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Discussion Starter #1
Right now I have the factory blaupunkt cd/mp3 player hooked up in my 2000 focus. I have two line out converters and have a JL audio 300/4 amp. I'm running one JL audio 12 W3v2 in a small sealed box and it is bridged to 2 channels of the amp (forgive me if I state the obvious..I'm still learning car audio) while I still have all 4 factory 6x8 speakers running off the other two channels. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but my factory speakers are running at 2 ohms instead of 4 correct? I figure each one is getting about 37 watts of power which is about all they will handle while the sub is getting 150watts. The sub sounds fabulous and that is with the gain turned very low. Now here is where you all come in. I am going to upgrade my front and back speakers and want to know what will give me great highs and mids. The factory speakers are clearly overmatched by the sub so I need something that will fill the obvious void I have in my system. If I replace the factory speakers with new speakers will I be making a HUGE improvement or will it be slight? If I spend the cash I want to be amazed immediately and know that my money could not have been spent any better. Also something else I have thought about is the power the sub is receiving. JL lists optium juice for the sub being about 300w. Will I be able to evoke much better performance from the sub by increasing its power? What I had in mind was getting another amp and running the sub on the one amp and using the 300/4 to power the fronts and backs. Am I on the right track? I'm trying to do this thing right but I'd really like to know what is best for me to do. Also I have read a lot of threads concerning oval vs. round speakers and really can't make up my mind. I know that components are ideal but they're so dang expensive. One of the local car audio shops here says that I should get the 6x8's because they will provide the best seal. I know that there are adapter kits out to use a 6.5 etc..... all of this is making my brain hurt. HELP!!
 

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correct, you are running the speakers at 2 ohm, at about 13.8 volts input (pretty much the norm that you get with a regular stock alt, wiring, and battery) the 300/4 should put out about 100 watts rms x4 @ 2 ohm so it's closer to 50 watts per speaker that you should be getting. your sub should be getting about 210 watts bridged @ 4 ohm. these were results from tests that someone did and should be prettty acruate. good companies underate their amps by a little like jl. but anyway. how much are you looking to spend for speakers? if you wanted to run componets on that amp you won't notice anything different than if you were using a quality 6x8. but if you can get about 100-150 watts to them a peice they'd shine. you don't have to spend alot to get some nice componets, cdt cl61a's are amazing for $150 shipped at www.thezeb.com . but i don't know if you want to do that, i don't think they are worth the money unless you add some sort of eq/sound processor to your system, mine needed alot of help with the eq. you don't have an aftermarket hu so you only have two controls, bas and treb, that just wouldn't cut it. i suggest round speakers though, check http://www.rangerpowersports.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=115112 for some reading on that. on less than 50 watts, going form stock to aftermarket, the difference you'd notice would be in the high end of the audio spectrum, it would clear things up alot. for a real cheap but good for the price upgrade look at cdt cl-6x's from www.thezeb.com for $45 a pair shipped. for a little better quality speakers look at focal, infinity, and some polks. focals are the best of those 3 by far thoguh, but they are also more expensive. answer me this what kind of music do you listen to? if you listen to rap don't bother getting anything real nice upfront because there are rarely any highs. if you listen to rock or anything with alot going on at once then i'd suggest a little more power up front. this can be done by leaving the 300/4 on rear speakers and your sub and then getting a new amp for the front (for bout $100 shipped it can be done) and then get those componets although it's more expensive. or you can sell taht 300/4 and get a new amp to handle everything or 2 amps to handle everything for slightly a little more money than what you could sell that amp for if it's in good condition. what kind of budget are you working with? there are alot of possibilities and options so that would help find the right one. and also, what do you mean by "Will I be able to evoke much better performance from the sub by increasing its power?"? by evoke do you mean louder? clearer? tighter? etc

- Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #3
"Will I be able to evoke much better performance from the sub by increasing its power?"? by evoke do you mean louder? clearer? tighter? etc
All of those words describe what I want out of the sub. It's great right now. I mainly listen to rock and love full mids and the high highs that come with that that kind of music. If somone hits a snare I want it to sound like a snare and not a tap in my door. I listen to rap too but rock far outweighs rap in my cd collection. The blaupunkt has a built in eq that does a rather nice job but of course there are always bigger and better hu out there. I went with the blau because it preserves the stock look of my car and it's likely to be there in the morning when I wake up! As far as my budget goes I'm trying to fit around $350-$400 more into it and be done with it. Leaving the amp on the sub and then running the back two speakers with it is a great idea. This would allow me to go with an amp to run my fronts. I really prefer not to sell this amp because I got a great deal on a brand new one from an authorized dealer so I have the warranty from JL on it. I know JL makes a 500/5 but for that kind of money I could have gone with a different company. I hope all of this is making sense. So maybe my thinking is a nice set of 6x8 in the back and then some good round ones up front? Opinions!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The sub is in a small sealed box. Something pre-fab but it seems to work well. I can tell you that the gain is down really low. How will I know what at what ohm rate it is being pushed?
 

