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Category Archives: Stereo

Stereo set up and tutorials

Tweeters mounted

I had originally mounted the tweeters in the space from the factory speakers on the dash. I held them in place by bolting foam in the hole and the tweeter sat in the middle. However, due to the harsh Aussie sun, the foam warped a little and the tweeters moved down into the cavity enough to distort the sound.

The solution was to install a mounting plate and put the tweeters on them.

First step was to cut the plate itself. I used about 15mm MDF and traced a line around the original stock speaker. I then cut them out (them = 2, left and right sides) and tested that they fit alright.

You can also see that I’ve cut the hole for the speaker cable to go through. I used a hole cutting bit so that there was ample room for the cable to go through. The tweeter will sit on the whole so it won’t be visible anyway.

Next I jammed that sucker up in the spot where it was to sit to make sure it fit okay and to test how the speakers would sound and where I should position them. The only trick to this was that I had to pull most of the dash apart.

If you care, that meant the glove box removed, 2 air con pipes (on the passenger side), kick panels on both sides of the main console, under the steering wheel panel and fuse cover, and two air con pipes (on the drivers side). The whole back seat was full of bits of my dash!

Anyway, once the mounting plates were in place, I sat the tweeters on them to see how they would sound. I moved them around a bit as I played music and tried to work out the best way to face them.

When I found the perfect spot, I drew around them and then replaced the grill that covers them on the dash to make sure that they fit…. they didn’t. It turned out that the plate was too high, so I need to drop it a good inch or so.

After running through several scenarios in my mind, I decided the best thing, all considered, would be to have the plate suspended by long screws as the plate didn’t need to support a lot of weight and were pretty snug in there anyway. So the next step was to drill the holes for the screws.

I used the original speaker once again to make sure the holes were in the right place. Then I got the “tweeter keeper” and marked the holes to mount it on top. Then, I drilled.

Once the holes were drilled, the next step was to mount them. I should note that I did the two sides slightly differently. The left hand side (passenger side) I mounted the tweeter case in the middle of the mounting plate and pointed the tweeter at the car driver. The drivers side, I mounted at the rear of the plate and angled it slightly to the left (passenger side) of the driver. This was to try to get a sense of “front sound stage”.

I put the mount in once I had put the screws in to a certain depth and then screwed them into the plate. This meant that there was a gap of about an inch between the plate and the dash. It was also slightly at an angle facing forward due to the stuff under the dash, however this worked to my advantage.

Once the plate was in, I attached the case with 1 screw (drivers side) or two screws (passenger side).

Then once I tested that everything was fitting nice and solidly, I thread the wire through the holes and sat the tweeter on top of the case. Then since my tweeter has an adjustable top which swivvels to a degree, I positioned it as I had when I tested them earlier.

I gave them a final test once all hooked up to make sure the positioning was good. Then I adjusted as required and snapped the grill over the top again. This time they fit. 🙂

The system now sounds better than ever and I have properly positioned tweeters while still retaining the “Sleeper” style that I hold so dear.

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Posted by on March 2, 2011 in Sleeper Style 9-3 Saab, Stereo

 

Sound Deadening Extreme

Okay, there are a lot of different schools of thought on how much Dynamat you should use. They say the best bang for buck option is about 25 – 30% coverage and just putting it in the place where resonance and rattles may occur. However, after the 30% the law of diminishing returns applies, which means that the more you put on, the less extra benefit you get. 30% might give you 90% effectiveness, and 100% might give you 100% effectiveness so for the 70% extra spending, you only get about 10% better…

But, I come from the school of overkill and can’t be bothered spending the time to find the exact spots where I should be applying Dynamat, so I just covered as much as I can. On the outer shell of the door, I have covered it at around 100% (there may be slight areas where the mat doesn’t join, but it will still give it full coverage) and on the inner shell of the door, I have sealed up all the service holes and applied to resonant prone areas.

Previously, I have just Dynamatted around the speaker and behind it. This is quite often enough. But, I have to be honest and say that I have found a noticable difference in the way the speaker plays and for that I’m happy to have gone the extra mile.

So, here’s a couple of pictures of the outer skin at 100%…

And a close up….

Then, because I like overkill, I have applied a new product that Dynamat puts out called a Dynazorb. It’s designed to specifically absorb the stray frequencies that bounce out of the back of the speaker. I don’t know if it’s really worth the money (around $40 each), but I have had reports from professional installers who have tested it and they say the difference is noticable. I believe them.

