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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm about to embark on a sound quality replacement of the Harmon Kardon audio system in a 2015 SRT. I've done many upgrades to SRT (if interested check out the build thread) and now it is time to replace the audio system. I'm no audio expert nor am I an audio installer but I like the challenge of performing upgrades so I will be doing the install. Please feel free to comment, especially expert advice.

I did a lot of reading up on the OEM head unit and decided that I will not change it out since it is so integrated into the data bus of the car. In a previous vehicle that had the OEM Alpine setup, I used the Audio Control DQ-61 to retain the OEM head Unit and flatten the speaker level signal so an amp could be added. The Focal PC 130F speakers and a Kicker sub powered by a JL Audio amp was used and the sound was pretty good but did not reach the clean, high quality sound I had hoped for, most likely due to the DQ-61 having to flatten and clean a amped and highly processed signal.

For the SRT I decided I wanted to install an interface that would grab the signal coming from the head unit before it reached the OEM amp. This should give a clean, pre-amp signal instead of an amped and processed signal that would need to be flattened and cleaned. I decided to use the PAC AmpPRO AP4-CH41 interface to do just that. The AP4 plugs into the data bus between the head unit and the OEM amp, routing a clean signal to the interface and allowing you to use RCA cables or, with an optional TOSlink adapter, use an optical digital cable to plug into the downstream components. The AP4 also retains the navigational prompts from the GPS, fade, balance, and the OEM system's eq. To me, although the more expensive route, this seems to be the route to starting with a clean signal to send to the downstream components of the system.

After having selected the data bus interface, it was time to decide upon the rest of the downstream components. Ever since I heard the Focal speakers with the flax cone, I fell in love with the way they reproduce music. After having talked to a few audio guys and the Crutchfield advisors, I decided to go with 100% Focal downstream components. I will be using the Focal DSP connected to the AP4 using the optical digital cable instead of RCA cables, 2 Focal amps, and Focal flax cone speakers and subs. All components have been ordered and should be here next week.

Here's a list of the components:
- PAC AmpPRO AP4-CH41 Amplifier Replacement Interface
- APA-TOS1 TOSLINK Adapter
- Focal FSP-8 Digital Signal Processor
- Focal FPX 4.400 SQ 4-Channel Amp
- Focal FPX 1.1000 Sub Amp
- Focal Performance PS 130F Component Speakers
- 2 Focal Performance Sub P 25F 10" Subwoofers
- All of the power cables, connection cables, and speaker wire needed
 
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Going with the PS 130F seems an interesting choice to me as the mid bass is only 5 1/4". The PS 165FX is the 6.5" version and will deliver much better midbass performance in the 60-125hz range. Given that these will be replacing the 6x9's in the door you have plenty of room to mount them. With high quality components like this remember install is crucial to performance. Sound deaden the doors, speaker ring adapters made from 1/4" ABS plastic not those flimsy ones crutchfiled sells. Also a little bit more information about total system design here. Front stage only ran active? No rear fill? Thats my personal taste and how my car is setup although I am running 3-way active in front. As far as everyhing else is concerned i think you have it nailed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Going with the PS 130F seems an interesting choice to me as the mid bass is only 5 1/4". The PS 165FX is the 6.5" version and will deliver much better midbass performance in the 60-125hz range. Given that these will be replacing the 6x9's in the door you have plenty of room to mount them. With high quality components like this remember install is crucial to performance. Sound deaden the doors, speaker ring adapters made from 1/4" ABS plastic not those flimsy ones crutchfiled sells. Also a little bit more information about total system design here. Front stage only ran active? No rear fill? Thats my personal taste and how my car is setup although I am running 3-way active in front. As far as everyhing else is concerned i think you have it nailed.
I wanted to go with the PS 165 F3 three way but Crutchfield said they wouldn't fit. I searched to see if anyone had used the Focal 6.5" in the doors but couldn't find any info. Do you have to do any modification to make them fit? I went ahead and bit the bullet and ordered the PS 165 F3 for the front doors and another FPX 4.400 SQ 4-Channel amp. With the second 4.400 amp, I can run 3-way active in the front and use the PS 130F's as passive in the rear or I can just return the PS 130F's to Crutchfield.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I thought about reusing the subwoofer box that's in the car for the new subs until I took it out of the car and took a good look at it. With some trimming I could have gotten the new subs to fit in the box but I think they would most likely blow the box apart so I ordered a properly sized sub box. At some point in the future, I want to do a rear seat delete and when I do, I want to build a custom amp rack with in that area. But for now, I'm going to install the amps in the truck where the OEM subs were. I'm going to use half of the OEM sub box for this purpose.

Here's what I did. I cut the OEM sub box along the horizontal seam and separated the two halves (1st pic). I placed the bottom half on top of a 1/2" MDF board and traced the outline, then rough cut it out with a jig saw. Next I placed some double sided sticky tape around the perimeter of the line I traced earlier and used it to hold the bottom half of the sub box to the MDF board (the bottom half of the sub box is used as a template to get a perfectly cut outline of it's shape). I used a router mounted to a router table and a flush cut bit with a bearing on top to do the finish cut of the MDF board. After the board was cut I used a 1/2" round over bit to round the top edge of the board (2nd pic).

