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Old 10-20-2007, 11:26 AM   #1
MassBMW
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Question Time to upgrade - SQ Wanted

I have a 01 e46, currently running a McIntosh MC440 hooked to the factory HU and running the stock speakers. I need to change out my stock speakers and would like something that would not require a ton of fab work to install. My questions are:

Who makes a high end comp speaker that will fit my doors?
Is it worth doing 3 way comps up front?
Is it worth running rear speakers?
Would like to keep the cost under $500 a pair, and want SQ speakers.

I have been looking at Rainbow SLC 365's but I am open to suggestions.

TIA
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Old 10-20-2007, 02:47 PM   #2
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WOW! What a crime...powering OEM speakers with that beast of an amp? I'm surprised the speakers lasted more than a minute.

Seriously, not really worth going 3 way unless you are willing to fab up some kick panels. Rears are not worth it IMO.

You've got a good amp to start with. Is that Mcintosh a 4 channel amp? If so, I'd suggest looking into a used Audiocontrol EQX and some quality front comps.

If you want a really good SQ setup, you might want to consider cutting the sheet metal in the door. Most quality 6.5" drivers are deeper than 2.5", which is the depth you have without cutting the door.

With that said, there are many of us who would be satified with an excellent midbass pulling bass duty with no subwoofer. Some 6.5" drivers are capable of that. About 50% of the time, I listen to my system with the sub off.

If you factor in the cost of the used EQX ($100) and are willing to look at Ebay, $400 can get you a really good set of comps.

I think DLS iridiums and CDT HDs will fit without modification. I love the Zapco reference and OZ Audio Matrix comps. Dynaudio makes some quality stuff. All of the above have a smoother, more mellow sound. Not sure how smooth compared to the rainbows. Lots of people love Seas Lotus (not sure how cheap you can get them). The JL ZR comps are pretty sweet sounding.

Focal and MBQ are brighter, more lively...not my style.

But your ears will be the best guide to what YOU like best. So I'd grab some of your favorite music on CD and start shopping.
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Old 10-20-2007, 03:19 PM   #3
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WOW! What a crime...powering OEM speakers with that beast of an amp? I'm surprised the speakers lasted more than a minute.

Seriously, not really worth going 3 way unless you are willing to fab up some kick panels. Rears are not worth it IMO.

You've got a good amp to start with. Is that Mcintosh a 4 channel amp? If so, I'd suggest looking into a used Audiocontrol EQX and some quality front comps.

If you want a really good SQ setup, you might want to consider cutting the sheet metal in the door. Most quality 6.5" drivers are deeper than 2.5", which is the depth you have without cutting the door.

With that said, there are many of us who would be satified with an excellent midbass pulling bass duty with no subwoofer. Some 6.5" drivers are capable of that. About 50% of the time, I listen to my system with the sub off.

If you factor in the cost of the used EQX ($100) and are willing to look at Ebay, $400 can get you a really good set of comps.

I think DLS iridiums and CDT HDs will fit without modification. I love the Zapco reference and OZ Audio Matrix comps. Dynaudio makes some quality stuff. All of the above have a smoother, more mellow sound. Not sure how smooth compared to the rainbows. Lots of people love Seas Lotus (not sure how cheap you can get them). The JL ZR comps are pretty sweet sounding.

Focal and MBQ are brighter, more lively...not my style.

But your ears will be the best guide to what YOU like best. So I'd grab some of your favorite music on CD and start shopping.


Personally, i find focal and dynaudio a bit overpriced.

If i had to do my setup again, i'd stick to seas lotus comps.

http://www.mobilesq.com/shop/index.php?cPath=27_30_54

Here's a quick comparison i found. Of course nothing beats listening to the speakers live, but it's hard finding people with high-end audio. I try to buy things with high resale value in case i find something down the line that i like better.

http://forum.ecoustics.com/bbs/messages/4/217405.html

Good luck.
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Old 10-20-2007, 03:48 PM   #4
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Ok, I should also add that I am also running an Audio Control 4xs to get my low levels to the amp as well as a separate amp and sub for my bottom end; Cadence A7 and a single 12" Adire Audio Brahma.

Also I have lots of experience with MBQ's and would like a driver that is a little less harsh - shouldnt be hard to do .

bigjae1976, the Mc440 is a 6ch, 50x4 and 100x2
hypnoticiq, Never heard of Seas Lotus, I looked at the link for, but only the 1400 set is available? Any other links to the manufacturer or dealer in the US?

I am guessing 2.5" of depth wont yield many options here with my criteria... I dont mind cutting, just was looking for the easy way out.

Thanks for the help so far.
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:20 PM   #5
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Make sure you search, a lot of people have did the cutting already.
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:25 PM   #6
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www.woofersetc.com is also a good place to price many speaker and amp sets.
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:26 PM   #7
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Ok, I should also add that I am also running an Audio Control 4xs to get my low levels to the amp as well as a separate amp and sub for my bottom end; Cadence A7 and a single 12" Adire Audio Brahma.

Also I have lots of experience with MBQ's and would like a driver that is a little less harsh - shouldnt be hard to do .

bigjae1976, the Mc440 is a 6ch, 50x4 and 100x2
hypnoticiq, Never heard of Seas Lotus, I looked at the link for, but only the 1400 set is available? Any other links to the manufacturer or dealer in the US?

I am guessing 2.5" of depth wont yield many options here with my criteria... I dont mind cutting, just was looking for the easy way out.