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first of all, a common thing that people do is mistake the gain for volume. all it does is match the amp's input to the signal voltage coming through the rca's. read "Interactive Input Sensitivity (“Gain”) Setting Tutorial" at http://www.jlaudio.com/tutorials/index.html# and http://www.bcae1.com/gaincon2.htm and http://www.bcae1.com/settinggainswithscope.htm . you should set them with an oscilloscope but they are expensive so you can do it by ear.

next..the ohm load depends on the driver (aka speaker), DVC (single voice coil) drivers don't have as many wiring options as DVC (dual voice coil) drivers, they cost the same but DVC subs have two sets (pos and neg) of connecters on the back that yeild different ohm loads depening on if they are wired in directly to one channel, a series or parallel or comobnations of both. the easiest thing to do is use http://www.rockfordfosgate.com/rftech/wiringwizard/ . most DVC drivers are 4 ohm x 2 but jl has dual 2, 4, and 6 ohm speakers. look at http://www.jlaudio.com/tutorials/wiring/index.html also. this can be useful too: http://www.jlaudio.com/tutorials/dvc/index.html . most 2 channel amps can handle a 2 ohm load in stereo (remember, stereo=2 channel) but only a 4 ohm load when in mono (bridged) because, in theory, bridging two channels willl quadruple the power output comapred to a single channel @ 4 ohm but that means you also get moer current flowing through the amp which means more heat, which can fry the circuits. so 99.9% of two channel amps can only handle 4 ohm mono. and by the way, i say in theory because the driver will only see about 3/4 of what it should be because the other 1/4 is lost as heat (i think it's lost as heat, someone correct me if i am wrong, but i know that your driver only sees 3 times the power when in mono). so lets say you have an amp that does 25 watts RMS x 2 @ 4 ohm, when in mono (bridged) it will put out about 75 watts x 1 @ 4 ohm.

i am trying to find some accurate specs on that amp and i am getting confused as hell, i'd drop them an email and ask them what you should be getting at 13.8 volts input with one channel bridged at 4 ohm and the other two stereo at 4 ohm. see what they say. then i can help you more.

- Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What do you think about me getting a second amp and running the sub off of that and using the 4 channel amp to run my front and back speakers? Also I'll dig through the manual and see what I can find. I called up a shop here in town and they said that the front and back speakers are running 2 ohm stereo. Now my question is this. What is the rule for running speakers? Is it better to run them at 2 ohm or 4 ohm? I'm going to do a lot of reading on the links you posted so I'll know exactly what you're talking about!
 

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oh yeah sorry, i forgot you had them wired up for 2 ohm, very smart thinking by the way. i have a couple ideas but they all seem to have problems. you could do what you were asking about but then i don't know if that would be enough to run the front. it would be about 75 watts, it would be better but not enough to get the most out of componets but probably enough if you wanted to get some nicer coaxial speakers for the front. the other idea i had was to run the fronts bridged on taht 300/4 and then get a 4 channel amp to run the fronts and rears for about $185 shipped. or you could get an amp for about $130 shipped to run just the sub and then run the rears off the hu. but bridging the 300/4 would be a little too much power for the cl-61a's so you'd have to get the next version up which is the hd series, the cf (cardon fiber) ones which are $200 shipped. so yeah..for something more basic i think you'd be fine with what your thinking about. i'd probably go ahead and do that unless you are willing to pay more. i'd say look at the USX2150 for $150 fromt thezeb.com but i'm not sure what ohm subs yours are. are they dual 2, 4, or 6 ohm? it's pretty important.

- Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't know off the top of my head what the sub is. I'm going to check into it. Thanks for all of the input! I know for sure I'm going to need a new amp...the question is which one to get. I'll look into some speakers and post some of what seems to be in my price range and hope for some feedback. Soundstream and US Acoustics are great amps for good prices right? Are there any other amps around $250 that you would recommend. I don't plan to go to a 2 sub system as the 1 delivers all the bass I need. Should I still consider at least a 2 channel or is a 4 channel a better idea to maximize options.
 