Next, I mixed up some epoxy and added some black dye and painted it onto the top of the board (3rd pic). Once the epoxy tacked up enough so that when it was touched it felt sticky but didn't leave anything on your finger, I placed some carbon fiber on top. Right now the board has one layer of top caot epoxy. It needs to be sanded and a couple of more coats added (4th pic).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here's a couple of pics of the layout of the amps, DSP, positive distribution block, and negative distribution block.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here's a couple of pics of the Harmon Kardon 10" subwoofer next to the Focal P 25F 10" subwoofer.
 

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No major modification to make the 6.5 fit in the door, just a 6x9 to 6.5" adapter, you can make one or buy one, if you buy one make sure you get a good quality one. The cheap flimsy ones will just flex too much and hurt output at lower frequencies. I run Hertz Mille Legend 3 ways in my car. I have the 6.5" midbass in the doors, the 3" is mounted in the factory location in the dash. and the tweets are mounted in the A-pillars. I have the same pac audio piece with the optical out running to a Audison Bit One HD DSP. Using the audison AD link for full digital output i have the Voce AV 5.1k and AV Due amps with Bit In HD modules. For subwoofers i am using 2 12" Hertz Hi-Energy 12" subs. Everything is active and its pure sound bliss. That focal setup should be rockin as well. The Flax speakers are great.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Installation started with disassembling the and removing the center console, door sill panels, dash side panels, A pillars, door panels, and the instrument panel cover. Next was to remove the radio and unplug the wiring harness. The PAC AP4 interface harness was plugged in between the OEM wiring harness and the radio and then plugged into the AP4. I used 3M double sided sticky tape to mount the AP4 unit. The digital optical cable and the remote turn on cables were run from the AP4 unit to the truck. (See photos 1 & 2).

I ran 14 gauge speaker wire from the truck down the driver's side up to the kick panel and up under the dash. For the passenger side, the speaker wires continued across the dash. I did run into an issue. You can't run a wire through the rubber boot that's between the fender and the door. There is a solid plastic wire harness mount that the rubber boot attaches to on the fender side. The rubber boot was removed and the plastic mount was popped out. I drilled a hole large enough for the speaker wire to run through. After that I tried running the speaker wire to the plastic mount but could not see under the dash so I removed the glove box. That's when I came up against another issue. There is a module mounted on the kick panel blocking the entrance to the pass through hole for the wires going to the door (circled area in the photo). I unbolted the module and moved it aside and was able to run the speaker wire through the pass through into the door. The drivers side wasn't nearly as bad but the rubber boot and the plastic mount had to be removed and drilled to run the speaker wire through the door pass through (See photos 3&4).

Next, the front speakers were installed with the exception of the tweeters. I'm going to wait until everything is hooked up and running before deciding where to install the tweeters. I want to hear them in different locations before making the final decision.

The 6.5 inch speakers were installed in the doors using a 6x9 to 6.5 1/4 inch thick adapters. I made the adapters by gluing two Crutchfield adapters together. I also installed Fast Rings. They are 2 foam rings and a foam circle. The two rings install in the front and rear of the speaker and the circle installs on the inside of the door behind the speaker. The rings direct the sound wave and the circle prevents the sound wave from bouncing around the inside of the door. Sorry, I didn't get pictures of the 6.5" speaker install.

For the 3" speakers, I made mounting adapters out of 1/4" MDF and painted them black. They were installed in the factory location (See photo 5).
 

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With the front completed, I started working on installing the amps and DSP. The amps and DSP were bolted to the mount I had previously made and were wired up. For the positive side I used 0 gauge cable running from the battery to the fuse block. The fuse block has a 250 fuse installed.

The fused distribution block has 2 inputs and 4 outputs. The configuration is 1 input into 2 outputs per side. I ran 2 short equal lengths of 4 gauge cable from the fuse block output, one length going to each side of the distribution block inputs. I ran 8 gauge cable from the distribution block to each of the 4 channel amps (manufactures recommended cable size for up to 2 meters) and 4 gauge cable to the sub amp. The distribution block is fused as follows; 60 amp fuse for each 4 channel amp and a 100 amp fuse for the sub amp. The ground cables for the amps are the same. 8 gauge for the 4 channel amps and 4 gauge for the sub amp, all running into a 1 to 4 unfused distribution block with 0 gauge cable running from the distribution block to the chassis ground.

RCA cables were run from the DSP to the amps.

All that's left is to hook up the speaker wires to the amps, mount the tweeters and tune the system.
 

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Looking great so far. On the 3" I find I get some reflections that a bit hard to EQ out from the glass. I have a simple adapter as you do for them. I think my solution is going to be to angle cut the adapter to try and point the speakers a little more on axis and at the same plane as the windshield. I figure I would let you know since its all open right now and would not be too hard to make that change. I have just been too lazy to pull mine out and make that change myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the heads up, unfortunately I had everything buttoned up by the time I read your post last night. Let me know how the new mounts work out when you get to them.

