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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For those of us who have been saddled with the basic audio group and looking to improve the original sound package, I have completed the first stage which has yielded quite an impressive soundstage and performance from the basic head unit.

With the soundstage at shin level, the first thing is to leverage the dash and utilize the glass as a reflective stage, which can work for your benefit if done right. Getting the highs out of the door and upwards creates a much more realistic frontal performance if you choose the right speaker pairings.

For the speakers, I chose the Polk DB series and utilized the DB351’s in the provided spaces and they do fit with little or no modifications. They do not protrude far enough as not to allow you to replace the cover trim without interference.

For the doors, the DB691’s were chosen, and there you will have to do a little modifications to either the speaker frame, or the water shield.

Lastly for the rear deck, the DB6501.

One thing that one needs do, is to find a sensitivity that is relatively matched across all the speakers chosen. Speakers with >90db/1w @ 4Ω gives enough performance to deal with the low power from the uConnect. And the DB351 is 91db/1w, the DB691 is 93db/1w, and the DB6901 is 92db/1w. This matching kept the upper ranges from being overly bright, and a flat level in the EQ provided a flat pink noise spectrum. The 200uF capacitor provided with the DB351's was used as the 6db/octave roll-off, and the DB691 already had a 3.5mH coil attached. So terminating the leads to the mid/tweeter of the DB691, and using a little heat shrink and liquid electrical tape to attach it to the frame kept it from rattling.

This creates a Butterworth 1st order crossover around the 200hz range for the fronts and is well balanced in the handoff from door to dash. The benefit of a 1st order crossover is that it maintains the phase of the original signal. Very little beaming is seen. With the distance between voice coils you don't want a sharp rolloff, and since we don’t have time alignment adjustments, this is a good compromise. The slightly higher sensitivity of the 6x9’s gives a very realistic lower range, even including the A0 of a piano which primary is 27hz. Cabin rise gives good bass performance without the need for a sub at low to moderate listening levels. The 6901’s were used without crossover or tweeter (and easily reach above the 4kHz range) as these are primarily bass reinforcement, and both the 691’s and the 6901’s frequency coverage before free air resonance is 35hz, and cabin rise gives you the ability to reach further down due to proximity effect. I wanted to keep the soundstage forward. One thing you really don't want is tweeters in both door and dash, or both handling the same frequency coverage, as this will not only sound unnatural to your ear, but will create all sorts of time arrival issues.

So if you are looking to improve the basic audio group, and want to remove the paper coned speakers and have something that actually sounds pretty good without an amp, you might give these simple design considerations a try. I know I’m very glad I did. And as far as speakers go, Polk makes a good product that I recommend.

Oh, and BTW, anyone using the Metra 72-6514 on your speakers, the polarity of the leads are reversed. Check your original speaker polarity! You may have to release the leads from the connector and swap locations, as poor bass performance will be had if you don't... Just sayin'
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Primer for stage 2 - addition of NVX JAD900.5 modified w/Burr-Brown OPA-1642 JFET front end and ELNA SILMIC II caps through the signal path. (super sweet sounding and dead silent at full gain with no content) and Rockford DSR-1 w/HRN-DSP-CH3 with the addition of 8" Infinity Reference 860W (it too is sensitivity matched @ 91db/1w) in read deck. Sub SQ is always better when you do not decouple the driver from the interior of the vehicle.
 

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Dude.... I'm not saying this to be critical, I just don't want you to waste your money.
You are saying a lot of words for some odd choices in components. So a few things:

1. What exactly is your goal?
2. Any mentioning if SQ is going to come down to a DSP and the ability to control each speaker. The route you are going is to use 4 channels + 1 for sub and a historically problematic dsr1
3. The rear deck opening for a 8" inch sub performs badly. It comes down to shallow mount woofers (which don't really provide bass as compared to a 10 or 12 in a box). And if you try to add a non shallow speaker, you'd need to make some modifications so it is in some type of enclosure.
4. The front speakers are wired together (in parallel or series). That 2ohm load from your polks (they are 4ohm each ya?)will be loud, and bringing down the dash to place the front stage correctly is a hassle, even if you cap the tweeters in some way. It's much easier to run wires to each individual speaker and control them with each channel. This way you can time align correctly with the DSP.
5. The DSR1, has a history of issues (my buddy had 2, and returned them). The PAC pro is the best choice to get low level out of our headunits so you can add anything after. It is more money thought, between it and a DSP.

