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-   -   UPDATED, COMPLETE! Final pics posted: Started my big install today... (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=787367)

radarcontact 08-24-2010 04:01 PM

UPDATED, again! MORE Audio install, more pics...
Part 1 - Sub box and amps
Part 2 - Interior wiring and LOC hookup
Part 3 - Door speakers, tweeter mounts
Part 4 - STEALTH!
Part 5 - (coming soon...rear coax install mods)

(Complete build log posted in this single thread)
I finally started my big install; today I cut-up my sheet of MDF...there's no turning back now! :excited:

I designed my sub box a few months ago, bought my speakers last month, got the final parts for my amps yesterday.

I have an '06 Vert, so I'll be replacing the H/K speaker system, but I'm going to keep the head unit (for now...closely watching to see what Dynavin evolves into).

When done, the system will consist of the stock business cd, my current GROM USB/XM Satellite setup (posted on e46fanatics), plus the following upgrades:

- CDT front Component 6.5"/1"
- CDT rear 6.5" Coax
- Alpine MRP-F240 4-ch amp driving the CDTs
- Alpine MRP-M350 2-ch amp driving the sub box (will be bridged to 2-ohms)
- Custom-designed dual-isobaric sub (four 2-ohm SVC 8" woofers, two internal, two external, wired series/parallel for a 2-ohm load to amp)

Going for good, clean, sound. Nothing over-the-top, show-quality, or ear splitting. My goal is to be able to drive at highway speeds with the top down and get clean music and still feel some tight bass. We'll see...I made some compromises in order to keep most of my trunk space.

Thanks to member CA1242 for some additional wiring info that I needed! :thumbup:

It will be a few weeks (maybe a month?) to complete, but I'm going to take lots of pictures and put together a long post when all is complete.

Till then...

Many330i 08-24-2010 04:03 PM


BMWespresso 08-24-2010 04:04 PM

:thumbup: very good, I want to do same some day

Mulatto325 08-24-2010 08:18 PM

Like to see how it goes. Keep us updated.

radarcontact 09-01-2010 09:26 AM

Got the sub built. Very pleased so far. I just hope all my calculations are correct...this thing is bullet-proof! Mounted my amps and crossovers, still need to do some "permanent wiring" before continuing with the install. Gonna try to write this up as I go, adding to this thread continually. Should have some pics posted by early next week if not sooner.
Picked up some great ideas from other installs I've seen here, gonna steal 'em!!

G-Hots 09-01-2010 09:31 AM

are you going to be using LOCs to get RCA signals for your subwoofer?
I can help you with wiring information if you need to splice into the amp for rear deck speaker wires and amp remote turn on. I've done that setup before but i am now using the dynavin subouts

radarcontact 09-01-2010 09:39 AM

Actually the Alpine(s) accept balanced speaker-level inputs, so LOC unnecessary.
The HK system in the vert is different than others so I don't think the wiring would match up exactly, but thank you for the offer!

radarcontact 09-05-2010 04:53 PM


Originally Posted by radarcontact (Post 12191870)
Actually the Alpine(s) accept balanced speaker-level inputs, so LOC unnecessary.

Oops! I called Alpine just to double-check, and it turns out I was wrong.
I'll be using an AudioControl LC6i LOC to manage the signals to the amps.

radarcontact 09-09-2010 06:53 PM

Part 1 - Sub box and amps
28 Attachment(s)
Here's a build log on the sub. I am using the KISS principle here, in order to keep it short and sweet.

Cut my MDF...I always use MDF. Best for speakers, easiest to work with. Clogs a shop-vac in a heartbeat, though!
Attachment 374987

Cut my holes for the drivers, cut holes in brace, ran dadoes into my sides.
Attachment 374988

Busted out the woofers, Elemental Designs 8" variety.
Attachment 374989
Attachment 374990
Attachment 374991

Mounted in (painted) baffles with wood screws in every hole, after putting silicone bead on back side.
Attachment 374992
Attachment 374993

Glued and screwed baffles and brace to one side using gorilla glue and coarse thread drywall screws.
Attachment 374994

Attached other side, same way.
Attachment 374995

Ran all wires. Soldered all connections. Attached bottom.

