UPDATE : New Equipment Installed.
Yep, I sourced all the required equipment from a friend (his father is in this business) after auditioning them thoroughly. This time I wanted a laid back, crisp and clear SQ setup as opposed to the previous SQL setup, wherein the Infinity 120.9w and JBL GTO949 went extra loud on bass fading out the speakers. Read on! Selection, Audition and Decision :
An old friend offered 70k for my previous equipment (except damping, which couldn't be removed neatly) and with my heart saying that this is a good price, I accepted. The install (in his Polo Trendline) and removal (from my Swift Vxi) was planned the next day. Sadly the installer didn't have branded wiring kits or RCAs available and the install couldn't be completed. But as our cars were stripped off already, I decided to give away my wiring kit for 2k. So the only thing (ICE related) that was left in my car was the Dynamat damping. The budget was set at Rs. 1 Lac, including the 72k I got for items originally worth ~80k (which is not a bad deal).
I had been using 1DIN units till now and was satisfied with their function over form approach. This time I wanted to go for a powerful (future-proof) 1DIN and the only affordable and appraised one I could find was the Pioneer 80PRS, which at ~20k wasn't in my budget. Searching around the internet for options, I found this Kenwood DPX 5130BT - it has all the required features at a reasonable price. I decided on this Kenwood 2DIN as I wanted a change from the JVCs and Pioneers I had used.
I had JBL MS62C components at front in the previous setup. They were clear and deep, but very laid back. The His' weren't sharp and the Mids' weren't lively. I wanted something sharper and active sounding this time and had to choose from Hertz, Infinity and Rainbow. I didn't like Rainbow's sound signature (not smooth or pleasing to thr ears at all) and Infinity has an SPL oriented loud sound. Auditioned the Hertz also and I had a winner. The HSK 165 were active, crisp and sharp - which was perfectly what I wanted. The sound was totally SQ oriented, provided the tweeter was attached in 0 terminal of the crossover.
In the previous setup, I had the legendary JBL GTO949 installed on a flimsy tray. The bass was nice as compared to speaker standards but this combination (with Infinity 120.9w in the boot) was very overpowering at high volumes. The laid back components at the front were dissapearing at times. So I decided to go for 6.5" coaxials in the doors, which would be lesser on bass but complete the soundstage. Auditioned the Hertz, Infinity and Bpaupunkt but had to ultimately go in for the Hertz as I believe in having the same speaker brand for the front and rear. The choice was ECX 165.55 - Energy Series coaxial speakers.
Amplifier 1 (Speakers)
Finding the correct amplifier was a tedious task. An audition was not required and there started my online search. The front components required 125w RMS while the rear coaxials needed 75w RMS, all at 4 Ohms. Finding a 75w amplifier was easy but it would not feed my components nicely. After lots of researched, settled for the trusted JBL GTO 1004 - which puts out 100w RMS to each channel. Going for a more powerful amplifier would have meant crossing the budget.
Earlier I had second thoughts on adding a subwoofer, as the Infinity 120.9w I had bought earlier keeping SQ in mind turned out to be more SQL type. I didn't specifically look out for SQ subwoofer this time but wanted something that would sound sweet to the ears. Something that would fire only on certain beats and would merge with the soundstage for rest of the time. I auditioned JBL and Pioneer first. JBL subwoofers produced decent bass (for the price) and Pioneer ones produced just bass - which was very boomy, and not at all good for long diratiom hearing. I had set my budget for this at 15k tops, but didn't have much choices except Kicker, Hertz and Infinity 120.9w which I already had. Finally auditioned the Polk MM Series subwoofer and fell for it. Though out of budget, it sounded exactly how I wanted it to be - sufficiently loud, yet pleasing, more SQ than SQL. Do note that all these auditions were with 0.75 Cu Ft. local sealed boxes and I was yet to see the Polk 1240 DVC perform at its full potential.
Amplifier 2 (Subwoofer)
This decision was pretty simple. I had made my mind for the new series of amplifiers from Pioneer this time. GM D8601 and GM D9601 were shortlisted, which were both under budget and Class D Mono amplifiers (means they would run 2 Ohms DVC with ease). The GM D8601 was more than enough for running my Polk subwiofer, which required 470w RMS.
I had used Scosche RCAs and JBL wiring in my previous setup. For a change, I went for Focal 4 AWG wiring kit this time. I sourced 2 pieces (1 for each amplifier) of the PK21 kit which also gave me 20 metres of speaker wire per kit. For the subwoofer, I went for Kicker 12AWG cable which costed around 800 bucks.
I already had Dynamat damping sheets from the previous install. The sheets could not ebe removed (and reused) without damaging them and I decided to keep them. Thankfully I had used the entire pack on the inner panels of the door pad. The outer panels (visible after opening doorpad) were not damped and created quite a stir on deep basslines. I was out of budget by this time and decided to go for Dampmat damping, which I pulled off eBay.in as they were not available in stock with many dealers. Stinger, XScorpion and Noisekill were the other brands I noted but Dampmat had the best reviews (in VFM
terms) of all of these.