Next I made sure I’d finished with all the wires and tested that the speaker and spacer fit in with the door trim and all that, then Icovered up the service holes. Now, if you don’t use Dynamat, but something similiar, beware that you can still remove it if needed. Dynamat is pretty easy to remove even after a long time, so covering the service holes that hardly are needed is not such a bad thing. However, it does wonders as far as creating a kind of enclosure for your speaker. And sounds awesome. 🙂

Firstly, take a sharpie to the door and mark all of the holes that you need to keep open. This included the door handle holes, but mostly where the door trim plugs go in. Anything that screws in need to still be able to, and will be sealed anyway once filled, so you don’t need to cover those.

I’ve marked mine with little x symbols. You won’t see them once the door trim is on, so it’s okay. The next step is pretty easy in that you just go through and cover each of the holes, cutting a larger piece than you need and sticking it over the hole. Then go through and tap on the bare areas and work out which ones are hollow sounding and whack some dynamat on there. Just cutting up small strips seems to do the trick.

The only problem areas is where the door lock rods come through. You DON’T want the Dynamat to stick to these rods and make it impossible to open/close/lock your door. So, this is how I got around it and still had as much sealing as I could.

Above is the hole with the rod sticking out of it. I’m going to make a kind of flap to seal it as much as possible.

Firstly, cut a strip that goes just past where the rod goes into the door.

Next we want to have the rest covered from the outside, but we don’t want the dynamat to stick to the rod. Work out where the rod moves and cut a second piece of Dynamat to be pressed against the back of the first, thereby creating a smooth area for the rod to move along.

Then stick that pad onto the serivce hole and try to close up the sticky ends as much as possible while leaving a free channel for the rod to move along.

Here’s a side shot…

And then here’s the finished product.

And finally, mount the speaker and you’re all done. If you want MORE overkill, you can cover the door 100%, but the key thing is the service holes on this side.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Sleeper Style 9-3 Saab, Stereo

 

Saab stereo – more door stuff

2. Install spacer and speaker.From previous tuts, I’ve made the spacers, but to put the behind the trim they need to be a little smaller. So I’ve cut the spacer in half (thinner) and glued it to the original door spacer…

I had to butcher it a bit to fit it in nicely, but a lick of paint hides everything…

Then, the next step is to cut some closed cell foam to fit between the spacer and the speaker to hide any imperfections. This is the finished product with holes cut for the screws – if you want step by step on this let me know…

Next, make sure your wires are ready to connect and bolt the spacer onto the door.

Next step is to obviously install the speaker – remember to put the foam on first.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Sleeper Style 9-3 Saab, Stereo

 

Saab Stereo – Sound deaden door

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve updated here. The boot is now sound proofed, but I needed to make sure the doors were done properly, so I’ve gone back and redone them. I also decided that for a Sleeper style, I really needed to get the speakers behind the stock grills.So here’s the project-

1. Dynamat the outer shell of the door
2. Install spacer and speaker
3. Dynamat the inside of the door
4. Replace door trim with grill

And here’s the pictures…

1. Dynamat the outer shell.

Just so that you know, I cut up decent sized strips and fed them in through the services holes to give the outer shell of the door 100% coverage with the Dynamat. Because of the size of the door, we’re looking at about 2 and a half sheets… so about $75 worth of Dynamat. Seems a lot, but the soound benefits are amazing.

Also, because I have done so much on the outer skin, I won’t need to cover 100% on the inner skin.

Anyway, here’s a close up…

And then add a Dynazorb!

So, the Dynazorb at about $40 each is a bit extravagant. However, the sound difference is amazing and it actually makes a difference. This means that all up I’ve probably spent close to $150 per door just for sound deadening, but it makes my $300 speakers sound like $600 speakers. So, imagine what $1000 speakers will sound like…

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Sleeper Style 9-3 Saab, Stereo

 

Saab Stereo – proper

Quick update.

Unfortunately with things like car stereos, it’s always more important to get the damn things in and enjoy them then to make sure it’s 100% perfect.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t go back and make sure that everything is done properly.

To this end, I wanted to show you some good tips in making sure that everything is well set up to ensure you get the best sound quality.

Below is a photo of one of the crossovers in the front. The crossover links the door speaker and the tweeter in the dash.

You’ll notice a few things that I’ve done that just make everything better.

Firstly, all wires are labelled. When you have to move wires around, or replace components, it’s important to be able to identify which wire is which. Believe me, adding a little bit of electrical tape to a wire could mean saving hours later on.