The install has been completed. The speaker wires were connected to the amps and I listen to different types of music with the tweeters in various locations and finally settled on installing them in the bullet pods and attaching them to the bottom of the A pillars.
 

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I wired the speakers to run in active crossover mode so before turning the system on for the first time, I used the software for the Focal FSP-8 DSP to setup the crossover points and set the slopes for 24 db/oct.
 

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I downloaded a high quality pink noise file and used it and the AudioControl SA-4140i setup microphone to get the initial RTA readings. Looks like I'll need to do some EQ tweaking to level the graph.
 

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I've had a few quality audio systems but the sound quality of the Focal system is 1000X better than the Harmon Kardon system and better than any system I've had before. I'm hearing things in the music that I've never heard before. I'm completely satisfied with this setup.

If you are looking to install a system that has a high quality, clean and balanced sound that can play stringed instruments like a Cello to heavy metal like Pantera, I highly recommend this setup. If you are looking for overhelming bass, then this setup may not be for you.
 

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This thread is giving me the bug!!!


I've been into car audio for a while and now I daily drive a 2016 SRT 392. I'm satisfied enough that I haven't bit the bullet to do anything but damn this makes me want to do a build. My last build was in a 2015 F150 platinum - before PAC came out with a harness that would work with the factory sony amps, damn it was a pain in the ass to get it to sound right. I used an Arc Audio XDi 1200.6 with a Bit Ten D and Sundown Audio's newest comps.


Before I get too side tracked here - great build! How's it holding up thus far? Any strain on stock alternator? Happen to know how many amps the stock alt puts out?
 

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You guys seem to be having a pile of fun on this project. I don't mean to harsh on your enthusiasm, but I feel compelled to share my experience. I'm a 70's, 80's rocker and have spent countless hours in my vehicles with sound system way too loud for decades. Even though I always practiced good hearing protection at the gun-range, at factory work, and when using power-tools, lawn mower, chain saw, etc.....years of daily exposure to too-loud music has resulted in this 54 year old being diagnosed with "noise induced hearing loss" and I am plagued by constant (incurable) tinnitus "ringing-in-the-ears". Enjoy the fidelity of the high quality systems you're designing, but only play it loud enough to hear over the sound of the HEMI. I'm looking at the remainder of my life with hearing aids, as a result of poor decisions regarding my car stereo volume. And now I have to listen to Megadeth, Metallica, Motorhead and Slayer at 1/2 volume....and that just SUCKS!
 

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Before I get too side tracked here - great build! How's it holding up thus far? Any strain on stock alternator? Happen to know how many amps the stock alt puts out?
Battery and alternator are holding up great with no issues although I rarely play the system without the car running. I haven't experience any dimming of the lights when driving at night during a rain storm with the system playing and the wipers on full blast.

I have made a couple of changes and I'll be updating the thread with them shortly.

Kirk
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
As mentioned above, I've made a few changes to the system.

I was experiencing issues with the Focal DSP. It would work for a couple of weeks and then it wouldn't turn on. Crutchfield replaced it and the same thing happened. Crutchfield gave me a full refund and I purchased the AudioControl DM-608. The DM-608 has been working flawlessly and was easy to setup. I plugged in the optical cable, set up the crossover frequencies for each set of speakers, set the distance of the speakers to the drivers seat, and set the EQ to my liking for each set of speakers. The 30 band EQ is very effective. Sorry, I didn't take any photos of the DM-608 install.

While I had the system apart before installing the DM-608, I installed Dyamat from the back of the trunk to just behind the front seats.

Kirk
 

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A couple of weeks ago I noticed Crutchfield was carrying the Focal Utopia Be 165W-RC 6.5 two way components with a passive crossover for about half the price of he Focal No. 6 setup. I did some research on them and found that everyone who had them really liked them so I purchased them with the intent to replace the Focal three way flax component set. If I didn't lie them I could send them back to Crutchfield for a refund. I installed them using the included passive crossovers. I figured if I liked them with the passive crossovers I could always set them up as active if I decided to keep them.

Installing the woofers was straight forward, basically a remove and replace. The tweeters are much larger than typical tweeters. I installed them in the dash where the 3 inch speakers were. I made a mounting bracket out of metal strapping that plumbers use to secure pipes. I added a small piece of the sticky rubber from a piece of Dynamat to keep the sides of the mounting brackets from touching the tweeters. After resetting the EQ to the Utopia speakers blew me away with the quality of the sound they reproduced. Needless to say, I decided to keep them installed as is including using the passive crossovers. Since I decided to stay with the passive crossovers, I removed one of the amps and installed the crossovers in that location.

Kirk
 

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At the time I installed the Utopia's, I was working on a rear seat delete. I decided to incorporate the Focal Flax speakers that were in the front into the seat back part of the delete. I hooked them up using the passive crossovers and tuned the equal and gain so that they give rear fill but aren't over powering the front stage. I am very happy with the way the setup turned out and sound is rich, full, and balanced.

Kirk
 

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