Spacers, Couplers, Connectors and MDF Items
I gave away my water guard spacers which were of really great quality to my friend, which were bought from Punjab. I had high hopes of getting even better quality spacers, but after trying with lots of sellers in Delhi, I couldn't find similar quality. Couplers that were installed earlier during the install were used ones, as my seller didn't have new ones in stock. Decided to go for new couplers and sourced them from eBay.in from a seller from Punjab. Decided to get 0.75" MDF spacers made with utmost care from an installer (fabricator) in Faridabad. Also had to get subwoofer box and MDF board (tray) to place the amplifiers. Subwoofer box designing needed some calculations. I wanted tighter bass instead of deeper bass, and the fabricator suggested a 1.1 Cu Ft. box (internal dimension) instead of the recommended 1.3 Cu Ft. and I went ahead with it. The board and box were covered in a carpet (matching my boot carpet) and I was relieved, all work was finally complete and installation, my favourite part, was next. Final Equipment :
Kenwood DPX 5130BT - Rs. 13990
Hertz HSK 165 - Rs. 14900
Hertz ECX 165.5 - Rs. 7490
JBL GTO 1004 - Rs. 11900
Pioneer GM D8601 - Rs. 14990
Polk Audio MM1240 DVC - Rs. 17990
Dampmat Damping Bulk Pack (36 Sq. Ft.) - Rs. 10650
Dynamat Damping Bulk Pack (36 Sq. Ft. - Already there (Cost 15k)
Focal PK21 x 2 - Rs. 9980
12AWG Wire - Rs. 800
Spacers, Couplers, Connectors - Rs. 2000
MDF Plank for Amplifiers - Rs. 800
Subwoofer Box - Rs. 2000
Total - Rs. ~107490 (excluding Dynamat Damping worth 15k) Installation :
As per my knowledge, the car interior was going to be stripped off the fourth time. Obviously, many rattles had crept in and the car could put a rattlesnake to shame on bad roads. I wasn't very comfortable in opening the centre console on my own as I hadn't done this before. But I couldn't tolerate the inexperienced installers prying the panels open and fitting them back carelessly. I got the centre console opened from Faridabad and went to a friend's place to complete the rest of the install myself. We begin the install at 11.30 AM by opening the door panels, interior bits and pieces and removing the rear seat. Laying down the wires was easy, and then I began damping the front doors while my friend was occupied with the rear doors and boot lid. Speakers were fitted into the doorpads (and spacers) and crossovers (for front components) were bolted on a metal strip (used for attaching horns) to the door frame securely. I didn't have skills to flush mount the speakers on the A Pillar or ORVM interior trim and thus fitted it with 3M double-sided tape on the dashboard corners. The old parcel tray, made of cardboard-like material (which I had kept safely), was fitted. We put in lots of foam (got it from a furniture shop) while closing the boot lid and doorpads and it did make a lot of difference in cabin insulation (after 2 layers of damping) and rattles. The MDF plank (board) was bolted on to the rear seat back and holes were drilled on it to route the wires neatly. Amplifiers were mounted on the plank and the subwoofer was placed in the boot. The amplifier wiring was re-checked and the subwoofer coils were wired to produce a 2 Ohm load to the amplifier. Last step, connect the battery terminal and fire up the setup. I realised that the subwoofer box would move around on hard cornering and maybe topple over, yet the 1.3 Petrol is that fast!
Went to a nearby ICE shop and got 2 straps (sold with basstubes for securing them on boot floor) and secured the subwoofer box with the straps (drilled on MDF plank). Started fiddling with the settings and tuned the setup with my friend's help. Rohan, if you are reading this, thank you for managing to sit for 30 minutes in what was left of the Swift's already cramped boot. The install ended at around 9.30 PM, which included 3 hours for damping and wiring and 2 hours of break in between. Gave the car for a wash (and interior wipe) the next morning and set off to Gurgaon with the tunes bumping with a weird grin on my face. Final Result :
The setup sounds sweet at low volumes and the Hertz' have a crisp and lively aura. The rear fills are just perfect and blend in well with the front components, giving a balanced sound without touching the FADER settings. The HU looks good and functions equally well, but the bluetooth pairing takes a bit of time. At the lower half part of the volume, the system sounds very neat and energetic. The subwoofer blends in nicely and has a fast and hard response time. Amplifiers work fine and do not overheat. The setup is still in the break-in phase and will need 60-70 hours of running to perform well. For now, I haven't raised the volume but listen to a variety of genres, and it never fails to impress. I have achieved what I was looking for, an SQ setup that can go sufficiently loud and still remains clear and crisp. Now I can assume that there would be no need to upgrade for 4-5 years. System Highlights :
1. The Pioneer GM D8601 gives out 500w RMS (1000w Max) of power to run the Polk MM1240 DVC at 2 Ohms. This Class D amplifier is stable upto 1 Ohm and we can assume it is future proof.
2. The JBL GTO1004 gives out 100w RMS at 4 Ohm (and can give 150w RMS at 2 Ohm) to each channel and gets the LPF and HPF controls to fine tune the speakers. It is a Class AB amplifier and does heat up faster than the Pioneer Class D, but it is still under control.
3. The Hertz HSK165 can handle 125w RMS (and 250w Max) power at 4 Ohm, with sensitivity of 92 dB. This set comes with HT25 Neodymium tweeters and HV woofers, which go as low as 40Hz.
4. The Hertz ECX165.5 coaxials can handle 70w RMS (and 210w Max) power at 4 Ohm, with 94 dB sensitivity. These coaxials also come with Neodymium tweeter magnet and Pressed Paper Cone (Water resistant) and goes as low as 60Hz. The tweeter can be rotated as per the listening point.
5. The MM1240 DVC can handle 425w RMS (and 850w Max) power and performs to its capability with the Pioneer Amplifier. It is stable at 2 Ohm and has carbon composite baskets and composite cone. The voice coil is 51mm and made of copper, the DVC can be wired to produce an 8 or 2 Ohm load. The Mobile Monitor series of Polk is a very capable and efficient option for those looking at options in this price range. This one goes as low as 27Hz with a sensitivity of 88dB.
6. The total weight added to the car is around 55kg, out of which damping alone is 19kg!