There's a bunch of other questions, but I don't want to come off like an a-hole, it's really not my intention. It's your car and your money, I just found your post extremely confusing since it's hard to figure out what your goal is.
 

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I will say that I started off with a DSR-1 - and ended up pulling it out and replacing it with an AmpPro and a Helix DSP. For the price, the DSR-1 is pretty functional, but it definitely has some major shortcomings and doesn't compare to an AmpPro and better DSP combo.

Tuning it via the phone interface is a major PITA - and unless you "hack" it like I did by exporting the config, modifying the export file manually and re-importing it, it's EQ is very limited. Sure, it has 31-bands-per-channel PEQ, but each band can only use certain freqs as it's center frequency (a limitation of the software interface, which is why I was modifying the export file manually so that I could assign any center freq to any of the bands). Also, both left/right speakers must use the same high-pass/low-pass filters (and slopes), so you can't use a highpass of 65hz on one door speaker and 60hz on the other one (which I actually do with my Helix to get better freq response at my listening position). People have also had issues with distortion in the sub freqs. Profile switching takes forever as well and the bluetooth connectivity is problematic as well. So many issues.

You can make it work, but it will never compare to a better DSP such as a JL TWK, Dayton DSP-408, Helix, etc... I spent SO much time trying to make the DSR-1 do what I wanted it to do - and in the end, switched it out anyway. :)

It's better than nothing, but if you can swing the extra $$$ for something better, I definitely would - otherwise, it will always limit the rest of your system. It's kind of a shame that Rockford never really improved upon it - because if it were done properly, it could be a great device.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dude.... I'm not saying this to be critical, I just don't want you to waste your money.
You are saying a lot of words for some odd choices in components. So a few things:

1. What exactly is your goal?
2. Any mentioning if SQ is going to come down to a DSP and the ability to control each speaker. The route you are going is to use 4 channels + 1 for sub and a historically problematic dsr1
3. The rear deck opening for a 8" inch sub performs badly. It comes down to shallow mount woofers (which don't really provide bass as compared to a 10 or 12 in a box). And if you try to add a non shallow speaker, you'd need to make some modifications so it is in some type of enclosure.
4. The front speakers are wired together (in parallel or series). That 2ohm load from your polks (they are 4ohm each ya?)will be loud, and bringing down the dash to place the front stage correctly is a hassle, even if you cap the tweeters in some way. It's much easier to run wires to each individual speaker and control them with each channel. This way you can time align correctly with the DSP.
5. The DSR1, has a history of issues (my buddy had 2, and returned them). The PAC pro is the best choice to get low level out of our headunits so you can add anything after. It is more money thought, between it and a DSP.

There's a bunch of other questions, but I don't want to come off like an a-hole, it's really not my intention. It's your car and your money, I just found your post extremely confusing since it's hard to figure out what your goal is.
There are a number of ways to approach an installation. Single point of radiation left and right for frequencies that are above around 400hz allows simpler designs to do well for car audio when you utilize door and dash. We are only dealing with 2 channel. It's why the 1st order crossover @ 200hz. Less can be more. And it's not nearly the hassle you think if you know how it's done. If your speaker configuration sounds good before the introduction of amplification, it will sound good after. This is where old school design experience comes into play. The real problem most get into, is buying 2 way separates, and separating the drivers beyond the crossover wavelength. Any owner of the base system can significantly improve their listening experience by utilizing some simple design considerations and this is where any good installation should start. I'm aware of the hurdles to deal with adding the sub. Decoupling the sub from the cabin is the worst thing one can do.

