Friday, October 16, 2020

Modernizing the Stereo, Part 6 - Almost Done!

While doing a decent job (if I may say so myself) on the rear speakers and deck,  the Alpine X series component speakers finally arrived (thank you WoofersEtc!), meaning that in reality, I was jumping back between these two jobs. For clarity of process I've posted the tasks separately to avoid confusion. 

So here are the Alpines - to say I was really looking forward to hearing them in action is an understatement!

Securely surrounded by styrofoam:

I unwrapped the tweeter and crossover first:

You can see the grills but also the zip ties (to secure the crossovers, if you choose to run passive) along with some screws and double stick stickers (to mount the tweeters).

And then took a close look at the woofer:

Always surprises me how compact the magnets are compared to the Morels I removed earlier:

Anyway I went ahead and started prepping the doors to receive the new speakers.  As you may recall, I had, during my install of the two sets of speaker wires, taken pains to make sure the tweeter wires differed from those for the woofer.
Blue and silver tweeter wiring

Passenger side door too - these are the speaker spaces I had previously purchased a few years ago from the same Yahoo Auctions guy that did the rear speaker spacers:

Now comes the fun part. In the Audio Technica door dampening kit, were a couple of products I hadn't tried before.

First, these foam "clip dampers" which are designed to be placed over the holes into which the plastic clip connectors fit in, for the purpose of reducing any sound leakage and squeaking from the clips.

Then, these "sound proofing wave" foam strips (with adhesive side) that are designed to go around the outline of the door, providing a solid foam barrier between the door panel and the metal frame.

These are attached as such, along the edge of the door:

Meanwhile the clip dampers as follows (see green arrows):

When finished I had added the arrowed portions to the door (the existing dampening was either what I had done a long time or what had been added by Worx - heck if it works I'll keep it...):

So the woofers were going to be straightfoward. The tweeters on the other hand...

I had to carefully pull off some of the dampening material, but with all the old adhesive, decided to first wrap some protective sheathing around the tweeter wires.

And then simply funnel these tweeters leads so they ended up inside the door behind where the woofer speakers would be (and where the blue and silver wiring for the tweeters ended).

As for tweeter location, I did not want to touch the Alcantara lined A pillars by Robson (absolutely perfect) nor did I want to cut up my leather dash or leather covered door panels.  That left only one real option - the sail panels (the black plastic that covers the area where the green arrow is pointing).

I'm not experienced enough to take the tweeter apart and create something more flush (although when I undid the back, I found a nice quantity of acoustic wadding behind the tweeter magnet, likely used to dampen the back wave - so I am guessing these sound the best in this unadultered form), so for now I followed the instructions and attached the tweeters to a pair of spare sail panels I had. (Photos taken after I re-attached the door panel):

Lastly, although I was forced to run new wiring into the door (because Worx had removed the OEM speaker harness), I had to solder on these connectors to the wires (including the wiring coming from the Alpine tweeters - so 3 pairs on each side!)- just in case in the future I change my speakers.

Now just need to find some more projects....

 After installing the front speakers, and before I sealed up the rear seat area, I made sure to test to make sure the amp works - the blue LEDs are a definite bonus, although I will never see them in action!

Then I sealed it up (you can see that I had finished installing the rear deck speakers):

And then it was matter of putting it all back together (the seat was last):

Same in the trunk - making sure all the wiring is tight and in place:

Before I sealed up the trunk access however I tested the speaker polarity and found the front woofers were showing reverse polarity for some reason:

This was quickly rectified by reversing the speaker leads at the amp.  Then I installed the bracing:

And then the trunk lining (yes need to get it fixed looks weird):

Then it was matter of putting the stereo back in, making sure the carpet was as flat as possible and then bolting the seats in.  Everything works! Except now the best is yet to come...


Jason: said...

Complete unrelated but I just picked up a R33 and love going thru your blog!

Aki said...

Thanks Jason! Congrats on picking up a 33, let us know how it's going and what the spec is!

OMGTR34 said...

Hi Aki
I really love your blog and it gives me some inspiration. Like your HiFi mod you were doing. Do I understand this right, you put the X-S65 on the rear and the S-S65C on the front? I have the Alpine CDE-205DAB headunit (1din) ( and don't want to use an amp. Do you think I can go with the same speaker setup like you did for my R34 or do the speaker need more power than the 4x50W output of my headunit?

All the best, Patrick

Aki said...

Hi Patrick,

First, thank you so much for the kind words, messages like that keep me going!

Second - yes in the rear it is X-S65 and front is X-S65C. So both Alpine X-series.
Looks like your headunit has MORE power than the OEM radio/cassette deck (which is 2x15W) and so I think you will be fine with your set-up. Of course, the reason why you want to have more power is so that the power output remains clean even as you increase the volume, which is going to be necessary given how noisy our cars are. On the DSP side, I chose to use one because I wanted to maximize the acoustics of the component speakers, given the location I mounted the tweeters. With passive crossovers, while that will cleanly split the acoustic range of the components, allowing them to sound their best, you can't do things like building in delay and also tweaking the acoustic range to your preferred listening habits.

Anyway - no need to get an amp or dsp for now. Just try the speakers with your head unit and see how it sounds! Should sound pretty good, at minimum much better than the OEM speakers. If anything, try the X-S65 on the front only first to see how it sounds (with fader cranked to the front so rear speakers are for rear fill only), and get the components later if you really want the tweeters to be more at ear level.

Hope this helps, good luck!


OMGTR34 said...

Thank you Aki for your reply!

I'm at some point where I want to start my own blog, recap my journey with my GTR the last 3 years and want to write everything like you and Ale did.

For the first I don't want to add an amp, but you never know where the journey will go with those cars. Maybe in future I'll add one but for now I just want to upgrade the Hifi to a level I don't need to upgrade a 2nd time. It's good to read that the headunit is strong enough for those speakers and an amp isn't necessary for now.

Do you think the sound is good enough? I'm not an audiophile but I like a nice decent sound with good bass, quite linear sound frequences as at home I'm using some monitor speakers as HiFi for computer and TV/cinema. A few people in forums don't recommend Alpine speakers for some reason they can't name, but always mention Focal, Hifonics, Hertz, JL with no further specification on which model...

If it's possible, we can chat somewhere else like Facebook or WhatsApp as I think it's not quite practical here lol.

Btw. you're helping me alot!


Aki said...


Always happy to help another gearhead, even when they are not driving 33s! LOL.

The sound is good enough - did you watch the youtube link of that British guy who rated them as one of the top speakers? Ignore the forums, I would say those brands are all good but they all usually need a good amp to get the best sound. After installing my amp/dsp, the dsp is what is making my speakers sound better, not necessarily the power from the amp, although what the amp seems to do is to get the speakers more clarity at higher volumes.