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Sound System Upgrade


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Quick progress update on this...

To go with my nice new LiteAir speakers I've bagged a few more bargains off Ebay:

A 1200w 4 channel Pioneer amplifier. Powerful but nice and compact so it'll fit neatly on my relay cover in the boot:

pioneer.thumb.JPG.71ff39ecf35fdd9a1eea17

And a lovely Alpine head unit with a single slot CD plus a rear USB connection that I can use to add a concealed, flush fit USB port in my glovebox so I can play music files from that:

alpine.thumb.JPG.87946d6f0923e911baa1f44

I also picked up a pair of JBL crossovers for the rear to direct the mid bass to the 6" woofers and filter out any high notes:

JBL.thumb.JPG.8f2df9a953ad6738e2b0a4f275

All I need now are some RCA cables, a USB extension for the glovebox and some new speaker cable and I'm all set for the install :dj:

So far I'm in for just about £200 so pretty pleased with that and I've got some nice kit to fit.

Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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That's the head unit I have recently put into mine as well Neil (and I think I mentioned it earlier on in the thread). You can get a Bluetooth adapter for it as well as the USB and iPod connectivity. KCE-400BT is the one to go for. If you need manuals for anything or help with the install give me a shout.

It's a great stereo, got one in my minibus as well.

Esprit install:


xDSC_0126v.thumb.jpg.f293d3f794ee9e103cc

I tempted fate...now my Esprit V8 IS in bits...(sob)

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Hello Nick. Yes, it is. The previous owner wired the camera in but put a crappy Chinese XTRONS stereo in which is one of the few single DIN head units available with a screen. The sound was rubbish and with my eyes I couldn't see the screen very well anyway!

I've probably posted this elsewhere but can't be bothered to look, so here we are again :)

I don't know what the camera is but it's a nice wide angle one mounted just above the rear plate with number plate adhesive pad - no holes - and discreet:

DSC_0187.thumb.jpg.89ad63a6cac9212ee22f8

The screen is a pretty "standard" 3.5" TFT, I bought this one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/161339115101.

It fits perfectly in the oddments box if you don't mind losing the (not very much) storage. I glue gunned in some plastic supports to keep it flush with the front face:

DSC_0122.thumb.jpg.b70f8daf74cd89f0371e2

I used the space in the back to mount my Bluetooth adapter, as mentioned above, had to drill a few holes for the wires for that and the camera lead:

DSC_0123.thumb.jpg.1359a31fbd742ff4d3343

Labelled it all up, connected it together (along with hands free mic, powered phone mount, yadda yadda!):

xDSC_0125.thumb.jpg.ac6510ef33b0ba3e93a5

Then kicked it all into the dash.

It works very well, the camera is powered off of the reversing lights and the screen is auto switch on camera sensing. The camera also has those sexy grid lines that overlays the picture.

Hope that helps!

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I tempted fate...now my Esprit V8 IS in bits...(sob)

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That's the head unit I have recently put into mine as well Neil (and I think I mentioned it earlier on in the thread). You can get a Bluetooth adapter for it as well as the USB and iPod connectivity. KCE-400BT is the one to go for. If you need manuals for anything or help with the install give me a shout.

It's a great stereo, got one in my minibus as well

Complete coincidence! I hadn't noticed it was the same one as yours. 

Glad it gets your thumbs up. I read some good reviews about it and like the non-silver face. Mine for £27 off ebay :)

I don't have an ipod and not sure my exhaust is 'compatible' with bluetooth (:P) but I'll give it some thought...

Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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I don't have an ipod and not sure my exhaust is 'compatible' with bluetooth (

:P

) but I'll give it some thought...

I think it's worth considering even if you don't want it now as you have to do the work anyway?

<three year's time>"Hmmmm, it would be good if I could stream music from my Android Popcorn intelliphone to my car stereo and have hands free...</three year's time>

The BT adapters are not cheap though but with your penchant for good eBay deals perhaps you could nail a bargain? :P

I tempted fate...now my Esprit V8 IS in bits...(sob)

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The BT adapters are not cheap though but with your penchant for good eBay deals perhaps you could nail a bargain? :P

OK, I'll have a poke around and see if I can find one at a 'reasonable' price.

