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      11-12-2012, 12:41 AM   #1
losingmylycosa
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Head Unit replacement, sub upgrade

Hi,

I love great sound quality, and occasionally hard hitting too. The hard hitting part is missing from my Z4MC (not like that is news to anyone). I like alt-rock, Raconteurs, White Stripes, Band of Skulls, Black Pistol Fire, Black Keys, Alt-Country, The Dead Weather, Some Skrillex, LCD Soundsystem / Daft Punk, Some 80's hair bands, Guns N Roses, Poison, Def Lepard, Jazz/Blues, Regina Spektor, Adele, Lumineers. Not much rap, though.

I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on some audio upgrades for my Z4MC, and am looking at the Pioneer DEH-80PRS HU to replace the stock business CD (Carver 10 speaker system that came with Premium package). Wanted to go to usb music storage or mem card storage, and the DEH-80PRS gets great reviews. I'm having a local audio shop do the install. http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...vers/DEH-80PRS

Feel free to jump in with ideas or answers, I've done a bunch of searching, but answers don't always jump out.

This all started with sub response sounding like crap, as in no response from the 6.5s in the back. Maybe it's a blown amp channel, I fade to the rear and only hear the mids sitting above the subs. I'm kinda wondering if I should take it to the dealer to look at, but think they wouldn't see the issue I do (your radio works, what more do you want?). It's still under CPO warranty, so that would be $50 to take a look. I just don't think the dealer would have the audio expertise, am I wrong? Take a chance and maybe they fix the possible amp issue? Would be nice to sell on ebay, or keep for later if vehicle is sold.

Looking at several stages
1.Head unit
2.Sub improvement (with a 10")
3.Sound deadening
Optional - Replace fronts (if stocks sound crappy on new HU)
Optional - Continue improving sub response (put in new 6.5s that Elerner did) JL 6W6V3's

My thoughts were to keep the stock fronts for now (tweeters, mids, kick panels) and run them from the HU amp. The HU has a lot of crossover, equalization control. I thought it would be straightforward for the HU to run the fronts, but a friend pointed out all the things the stock amp does (crossover, equalization, routing signal from the HU to the speakers). Since a new HU wouldnt play well with the stock amp, the stock amp would need bypassed. Would it be difficult to patch in from the HU to the stock amp output wiring? Or would the audio guy need to completely wire up the stock speakers to the new HU? Think they'll be any major issues integrating the HU into the system?

For the 10" sub (JL Audio 10W1v2-4) and enclosure, I am buying Bill's sub box. http://www.billswebspace.com/MZ4Subw...stallation.htm He did a great job, it was available, and why reinvent the wheel. I was thinking of getting an Alpine PDX-F4 (4channel x 100W) to power it. 2 channels bridged for 200W to the sub, and 2 channels free for the 6.5s, if needed down the road. http://www.alpine-usa.com/product/view/pdx-f4/


Any thoughts, ideas? Stage priority out of whack? I'll keep you posted as the project goes along.
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      11-12-2012, 02:20 PM   #2
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If you're going to replace the head unit I would 100% forget about trying to make use of the OEM amplifier. Really, do yourself a favor and just stick a fork in it.

Regarding the OEM subs, your observation is the same as mine and others. Either the amp section for the sub is blown or thats just how it sounds.

The OEM front drivers are a funky mix (4ohm tweets and mids, 2 ohm mid-bass) that your HU amp may not like. Give it a shot though, I was able to run them from the onboard amps in the JBL signal processor I installed and they sounded pretty good. The OEM mid-bass hits very hard!. That said, the minute I swapped the front drivers and added an external amplifier everything really came to life. The difference in how the front mid-bass' sounded (got much more punchy and tight) was astounding.

The 10" sub that may be all you need in the coupe. I wouldn't do the 6.5's if you like what the 10" gives you.

Report back on your progress!
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      11-12-2012, 02:26 PM   #3
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im mostly interested to see how the new headunit will look in the car. in for pics !
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      11-12-2012, 04:04 PM   #4
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I took a look at the manual for that HU. It looks like a nice, flexible piece. The Z4 was the first time I've worked on a 3-way (plus sub) system. It was a bit of a challenge dealing with all those channels. You're going to need to do a little homework and some careful planning/thinking with regards to your # of channels and how you are going to drive them.