Thanks for the help so far.
Look into illusion audio speakers. Their mid's only had a depth of 2 inches because of neodynium (sp?) magnets. Critical mass also use neodyn magnets.


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Old 10-22-2007, 05:33 PM   #8
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Anyone else have any advice?

How are the Focal K2's against the Dynaudio 240 GT?
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:43 PM   #9
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I'm running Dyns and I can tell you I won't be upgrading/swapping out for a quite a while. You can get the Dynaudio 242 Esotec system from an AUTHORIZED dealer (woofersetc.com is NOT an authorized dealer) for ~$600 if you know the right people.
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Old 10-23-2007, 05:45 AM   #10
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If there is an opposite to the MBQ tweets...its Dynaudio. Very mellow and smooth.

The Focals are known to be a little bright. Not as bad as the MBQs though.
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Old 10-23-2007, 09:13 AM   #11
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It's a good thing you're willing to cut, because getting enough midbass to blend in with the output of that A7/Brahma isn't going to be easy. I probably went off the deep end with butchering my doors to get 7" Seas woofers in there. The midbass is strong enough to cause my pants to move, and I still wouldn't mind having more.

Thing is - the type of driver you use is not nearly as critical as the install. Sealing up the doors and sound deadening is crucial. Without it, even a mediocre driver can outperform some of the high dollar drivers.
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Old 10-23-2007, 10:27 AM   #12
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Hey Guys,

What about Diamond Audio or Elemental Designs?

Are these two totally outclassed by the speakers mentioned above?
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Old 10-23-2007, 11:10 AM   #13
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DA is ok...I'm not a fan of ED.
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Old 10-23-2007, 06:13 PM   #14
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Great info SamXp
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Old 10-23-2007, 07:42 PM   #15
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Thing is - the type of driver you use is not nearly as critical as the install. Sealing up the doors and sound deadening is crucial. Without it, even a mediocre driver can outperform some of the high dollar drivers.
Right on. A lot of people underestimate the importance of a proper install. It absolutely makes or breaks a sound system.
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Old 10-23-2007, 08:06 PM   #16
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Basically, make sure you plan it all out so you do not have to go back and forth.
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Old 10-27-2007, 12:59 PM   #17
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Personally, i find focal and dynaudio a bit overpriced.

If i had to do my setup again, i'd stick to seas lotus comps.

http://www.mobilesq.com/shop/index.php?cPath=27_30_54

Here's a quick comparison i found. Of course nothing beats listening to the speakers live, but it's hard finding people with high-end audio. I try to buy things with high resale value in case i find something down the line that i like better.

http://forum.ecoustics.com/bbs/messages/4/217405.html

Good luck.
I'll second that because I built my own Seas home audio setup and it has depth, clarity, and loudness. They will be worth your every cent.
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Old 12-25-2008, 10:17 PM   #18
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Digging up my old thread since Xmas has got me thinking again...

There was some good info, but I still dont have any clear direction for this project. Also I want to keep the stealth look as much as possible.

1. Should I go with 2 way or 3 way? I am thinking 2 is going to be a bit more simplistic while 3 is going to be bit more more work both fabbing and tuning.
2. Focal, Rainbow, Dynaudio, Seas, Hybrid Audio L631-3?
3. Cost - would like to keep it under $700 for the drivers
4. How much depth is there in the factory location?

I am eager to get back into this project and get the car ready for the spring/summer.

Last edited by MassBMW; 12-26-2008 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 12-26-2008, 01:36 PM   #19
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OP Hybrid Audio is the way to go, those Clarus' will be amazing. If really interested in finding out more I would suggest checking out a few testimonials on them over at BFC. I know an authorized dealer who can answer all your questions as well. Just shoot me a PM if interested. I do believe if you go with any of your suggested brands you will be happy, as long as you put some sound deadening in the doors. Install is key and based on the budget I would suggest a 2 way system as it is a lot easier to tune in and will require minor modifications. On the contrary, I am going to be putting the Hybrid Audio Legatia 841-3 setup in my 04 M3 but will require a lot of fab work and si going to be expensive. Thread should be up late jan/early feb if interested. Here is a thread using the same Hybrid Drivers in an E46 http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...ght=E46+hybrid
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Old 12-30-2008, 06:23 PM   #20
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OP Hybrid Audio is the way to go, those Clarus' will be amazing. If really interested in finding out more I would suggest checking out a few testimonials on them over at BFC. I know an authorized dealer who can answer all your questions as well. Just shoot me a PM if interested. I do believe if you go with any of your suggested brands you will be happy, as long as you put some sound deadening in the doors. Install is key and based on the budget I would suggest a 2 way system as it is a lot easier to tune in and will require minor modifications. On the contrary, I am going to be putting the Hybrid Audio Legatia 841-3 setup in my 04 M3 but will require a lot of fab work and si going to be expensive. Thread should be up late jan/early feb if interested. Here is a thread using the same Hybrid Drivers in an E46 http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...ght=E46+hybrid
Great. I am not on a super tight budget, just looking to be happy without spending $1k+ on drivers. I have enough time and tooling to do my own install, so I am not worried about that. As you can see from my original post, I have been putting this project off for sometime. Now I am ready to pull the trigger and finally finish this up. I am shipping the MC440 out this week for testing and looking foward to making it work with it's return. Followed by ordering some drivers and then tuning my Audio Control 4xs.

I'll post some pics of the MC440 before it is pulled out.

Excited E46 fanatic!
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