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Thread: Help choosing a headunit (possibly for active crossover)

  1. #1
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    Help choosing a headunit (possibly for active crossover)

    So I'm looking to buy a new headunit, and likely some HAT speakers. Which I may move to an active setup at a later point, so I'd like a decent headunit. Headunit has to have bluetooth with streaming audio.

    Currently considering buying a used Alpine CDA-9886, but then I'd have to buy the bluetooth adapter and new iPhone cable. It ends up being $250 or so including the used unit, and I've heard with the bluetooth and iPod cable there can be some nasty feedback when listening via both bluetooth and USB/iPod, is that something I should be worried about?

    Would it be worth getting one of the new alpine units for a similar price? I'd prefer to stay alpine, and have no problem buying used gear. If there is another setup I should consider please throw out some suggestions, just want to stay around $250 or so.

    Thanks for any feedback!

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    i'd recommend this...http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...vers/DEH-80PRS Can be had for $300 new. Lone thread on it: http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/...cda-117-a.html

    it's the p99's little brother. It has excellent sq and has processing you'd need for a 2 way active setup up front and a sub in the rear. 16 band eq with independent L/R and TA as well of course. I bought one for my dd and i like it.

    Perfect if you were to run a HAT Imagine, Unity, Clarus setup active. Likewise you could run a L6v2 and a L3SE front stage or L6v2 and L1 Pro R2 very nicely with this unit.
    Last edited by darrenforeal; 04-07-2012 at 02:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenforeal View Post
    i'd recommend this...http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...vers/DEH-80PRS Can be had for $300 new. Lone thread on it: http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/...cda-117-a.html

    it's the p99's little brother. It has excellent sq and has processing you'd need for a 2 way active setup up front and a sub in the rear. 16 band eq with independent L/R and TA as well of course. I bought one for my dd and i like it.

    Perfect if you were to run a HAT Imagine, Unity, Clarus setup active. Likewise you could run a L6v2 and a L3SE front stage or L6v2 and L1 Pro R2 very nicely with this unit.
    That's a little bit more than I'd like to spend, but I do like the slightly older pioneer I've got in my other car, but is this significantly better than an Alpine? I've always been told Alpine is the top (aside from maybe McIntosh or Nakamichi). I'll have to check the specs of my other Pioneer, maybe it's worth installing it into the bimmer and getting a cheaper head unit for my non-daily driven car.

    Update: I've got a Pioneer DEH-P9800BT in my Subaru. I know it's a pretty high end unit (nearly $600 when new IIRC). Is it worth putting that into my 540 and getting the cheaper alpine for the Subaru? Sound doesn't really matter in the Subaru because there is so much ambient noise anyways.
    Last edited by GnarMachine; 04-07-2012 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenforeal View Post
    i'd recommend this...http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...vers/DEH-80PRS Can be had for $300 new. Lone thread on it: http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/...cda-117-a.html

    it's the p99's little brother. It has excellent sq and has processing you'd need for a 2 way active setup up front and a sub in the rear. 16 band eq with independent L/R and TA as well of course. I bought one for my dd and i like it.

    Perfect if you were to run a HAT Imagine, Unity, Clarus setup active. Likewise you could run a L6v2 and a L3SE front stage or L6v2 and L1 Pro R2 very nicely with this unit.
    That's interesting. From the web-site you link to, "The system's wired USB connection provides direct digital signal transfer from the device for clean, clear sound while providing 1 amp of current to keep your iPod/iPhone charged." So, I take it this is just like the P99 in that the HU takes the digital audio signal from the ipod/iphone and by passes the ipod/iphone DAC and uses the HU 24 bit DAC.

    Are you able to match the BMW amber lighting well? I like the understated design. I have the illumination on my Alpine 9887 set to go off because the HU design is such a poor match for the rest of the interior.

    Reading through the 40 plus pages of discussion on this HU that you also link to, I see the the high-pass crossover point for the high speakers is limited to 200Hz.

    Seems like favorable response thus far on the auto-tune feature. I think the price is great.
    Last edited by Mike in CT; 04-07-2012 at 03:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarMachine View Post
    That's a little bit more than I'd like to spend, but I do like the slightly older pioneer I've got in my other car, but is this significantly better than an Alpine? I've always been told Alpine is the top (aside from maybe McIntosh or Nakamichi). I'll have to check the specs of my other Pioneer, maybe it's worth installing it into the bimmer and getting a cheaper head unit for my non-daily driven car.