From my experience with the JBL DSP, to take advantage of Digital Signal Processing capability (like your head unit can provide) you need to run separate channels at least for high & mid (via a crossover), mid-bass, and sub. That's five channels. Optimally for DSP you would run separate channels for each (7 channels). With the JBL DSP I was able to run the tweets off the JBL onboard amp, the mids, mid bass and the subs off an external 5 channel amp.

I did notice that the installation manual for your HU says no speaker loads below 4ohm. The OEM mid-bass are 2ohm so your HU amp is not going to like that (Edited, incorrectly had tweets as 2ohm in this post).

My suggestion is to plan on running external amplification for all your channels. Doing this should let you stay with the OEM drivers (to start) as an external amp should be ok with the 2ohm mid-bass load and you'll get a better sounding system. Talk with the shop who is going to do the install and ask how they see doing it. The 3-way fronts are what is going to challenge the install the most, so focus on this with the shop. Map everything out on a drawing, you don't want the shop to be mid-install and then have them call you and say they made a mistake on the design while your car is torn apart.

One last bit of advice, it's good to have easy access to control the sub level. As you switch between different musical genre's, sub level control is great to have. As you don't listen to much rap/R&B (I do sometimes, to keep in touch with what my son is listening to) you could get away without this.

Last edited by elerner61; 11-13-2012 at 01:14 PM.
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      11-13-2012, 05:39 AM   #5
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Good advice, Evan, thanks, we will definitely plan out the system well before implementation. We're going to do it right.

So stocks are:
6.5" mid bass in kick panels (2 ohm)
1" tweeters in doors (4 ohm)
4" mids in doors (4 ohm)
4" mids in rear fill above sub (4 ohm)
6.5" subs (10 ohm)

Are these your speakers:
http://www.woofersetc.com/p-5622-es-...d-drivers.aspx <-- door mids
got link to the cdt 2 ways? Heck, I might just bypass the stock drivers, and do the entire thing aftermarket. Might be less headache. Did you keep the rear fill mids in the back, or disconnect?

So you recommend external amplification for all, just skip the head unit amp?

I'll plan on a remote sub control knob, the Alpine amp has the option, though I might be looking at their 6 channel option now.

Thanks for the notes, they will help in planning.

Steve

Last edited by losingmylycosa; 11-17-2012 at 01:55 AM. Reason: updated speaker specs
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      11-13-2012, 07:14 AM   #6
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If I go aftermarket fronts, I should be able to use the HU amp, no? It has a mode to control crossover/equalization of its amped section. I'd like to use the amped section of the HU if possible, and still have full control via HU.
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      11-13-2012, 01:59 PM   #7
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Sorry, I made a mistake in my earlier post. The tweets are actually 4ohm, it's the mid-bass that are 2ohm (http://www.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=675918)

Yes, those are the CDT mid's that I used. They fit fine in the doors you/installer will just have to make an adapter to hold them to the doors.

Regarding the mid's behind the seats, I just don't run them. Because of their location the seats block most of their sound, only having mid-frequencies coming from the rear is just plain strange and figuring out how to drive and control them is just another headache (never mind if you wanted to swap something in there, since it's a bear to get at them).

Given that the stock mid-bass are 2ohm if you want to use the amp in the HU you'll have to go with aftermarket drivers. Since this sounds how you want to go, then "yes" it seems like you could use that HU to drive the aftermarket fronts.

This leaves the challenge of where to get signal for the sub from. Ask your installer. One solution I can think of is to use a passive crossover for the tweets/mids run off the HU amp, the mid-bass run off the HU amp, then feed the amp for the sub off the HU sub signal. You'll just have to make sure the sub amp you plan to use can take a line-level signal in (or use a Line-Out converter)
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      11-13-2012, 10:07 PM   #8
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checking the manual now, but can't divide up the crossover/eq between the HU amped section and the preouts?
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      11-13-2012, 10:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losingmylycosa View Post
checking the manual now, but can't divide up the crossover/eq between the HU amped section and the preouts?
Yes, that's how I read the manual as well The HU wants to deliver either all "amped" outputs or all preouts. Like I said, you can get around this by having it deliver all amped outputs and then use an amp for the sub that will accept a hi-level "speaker input" or use a Line-out converter.

