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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,

I recently purchased my very own solstice coupe 000318. It's white, 2.4L and non-Monsoon. I got it for a steal so my plan is to do so significant upgrades as the years go on. The first one of these will be the sound system.

I'll start by saying that I love music but know little about Stereo setups. I have always just bought Bose for home audio. In my mind the convenience, quality, and customer service is worth the price premium. My previous car (honda accord) had the OEM premium radio plus an aftermarket headunit I had installed after the factory one died. It sounded good enough to get by, but now I'm ready for a system to be proud of.

These last few weeks I've done extensive research on this site and crutchfield and other car stereo sights. I've read just about every sound system install post I could find on this forum and have gotten a ton of good information.

Right now I'm leaning towards replacing the front door speakers, not using the rear at all, adding a bluetooth amp and a shallow mount 10" sub in a monsoon enclosure.

For speakers I'm leaning towards the discontinued JBL 660GTi. They have gotten great reviews and are now on sale for $500. There is also the JBL 670 GTi for $1000 and the JL C3-600 on sale for $260. The JL's are tempting but I fear I'll regret not going with the top of the line. And I'm not sure if I can justify $1k for just the speakers, so the 660GTi seem like a good compromise.

The biggest concern I have with the front speakers is the crossovers. Both the JBL's have huge crossovers and the JL's aren't too much smaller. I think if I go with the 660's I will mount the sole crossover above the amp behind the drivers seat, but I worry how much I'll have to move my seat forward to compensate. I do plan to have the panel behind the drivers side seat cut out to allow the amp and crossover more space and cooling. Any advice people have on crossover placement or how much room they think the crossover and sub would take up behind the drivers side is greatly appreciated!

Next is the amp. I am thinking the JBL GTR 104 or possibly the Kappa K4 (they seem pretty much the same, both around $500). Both are 4 channel amps, 100W per channel, 240W bridged at 4 ohm. So it would power the front speakers and then be bridged for my sub. The GTi 660's are 150W RMS, I assume 100W is enough, let me know if I might have issues.

Both these amps have bluetooth to steam directly from a phone. I like this because as I understand it, the sound will not be compromised by the factory head unit, so I can have great sound quality without an aftermarket head unit. They also have Harman's technology Clari-Fi which looks at compressed music and fills in the gaps to try to restore it. If anyone has any experience with it I would love to hear your opinion. I think with the bluetooth amp set up, I won't have an equalizer, so it would just be bluetooth streamed music from my phone, restored by Clari-Fi. I think it would be nice to not have to adjust an equalizer when listening to different styles of music, but only if it's not at the expense of sound quality.

For the sub I'm thinking the the JL 10TW3-D4 for $250. It's a 10" 400W shallow mount sub only 3.25/3.5 inches deep. I would want to retrofit it into a monsoon enclosure and install that. I've seen the "How to install a monsoon enclosure in non-Monsoon car" thread, and it seems great, but none of the photos show up for me. Is this how it is for everybody? And is 240W from the amp going to be too little?

Since I know so little about car installations, I plan to find a reputable audio place in the area and hopefully by most of the equipment from them (anything they can come close to price matching). Does anyone have an estimate for how much the speaker, sub, and amp install would run? Keeping in mind the monsoon sub enclosure install and modding as well as cutting out the panel in front of the amp and crossover.

I'm also thinking I should get Dynamat or a cheaper alternative installed at the same time. Any tips here?

I'm debating adding a back up camera and a rear view mirror to view it on. I see the 2011 Acadia mirror has worked well for some. Any advice here on camera and/or mirror? And how worth it save a bit more money and get it all done at once vs in a year or two. Are the two installs so similar that it makes sense to to do them at the same time? Or is the camera install so easy it's not too much of a hassle to do later?

I'm also thinking about adding LED lights as well. Probably footwell lights but I'm open to ideas. My hesitation is that they would end up looking cheap. I also wonder how many electronic mods I can do (stereo, camera, mirror, led lights) before I run into concerns about the battery and powering it all.

So please, any and all advice is welcome! I'm a novice looking for guidance.

Thank you,
Dan
 

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I have no experience with any of the audio equipment listed, but I will say that trying to get Hi-Fi in a any car (let alone a convertible) is an exercise in futility. Most of what you've stated makes sense, except the (from my perspective) the cost. You could go cheaper, and you still won't be able to tell the difference in a car environment :)

For sound deadening, many of us Sol/Sky owners have installed the stuff from sounddeadenershowdown.com and I, for one, have been extremely impressed with the difference even when just driving - though it probably adds ~70 lbs dead weight to your car. Installing it is not for the faint of heart, either. It WILL take a full weekend and involve gutting the interior of your car first (but then, so will installing the stereo & sub). I would not just stick dynamat everywhere - if you go to the site above, he'll tell you why.