However, the issue here is to derive clean signal for that amp, and the uConnect doesn't have the headroom or the feature set that allows time/EQ adjustments you really want. (EQ is volume adjustment at a fixed frequency/Q) CANBUS preserves the digital signal path until it hits the DAC, and everything after the DAC is really where you want to spend your attention when it comes to analog SQ.

I'm aware of some of the issues some users have had with the DSR1.
 

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I'm trying to help you out, but your responses are a complete overcomplication of the issue. Nothing of what you responded addresses the fact that in your set of you cannot time a line the front stage correctly. The dash is simply not at the same distance as the door speakers. To try to attenuate those outside of a DSP by running independent channels to it is making everything unnecessarily complicated.

Everything you're saying about decoupling The substage from the cabin isn't taking into consideration everything that is actually done to blend in the substage with the front stage. You're just making a generalization that has been proven wrong time and time again. A sub on the rear deck of that size will never be able to give you a proper substage even if it's in the cabin.

The only reason I'm taking issue with this is because somebody might read this and try to use what you're posting at a starting point, but what do you have offered is difficult to follow and contrary to what everybody else has been doing to successfully improve the sound of our challengers.

Anyways, I'm not really here to make arguments and I know you're not looking for that either so I'll leave it alone. Good luck with your build ?. As long as you are happy with the results and that is all that matters.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I will say that I started off with a DSR-1 - and ended up pulling it out and replacing it with an AmpPro and a Helix DSP. For the price, the DSR-1 is pretty functional, but it definitely has some major shortcomings and doesn't compare to an AmpPro and better DSP combo.

Tuning it via the phone interface is a major PITA - and unless you "hack" it like I did by exporting the config, modifying the export file manually and re-importing it, it's EQ is very limited. Sure, it has 31-bands-per-channel PEQ, but each band can only use certain freqs as it's center frequency (a limitation of the software interface, which is why I was modifying the export file manually so that I could assign any center freq to any of the bands). Also, both left/right speakers must use the same high-pass/low-pass filters (and slopes), so you can't use a highpass of 65hz on one door speaker and 60hz on the other one (which I actually do with my Helix to get better freq response at my listening position). People have also had issues with distortion in the sub freqs. Profile switching takes forever as well and the bluetooth connectivity is problematic as well. So many issues.

You can make it work, but it will never compare to a better DSP such as a JL TWK, Dayton DSP-408, Helix, etc... I spent SO much time trying to make the DSR-1 do what I wanted it to do - and in the end, switched it out anyway. :)

It's better than nothing, but if you can swing the extra $$$ for something better, I definitely would - otherwise, it will always limit the rest of your system. It's kind of a shame that Rockford never really improved upon it - because if it were done properly, it could be a great device.
Thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I'm trying to help you out, but your responses are a complete overcomplication of the issue. Nothing of what you responded addresses the fact that in your set of you cannot time a line the front stage correctly. The dash is simply not at the same distance as the door speakers. To try to attenuate those outside of a DSP by running independent channels to it is making everything unnecessarily complicated.

Everything you're saying about decoupling The substage from the cabin isn't taking into consideration everything that is actually done to blend in the substage with the front stage. You're just making a generalization that has been proven wrong time and time again. A sub on the rear deck of that size will never be able to give you a proper substage even if it's in the cabin.

The only reason I'm taking issue with this is because somebody might read this and try to use what you're posting at a starting point, but what do you have offered is difficult to follow and contrary to what everybody else has been doing to successfully improve the sound of our challengers.

Anyways, I'm not really here to make arguments and I know you're not looking for that either so I'll leave it alone. Good luck with your build ?. As long as you are happy with the results and that is all that matters.
Time alignment is not an issue at 2 inch difference @ 180hz w/6db/octave slope. In fact, many very highly acclaimed home Audiophile speakers utilize a sloped front baffle moving the mid and high rearward to the 90 degree shift in phase introduced by a 1st order crossover.. The 3.5" is stacked and time aligned already, and all frequencies above 200hz are at the dash.
 

