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      05-21-2012, 03:51 PM   #1
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My Second Stage Upgrade! Morels and JL XD 600/6

The beginning

Base stereo set up with no tweeters or amp. This was one of the worst systems I have heard, even worse than Toyotas! I initially considered the OEM Alpine upgrade but realised I could get the JBL MS-8 plus a centre channel for the same price. This is where taibanl suggested that I would be much happier with the MS-8 option: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=663114

Stage 1 upgrade

This was a huge improvement from the base stereo set up. The MS-8 really does improve it and it’s definitely worth the money. In this stage, I added the MS-8 and a Vibe Slick 4 as a centre channel and kept all other speakers OEM. The sound seemed a lot clearer, mid-bass was improved, SPL improved and staging was obviously much better. If anyone is considering the MS-8 I would definitely advise it, as you can upgrade in stages and assess if you’re happy or want to continue. But be prepared to calibrate and spend time on your system to get the perfect set up.

At this stage I wanted to continue as I wanted to add high quality components and amp the front stage to increase quality and SPL even more:

Stage 2 upgrade

Now I’ve added a set of Morel Dotech Ovation 4’s and a JL XD 600/6 (also added some sound deadening to the doors). The JL is amping the components and under-seat woofers with a channel each, and 2 channels bridged to the centre Vibe. For a while I was considering the Alpine PDX F4/F6, but decided on the JL after around 95% of the people I spoke to preferred the JL amp. So I had to go against my instinct of buying based on specs and went with the JL. I am certain I made the right choice

I spent ages looking for adaptor rings that I could use. Unfortunately 808MGuy stopped making them and I did consider using just dynamat (see Technics threads for more info). However, I thought the best way to mount the Morels would be using the adaptors, as the Morels don’t have any screw holes. I got fed up and one day just thought why don’t I just make them! This was easier than I expected, but it did take most of a day! I used 6mm plywood coated with varnish and measured to the exact dimensions of the OEM studs and the Morel mid (took door panels off for this).

For the JL, I made a simple amp rack (basically a piece of mdf 14” x 8”) and used m5 bolts to bolt it onto the stock amp position. I had to get a new flat tray as mine was sort of dipped (p/n 51477139049). Boot has retained OEM looks.

So was it worth all this time and money? Of course it was! This sound is a HUGE improvement from the last stage. Music sounds amazing and feels like its come “alive”. I can hear sounds (such as cymbals) on tracks which I have never heard before! The front stage seems to have widened, which I think is due to the Morels. In my stage 1 upgrade, I had to turn the centre level down on the MS-8 as it seemed too narrow. Now the centre level control remains in the middle and it definitely does not seem narrow. There has been a definite “stretching” of the front stage (feels more than mirror to mirror), whilst also retaining the centre focus, which I think sounds amazing. SPL has improved as well. The under-seats have also improved as they are getting a little more power.

There are a few things I want to add to make this system even better. Currently my amped drivers are being limited by the OEM rears. I have turned the gains up after calibration on these channels, but want to find a solution that won’t mess with the logic 7 processing. The best solution I have found (with Taibanl’s help) is to upgrade the rear speakers to ones which are more efficient and 2-ohm. I am currently considering Infinity Kappa 42.9 but need to research this more. I am also thinking of replacing the under-seat woofers with logic 7 ones, which I think will sound really good with the JL amp. I am planning on adding a sub so I don’t need them to play really low. If anyone has any for sale with enclosures let me know! I think after these 2 additions, my system will be even more amazing, which I cant imagine at the moment as it sounds perfect.

Credits

There are a load of people on here that have helped me upgrade my system. I couldn’t have done it without them:

B33M3R – For actually installing both my stages very professionally. Extremely enjoyed working with him and learnt a huge deal.

Taibanl – For the constant advice he has given me ever since my first thread. He has had a decent amount of influence on my upgrade path and I have learnt so much from him.

Also kaigoss69, ctuna, bmw 325i and superjay. Im sure there are loads of others so sorry if I missed you!

Just attached some pics of the speakers. I did add more sound deadening afterwards.
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      05-21-2012, 05:49 PM   #2
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Congrats!

You may want to consider "notching" your speaker rings to give more air to the Morels.

L7 woofers should be a good upgrade as they get 70w from the OEM L7 amp, normally.
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      05-21-2012, 06:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
L7 woofers should be a good upgrade as they get 70w from the OEM L7 amp, normally.
When lightning strikes....maybe. FWIW I measured the L7 amp outputs (with a cheap VM ) and I got 12.86V at max volume. If you do the math, that's about 41 Watts RMS.
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      05-21-2012, 09:32 PM   #4
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The Jehnerts do for the Bass

The Jehnerts do for the Bass
What the Morels do for the Doors and maybe even more so.
If you want the cleanest most laser accurate bass you have ever
heard the Jehnerts are the thing.
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      05-22-2012, 11:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
Congrats!

You may want to consider "notching" your speaker rings to give more air to the Morels.
Thanks im well chuffed about it.

I don't understand what you mean, I thought I had to have an air tight seal between the front and back of the speaker when mounting?
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      05-22-2012, 11:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaigoss69 View Post
When lightning strikes....maybe. FWIW I measured the L7 amp outputs (with a cheap VM ) and I got 12.86V at max volume. If you do the math, that's about 41 Watts RMS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctuna View Post
The Jehnerts do for the Bass
What the Morels do for the Doors and maybe even more so.
If you want the cleanest most laser accurate bass you have ever
heard the Jehnerts are the thing.
You have both convinced me to stick with my original plan and get a "trunk" sub before upgrading the woofers. And if/when i do, they will most probably be Jehnerts.
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      05-22-2012, 12:04 PM   #7
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I have a pair of logic 7 mids I can sell you let me know if interested.
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      05-22-2012, 12:05 PM   #8
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glad I could help.
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      05-22-2012, 03:14 PM   #9
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Hey Mo

Thanks for the mention, was good fun putting your system in, almost a shame it's all pretty much done now!