    Update: I've got a Pioneer DEH-P9800BT in my Subaru. I know it's a pretty high end unit (nearly $600 when new IIRC). Is it worth putting that into my 540 and getting the cheaper alpine for the Subaru? Sound doesn't really matter in the Subaru because there is so much ambient noise anyways.
    the nice thing about the one I linked you is it has the DSP that you would want for a 2 way front active setup. Alpines are good too, but some of the higher end Pioneers and Eclipse have very good sq.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike in CT View Post
    That's interesting. From the web-site you link to, "The system's wired USB connection provides direct digital signal transfer from the device for clean, clear sound while providing 1 amp of current to keep your iPod/iPhone charged." So, I take it this is just like the P99 in that the HU takes the digital audio signal from the ipod/iphone and by passes the ipod/iphone DAC and uses the HU 24 bit DAC.

    Are you able to match the BMW amber lighting well? I like the understated design. I have the illumination on my Alpine 9887 set to go off because the HU design is such a poor match for the rest of the interior.

    Reading through the 40 plus pages of discussion on this HU that you also link to, I see the the high-pass crossover point for the high speakers is limited to 200Hz.

    Seems like favorable response thus far on the auto-tune feature. I think the price is great.
    yea it does the upconversion thing the p99 does. If you have the system to hear the difference, it still doesn't sound as good as lossless. But it makes a difference.

    I haven't messed with the HU enough to make a proper opinion on the lighting. The p99s custom amber color is spot on. But the 80prs standard amber is more of a red/orange. But you can customize this, so I'll see soon.


    The TA does seem good as well. But IMO this should always just be used as a starting point. In addition the the high pass for the highs at 200hz should be sufficient for almost every application. Even when running a tweeterless system with HAT L3SEs, you'd probably cross these at 250 or maybe 200 at 24db. And yes the price is AWESOME for what you get.
    Last edited by darrenforeal; 04-08-2012 at 12:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenforeal View Post
    the nice thing about the one I linked you is it has the DSP that you would want for a 2 way front active setup. Alpines are good too, but some of the higher end Pioneers and Eclipse have very good sq.



    yea it does the upconversion thing the p99 does. If you have the system to hear the difference, it still doesn't sound as good as lossless. But it makes a difference.

    I haven't messed with the HU enough to make a proper opinion on the lighting. The p99s custom amber color is spot on. But the 80prs standard amber is more of a red/orange. But you can customize this, so I'll see soon.


    The TA does seem good as well. But IMO this should always just be used as a starting point. In addition the the high pass for the highs at 200hz should be sufficient for almost every application. Even when running a tweeterless system with HAT L3SEs, you'd probably cross these at 250 or maybe 200 at 24db. And yes the price is AWESOME for what you get.
    It seems like the headunit you linked me will be quite a bit better than a used alpine setup. I think I'll probably pick one up soon.

    Question though, I've got a 5 channel amp, if I end up with a set of HATs would it be worth bridging 2 of the channels into each set of components? The amp in question is a boston acoustics GTA-1005.

    And since you seem to be a fan of HAT, how would you say their stage 3 offering sounds in comparison to a set of Focal polyglass components? Are HATs 10" subwoofers enough to run an IB setup in the trunk of a 540 or should I look for something larger? I've only got 400w at 2ohms to work with for the sub, so I need to make it count.

    Thanks for the advice so far, very helpful!

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    interesting
    I think the price is great. [IMG]http://www.**********.info/7.jpg[/IMG]

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    Came across this response from a Pioneer rep:



    Don't know too much about audio file decoding and the like. If I understand how this works correctly, if you download a commercial audio disk track (16/44.1 LPCM standard as far as I know) into itunes in a lossless format, have an ipod decode this back to 16/14.1 and deliver this to the DSP of the DEH-80PRS, there is no loss of file quality. Plus you by-pass the ipod DAC. It seems that this would be just like playing a CD in the HU that delivers 16/44.1 to the DPS. My entire itunes library has been downloaded from CDs in Lossless format.

    I also have HAT speakers. L1V1s in sail location, L3s in door, L6s in kicks. Currently have a JL 8" sub in the ski bag opening that may turn into an 8" HAT sub in the near future. The signal for the L1V1s and L3s go to a four channel amp with the tweeters high passed at 5KHz and the L3s band passed at 200Hz to 5KHz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarMachine View Post
    It seems like the headunit you linked me will be quite a bit better than a used alpine setup. I think I'll probably pick one up soon.

