IT. IS. DONE! Not only is the install done, but the entire interior is back in, AND I detailed the interior as I installed parts. All the glass is Windexed. All the panels wiped down and sprayed with protectant. Seats front and back wiped down with leather cleaner. You get the idea. The interior is minty fresh.
I have zero engine noise or any other noise/whine. I'm SO happy about that. All my OCD about wire routing payed off!
How does it sound? Freaking amazing, even in it's zero-EQ baseline state. It's seriously loud and desperately in need of tuning.
Pic of the amp rack after the interior was put back together. I'm leaving this one full size.
I still need to make the uprights/supports for the trunk floor and put the cover panels on the amps. But yes; the stock trunk floor fits like normal.
Had the amp rack bolted down, wires run, ferrules for speaker wires done in this pic.
Everything fired up on the first try. The PAC-4 turn on module works great and due to the various delays built into the amps, the PAC-4 and the TWK-88 I have zero turn on thumps or other weirdness.
I share my mistakes with you so that you can learn from my mis-steps. What didn't fire up right away was my brain. I was setting amp gains. Used a 40Hz, 0dB tone for the sub. Easy and done. Move to the mids using a 0dB, 1KHz test tone. Easy and done.
Then I moved to the midbass and tweets b/c they are on the same amp. I could barely get any signal on the midbass and tweeter channels. The MID channel was just fine w/that same 1KHz tone and that should've been my smoking gun but I'm kinda dense sometimes. I spent an hour checking connections, looking at the settings in the TWK-88, RTFM, and generally uttering very bad words...in long strings.
Eventually I realized the answer was right in my face. It's kind of impossible to push a 1KHz test tone through when you have crossovers applied above/below that frequency. Discovered the TWK-88 has a setting in the slope/type of xover menu for each channel for "OFF." Wow, imagine that? LOL! I don't call it an hour wasted, I call it "Gaining Experience."
Discovering that crossover was affecting my measurements made me think: Even though the sub and mid worked, the signal was still going through the crossover. I disabled the crossover on those channels too and discovered the amp gains were off for those channels. Lesson learned, big-time. I spent a lot of time dialing in the amp gains to JL's recommended specs. I'm within 2-3/10ths of a volt, all-around. Wasn't easy, but glad I took the time.
With the amp gains set it was time to polarity check. And I'll be damned if my mids and sub were both out of phase. I have no idea how that happened b/c my wiring is correct. But both of the L/R mid channels were flipped, and both the sub channels (mono summed) too. The TWK-88 has a polarity flip switch right next to each crossover, so that was easy enough to fix. I checked each speaker, 1-by-1, multiple times with the polarity checker. All drivers are firing in-phase.
I fired up some tunes and just had a good time assaulting my eardrums for an hour or so. These Morel midranges definitely win the prize for "Littlest, Loudest, Meanest-ass Driver, Ever." You wouldn't think a tiny little mid will rip your head off but these do. The mids are where the EQing will be focused on for sure. The tweets are sort of laid-back, which is nice. I don't like a ton of top-end sizzle, but it's there if I wanted it. The midbasses, I'm very happy with. I like a lot of lower-mid chest punch and these deliver big-time. Of course, they are solidly-mounted to the door, and that makes all the difference.
So, the sub. Mixed bag so far. I have a really wide range of music I listen to. Some of it was recorded in the recent past while some 50+ years ago. There's a big difference in dynamics b/t Metallica's "Atlas Rise" and the Beatles "Here Comes the Sun." I can tell I will need to boost the bass a few db's in the TWK software and use the remote's bass knob function to cut/boost as I need it. Removing the rear speakers absolutely makes a difference on bass-heavy songs, but not really much difference for "non bass songs" if that makes sense. I also listen to a lot of EDM and playing tracks I'm very familiar with, I heard a big difference in how much bass was getting into the cabin.
Final note: I took this pic during the initial music listen. I was grinning ear-to-ear when I snapped this. I think it's kinda cool.
The next few days will be EQ sessions. I'm not really sure where to start, so would appreciate some suggestions. My first thought is to play pink noise with everything set flat to get a baseline of peaks and nulls and tweak from there.
Thanks very much for all your comments and suggestions! Really love this community.
I'm faded 100% to the front. All SYNC functions work. Voice, backup tones, etc. It's all good.
For tuning the equalizer try Justin Zazzi's Spreadsheet (if not already used... find it at caraudiojunkies.com).
With this you can choose from preset house curves or create your own, export them to a REW format and import it into REW.
Then tune each driver to the individual housecurve.
Utilize REW auto eq functionality to get the baseline settings, but be prepared to spend some time in or at the car dialing all the drivers in after creating the baseline. If you have some overall boost, lower the gain in the DSP by the same amount.
Remember... most important is to get each driver pair as close to each other as possible to have a good staging. Tonality comes after that when doing each side drivers together.
Kyle Ragsdales videos on youtube are also really good to show you how to tune (if you have never done it).
Thanks a lot, @Cathul . This will be my first time tuning a car with measuring equipment. I've had many systems over the years but have always tuned them by ear.
Right now everything is flat in the TUN software. Individual channel gains default to -12db and that's where I left them. Didn't touch the EQ.
I've got a solid baseline for the amp gains, so that's a good start. But I listened to a cross-section of everything I usually listen to and the EQ needs serious help. It's a big challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.
To import a house curve from a text file in REW:
Go to the "File" menu
Select "Import Frequency Response"
I have worked on a few house curves of my own. I have found that what sounds good sitting in the garage does not sound as good out on the road. When driving, you need to boost the mid-bass and bass frequencies to hear them over the road and exhaust noise. So on my DSP I have 2 presets I can toggle between. My default has a +9db bass boost and sounds well balanced- perfect for critical listening. My "road" curve has a +12dB bass boost but I am not 100% happy with it. While driving it sounds better than my +9dB curve but my "road" curve needs more work because it sounds too "hot" while driving.
