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Guest Anonymous

02 Audio (speaker placement)... long rant

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Guest Anonymous

About 02 speaker location... (see the post about 11 below).

Obviously, audio is not that important to most 02 owners. A quick analysis of the ratio of audio to any other posts proves this. Not my absolute first priority either, but darned important to me for any car that I drive. Gotta have music...

Anyway, I agree 100% with what Dewar said below. If God wanted you to listen to music coming from speakers in the back of the car, he would have made your ears point backwards. The problem is that speaker locations in the front of the 02 are difficult. Speaker size is kind of like engine displacement: it matters. Also, placement location and mounting conditions matter. You might be able to hang surface mount speakers on the console, under the dash or on the kickpanels, but the ideal location for a decent (at least 6") size mid-base is in the door. But, hacking the door is a hard choice for many 02 owners with pristine doors and door panels.

This is for those who don't care about originality or had the choice made for them. My car has aftermarket (custom) door panels and already had speaker holes cut when I got the car. I won't go into the reasons here, but for decent performance, you need an appropriate size chamber behind your speakers. If you put them in the doors, using a good vibration dampener (e.g., dynamat) is crucial too. I chose to mount a pair of 6" Focal coax speakers in my doors, to replace the disintegrating Alpine units put in by the PO.

However, there is an issue that you have to deal with regardless of where you put your speakers: the high frequency end of the sound spectrum is very directional. In the typical under-dash or lower door (or rear) installation, you will either loose that part of the spectrum and/or the sound stage (where you perceive the music to be originating) will be distorted. In a perfect world, your stereo would be a transparent reproduction of the music recording, WRT to placement of the musicians and origination of the sources of sound. So, you want the sound to seem like it is coming from right in front of you, just as if you were standing in front of the stage when the music was being played.

Solution: put some tweeters up high in the front of the car. I wanted to do this without further modifying any part of the doors, the dash or otherwise, so I got a Boston Acoustics Neo 5T tweeter system. This product is intended as an add-on tweeter system and includes various mounting options and a crossover network. The tweeters are 8 ohm, so this allows you to install them in parallel with your main speakers if you have an aftermarket amp that can handle <4 ohms on the output. See http://www.bostonacoustics.com/SeriesPage.asp?ID=20&SpecID=4 for more info on this product. I just used some velcro to stick the tweeters on the dash (see the pics).

Using a product like this really enhances the high end of the sound spectrum, and lifts the sound stage in the 02, providing an almost surround-sound effect.

Here are some pics. If anyone has any questions about this installation, email me.

speaker_left1.JPG

speaker_right1.JPG

Audiophiles: my apologies for glossing over most of the theory and detail behind this stuff.

Chris B.

'73 ex-Malaga

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Guest Anonymous

I saw a similar set-up at the '02 fest Lime Rock in Sept on a white tii. I think John's speakers were Alpine 1" and mounted on the top shelf of the dash. His comment was that he didn't have to cut the dash and gave great fill to the sound.

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Guest Anonymous

concealed behind the windlacing? Would placement be OK there?

Mike

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Guest Anonymous

no pain to conceal the wiring and mount the tweets on the dash as I did. One downside I see to mounting them higher up (e.g., on the A pillar) is that the left tweeter would be closer to the driver's head. You want the mid-high frequency drivers equidistant from your ears, so that you don't get time delay effects and perceived differences in volume. Dash mounting is hardly perfect, but it seems to me that moving them to the A pillar would also move the left tweeter too close to your head, unless you put it at the very base of the pillar.

Chris B.

'73 ex-Malaga

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Guest Anonymous

spkImaging.gif

I agree completely about mounting speakers in the middle console or under the dash. Doing this completely voids your stereo of any imaging (the ability to hear directionality in your music). In an ideal situation (home audio :P) you want two speakers in about an equilateral triangle with your listening space, at about ear level. Obviously this isn’t possible in a car. Placing the speakers high on the door panels or in the dash creates a path length difference and makes time delay an issue.

The way your brain pins down where something is happening is by measuring the time delay between your ears. Thus, if your left speaker is closer to your ear, you hear that sound a bit sooner and you interpret the sound as coming more from the left. The best way to get around this is to lower the speakers to kick panels. This does place them below ear level, but with proper speaker positioning it doesn’t matter much.

I couldn’t think of a way to make kick panels that would look cool and not get torn to pieces by my stupid friends riding in the passenger seat. I’m sure a good car audio place (read - not best buy, circuit city, or the like) could fashion up something nice. Due mainly to impatience (got speakers for xmas one year), I mounted both the mid and tweeter in my door panels (mid in bottom, tweeter in front of wing window knob). I do find my self leaning my head toward the middle of the car sometimes to compensate, but it really isn’t that big of an issue. The imaging is pretty good and overall dynamic range with .75 inch tweeters, 6.5 mids and 6 by 9s in the rear is pretty impressive, for what it is. Beware that mounting high end speakers in the door panels can be a major PIA. Better speakers have larger magnets and much larger depth. You can only fit so much in the doors without running into window hardware. Also it is best to have some sort of enclosure inside the door to protect the speaker from water and improve sound. Be creative :)

Take home message: If you want good sound, don’t mount your speakers in the console, under the dash or under the seats. The doors seem like an easy way out, but there are some obstacles to overcome if using really nice speakers. Dash mounting is a pretty good way to go but kick panels will provide the best sound, save your door panels, and look really nice if done correctly.

Dewar

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