Mirror & rearview camera: I have a used Cadillac mirror in mine (prob same as Arcadia) and have it working fine. But there are two real disadvantages: No interior lights for one, and it's VERY difficult to see the screen with the top down in sun. Some pics of my travails, starting here: Backup Camera In Rear View Mirror Install - Page 9 - Saturn Sky Forums: Saturn Sky Forum. But read the whole thread.

LED interior lights: I added footwell lights years ago (as have many others). Fairly easy to do and have a tremendous effect in improving the ambience of the car when getting in and out (I used Dioder lights from Ikea). Recommended! Many posts/threads on this - you'll have to search - but you'll need to connect them to an 'always-on' 12V supply from the passenger footwell fuse box, and connect the ground to the map-light 'fading' ground to operate them with the doors.

OK, stopping now - finger cramp.
 

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I have no experience with any of the audio equipment listed, but I will say that trying to get Hi-Fi in a any car (let alone a convertible) is an exercise in futility.
As a certifiable audio nut (ask my wife) I second that. I have heard very decent sound in some cars at a silly price, but none were open cars the size of the Solstice.

I am happy to just have decent sound to listen to while I drive home to listen to my main systems.

Don't break the bank pursuing something you'll never attain - just upgrade the speakers and live with it.
 

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having owned a Jeep and the Sky [Convertible] I totally agree with T.S. and Wspohn
Cars like this have a sound limitation that you just can't get past no matter how much money you throw at them.
Don't kill your wallet on this.
 

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Being an audio guy, solsti owner and a young-gun who constantly goes to concerts and bitches about horrid sound...i'll concur with these peeps above me!

It's a 2 door convertible, surrounded by plastic and your body parts...you can't get it anywhere near close what you'd want for the money you'd spend.

So...here is where you determine the next step.....Get a set of components that'll sound AS Good as possible in it's environment OR get a good set of SPL speakers so you can crank that summabeech up as loud as you want and hear it at all volumes/speeds/distances.

Most will go with Option 1...and I say cap it at $500 for a set of comps up front...ditch the rears and go with a good subwoofer and a 3 channel amp to power everything.

I'm considering swapping my current setup for some VO series speakers from my DD Audio brand and providing all speakers with a minimum of 300w RMS...tweeters and mids separately.....cause at car shows, nothing says 'dafuq does he have in that thing' like having your doors open and being able to clearly hear the music/vocals at 1/8 mile :-D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have no experience with any of the audio equipment listed, but I will say that trying to get Hi-Fi in a any car (let alone a convertible) is an exercise in futility. Most of what you've stated makes sense, except the (from my perspective) the cost. You could go cheaper, and you still won't be able to tell the difference in a car environment :)

For sound deadening, many of us Sol/Sky owners have installed the stuff from sounddeadenershowdown.com and I, for one, have been extremely impressed with the difference even when just driving - though it probably adds ~70 lbs dead weight to your car. Installing it is not for the faint of heart, either. It WILL take a full weekend and involve gutting the interior of your car first (but then, so will installing the stereo & sub). I would not just stick dynamat everywhere - if you go to the site above, he'll tell you why.

Mirror & rearview camera: I have a used Cadillac mirror in mine (prob same as Arcadia) and have it working fine. But there are two real disadvantages: No interior lights for one, and it's VERY difficult to see the screen with the top down in sun. Some pics of my travails, starting here: Backup Camera In Rear View Mirror Install - Page 9 - Saturn Sky Forums: Saturn Sky Forum. But read the whole thread.

LED interior lights: I added footwell lights years ago (as have many others). Fairly easy to do and have a tremendous effect in improving the ambience of the car when getting in and out (I used Dioder lights from Ikea). Recommended! Many posts/threads on this - you'll have to search - but you'll need to connect them to an 'always-on' 12V supply from the passenger footwell fuse box, and connect the ground to the map-light 'fading' ground to operate them with the doors.

OK, stopping now - finger cramp.
Thank you for all the great information. I know the cost will be a bit much but I know I'll enjoy knowing my systems top of the line enough to justify it. Especially since it's going to be such a simple 2.1 system. If I do go with the Jl 660gti, which has a massive crossover, how much of a difference do you think the crossover will make. Would it be significantly different then just using the Bluetooth amp and no crossover?

With the led lights, the ones from ikea you mention look great. It looks like you can even change the color which is perfect. Would i be able to do one under each door as puddle lights, and one under each footwell?