WIRING DETAILS (if interested):
The woofer pairs at each end are ran in series = First wire (the positive wire) from hole in box (eventually from amp) to positive terminal on speaker "A"; a second wire connecting negative terminal on speaker "A" to positive terminal on speaker "B"; a third wire from negative terminal on speaker "B" to hole in box (eventually back to amp).
Repeat for other side.
The two positives from the woofer pairs (and similarly the two negatives) will eventually be connected TOGETHER, or in parallel, at (or prior to) the amp. Since each woofer is 2-ohms, this wiring setup makes each woofer pair 4-ohms with the series connection. Then as both pairs are connected together in parallel, the load goes back down to 2-ohms at the amp, so the amp will see a 2-ohm load.
Attachment 374996

[NOTE: Normally, when building any speaker, I will silicone all internal seams to prevent air leakage. This time I really couldn't due to the way the box was constructed. By using very tight tolerances and dado joints, I feel confident that this box will never leak, despite the missing silicone.
If you use silicone when building a box as mentioned above, be absolutely sure to wait a few hours before closing the box up, otherwise the silicone gassing-out will be trapped inside the speaker box forever, causing eventual damage to your drivers.]

Ran my two sets of positive and negative wires that will go to amp through two very tight holes in box back-side, sealed with silicone (liberally!) on both sides. I could have used a terminal cup, but there are 3 reasons I didn't:
1. Except for you guys, no one will ever see the back.
2. Terminal cup has greater chance of leaking air than my holes.
3. Amp is physically, permanently attached to the box, so there will never be a need to disconnect the wires from the box. They are one "unit", so to speak.
Attachment 374997
Attachment 374998

Loosely stuffed internal chamber with high quality fiber fill. This chamber gets filled, the two constant-pressure chambers that are between the woofers do not get any acoustical stuffing.
Attachment 375000

This double compound isobaric configuration serves my purposes to the tee! I wanted a small box (don't we all!), and this allowed me to cut my internal volume by half. The woofers are not your typical automotive long-throw high X-max super woofers; they are standard woofers that have a low Fs, medium magnets, and medium power handling. So by using this configuration, each woofer will only have to throw 50% as much as it normally would (essentially doubling that spec), and can now also handle twice the power. Additionally by doing it twice, two sets, I get the benefit of a 3dB volume increase! All in all, a perfect solution; for me.
Attachment 375001

Covered all except for bottom and back in matching carpet (old school, I know :rolleyes:). Mounted amps and crossovers. These will all face front. All future wiring will be hidden behind box.
Attachment 375002
Attachment 375003
Attachment 375004
There is also a set of 6" pieces of wood stacked 2.25" thick (if I remember correctly) and attached to the "passenger-side" of the box on the back, no pic. This makes up the difference in the distance in depth on left side versus right side.

Here's the single 8" HK woofer in the vert with the luggage compartment maximized. For those that don't know, it's a way to get more luggage in the trunk if needed, but once you do this the top has to stay up. I had to design the box to fit with it NOT maximized, of course!
Attachment 375005

And not maximized, normal ops. This is where my design had to fit.
Attachment 375007

There was an small issue I had to contend with in the design. I needed to be able to get to the spare tire in case of a flat. My solution was to psuedo-suspend the woofer just above the spare tire cover. I cut an angled groove along the bottom of the box, and then pounded copper tubing in the groove, to protect the wood from wear. (That's cardboard you see protecting the woofers in the pic)
Attachment 375008
Attachment 375009

Then I ran aircraft cable through the tubing and locked the box to the trunk. This holds the box tight, and doesn't allow it to move at all. But there's still that space underneath...:hmm:
Attachment 375010
Attachment 375011

In place with top-down capability. (Ignore the wiring in the pic, some of that's just temporary)
Attachment 375012

To further support the box and provide a better overall look, I built and carpet-covered a support piece. This piece slides under the box, not physically attached, but cant move either. If I get a flat, I simply pull this piece out, then very carefully manuever the spare tire cover out of the car. Box never needs to be removed. :D
Attachment 375013
In place.
Attachment 375014
Attachment 375015
Attachment 375016

[NOTE: The entire unit, subs+amps+crossovers+carpet+everything = 48 pounds. Not too bad...centered along the width of the car, and not in the very back. Now my front to rear weight distro is 49.09-to-50.01!] ;)

Well, that's it for now.
Waiting on my LOC and time to do the doors, rears, wiring, etc.