I was thinking Bluetooth telephony rather than music streaming so you're right, I ought to consider dragging myself into the nineties...

Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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Anyone got any advice on choosing decent RCA cables? I don't need competition spec stuff, just something decent.

There are loads on eBay but having bought good quality speakers, amp and head unit I don't want to spoil the ship by buying naff cables.

What should I look for?

Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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Hello Neil

I don't think that spending a pound or a hundred quid on individual cables would make any discernible difference to be honest. If you shelled out a hell of a lot of money then your imagination would ensure that you got your money's worth.

The point about Radio Corporation of America's original design is that the signal wire is shielded by an earthed braid which reduces interference and losses. So it is an inherently pretty good signal wire.

However, I wouldn't spend £1.50 on a cheapy cable because you probably couldn't guarantee the construction quality which is more to the point. Go for a brand name, mid range price (£5-£10 each?) for a stereo pair and you should be fine.

 

I tempted fate...now my Esprit V8 IS in bits...(sob)

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The amp is not a 1200 watt amp when using your 4 Ohm speakers. It will only provide 100 watts watts R.M.S. per ch x 4 channels, and perhaps 200 watts peak per ch using the 4 Ohm speakers unless using bridging. Keep that in mind if driving it hard... Depending upon how loud your coach's interior is will determine how many watts are needed to overcome the background noise. If you hear any distortion products, cut it back lest you roast 'em.

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The amp is not a 1200 watt amp when using your 4 Ohm speakers. It will only provide 100 watts watts R.M.S. per ch x 4 channels, and perhaps 200 watts peak per ch using the 4 Ohm speakers unless using bridging. Keep that in mind if driving it hard... Depending upon how loud your coach's interior is will determine how many watts are needed to overcome the background noise. If you hear any distortion products, cut it back lest you roast 'em.

Yes, exactly, 100w rms per channel at 4 ohms.

My rear woofers are 100w rms and my front components are 75w rms so the amp is well matched to the speakers and I'll just be turning down the gain a little for the fronts as per Alex's advice earlier in the thread.

Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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  • 7 months later...

As my marathon interior refurb is finally complete I thought I'd add an update here on the sound system.

All the bits mentioned earlier in the thread are in now and it sounds pretty damn good! I suspect it will go much louder than I'll use it but turned up as loud as I dare (without the neighbours coming round) it's still crystal clear and The Eagles' Hotel California sounds great with some sounds in the mix I can't even hear in my Audi.

So, to summarise I've got an Alpine head unit linked to a 100w rms x4 Pioneer amp, feeding 6.5" 100w woofers in the rear (crossovers filtering out the high notes) and components in the front and doors. 4" mid range in the dash and tweeters in the doors, mounted in custom panels where the ashtrays used to be so its totally reversible if need be.

The head unit has a rear USB which I've linked to a remote USB socket hidden in the glovebox.

Some pics: 

image.jpeg

 

 

 

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

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  • 2 months later...

So since I started to drive the car with the new sound system I'm getting some engine speed related ticking through the speakers :angry: Happens on radio, CD or USB mode regardless.

The amp is on a short earth direct to the battery negative terminal, the aerial is earthed to the chassis via the stock braided strap and the head unit is earthed via the standard radio wiring.

Test earthing the head unit and casing direct to the battery seemed to make a VERY slight improvement but hasn't solved the problem. Moving the amp and wiring away from the ignition coil system has no effect so it doesn't seem to be a proximity issue. Unplugging the aerial also has no effect, which rules it out as the source of the problem.

Before I start spending on earth loop supressors etc, anyone have any ideas what the source of the problem could be?

Previous crappy radio and crappy speakers seemed OK so I'm thinking that maybe the amp is picking up something that was there before but not audible through the system...

Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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Right things to do rca leads supplying the amps signal to close to a power feed or loom . Bad earth's audio equipment should be earthed to the chassis not direct to the battery . 