Thanks again for any and all advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have no experience with any of the audio equipment listed, but I will say that trying to get Hi-Fi in a any car (let alone a convertible) is an exercise in futility. Most of what you've stated makes sense, except the (from my perspective) the cost. You could go cheaper, and you still won't be able to tell the difference in a car environment :)

For sound deadening, many of us Sol/Sky owners have installed the stuff from sounddeadenershowdown.com and I, for one, have been extremely impressed with the difference even when just driving - though it probably adds ~70 lbs dead weight to your car. Installing it is not for the faint of heart, either. It WILL take a full weekend and involve gutting the interior of your car first (but then, so will installing the stereo & sub). I would not just stick dynamat everywhere - if you go to the site above, he'll tell you why.

Mirror & rearview camera: I have a used Cadillac mirror in mine (prob same as Arcadia) and have it working fine. But there are two real disadvantages: No interior lights for one, and it's VERY difficult to see the screen with the top down in sun. Some pics of my travails, starting here: Backup Camera In Rear View Mirror Install - Page 9 - Saturn Sky Forums: Saturn Sky Forum. But read the whole thread.

LED interior lights: I added footwell lights years ago (as have many others). Fairly easy to do and have a tremendous effect in improving the ambience of the car when getting in and out (I used Dioder lights from Ikea). Recommended! Many posts/threads on this - you'll have to search - but you'll need to connect them to an 'always-on' 12V supply from the passenger footwell fuse box, and connect the ground to the map-light 'fading' ground to operate them with the doors.

OK, stopping now - finger cramp.
Thank you for the great info. I know it's gonna be a bit pricey but I figure since I only am buying 3 things I have more funds to put in each.

Do you think not using a crossover will really hurt the sq? The one for the Jl 660 is massive and would have to go behind the drivers seat most likely. If I'm getting a top,of the line amp, will the crossover still be necessary?

Those LEDs look great. Will an auto body be able to install fairly easily? I'd like to do puddle and footwell lights. Seems like the ikea ones you can adjust color, which is awesome.

Unfortunately the solstice got rear ended last week and I have a busted tail light. The other driver had insurance so I'll be taking it in soon to get rear bumper and tail light replaced. I'm thinking it makes sense to have them install the rear view camera then too. Any advice on camera, or what info to use to look up you Cadillac mirror?

Also right now the head unit does not display anything, yet everything still works. Anyone have any tips or things I could have the autonomy try when it's in the shop?

Thanks!
 

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Thank you for the great info. I know it's gonna be a bit pricey but I figure since I only am buying 3 things I have more funds to put in each.

Do you think not using a crossover will really hurt the sq? The one for the Jl 660 is massive and would have to go behind the drivers seat most likely. If I'm getting a top,of the line amp, will the crossover still be necessary?
Aggh. You definitely need to discuss your system with the audio shop. Why would you buy expensive component speakers and then cripple them by removing the crossovers? Unless the amps have active crossovers in them, the quality of the amp doesn't matter.

Those LEDs look great. Will an auto body be able to install fairly easily? I'd like to do puddle and footwell lights. Seems like the ikea ones you can adjust color, which is awesome.
Hah! I just have the plain white ones, not color changing. Interesting idea, but not sure if the color remains 'set' after they are powered-down. Not sure that an auto body shop would do this, but a Audio shop might well do it for you. You'll need to do the search I recommended and give them the location of the switched/fading ground line.

Unfortunately the solstice got rear ended last week and I have a busted tail light. The other driver had insurance so I'll be taking it in soon to get rear bumper and tail light replaced. I'm thinking it makes sense to have them install the rear view camera then too. Any advice on camera, or what info to use to look up you Cadillac mirror?
Personally, I got a cheapy eBay camera and it works fine. Again, more likely that the Audio shop would wire this for you than an auto body place. You really don't need the bumper off to install/wire this. Just get a camera that mounts on the license plate (https://www.google.com/search?q=license+plate+camera&tbm=isch)

Also right now the head unit does not display anything, yet everything still works. Anyone have any tips or things I could have the autonomy try when it's in the shop?

Thanks!
May well be a busted faceplate, or may just be bad/dirty connections in the faceplate. It's pretty easy to remove the radio and pull the faceplate (held on with just a couple of screws and clips). Clean the contacts and reassemble - may well fix the issue. If it doesn't - need a new radio.
 

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I think there are some obvious gaps in audio knowledge indicated by your posts. If you don't have the knowledge you will have to rely on someone that does. Put yourself in the hands of a competent car audio shop and don't second guess them.

And remember, it doesn't matter how expensive the speakers are, the sound will be only as good as what you feed them.
 

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but I will say that trying to get Hi-Fi in a any car (let alone a convertible) is an exercise in futility.
I would definitely agree with TS, getting good sound in a Kappa is very difficult and you may be wasting your money IMO. I wanted better sound (relatively) and some more features so in February I replaced my Monsoon stereo in my Sky with a Kenwood Head Unit, it definately sounds better but it is not noticeable with the top down. I like it because it has Bluetooth (which incidentally is very difficult to use with the top down), and has a USB port etc. Just my opinion though and I certainly don't want to influence your purchase. I agree that don't spend a lot trying to "audiophile" a Kappa stereo.........

