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Sorta OT: Replacement car speaker options / placement

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  • Sorta OT: Replacement car speaker options / placement

    Hi Guys,

    The wife is getting a new 2019 Subaru forester, so I'm looking at replacing the stock speakers and adding a subwoofer for her. Car audio is a bit of a different beast that we normally work with on this forum, but I wondered if anyone had advice about front door and dash speaker arrangements.

    The forester comes with front door speakers that can use 6 1/2" or 6x9's while the dash uses a 3.5" driver. The front door and front dash are wired in parallel.

    Would I be better off putting woofers in the door and tweeters in the dash, or coaxes in both? Not sure what the best results might be... I'll be adding an amplifier and tapping into the factory head unit to make it all run.

    Also, major watchouts in using HiFi drivers in car applications? I find the car audio stuff a bit overpriced, or at least it feels like it's less well made than the HiFi stuff.

    Thanks in advance for discussion and advice!
    Keith
    Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
    Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
    The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
    SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
    The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

  • #2

    Are the stock speakers really that bad?

    I found the stock speakers in my car really improved when I put dynamat type stuff over the doors. Knowing how easy it is to actually make the sound worse (especially so with a 3-way speaker). I'd dynamat the doors and look into dsp and a sub.
    oo
    I read somewhere that dsp can make a massive difference to a stock system.

    Comment


    • #3
      This should be interesting. I tend to add subs only, and run on the factory speakers with a upgraded head unit. That lets me high pass the factory speakers and take the load off them, and improves EQ to make them sound OK. I'm not shooting for super sound though, just good enough balance and thumping bass to overcome the road noise and vibration.

      Just theory off the top of my head...
      I'd go with a 4 ohm 6.5" in the door, compromising with as good as I can get with the depth constraints in the door (definitely figure that out before you go shopping).
      For the dash, I'd go with a small 4 ohm full ranger with a clean top end and use a single cap high pass to kill them off below 1k somewhere, perhaps some resistor level matching as needed.

      AS for using HiFi instead of auto drivers.. wouldn't bother me a bit. Speakers is speakers, the impedance, sensitivity, and response is what matters. And in this case, all the crossover design stuff kinda goes out the window due to the space between the drivers, the odd arrangement, the cabin acoustics... etc.
      Electronics engineer, woofer enthusiast, and musician.
      Wogg Music
      Published projects: PPA100 Bass Guitar Amp, ISO El-Cheapo Sub, Indy 8 2.1 powered sub, MicroSat, SuperNova Minimus

      Comment


      • #4
        Keith,

        Do you know what load the speakers are presenting in that wiring configuration? Hard to say what you'd be able to put in their place without knowing. Is it just one center dash speaker or one per channel? Are the dash speakers pointed at the windshield or at the passengers? My personal preference is component systems but you could build one yourself with much better parts from stuff at PE rather than buying some name brand car audio stuff. If you replace the head unit, you can get something with DSP.

        ... and I know a company that makes great subs ;)
        -Kerry

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks guys! The car actually arrives on June 14th at the dealership, so most of this is my research and speculation after looking at Crutchfield for a bit. There are 6 speakers in the stock system (so rear doors, front doors, and left/right sides of the front dash - pointed up at the windshield). Subaru, like most other manufacturers, has their whole system integrated through the radio these days. They call it their "StarLink" infotainment center, and it's why I don't want to replace the factory radio. Heck... it still has a CD player! I thought I'd never see that in a new car in 2019!

          Crutchfield told me the front door / front dash speakers present a 4.3 ohm load to the amplifier in the head unit, so I assume the rears are also ~4 ohm. If it makes sense for Lows/Mids in the door with mids/highs in the dash as an odd kind of 2-way arrangement, then that's what I'll target.

          Getting a DSP for the factory radio would be great, and I think I could get the Dayton DSP unit to work. It's definitely an option on the radar.

          On the subwoofer... I think that's gonna need to be one of those spare tire subwoofers since we will need to put our dog back in the cargo area from time to time. Also... stealth is a good thing! I'm thinking maybe one of those Dayton low-profile LS10's might fit... although an SDX10 sub wouldn't hurt either ;)
          Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
          Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
          The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
          SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
          The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

          Comment


          • #6
            The big thing to look out for with home drivers, is mounting depth. Double check how much room you have inside the door, behind the speaker (window regulator, or other stuff ?) Depending on what driver you choose, you may need to make, or modify mounting adapter. Also, check that interior door panel doesn't interfere with the speaker surround once it's all put back together.

            I don't like the mid/highs up on the dash. There's all that reflective glass, and one speaker is invariably much closer to your head than the other side. The most cohesive sound I've had was by mounting a small dome very close to the door speaker (mounted on the door's cup-holder), but aimed up towards the ears. The caveat is, it sounds great until you have a passenger block one of the tweeters with their legs.

            Sound dampening on the doors makes a huge difference. Get in there and line the door skin, and cover across as many of the holes on the inside of the door as possible. Stay away from the Sonic Barrier sold here on PE. I recently used it on my son's Miata. The tar is melting and running out along the bottom of the door, onto the sills. We haven't even hit 100-deg weather since the install. I need to leave a scathing review.....

