Please read here
for Rudz's Stage 1 sound upgrade.
After finishing stage 1, Rudz was happy for few days. That happiness finished soon when he compared his sound system to his partner’s Merc sound system. Comments were ‘lack of bass’ in the sound system.
MS-8 is brilliant piece of kit especially with its built-in amp. But there are few well know issues around limiting bass. To get best out of MS-8, you will have to calibrate MS-8, re-calibrate with different settings and keep doing it till you find the ‘correct sound’ for yourself. Definition of ‘correct sound’ may vary from person to person depending on their taste of music and what they want to hear in their music.
So to improve Rudz’s sound system, I met him to discuss it further.
Here are few things which were raised;
1- Front sound stage and Morels were ‘harsh’. I asked Rudz the meaning of harshness. Rudz wanted Treble lowered and central speaker to be relatively quieter.
2- Lack of bass
3- Sound not ‘cohesive’. Rudz tried his best to explain this to me and he wanted more SQ in his sound. On RTA of iphone’s JL application, all frequencies were present and there was no major gap. I tested his sound system with different sound tracks and found that central L7 mid was soft clipping. Moreover rear L7 mids were ‘reasonable’ but not great.
I calibrated MS-8 with slightly different xover settings considering ‘abilities’ of SWS-8s and it sounded slightly better.
As mentioned earlier, Rudz has premium taste of sound and he wants ‘excellent’ drivers in his car. I have suggested him to change the rears and central with Vibe slick 4, but Rudz wanted better drivers than that.
So Rudz selected
components for rears
co-axial for central speaker
JL 10W7 Sub
JL Amp 500/1 V2
JL Audio RBC-1
Corner Sub enclosure
0 gauge Wire with distributor block and 4 gauge wires for Audison amp and JL Amp
All of it and Rudz’s car was left with me.
I started working on Morels first. Morel’s crossovers are set to 0db attenuation for tweeters from factory. As they were harsh for Rudz despite of reducing treble from HU, therefore I set it to +3 db for calibration purposes. And plan was to set them to -3 after calibration to keep tweeters soft.
Here are few photos:
+3 db attenuation before calibration
-3 db attenuation after calibration
Results: Yes it worked and Tweeters produced ‘soft’ sound compared to pre-intervention. Afterwards, I had to increase the treble settings to +2 on the HU to get meaningful but clear treble out of front tweeters.
Next task was to replace the central mid. As for L7, we added BMW OEM clip during stage 1 upgrade, therefore we had to add the other side of OEM clip for Focal co-axial.
Next was to fit DLS4 components in the back. My worries were
1- Can tweeters be fitted under the grill without drilling new holes for tweeters / tweeter housings?
2- Where will I fit crossovers?
On specification sheets DLS4 co-axials are same as components and they save the worries of fitting tweeters and crossovers. BUT Rudz had already ordered components, so I had to find a way to fit these and overcome the above two hurdles.
After removing the housing of tweeters, they sat in the medial corner of speaker area without drilling new holes. That was great and I used Velcro to keep them there.
Now, crossovers......? Where should I fit these considering these were bulky?
During some experimentation on my sound system for I.B setup, I discovered that BMW has left some space next to central belt housing. I assume BMW engineers had to leave that space so that central belt housing can sit there.
With some experimentation, I fitted the crossovers in that space. I had to pass all the wiring from rear speakers to that central space and fit the crossovers there. And wirings for subs and tweeters were routed back to speakers.
Connecting the crossovers:
Hiding the crossovers:
This space was closed by necessary means so that crossovers stay there.
And here is the photo of DLS components after fitting
Now comes the task of fitting 10W7 in corner enclosure. We were worried about the corner enclosure coming out of that area on sharp cornering. After studying the contours of the enclosure and surrounding, I created a safety lock for corner enclosure:
And fitted and locked corner enclosure looked liked this:
It was most difficult task due to strength of enclosure. Drilling it and fitting screws was mission impossible.
After fitting the enclosure:
If you read the Rudz stage 1, the back of rear seat was filled by MS-8 and Audison amp.
Shall I relocate MS-8 somewhere else or shall I fit JL amp at other place?
Considering the size of Audison amp and JL amp, it was not physically viable to fit both at the back of rear seat. So I had to fit JL amp somewhere else.
After little bit of experimentation, I took out the skin of storage below the boot tray. JL amp sat there nicely. I had to network all the wirings including JL bass boost remote around that region.
Velcro used to secure JL amp
Some calibration, recalibration and tweaking was done to get optimal ‘SQ’ out of this sound system.
I was told that sound deadening would not work in the trunk. I wanted to try this out as Mega suggested 'it worked' (from his past experience).
After listening to sound without sound deadening, I started applying Dynamat Extreme.
It was applied at the back of sub enclosure and on the boot lid.
It had made significant improvement. Rattling was minimal after applying dynamat extreme.
And final setup looked like this
Setting up decent sound system take couple of hours and yes it took whole morning to tweak and get ‘brilliant’ sound out of this system.
Few notes on what I have learnt:
(These are personal opinions and not hard and fast rule)
-L7 components are good but not excellent. During sound stage 1, central L7 was ‘limiting factor’ for the front sound stage.
- DLS4 components are brilliant. Comparing it to Morel Hybrids, treble was more pronounced and these were ‘warm’. Bass was better compared to Morel Hybrids IMO, however Morel Hybrid crossovers give you more flexibility. Considering price of both, I would go for DLS4 any day.
-JL amp bass boost controller controls only bass boost and does not control the gains of sub amplifier. On minimum settings, you will still have bass but not boosted.
-Corner Enclosure worked better than sealed / ported enclosures that I have used in the past. Possibility is that you get more lateral space in the trunk for the sound to travel and as ears are laterally placed in our body, therefore bass sounds better. It is my assumption of lateral sound displacement and lateral recipient (ears) which sounds better compared to front / rear positioned subs.
- Addition of sound deadening material to the trunk helps to reduce rattling. It DOES WORK, though some rattling will still remain there due to reg plate, CD changer box handle and rear tail lights.
-Settings for MS-8 depend on your components. You cannot always set it as suggested in many threads. You will have to find optimal crossover settings which work best for your drivers. I am not a great fan of DSP but there are two benefits of MS8 which are hard to beat. Logic 7 (front staging) and built in amplifier. If you like to listen to your music as if you are in a concert, then this is for you. Otherwise look somewhere else.
Now what can I say about this sound system.
‘It sounded 3-5 times better compared to last time’. Emphasis was more on SQ and we got excellent results here.
Certainly, this car has one of most expensive equipment in the whole UK and it sounds 'Just Awsome.'
Rudz made a shot video of it playing music and I hope he will upload it.