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Thread: First time serious builder

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    First time serious builder

    What's up. I'm developing a build plan for my Sentra and need some pointers. I'm posting here just to say what's up and thanks for having me here. I'll post the build so far in the appropriate place.

    Actually, where do I post for that kind of advice?

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    Wave Shepherd - aka Jazzi Justin Zazzi's Avatar
    Tempe, AZ
    Join Date
    Aug 2018

    Re: First time serious builder

    Hey welcome!

    The build logs section is where many people document their builds and showcase their work. Even simple work is fun to document and follow along with, so don't feel intimidated or anything.

    The general section is a good place to make posts asking for advice or help. You can also ask for help in your build log thread but you might get a faster response or more responses in the general section.
    Measure with mics, mark with chalk, cut with torch, grind to fit, sand to finish, paint to match.
    Justin Zazzi's tuning companion for room eq wizard
    Do it for them.

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    Re: First time serious builder

    Good idea to research before you start throwing money around.

    There's a lot of information on these forums but that makes it equally tough to find if you don't know what to look for. Thankfully, this forum is a bit less plagued with the wannabe-know-it-alls who respond to every post with "didjatryta SEARCH?"

    It's usually broken up in a few ways - so please DO try to search, but it does take some effort and reading, and the bottom line with a LOT of it is this:
    Car interiors are complex acoustical places, and small spaces - full of acoustically reflective and absorbent surfaces, voids under dashes and seats, and those need to be considered.
    However - you aren't going to complete your first "serious" system and address them all. That would be the equivalent of a new student taking on a doctoral thesis paper, but that's OK.
    I'd start by planning on buying a DSP - and since this is your first, I would NOT jump straight to the often idealistic "what DSP is best" mentality.
    Same with subs. Same with speakers. You are going to find a lot of threads with people talking about "what's best" and there's two types of people starting those threads:
    1) People with a specific installation, and a specific vision/goal, looking for the best product that targets that specific thing.
    2) Newbies who just aren't yet aware of all the different dynamics at play, who still also have this singular concept of "best" in their head.
    Unfortunately- a lot of those unrealistic, or less-knowledgeable people are the ones throwing single-word brand names for suggestions, or saying something is "crap" - those are red flags, to ignore. Keep those in mind as you read. Actively.

    So I'd start like this -
    Turn off the computer. Think about what you want. Are you going to base it on a system that you've heard? That can be easier than reinventing the wheel, but still you aren't going to jump to a "utopia" system right off the bat, so aim for midgrade products, or even low-grade products that could be good enough until you learn more, then you can replace them.

    Start here: There is no "best". There is only "best" with respect to a given installation plan.
    Write down your goals. Even something general like "I want sound quality" or "I want SPL" is a simplification:

    • Some SQ guys want all the detail and a smooth response, where product could play a huge role.
    • Others prioritize SQ as three-dimensional imaging, which relies on a mastery of those acoustical issues in the interior, and speaker placement and a bunch of tricks to overcome it in a specific vehicle - and it's still hard.
    • Some SPL guys want a boom car, that gets loud on music.
    • Actual SPL competitors need to build systems that can't even play music, or they won't be competitive.

    In all the above, there's mutually exclusive variables. If there were one system that could do it all, everyone would build that.

    So let's set up some goals, and I am a fan of starting simple.

    I'd tackle it like this:
    1) Subwoofer. Because everyone starts here - in part because it's simpler. Hoffman's Iron Law rules all.
    2) SQ - what kinds of music do you want it to sound best on, and how loud? How important is imaging to you?

    For the subwoofer - it's three things - how much space are you willing to give up in the trunk or hatch, for your subwoofer? How loud do you want to get? What's your budget (and this has to factor in an amplifier as well - these all go hand-in-hand as Hoffman's Iron Law rules all. Search that. You'll see the trade-offs, and "efficiency" is all about how much amplifier you'll need to buy - that directly hits the budget.

    For the main interior speakers - focus on the front seats. Unless you are driving a limo with a divider wall, the rear passengers will hear just fine. You might want to start reading up on how having multiple interior speakers playing the same frequencies can actually interfere with each other, causing 'comb filtering' (another thing to search) and worse. Simply having rear speakers can kill your imaging. There's ways to add "rear fill" (another good thing to search) but it's an advanced topic and something that costs money to add a tiny bit of ambiance that you could save expense now and maybe (maybe!) add later. I'd avoid it to start with.

    Two way or three way could be chosen based on your need to get loud - by having dedicated midbasses and crossover points that stress the speakers less - or by a need for imaging where you might want more flexibility, and in that case you'd want a 3 way with very small "wideband" mids so you could put them up high, not that there aren't options for placement there also. And I say "set" - there are component sets that are sold, and they come packaged with a crossover, and they are all matched in efficiency so they work together. If you aren't going to go active (in today's world I'd say you could start there, but you'll want a DSP for tuning, for a "serious" system) you should definitely buy a matched set like this.
    But if you are going to go active (meaning, powering each speaker with it's own amplifier channel, and using a DSP to filter, EQ, time align, and more), that means you can buy those speakers separately - or buy a 2 way set and add a wideband of your own choosing.
    Choices - and more stuff to search for info on.

