Author Topic: It only took 3+ years.... but I finally got around to....  (Read 7616 times)

Offline hometheaterdoc

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It only took 3+ years.... but I finally got around to....
« on: September 09, 2011, 12:20:18 PM »
re-building the stereo system in the truck...  it's a 2003 Toyota Tundra.... I've loved the truck since the day I drove it off the lot.  It's looooong since paid for, only has 120K miles on it, and I plan to drive it into the ground many years from now....  I've had the various pieces and parts to do this forever... they've just been sitting in boxes waiting to get around to it... never seemed to have the time...  the new head unit was what finally prompted me to get off my lazy butt.. that and I damaged the tweeter on the right side moving a bunch of tools for an install and got tired of listening to only the left channel :)

I still have to replace the temporary interconnects running from the head unit to the 5 channel amplifier behind my seat with much better stuff.  I also, unfortunately, have to wait a couple more days for a replacement tweeter to arrive.  I had to order another one for the driver's side door panel.  When I was reconnecting all the power window/door lock/light wiring harness connections to put the door panel back on in the rain the other day, I managed to drop the door panel in my haste... that ripped the tweeter's speaker wire tabs clear off the driver along with the voice coil wires....  not smart to do it that way and I really wish I'd waited until the end to hook up those speaker wires instead of doing it first.....  anyways, long rambling way of saying that it's still not completely 100% just yet, but it is making tunes enough to play with the new gear and start the break-in process...  So far it's a little thin sounding... I'm hoping the new ICs and some break in improves things..

New Setup:

Pioneer DEX-P99RS head unit - finding a decent sound quality head unit was a LOT harder than you'd think... everything now is about the bells and whistles and could care less what it actually sounds like... this was the closest thing I could find that wasn't complete garbage.  The concept of .FLAC playback is lost on current manufacturer offerings.... everything is about .MP3 and apple iphone/ipod capability..  let's not even get started on high rez file playback capability...  this Pioneer head unit uses 32 bit AKM DACs for all outputs... but it can't handle above 16/44.1 input....The main reason for buying this unit is that it offers USB flash drive playback of .WAV files directly digitally connected to the DAC section of the head unit.  It also offers auto-EQ where it does full digital time alignment, frequency correction, and fully active crossover control.  No more passive crossovers in the system.  It does a measurement process of all channels like other digital EQ products out there with included microphone and sets all the crossover points, slopes, phase, time delay alignments, tames out the peaks in the response, etc...It's a fully active setup now with one amplifier channel dedicated and directly connected to each driver (2 channels for each left and right tweeter, 2 channels for each left and right midrange driver, and 1 channel for subwoofer).

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/Stage4/CD-Players/DEX-P99RS

Butler TDB-575 5 channel hybrid car amplifier - I was concerned that the claimed 75 watts per channel weren't going to be enough for the 10 inch subwoofer I'm using... never fear with BK Butler... unlike the woefully unregulated car audio world with fake promises of power output, this Butler has guts and more than enough power to play stupid loud without distortion and drive the speakers being used...  I've used Butler hybrid amps for years in my auto setups... the previous setup in this truck for the past 9 years used the TDB-2150 150W/ch amp... great stuff and very reliable... sounds great like the Butler amps do....

http://www.butleraudio.com/tdb575.php

Tweeters - Scanspeak Illuminator D3004/6020-00 in the factory tweeter locations high up on the door panels next to the door handles - I wasn't sure I was going to like these drivers... my old setup had Morel 1-1/4" neo tweeters in the kick panels down low... they were nice and warm sounding and having them so off axis meant the rolled off the top a bit which was just what the doctor ordered for my ears... it's hard to tell with only one of them working at the moment... but these Scanspeaks definitely have more detail and extension (and having them directly on axis much closer to my ears means no hiding and no rolloff at all... they're a bit tough to listen to at the moment... here's hoping that changes... time will tell I guess)... there really aren't a lot of choices for good sounding tweeters that are shallow enough to fit the narrow door panel location...

http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/soft-dome-tweeters/scanspeak-illuminator-d3004/6020-00-tweeter-textile-dome/

