Audio/Visual Electronics Wired up? Everyone's got some sort of electrical modification... let's hear about it here.

'09 Accord Project - New Thread, Same Old Story

  #1  
Old 10-18-2013, 04:01 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 9
Default '09 Accord Project - New Thread, Same Old Story

Ok so this thread is an offshoot of one I originally started to get information on my car's electrical system, alternator capacity and the potential need for upgrades to accommodate my planned A/V system. Here's the link to that thread:
https://www.hondaaccordforum.com/for...uestion-56997/

To recap, I'm working with a 2009 Honda Accord EX-L with the 2.4L I-4, automatic transmission and dual-zone climate control but no NAV. My goals are as follows:
1. Integrate all of the latest A/V and communication technology that my
car is missing. This means adding Bluetooth with Siri Eyes Free and
A2DP streaming audio, a backup camera, HD radio, streaming video
capability, USB and maybe even HDMI. Neon fuzzy dice, Yellow Rose
of Texas car horn, holographic disco ball and dashboard stripper pole
are optional but highly desirable.

2. Achieve the highest sound quality possible within a reasonable budget
and without sacrificing a somewhat factory look or large chunks of
trunk space (big city, so apart from the head unit touchscreen, I'd
rather not advertise the presence of my system).

3. Minimize noise/vibration/harshness. Since this isn't really part of the
topic for this thread, I won't really discuss it in much detail here. I'll
start a separate thread once I'm looking at installing soundproofing
and vibration damping material.

Note: I do appreciate the need for upgrades to the electrical system (thanks to KHA and neophyte for enlightening me), but I'd like to keep them as trouble-free and low-risk as possible. In other words, I'd like to retain as much of Honda's famous reliability as possible. An overbuilt, bulletproof system would be great, and I'll take that reliability over extra performance any day.

In this thread I'd like to address the question of which bits and pieces to use in building my system. Since I'm in a line of work that works based on a process-oriented view of our projects, I'd like to apply that here. I figure I'd like to start by providing as clear a description of my usage as possible, and use that to determine the best configuration (building the soundstage, what size/class of speakers and amps are needed, look at crossovers or processors, etc.).

Once this specification has been drafted, I'll figure out a reasonable budget (I already have some ballpark numbers in mind), at which point I'd really appreciate some guidance on hardware that matches it. The last step will be to devise an appropriate electrical upgrade scheme and look at installation options.

Now I'll gladly admit that I'm about 16 steps below a novice at all of this, so this is at least as much educational for me as it is practical. Along the way I'd love to learn as much as possible about acoustics, electrical engineering, human hearing, and so forth. I've jumped in by raiding forums and reading guides from Crutchfield and Perry Babin, but the more knowledge the better!

If you're looking at my project for the first time, here's what I'm pretty sure I want so far:

-Alpine ICS-X7HD head unit - This will allow me to use HD radio, SiriusXM, a backup camera, Bluetooth, USB and grant the ability to use an iOS or Android mobile device to supply streaming audio/video, hands-free calling and navigation. I'll install the USB port in the covered center stack storage compartment. It also includes a HDMI input, so I'll probably want to install a port for this as well. Having the ports here will be great as I'm tired of having a cabin cluttered with random charging cables.
Alpine Electronics of America, Inc.

-Beanco Technology (goofy name, I know) Mobile Home - This is basically a single-function button that emulates the home button on iOS devices. Tap for the home screen, hold to activate Siri. Since the head unit includes Siri Eyes Free and since I want to use Siri for my hands-free voice control, this should make things ergonomically very smooth. I'll mount it to the center console to the right of the shifter where my right hand naturally falls. Length and width should be ideal for this location.
Mobile Home

Now that pretty much covers the integration of new tech. So what about upgrading the audio performance? That's where things get interesting. My usage will be primarily for music, with a fair amount of movies and TV to be played via USB and HDMI. So idk if 5.1 surround is an option in this case, especially lacking a front center channel, but if possible I'd like to leave it open - not a high priority, just nice to have. I want to be clear that this is not an SPL car. I'm ok with a modest increase in SPL if it comes as a matter of course, but SQ is the objective.

So the factory setup is a set of 2-ways up front (6.5" woofers and 1.5" tweeters), a set of 6.5" woofers to rear (earlier I guessed they were coaxials but if they're just individual drivers please correct me), and an 8" subwoofer in the center rear. So with that in mind again I've got to thank neophyte and KHA for opening my eyes on a lot of factors and possible solutions. Let's start by looking at acoustics, the soundstage and how they can be matched to my needs, and then once that's resolved we can revisit the excellent input on speaker brands, etc. Obviously the kinds of response desired and thus the ideal sound from the system all vary greatly depending on what kind of music people listen to. So I figure supplying some typical samples from my usual playlists (here in Youtube form) should illustrate things a bit better. Hold the applause and drop your drawers, you are now listening to Radio Gerhard, in all its pretentious glory.


Gnarls Barkley - Crazy (love the bass line)

The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines

k-os - Crabbuckit

The Who - Who Are You?

Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe (such sweet guitar)

Arcade Fire - No Cars Go

Starsailor - Four to the Floor (not a fan of the vocals, but the strings are great)

Amy Winehouse - Back to Black

The White Buffalo - The Whistler

Nirvana - The Man Who Sold the World

Cake - Frank Sinatra

Opening scene from SWAT (good example of surround sound in action - when they're on the roof you can hear the changing relative position of the helicopter as the camera pans around)

Opening scene from End of Watch (clear audio, tense audio and fantastic background music)

And of course.... (apologies for the poor quality)

So let the fun and games begin! Drinks all around to those who pitch in! Thanks as always!
 