Ground looping for earth signals is effectively making the return feed shorter or longer . Imagine the chassis is a fat cable returning to the battery the amps earthed in the back the head unit earthed in the front . Most audio interference is stopped making it all to 1 point not the battery 

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The amp could be picking it up in its inputs via the perhaps broken shield(s) in the Line In wiring, or, it could be coming in on the grounding or power lead to it due to high impedance of the either or both. Keeping in mind there is no valid shielding in the Esprit, a scope would be really valuable in looking at the signal lines, ground and power cables. All grounds should go to one, single point somewhere on the car and yes, that is fairly impossible to do, but that is about the only certain way to rid yourself of these pesky pulses. There are chokes and capacitors available for power and ground line blocking but current could be an issue. Take off the Input lines and see if you still have the pulse noise. That will decide for you if you are picking it up in your head or its lines or circuitry and feeding it to the amp (lacking an oscilloscope). If not there Line In being disconnected, bad shielding or ground loops or internal low level ckts in the head are susceptible. If there, then your amp and its ground, power line or low level ckts are at fault. Need to isolate first....

 

MikeP

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Thanks guys, a few things to try then. One of the reasons I stripped out the interior was to upgrade the system so it's annoying the hell out of me that it's not working right!

The RCA leads aren't routed directly alongside any power cables apart from being close where they exit the amp and the head unit, which is kind of unavoidable. The amp power is direct from the battery so the power leads don't follow the RCA or speaker wires back into the cabin.

I did try temp earthing the amp to the chassis instead but that made the interference worse. The head and aerial were still on their own earths at that point though.

I've read conflicting views about whether to earth to the battery or chassis, with equal numbers of people saying never do  one or the other...

Earthing everything to a single point on the chassis will be tricky but I can start by rigging up some temp earth cables and see if it solves the problem. Then I can fix something more permanently if it works. I assume I'm looking to earth the amp, head unit and aerial and that's it? Speakers etc I assume are earthed through the amp.

Will definitely try disconnecting the RCA ins and see if the noise is still there to isolate which end is the problem.

Im on holiday after today for a week so I'll try and get some tinkering time on it today. If not it'll be next week but I'll post back here how I get on!

Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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Picking up from Mikie P's comment i'd suggest thinking about where the Pioneer amp is mounted, can't quite tell from the photo but it looks like it's in the boot on side wall of the engine bay close to the coil box. You could try temporarily dismounting the amp and running the system with the amp located elsewhere in the boot to see if the interference reduced. They used something like Bacofoil on the inside of my coil box to act as a screen but if your power amp is sitting right next to the coil it might not be enough and you are picking up the interference through the casing of the power amp rather than through the RCA leads

Normally Aspirated - and lovin' it!

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Thanks Colin. You're right, the amp was mounted on the cover of the coil box and I did consider that simple proximity to the coil etc might be the problem.

I've temporarily moved it to the back edge of the boot on longer cables but with no improvement. In fact with a helper moving the amp towards and away from the amp there is no change, hence I deduced that proximity to the electrics wasn't the source.

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Good stuff that's that eliminated from the equation!

Another thing I remember causing me an interference problem is that on the Motorola alternator fitted on mine there is an "integral" condenser bolted to the back of the unit and the spade connector from that to the back of the unit had come undone. Not the easiest thing to see from above as the air box and associated gubbins get in the way but might be worth a check,

Your interior refurb looks very good, especially like the ash tray delete, who did the work for you?

Normally Aspirated - and lovin' it!

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I did everything myself, including the ashtray blank panels.

The leather was sound but tired so I took everything out, stripped it back and recoated it with Liquid Leather in the original colour. The carpet set came from Coverdale. A few other bits, headliner, dash top vinyl and of course the new sound system from various places.

A lot of work but it's transformed the car and I'm pretty pleased with it now.

Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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  • 2 weeks later...

Managed to get some time on this today and followed the advice here. Problem solved!

It turned out as Alex predicted to be an earthing issue. I had the amp earthed direct to the battery and the head unit and aerial earthed to the chassis via the original loom earth for the head and braided strap for the aerial. I found the main chassis earth point (conveniently just behind my amp location) and earthed the amp directly to that.

Following Alex's advice I was all set to follow up by running a wire from the head unit to the same point but thought I'd check what effect the new amp earth had on its own. Straight away noise gone and The Eagles are (very) loud and clear again :dj: :thumbup:

 

 

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Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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