Here are my house curves if you want to play with them. To edit the curves simply open the text file and adjust the dB levels. Then re-import it back into REW.
Thanks a lot, @StangTime . I will definitely need the help since I know very little about REW. I plan to get started today watching some "how to" videos and at least get a pink noise sweep done so have some semblance of an idea of what I'm looking at.
Ironically (and this happens every time I work a major project in the garage) today is literally 20 degrees cooler than it was yesterday. Yesterday was like a sauna (typical) in the garage and now it's positively pleasant. Oh sure, now that all the physical labor is done it's nice in the garage. The cool weather won't last long though; it doesn't actually cool off down here until December.
Been thinking about this for a week now. The TW3 that comes in the StealthBox also works well in a ported box, and the tuning is 15Hz lower to boot. Look at the enclosure external depth. 6.5 inches. That's stupid-skinny. I wouldn't lose much trunk space at all, and I almost never use the pass-through from the trunk to the cabin. This box would be easy to build; the port doesn't even have any turns.
Mounting the box in the car would be a challenge. Might have to put some threaded inserts in the floor. The gas tank is right in that area but I think there's a little space b/t the floor and the tank.
I wouldn't do that... too much risk involved imho. Better fabricate some brackets that attach to the seat bolts or something like this...
I'm in the same boat right now... only have the stock shaker enclosure with a JL 8w3v3 as the stealthbox is stupid expensive over here in Germany (1000,-- €).
Today i got a 10w3v3 in the JL recommended ported enclosure. Will test how it sounds, but have already ordered a blueprint for a trunk specific box from Mark from caraudiofabrication.
This one will fit right behind the seats with no space in between. Will do some brackets when i have the box built and secure it to the bolts that hold the back seats in place.
Yeah, you're right...way too risky drilling into the floor. And WOW, Mark is building your box? He does incredible detail work. I have watched all his videos at least twice and learned a lot from him. Would love to hear your ideas for the mounting brackets.
I know how expensive electronics can be over in Europe. I spent quite a lot of time in Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium a few years ago. Just trying to buy a charger for my laptop made a big hole in my wallet.
I misread your post. Mark is doing the plans for the box, not building it. I'm not thinking straight today. Still recovering from 3 long days in the sweatbox I call a garage.
Just because you're making sound doesn't mean that you're done. Many people forget the details; like ensuring the 1/8" thick cardboard trunk floor doesn't collapse on your shiny equipment.
I do use my trunk regularly, usually for grocery shopping. So cases of bottled water, jugs of laundry detergent, cases of canned goods and other heavy stuff all get thrown in there. And I prefer to actually just throw stuff in there, without having to think about avoiding any weak spots in the floor.
Now that this foam support is removed, I needed to find another way to hold up the trunk floor.
Farewell, factory foam thingamajig.
Though I only designed and built these today, more than a month ago, I laid out the amp rack with the necessary space for something like this. You need to have a plan. Not only so you know what to do, but so that you have time in advance to mull things over and think about the "what if's?"
They're made out of 3/4" MDF, glued and screwed together. They will attach to the amp rack with threaded inserts, so they are removable/replaceable. I will let the glue dry overnight and tomorrow they get a whole bunch of coats of the same white spray paint that's on the amp rack. In my case, with my amp rack, these needed to be 4.25" high to keep the trunk floor flush. Long ones are 12" long, short ones are 6" long.
As a side note for those new to woodworking: These weren't made from a template or CNC machined. I made them all by hand, one by one. The countersunk mounting holes you see in the last pic are not 100% aligned w/each other. I eyeballed them as I drilled them. The holes themselves are straight b/c I used a drill press, but their physical location on the bottom plate are not all in the same place.
What that means is that once installed, they are not interchangeable b/c the mounting holes are all different b/t the braces. Yes, they are close, but they aren't duplicates. This is what you call "One-off fabrication." LOL!
If I was making these in a production environment, I'd at least have a template, or a sketch with the dimensions of where everything goes. In my case I had a scrap of 3/4" MDF and needed to make some braces, so I went for it. Only thing left was a few little sticks of MDF and a bucket of sawdust.
I'll be putting them in the areas outlined in red. Yes; I know I have zero graphic artist skills.
While adding the supports might kill any visual appeal the rack might have, this isn't a show car; it's my daily driver that I actually use like a normal car. So a functional trunk is very important to me; that's why I don't have two 12's in a big ported box. At least the braces are identical pairs and will installed as close to symmetrical as possible. I should get half a cool point for that.
And hindsight kicking in again: These braces ideally should've been installed as part of the original installation. They should've been on the amp rack already before I bolted a single component down. The amount of planning you truly need to do in order to "catch everything" in advance is mind-boggling. Hope all this rambling helps someone down the line. Back in the 1980's, in the day of Benzi Boxes and Jensen Triaxial 6x9s, there was zero planning of anything. You made holes and hoped stuff fit where the holes are. ;)
Yeah, I will be adding PVC versions of what you did to my amp rack, material is already on the way. My rack is carpetted to match the rest of the trunk so I thought the black PVC would work fine. Besides the occasional groceries, I need to keep the golf clubs from crushing the equipment. I had my empty sub enclosure in the trunk and the foam holder out of the wheel well as I was fitting the amp rack and then drove around a bit like that. Now my wheel well cover is all caved in from the sub enclosure moving right over the wheel well