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Discussion Starter #161
Yeah helix/brax products are the best DSP right now. I have the PSIX dsp mk2 in my build, and love it. You definitely want to upgrade the speakers to take advantage of the processing power. I use hybrid Audio Unity U69 6x9 woofers in the doors. Which they are 2 ohm drivers, I have 230w going to each driver. Let me know when your ready to pickup the dsp.3
Actually, I already bought the Helix DSP.3. Looking forward to getting it installed in-car relatively soon. I like messing with stuff like this "on the bench" for a while to get familiar with it before actually installing it in-car - just makes learning the ins-and-outs of these products a lot easier than trying to learn them while sitting in a car. :)

I actually bought the Helix DSP.3 from an out-of-country reseller, just because it was significantly cheaper to do it that way (and at the time, I wasn't sure where to buy in the US). I mean I only paid $535 + $32 "tax" from this reseller (free shipping) and it arrived in about 8 days or so from Poland. My understanding is that I would have paid at least $700 from a US reseller, so that is a significant-enough savings (~$135) to warrant the small "risk" of buying from an out-of-country reseller (risk related to shipping back if it arrived DOA or requires warranty service within the warranty period). I really dislike the fact that Helix products are not sold online and that there is no MSRP listed anywhere for their products. Just makes it easy for resellers to overcharge for products, since there is no easy way to know what an item should actually cost. It seems that this is just the way things are done with these higher-end car audio products - and it's unfortunate IMO. I just want to be able to go online, do some comparison shopping and click a few buttons to buy the damn thing. In this day and age, this "brick and mortar only" sales model is just outdated. For us DIY'ers, it really sucks. I don't want or need a brick-and-mortar store to be the "middle man". I don't want or need any installation-related or consultation-related services, so to me, there is really no value added by this sales method - it just increases cost and makes it harder for me to buy their products. :)

I'm still not fully on-board with these crazy-expensive car speakers. $400+ for a pair of 6x9 midbass speaker just seems a little much (and that is for the 'low cost" higher end speakers!). To me, with these advanced DSP systems, you can really fine tune the speaker output so much that I'm not yet convinced that such crazy-expensive speakers are really needed. Not to mention that most of the more expensive speakers require custom installations - not simple "drop-in" speaker replacements. I really don't want to have to modify my a-pillars to mount 4" mid speakers and tweeters right in the A-pillar, directly facing the driver - it really looks horrible to boot (IMO). I'm just not that far down the car-audio rabbit hole yet. :)

Like I said, I have really been impressed with these Kenwood Excelon speakers (first experience with Kenwood speakers).
 

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The only potential concern I would have is that I'm not sure how well the Kenwood dash and Infinity door speakers would match up. The infinity speakers are lower ohms and have a higher sensitivity, so the dash speakers may not match up volume-wise with Infinity door speakers. Personally, I like to keep these types of speakers (inexpensive, mass-produced speakers) in "sets" from the same manufacturer/same product line.

I have no idea why Kenwood lists the 800hz lower frequency for the frequency response. I'm running the component set in an active setup (not using the supplied passive crossovers - using active crossovers on a DSP instead) and I'm crossing them over at 500hz and the perform fine with that crossover frequency (actually better than the default 850hz crossover due to a huge dip in the 6x9 door speakers at about 700hz (probably car-induced). I could even cross them over at 400hz just fine too. I've never seen a 3.5" coaxial speakers that couldn't go below 800hz. However, I'm running them with a much steeper crossover slope (24dB slope) - I'm assuming the included passive crossover with the component set is using a 6dB or maybe 12dB slope, which may be why they are crossing them so high - really not sure.

But the Kenwood 3.5" dash speakers definitely play fine below 800hz - no frequency response issues below 800hz (I've measure them with a calibration mic many times). :)

Something else to consider... The dash speakers are wired in reverse polarity from the factory - you may get a fuller sound from them if you wire them in normal polarity. I never tried it with the stock amp (but I do run the Kenwoods in "normal" polarity with my DSP and aftermarket amp - it makes a noticeable difference). Reverse polarity reduces bass response.
Thanks J Great info - finally ready to do the install with the DSR1 and JL Audio amp -wish I knew about Kenwood Excelon speakers sooner. But don't want to redo door install- rear deck install again. Everything went perfect first time, don't want to push my luck. A quick question on the ohm resistors needed for the DSR1/Amp install. What's the best way to install these and where do they need to go on the T-harness or speakers. Thanks again for your knowledge and help.
 

