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      12-22-2012, 07:21 PM   #1
ssummers
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Z4 Roadster audio upgrade

My wife has been very unhappy with the sound system in the Z4 since we bought it in 2009. I had a failed attempt at adding a Dice unit, and now decided to do a rip and replace on the system. I've done a lot of research, and thanks to some great posts I have all of the info I need to proceed. I will document the install as I proceed this coming week.

Here is where I am headed so far, although it's all subject to change(a little)...

1) Alpine CDE-HD138BT head unit
2) Alpine MRX-F65 amp
3) Hertz ESK 163L 3 way component speakers
4) Dayton RSS265HO 10" sub in a custom made box.

My current plan is to run the components off of the front channel of the amp, and bridge the rear channel for the sub. I looked at just building a small box for the sub but didn't like giving up the trunk space so I started building a custom enclosure last night. There are several good internet references, I gleaned some good info from a couple and then jumped in. I spent a couple of hours taping off the area I intend to use, I also paid close attention to filling areas that may keep the box from sliding out. I filled in the floor of the compartment as I couldn't reconcile how I would tilt the box out. I also padded around the taillight cover as there is a pretty good bump in on the outside of it. I laid down a couple of layers of tape, was being really careful as all of the sites warn about getting resin on the carpet, then it dawned on me I don't care as the enclosure will cover it, kept taping anyway. There is a nice amount o space in the side pocket.

All taped up:



I got in a hurry and started glassing before I used any type of mold release, wasn't a big deal but I would use something next time, glassing:



So this morning I rushed out to the garage to pull out the plug, the epoxy resin set up nicely, I tugged on that mother for 45 minutes before it finally decided to turn loose, brought most of the blue tape with it. Spent a fair amount of time building up the glass inside the enclosure, and trimming it.



I removed a good portion of the tape although there is some that will be there permanently. I trimmed up the plug and set about making the mounting rings, Routing MDF is just plain nasty, got the rings made, and mounted and decided I was done for the day:


Tomorrow I trim a little more, then try my hand at using fleece.

Last edited by ssummers; 12-22-2012 at 07:36 PM..
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      12-22-2012, 09:09 PM   #2
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Will be curious to hear how it all turns out for you, especially the sub in the trunk with the roadster. Subscribed.
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      12-22-2012, 10:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mike519 View Post
Will be curious to hear how it all turns out for you, especially the sub in the trunk with the roadster. Subscribed.
I did a similar install on her S2000, 8" sub instead of a 10" due to space constraints, it was outstanding. I'm surprised by how much space there is in the side compartment. I am estimating the enclosure will be at least 1 cu ft.
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      12-22-2012, 10:29 PM   #4
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My only worry is the sub/enclosure being inside a closed trunk vs the coupes where the space is open to the passenger compartment. Might be a non issue but am looking forward to your review after you're done!
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      12-23-2012, 07:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike519 View Post
My only worry is the sub/enclosure being inside a closed trunk vs the coupes where the space is open to the passenger compartment. Might be a non issue but am looking forward to your review after you're done!
Not sure what inspires your worry, people put subs in trunks all the time, works just fine.
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      12-23-2012, 01:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssummers View Post
Not sure what inspires your worry, people put subs in trunks all the time, works just fine.
Worry is the wrong word...curiosity is maybe better. Just curious if the sound in the case of a sub in our trunks is any worse than the coupe or a good custom fit behind the seats.

Looking forward to hearing about your results!
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      12-23-2012, 03:53 PM   #7
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More progress today.

Fitting:



Fleeced:


Getting close:

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      12-24-2012, 12:27 PM   #8
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Some progress last night, and some work today.

Pulled the driver side kick panel and door panel, kick was pretty easy, door panel was a PITA. Need to decide which mount kit, I bought both the Scosche and the Metra.

I like the way the Metra mount kit tucks the HU in just a bit instead of the more stock mounting of the Scosche. I also discovered the Scosche lacks about 1/4" in width and would have to be trimmed. I do like the additional brackets that come with the Scosche, so the final decision is the Metra plate and may incorporate the Scosche brackets.

The kick panel speakers will go in pretty easily, some minor work on the mounting holes and larger washers and it should work fine. I will sound deaden the area where the speaker goes as there is none. The midrange speaker in the door is actually a nice "looking" speaker and appears beefier than the Hertz replacement. I considered using it instead but will stay with a matched component system. The doors have some decent deadening foam on them, I see no need to add anything there. The tweeters are glued in, some judicious work with a razor knife and they come right out. Probably wont make much progress today, will run wires next.