  #2  
Old 10-18-2013, 08:41 PM
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nice talking to ya.

good idea with the music videos!
 
  #3  
Old 10-19-2013, 01:20 PM
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Likewise, good talk. Thanks for taking the time. I'm a lot more clear on my specs now. Now I can start focusing a bit more on window shopping different brands. And the questions are getting fewer and simpler for the moment. Also, I'll post something on the other thread about power, and I think I'll go ahead and start one on sound treatment.

Alright, for the rest of you here's what I'm looking for. A system that can give me crystal clear vocals, high strings with chords that don't sound out of focus, and bass with zero mud unless the music has it first. The clangs should clang, the knocks should knock, the splashes and crashes should remember which is which, and I should be so immersed that I think the government has speakers inside my head. That guitar solo from The Black Keys should be orgasmic and I should get beautifully lost in that chase scene from End of Watch. All without getting dirty looks from the nuns at the school crosswalk.

Also, I'm not going to say cost is no object, but it's flexible. For example, I might be persuaded to spend $2000 on full-range or $1200 on a sub if it's worth it.

Here's a rough framework for my build, so next it's time to fill it up with shiny new toys. To anyone out there, please step on in and pitch anything that's on your mind.

-Head unit: Same as before, an Alpine ICS-X7HD.

-Fronts: 2-way components using the existing mounting locations - woofers in the door kick panels, tweeters in the sail panels.

-Rears: As per my conversation with KHA, a pair of mid-range components right and left to help with those scenarios (movies, TV) when I might want to have some semblance of surround sound.

-Sub: The existing rear deck sub location will be sealed and carpeted over. The new sub will use a custom-fit sealed enclosure fitted for the passenger-side corner.

-Amps: Class Ds for both the sub and the full-range components. Maybe under the front seats, maybe in the trunk, we'll see.

Brands discussed so far:
-Alpine -Focal -JL Audio -Hertz (Mille series)


By the way, in addition to a nice general discussion, as always I have a couple more specific questions.

1. Component sizes. I'm asking both for optimization and due to a possible availability issue. I won't sweat it too much for the sub, but for the other pieces I'm guessing it's a bit more relevant. Stock sizes are 6.5" for the woofers and 1.5" for the tweeters. I'll take KHA's advice and go with neodymium magnets to keep things nice and shallow. But for aftermarket components I'm seeing a lot of tweeters that are 1", 0.75", or even 0.5". Should I care? Likewise the woofers, should I show any interest in 5.25" drivers?

2. The availability thing has to do with the rear mid-range drivers, and is much a question of packaging as size. We talked about 4" models, and if I remember right we were looking to cater to the 400Hz - 4KHz range. When I look at what's available on e-tailer sites, I don't see a whole lot of 4" drivers. 3.5" is also available, and even 3" or 2.75", so the same question from above still applies. But overall my options are limited. It seems that most of the better manufacturers sell almost all their components in 2- and 3-way packages and not as individual units (Hertz-Mille and JL are a bit better about this). So with that in mind, would I be better served by ordering 3-way kits and separating out the mid-range drivers for use on the rear channels, or are they not meant to work that way?

3. Sub enclosures. As I said, I'm just about certain I want a sealed enclosure - but please correct me if I'm mistaken. My real question is, does the shape of the custom-fit enclosure really impact performance, or is it just largely the materials, construction and volume of sealed air?
 

Last edited by Gerhard01; 10-19-2013 at 01:44 PM.
  #4  
Old 10-20-2013, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Gerhard01 View Post

By the way, in addition to a nice general discussion, as always I have a couple more specific questions.

1. Component sizes. I'm asking both for optimization and due to a possible availability issue. I won't sweat it too much for the sub, but for the other pieces I'm guessing it's a bit more relevant. Stock sizes are 6.5" for the woofers and 1.5" for the tweeters. I'll take KHA's advice and go with neodymium magnets to keep things nice and shallow. But for aftermarket components I'm seeing a lot of tweeters that are 1", 0.75", or even 0.5". Should I care? Likewise the woofers, should I show any interest in 5.25" drivers?

2. The availability thing has to do with the rear mid-range drivers, and is much a question of packaging as size. We talked about 4" models, and if I remember right we were looking to cater to the 400Hz - 4KHz range. When I look at what's available on e-tailer sites, I don't see a whole lot of 4" drivers. 3.5" is also available, and even 3" or 2.75", so the same question from above still applies. But overall my options are limited. It seems that most of the better manufacturers sell almost all their components in 2- and 3-way packages and not as individual units (Hertz-Mille and JL are a bit better about this). So with that in mind, would I be better served by ordering 3-way kits and separating out the mid-range drivers for use on the rear channels, or are they not meant to work that way?

3. Sub enclosures. As I said, I'm just about certain I want a sealed enclosure - but please correct me if I'm mistaken. My real question is, does the shape of the custom-fit enclosure really impact performance, or is it just largely the materials, construction and volume of sealed air?
pass up on 5.25" speakers because you need as much midbass as possible up front.

don't worry about tweeter sizes, the variety is really just faceplate designs and magnet sizes.


you don't want a 3-way set to run split up. that would not work well and you couldn't use the crossover for the fronts (since the crossover would only put midrange behind you). stick with a 2-way set for the front then buy individual midrange drivers - anything between 3"-5.25" can work fine. you do want them to be similar in tonality though, so a similar cone design from the same manufacturer. for Hertz that's the HSK series and for JL it's the C5 series (with ZR up front).

enclosure rigidity and volume are key, the shape is better if it is undulating and not flat behind the sub.
 
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