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Discussion Starter #163
Thanks J Great info - finally ready to do the install with the DSR1 and JL Audio amp -wish I knew about Kenwood Excelon speakers sooner. But don't want to redo door install- rear deck install again. Everything went perfect first time, don't want to push my luck. A quick question on the ohm resistors needed for the DSR1/Amp install. What's the best way to install these and where do they need to go on the T-harness or speakers. Thanks again for your knowledge and help.
The resistors actually come with the DSR-1 harness. They are tiny little things with colored ends. THe colored ends basically draw your attention to where they get installed - just match the colors - they can only go in one place. Did you see the resistors in the DSR-1 packaging?
 

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Actually, I already bought the Helix DSP.3. Looking forward to getting it installed in-car relatively soon. I like messing with stuff like this "on the bench" for a while to get familiar with it before actually installing it in-car - just makes learning the ins-and-outs of these products a lot easier than trying to learn them while sitting in a car. :)

I actually bought the Helix DSP.3 from an out-of-country reseller, just because it was significantly cheaper to do it that way (and at the time, I wasn't sure where to buy in the US). I mean I only paid $535 + $32 "tax" from this reseller (free shipping) and it arrived in about 8 days or so from Poland. My understanding is that I would have paid at least $700 from a US reseller, so that is a significant-enough savings (~$135) to warrant the small "risk" of buying from an out-of-country reseller (risk related to shipping back if it arrived DOA or requires warranty service within the warranty period). I really dislike the fact that Helix products are not sold online and that there is no MSRP listed anywhere for their products. Just makes it easy for resellers to overcharge for products, since there is no easy way to know what an item should actually cost. It seems that this is just the way things are done with these higher-end car audio products - and it's unfortunate IMO. I just want to be able to go online, do some comparison shopping and click a few buttons to buy the damn thing. In this day and age, this "brick and mortar only" sales model is just outdated. For us DIY'ers, it really sucks. I don't want or need a brick-and-mortar store to be the "middle man". I don't want or need any installation-related or consultation-related services, so to me, there is really no value added by this sales method - it just increases cost and makes it harder for me to buy their products. :)

I'm still not fully on-board with these crazy-expensive car speakers. $400+ for a pair of 6x9 midbass speaker just seems a little much (and that is for the 'low cost" higher end speakers!). To me, with these advanced DSP systems, you can really fine tune the speaker output so much that I'm not yet convinced that such crazy-expensive speakers are really needed. Not to mention that most of the more expensive speakers require custom installations - not simple "drop-in" speaker replacements. I really don't want to have to modify my a-pillars to mount 4" mid speakers and tweeters right in the A-pillar, directly facing the driver - it really looks horrible to boot (IMO). I'm just not that far down the car-audio rabbit hole yet. :)

Like I said, I have really been impressed with these Kenwood Excelon speakers (first experience with Kenwood speakers).
Okay cool, if you have any questions or issues let me know. I’ve installed quite a few of these types
Of dsp. I mostly only install fully active system most of the times. Just upgraded a Porsche that had a hertz H8 processor ( entry level dsp) with the helix dsp Pro mk2 (10ch output). Added the director touch screen controller in the lower dash. What a night and day difference the dsp Pro makes over the competition. The guy loved the system setup.

980199


Yeah the minimal advertise price for the dsp.3 from dealers is $700. Helix used to sell online at crutchfield a few years ago. When they changed USA distributor crutchfield stop carrying the products. Now only available Brick/mortar and specialized custom shops. Only way to get online is on eBay through outside the country. But I heard if there is a warranty issue, then you would have to send back overseas vs going to a local dealer in the USA. If you walked in a shop that sells this brand I’m sure they would sell it for less, but they are not allowed to advertise a lower cost. Regardless if this brand was online, it’s still going to sell for the map price $700. People that would advertise price lower then the MAP will void dealer agreement. Also this is a higher end brand that your average consumer never even heard of in most cases. It’s an exotic car brand in the car audio world. This brand is not for everyone, sure is not a budget minded brand. Designed for competition level discerning customers. The DIY guys out there that compete in SQ competitions make some kind of connection with local shops to purchase their highend gear from, so they can do their own installs.