Terry
:cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you all for the input. I ended up going with the jbl 660 gti 6.5 speakers with a jbl 5 channel Bluetooth amp, gtr 7535, and significant sound dampening earlier this week from elite auto salon here in Colorado Springs. Have to say it sounds amazing. It's not complete yet, knowing that I will add a sub in a custom fiberglass enclosure some time in the future, but I honestly can't believe how much bass I'm getting out of just the 2 speakers. I highly recommend this set up for anyone who wants to significantly upgrade their sound system (with a sub if you have the means but I'm quite happy without one for now). My system looks 100% stock, so no worries when I park with the roof off and it is controlled seamlessly through Bluetooth on my phone. Couldn't be happier (not entirely true, I'll be happier once I can afford the sub and enclosure!)
 

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FWIW, Pontiac did offer a premium accoustic headliner (GM 19121193) however it's coming up as no longer being available. From what I read installing it is a big job but doable. Or finding a used soft top w/the acoustic headliner, or buying a Smoothline hardtop w/the optional premium headliner.

Here's a couple links that Tomato Soup posted on the SKY side a couple years ago regarding sound deadening kits.
Don Sambrook finally silences Jonymac's Catless down pipe

Kappa Specific Sound Deadening Kits

From this thread: Road noise reduction - Saturn Sky Forums: Saturn Sky Forum

Post 21, Bogie: My engineering "gut" tells me that there isn't much you can do for the kappa. Vehicle sound proofing starts at architecture level and flows outward from there. As soon as you say "drop top", sound proofing from an engineering standpoint goes out the window. Of course, there is component level (e.g., tires, fuel pump, sway bar bushings, etc.) sound reduction...but nothing from a vehicle at large standpoint. Any success you achieve at one place or harmonic will simply be overshadowed by noise from some other place or harmonic.

As for turning up the radio, sometimes it's not the volume but the content that does the trick:
 

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I have a monsoon system in mine. With the top down it is still an exercise in futility to try and listen to music and expect decent sound. The best speaker system I have found is a set of ear buds that you insert into your ear. The type that have the gummy inserts, they block road noise like a pair of ear plugs, that is a set of $20.00 ear buds. With that said it is illegal to do that but you get the point. Get a decent head unit that will get you the features you want. I upgraded to get better blue tooth connectivity with my phone, I like to listen to audio books while driving and keep the books on my phone. Look for a monsoon system car in a salvage yard and get the sub-woofer box and put it in your car.
 

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I've thought about installing headphones at one time, even though I'm sure it's illegal it would be one way you could have the top down and still enjoy listening to music.

 

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Not worth the ticket, but it would be fine for your passenger.

I wonder if anyone has a kit to fit speakers to the head rests? The Miata seats I use in one of my old British cars has the speakers, although I don't use them (don't even have a radio, just listen to the exhaust).

Apparently some Miata seats lacked them and here is a description of how to mount speakers in those seats. Don't see why it couldn't be applied to Kappa seats - and someone could come out with a kit, if it were worthwhile. The leather over the speakers is perforated.

https://did-it-myself.com/diy-miata-headrest-speakers/

You can buy the speakers from many places - see MossMiata.com - Parts & Accessories for Your Mazda Miata for instance



Result is something like this

 

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That pic makes me remember that the 1984 & 85 Fiero's also had speakers in the headrest, but I think they were moved to the inside b pillar for 86-88. I read that they probably placed them in the headrest so owners couldn't hear the less than loved iron duke.



Almost forgot about Mr Mikes leather seats covers for the Fiero; MrMikes Fiero and Miata Upholstery Kits for Many Cars.

 

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I've never understood the fascination with all these upgraded sound systems I don't remember the last time I turned the radio on in the Solstice and I'm currently doing a radio delete in the Chevelle including a rare factory delete plate to complete the look .I enjoy driving and with the top down all the wind and noises that accompany it if I want to listen to music I'll sit at home where the acoustics are much better . Spend your money on performance upgrades if you want sound that bad buy a Caddy or Lexus .Just to add my Miata had the speakers in the headrests and I really did not notice much of a difference with them .
 

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Well I'm with you, and I am an over the top home stereo nut. I just don't see the point in trying to get something unattainable - really good sound in an acoustic space as small as the Solstice.

OTOH, maybe the reason why people want to upgrade their car systems is precisely because they have no good home system to listen to?

I have also deleted radios in three of my old cars. The exhaust note is music enough....
 
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