Speaker upgrade - Alpine

conaero

Forum Owner
Messages
29,425
Well, after upgrading the head unit to a much more powerful Becker Grand Prix, it was apparent that the speakers were just not up to the job.

Expecting the worse I started to strip the interior apart and see what Fiat parts bin speakers I had, even though my car has the upgraded Auditorium package. To be fair, the fronts were not too bad, but the mids and rears were, well to be kind, pants.

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I upgraded to Alpines and cost me £200 for the parts, the fronts were changed to similar compnonants with separate tweeter but with cross overs. The mids were changed for a 2 way coax, as where the rears:

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I also used some Dynamat acoustic material and worth every penny:

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Now the car thumps like a good'en, absolutely noticeable and the speakers that have benefited the most are the mids, its so clear and thumping, not the muffled base it used to be.

New speakers sizes were:
Front: 6.5" base plus tweater, bonded into the origional grille so looks 100% stock plus crossovers
Mid: 5x7" 2 way coax
Rear: 5.25" 2 way coax

All went straight in with no cutting or adapting. I cut the original speaker multi plugs and crimped new fitting on, simples! The hole for the mids is too small, but using the Dynamat makes a snug, non sound leak fit.

Here are some links to removing the panels for fitment:

Door panels:
http://www.sportsmaserati.co.uk/showthread.php/348-4200-GranSport-Doorcard-Removal

Rear panels:
http://www.sportsmaserati.co.uk/showthread.php/979-Passneger-rear-quarter-panel-trim-removal

Rear shelf:
http://www.sportsmaserati.co.uk/showthread.php/351-Rear-Parcel-Shelf-removal
 
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lozcb

New Member
Messages
9,099
Way to go Matty , i'll be doing the same soon but doubt it will be before Le mans , just had the 4200 out for a spin and finally booked it in for the front and rear bumpers , it'll be all done for when i get back , think i might use the 4200 for the llandow trackday still seems so much more torquier than the gransport , no really it does , aggressive gear changes to die for ,had the **** right out twice on the roundabouts brought all those smiles back to me once again , kin ace , but it will definately be up forasle when i get back from Le Mans gonner get started on another project soon as

regards loz
 

Andyk

Member
Messages
51,317
It shouldn't feel more toquier Loz. Thats really strange but then I suppose everycar is different.
 

Nando

Junior Member
Messages
31
Hi Conaero -

Looking to blatantly copy your install minus the rear shelf. Before I order the kit, is there anything else I need apart from the speakers and dynamat (plus the mandatory patience and good fortune)? This will be replacing the speakers in my 4200 with Infortainment.

Seem to be some good deals around: fronts are £80 and mids are £25.

Also - thanks for the invaluable how to take your car apart guides.

Thanks
Ryan
 

conaero

Forum Owner
Messages
29,425
Well I don't know how powerful the 4200 infotainment is.

The only tricky bit are the mids. The hole is not big enough to take the new speaker. But all you do is pack with the Dynamat then it seals. You will see what I mean when you have it in bits.

You also have to cut the front tweeters from their grills then bond the new tweeters in. I used black mastic but a hot glue gun would probably be a better way of doing it.

Good luck.
 

Nando

Junior Member
Messages
31
Well I don't know how powerful the 4200 infotainment is.
My bad - I actually have something called Info Centre - big old unit in my 4200 CC. Comes with Sat Nav, radio, CD and amp (I think in the armrest). The manual doesn't offer any information on what power it pushes out.

Also, when you connected the fronts up - did you take the speaker wire feeding the original 6.5" and put that into the crossover, then feed the new 6.5" and tweeter from there? In effect making the wiring feeding the original tweeter redundant?

Thanks for the tips - much appreciated.
 
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conaero

Forum Owner
Messages
29,425
The crossover sits between the woofer and tweeter, so I guess I must have rewired it.
 

