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What to upgrade in my system?

tothezenith

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What to upgrade in my A/V system?

Hi guys,
New to the Commodore scene again after an 8yr stint in the 4x4's, picked up my '03 SS last Wednesday & loving the upgrade!
In the never ending chase to improve ones ride, I hope some of you may offer some advice.

The previous owner fitted what seems like a decent (but OLD) system to the vehicle, and I'm thinking there is a bit of room for improvements; hoping to get some opinions.
I'm no audiophile by any means, so not gonna go over the top with any purchase, just mid-ground will suit me fine; I'm reasonably handy with the spanner and soldering iron, so installs are no problem...
So here's what it has currently (had to poke around to get all the part number as I have no documentation on the stuff):

COMPONENTS

Headunit - Alpine CVA-1000E system control monitor
(it's got some box in the boot with the same coding with a stack of A/V wires too) p.s. apparently ~14yrs old!!
2nd Unit - Alpine MDA-5051 3- disc MiniDisc changer (yeah I know... :hmmm: )
Amp 1 - Alpine C-Power MRP-M350 mono amp [email protected] or [email protected]
Amp 2 - Lansar Vibe 430 800W (250 x 4ch @ 4ohms)
A/V in - Alpine CHA-1214 12-disc CD/VCD changer
other - Alpine PXA-H600 Digital Phase Processor + Alpine RUA-4260 control Unit
Subs - 2 x 12" Lanzar SE Series 450W ?ohms (driven by Amp1[split?])
rear - Alpine DDDrive DDS-R69G 6x9" [email protected] (driven by Amp2)
front - Alpine DDDrive DDC-F17A 6.5" + tweeters [email protected] component 2-way (driven by Amp2)
Vid out - as well as the headunit, also has fitted some crappy 7" flip down roof mounted LCD with DVD player; and probably from the same cheap ebay store a couple of 7" LCDs mounted in the headrests.

I got a a couple extra components just sitting in storage that might come in handy:
spkrs- Sony xplod XS-GT6937X 3-way 6x9" [email protected]
Amp - Sony xplod XM-222 [email protected] or [email protected]
amp - Kicker KX200.2 [email protected] / [email protected]

...continues...
 
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tothezenith

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SWAPSIES

So I got a little idea of easy changes that could work, your opinons?
1) purchase different, more powerful front speakers (recommendations?), The Hertz HSK165's look the goods to give decent front stage, thoughts?
2) move current Alpine front speakers to rear doors
3) swap my Sony 6x9"s in place of the Alpine ones
4) Add Kicker amp to system
-Therefore the Lanzar amp will drive the front and rear door speakers as front audio, and the Kicker for the rear 6x9's
5) It's been wired up with 240V and A/V RCA's for an xBox, but the previous owner kept that, my brother said he doesn't play his PS2 anymore so I can grab that next time I'm over his.


UPGRADES

1) Headunit FOR SURE!!
The flipout unit's display is pretty dated... like really dated! And there's absolutely no use for that MiniDisc player! This choice may be impacted whether I go the in-car PC route also.
Must have:
- flip out LCD
- reversing camera function
- bluetooth
- MP3 / WMA
- DVD
- USB
- A/V in
- GPS(? see 3)
I had some cheap ebay HU (Eonon brand) in the Landcruiser for years with all them features, plus TV, and was great for what I used it for... yes I know the sound and display interface is <rap, but the features were too hard to go by for the price.

2) Reversing camera
Had one in the Landcruiser, thought the feature was pretty cool.

3) in-car PC
This might impact choice headunit config... but I'm pretty clued on with the PC's been building 'em for the last 15odd years. I'm thinking of building an mITX PC (parts priced already, would be under $400). This can store all the music, a few movies (probs plug in external HDD for more), and also run the GPS.
So if i go the in-car PC route, I'd only need a simple flip-out touch screen LCD capable of sending the touch signals to the PC, I'll find somewhere to slot in a laptop DVD drive. Then all I'd need for the headunit is just a standard one for radio and bluetooth; with this setup though reversing camera may be a bit of a PITA to get wired/working.

4) better (bigger) roof mounted LCD
- I'm thinking ebay $200 max, min 10" LCD, don't need anything super dooper as it really aint gonna be used that much, more for looks and the very occassional backseat stint playing Gran Tourismo on the Playstation.

