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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyoone!

I am looking to upgrade the stock 4 speaker system in my '05 Ram regular cab. I am not looking for a fancy upgrade or a show winner. Just a decent, inexpensive upgrade that sounds good. But I have a few questions...

First, some detail. The headunit is a factory RAH MP3 player (66w Max power, 3% THD). I like the stock look and am happy with the way it performs, so I have no plans to replace it or upgrade any further. I also have purchased a Hotbox sized for a JL Audio 10W0, which has been discontinued. So I bought a JL 10W2v2 instead. The amp is a 5-channel Alpine MRP-F320 (40wx4 RMS-0.03% THD, 100wx2 RMS bridged-0.3% THD, 120wx1 sub 20-200 Hz). For the speaker upgrade, I plan to stick with coax at all four corners. It's cheaper, and most of the components I have heard are too bright for my tastes. So, I have two options for wiring the system:

- Run upgraded speakers at all four corners

- Bridge the front and rear channels to the front door speakers and power the rears off the deck for fill.

Which leads me to a few questions:
1) Which speaker sounds better (subjective, I know) - the JL VR650-CXi (60w RMS, 4 ohm), the Infinity Reference 6012i (60w RMS, 4 ohm), or the Infinity Kappa 62.7i (80w RMS, 2 ohm)? All of the audio shops around here only have the components in the demo rooms.

2) If I upgrade at all four corners, will 40w RMS drive any of these speakers ok, or will they be underspowered and not sound good (clipping, etc)? If I bridge the fronts, will 100w RMS damage the speakers at higher volumes (amp's THD is 0.3% bridged)?

3) I assume a 5-channel amp splits the bass frequencies out from the speaker feeds and sends them to the 5th channel/sub. Will I lose some bass response (and therefore sub output) if I bridge the fronts without feeding the rear channel to the amp?

Thanks in advance for helping a newbie build a good sounding and inexpensive system! :cool:
 

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It jst rubs a little!!
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Boy...where to start...
The might JL be a bit better....but you can get the Infinity for muuch cheaper..if you wanna spend the money get the JL, but I still think you would be happy with the Infinity.
I would bridge the amp...you can set the gains and not give them 100rms... There is nothing wrong with having headroom as long as its clean.
You wont loose any bass responce by bridging...I am big advocate of no rear fill..The point a stereo is to reproduce a live concert..and a concert isnt behind you. Now ppl like surround and that is personall pref. so if you wanna run all 4 speakers off the amp that is mainly up to you. But your front stage will sound muuuch better with the amp pushing jst the fronts and the sub.
Now what I would really tell you to do is get a set of components or better coxials and run them bridged and the factory rear off the head unit....if your gona bridge the amp then there is really no reason to get new rear anyway.
 

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I am your Father
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Amen brother! There is no need for rear fill in a vehicle. When you attend a live performance, you wouldn't sit with your back to the stage. Spend the money that you save from not buying the rear speakers on a higher-end front set.


texas_hemi said:
...most of the components I have heard are too bright for my tastes...
Listen to the Focal brand, or DLS. The cheaper brands will tend to be too bright. (The technical term is "Harsh")


texas_hemi said:
If I upgrade at all four corners, will 40w RMS drive any of these speakers ok, or will they be underspowered and not sound good (clipping, etc)? If I bridge the fronts, will 100w RMS damage the speakers at higher volumes (amp's THD is 0.3% bridged)?
Either way will produce good sound, but bridged will sound better.


texas_hemi said:
I assume a 5-channel amp splits the bass frequencies out from the speaker feeds and sends them to the 5th channel/sub.
Only if it has a crossover. (Most do)


texas_hemi said:
Will I lose some bass response (and therefore sub output) if I bridge the fronts without feeding the rear channel to the amp?
Nope!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the responses! Regarding rear fill and speakers, I have no preference either way as long as it sounds good. Most of my reading has discussed "rear fill", so I thought it was sort of a "required" component. If not, cool. It's cheaper to leave them alone anyways.

I did have a chance to listen to the Focals (165 A1's) a couple of weeks ago and was completely blown away. The sound was phenomenal: crystal clear highs without being harsh, great mid-bass, and boy could they handle the volume. They are awesome, awesome speakers. Everything else pales in comparison. But their price reflects that great sound ($250+). If I could do without the rear speakers, I may be able to squeeze them in my budget. We'll see how things progress. Those Focals may be worth the wait. :)

Focal's website says nominal power of 50w, 100w max. Does anyone run these speakers at these power levels? Do you think it would be safe to run them with the gains turned down a bit and crossed over at about 80 Hz to avoid bottoming out?
 

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I am your Father
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texas_hemi said:
Focal's website says nominal power of 50w, 100w max. Does anyone run these speakers at these power levels? Do you think it would be safe to run them with the gains turned down a bit and crossed over at about 80 Hz to avoid bottoming out?
I know several folks who exceed these power levels many times over with these speakers. At this level, speaker failure is more likely to occur due to cone breakup caused by distortion. Be sure that the amp is good quality with low distortion, and keep the gains matched to the source device.

The extra cost is definitely worth it, and your system will be "Scale-able".
 

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Bill Lawrence said:
I know several folks who exceed these power levels many times over with these speakers. At this level, speaker failure is more likely to occur due to cone breakup caused by distortion. Be sure that the amp is good quality with low distortion, and keep the gains matched to the source device.

The extra cost is definitely worth it, and your system will be "Scale-able".
I have a tiny bit of experience with Focal drivers and have been closely involved in evaluating warranty claims over the years. During that time, I have seen drivers suffer thermal failure, mechanical failure, screw drivers stuck through the surround and/or cone, and the occassional warped basket from installing the driver on an irregular surface. I have not however seen speaker failure "due to cone break up caused by distortion".

Do you have any specific information on this issue?
 

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Also think about putting 3.5 in the front dash. The wiring may not be there but it would be easy to wire. I have Infinity Kappa 3.5 and they scream!
 
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