As for speakers, you don’t want cheap but you don’t need the most expensive (focal utopia) but $400 is actually not that bad for a pair of midbass drivers. As focal Kevlar, utopia midbass drivers can cost $800-1500 a set. My hybrid audio 6x9 pair are $340 and work really well. I say put most of the money into the midrange driver/tweeter then midbass and last Subwoofer. My Wideband midrange driver pair are audible physics NZ3 3.5” drivers($650). So no tweeters for me as these handle 349hz - 24k. So $1k in speakers for my front stage. I have everything installed in factory locations. That’s where buying the right speakers and tuning matters more then brand names. I don’t feel I need to install on pillars. But I could if I was competing in competition and still make them look good and stock like since that’s my specialty ( Fabrication)

980202


980203
 

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Discussion Starter #165
I was kind of curious about the "wideband" drivers. So with that speakers that you have in the dash, you get highs that are on-par with having actual tweeters? Just seems "strange" to me that a 3.5" or 4' driver will handle the highs as well as an actual tweeter. I was assuming that if you used a driver like that, you would also need a dedicated tweeter. Sounds like that is not the case though?

I'm new to this higher-end stuff - even the Kenwood Excelon speakers are an upgrade for me. :) I've used these Excelon speakers and older Pioneer D-series speakers - those two are the most "expensive" speakers I've ever purchased. :)

I just don't know what's actually 'high end' (and really worth it) vs what is actually just "expensive" without really being any/that much better than the higher-end Pioneer or Kenwood Excelon lines. :) I'll probably eventually get to the point when I splurge on more expensive, higher-end speakers, but I'm just not there yet. Like I mentioned, Audio Frog speakers seem to be all the rage nowadays.

The Helix was a huge step up for me - I've never owned anything that "high end" before. The DSR-1 DSP gave me a taste of a decent DSP though (31-bands of parametric EQ per channel, full control of every channel, etc). It made me want even more though, which is why I went for a Helix.

That Helix director install looks freaking awesome! VERY nice. I think I'm going to stick with the Helix wifi adapter and use my phone and skip the director, but those directors do look really nice - especially when installed like you have done!

Just curious - what area of the country are you in?
 

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I was kind of curious about the "wideband" drivers. So with that speakers that you have in the dash, you get highs that are on-par with having actual tweeters? Just seems "strange" to me that a 3.5" or 4' driver will handle the highs as well as an actual tweeter. I was assuming that if you used a driver like that, you would also need a dedicated tweeter. Sounds like that is not the case though?

I'm new to this higher-end stuff - even the Kenwood Excelon speakers are an upgrade for me. :) I've used these Excelon speakers and older Pioneer D-series speakers - those two are the most "expensive" speakers I've ever purchased. :)

I just don't know what's actually 'high end' (and really worth it) vs what is actually just "expensive" without really being any/that much better than the higher-end Pioneer or Kenwood Excelon lines. :) I'll probably eventually get to the point when I splurge on more expensive, higher-end speakers, but I'm just not there yet. Like I mentioned, Audio Frog speakers seem to be all the rage nowadays.

The Helix was a huge step up for me - I've never owned anything that "high end" before. The DSR-1 DSP gave me a taste of a decent DSP though (31-bands of parametric EQ per channel, full control of every channel, etc). It made me want even more though, which is why I went for a Helix.

That Helix director install looks freaking awesome! VERY nice. I think I'm going to stick with the Helix wifi adapter and use my phone and skip the director, but those directors do look really nice - especially when installed like you have done!

Just curious - what area of the country are you in?
Just depends on the speaker design, a standard Coaxial 4” would not sound as good. I think car like ours it better to use a wide band driver in the dash vs using a 1” tweeter on the dash due to the glass windshield. In the case of the Wideband driver, it works better reflecting off the glass. Any unwanted issues can be tuned out. Tweeter is more difficult to do up in the dash. Tweeter would be best a custom pod on the door and midrange in pillar for ultimate sound. But that requires fabrication not so oem look anymore.