Midrange - Scanspeak Revelator 12M/4631G 4.5" midrange driver - again, 90% of this choice was dictated by the awful restrictions of the door woofer location in my truck... with the power window post running smack through the middle of the mounting hole, the last thing I wanted to do was fabricate all new door panels for the truck so I could put more conventional woofers in this location.  With the help of some MDF custom rings cut and shaped just right, I got about 2.25" of mounting depth and was still able to snap the factory door panels back in place.  I tried a ton of options here and finally settled on these...  early reports have these being awesome, albeit more revealing than the Audax 4" carbon fiber woofers that used to be there... again, the audax (and the oil caps used in the passive crossovers) were warmer and covered up some of the nasty sound of the mobile source in front of it... the scanspeak revelators aren't so forgiving...  because of the active crossover setup, I do like being able to low-pass cross these over to the subwoofer with ease and not overtax them... doing a passive three way crossover in the old setup with big oil caps and big inductors to cross so low was a challenge to say the least......

http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/approx-4-midrange/scanspeak-revelator-12m/4631g-4.5-midrange/

Woofer - SB Acoustics SW26DAC76-4 10" Shallow subwoofer - I have a custom built box wedged behind the driver's seat that gives this woofer ideal air volume.  Woofer firing upwards and only about a foot and a half away from my head.  More than enough "oomph" for me in the small airspace of the truck, plus early listening shows it's fast enough to keep up with the other drivers being used.  This replaced dual 7" Usher carbon pulp woofers that were in a non-optimal box.  Much better output and the steeper crossover on the 10 inch means it doesn't have to go up into the midrange as much as the old Ushers did... which is why I had them in the first place...

http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/approx-10-subwoofers/sb-acoustics-sw26dac76-4-shallow-10-subwoofer-4-ohm/

So far, the Pioneer head unit has made this a surprisingly easy setup to do... I spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours on the old setup getting the passive crossovers right and trying to compensate for the speaker driver locations... this was a snap and offers some manual tweaking... the Scanspeak revelator midrange so far is the star of the show going surprisingly low given it's T/S parameters and still being clean out to almost 10K.... it allows for a shallow crossover to the tweeter that has a low FS to begin with.... vocals are pretty good so far, albeit not as weighty as I'm used to hearing...  overall, still too lean... we'll see how I adjust to it while it breaks in versus how much it actually changes as it breaks in... hopefully the nicer ICs help as well....definitely better than any factory setup I've heard, though...

not everything is about home audio for me anymore... unfortunately, I listen to my auto setup faaar more than my home audio setup as nowadays I spend minimum 1-2 hours every day in the truck...
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 12:29:14 PM by hometheaterdoc »
Shane Sangster
Night & Day Audio - AMR, Alpha Design Labs, AURALiC, Audeze, Bakoon, Devialet, ENIGMAcoustics, Exogal, Harbeth, iFi Audio, Lumin Music, M2Tech, PS Audio, Pure Audio, REL Acoustics Ltd, Sennheiser, Tannoy, Unison Research, WyWires & more

Offline rollo

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Re: It only took 3+ years.... but I finally got around to....
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2011, 08:29:47 AM »
 Berry berry nice Shane, enjoy


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Offline bpape

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Re: It only took 3+ years.... but I finally got around to....
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2011, 08:46:56 AM »
Nice Shane.  But....  :pics?:

 ;)
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Offline richidoo

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Re: It only took 3+ years.... but I finally got around to....
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2011, 11:41:26 AM »
I got to hear this today. Hifi on wheels!  Very different than my minivan.  Everything is brand new, and one tweeter is shut off, and Shane thinks it will need some time to break in, but even with all that it sounds great. A lot of potential there. The sub is fast and textured, and the Revelator 4" midrange drivers running up to 8kHz (to compensate for the broken tweeter) sounded delicious, no breakup! Thanks for the preview Shane.

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: It only took 3+ years.... but I finally got around to....
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2011, 04:19:21 PM »
I didn't take any photos as I was installing everything...  I'll take a couple shots tomorrow before it gets dark and post...

I put the new interconnects in place tonight... aaaaaaaaahhhhh... *much* better... the bass... oh my, the bass.... I'm going to have to re-EQ everything because it's a night and day difference.... still a touch shrill on female vocals... but 400% better and muuuuuuuch more natural sounding...  now to let everything break in a bit...  unlike home audio, you can't just run the car stuff 24/7 to speed up that process... it's going to take much longer until fully broken in....

for whatever reason, the "broken" tweeter was playing just fine after putting in new ICs this evening...  the reconstruction of the voice coil wire was tenuous at best... apparently it's decided to work for now... which is fine until the new tweeter shows up likely on Tuesday....  I got the perk of full 2 channel sound for a little bit this evening...

Shane Sangster
Night & Day Audio - AMR, Alpha Design Labs, AURALiC, Audeze, Bakoon, Devialet, ENIGMAcoustics, Exogal, Harbeth, iFi Audio, Lumin Music, M2Tech, PS Audio, Pure Audio, REL Acoustics Ltd, Sennheiser, Tannoy, Unison Research, WyWires & more

Offline Scott F.

