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Discussion Starter #21
So here's the other deal. I have $3000 in wheels and tires coming. My car is worth, at best a COVID $9500. Without the current situation, $7500. I have 80k on the clock. I don't want to spend $1000 on speakers and another $1000 on a sub and amps and another $1000 for a headunit. I'll have over 3/4 the value of the car in audio and wheels. I thought I could get away with $250 (the front 4 speakers) in speakers, $300 for a sub and amp and $400 for a headunit. And maybe down the road, add another sub behind the driver. Even if I would need another/different amp then. Am I wrong? I'm just tired of pushing my stereo to 90% when I'm doing 75mph to hear it. I do like the idea of keeping my headunit for now, but getting a better sound....or should I do headunit first then speakers, seeing as how it appears that I would need an amp to run most "better" speakers.
 

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Most comments have been that the head unit is the weakest point, and that the speakers and amp are okay.

You can't look at car mods as a cost/value equation. Car mods are a cost/enjoyment equation and you have to assume that you will not get any of the expense back unless you can remove the mods and sell them separately.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Youre right John. I just wasn't thinking when I made that statement. I actually found another post after I stated this and went through all of the parts and costs and it was only about $1500, so I feel much better now. The biggest cost on his list was the amp, but I think I can find one just as good for half of the cost. I'm just lining projects up for the fall now that I have nothing but time and my car needs some TLC.
 

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Here's another option for you:

With this amp/dsp, you won't need to change your head unit out at all. You can stream via bluetooth directly from your phone to the amp. Also, because this amp has built in dsp, you won't need to find a place to mount passive crossovers for your component set. Looks like the amp gives you the ability to EQ each speaker separately. The amp has plenty of power for all of your speakers, and you could easily add another sub down the line and wire it in parallel with your other sub for a 2 ohm load. You'd lose rear speakers if you power the tweeters and door speakers separately (using the amps active crossovers, but if you use the passive crossovers from a component set, you'd be able to use the rear speakers as well.
Then all you'd need is a replacement sub and a component speaker set. Easily under 1k.

components: Morel Maximo Ultra 602 Maximo Ultra Series 6-1/2" component speaker system at Crutchfield

shallow sub:

I think if you go with a larger sub and make minor modifications to the monsoon box, you'll find that you really don't need a second sub.
 

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Your amp will attach to positive and negative inputs on each crossover, then the crossover will have outputs for your midbass and tweeter. The only (fairly) difficult part about this is running wires through the rubber boot in the door. It's been a while since I did my install, but IIRC, from the door boot, the wires have to go into the engine compartment, then through the firewall, then under the dash and up to the A pillars. Sounds harder than it is.
To me, it was definitely worth it. My system sounds infinitely better than the stock Monsoon system.
What he said^

Additionally: the car-to-door 'concertina' boot is a right-angle S-shape. The way to thread the wires through is to detach the car end and stretch it out (nearly) straight. Then reattach the end afterward.

As an aside, for amplifier watts, most head units work on 12V and so are rated at 'peak' watts (that's why you usually see them all say 40 watts - though even THAT is a stretch). Better amps include a voltage booster/inverter so that they can push more watts, but head amps generally don't have enough space for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
So, another dumb question. Would the stereo sound better with another 5 1/4" or 6" speaker in place of the 3" and move the 3" over to the center on both sides? Or is that just overkill? I mean, kwill put 6 tweeters in his car....so it got me to wondering.
 