Yeah I don’t miss having a tweeter what so ever. People think I have a tweeter. Only have 4 speakers up front, no rear fill speakers and two 10” subs in the trunk. The hybrid audio demo cars have gone tweeter less and have won world championships. I used to use the hybrid audio L3SE in the dash and then upgraded to these. These just handle more power well and sound dynamic compared to the hybrid L3SE.

I’ve installed audiofrog speakers in a newer Tesla model S . I did 3 way in the front AF GB10 tweeters , Gb25 midrange , GB60 midbass and a AF GB10 for the sub. Sounded nice after tuning, but my system sounds better and have less speakers in the front.
Yeah I would say a $1k component set with great experienced tuner can get to the level of a component set that cost 3-time that cost. That’s competition level sound. A great sounding daily driver can be done for around $500-$600 set of components. More expensive a speaker is mostly comes down to material used, components and machining design. Some companies use build houses and they go in and pick out parts and that’s their product they put together. Slap their name on it and call it a day. Some manufacturers build everything in house from design to manufacturing which is going to cost more. Also have a better warranty as they have a better quality of control. So sometimes you get what you pay for. I’ve always look for a balance, I don’t go for the most expensive, I focus on what products that are proven is sq competitions and that-are reliable. I can do installs and then a year later Speakers or other equipment starts to have issues. I lose money and time.

I’ve been involved in highend Audio and fabrication the past 10 years. Moving slowly away and doing more custom interior design and fabrication. More on classic vehicles to modernize them. (Electronics and Upholstry) I’m on east coast DMV area.
 

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The resistors actually come with the DSR-1 harness. They are tiny little things with colored ends. THe colored ends basically draw your attention to where they get installed - just match the colors - they can only go in one place. Did you see the resistors in the DSR-1 packaging?
Yes and understand now
 

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Discussion Starter #168
Yes and understand now
@KLY3606 - I also just wanted to mention. Don't be surprised when you get the DSR-1 and JL Audio amp installed and the system actually sounds worse than the stock Alpine amplified 6-speaker system... Keep in mind that the Alpine amp has DSP applied at the factory - so it comes already "tuned" for the car interior (and the stock speakers it came with). In it's completely stock, un-tuned state, the new JLAudio/DSR-1 system will not even sound as good as the factory setup. At that point, you have a few options to get you going. You can just enable the DSR-1 7-band "global" EQ and adust the 7-band EQ to get the system sounding better until you dig in deeper. Or you can enable the headunit "bass/mid/treble" adjustments and EQ things via those controls until you dig-in deeper.

I've found that car audio tuning is very involved - and take a lot of time and effort to understand it all and be able to tune it correctly. Don't get discouraged though when you first turn everything on and it doesn't sound so good. :)

If you want, I can share my DSR-1 tune file too - depending on your hearing and preferences, that may get you a lot closer to sounding good than the basic 7-band EQ or bass/mid/treble controls will. Then you can customize from there - or just leave it be if it sounds good to you. Let me know if interested in my DSR-1 tune file.

Looking forward to hearing your progress!
 

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@KLY3606 - I also just wanted to mention. Don't be surprised when you get the DSR-1 and JL Audio amp installed and the system actually sounds worse than the stock Alpine amplified 6-speaker system... Keep in mind that the Alpine amp has DSP applied at the factory - so it comes already "tuned" for the car interior (and the stock speakers it came with). In it's completely stock, un-tuned state, the new JLAudio/DSR-1 system will not even sound as good as the factory setup. At that point, you have a few options to get you going. You can just enable the DSR-1 7-band "global" EQ and adust the 7-band EQ to get the system sounding better until you dig in deeper. Or you can enable the headunit "bass/mid/treble" adjustments and EQ things via those controls until you dig-in deeper.

I've found that car audio tuning is very involved - and take a lot of time and effort to understand it all and be able to tune it correctly. Don't get discouraged though when you first turn everything on and it doesn't sound so good. :)

If you want, I can share my DSR-1 tune file too - depending on your hearing and preferences, that may get you a lot closer to sounding good than the basic 7-band EQ or bass/mid/treble controls will. Then you can customize from there - or just leave it be if it sounds good to you. Let me know if interested in my DSR-1 tune file.

Looking forward to hearing your progress!
Thanks J Appreciate all the help and would love the tune file. I will let you know how everything turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter #170 (Edited)
Haven't updated this thread in a while....

