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2004 Mazdaspeed Miata Stereo Upgrade Questions

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  • 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata Stereo Upgrade Questions

    Get ready, this is a long post...well, more like a fact finding mission. Bear with me!!

    I am new to "building" custom stereos for automotive applications. I have plenty of experience buying products off the shelf/online and installing them, and proficient in most aspects of automotive work in general. What I lack is any real knowledge of audiophile information. Here are my questions.

    My situation is a bit tricky, as I have a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata I just picked up in June this year. I am now looking at replacing the utterly trashed Bose stock speakers/stereo. It has the integrated Bose amp that runs 6 speakers:

    2x lower door woofers, apparently they are rated at 0.5ohm, and they fill the nice sized 8" hole, perfectly round, with standard 4x mounting holes.
    2x windblocker speakers, small, like maybe 2 inches. I believe 4ohm, with some ridiculous crossover setting, so it basically is inaudible.
    2x upper door tweeters, 1 is MIA and the other is crispy toast. Rated at 4 ohm.


    For the time being, i'd like to retain the factory amp and run my trusty Pioneer head unit with upgraded speakers. Eventually, down the line, I am going to perform a complete "Bosectomy", by removing every component installed from factory (including the speaker wire) and starting over completely with replacing the head unit, all associated wiring, a dedicated 4 channel small-footprint amp, all 6 speakers and crossovers. For now, it's more or less a new head unit, new speakers and I'd like to keep costs as low as possible, as this car has sucked over $6,000 in cash since purchase on parts and tools needed (I do all the work on this car myself).

    - THIS is the stereo I have, 14w RMS and 50w MAX per channel. If the stereo is putting out those numbers, are they in addition to whatever watts the factory amp is putting out? Unsure of the exact number, but if the factory bose amp is pushing, say, 40w per channel RMS/MAX whatever, would that be in addition to the 14w/50w per channel put out by the head unit? I always was unsure about that.


    - Can't I use something like THIS particular woofer in a car door? I will be sound insulating the doors and everything else pretty much, so I believe that will help with speaker response, sound quality etc, but based on what I perceive the QTS rating to be, it would be a decent sounding bass/mid speaker in an "unsealed" door panel . I need to put a baffle around it but that baffle will be cut open to allow bottom venting, for the wires to pass through and also to allow the speaker to breathe. Also I need the baffle to protect from water intrusion; the OEM speakers have a chintzy plastic baffle that works perfectly but I am considering other materials to form my own.

    - This being a 4ohm-rated speaker, and with replacing the OEM Bose head unit with a Pioneer AVH-4800BS head unit, but retaining the factory amp (that is apparently running this woofer at 0.5 ohm) what would be the result of swapping the low resistance factory woofer with something like this, at 4ohm? Admittedly, the factory Bose woofers indeed produce decent bass response, so I'm curious if this change in resistance will result in disappointing bass reproduction (lack of bass basically). I am NOT putting a separate subwoofer in, so I know I'm not going to have the same deep loud bass that my other car is capable of (2x 12" alpine DVC in sealed box, kenwood amp). I am more interested in this car having clear, crisp sound with solid mids/punchy bass but not sub-level bass shaking.

    - I have quite a bit of adjustability with this head unit. It has time alignment settings, crossovers F/R/Sub (but not doing a sub), decent graphic equalizer, loudness and all sorts of adjustments. Getting the sound tuned to my liking is not a problem. But I want to make sure if I swap the OEM weirdly specific speakers to something that is more standard, like 4ohm, that I will be able to at least have some semblance of somewhat low-end bass.

    - I am considering the following 6 speakers (3 different, 2 of each) or some combination of speakers similar to the ones listed below. I need a little guidance in choosing the best solution, and without having any way of actually testing or seeing or touching anything (best buy is a joke, fry's electronics is empty near me, no other place carries speakers anymore. WTH??? damn internet...). I will list each speaker I am looking at below, with frequency response listed along with it's location, to make it easier for someone to perhaps suggest what kind of crossover setup I should go with. I want this to be a 3 way setup, since that's all I am able to really do with what places I have available to mount speakers, so I'd also need a bit of advice on crossovers, etc. I am thinking crossing the door woofers for lows/low-mids, the windblocker speakers for voice/mids, mid-high, and the tweeters for high frequency. That's all I know about building a crossover networki (in other words, I know nothing about crossovers lol).