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So, another dumb question. Would the stereo sound better with another 5 1/4" or 6" speaker in place of the 3" and move the 3" over to the center on both sides? Or is that just overkill? I mean, kwill put 6 tweeters in his car....so it got me to wondering.
I only have 2 tweeters, not six. My front soundstage is a 3-way active system, with 2 midbass, 2 midrange, and 2 tweeters. The rear is midrange only, and the only reason I installed rears was for rear fill. But I wouldn't recommend this unless you are actually going to process the rear (time delay, sum the channels then remove the common source information, crossover, and attenuate.) You need a DSP to do this. The reason to do rear fill is to achieve a concert hall type effect. Just adding 2 speakers back there and feeding them the same signals that the front speakers are getting won't achieve this, in fact, it will likely negatively affect your soundstage, bringing the vocals towards the rear of the car. I'd suggest skipping the rears completely unless you are going with true rear fill.
In general, it's not a good idea to have multiple driver pairs playing the exact same frequencies. Which is why I suggested a 2-way component set for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
So youre saying to use only 4 speakers and a sub? Isn't that a bit underwhelming? I was thinking of actually using the back ones, just bigger, as what they are now...mid-range. And the door for my understanding of what they are, mid to low and then the tweeters in the pilars. But, since this is all so new and confusing, I might not do anything at all now. Or I might just replace the headunit....because as John stated, it's been my understanding that the stereo does wake up with a new headunit.
 

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Well, a 3-way active front setup would be better (2 midwoofers, 2 midrange, 2 tweeters), but it will involve some customization because there's no stock location for the midranges. But a quality 2-way component set with a big amp and sub will definitely not sound underwhelming. The Solstice has a tiny cabin. It's really all you need. With sufficient amp power, a good 2-way component set will blow you away. It's night and day from stock.
But you can't do a 3-way setup with the mids in the rear. It will sound bad, trust me. There will be a huge gap in the frequency response in the front stage. Soundwaves are directional, and the midranges will cover frequcies from around 300hz to 5k hz, so with no midrange in the front, it will sound as if the vocals are behind you, and everything else (except low bass which is omni-directional) is in front of you. The stock rears do not act as midranges. They most likely are crossed over just above the subwoofer, so they don't play the low frequencies, but they play the mids and highs (even though they don't have a tweeter). And the stock fronts cover midrange as well. The stock setup is not mids in the rear, lows in the door and highs in the A pillar. It's lows and mid in the door, highs in the A pillar and mids and highs in the rear.
Just replacing the headunit is a good start; you'll probably hear improvements. But for a really good setup, you'll need to replace speakers and the amp too.
While you have the panels off, you should also add sound deadening. This makes a huge difference.
 

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I replaced my rear speakers at first, but ended up turning them down/off. It just gave a false sense of 'immersion' and pretty much ruined what soundstage there was.

Others may disagree - just my 2c - but I suggest you just worry about the fronts.
 

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I put some 4 way pioneers in my doors, and some 2or 3 way rears (stick size tiny speakers) I think the rears were EXplode brand.... I didnt put the head unit in,it soulds much much beter than the oe speakers, but still not a lot of lowend,I didnt put the foam rear seals behind the door speakers as they didnt arive soonenough...I still havent put them in, possibly someday. and someday the head unit too.. but remember nomater what the speakers are or thier specs they will not fix a bad engineered or bad recorded tune, or bad copy of such. One thing I cant understand how in this day with all out tech, how I can buy a cd thats oh so shity sounding from the engineering or duplicating from the manufacture, and yet also buy one from another artist that's like your right there in the studio when it's recorded. oh I forget not many people buy cd's any longer...
 

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Discussion Starter #33
but remember nomater what the speakers are or thier specs they will not fix a bad engineered or bad recorded tune, or bad copy of such.
Not worried about that, I only stream music now. It's so much easier and most phone services offer some form of streaming music service with your phone service free of charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
One of the other items I'm going to do is put sound deadening in my car. Which is better? Dynamat or Kilmat? I can get 32 sq. ft. of Kilmat for 1/3 of the price of dynamat.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
What are the specs of all of our speakers? Does anyone have them? Need to know ohms on each one please. What can I use with the OE equipment? Can I use a DVC 2ohm for the sub? What's the rating on the door speakers? RMS? OHMs???
 