MAF260

Centenary Club
Messages
6,659
Nando - if there is separate factory wiring to the woofer and tweeter, it may suggest a factory crossover is installed somewhere. Trace the wiring back as far as you can to see. If you can't find anything and it disappears into the loom somewhere then use the cable which runs to the factory woofer as your primary input. This cable should go into the crossover to feed the sound from the head unit. Then connect the woofer and the tweeter from the separate terminals on the crossover and check to see if it sounds right before installing the speakers in the doors. One way of checking the crossover is doing it's job correctly is to connect just the woofer - no high frequency sounds should come from it. Then do the same with the tweeter only - check only high frequency sounds are playing. Assuming this is all OK you should be good to put everything back together. If you have some Dynamat and want even better sound then consider using it inside the door (attached to the inside/back of the door skin) to deaden the cavity which will produce better bass from the front drivers.

If you want any more audio advice please let me know - I've built quite a few systems in my time!
 

Nando

Junior Member
Messages
31
Thanks for advice Matt and MAF260.

Though I'd offer an update on where I've got to...
So I bought some alternative speakers based on good reviews and shop advice - some Focal PS 165 for the doors and Focal 570 CA1 for the rear passenger. At the time this felt like a good, reasonable decision... However, my inexperience came to light pretty quickly when I came round to fitting.

I started with the rears, removed the panels easily, and started to work on the install - immediately discovering that the Focal 570 CA1 were much bigger than the existing openings allowed. I had to cut the inner skin (and fingers!) and re-drill mounting holes. Fitted Dynamat, bolted in speakers and had to trim the plastic moulding on the reverse of the speaker grille. As the overall speaker was bigger, I filled the gap between speaker and panel with some high density foam - to channel the sound through the grille. Learning from the first speaker, the other side went in in half the time.

Moving onto the fronts, I faced further challenges. Tweeters went in easily - I popped the old units out, cut the actual speaker away from the grille and mounted the new speaker on top. Finished off with some black nappa leather to hide old glue/plastic and be more in-keeping with the doorcards. Front woofers mounted OK but I bought some MDF rings from ebay to give a full, flat mounting surface. The main problem with the old mounting is there are large air gaps between the front and back of the speaker. Whilst the rings help, I will look to fix this with some clever use of foam - I know it wont be perfect but better than it currently is. The MDF ring also increased the available mounting depth - there is a vertical bar that sits just behind the speaker. However, because I've had to add the spacer, the original grille no longer fits so I will have to thing about fitting the Focal ones at a later date.

How do they sound? The rears are very good and a vast improvement over the original. They carry much more bass and you can 'feel' the music. They fronts need more work - if I use the fader and move all the sound to the front, there is no bass. This may be due to the gaps between front and back of speaker but is probably more likely to be linked to the fact I haven't installed the accompanying crossovers. From reading other posts on other forums, crossovers have confused the NIT and made it think there more speakers than there are and causing bigger issues - unit failure. I can't afford to replace the unit!

Does anyone have any views on installing (or not) the crossovers?

In closing, the sound is significantly better than it was and I would recommend changing the OEM speakers. It's also a good way to learn a bit more about the car. If I could retrace my steps, I would have bought speakers more closely sized to the originals to avoid the time-consuming cutting of inner skin.

Cheers
Ryan
 

conaero

Forum Owner
Messages
29,425
Well done Ryan, what did you do with the head unit, persist with it or change it. I upgraded to the Becker GP and that made a world of difference. The OEM Becker is rubbish, no guts.

Your issue with the front speakers are not the speakers itself but more so the cavities. Some cars, like the Alfa GTV, just don't sound good, no matter what you through at them, the Maser is the same I feel with the door cards. I don't know what the answer is, but I would start with trying Dynamat and trying to put some sort or cavity behind the door woofers. I am no expert so maybe you should take some advice on the matter.
 