    Question though, I've got a 5 channel amp, if I end up with a set of HATs would it be worth bridging 2 of the channels into each set of components? The amp in question is a boston acoustics GTA-1005.

    And since you seem to be a fan of HAT, how would you say their stage 3 offering sounds in comparison to a set of Focal polyglass components? Are HATs 10" subwoofers enough to run an IB setup in the trunk of a 540 or should I look for something larger? I've only got 400w at 2ohms to work with for the sub, so I need to make it count.

    Thanks for the advice so far, very helpful!
    No problem! I am also on Team Hybrids so I can help you however I can. The Unity series is a very nice class of speakers, that I think will be superior to Focals in many ways. In addition, if you ever choose to upgrade to a higher line of speakers, HAT will give you 60 percent of the unity's original value. Crazy huh.

    To run this set active you would need to run them on 4 channels. So they would received 50w each. Which is fine. I like to give mine woofers more power than that, but you can experiment. And they will still sound great at this power. If you ran the set passive with the crossovers, then you could bridge the amp to give them 160w each. I always recommend active.

    Regarding the HAT 10. You can run two of them with that power no problem. Keep in mind HAT recommends this particular woofer run in a sealed or vented enclosure. For information on IB I would contact Scott(founder and CEO of HAT) to see what he says. But they recommend around .55cuft sealed and 1.75cuft vented. The e34 trunk as you know is quite large. For example, when Scott releases the Legatia 13 subwoofer this winter, I will most likely be using two of them IB because of the e34s trunk size. In addition these subs will be offered in a sealed and IB variety.

    In the meantime try researching good IB subs on diyma.com. For what it is worth, I think the Image Dynamics IDQ12 version 3 is probably the finest 12 inch sub you can get for the price. The only sub I'd run over this in it's size is the IDMAX12.



    Quote Originally Posted by Mike in CT View Post
    Came across this response from a Pioneer rep:



    Don't know too much about audio file decoding and the like. If I understand how this works correctly, if you download a commercial audio disk track (16/44.1 LPCM standard as far as I know) into itunes in a lossless format, have an ipod decode this back to 16/14.1 and deliver this to the DSP of the DEH-80PRS, there is no loss of file quality. Plus you by-pass the ipod DAC. It seems that this would be just like playing a CD in the HU that delivers 16/44.1 to the DPS. My entire itunes library has been downloaded from CDs in Lossless format.

    I also have HAT speakers. L1V1s in sail location, L3s in door, L6s in kicks. Currently have a JL 8" sub in the ski bag opening that may turn into an 8" HAT sub in the near future. The signal for the L1V1s and L3s go to a four channel amp with the tweeters high passed at 5KHz and the L3s band passed at 200Hz to 5KHz.
    Yeah that's essentially what it it does. If you have your itunes in wav you should be good to go. Unfortunately, my 400gb+ of itunes music is mostly 320mp3. So yes, CD lossless wav sounds better. But, lossless on the ipod sounds about the same.

    Regarding your setup. This unit could only run the L1 and L3s active unfortunately. To run a 3 way active front stage you would need the p99. Or a HU and external processor such as the ms-8, bit one, or new kick ass arc audio ps8 soon to be released. Dunno if that was what you were getting at.
    Last edited by darrenforeal; 04-09-2012 at 12:57 AM.

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    Hey Darren,

    Thanks again! I'm going to order the headunit soon and see if I can't get in touch with Scott about the sub to hear his thoughts. Otherwise I'll probably pick up an ID, is there anyone out there with new stock since they went out of business?

    For now I'll probably run passive crossovers because I don't think I have the experience yet to get a good active setup working, so maybe that'll be a summer project for me.

    This just reminded me that I need to pick up another 2 channel amp and get the sub boxes for my subaru filled in. It'll be running 2 8inch subs, one in each rear panel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarMachine View Post
    Hey Darren,

    Thanks again! I'm going to order the headunit soon and see if I can't get in touch with Scott about the sub to hear his thoughts. Otherwise I'll probably pick up an ID, is there anyone out there with new stock since they went out of business?

    For now I'll probably run passive crossovers because I don't think I have the experience yet to get a good active setup working, so maybe that'll be a summer project for me.