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OK. I used to install car audio as a profession, retired 7 years ago (I am 45 years old). Systems can be built in stages but a plan needs to be made on exactly what you are looking to get from your system. The Solstices can be challenging for the inexperienced due to the available space.

I need to ask a few questions .

How much time do you spend in your car?
What genre of music do you listen to mostly?
What features are you looking for (blue tooth, i pod, USB, Sirius/XM, Navigation, backup camera)?
What is it that you are looking for from an audio standpoint? More bass? cleaner highs?
How bright do you like your highs? select from.. hurts the ears, loud, crisp, smooth. (This has to do with tweeter type and also placement.
For the low end, do you want your ass to shake or do you want to be heard 3 blocks away?

One of the things that never really gets brought up is mid bass. or "mids" This is an extremely important part that almost always gets missed. It is typically the sound that disappears when replacing the OE speakers.

Unless your rear speakers are blown replacing them is not needed money can be spent elsewhere. in the Solstice I would disconnect them completely. they are much to close to the head and end up ruining the staging in the vehicle.


Because of the space available in the solstice there are 3 amplifiers that I am going to recommend. JL Audio XD, JL Audio HD or an Alpine PDX. These amplifiers have an extremely high efficiency, 97% ish. because of this the amplifiers are able to package a large amount of power into a really small package. The other thing is these amplifiers do not create as much heat as the typical 80% efficient amplifiers do. This means they can be put in places that have little air flow. Also because of their efficiency they do not have the same current draw as the typical amp. so you can run smaller power wire and you will not have to worry about light dimming issues.

As far as a head unit is concerned... I have a single question here... Why????... they make Bluetooth to RCA adapters and you can use you favorite flavor of a 7" tablet instead of a dedicated head unit. You can get a tablet with dedicated cell service or you can set your phone up so you can tether the WiFi on the table to your phone. With internet you have GPS, Pandora, YouTube, IHeart Radio. Just about every radio station live streams from their website. I am sure that if i did some looking there is a Bluetooth hands free app that can be installed on a tablet so the tablet would be the hands free kit.

If you want a knock your socks off audio system that would perform well with almost every kind of music.

subwoofer choices
JL Audio 8w3v3-4: 8" 200.00
JL Audio 13TW5v2-4: 13" shallow mount 650.00
JL Audio 12TW3-D4: 12" shallow mount 350.00

Low midbass one for each door
JL Audio 6x3v3-4: 6.5 "subwoofer" 200.00 EA

mids and highs
Infinity Kappa Perfect 500: 5.25 mid bass and 1" tweeter 400.00
Kappa Perfect 300M 3.5" midrange for the component set 150.00

Amp choices (depending on subwoofer)
Alpine PDX-V9: 100 x 4, 500 x 1 850.00
Alpine PDR-V75: 100 x 4, 350 x 1 450.00

lastly I would use a 7" android tablet instead of the radio 150.00

The doors would require some work to get the 6.5" low mid bass, 5.25" mid mid bass and the 3.5" high mid bass to fit.
You would have to make an enclosure in the door for the low mid bass. The volume needed is only 0.3cf but would take some work to accomplish. All of the front speakers should be installed so they are on axis (pointing into the center of the car, 18" above the shifter.

making the custom doors is not all that hard to do, it all about planning. I can walk you through the steps to do it. You are also going to want to make a new enclosure for the subwoofer. the ABS plastic monsoon one is not going to cut it no matter what aftermarket subwoofer you choose. the ABS plastic one is only going to be used as a depth reference when making the new one.
 

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CRAP I forgot one thing in that list of parts.