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Time alignment is not an issue at 2 inch difference @ 180hz w/6db/octave slope. In fact, many very highly acclaimed home Audiophile speakers utilize a sloped front baffle moving the mid and high rearward to the 90 degree shift in phase introduced by a 1st order crossover.. The 3.5" is stacked and time aligned already, and all frequencies above 200hz are at the dash.
Time alignment is an issue at a 30+ inch difference however. Your front right dash is not 2 inches away from your year in contrast to the left dash. Its a much wider distance and the right side, from the drivers side, doesnt reach your ears at the same rate. There is a mountain of information about this. Hence, time alignment. You are not taking that into account. If you don't care to create a center stage for yourself, thats fine, but then you are stepping away from what everyone identifies as SQ. I am not sure you completely understand time alignment - at least not in its application to a vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Time alignment is an issue at a 30+ inch difference however. Your front right dash is not 2 inches away from your year in contrast to the left dash. Its a much wider distance and the right side, from the drivers side, doesnt reach your ears at the same rate. There is a mountain of information about this. Hence, time alignment. You are not taking that into account. If you don't care to create a center stage for yourself, thats fine, but then you are stepping away from what everyone identifies as SQ. I am not sure you completely understand time alignment - at least not in its application to a vehicle.
You're missing the point. If you have no amp/DSP/time alignment, you have to start somewhere. You can make a vast improvement in the sound by following simple design considerations presented in my first post. The second stage of improvements can be found by adding an amp/DSP so you can have time alignment and EQ. But when you design your speakers with a single point of radiation for everything over 200hz, (the small distance forward of the door speaker is actually good as it compensates the 90 degree phase shift introduced by a 1st order crossover and time aligns the door to dash) then you only need a single time alignment to restore it to the source time for L/R front, in relationship to your listening position. I said it before and will again, one thing you really don't want is tweeters in both door and dash, or both handling the same frequency coverage, as this will not only sound unnatural to your ear, but will create all sorts of time arrival issues. Less is more.
 

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Thats all fine and dandy. What made a lot of this suspect for me, was this statement:
This matching kept the upper ranges from being overly bright, and a flat level in the EQ provided a flat pink noise spectrum.
Now mind you, the way your wrote it may be open for interpretation, but the way it reads to me, you are claiming you have a flat response from the speakers with all the things you have done / outlined. Well...thats not possible. I would bet you a shiny dollar coin, that a laptop with REW and a mic would easily reveal that. Our head units do not output a flat signal (maybe in the rear speakers) but regardless, its pretty heavily attenuated. Hell, Chrysler "balanced" the front stage by having an 8ohm dash speaker in reverse polarity just to bring it down. Anyone understanding this would not take the route you did, by introducing additional problems you then have to correct (i.e. the coaxials in the door).

The easiest upgrade to the vanilla sound of the car is simply replacing the dash speakers, and the rear ones as they are the weakest link. The dash by itself improves the clarity pretty severely. Replacing the woofers in the doors is a step backwards, unless you are moving into amplifying the whole system and separating all the channels.

The quickest path between 2 points is a straight line - and thats what I am trying to say in all this. What you have chosen to do, introduces new issues, that then have to be corrected / accounted for, when a much simpler fix was possible. If anyone had issues with the dash being too bright after replacing just those and has no intention of ever amplifying, then you can cap them. But all this does is improve the response of an already attenuated signal, which will not ever be flat, until you address the headunit and insert a mechanism to correct the frequency response of each speaker, etc etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thats all fine and dandy. What made a lot of this suspect for me, was this statement:
Now mind you, the way your wrote it may be open for interpretation, but the way it reads to me, you are claiming you have a flat response from the speakers with all the things you have done / outlined. Well...thats not possible. I would bet you a shiny dollar coin, that a laptop with REW and a mic would easily reveal that. Our head units do not output a flat signal (maybe in the rear speakers) but regardless, its pretty heavily attenuated. Hell, Chrysler "balanced" the front stage by having an 8ohm dash speaker in reverse polarity just to bring it down. Anyone understanding this would not take the route you did, by introducing additional problems you then have to correct (i.e. the coaxials in the door).