    Door Woofer #1 (45 to 7,000 Hz Response) Bottom of door, each side
    Midrange #1 (160 to 20,000 Hz) Behind your head, blocked somewhat by the seat, located in the windblocker panel.
    Tweeter #1 (1500 to 20,000 Hz) Top of door, close to dashboard.

    Door Woofer #2 (35 to 2,300 Hz)
    Midrange #2 (160 to 20,000 Hz)
    Tweeter #2 (900 to 40,000 Hz)

    etc...


    What is some feedback or advice that you might have for someone in my situation? I have NOT found much in the way of specific information regarding Miata speakers/setups, everyone just goes off on tangents about this and that being better or worse and it's all very conflicting and frankly, aggravating. I window shop on this site all the time, and figured before I get myself even more worked up (I think I am overthinking the heck out of this stereo) maybe some patient audiophile would see my post and throw some feedback my way.

  • #2
    Looks like Clearwater has all the speakers figured out. Integration into the Bose amp prolly won't sound to great. Power output will be very low with the impedance difference, as well as their proprietary EQing not being optimal. Depending on how the adaption of the head unit to that amp goes, could be better to try and bypass that amp till your ready for an aftermarket piece.
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    • #3
      I just gutted the Bose system in my Cadillac. I used the head unit (similar to the one you using) to power the tweeters and door woofers .. then added a separate amp for the sub .. then used the head unit to cross to the sub at 120Hz. At that point you don't need much power to the door speakers.

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      • #4
        I asked a similar question a few years ago...got great advice. Truth is that a mobile environment is so hard to build for--so many variables to control for, including listening position and inconsistent voltage, road noise, among things that you'd never have to deal with at home--that its really not worth it to go down the route of trying to build your own speakers. You just can't get the same bang for you buck. Buy the absolute best speakers you can find and install them. If you want to get creative, you would get more benefit from creatively positioning your speaker's position than building your own crossover. Reduce road noise with vibration-dampening foam.

        Plus the truth is that there is a lot of expertise on building crossovers for home audio on this board, and while they could tell you how to make your speaker choices work together beautifully for a home set-up, they would also probably be the first to tell you that you could move their perfectly designed speaker system into an automotive 12V environment and have very little assurance that it would be any better than something from a quality audio company. I bought some nice Hertz speakers and am convinced I could NEVER design, even with this board's help--something that was as good as an investment given my time and money.

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        • #5
          If you are set on doing something immediate before the full Bosectomy, you should go one of two directions for now. In both scenarios, ditch those rear speakers and focus on the woofers and tweeters in the door.

          #1 Install the new head unit and bypass the factory Bose amp, running the stock speakers w said head unit using the onboard EQ and time alignment. Or...

          #2 Keep the factory head unit and speakers while bypassing the factory amp with this...

          https://www.crutchfield.com/S-s4Xh6b...-KEY180-4.html

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          • #6
            Originally posted by shome1289 View Post
            - THIS is the stereo I have, 14w RMS and 50w MAX per channel. If the stereo is putting out those numbers, are they in addition to whatever watts the factory amp is putting out? Unsure of the exact number, but if the factory bose amp is pushing, say, 40w per channel RMS/MAX whatever, would that be in addition to the 14w/50w per channel put out by the head unit?
            Nobody else caught this so I will comment. You cannot in any way combine the output power of the head unit and separate amp. Some aftermarket amps have high level inputs designed to accept the speaker outputs of a head unit but even then the output power of the head unit is just absorbed and does not add to the output of the amp. I suspect the Bose unit just has line inputs so you need a head unit with a complete set of line outputs, do not connect HU speaker outputs to an amplifier line inputs they will distort badly and be destroyed in short order.

            So on a tight budget you might consider just replacing the drivers and leaving the Bose HU and amp in place, this should work reasonably well with all the adjustability of the stock setup. If you swap the HU your best course of action is to bypass the Bose amp, chances are it won't produce adequate power with high impedance aftermarket speakers anyway and as mentioned connectivity with the HU will be problematic.