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well if you just wanted a sub amp the USX2150 does over 450 watts RMS x 1 @ 4 ohm. i looked on jl's site and it looks like that sub can handle that much power but make sure to keep the gains set properly or below where they should be, you need have 0 distorition. you are going to need to get another amp kit too, walmart has a 4 gauge 4 channel kit for $25, not the greatest quality but it works, you'd need differnt connectors though, the terminal connectors suck on it, but you can get some from thezeb.com for $4 shipped, avionixx has some really nice amps, http://avionixxusa.com/ep/products.htm, i own the 400.2, it powers my componets at 125 watts a peice, it does 400 watts RMS x 1 @ 4 ohm though, it's $200 shipped. here's an interesting idea. if your sub is DVC 4 ohm you could run your amp bridged so that you have two channels and then hook one channel to each voice coil, you'd be getting about 430 watts to your sub and if you picked up the 400.2 you can run the right side speakers on one channel like you are doing now for a 2 ohm load and then the other side the same thing so you'd be getting 100 watts for every speaker since the amp does 200 watts RMS x 2 @ 2 ohm. but you HAVE to make sure the gains are set the same on the 300/4 because if they aren't you can damage or shorten the life of your sub. you may also want to add a little bracing in the box also if it's possible. you could make it alot simpliar and not amp the rear speakers, i recommend that because rear speakers can ruin your imaging. imaging is where your brain percieves the sound coming from, you want it between the dashboard between the speakers, infront of you, and high. it will sound like a concert, the sound will come from infront of you, you don't want it coming from the rear. imaging is mostly determined on pathlengths, if you have rear speakers the pathlength of the sound coming to your ear can actualy be loser to the rear speakers so your imaging will be behind you. the best tihng to do it not runn rear speakers or runn rear speakers that are attenuated so they aren't as loud and won't mess up your imaging. this is why people use kick panels, it brings the speakers out farther so that the difference between pathlngths of the right and left speakers are ery little. but it's up to you if you want to keep them.

- Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hrmm I've thought about disconnecting the rear speakers and just running the fronts and the sub but where the heck are my mids gonna come from? Do components do the highs and mids? I suppose I'm just associating them more for the highs than the mids. Will a nice set of components sound better than a nice set of 6x8? Also what about passengers who ride in the back seat? Shouldn't I have something to fill in? Even if it's the stock speakers?
 

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for the passenger you can either say screw em' or what you can do is hook them to the hu and fade to the front a good amount, this attenuates or reduces the sound coming form them so that you can't hear them but your passengers can. you can keep the stock speakers for that. some hu's will actualy your mids are covered down to 60hz with those cdt cl-61a's. most of the time you play your subs at 80 hz and below. i'd set the crossover point at about 65hz or 70hz on the amps. you want them at the same point, don't overlap because it can cause cancelation between the sound waves so you'd lose bass. if you give the speakers enough power they will cover the mids fine. but now that i look at thezeb.com recently they are out of stock and only have the CL-61T which have a titanium dome instead of silk. the differnce is mainly on and off axis reponse. on axis means the driver is on axis or pointed on a direct path to you, off axis is when they aren't on a direct path. generally, silks are great for when you have kick panels or have the tweeters mounted so that they are on-axis with you becuase they are clearer and more detailed. generally, titaniums are usualy better if you can't put them on-axis with you if you have them mounted in the door panel or sometihng like that. off-axis silks usualy sound weak and quiet while on-axis titaniums can sound harsh to the ear. i personally like silks better, i think they sound better for rock and metal. i have them mounted on-axis in the kicks though. if you wanted silks you could go with the high definition seires for $200 shipped, the HD-62EF can also handle alot more power (around 180 watts RMs is recomended). then you could run the 300/4 birdged to each set for 210 watts and then get an amp for the sub. maybe that us acoustics one i was talking about for $150 shipped. this might be a little too expensive, let me know if you think so. just trying to give you all the options i can think of.

- Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #13
All of that sounds really good. I'll check into the titanium cdt cl's. I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to get a new amp for the sub. You've been very helpful and I appreciate it. I think I'll probably bridge the 300/4 for the fronts and use the hu to drive the rears. Great input. I hope it all turns out great. I'm sure everything is going to be mounted in the doors so I suppose those titaniums are looking to be a great deal. I'll do some more research and let ya know what I decide to go with!
 
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