The easiest upgrade to the vanilla sound of the car is simply replacing the dash speakers, and the rear ones as they are the weakest link. The dash by itself improves the clarity pretty severely. Replacing the woofers in the doors is a step backwards, unless you are moving into amplifying the whole system and separating all the channels.

The quickest path between 2 points is a straight line - and thats what I am trying to say in all this. What you have chosen to do, introduces new issues, that then have to be corrected / accounted for, when a much simpler fix was possible. If anyone had issues with the dash being too bright after replacing just those and has no intention of ever amplifying, then you can cap them. But all this does is improve the response of an already attenuated signal, which will not ever be flat, until you address the headunit and insert a mechanism to correct the frequency response of each speaker, etc etc.
While I appreciate your posts, I'm not a novice to audio. I hope you have a great evening.

Please understand that if your speaker is "too bright" as you state, then you do not use capacitors, but resistors to create a L-pad to reduce amplitude. Adding a 1Ω in series and a 10Ω in parallel on a 4Ω speaker between the capacitor and the driver equates to -3db reduction, and the amp still sees a 4Ω load. Capacitors are high pass filters, inductors are low pass filters, and resistors reduce amplitude. Reversing polarity simply inverts phase. Two opposing phase sinusoids cancels each other.
 

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I am in no way saying that you are. Just some of your language pointed at inconsistencies. I get it. You put effort into your post and some random internet person is questioning what you are doing. I apologize if anything came off wrongfully. Better you this here than was 1k in equipment and not be really happy with what you wanted.

Have a good one! ?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I am in no way saying that you are. Just some of your language pointed at inconsistencies. I get it. You put effort into your post and some random internet person is questioning what you are doing. I apologize if anything came off wrongfully. Better you this here than was 1k in equipment and not be really happy with what you wanted.

Have a good one! ?
A person's filter of what is being said comes through his frame of reference. I'm not looking to accomplish what most seek, which is SPL. For example, I don't need a pair of decoupled 10's or 12's in the trunk to obtain a clean transition of a double bass or the lowest octave of a piano. Proximity effect and cabin rise, (also called transfer function) properly setup, gives an 8" more than adequate low frequency performance. This is why you don't decouple. Back in the 80's and 90's when I was at Altec-Lansing, we had a robust collection of car audio drivers and electronics and many in today's car audio world don't understand how to leverage both passive and active systems in a way that compliments each other. In fact, even without a sub, at low to moderate levels the current setup I have exhibits good low frequency response, but the uConnect does run out of gas at higher levels. (not to mention bass rolloff)

And to introduce an amp, it's better to take content digitally (CANBUS) and do time/EQ before the DAC. The PAC solution is very limited with no time alignment. What most do is multiple DAC/ADC/DAC conversions (and content is lost in every conversion) and I really only want one DAC in the chain. Less is more. Once it's handed off to analog, I want it at the amp section of the chain. What content a person listens to will drive their goal. Most systems I hear are very unnatural to a performance in either the studio or a live sitting.
 

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This is what I mean in regards to being inconsistent in what you are saying, and why certain questions are raised. When I say certain things I don't say them to try to doubt your knowledge, I'm just wondering how familiar you are with a lot of these products.

Saying the PAC unit is limited, is incorrect when you contrast it against everything else you said that follows it. Once you connect into the PAC Amp Pro, You just do digital connection (via toslink) into a DSP, and then from a DSP you connect digitally to an amp. No conversion. There's no limitation. It's just money, and choices and equipment. Now I realize we all don't have the funds to go this route but that's a limitation on the users end, not the equipment. If you want to talk about signal chains, I would put my money that the pac unit produces a cleaner signal before going into any other device. this is what I am talking about and where you may not be completely familiar with something else.

On top of which, for all the things that you are saying you, there's a certain amount of inefficiency to your selection. You see what I'm getting at? All this knowledge that you're trying to share doesn't add up to the choices and equipment. If you're not interested in SPL, and believe me I'm not either, what you are trying to achieve for your substage in the Challenger has been attempted by multiple people. No amount of theory makes up for the fact that when measured it simply does not give you the same response ask placing the woofer in a different location. The rear deck is simply inefficient. A free air sub works marginally better than a normal speaker back there. In the sub that you selected which is not a shallow mount is going to require some type of enclosure to work at its highest efficiency.