            Comment


            • #7
              I wouldn't consider replacing the stock drivers before measuring their specs and response to see how good they are. Even then it could be difficult finding better drivers, since auto sound sources tend not to publish specs.
              www.billfitzmaurice.com
              www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

              Comment


              • #8
                Keith, does the Subie have any type of active noise control going on inside? If so, that could cause havoc with the sub setup.
                honestly, I kind of agree with Bill. The stock speaks may not be so bad. I have had some bad luck with car audio, though, so I'm sort of down on messing with the stock setup. Possibly adding the sub and filtering out some low bass like Wogg suggested may let the stock drivers shine. I honestly regret messing with our 2013 accords stock speakers. It sounds a bit better, but what a royal hassle.
                TomZ
                *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

                *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

                Comment


                • #9
                  I hafta say, and this is coming from a former live and breathe car audio guy, the complexity of new oem systems (active noise cancellation, oe eq and bass management, data bus, etc, combined with the relatively decent sq (after fiddling with the tone controls some) compared to oem car audio of the past decades, it’s just not worth messing with, unless you are going all out sq. Just my two cents.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks dynamo tomzarbo billfitzmaurice You guys are right... I should at least give it a fair chance. I don't know if this system has active noise canceling or anything like that. I would doubt it in the stock radio config... Otherwise what would be the point in their Rockford Fosgate upgrade? Tiny integrated sub? At the very least I can add a small sub to get a bit of boom for my techno road trip music! Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
                    Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
                    Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
                    The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
                    SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
                    The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I replaced the speakers in my 2013 Avenger, but I kept the stock head unit. The factory head unit is very nice and has a decent amount of power. The original speakers actually sounded pretty decent, improvements did not come easily.

                      I ended up using adapter plates to mount 6 1/2" coaxials in the front doors in place of the stock 6x9's. I tried several different door speakers before settling on some that I liked. I used a Dayton poly cap in place of the original tiny electrolytic for the tweeter crossover. It sounds great and actually images very well. I think the acoustics of the vehicle help or hinder a substantial amount.

                      In the rear I used 6x9 coaxials with the tweeters removed and custom phase plugs installed, no crossover. The bass is decent by my standards, not amazing but plenty good enough and not boomy at all.

                      The system sounds really good, better than my home system in many ways. I did spend a lot of time to get to this point, probably at least a hundred hours over several months. I used my main system as a reference for sound quality and spent much time changing parts and listening. I am in the car 1-2 hours per day and it has all been very much worth the effort to me.

                      Bottom line, it is a lot of work to improve on a decent factory system these days. If you enjoy wrenching, tweaking, and listening then it can be a highly satisfying process.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks Billet . I'm more lookng for a solid increase in performance over the stock system than I am a complete sound quality focused build. I fully expect there's going to be acoustic compromises because of the automotive environment. As Bill and Tom hinted at above, I may be pleasantly surprised at the performance of the stock system... so I should at least give that a chance first. I suspect I will add a subwoofer at bare minimum.

                        If I can be happy with the minimum approach of adding a subwoofer then that's OK with me. I'm certainly not about to start making custom A-pillar pieces for tweeters or kick pods for the doors. Family car here, not a show-piece!
                        Voxel Down Firing with Dayton SA70
                        Translam Subwoofers - The Jedi Mind Tricks
                        The Super Bees - Garage 2 way
                        SevenSixTwo - InDIYana 2018 Coax
                        The Defiants - InDIYana 2019 "Bare Minimum" Build

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Keith,
                          Our Accord Sport is only one little step above base model and it had active noise canceling with a mic in front near the rearview mirror and another near the back window. The rear one was causing a loud "Wubba, wubba" sound when the sub was on. The next model up had an upgraded stereo with a small sub in the rear deck and of course it functioned fine with no weird noises. I guess they took care of that electronically in the stereo DSP setup. Point is I had to pull the rear mic cable in the back of the stereo head unit, which in the 2013 Accord wasn't so easy, the same panel had all the HVAC controls and other stuff on there. I hate moving stuff like that because squeaks are often the result of messing with that in my experience. Like I said, I'm anti-car stereo alterations because of this and many other car audio experiences. Hopefully you make out fine with whatever you choose.

                          My stock system had lousy front speakers in the doors. I changed them several times (on my third aftermarket pair! First two were Rockford Fosgate, now have Alpine in there I think)
                          Anyway, adding the A pillar tweeters helped a lot. Still, I wish I would have just left it. My RF sub amp died after a few years and I'm on my second. It's a tiny little thing that puts out 98 watts or so. I used the TB 1139 neo 6" subwoofer in a bandpass and rear-deck free-air scenario, and though I couldn't quell the vibrations of the rear deck in free air, it did sound good, That TB driver works well for that.

                          I'm sure you'll make out fine, you're pretty meticulous with stuff, maybe I got sloppy with my car audio work.

                          TomZ
                          *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                          *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

                          *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I replaced the tweeters in my 2012 Outback, and the sound improvement was night and day for me. I'm now in the process of replacing the woofers and after reading this, I am questioning it because my woofers don't sound bad. I purchased everything and I'm going forward with it but if it sounds worse, I will take them out and re-purpose them. I'm also planning on an amp and a sub. My outback has a place in back corner where the sub will go, which they installed on the Limited and upper models, so the space is already there. Maybe look where they mount the subs on the Foresters? Also, be careful of the newer systems. My wife has a VW Sport Wagen and it has active crossovers already set, that cannot be changed unless you know how to get into the system, so I can't do anything to improve her crappy sound. We bought the lower model and that was a huge mistake. Good luck.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oh, the other thing I forgot to say is to maybe check out and join a Subie forum so you can get up to speed on what others are doing to their cars. Usually those 'others' have worked out the details of what works and what may be a waste of time.

                              Tom out.
                              *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                              *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

                              *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

                              Comment

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