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Old 12-26-2012, 02:37 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2
My Ride: '02 330cic
Same boat: Just installed Vifa NE65W-04...

(My first post here?)

I had the same crackling problem, with the same HK system in a 2002 330cic. Foam surrounds on both mid-range speakers torn.

** Edit **

There may be nothing wrong with your door woofers if the foam isn't torn/rotten... For whatever reason, the flat EQ setting on my car leads to ludicrously flabby excess bass from the front door woofers.
Even for my doom metal to sound "live", I end up with the bass turned down 2-3 steps. With the bass turned down to sane level, I'll bet you'll be happy with just the mid/tweeter upgrade, but if you wish to upgrade these woofers, others have delved deeper. The best solution I saw was the guy... he used neodymium magnet drivers (which inherently lead to shallow mounting depth) and cut a simple trim ring that held the speaker in place using the original screw holes on the door card. Unfortunately, due to the insane cost of neodymium, woofers that use it are incredibly rare & expensive now compared to several years ago.
I'll try to take accurate measurements of the original woofer / mounting when I have the door cards off to do the tweeters.

** End Edit **

After scouring the forums, I chose the Vifa NE65W-04 as a replacement. (Available from parts express for about $65/pair.) Not the cheapest replacement, but certainly quite a bit less than the BSW choice.

While there are also several well-priced Tang Band paper cone neo magnet 2in drivers available with 4ohm impedance, all would require cutting plastic and/or sheet metal, and gluing the speakers in place. (This is the route I went with my last E36 install, and I wouldn't do it again. They sound the same in their pass band of roughly 800Hz - 6kHz, and were a pain to glue into place.) These Vifas simply drop into the hole left after popping out the old drivers, (you can break the glue and old driver loose with just a firm hand grip on the magnet,) and can be secured with the 2 original screws in their original holes... Just use fender washers, or a piece of scrap metal with an offset hole so that the scrap piece / washer pushes down on the edge of the speaker basket when the screw is tightened. I've seen photos of people using 3 smaller screws to secure it to the stock plastic assembly. Not a good choice given how *thin* the plastic is away from the intended screw holes. I used the aluminum straps sold with a cast aluminum outdoor electrical box, snipped in half, as my washers.

I used the black strip-caulk Parts Express sells to plug the tiny gap near the terminal plate of the mounted vifa, as well as in lieu of the original foam stip that sealed the pod to the door card. I love this stuff, and recommend it over foam tape for versatility, better sealing, longevity.

I love the way the vifas sound, but they're only part of the battle.

The 4ohm vs 3ohm impedance doesn't seem to present any problems-- I feel able to run quite loud & clear now with these new mids, and I find myself playing with the tone controls no more than before. I felt that the flat EQ setting was ludicrously bass-heavy, mid and high-light. While the mids are clear and free of distortion now, I hate the highs, and am shopping for replacement tweeters. (My surrounds were torn so badly since I bought the car, I've never listened to the front speakers until now. Mylar dome tweeters should be banned by international treaty!)

Do yourself a favor and replace both the tweeters and mids together.

Other forums report the overall outside diameter of the tweeter at somewhere between 1.3-1.4in, with an available mounting depth of only 7/8in. Most claim the stock impedance of the original HK tweeter to be 8ohms. All I can say is that the 82db/w Vifas are clearly more efficient than whatever tweeter's in there.

Here's the big question: Are the convertible tweeters on a separate amp channel, or do they share a channel with the mids? My car had two pairs of wires going to the pod, indicating bi-amping, but still had a crossover capacitor on the tweeter! Without getting too deep into this here, mystery be damned: I'll start with a relatively efficient 4ohm or 6ohm tweeter, crossed with an appropriate cap, and pad it down with resistors, (L-pad,) if it's too hot.

Still unclear thanks to difference between convertible / coupe / sedan HK amps (and internal crossover points / padding,) but the roughly 6kHz crossover point is easy for just about any tweeter. The primary goal is to find something that fits, has a nice flat /extended response, low distortion, and good dispersion, (as they won't be pointed right at your noggin or your passenger's noggin.) This means tiny neodymium magnet domes, w/o fancy back-cups, heat sinks, or horns.

The list of tweeters others have tried/documented, and those that will physically fit into our factory door pods is short: Dayton ND16FA-6, Dayton ND20FB-4, Dayton ND20FA-6, Vifa OX20SC00-04, and *maybe* (waiting for an answer) the round planar/ribbon Beston RT003C.

My current front-runner is the Vifa 0x20sc00-04 for ease of installation, but I miss the sound of the ribbons I had in my old E30... Might give the beston's a try after liberating them from their plastic horns/bezels.

If anyone cares, I'll report back with results, photos, physical and impedance measurements of the original tweeters and values of the original xo caps.

Last edited by emaxon; 12-26-2012 at 02:55 PM.
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