Twenza 09-10-2010 04:09 AM

Thats hot.....:)

dsblk93gt 09-10-2010 03:29 PM

Nice!! How did you design it? Speaker program?

radarcontact 09-11-2010 12:12 AM


Originally Posted by dsblk93gt (Post 12226352)
Nice!! How did you design it? Speaker program?

I've been building speakers since I was 16...I'm 45 now...so I did a lot of long-hand math and used some volume calculators to verify my results.

This particular project was based on the question, "What can I get in this space right here?". So the 8" woofers were chosen. Then it was, "how much bass can I get using the 8" driver?", which ultimately led to the finished concept.

Glad you like it. It is a little old-school considering what others are doing with fiberglass, etc., but my main interest is in the sound quality. With 350 watts available, I think it'll definitely be an improvement over the single HK sub setup.

Orion329 09-12-2010 10:40 PM

beautiful, clean, efficient use of space. nice work.

let us know what you think of how crisp the bass is and if the power seems to be enough for what you were aiming for.

Mulatto325 09-14-2010 07:21 PM

Very nice. Are you running new wire for your doors? I was planning on that but it seemed almost impossible to get to the wiring. so i just used the stock wires. Thanks BSW for the color codes

jeffb325@NavigationSolutions 09-14-2010 09:21 PM

love it, you just took me back 15-20 years.....to when the emphasis was on proper (and often complex) design, great sound, and clean installs. I had a couple of killers systems back then, 32 band EQs, amps that weighed 30 pounds, horns (ID....sweeeeeeet), high quality components, all the good stuff........ahhhh.....the good old days. Remember when 400 watts was a lot! (and 400 REAL watts would knock your head off) Now all that matters is the ipod connection and how well your cell phone transfers over bluetooth.....

radarcontact 09-15-2010 10:28 AM


Originally Posted by jeffb325@DynavinSolutions (Post 12240993)
love it, you just took me back 15-20 years.....to when the emphasis was on proper (and often complex) design, great sound, and clean installs. I had a couple of killers systems back then, 32 band EQs, amps that weighed 30 pounds, horns (ID....sweeeeeeet), high quality components, all the good stuff........ahhhh.....the good old days. Remember when 400 watts was a lot! (and 400 REAL watts would knock your head off) Now all that matters is the ipod connection and how well your cell phone transfers over bluetooth.....

I hear ya! Funny how times have changed!

My first "system" was a 10 watt/channel "CONCORDE" cassette tape player (yes, that was considered a high-powered unit) running back to 2 JENSEN 6x9's, that's it! :thumbsup: And my buddies were jealous!! So sad...

(Glad I'm not the only relic around this joint!)

radarcontact 09-15-2010 10:32 AM


Originally Posted by Mulatto325 (Post 12240589)
Very nice. Are you running new wire for your doors? I was planning on that but it seemed almost impossible to get to the wiring. so i just used the stock wires. Thanks BSW for the color codes

Thanks! Yes, the stock wired are plenty for the amount of power I'll be sending. I always hate running to the doors, however, this is the first time I've chosen not to.

I plan on trying to get the rest done this Friday. Continue my write-up after that.

radarcontact 09-21-2010 05:51 PM

Part 2 - Interior wiring and LOC hookup
29 Attachment(s)
Wow! I never thought it would be as much work as it's been to install this system!
Here is a breakdown of what I've gotten accomplished since my last post. I still have about a day's work before I get to see if anything works! Still need to wire up the fronts, put the door panels on and then start making all the electronic adjustments. Hopefully there are no glitches! I'm really tired of listening to my iPhone through the speakers as my auto sound system.

