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Old 11-06-2010, 09:18 AM   #1
TheHulk9er
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Question Need Help with Center Channel

I have a 323ci Convertible and have just installed a JBL MS-8 which has Logic7 which with the use of a center channel will create perfect time alignment for both front seats (unlike most setups that are only correct for one seating position at a time). Currently the sound in the drivers seat is the best I have ever experienced but I would like to have it so that both front seat have the same experience. I have done some research and notice that the center dash position where a center channel speaker would go is actually part of the main dashboard so if I decide to do this it better be right since I don't want to have to replace my whole dashboard. The main question I have is does anyone know what's under that center dash position? It's clearly part of the A/C vents but how is it configured? Is there any way to mount a center channel without major surgery? Any help here is greatly appreciated. I am very excited to get this done.
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:38 AM   #2
Orion329
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It's a pretty intensive job to remove the entire dash panel...so finding an alternative way of mounting/integrating a speaker up there that doesn't require removing/modifying the dash would be ideal. I don't know if you would consider it, but the least invasive way would be to simply mount up by the windshield or remove the center vents all together.

If you remove the front dash trim, pop out the bracing for the head unit, and then remove the center air ducts (pull up and towards you pretty hard), you'll be able to look around up there easily.

Good luck!
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:20 PM   #3
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This will give you an idea of the arrangement, as you can see it's just the centre air vents and ducting.........

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Old 11-06-2010, 10:49 PM   #4
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So I guess I could remove the ducts which would screw up the hvac coming from that set of vents which would make plenty of space. Do you think I could cut out part of the tubes just enough to get a small shallow speaker in there and still have some air flow through the vents? Many thanks for the pictures! I can't tell but is there any clearance above the ducts?
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Old 11-07-2010, 12:11 AM   #5
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I don't know if you'd come up with a good solution without removing the center vents completely. You may be able to get a speaker in there to fire past the vents (because there may be some space above those ducts to fit one in to).

I would really consider how often you have audio enthusiast passengers and how much they're really affected by the audio not being as beautifully tuned to the passenger's seat as the driver's.

They probably would be more off-put by the aesthetics than not as superior audio...

Just a thought.
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:08 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by TheHulk9er View Post
So I guess I could remove the ducts which would screw up the hvac coming from that set of vents which would make plenty of space. Do you think I could cut out part of the tubes just enough to get a small shallow speaker in there and still have some air flow through the vents? Many thanks for the pictures! I can't tell but is there any clearance above the ducts?
There is virtually no clearance above the ducts, so to get a speaker in there you'd have to cut the ducts away completely which of course then all the air would be blowing inside the dash if you used those centre vents, definitely not advisable.
Aesthetically it would look terrible having a speaker sitting up there and I'd have to question whether it would improve the audio quality at all.
The main problem with our cars is that the sound staging is not very good, the speaker location in the door is too far forward and too low so most of the sound is directed into the footwell and not into the cabin itself, test it out yourself by leaning forward and down towards the dash, you'll find that the sound is much fuller and richer, the tweeter is also located too far away from the woofer.
If I was that concerned about having the best possible sound quality I'd look at customising the door panels to move the speaker location up higher and towards the centre of the door, that is if you were really that pedantic about it.
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Old 11-07-2010, 03:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by orion329 View Post
i don't know if you'd come up with a good solution without removing the center vents completely. You may be able to get a speaker in there to fire past the vents (because there may be some space above those ducts to fit one in to).

I would really consider how often you have audio enthusiast passengers and how much they're really affected by the audio not being as beautifully tuned to the passenger's seat as the driver's.

They probably would be more off-put by the aesthetics than not as superior audio...

Just a thought.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:55 PM   #8
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My only other thought here would be to build up the dash so that with the right speaker I would only need to reduce the size of the vents slightly in the middle for say a small neo magnet. One thought is a MB Quart Q 4" that is only 1.77" deep and the last inch (neo magnet structure) is only say 2.5" wide. With a speaker like that I would only have to trim away a bit of the middle of each vent hose on to allow the fins on the magnet to fit. With this set up I should be able to keep most of the vent tubes so there should be little impact on the HVAC system. The speaker would have the upper dash cavity to use in a free air type set up. There are also some 5.25" speakers that may work with this type of set up. Worst case would be a 3" closed back speaker that could be done with no change to the HVAC system.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:16 AM   #9
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One other idea. What if I got an HVAC relocation kit and then rerouted the duct-work somehow to the area vacated by moving the radio down. If this could be worked out it could allow maybe a 5.25" or maybe even a 6.5" speaker to be installed there! Of course this creates other issues like how to rework the front of the dash so that it looks right. I'm not going to do anything on this until I have it all worked out so it may take some time. It's not like my system sounds bad now but you know we can never be completely done, right! Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:39 AM   #10
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Well after looking at some pictures of the dash pulled apart I can see that moving the HVAC and Radio down will probably not work. I think the only way to make this work is to build up the dash to fit whatever speaker I decide to use. If I used say an MB Quart Q 4" (1.77" deep) I could build up the dash by an inch or so and then maybe squeeze the neodymium magnet structure in between the vents by trimming a little of the vents away and resealing them. Any comments are greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-12-2010, 03:23 AM   #11
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Any comments are greatly appreciated.
More hassle than it's worth. I've never refused a ride becasue the time delay between the front speakers is slightly out ..
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:24 AM   #12
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I'm starting to come to the same conclusion. I am reluctant to do anything to my car that does not look stock since I sometimes park in a commuter lot where there is always broken glass from someone breaking into a car. Never have had any problems because my policy has always been to keep the car looking stock so the crooks will move on to the next car.
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