    This just reminded me that I need to pick up another 2 channel amp and get the sub boxes for my subaru filled in. It'll be running 2 8inch subs, one in each rear panel.
    no problem. Image Dynamics is not out of business, Eric Stevens just left. So for now the subs are still the ones designed by him. So the IDQ and IDMAX are still good The head unit has a switch on the bottom that will let you switch between active and passive. Guess it changes the menu options and what not. if u can't get a hold of someone at HAT that can answer your questions about the sub, let me know and I will get an answer for you.
    Last edited by darrenforeal; 04-09-2012 at 01:00 AM.

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    played around with the 80prs more today running my Clarus set passive. It actually does a pretty damn nice job with the TA and processing, even though the set is run passive with the woofers in the kick panels and the tweeters in the m3 midrange door location. Pretty impressive actually. Also, I didn't even try the auto eq yet. This is just from the initial set up and some minor minor adjustments. Also I got the screen and keys to match the BMWs "amber" pretty well using the custom setting. Can't wait to play with this things processing when I switch the set over to active this weekend. I'm pretty confident the imaging and staging will be really really good once gone active.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenforeal View Post
    played around with the 80prs more today running my Clarus set passive. It actually does a pretty damn nice job with the TA and processing, even though the set is run passive with the woofers in the kick panels and the tweeters in the m3 midrange door location. Pretty impressive actually. Also, I didn't even try the auto eq yet. This is just from the initial set up and some minor minor adjustments. Also I got the screen and keys to match the BMWs "amber" pretty well using the custom setting. Can't wait to play with this things processing when I switch the set over to active this weekend. I'm pretty confident the imaging and staging will be really really good once gone active.
    Awesome to hear. It looks like I won't be ordering for a month or so (need to take care of some steering and maintenance issues first). But everything I've heard about this head unit is positive. I'm going to try to give it a shot just playing around with it at a local store (provided they have it).

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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenforeal View Post
    played around with the 80prs more today running my Clarus set passive. It actually does a pretty damn nice job with the TA and processing, even though the set is run passive with the woofers in the kick panels and the tweeters in the m3 midrange door location. Pretty impressive actually. Also, I didn't even try the auto eq yet. This is just from the initial set up and some minor minor adjustments. Also I got the screen and keys to match the BMWs "amber" pretty well using the custom setting. Can't wait to play with this things processing when I switch the set over to active this weekend. I'm pretty confident the imaging and staging will be really really good once gone active.
    Good to hear, mine will arrive today by UPS. Will be switching out my Alpine 9887 and see what the difference is. What values for red green and blue did you use to match the BMW amber illumination?

    To clarify my earlier note, I have the front set of channels form my head unit connected to an JL 300/4. This amp splits the signal the L1V1 tweeters in the sail locations and the L3s in the door. Right now the L1V1 is high passed at 5kHz and the L3s are band passed at 200Hz to 5kHz. The L6s in the kick panels are band passed with a JL 300/2 at 60Hz to 200Hz. Scott at Hybrid Audio was very helpful with great communication.

    http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/...o-install.html

    It appears that there is a backgound image on the display. Is there any way to turn that off to get just plain text?
    Last edited by Mike in CT; 04-11-2012 at 06:39 AM.

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    I think the illumination colors were: red 60, green 17, and blue 13. I don't remember but that should give you a starting point. And yes you can ditch the background for a simple one for plain text.

    thanks fore the clarification on the install. Looks cool! Very clean and tight. Nice job on the kicks. Those can get tricky and take some time. And yes Scott and HAT are amazing.
    Last edited by darrenforeal; 04-11-2012 at 12:52 PM.

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    Got everything installed this afternoon. Very satisfied with the sound, functions, looks, and last but not least price.





    Takes some time going through the manual. Someone on another forum noted an annoying beeping when the unit is turned off. That is a warning to remove the face plate and can be turned off. Thanks for the tips Darren.
    Last edited by Mike in CT; 04-14-2012 at 05:58 PM.

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    NICE! Glad you like it! I really like mine as well. It's no p99, but it's less than a third of the price and perfect for a 2 way active front stage + sub. It is TOTALLY worth the price.

    BTW what are your custom color settings? It looks great! I think a settled in around 35R, 18G, and 13B or something. What is yours?

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    Used Red 49, Green 21, Blue 0.