Certainly the previous owner wasn't too clued on with the audio either, as all amp settings are just set to halfway, so that's on the cards to properly tune the system once I start swapping things around.
I'm sure there's some more info that might be helpful, just ask cause it's taken me a while to write all this so far. Love to hear your input guys!

Thanks
 
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Fun_Bucket

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Well i wouldn't touch anything.

Why? Because unless you can specifically identify an area that needs upgrading, then there is no need. What i mean by this is, if you came on and said i would like a better front stage, however i am happy with the rest, then you have identified an area which you consider to be a weak link.

Consider the performance of the current components, and how much it would cost to get a noticable improvement , you'd probably be spending more than it's really worth for what would most likely be a small gain.

Dynamatt your front doors extensively if not allready done so, and fill and seal any service holes with MDF. I'd look at replacing the head unit and that would be about it.

BTW - The previous owner was probably a little more clued on that you think, amp settings at half way mean nothing. The gains have probably been set correctly, you might like to play around with the HPF/LPF to your listening prefernces.
 

tothezenith

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Sorry, I guess I should've made that front stage aspect more prominent in my explanation of things; i.e. that first part of the "Swapsies" part. Yes I do think my front stage could do with some better (and louder) speakers, the current alpines are a too tinny for my liking, despite any electronic tweaking... but on your point of sound deadener, that should definitely improve things in that respect.
I've got some eDead recently and have done the boot lid and walls this weekend, floor to be done soon. Doing the tap test doesn't sound like the doors have been deadened, so that's on the cards.
I do feel by today's standards the fronts are just 'average' compared to the quality of some of my other friend's vehicles. I would like to get some better ones at the same time as doing the sound deadening; I'd hate to have to take the door skins off again after still not being happy with the current fronts.

As for the amps, yes I played with them this weekend as well, the gains for the speakers were too high and have lowered the frequencies too. The amp for the subs needed some minor adjustment too, but no where near as much as the speakers did.
 

Fun_Bucket

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As for the 165's, i haven't looked in a while, but from memory they are in the $150-200 bracket. Using better quality speakers with your existing source, might not bring the sort of improvements that you are after. Same goes with just replacing your head unit and keeping the remaining existing components. Which is what i meant by you might have to spend a considerable amount of money, before you start to notice considerable gains.

I'd still play around a little more with what you've allready got. The DD line from Alpine weren't too bad, and with a better source, you might be surprised at how they sound. Unless ofcourse they have been flogged within an inch of their life in which case the SQ would obviously be suffering regardless of what you were to do. As far as deadning goes, i personally would begin at the front, then work my way to the rear of the vehicle.

The DDs have a relatively low power handling (according to specs anyway) but you might like to try feeding a bit more power into them. Try bridging the 4 ch amp you have and see if they respond to any increase in power / headroom. If your going to play around with your front stage, then disconnect the rears all together. You can use rear fill, but not having them playing while tuning will really help you. Where do you have your HPF set at for your front speakers?

I only used your front stage as an example. However you talk about replacing your front speakers, and then having both the existing splits, and the 6x9's in the back. That would draw you sound stage rearward.

All in all i'd probably just jump on Ebay and pick up a stack of blank mini discs and a burner, and just relive the nostalgia :smoking: Old school Alpine and Lanzar, you could do far worse for yourself.
 
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tothezenith

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Thanks for the input HCVP. Well the door skins aren't really hard to remove, so I'll save my coin in the first instance and see what improvements the deadening does for the fronts.
(I did the rear deadening first because that was the most noticeable of rattles and vibrations, that parcel shelf board and boot floor are the last bits left of the rear; sicaflexing the licence plate helped heaps too!)

When I was tuning the speakers and sub, yep already did each pair individually (all HU audio settings disabled or on zero/level).
Pretty sure the HPF was between 100-120... I'm gonna pull the coverboard off again tomorrow cause I reckon my HPF/LPF aren't the most ideal settings when all elements of the system are combined.
**edit - just reading some more on HPF/LPF, that's probs by LPF, will get proper settings tomorrow when I hit tuning it some more**

Checked the finances and upcoming expenditures, doesn't look like any spare coin for upgrades anyway for at least a month or so; work with what I got it is then!

You're right I could do far, FAR worse; all I need to do is jump in my LandCruiser with it's "fully sik" Eonon HU with massive 12W rms driving factory paper 4" fronts and el'cheapo 6x9s rears. Don't laugh, the sh!t's still working after numerous interior high-pressure hose outs... man that mud can get everywhere!
 
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