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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys
I have a little topic I need to do some research on, and would appreciate your input on this. Right off the bat, I have to admit that as much as I know a lot about car electrical/electronics stuff, I have little true knowledge about audio designs. Just never really dealt with it other than simple speaker swaps, amps add-ons.

I'm really sick and tires of the audio quality in my car. We also have a Honda Element, (which my wife usually drives), and the sound system in that car is night and day comparing to TSX. TSX audio sucks real bad, and from what I recently read about from other TSX users, most are in agreement on this.

I don't know why I never had time to look into that in the past, perhaps because of other projects, and because I wasn't driving it much. Now I drive a little more every day, so sound quality and volume would really help in those trips.

So far I upgraded the rear 6x9 with 3-way MTX TDX6903. That helped a bit, but only with base, since as we know the rear deck only handles low base in mono. Next step I wanted to take is upgrade fronts with Alpine Type S components and rear doors with coaxial Alpine Type S. However, the sound volume is not enough for me even now, and especially when I run an MP3 player connected to aux, which has an even lower volume.

So I wanted to add an amp, but I really don't have time nor energy to run wires through the car to the trunk. I wanted to do a cleaner install, with maybe replacing the stock amp behind "not an ashtray", with a more powerful one. From what I read, though, there's nothing that small to fit in, yet more powerful to replace it with. But how about getting another identical amp and just running them both in series? Would that work? And would there be enough space to fit them both one on top of another? If I can get more power out, I could then use Type R speakers, with higher RMS. If not, I'd stick with Type S, since I wouldn't need more Watts, but they have a better range of frequency response.

I also read somewhere that adding Audiocontrol, JL Cleansweep or a Audison Bit1 would somehow flatten the signal from the HU and allow amps to drive better sound? Can someone explain this a little more?
Thanks!
 

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, Regional Meet Leader, SF Bay Area
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If you could get your hands on that Mercmans harness, its a very straight forward plug and play amp bypass. If you don't want to do all the wire running to the trunk, you could run it to the bottom of the driver or passenger seat with a small footprint amp such as the alpine PDX. I reckon that the PDX would even fit underneath the dash on top of the black footwell piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hmm, good thinking, thanks, but what if I can't get my hands on that harness? I heard it's next to impossible to find them anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
wow, that Alpine PDX alone is around $300. I had something cheaper in mind...
Anyone?
 

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Hmm if you're not in a rush, those harness's pop up once every blue moon. Haha.

The Audison Bit.1 is probably gonna run you 10000$ as would their other products. Top notch though. A Rockford 3sixty.1 (or 2) or JL Cleansweep would work about the same. AFAIK I see them as an external processor, much like an Headunit, except it's hidden and you retain your stock controls... essentially an universal amp bypass. You could always attach an equalizer to it to adjust the signal.

You can get a used PDX for ~200-250$

Alas, I have another option for you.
The Zapco Symbilink system allows for a hi-level input system that allows you to essentially run it in series with the stock amp. This method can become very expensive as Zapco is running along the lines of Audison in terms of price vs quality
 

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hey man,

im into audio like a maniac! im in NJ too. depending on what part of nj you can gladly come out n check out my audio work on my car.

I currently have all my doors with component speakers, 2 additional tweeters(oem ones still hooked up as well), then 2 more components in the rear back seat armrest area. all ran by 2-2channel 1400watt amps in the trunk. all ran at 4ohms so its not overloading the amp and running efficiently.then i also have a nice 1000watt to power my sub.

not too much wiring but still extensive. i personally love doing the on the side on my spare time. now the shameless plug- give me a hand(with the easy stuff) and i charge u a fair price n ill gladly do the install. i can let you know wat you need and let you buy it, or i have a tonnnn of resources and can get them through my sources.

i suggest a nice 4channel amp something like 70-100 watt RMS per channel (i actually have my old 4channel for sale if your interested for cheap) for the doors. that will make you EXTREMELY happy. Vocals will sound greattttt!! then denending if you have base or not maybe add a small "slim" 10" sub n it will do you justice.

also million dollar question, do you have navi or no?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
wong, thanks for the extra info.

Franklin, thanks for the offer, but you're advertising to a wrong guy. Nobody works on my cars but me. Some older members here know this very well. It's not a question of inability, it's a question of time, which would be required by anyone to do the work. I don't have the time. And I have a very low budget on this. Cars are no longer on my priority list. I want to improve sound but with as little expense (money and time) as possible. That's a challenge, I realize it.

Anyone else has any ideas, please join in.

Thanks
 

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I hear you on the whole,.only working on your own car. I was the same until everyone started asking me to do smaller jobs on their cars such as audio n lighting. Now i figure if i can do it an make a few bucks than why not.

Either way i have that 4channel amp if your interested. Its an alpine vpower(wanna say its an f-250?!) N i had it before my current set up and it was great. Only to get $100 for it so its a steal. Its only about 12"x 10" so its pretty small n fits under a seat with no issues.
 