It's very small things like this but has me wondering what exactly you're trying to achieve. If you're not trying to achieve SPL, that's awesome, a lot of us aren't. But if you're so concerned about your signal chain, which is indicative of someone who cares about the sound quality of their system - Why introduce complications that make it much harder for you to attenuate your car back to a properly balanced, time aligned, and flat frequency response. As we have discussed before, not separating the channels to six already prevents you from achieving this. It doesn't add up.

But anyways, I think at this point I'm just going to let you be, because it doesn't feel like we're going to make any constructive progress. So I'm going to bow out of this conversation and sincerely hope that you achieve the results that you're looking for.
Have a good one. ?
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
This is what I mean in regards to being inconsistent in what you are saying, and why certain questions are raised. When I say certain things I don't say them to try to doubt your knowledge, I'm just wondering how familiar you are with a lot of these products.

Saying the PAC unit is limited, is incorrect when you contrast it against everything else you said that follows it. Once you connect into the PAC Amp Pro, You just do digital connection (via toslink) into a DSP, and then from a DSP you connect digitally to an amp. No conversion. There's no limitation. It's just money, and choices and equipment. Now I realize we all don't have the funds to go this route but that's a limitation on the users end, not the equipment. If you want to talk about signal chains, I would put my money that the pac unit produces a cleaner signal before going into any other device. this is what I am talking about and where you may not be completely familiar with something else.

On top of which, for all the things that you are saying you, there's a certain amount of inefficiency to your selection. You see what I'm getting at? All this knowledge that you're trying to share doesn't add up to the choices and equipment. If you're not interested in SPL, and believe me I'm not either, what you are trying to achieve for your substage in the Challenger has been attempted by multiple people. No amount of theory makes up for the fact that when measured it simply does not give you the same response ask placing the woofer in a different location. The rear deck is simply inefficient. A free air sub works marginally better than a normal speaker back there. In the sub that you selected which is not a shallow mount is going to require some type of enclosure to work at its highest efficiency.

It's very small things like this but has me wondering what exactly you're trying to achieve. If you're not trying to achieve SPL, that's awesome, a lot of us aren't. But if you're so concerned about your signal chain, which is indicative of someone who cares about the sound quality of their system - Why introduce complications that make it much harder for you to attenuate your car back to a properly balanced, time aligned, and flat frequency response. As we have discussed before, not separating the channels to six already prevents you from achieving this. It doesn't add up.

But anyways, I think at this point I'm just going to let you be, because it doesn't feel like we're going to make any constructive progress. So I'm going to bow out of this conversation and sincerely hope that you achieve the results that you're looking for.
Have a good one. ?
PAC $280.00 + TOSLINK $50.00 + TwK $470.00.... or Fosgate DSR-1 $269.00. All I need is T/A + 1/3 octave EQ and 1 DAC. The PAC is limited in it's settings, so much so that you have to hand it off to another device for T/A and anything more than 3 band parametric. I stand behind what I said. Less is more.

The fronts are already handled with a passive crossover @ 200hz, and the speaker voice coil time alignment and phase coherency is already handled by using 1st order passive, and the rears need no crossover as it is a single driver. This is a single point of radiation design. (one mid/tweeter L and one R where vocals and instruments and high frequencies are presented, see below) The soundstage is front and upwards from the dash. A 1/3 octave per channel EQ gives you all you need to compensate for the interior. T/A will give you alignment to the source content, and is made much easier since you only need measure from the center of the tweeter at the dash and the rear speaker center. Proper speaker selection and sensitivity matching gives you overall amplitude balance. Some sub drivers do well in IB designs, some (most) don't. Over-excursion is your problem there at high SPL. Again, proper driver selection is required, and decoupled designs are not your friend. The only one over complicating things, is your recommendations. This ain't my first rodeo.