            Paul O

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            • #7
              Thanks for all the feedback everyone, I was working a lot up until 1st of Feb when I was laid off (not due to coronavirus but because of downsizing in my department.) I also got a new apartment and things lately have been really rough, obviously because of the virus. How annoying.

              To update everyone on what I've done, I'll go over that now.

              To start with, I replaced the 2x 8" door speakers with 2x 8" Rockville component speakers, with dedicated crossovers mounted in the doors. I prefer clean installs and wiring wherever possible, so I took both doors off and de-pinned the speaker wires from the rubber boot/door harness connectors and utilized some larger pin holes, got the correct pins, and created a factory-fresh install of that speaker wiring.

              Connected on the door side of the harness was a pos and neg wire that goes directly to the door mounted crossovers. From the crossover, I connected the woofers and since the included Rockville tweeters were large horn tweeters, I found some cheap 1" DS18 tweeters that sound great and installed everything into factory locations. Very neat, very clean. Speaker gasketing, etc. Also lined the doors with peel-n-seal from lowes, since the car is always garaged, and aluminum taped all the edges to prevent any running or dripping.

              Moving on, I installed the pioneer AVH 3800BS into the dash, perfect fit with appropriate dash kit from Metra. All wiring was soldered and heat shrinked and bound together where necessary to create as much space behind that bulky stereo. Then custom wrapped the dash with black gloss vinyl on all the trim bezels and all the way down to shifter surrounds. Aesthetically very pleasing, tight gaps and no rattles.

              I also took apart the windblocker completely and scrounged around the local part yard and found a 2010 Hyundai genesis with the top of the line levinson stereo, found some mid-high neodymium drivers, about 2 inches each, and custom wired those into the stock Bose locations. Not stopping there, I scored some BMW 7 series 4" aluminum cone Logic-7 speakers and custom mounted them in the middle of the windblocker, and created a custom wiring harness solution so it can be unplugged and removed as if it were factory.

              The only thing I havent done is actually remove the factory bose amp from the dash, which is completely unused. The windblocker was gutted.

              All 4 "channels" (basically FL, FR, RL, RR) were wired into a cheap blaupunkt 1500.4 amp available on amazon for less than 90 bucks. While obviously not outputting 1500 watts, it did do perfectly fine powering the setup I installed. All mounted securely and with security hardware, and aesthetically pleasing when the trunk guts were all reinstalled.

              After tuning the hell out of the system with T/A, rear crossover, speaker level, input gains etc etc etc, let me tell you, this thing was BUMPING. Plenty of crisp, punchy lows from the front doors once the new Rockville were broken in over 2 weeks, the windblocker filling in the rear with some crisp mids and light highs, the only thing that would make it perfect would be subs, but that's a whole different project.

              Since I already owned the stereo, and have a plethora of wiring, pins, OEM harness plugs that I've salvaged, gasket material, connectors and all that fun stuff, just buying the speakers, amp, dash kit and a new amp install kit, I was out the door for less than 300 dollars. The stereo cost me 249 about 5 years ago. So less than 600, thereabouts, can definitely net you perfectly acceptable sound quality, clarity, and volume.

              Last week, someone broke into the car and ripped ALL of that hard work out besides the door speakers. I'm absolutely gutted and pissed off, my new apartment building doesnt have any camera footage since theres only 2 cameras down there, and the police told me to fill out my own police report and so far have not heard a single word from them. They even got my wallet, rent money that was due the next day, dewalt 1/4" impact, other tools, and my frigging passenger side seat!!!! Still at a loss for words but I'll get it back together soon, this time bigger and better....assuming I get some sort of financial return from insurance or we catch the bastard that did it. I've been searching all the apps and facebook and even local pawn shops​​​​....all to no avail. Wish me luck with that but just wanted to say how great it sounded when it was all finally tuned and adjusted.

              Regards
              Garrett

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              • #8
                Dude, that is such a bummer! I've been lucky enough that it's never happened to me, but seen it to many times. Sh1ty people in this world really know how to ruin it for the rest of us. You'll make it better!
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