    In all cases - once we know how many channels you'll need (probably sub plus 4, or sub plus 6, depending on if you go 2 way or 3 way) you can shop for a DSP. And even here, I'd start with something like a MiniDSP as the way to get something that'll at least get you 90% of the way to "ideal" and maybe you won't ever wish for a feature that it doesn't already have, and you're even less likely to feel limited by it's capabilities. But you have to worry about "DSP tuning" - that's a topic that either you'll learn yourself, or will want to have a local shop do for you - and in that case you might want to use them to make suggestions, and might be best to buy what they sell specifically. They'll know how to tune what they sell.

    Head units used to be a topic - but that completely depends on what car you have. These days, most people use factory integration processors - and some of THOSE have DSP built in - or, use DSP that have factory integration features built in. So you'll want to search for options for your specific car - that might even lead you to a choice of DSP, and you can go from there.

    Personally, since you said "serious system", I would bet you'll start with something like:
    • Subwoofer enclosure based on your wishes for sound and loudness - need to know this before you shop for a sub. But you'll probably have a 10 or 12 and a sub amp.
    • Two way or three way set - maybe even based on what your car has factory locations for. That's not a bad starting point, then you can improve if needed - that's where "imaging" comes into play. I'd go all active, so you'll want either four or six channels of amplifier.
    • A DSP - again depending on your needs for channels, or factory integration options, that choice may make itself.

    I hope this helps you start your research.
    Last edited by geolemon; 02-28-2022 at 08:53 PM.

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    Re: First time serious builder

    ^^^^ should be a sticky somewhere.

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    Dickhead SublimeZ's Avatar
    Real Name
    Deepinthehearta, TX
    2016 Ram Lonestar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013

    Re: First time serious builder

    and geolemon has given you very sage advice...

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    Re: First time serious builder

    Hi, thanks for all the great advice. This is what's I've figured out so far.

    I have a 01 Sentra and I'm planning a system with the following:
    3 Sundown U series 10' 2 ohm 1500 RMS per
    Ported box 32hz 1.2 cube net per speaker

    Or 2 Sundown X-10 V.2 D2 10" 1500W RMS Dual 2-Ohm
    Ported box 2.0 cube per speaker
    1 Taramps 8k
    4 Fosgate 6.75 3 ways 60 RMS per
    1 Taramps 440/4 channel, 69 watts RMS channel
    4 Bzrk audio 1"Tweeters RS-T150 75 rms each
    1 Taramps 400/4 channel, 60 watts RMS per channel
    1 Clarion EQS 755 7 band 1/2 din equalizer
    Undecided on head unit

    For power I'm planning to use:
    The largest battery I can fit in the battery well under the hood
    270 amp custom alternator
    1 Limitless Lithium 12k
    Not sure what's a good brand of isolator to use

    Battery compartment is 11" x 7" x 8.25" height. Looking at the XS Power D3400 for under the hood.

    Trunk is 40" x 28" x 20" height

    Trunk opening will fit a box 33" width and 17.25" height.

    Using an online box size calculator I Arrived at the following dimensions:

    Box External Dimensions
    Width Height Depth32.00" 15.00" 21.86"
    Material Thickness0.75"
    Net Internal Volume3.60 ft3
    Tuning Frequency32 Hz
    Port Area42.00 inch2
    Port Inlet Width Height3.11" 13.50"
    Port Length22.79"

    So this is what I've figured out so far. The 3 U series subs can be wired to 1.33 ohms but the 2 x series can be wired to 1 ohm.
    What I'm not sure of is if that's enough cube for the speakers. It meets manufacturer recommendations, even a little over. But I see these guys on YouTube with these huge boxes that are way oversized for the speakers doing crazy loud stuff with the setup. Can anyone help to point me in the right direction?

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    Re: First time serious builder

    I went way into depth in your other thread-
    But start here with "This is what I want it to sound like"

    Never start with a list of equipment. Why? Because that's a little bit like buying a vehicle, then figuring out what kind of driving you want to do.
    Instead, figure out what kind of listening you want to do - then buy the car that suits that need best.

    Same with a system design:
    Start with your goal. What do you want it to sound like? How loud? Quantify that in dB if you can. What frequency range? Quantify that in an actual frequency range. Do you want it to be flat through that range, or are you OK with creating a "one note wonder" if it means it'll be 10dB louder?

    Then next - you plan the enclosure. How much space are you willing to sacrifice? How about if "bigger box" means 6dB more? 10dB more? Your tuning strategy will fall in place, if vented.

    Then - you can buy a subwoofer that is ideal for that type of enclosure. If sealed, you want something with tons of excursion. If vented, there's several specs to look for, and you definitely want to model them up before buying... using their specs... in the enclosure space you are willing to give them.

    Then next, you can shop for an amp. When you model up the subs you can see how much power it takes to push the subs to their maximum excursion - you don't want to give them more power than that.

    Then next, you can shop for the power wiring that your amp power needs have resulted in. I like building systems that require nothing more than a 1/0 gauge kit, the big-3, and a capacitor to smooth the alternator-to-battery transitions (which is ALL that capacitors are SUPPOSED to do). I'm more into spending my budget on things that make sound.

    I know it's easy to get excited and start drooling while shopping for gear - but don't do it backwards. Plan your system needs, then shop by spec to fill those needs. It actually makes the shopping more fun, to find the exact best puzzle pieces that fit your picture, rather than trying to "make things I shopped for first" work.

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