So I upgraded from the Rockford Fosgate DSR-1 to a PAC AmpPro4/Helix DSP.3 combo (need two separate deivces to do what the DSR-1 did). The Helix DSP.3 is one awesome DSP.... The AmpPro/Helix combination also allowed me to run digital between the head-unit and DSP, which is nice (one thin TOSLink cable instead of 6 thick RCA cables - and 100% noise-free!!). I installled everything on a new carpeted amp board:



However, up until this point, I've never really found a good way to 'secure' the amp board... It was just kind of sitting there, which isn't good (I had rigged it up to stay put, but it wasn't right at all).

So I finally decided to secure it properly - but I didn't want to drill into the car sheet metal at all. Hmmm - how to do this??

Then I thought of a solution! I was going to use a spare-tire hold-down bolt to secure the amp board! Basically, it would come up through the amp board and then I would secure it with a nut via a counter-sunk hole in the amp board. Sounded good in theory - and it actually worked perfectly!! :) Here are a few pics:

Here is what the spare-tire hold-down bolt looks like:


The head of the hold-down bolt goes into a hole underneath the styrofoam "organizer" (which I put a hole in for the bolt to come up through it):


Here is what it looks like when actually "installed":


So then I had to drill a counter-sunk hole into the top of the amp board at the exact point where the hold-down bolt would come up at and then "lower" the amp board over the bolt and secure it with a nut. I had to cut the hold-down bolt to size so that it wasn't too long.

I cut a "+" cut into the amp board carpeting to drill the hole. Then I lowered the amp board into the styrofoam "organizer" and installed the nut and tightened. Here are a couple pics - the nut ended up completely hidden when done (I folded the carpet flaps back down where I cut the + sign and then put tessa tape over the cuts):




Reinstalled the amp (had to remove the amp from the board since the hold-down bolt came up right between the DSP and amp) and then was all done - amp board is now VERY secure and isn't going anywhere - and I didn't have to drill into the car sheet metal at all:


And it's all completely hidden when the "trap door" is closed:


Can't believe it actually worked out so well. :)
 

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Why did you make the switch from the Rockford to the Pac?
I wanted the Rockford but the installer had issues so I ended up with the Pac. I was thinking of going to a actual Rockford installer to finally get the DSR1 installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #172
Why did you make the switch from the Rockford to the Pac?
I wanted the Rockford but the installer had issues so I ended up with the Pac. I was thinking of going to a actual Rockford installer to finally get the DSR1 installed.
Well, different things really. The DSR-1 is an OEM-integration and DSP in one single unit. However, while the DSR-1 is a great product for what it is, I decided that I wanted to go a little "higher end" in terms of a DSP. At that point, I needed a different "OEM integration" device as well, which is the PAC. The PAC/DSP.3 combo is much higher quality than the DSR-1 device. Much better DSP (the Helix) and the AmpPro4 also allows for a digital output (TOSLink).

It's just a step up in terms of quality (including sound quality). Also a BIG step up in price though. The Helix DSP.3 alone retals for $700, plus the AmpPro4 (~$250) and the TOSLink add-on for the AmpPro4 (~$40). So you're looking at ~$1000 for the AmpPro/Helix combo vs. ~$250 for the DSR-1....

But there is a quality difference (sound quality and build quality) - plus, like I said, the ability to use a digital TOSLink connection between the AmpPro and the Helix.

But without the Helix DSP in the picture, I'd defintiely prefer a DSR-1 over a PAC AmpPro4 - just becuase the DSR-1 has a fully-featured DSP in it, which can make a dramatic difference (takes time to learn how to tune it though). You're talking ~248 bands of EQ for the DSR-1 vs 3 bands for the AmpPro, plus lots of other stuff (active crossovers, time alignment, individual speaker levels, etc, etc, etc).
 

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Good choice in the upgrade with the helix. I love my Helix PSIX mkll with the Director. Since I will be upgrading to a newer hellcat WB redeye later this year, I will pull all my equipment from my RT. I will just have to get the PAC Amp Pro 4. I will be good to go. Also will do a new Amprack and subwoofer enclosure build design. Can’t wait, the power of the car will match my audio system.
 
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