3 way fronts aint easy...but they sound real nice.
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      11-17-2012, 01:53 AM   #10
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http://www.zpost.com/forums/showpost...07&postcount=1 A good reference.

The sub box is on its way, the single din dash kit and HU is ordered, will be picking up a JL 10" sub. Talked with the installer and we'll start out simple. Drive the doors mids/tweets with the HU, and use a preout for the sub. I'll get a small mono or 2 channel amp for the 10" sub.

If that doesn't sound great, with the stocks, we'll look to replacing the stock fronts, and put everything on an external amp.

Sound deadening will come when/if we replace the stocks.

I updated the info on the stock speakers as best as I could determine(above post). 6.5" in the kick panel, 4" in doors and behind seats, and the tweeters.

I'm also putitng a GPS re-radiating antenna in, hardwired. For some reason, I get no signal in the car. Frustrating.

Last edited by losingmylycosa; 11-17-2012 at 09:19 AM.
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      11-17-2012, 01:56 AM   #11
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Installer will bypass stock amp, connecting input wires to output wires, and use stock wiring.
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      11-18-2012, 06:29 AM   #12
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Seen on diymobileaudio,
"Although, I haven't tried it on my own unit, I did ask a similar question of Pioneer on their FB page before the 80 PRS was released. According to them, if you are using network mode (high, mid, sub) the crossovers only work on the rca outputs. Not on the speaker level output. If you are in standard mode (front, rear, sub) the crossover works on both the rca and speaker level outputs.

Bottom line, if you want to use network mode, the speaker level outputs are useless."

http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/...-117-a-51.html

Still researching.
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      11-18-2012, 01:22 PM   #13
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what prices are you finding for the pioneer head unit?
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      11-18-2012, 01:31 PM   #14
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Many places $299, on Amazon for $279 (dunno if authorized dealers), and Crutchfield a bit high at $350.
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      11-18-2012, 11:52 PM   #15
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"According to them, if you are using network mode (high, mid, sub) the crossovers only work on the rca outputs. Not on the speaker level output. If you are in standard mode (front, rear, sub) the crossover works on both the rca and speaker level outputs. "

Yup, getting confusing now. I think you should draw a diagram out of how the installer intends to hook up your HU and before buying the HU try and get a product manager or customer support person from Pioneer on the phone and see if they'll review the diagram. It's worth a shot.

Also, if you intend to hook up the mid's behind the seats I think you should confirm how you will fade between those and the fronts. You'll want to be able to control that.

Anyway, my $.02
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      11-19-2012, 06:50 AM   #16
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We'll probably run it first in standard mode, and then if that doesnt sound great with the stock speakers, will go full blown with the network mode, external amps, and aftermarket speakers.

Running with the HU amp, I won't be able to use the 6.5"s in the kick panels, so we may have a gap with the stocks. We'll see.

For now, no plans to run the rear mids.

Hoping all the parts and pieces arrive this week, so we can get things scheduled.
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      11-29-2012, 09:18 PM   #17
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Took some time, but the car went into the shop today. He'll start working tomorrow.
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      11-29-2012, 11:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losingmylycosa View Post
Took some time, but the car went into the shop today. He'll start working tomorrow.
Feeling like a giddy schoolgirl yet? Nothing like an audio upgrade! Have you picked out your first test track?

I just had a thought, while he's got it all opened up why don't you ask him if it's possible to compare it running off of the internal amp vs. running off an external amp? It was a "holy sh*t" difference for me. I'll shut up now.
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      11-30-2012, 12:09 AM   #19
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Don't want to get in his way.

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_091165C...CVX.html?tp=94 wonder if these would fit in the kicks. Great sale.
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      11-30-2012, 11:40 AM   #20
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I don't have any experience putting a high frequency driver (i.e. the tweet on that coax) that deep in the footwell. Over the years, I've seen those custom molds that put drivers down there so I'm going to guess that others have sussed it out and it is a suitable location. That said, if you run a coax down there as well as a mid/tweet in the door/sail you're going to be messing with your soundstage and imaging.

My $.02
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      11-30-2012, 03:34 PM   #21
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Yeah, probably right. Didnt think about the tweeter in the 6.5 throwing off the sound stage. Heading down to see the progress.
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      12-24-2012, 05:29 PM   #22
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any update on this?
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