Secondly, the crossover itself is clearly marked. Not only is this good practice, but it means that if anyone else ever has to work on my stereo they know exactly what everything is and what is does.

Next, you’ll see that I’ve put “spade” connectors on each of the wires. This means that the connection is perfect. The metal connector (shaped like a U) fits in flush with the screw in clamp and makes sure the connection is solid.

To put the spades on, I first made sure the wires were clean and tidy and then pushed them into the spade terminal. I then crimped it to hold the wire in place (I just used a pair of pliers), and then I soldered the top of the wire so that the connection is complete.

To further reduce the chance of the connection coming loose, I have put heat shrink over the top of the spade connector and wire so that it all holds nicely together. You can probably see where I went a little too close with the lighter

So, all this may seem like overkill, and it is. However, I know that it’s properly set up, I won’t have to do it again and I won’t have any problems from the connection.

I highly recommend that you do this. Your Saab was made with quality workmanship, so you should do the same with any modifications.

Edit: Rather than make a new post, I thought I’d just add to this one since it seemed to fit.

Below is a couple of pictures of how I actually join wires. It may help if you haven’t done this sort of thing before, but you don’t have to be a master to be able to do things well.

I always talk about the twist/solder/heatshrink method of joining wires. This is one of the best ways to do this.

Basically, get the wires you want to join and strip the ends. Leave about 1 – 1.5 cm of wire exposed on either side of the join. Then twist the two lots of bare wires together so that they are entwined as much as possible. Also, you’ll notice in this photo that it’s necessary to put the heatshrink over the wires BEFORE you join them. Just slip them over the end and they’ll sit there until you’re finished soldering. You can cut them to the required length beforehand to make it easier.

The next step is to put solder around the join to help hold it together. This will make the join stronger, but the conductive element of the solder will also make sure that the current still flows through fine. Less is more, but you need enough to make sure it holds. Huge gobs of solder won’t help, but just put enough to bond them.

The final step is to move the heatshrink into place and gently heat. Firstly, make sure the solder has cooled before doing this, otherwise the heatshrink will catch on it and shrink immediately. You can use a variety of things to make it shrink. The easiest is probably a cigarette lighter, just wave the flame over the heatshrink, turning the wire as you go so it shrinks evenly. You can also use a blowtorch, heat gun or hairdryer.

This is one of the best methods to make sure your joins are solid and allow the current to pass through well. If every wire in your set up is like this, you’ll find the whole system will actually sound better as there are no loose connections slowing down the current.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Sleeper Style 9-3 Saab, Stereo

 

Saab Stereo – boot dynamat

When I initially set up the amps in the boot, I ran out of time and didn’t get a chance to do all the sound deadening. I spent a few hours yesterday finishing off putting the Dynamat in the boot and when I gave it a test run, the difference in sound was amazing!!

I definately believe that sound deadening is the NUMBER ONE component of a good sound system.

To give an example of how I did the boot, here’s a picture. This is the right hand side wall of the boot (trunk) – right hand side if you are facing the back of the car, looking into the boot.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Sleeper Style 9-3 Saab, Stereo

 

Saab stereo – tweeters

Okay, so now we have the speakers in the doors, the next step is the tweeters.It’s best to install them in the place where the dash speakers are. You can just flip the grills open with the help of a screwdriver and there they are.

What I did was unscrew those speakers and take them out. Unplug them from the wiring and then secure the wiring so it doesn’t rattle.

Drop the speaker wire into the space in the dash and catch it at the bottom. This may be a little difficult, but not if you have small hands.

You’ll need to make some sort of bracket to hold the tweeter up. You can use mdf, plywood or something like that. I had some left over foam from the door speaker spacers, so I cut the template from the old speaker and then cut a hole big enough to put the tweeter in.

I then attached it to the dash with a couple of bolts and nuts (and washers so it didn’t pull through the foam) and no rattles, but it sits nicely in the foam bracket.

Then, once the wire has gone through to the bottom, you can mount the crossovers.

Obviously, the crossovers will send the treble to the tweeters and the rest of the sound to the door speakers. Put the wires from both into the cross over and then connect the speaker wire to the amp (or head unit, if applicable).

I chose to mount the crossovers where the factory amp would go if my model had one. But, anyway the unit isn’t going to rattle is fine.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Sleeper Style 9-3 Saab, Stereo

 
 
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