988805

Audio spectrum pic courtesy Kicker Audio
 

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As an audio engineer I can appreciate that chart. The James Brown frequency range is hilarious.

That PAC piece is expensive for what it does. I agree. It's very necessary though. I have new speakers installed, a 5 channel amp, and nice amp kit sitting in the box. If I believed there was any other way get the sound I'm looking for, I'd go for it. Without the PAC piece and a decent DSP, I'm not even willing to waste my time trying to get this thing to sound right. More power to you though.
 

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As someone that has used both the DSR-1 and the AmpPro/DSP combo, I can say that without a doubt the AmpPro/DSP is a MUCH better solution - especially if you go digital between the AmpPro and the DSP. The digital link between the AmpPro and my Helix DSP gives me a dead-quiet signal, even at max unclipped head-unit volume (there is literally no audible "hiss"). That was NOT the case with the DSR-1. The DSR-1 has many issues and is not the solution for a true "SQ" setup.

There is a reason why the DSR-1 is ~$269 and the AmpPro/DSP combo is MUCH more - and it comes down to the quality of the components used in the hardware as well as the quality/flexibility of the software used for the DSP side. Nothing is free. The vast majority of the time, you get what you pay for. The DSR-1 obviously has to skimp on the hardware side to be available at such a low price. Less is NOT more in this case, trust me.

Less is exactly what you end up with with the DSR-1. Less quality overall, less flexibility, less sound quality. I was gung-ho about the DSR-1 when I first got it - but you slowly realize just why it's so cheap. :) To me, the DSP is of huge importance in a modern SQ install - don't skimp in that area. So much can be done to overcome the limitations of a car environment when it comes to sound quality with a good DSP. This isn't the 80's. DSP's have changed everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
As someone that has used both the DSR-1 and the AmpPro/DSP combo, I can say that without a doubt the AmpPro/DSP is a MUCH better solution - especially if you go digital between the AmpPro and the DSP. The digital link between the AmpPro and my Helix DSP gives me a dead-quiet signal, even at max unclipped head-unit volume (there is literally no audible "hiss"). That was NOT the case with the DSR-1. The DSR-1 has many issues and is not the solution for a true "SQ" setup.

There is a reason why the DSR-1 is ~$269 and the AmpPro/DSP combo is MUCH more - and it comes down to the quality of the components used in the hardware as well as the quality/flexibility of the software used for the DSP side. Nothing is free. The vast majority of the time, you get what you pay for. The DSR-1 obviously has to skimp on the hardware side to be available at such a low price. Less is NOT more in this case, trust me.

Less is exactly what you end up with with the DSR-1. Less quality overall, less flexibility, less sound quality. I was gung-ho about the DSR-1 when I first got it - but you slowly realize just why it's so cheap. :) To me, the DSP is of huge importance in a modern SQ install - don't skimp in that area. So much can be done to overcome the limitations of a car environment when it comes to sound quality with a good DSP. This isn't the 80's. DSP's have changed everything.
The greatest shortcoming in most consumer audio, especially in the car audio realm, is execution of the analog chain and the use of low cost opamps in the chain. It's why I pulled the TL-072's (which even TI tells you do not use for audio applications because of it's performance) and cheap Chinese electrolytic s out of the NVX amp, and placed some devices that are actually decent audio quality. When I get the DSR1 in hand, I'll be evaluating it as well. Please realize I'm just doing the same thing with the devices I'm choosing as you are doing with the vehicle. It would be like me saying, don't buy a Challenger, because the base audio system sucks, buy a Bentley.

But this thread started and it's intent starts with the simple question, how does one saddled with a the base audio package improve the sound. Using basic proven design building blocks, start a system that can be built upon, at any given level. In fact, even without DSP or amp, the audio is greatly improved and sounds pretty good at low to moderate levels using what you seem so quick to dismiss, and that is proper speaker selection and minimal design considerations. While I appreciate your input, as I said early on, there are a number of ways to approach an installation, and not everyone out there wants to go to the expense or time to travel down the audio rabbit hole.
 
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