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Old 12-27-2011, 06:21 AM   #1  
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Need some help getting my coax's to have better sound

I have my work/winter van, its a 1990 Chevy Astro with 220K on it (MILES NOT KM!) and it still starts and runs like a champ, even at 20 below, I love this van! When I bought it, it didn't have a radio though, which is a major problem for me, I need my music when I'm driving around or I go insane. Now, money for "luxuries" has been tight this year, so this all had to be done on a very tight budget, but it had to be done one way or another!

Phase 1 was the head unit (obviously!) and I figured I could afford to replace the 4 factory speakers with some low-priced coaxs, because just about ANYTHING is a major improvement from factory stock speakers, especially 20+ YEAR OLD ones! So, I found a Kenwood CD deck with the Aux in jack I required on sale at Best Buy for $49. Then, I was at Walmart picking up the dash kit and harness (because they were cheaper there than at B Buy) and I saw the Scosche HD speakers. I checked them out and they looked pretty darn good, especially considering the low price. I had looked pretty thouroughly at the low and low to mid priced coaxs at Best Buy and 2 other stores before Walmart and anything that was in my price range just looked like junk, or if it looked decent it was more than I wanted to spend. I was thinking I'd have to maybe try to order something online. Then I looked at the Scosche HD's and they looked well-built and substantial, nice big magnets, etc. so I figured what the heck, I'll buy 2 pair and if I don't like them, its Walmart so I can just return them.

I got the HU hooked up no problem and got the speakers hooked up fairly easily, but I'm not too impressed with the sound I'm getting so far, specifically in the midbass. The higer sounds actually sound pretty good, but it seems like the lower the hz go, the worse it gets. (now, I'm actually now excusing them from lower bass duites, which I will get to in a bit!) Part of what I'm wondering is if it was just how they were installed in the dash and the rear doors. For the dash mountings, they just sit on sort of like little pegs above a little platform area, its not like there's really any sort of enclosure for either speaker to fire into at all. For the rears, there's a rather flimsy door panel that sorts of completes what I guess you could say forms a makeshift enclosure for each speaker.

I'm just wondering, are there any other remedies anyone can think of to improve performance here? What about something I've seen mentioned on other threads here, stuffing insulation or other material in the space under the speakers, like the dash speakers?

Of course, I know there is the other route that I'm sure someone will mention, hooking up an external amp to power the speakers. There are a few roadblocks there for me though. First of course, is the money issue. Second, and compounding the money issue is the fact that I just went out yesterday and bought a sub box for the van. Now, I had been looking for a sub box a little, that was my phase 2 plan and this one ended up being the a deal I couldn't pass up, a landlord was selling a former tenant's old box that was abandoned, with the amp screwed to the box. The landlord was an older guy who told me right away that he "didn't know much about this stereo stuff". Apparantly he didn't because he was asking $30 for a box with 2 Kicker CVR 15's and a halfway decent off brand amp on top of the box. So now, I have this thing taking up the only preouts from the HU, too. I'm sure there's a way around that, too, but just more work!

So, what might you do to improve the SQ of the 4 coaxs running off the HU, WITHOUT just saying, "add an external amp" or "get better speakers" or whatever. I want to keep them in the same spots, where they are totally concealed, that's another thing I can't risk is a break in!
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:53 PM   #2  
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I got improved SQ and much cleaner sounding bass from my components doing some basic sound deadening with cheap roofing material on the doors + thick flooring sound absorbing foam behind the speaker i picked up at home hardware, aside from that obviously amp'ing them will make the biggest difference. i saw a 2chan x 65w @ 4ohm Ultimate amp now being sold at FutureShop for $150 (same amp i use for mine but 4chan) and love it so something like that might be something to consider saving up for, power kit would probably be another $50 but it's not bad if you make a project out of it yourself instead of paying a shop to install. Another thing of course is if your deck supports it try crossing your speakers over higher, possibly around 120hz.

hope i could help!
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:52 AM   #3  
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Yep. If it's the lower regions that sound bad, spend a little time isolating the front of the speaker from the back of the speaker. For the fronts you can try foam baffles available at most install shops for ~$20. For the rear, try to add some self adhesive damping material to both seal the speaker front-to-back and also add some mass to the panel they are mounted too.

Also, try fading completely to the front and then balance left to right. Then fade completely to the back and balance left to right. If there is more bass as you balance away from center and less bass when centered, you likely have a speaker out of polarity.
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:20 PM   #4  
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Thanks for the advice from both of you, it makes sense. The fader/balance idea is a great one, too because 1, 2 or even all 4 of them could easily be switched +/- because I used the factory wiring which after passing through the harnesses and aftermarket harness, etc. left me with no clue as to which was which, so they could easily all be reversed!

As far as adding an external amp, one thing which I didn't think of till now was that these days it seems like a lot of amps come with both line level and speaker level inputs. A lot of my car audio experience goes back to my high school days in the early 90's when I used to fool around around with car audio a lot and when only the cheapo crappy amps came with speaker level inputs, anything even halfway decent only allowed rca's. I guess that has changed! Anyway, that was the main thing holding me back from adding another amp because my head unit only has 1 set of pre outs, which go to the subs, so I was thinking I'd either need a line output converter or a new deck with more pre outs, which on my currently tight budget won't work. Now though, I realize I can just add an amp with speaker level inputs and tie into the deck I have. I just sent an email to a guy on craigslist selling a 2 channel (40w/ch) Pioneer amp that looks in great shape for $20, now that would fit in my budget! Then, the only other thing I'd need to buy would be some power wire, which wouldn't need to be too heavy for an 80 watt amp, since I have a bunch of extra speaker wire and other thin wire for the turn-on wire laying around the house. I'd use the amp to power the front dash speakers and then just the rears would be running off of the deck.

Here's one question for anyone-if I only have my 2 rear speakers running off of my head unit, do they then get more power sent to them than if I had 2 pairs of 2 speakers hooked up to the deck? You know, sort of like is there a way to bridge the head unit amp? Just wondering!
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:12 PM   #5  
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You won't get more power to two speakers by not having four hooked up.
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