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Re: It only took 3+ years.... but I finally got around to....
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2011, 08:27:37 AM »
...  now to let everything break in a bit...  unlike home audio, you can't just run the car stuff 24/7 to speed up that process... it's going to take much longer until fully broken in....


Shane,

It's going to take a looooong time to break in completely. I've got a very similar system in my hooptie. I did the Pioneer AVH-P5200BT as a head unit (mainly because of the BT phone and Nav integration). I went with the Bulter 475 and the Polk SR-6500s and a pair of Adire Shiva 12s (sealed) in the trunk. It took almost 6 months for this system to finally settle down (I drive a minimum of 2 hours/day 5 days/week).

Now that the system has fully run in, WOW :shock: My only complaint, and it's not much of one, is that the Pioneer head unit only does 320kbit MP3s. I can do redbook CDs and DVDAs which sound phenomenal but I really wanted to do lossless through the head unit via an iPod or some other player. I have to say, 320 doesn't sound too bad all in all. A little more detail would give better depth and placement but then again, it's a car so I can't be too picky.

It's funny you posted this, I'm in the middle of writing a 12 volt audio article for EnjoyTheMusic. I've been into 12 volt since the 70s. This by FAR is the best system I've had in a car. I personally think the biggest reason is the Butler amp.

So did you upgrade the stock tubes and go with some cool NOS in the butler? I did. I went with the JAN Sylvania 6SN7s. Very nice upgrade over the EHs.

.....oh, and the bass....crushing.....simply crushing :dj:
....to the point you can feel your hair move on your head  :thumb:
My brain hurts.....

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: It only took 3+ years.... but I finally got around to....
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2011, 11:13:23 AM »
I took some photos a while back... I'll post them if I can ever remember to take the memory card out of the camera and upload them :)

Things are starting to improve quite a bit with more play time...  the custom JPS Labs interconnects really took it to another level!! 

I'm still not sure about the subwoofer driver.... it's fantastic 95% of the time... but when I changed the active crossover settings up for it to take more load up higher and ease off the little 4 inch revelator midwoofers having to dig so deep, it's not quite as good....  I think the Morel 10 incher may be more what I'm looking for...  still may try the TDB-2150 amp I already was using bridged to run the sub.... if you push the volume on bass heavy stuff, you can tell it needs a few more watts... of course, for the sake of my hearing, I don't really need to be listening that loud anyways...

far and away that little revelator midwoofer is frickin' awesome...  there are some limitations to the system that just can't be helped given where the drivers are mounted and the physical environment of floppy truck doors without much deadening...  also, you can hear the AKM DAC sonic signature of the head unit... so there are certain frequencies that aren't the way I want them... but overall, I'm quite happy with the results so far....

Scott,

I haven't tried swapping the tubes in the units... on the home amps I did a bunch of blind tests a while back.... given that the home amps only have the tube running at about 5% of its normal plate voltage, I couldn't tell a lick of difference between tubes...  I didn't realize he was doing things differently with the mobile amps...  heck I didn't know he'd switched to 6SN7s... he used to use 6SL7s.... it's been so long since I opened up one of the home amps, I didn't know he'd changed....  may have to crack open the mobile amps and see what I can play around with....  I've got a bunch of Treasure CV181s coming for some tube amps here... I wonder if they would fit? :)
Shane Sangster
Night & Day Audio - AMR, Alpha Design Labs, AURALiC, Audeze, Bakoon, Devialet, ENIGMAcoustics, Exogal, Harbeth, iFi Audio, Lumin Music, M2Tech, PS Audio, Pure Audio, REL Acoustics Ltd, Sennheiser, Tannoy, Unison Research, WyWires & more

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: It only took 3+ years.... but I finally got around to....
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2011, 12:36:54 PM »
there are some acoustic issues that are just never going to be overcome in the space...  and I'm not 100% happy with the frequency response and tonal balance on stuff... I can definitely hear the head unit a bit too much... but compared to the other dreck out there I've listened to, it is what it is...  good sound, but not completely my cup of tea...  it's miles better than it was in some regards, and not quite what I wanted in others...  isn't that always the way? :) :(
Shane Sangster
Night & Day Audio - AMR, Alpha Design Labs, AURALiC, Audeze, Bakoon, Devialet, ENIGMAcoustics, Exogal, Harbeth, iFi Audio, Lumin Music, M2Tech, PS Audio, Pure Audio, REL Acoustics Ltd, Sennheiser, Tannoy, Unison Research, WyWires & more