Audio Control Matrix Plus: pre amp. Most good amplifiers have a 4 volt input. Most headunits have a 1 volt output. This translates into you only being able to get 25% of the power the amp has to offer. This part boosts that 1 volt max output from the headunit to a whopping 9.5 volts RMS This is user adjustable of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
As far as a head unit is concerned... I have a single question here... Why????... they make Bluetooth to RCA adapters and you can use you favorite flavor of a 7" tablet instead of a dedicated head unit. You can get a tablet with dedicated cell service or you can set your phone up so you can tether the WiFi on the table to your phone. With internet you have GPS, Pandora, YouTube, IHeart Radio. Just about every radio station live streams from their website. I am sure that if i did some looking there is a Bluetooth hands free app that can be installed on a tablet so the tablet would be the hands free kit.
Sorry, won't spend $25/mth to have a cell service tablet. That's $25x12mthsx2yrs= $600. And that's not mentioning the $200 for the tablet. I can buy a nice headunit for that and have it for 4 years. I've been down the road of having a tablet with streaming service. It's a pain in the a$$ for using in the car continuously. If you forget it, or forget to grab it out of the trunk, then you have no streaming service.

Yes, I have a smartphone that I pay monthly for, I don't need to pay for a tablet too. Yes, I already stream music while I'm driving using a bluetooth adapter. I can't remember the last time I used a CD or even listened to one. Almost all of my CDs are converted over to thumb drives now. I'm in the process of working with my father to convert his record collection to USB (about 5000 records, so it's going to take some time!!). Paying for a tablet with cell service makes about as much sense to me as the guys paying monthly for a 15 years old computer simulator called iracing for their "laser scanned tracks" when 99.9% will never have any clue if it's Frank the programmer programming all the bumps or if it's actually laser scanned (and I'm middle aged and a huge sim racer).

I appreciate your dissertation of how to do an awesome sound system, but, I just want a better sound then what I have. If you read any of the earlier posts from me on this thread, you'd see that I don't want to spend more then my car is worth, and I already spent $3k on wheels and tires. So I'm already 1/2 way to the value of my car. What I'm asking for is how step up from building a paper airplane to a balsa wood glider, what you gave was how to build the space shuttle and it was an interesting read. Maybe someday if I win the lottery. So, I will state my questions again....

What are the specs of all of our speakers?
Would a 10" sub with the same specs be too big to power with our OE equipment?
What can I use with the OE equipment?
Can I use a DVC 2ohm for the sub with OE headunit and amp?
Can I use door speakers (6.5") rated at 3 ohm with a 1 ohm wire (4ohms)?
What's the rating on the door speakers? RMS? OHMs?
Dynamat or Kilmat??? Which is better considering the price?
 

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I'll take a shot at some of your questions, although I don't know the stock audio specs.

Can you power a 10 inch sub w/ the monsoon amp- yes, again I'm not sure of the amp specs (wpc) but underpowering a 10 inch sub won't be a problem, other than potentially missing out on some of it's potential.

What can I use with the OE equipment? Not sure exactly what you're asking here

Can I use a DVC 2ohm for the sub with OE headunit and amp? If you wire a 2ohm DVC sub with the voice coils in series, then yes, the amp will see a 4 ohm load which is fine. Don't wire the voice coils in parallel because I'm quite sure the monsoon amp is not 1 ohm stable. Although a SVC 4 ohm sub would be better, in case you want to add an additional sub later.

Can I use door speakers (6.5") rated at 3 ohm with a 1 ohm wire (4ohms)? I don't know what you mean here either. What's a 1 ohm wire? You want to match the speaker's impedance to the amp's impedance. The monsoon amp is most likely 4 ohm. I doubt it is capable of a lower impedance. Most quality aftermarket amps will be 2 ohm stable, but probably not the monsoon, so look for 4 ohm speakers.

I went with Dynamat exterme, mainly because it's anti-resonance quality match or exceed most others, but the sheets weigh significantly less. This might not be a factor for you. I have never used Kilmat, but I'd suspect it'll work about the same as Dynamat.
 

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As far as where to find the stock Monsoon specs... I don't have a clue. Maybe JohnWR can find it? He seems to be able to find most anything Solstice related.
 
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