Scosche mount kit:

Wont fit without some trimming:

I like the way the Metra kit tucks the bottom of the radio in so it isn't tilted upwards like the factory unit:

The additional Scosche brackets:

Kick Panel speakers:


Door speakers:


Door panel foam:

Tweeter pod:

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      12-24-2012, 12:53 PM   #9
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I think the aluminum midrange speakers in the upgraded system are actually very nice. I had the BSW upgrade in mine, and ended up putting the aluminum mids back in.

John
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      12-24-2012, 01:03 PM   #10
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I think the aluminum midrange speakers in the upgraded system are actually very nice. I had the BSW upgrade in mine, and ended up putting the aluminum mids back in.

John
Thanks for the input, I'm still thinking about keeping the stock midrange. Honestly the stock tweeter looks and feels pretty substantial as well. I realize looks aren't necessarily what it's all about. I think I may try to test the speakers before I install them.
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      12-24-2012, 01:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssummers View Post
Thanks for the input, I'm still thinking about keeping the stock midrange. Honestly the stock tweeter looks and feels pretty substantial as well. I realize looks aren't necessarily what it's all about. I think I may try to test the speakers before I install them.
I found the tweeter to be the weak point in the Carver/Top Hi Fi system, not a bad tweeter, just not really high end. When I put the aluminum mids back in, I also replaced the BSW tweeter with a JL Audio C5075-CT - 3/4" Evolution C5 Series Silk Dome. One thing I noticed with both replacement tweeters, and you may experience this with your Hertz system (the factory EQ, when set flat, is geared towards the factory speakers obviously), is that the replacement tweeters are too bright. I had to adjust the graphic EQ to compensate. This could be a result of the efficiency rating of the replacements, but I am more inclined to think it is the roll-off/natural characteristics of the factory tweeter.

John
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      12-24-2012, 02:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antennahead View Post
I found the tweeter to be the weak point in the Carver/Top Hi Fi system, not a bad tweeter, just not really high end. When I put the aluminum mids back in, I also replaced the BSW tweeter with a JL Audio C5075-CT - 3/4" Evolution C5 Series Silk Dome. One thing I noticed with both replacement tweeters, and you may experience this with your Hertz system (the factory EQ, when set flat, is geared towards the factory speakers obviously), is that the replacement tweeters are too bright. I had to adjust the graphic EQ to compensate. This could be a result of the efficiency rating of the replacements, but I am more inclined to think it is the roll-off/natural characteristics of the factory tweeter.

John
Just tested the speakers on my garage stereo, have to say that the difference is noticeable in favor of the factory mid, even with my untrained ears. The 6.5" was better for the Hertz, the tweeter was brighter on the Hertz, but the mid on the Hertz was "muddled" on piano and guitar. Just so happens Tori Amos Flavor was on the cable station while I was testing the mid. I could hear the piano, and even a harp clearly on the factory mid while the Hertz mid was not clear and distinct.

I'm replacing the head unit and adding an amp so I should be able to soften the brightness of the tweeters between the EQ in the HU, and the settings on the crossover.

Thanks again for your input.
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      12-24-2012, 11:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssummers View Post
Just tested the speakers on my garage stereo, have to say that the difference is noticeable in favor of the factory mid, even with my untrained ears. The 6.5" was better for the Hertz, the tweeter was brighter on the Hertz, but the mid on the Hertz was "muddled" on piano and guitar. Just so happens Tori Amos Flavor was on the cable station while I was testing the mid. I could hear the piano, and even a harp clearly on the factory mid while the Hertz mid was not clear and distinct.

I'm replacing the head unit and adding an amp so I should be able to soften the brightness of the tweeters between the EQ in the HU, and the settings on the crossover.

Thanks again for your input.
I did the same thing................. kept thinking (from memory) the stock aluminum mids sounded better, so I A/B ed them while I had the door panels off doing some sound deadening and ended up putting them back in the system.
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      12-26-2012, 10:45 AM   #14
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Made some progress over the holiday.

Driver's side speakers are all in, used the new 6.5" in the kick panel, and new tweeter in the door, kept the factory 4" mid in the door as it sounds better. Installed sound deadening material in the area for the 6.5", also made a "gasket" for the back of the 6.5" speaker where it mounted against the body. Have all of the wiring figured out, I'm using most of the stock wiring instead of running new wires. The wire bundle terminated in the battery compartment at the stock amp. This is where I will mount the crossovers in place of the factory amp. I've already bent the amp hold down in a new shape, tomorrow or Friday I will weld up a small frame that attaches to the hold down, will also weld a mount frame for the new amp. The new amp will mount on the driver's side back wall of the trunk, there is already a metal bracket there that holds "digital unit"(my name for it as I don't know the official name, provides the CD changer interface). I am thinking I will add some spacers to it that will protrude through the trunk lining that I can bolt my custom frame to.