I can certainly vouch for the end result, the Morels sound great IMO and if I'm honest probably sound better than my Focals, which can at times sound quite harsh. It could just be the JBL amp v the XD600/6 though.

Quite remarkable how well the OE under seats perform with some amplification, I'd certainly consider a trunk sub before changing out the under seats

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      05-22-2012, 03:26 PM   #10
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it's not just the amp. Focal tweeters are quite harsh...very bright. Morel makes, in my opinion, the best sounding tweeters available in car audio. MT-22 and MT23 tweeters are my favorite, and have been for a long time. I use the MT-23 tweeters in all my personal installs.
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      05-22-2012, 05:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B33M3R View Post
Hey Mo

Thanks for the mention, was good fun putting your system in, almost a shame it's all pretty much done now!

I can certainly vouch for the end result, the Morels sound great IMO and if I'm honest probably sound better than my Focals, which can at times sound quite harsh. It could just be the JBL amp v the XD600/6 though.

Quite remarkable how well the OE under seats perform with some amplification, I'd certainly consider a trunk sub before changing out the under seats

Matt
Thanks mate. Yes it is a shame, didnt realise how fun upgrading the audio would be!

Today i turned the xd gains on the morels up to 11-12 o'clock for the first time. It is so loud with no distortion at all! my ears are ringing. really glad i listened to u guys on here and didnt go for the pdx. The xd definately has more than enough power.

Just need to get a voltmeter now to get an accurate max gain
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      05-22-2012, 06:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mob17 View Post
Just need to get a voltmeter now to get an accurate max gain
You don't do that with the MS-8. Set the amp gains to approx. 2.8V, autotune, and then if necessary make small adjustments through the processor.
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      05-22-2012, 06:34 PM   #13
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unless he has a signal or test tone that sends exactly 2.8v he won't know where that is.
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      05-22-2012, 07:15 PM   #14
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what i have currently done is this:

1) used the ms-8 secret menu and adjusted gains so all channels are within a few db of each other (using an iphone app)
2) calibrated
3) raised morel (11-12 o'clock) and centre vibe gains (9 o'clock as it is bridged).

This isnt the best way as raising gains after calibration will affect the processing the ms-8 does. im planning on getting the infinitys so hopefully i wont have to turn the gains down as much to match.

I was going to get a voltmeter and use the pass through option on the ms-8 to play a test tone @ 1khz, and then turn up gains until its 17.4v (from JL menu). I would then mark this on the amp so i know not to exceed it.

regarding calibrating with gains set at 2.8v, i didnt do this as i thought the rears (ms-8 power) would be a lot quieter than my fronts if i did. i thought that this would negatively affect the acoustic calibration. let me know what u think, i may be wrong!
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      05-22-2012, 07:21 PM   #15
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what app are you using? If it's the JL Audio app, then you may be better served by getting an external microphone for it.
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      05-22-2012, 07:45 PM   #16
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im using an app called db volume. the jl app was too jumpy but this one has a slow response option.
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      05-22-2012, 08:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mob17 View Post
Thanks im well chuffed about it.

I don't understand what you mean, I thought I had to have an air tight seal between the front and back of the speaker when mounting?
I think he's referring to the air backside of the adapter. If your adapter is very thick, sometimes the backside is chamfered around the inner edge to give the speaker a little more room to breath and let the air behind the cone flow more freely. You still have a seal between the front and back of the speaker but the back edge is just opened up. This is not an issue with metal rings like VP provides or the one I used to make because they were so thin it did not impede airflow. That's part of the challenge of using a material that does not have much strength when thickness is limited.
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      05-23-2012, 02:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 808MGuy View Post
I think he's referring to the air backside of the adapter. If your adapter is very thick, sometimes the backside is chamfered around the inner edge to give the speaker a little more room to breath and let the air behind the cone flow more freely. You still have a seal between the front and back of the speaker but the back edge is just opened up. This is not an issue with metal rings like VP provides or the one I used to make because they were so thin it did not impede airflow. That's part of the challenge of using a material that does not have much strength when thickness is limited.
i see, so if i sanded/chamfered the adaptors all around the inner edge, it should help air flow behind the cone. this will have to be a very delicate operation involving my leather door panel and a sanding machine i think
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      05-23-2012, 03:45 PM   #19
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If you have a router you can save alot of time
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      05-23-2012, 04:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mob17 View Post
i see, so if i sanded/chamfered the adaptors all around the inner edge, it should help air flow behind the cone. this will have to be a very delicate operation involving my leather door panel and a sanding machine i think
I wouldn't do it on the door.

Just get the rest of your system set, then worry about the small things.
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      05-23-2012, 06:55 PM   #21
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Quote:
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If you have a router you can save alot of time
mind my ignorance, but whats a router?
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      05-23-2012, 07:02 PM   #22
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i might try amending the adaptors if i get time or am bored, but yeah i am already thinking about my next step!

Im really happy with the mids and highs, they sound amazing. i can hear what instruments are being used; i heard marracas today! and i love the way the music sounds; so realistic and staging is lovely. the only thing lacking now is the low end.

I think the best way to add a trunk sub is to corner load, as i would really hate for the trunk to rattle. I have a DLS A6 Ultimate amp which i definately want to use. would u guys say that a JL 12w7 would be a good match for my amp and system as a whole? i listen to a lot of bass heavy music, but i don't want the bass to over power my front stage.
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