[NOTE: Unfortunately, the 6.5" coax's that I had planned for the rear fill will NEVER fit. Close, but not quite. I'm looking at some different CDT units to go back there. Another day, soon.]

Pulled the back seat bottom, trim panels, rear seat back.
Attachment 376521
Attachment 376522
Pulled woofer. To disconnect woofer, lift up on this area and you'll find the plug. Figuring that out took me about 15 minutes! Pulled the hinge pin so that I could leave the woofer out but re-use the frame.
Attachment 376523
Attachment 376524
Attachment 376525
This is how this comes off.
Attachment 376526
Pic showing the amp housing (black metal piece, amp is behind it, 3 screws once you get the bracket off).
Attachment 376527
Lots of trunk carpet.
Attachment 376528
The HK in comparison to the Alpine(s).
Attachment 376529
This is the black (vs. grey) half of the plug that went into the amp. It's one of the bundles I'll be cutting into! I really hope that the wiring info I used (posted from other Fanatics) turns out to be correct!! The grey has about the same amount of wires, and many of those had to be cut/spaded as well.
Attachment 376530
Would have gotten more done, but my wife was a distraction, even after 25 years! :drool:
Attachment 376531
Pic of the door panels off.
Attachment 376532
Attachment 376534
Labeled all my wires.
Attachment 376533
Ran all MY wires through the ski pass to where the amp sits. Put spade ends on everything. I liked the way "RSL" did his connections and it lets me make any needed corrections without any unsoldering/soldering. Thanks RSL! I think I spaded 64 wire ends that day.
Attachment 376535
Attachment 376536
Attachment 376537
The finished product! Whew, that sucked and my lower back still aches! The wood is mounted where the HK amp was; I took the amp out completely. I REALLY hope I don't need that amp connected for any other reason.
Attachment 376538
Mounted my AudioControl LC6i to the back of the woofer box. To the left you will see my homemade distribution lugs. I spent $2 versus about $60, so criticize all you like.
Attachment 376539
Attachment 376540
Working well into the late night, beers still flowin', I have almost all my connections made except for the speaker-out bundles.
Attachment 376541
Everything tucked back neatly.
Attachment 376542
Hole cut into the ski pass side for cable passage.
Attachment 376543
Trunk-side view.
Attachment 376544
Attachment 376545
Attachment 376546
Power and ground connections. Yes, both are red. I know which is which, and didn't have any black 4ga. The local shop wants $3/foot. :jack:
Attachment 376547
View from the front.
Attachment 376548
This is where I'll do all my adjustments to the LOC, from INSIDE the car! (Leather padded piece will hide it when I'm done, of course). I really like this, whatcha' think?
Attachment 376549

radarcontact 09-21-2010 05:57 PM

Part 3 - Door speakers, tweeter mounts
11 Attachment(s)
Pieces for the doors. I am using a hybrid design that is hopefully going to work out well. I like the idea of door mounting, but don't like where the woofer sits (back too far and many times not "aimed" correctly). I like the idea of door panel mounting, but there isn't enough solidity there. So here is my hybrid solution...close to the grill, angled correctly, and solid. Hope it fits, I actually haven't even checked it yet...I have faith!
Attachment 376551
Attachment 376552
Attachment 376553
Marked my door cut locations. I used a Dremel tool with the new super-cut-off wheels. I went through about 4 per door. Lots of hot sparks so I protected the car with a tarp. I cut on either side of the window "track", instead of trying to cut across it without hurting it. Coated my cut edges with silicone for rust prevention.
Attachment 376554
Attachment 376555
Attachment 376556
Attachment 376557
Tweeter templates (traced the OEM ones). Hole sawed them. Mounted tweeters to templates, then to the doors. Easy stuff!
Attachment 376558
Attachment 376559
Attachment 376560
Attachment 376561

That's all till next time. Probably a few day till completed if I don't hit any snags!

Darkoz 09-21-2010 10:17 PM


Originally Posted by radarcontact (Post 12262372)

Would have gotten more done, but my wife was a distraction, even after 25 years! :drool:

Woah!!....this install just got a whole lot better, forget about the speakers.....

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