I've figured most of the radio wiring out, still need to find the microphone wires for the hands free, although I am considering using the mic that came with the head unit as I think the stock mic sucks(comes from many calls to my wife in her car on the handsfree).

The sub arrived last week and got put with all of the other Christmas boxes, found it yesterday and made sure it fit the custom enclosure. The rings were a little tight but a minute or two with the drill and a drum sander fixed that.

I have pulled the factory subs out from behind the seats, no intention of using them, and the new sub weighs 18lbs so this will help offset the weight gain. They are beefy units, seems like they would produce some fair sound with an amp that drove them harder than the factory amp. I'm going to use the factory sub wires as the signal from the amp to the crossovers.

Today I will pull the driver seat so I can run the RCA's, and finish the passenger side speakers. Will hopefully do a test connect of everything in anticipation of getting it all mounted.

Tomorrow I finish the sub enclosure and hopefully button everything up, may go into Friday though.
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      12-27-2012, 10:38 PM   #15
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Latest update.

Yesterday I finished up the sub box and covered it in felt carpet, matches the OEM Z trunk carpet pretty well. I used T-nuts for the sub mounting screws, they didn't like the mdf at all, ended up adding a little gorilla glue and letting it sit overnight.

Today I worked on wiring and getting the passenger side speakers installed. I also installed the Axxess steering wheel control adapter, works perfectly. Did a test run on everything, without much tuning it sounds great, the amp really wakes up the front stage, it's obvious the stock amp is underpowered. The sub puts out very strong bass, not overpowering, just deep and solid.

Spent a lot of time tonight trying to decide where to put the new handsfree mic, ended up near the rear view mirror, not mounted yet but it will be in that area.

Tomorrow will be spent getting everything mounted and finished up.

Last edited by ssummers; 12-27-2012 at 11:06 PM..
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      12-29-2012, 09:04 AM   #16
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Yesterday I worked on getting everything in the cabin finished up.

I decided on the Metra Dash kit. Honestly neither the Scosche or Metra is great, the Metra was the best of the two. The Scosche needed to have about 1/8" removed on each side to make it work. The Metra "appeared" to require less work but I found a couple of issues. First there are a couple of "fingers" inside the dash that support the stock radio. The Metra kit puts the new radio cage at such an angle that it collides with the fingers. No problem, 30 seconds with the oscillating tool and both fingers were shortened by about an inch, just enough to make it work. Secondly there is a small "nub" at the bottom of the radio opening that sticks up about 1/16" causing the cage to distort, it is aluminum. A quick hit with the die grinder and it was gone. After that it all went together nicely. During reassembly I did discover getting the door sills back in with the door seal is a PITA(ROYAL PITA). The rest of my time was spent getting everything cleaned up and ready in the trunk. I had a roll of B-Quiet so I decided to add a little in the trunk, not sure if it will help. Today I will finish the amp mount, and the crossover mount, and get everything finished up.

Radio installed:

Trunk:

Finished sub box:
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      12-30-2012, 10:31 AM   #17
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Almost finished, only pic for today is of the amp mount, modified the existing Everest Bus mount. Also modified the stock amp mount to hold the crossovers, will grab a pic of that later.



With a coat of Plastidip:
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      12-30-2012, 01:06 PM   #18
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It's Done!!!

Just finished cleaning it all up and taking everything for a test run. BT pairing worked great, I'm very pleased with the system, it hits hard but not overwhelming, it is still a little bright with the top up, but with the top down it flat rocks. I may have someone professionally tune it. Will have to see how the wife gets along with it, sure there will be a learning curve for her.

As promised picture of the amp installed:

Crossovers:

Sub:
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      12-30-2012, 04:35 PM   #19
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Very cool, awesome job on the custom sub enclosure. Props for completing the project so quickly.
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      12-30-2012, 06:37 PM   #20
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well done my friend
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2005 z4 2.5i/// Aero front bumper, m rear bumper,08 rear lights, custom quad exhaust, matte black front grill, OEM alarm, llumar security film,m wheels, HID lights, LED interior and trunk light,Ipod integration, stubby antenna,tein s-tech springsx
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      02-07-2013, 09:33 PM   #21
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That is a fantastic job. Let us know if your happy with the sound
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      02-07-2013, 09:35 PM   #22
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Have you moulded this and considered selling to the public?
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