suggest plastic card stock or sheet aluminum over the openings, all covered in Dynamat (the most recognizable brand, I actually use another product YMMV). It should tighten up the mid bass a bit, but in the Spyder I'm not sure you could hear the difference so it's mostly a good practice (IMO).
Would you have a photo example of this ? I'm curious what I'd need to cover and what not...

You might wish to consider a water shield for the Focal mid-bass units. The first set of speakers I put in a Spyder (CDT HD series) obviously had some water issues when I pulled them out. For the second set of speakers I bought some of those cheap foam speaker cups - cut them in half and put a half cup on the top of the speakers. They have been in there longer than the CDTs and still look much better.
Could you elaborate on how I would find them (online) ? I have no idea where to get those actually :)
 

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I do not agree with MP3 versions of CD WAVs being that close. Not in my experience. I have tried most of the codecs out there and when you get close, the compression space savings are negligible. And, as memory is not much of an issue anymore, why bother? The codec in iPods for WAVs is not too bad.

Your turntable concept is interesting, but I recommend moving up to a better mechanism & A/D. The cartridge in one of my tables cost more than your whole rig. And a good A/D will be close to that, too. There are some good deals out there on PC/laptop input cards, though.

And let's not get started on the glass amps. Well designed, sand amps are fine.
 
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