    I was surprised to see that in 3 Way Mode, the lowest cross over frequency for the high-pass for high channel is 1.5kHz. I am running the L1V1s (sail location), L3s (doors), and L6s (kicks) using the three channels from the HU. The sub in the ski pass is run from the pre amp out of the the JL 300/2 that powers the L6s and is tuned independent of the HU. Works fine for this set up, but it would be an issue if you wanted to run L3s off the high channel in 3 Way Mode. Looks like you would need to use Standard Mode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike in CT View Post
    Used Red 49, Green 21, Blue 0.

    I was surprised to see that in 3 Way Mode, the lowest cross over frequency for the high-pass for high channel is 1.5kHz. I am running the L1V1s (sail location), L3s (doors), and L6s (kicks) using the three channels from the HU. The sub in the ski pass is run from the pre amp out of the the JL 300/2 that powers the L6s and is tuned independent of the HU. Works fine for this set up, but it would be an issue if you wanted to run L3s off the high channel in 3 Way Mode. Looks like you would need to use Standard Mode.

    thanks for the color info. and yes, this is true regarding the highpass. Only real problem I see with the HU so far. Shitty if you wanted to run a sub on the low playing to 63hz, then L6s playing 63 to 200hz and then L3SEs playing from 200 or 250hz to 20hz. Couldn't do that on this unit.

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    Regarding WAV and Apple Lossless will be the same sound quality. Apple Lossless and FLAC are both lossless compressed formats that when decoded are the same a WAV.


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    Just bought an IDQ15 for the trunk. Now I just need to order up some HAT components and the head unit (waiting for a good sale on it...hoping I can get it for $250 like some others have).

    Hoping to have the system installed and sounding good by the end of the month. Still need to take care of a bit of maintenance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarMachine View Post
    Just bought an IDQ15 for the trunk. Now I just need to order up some HAT components and the head unit (waiting for a good sale on it...hoping I can get it for $250 like some others have).

    Hoping to have the system installed and sounding good by the end of the month. Still need to take care of a bit of maintenance.
    nice. let me know if I can help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenforeal View Post
    nice. let me know if I can help.
    I appreciate the offer! I just need to figure out what level of the HATs I want to buy, probably going to go with the Imagine or Unity (or these http://store.12velectronics.com/prod...eaker-Set.html). Not sure if it is worth going used to stretch my budget yet.

    Then I need to figure out how to mount and support the sub. I was thinking of mounting it to a thick piece of MDF and making an MDF support under it so the whole weight isn't just pulling on the seat back panel.

    I'm also planning on mounting my amp to the underside of the parcel shelf, since it's pretty long and I don't want to lose the trunk space.

    Also, the stock wiring should be high quality stuff that I can reuse with the new speakers right? I'll just need to extend it a couple feet from where the old amp was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GnarMachine View Post
    I appreciate the offer! I just need to figure out what level of the HATs I want to buy, probably going to go with the Imagine or Unity (or these http://store.12velectronics.com/prod...eaker-Set.html). Not sure if it is worth going used to stretch my budget yet.

    Then I need to figure out how to mount and support the sub. I was thinking of mounting it to a thick piece of MDF and making an MDF support under it so the whole weight isn't just pulling on the seat back panel.

    I'm also planning on mounting my amp to the underside of the parcel shelf, since it's pretty long and I don't want to lose the trunk space.

    Also, the stock wiring should be high quality stuff that I can reuse with the new speakers right? I'll just need to extend it a couple feet from where the old amp was.
    the stock wiring is fine. regarding the speakers. Where are you mounting them? And what amp do you have again? The imagine line is very nice especially if you them active. The unity is also a great step up. I have had zapco speakers, and yes they are nice but they don't compare to the HAT lines.

    regarding the sub, what sub is it? and your planning to run it IB?

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    Quote Originally Posted by darrenforeal View Post
    the stock wiring is fine. regarding the speakers. Where are you mounting them? And what amp do you have again? The imagine line is very nice especially if you them active. The unity is also a great step up. I have had zapco speakers, and yes they are nice but they don't compare to the HAT lines.

    regarding the sub, what sub is it? and your planning to run it IB?
    I'm going to mount the speakers in the kick panel with the tweeters in the stock location (if they fit).

    I think I'll go with the imagine and run them with the included crossovers for now, since I just want to get this up and running and have some decent sound already!

    I have a boston acoustics GTA1005 amp, and the sub is an IDQ15 that I'm going to run IB. I really don't know much about the IB stuff, other than that this sub is supposed to do well in that sort of environment and that I need to make sure my trunk is well sealed up.

    Any input you have would be much appreciated, and I'm not opposed to doing things differently than I have in mind currently.

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