MAF260

Centenary Club
Messages
6,659
Sounds like you're making progress, Ryan. From your description there are a couple of reasons why you're not getting any bass from the fronts - no crossover means that the woofer which is built to only handle certain frequencies is being instructed by the head unit to deliver across the whole range (same with the tweeter, but high range only). It's therefore taking on too much work and the sound will be confused at best. Try fitting the crossovers to see if it makes any difference - it should make some. Most importantly it sounds like the woofers need improved mounting to ensure they work properly. MDF rings are a good start, but you need to seal the speaker within an enclosure as much as possible to get the best from it. If it flaps about then the bass will be lost. What are the MDF rings mounted to? If there's air around the speaker you need to find a way to seal it - foam won't help as it's porous. Foam is used in some audio installations to damp the boominess of bass, but won't help deliver it. If you can find a way to seal the speaker's enclosure better (build a small box/cabinet around it, or perhaps double up the MDF rings?) you will get better performance.
The head unit in the 4200 is also very restricting, so your efforts will be limited by this. My Alfa GT had the BOSE speaker/amp upgrade fitted as standard and it's rubbish. I ripped out the front speakers and changed them for Infinity components (mounted in MDF etc.) and the difference was remarkable. This weekend I also chucked the factory Blaupunkt/BOSE head unit out and fitted a Pioneer double DIN touch screen head unit. The difference is night and day! I'm still going to take out the BOSE subwoofer as that's also appalling, just need to build an enclosure for a replacement sub that doesn't intrude into the boot too much!
 

Nando

Junior Member
Messages
31
Matt - had to stick with std head unit since I have a 4200 which has the integrated unit in the armrest and screen in dash. Definitely more flexibility with the GS since it utilises a regular head unit.

MAF260 - I thought, perhaps naively, that there would be a crossover up the loom or built into the amp. There must be something in place to drive the OEM 2 way setup - or not??? My thinking was switching out the speakers would be a like-for-like swap. The speakers thump and move but the sounds isn't anywhere near where it should be.

Found these on the interweb and perhaps stiffened with fibre glass may be the answer:
http://www.designengineering.com/files/pdfs/boommat/baffles-chart.pdf
 

MAF260

Centenary Club
Messages
6,659
Have a look at the tweeters you've removed and the factory wiring - often manufacturers will simply place a couple of in-line resistors in the speaker cable running to the tweeter to ensure it only handles high frequencies and leave the woofer to handle all frequencies. I'd still suggest that you install your crossovers as I think it will make the most difference.
Those pods you've found are less for dynamic sound and more for protection, but if they're inexpensive you could cut the bottom out of them so that the rear of the speaker can fire into the door cavity. You want the deadest (is that a word?) platform to mount your speakers to in order to allow the bass to be most effective - MDF and fibreglass are the most commonly used materials in car installations.
 

Hedgetrimmer

Junior Member
Messages
145
Many thanks for the excellent write up and the link to the installation photo's. I am going to replace my fronts with some Hertz 170.3 17cm speakers which are designed to fit in smaller spaces without compromising sound.

Does anyone know where to fit the speaker crossovers in the front? Is it possible to find a mounting point on the door itself with the door card off or does it need to be fitted behind the dash and run cables to the door?
 

dunnah01

Member
Messages
585
There's room inside the doors. I have them fitted in mine although I don't use them anymore as I replaced the Alpine components with Focal full range. They're bonded to the outer door panel with double sided foam pads. You may need to seal them as water can get into the door quite easily and will kill a crossover fairly quickly.
 

Nando

Junior Member
Messages
31
Just put my crossovers in today.

I put mine behind the speakers attached to the inside of the door skin. Gorilla tape, padded tape and Velcro were my chosen weapons to hold in place. Had the doorcards off but you could install them through the speaker opening. Doorcards had to come off as I wanted to route the tweeter cable cleanly.

The only other location to install is in the opposite end to the speaker because of the window regulator and how the glass drops. I chose not to do this as it means taking off the doorcards to tinker at a later date.