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Why not jus buy the pac device for your car for now? An If you dont like it buy a signal prcessor down the line.

As for amps. You can look at the low low end jl audio prod the J or xd? I know for a fact that the xd is smaller then the hd which is about the same size as the pdx. Also in the last magzine of crutchfield I saw a small footprint rockford fosgate amp? From the pic its the size of your hand. Anyway if you wanna just do a simple splice in an get a line in convetor let me know I got one for sale!
 

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Not to reply and not give input, but I've always agreed that the volume just isn't there. I upgraded all my speakers to Alpine Type-S, and yes sound quality went up, but still if I'm driving with the windows down I have it all the way up to 40, and would love that volume to be around 20-30 on the dial. Please let us know what you decide to do and if it helps, because this is definitely something worth putting $ into if you drive everyday (like I do). I also, would not like to run any wires and just replace the current amp if possible.
 

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:) sure will. I just have to process the info from above when I get home, because at work right now I can't spare any time to check on things.
 

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Not to reply and not give input, but I've always agreed that the volume just isn't there. I upgraded all my speakers to Alpine Type-S, and yes sound quality went up, but still if I'm driving with the windows down I have it all the way up to 40, and would love that volume to be around 20-30 on the dial. Please let us know what you decide to do and if it helps, because this is definitely something worth putting $ into if you drive everyday (like I do). I also, would not like to run any wires and just replace the current amp if possible.
co-sign! i feel exactly the same way.

OP - looking forward to what you decide on, since your budget is identical to mine :)
 

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I too am in search of an audio plan! I hate that I cant drive with the windows down and still hear my tunes. This thread will be extreeeemely helpful since im not familiar with the "audio" aspect of things. Thanks Peregrine.
 

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Team Advantage Audio mem
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Mayb look into a jl / series like a 300/4 I had one a few months ago.. They are nice amps pretty clean, and get pretty loud as well... Mind do I was sendding it a 4volt out from my alpine... But anyways I could drive down the highway going 70 still hearing my tunes pretty good.

You can find them on craigs from 100-260. depending on condition.
 

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Thanks guys, I still haven't had time to analyze all your feedback. I have my baby's Christening this Sat. so between this and other stuff I got my hands full. But I'm sure I'll be able to start looking into this again after Sat.
 

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Thanks guys, I still haven't had time to analyze all your feedback. I have my baby's Christening this Sat. so between this and other stuff I got my hands full. But I'm sure I'll be able to start looking into this again after Sat.
Congrats Peregrine. I personally am in no immediate rush as I have been dealing with this issue for years as is, so what's another little bit?
 

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just wanted to let you guys know I'm still researching this. One of the members here is actually providing a lot of help via PM. Once I choose a direction, I'll let you know exactly what and how.
 

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A line output converter would probably be your most cost-efficient choice. Navone Engineering makes a few nice LOCs that are better than the PAC ones you see at Best Buy and Walmart. Search google for "David Navone LOC".

And like Wong said, you can always get a Mercman Harness. They come up every few months. I picked one up the minute I saw one for sale. Honestly a Mercman harness is your best bet.

If you have the time, it's not that difficult to make one yourself. The pin-outs for the harness are in the Helms manual and all you really need is solder, wire, and a bare plastic ABS connector to make your own Mercman harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
right, I'm definitely taking the direction of the harness, except I'll do it myself. Another member provided me some info based on how he did one and it works. It doesn't have the extra circuitry that mercman started putting in his later harnesses, but I'm hoping it won't need one with the wire I'll use.

So the rough sketch right now is most likely Alpine Type S in front and rear doors (type R is much more expensive than I thought), going through some JL or Rockford balanced inputs amp. I like the XD400/4, but that's over $300, so any suggestions for a cheaper alternative are appreciated. And the amp input would be coming from HU signal via the harness I'll make. That's just, again, a rough idea, and I still have some questions about that, but all in good time.

But here's another idea. In my case this would be part of the solution, since I definitely want to add an amp, but for others it could be a sufficient solution on its own (if it works as I imagine it to do):

What if we take the outputs of the original amp from plug A and bridge the rear deck outputs with rear door outputs (separate left, separate right) and then only let that run to rear deck 3-way or 2 way speakers? This way you're losing rear door speakers, but gaining more wattage on the rear deck. By bridging, I mean connect rear deck + to rear door + and so on, but only the sides of wires coming out from the amp plug A. The the bridged connections would be going only to the rear deck speakers (rear door connections would be cut off). Wouldn't you effectively get the full range stereo with its power, and the power of the low range mono sent together to the rear deck?

In my case, if I use the external amp for front and rear door speakers, then I could bridge the outputs of front and rear doors in the OEM amp to drive the rear deck speakers only.

Assuming that this "bridging" theory I have is correct, the only question remains is how the wattage is distributed in the OEM amp between the different channels. Once we know that, we'd know what would be better to bridge to ensure the rear deck speakers are not overpowered.
 
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