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-   -   2011 Legacy Audio Build w/ LOTS of Questions (http://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=193295)

cipher_nemo 09-19-2012 11:13 AM

2011 Legacy Audio Build (Teardown w/ pics)
 
I haven't been into car audio since the 90s, so a good chunk of my knowledge is outdated. There are some things that never change, but I had to relearn the brands/manufacturers and expand upon some new tech.

Build Log for 2011 Subaru Legacy
(Ruby Red 2.5i Premium)

I have quite a few questions at the end of this post and would love some feedback on my plans. As I progress I'll add plenty of photos for those interested.

Here's a subject-to-change list...
  • Pioneer DEH-80PRS head unit (stereo/receiver)
  • AudioControl THREE.2 dash-mounted EQ. I really like this simple device that gives a quick and easy way to fade, sweep, and tune on the fly.
  • Focal FPS 4160 amp or an alternative amp (drives doors)
  • Focal K2 Power 165 KR2 6.5" speakers (front doors and tweets to dash)
  • Focal K2 Power 165 KRC 6.5" coax speakers (rear doors for fill)
  • Alpine MRP M500 amp (drives sub)
  • Alpine SBR-S83V 8" sub and factory-made box
  • SSD in external enclosure that hooks into the head unit via USB. The 80PRS supplies up to 1A of 5V, so it's enough to power most 2.5" SSDs across the USB. If this becomes a problem I can just make/buy my own power supply for it, but it looks like the Samsung 830 SSD I want to use needs 0.75A at operating load.
  • Music: I'm ditching MP3s. Completely. I'm now buying CDs and ripping the tracks to lossless Wave files. The 80PRS will play Wave files, and with digital storage of 128 or 256GB for reasonably priced SSDs, and 32GB and less reasonably priced thumbdrives, Storing 40 to 70MB tracks isn't a big deal these days. And yes, I can heard the difference between a song played from a 320kbps MP3 and lossless Wave or Redbook audio, even on my PC. Then again, I have a better sound system on my PC than I do anywhere else in my life. :-) Any ways, this is the main reason I'm going with the 80PRS. Alpine sux because even their flagship model doesn't let you play Wave files.
  • Misc: I still want to get a new battery, new terminals, other wiring, etc. And I really want to do a custom wiring job with breakers at the amp racks to shut power off for each line coming off my distribution blocks. As for the cables, I own quite a bit of techflex sleeving, so I plan to sleeve pretty much everything for both looks and protection. I plan to buy a little of their high-temp sleeving for the power line coming from the engine compartment, even though it's not necessary. I just want my wiring install to last the life of the vehicle.

I've only purchased the Alpine gear so far since that was the cheapest step. I haven't installed anything yet other than make and mount the amp & distribution blocks racks.

Question 1: Focal Alternatives
I'd love to hear budget-minded recommendations on the Focal equipment I've selected. I love the sound of the Focal speakers (haven't heard the amp yet), but they're way overpriced. Any suggestions on alternatives?

I am really NOT looking forward to paying $1k for a 4-channel amp and $700 & $950 for speakers. If there is simply no alternative for near-audiophile sound, then I'll eventually eat that price if needed. I will pay for quality, but I always want to research alternatives first. :-)

Answered: thanks xxkiloxx.

Question 2: Digital Storage
A lot of head unit manufacturers state that their USB connections only support up to FAT32 for partitions. According to Microsoft, FAT32 is limited to 32GB. That's not bad, but since I'm looking at adding a 128GB SSD, that might be an issue.

I could always break that 128GB SSD into four 32GB partitions. But if I do that will the Pioneer DEH-80PRS recognize the 4 different partitions? Or is it limited to one partition per USB connection?

I can't seem to make any research headroom in this. My local shops roll Alpine, not Pioneer, so I can't really walk in somewhere close to hook up an SSD and test it.

Question 3: Wiring for Upgrades
Is there any advantage to running multiple grounds to my ground distribution block for the amps? With the blocks I have, I could run a total of two grounds to the body.

Do you think 4 gauge power wiring is enough for my plans? Before anyone answers, let me clarify: Focal Elite series 4 gauge (32mm) wiring (ie: not a cheap/skimped 4 gauge). They supply a 150A fuse with this kit, so it seems like plenty to me for the two amps I have in mind. The fuses on the amps total less than that, and with a rough 80% efficiency, that seems like enough. Please let me know if I'm missing something in my very rough calculations.
Answered: thanks xxkiloxx.

Also I plan to run 12 gauge speaker wire to my doors. Perhaps something simple and affordable from Stinger. For the front component speakers, 12 gauge to the crossover boxes, then 14 or 16 to the speakers themselves. I assume the 12 gauge is a little bit overkill, correct? There doesn't seem to be that much difference in price between 12 gauge and 14 or 16 gauge wire any ways.
Answered: I went ahead and bought a bunch of 12 gauge to run. Seems pliable and small enough to run under trim with other cables. The price difference was negligible.

Question 4: Battery, etc.
I'd like to use one of those AGM batteries since the tech looks awesome compared to the wet/gel/spiral batteries. And I'm looking at XS Power, specifically the S1200 or D5100 models. I'm not worried about the price, but is there really any difference between the S and D series other than the D series doesn't come with posts? It seems like one is targeted for the racing/performance marker and the other towards the car audio market. Otherwise the battery specs looks the same for comparable models. Do you guys think a D5100 will fit in my car's stock battery holder without modification? The XS Power site says it's compatible.

I doubt an aftermarket alternator is required, but I'm open to suggestions.
Resolved after research and talking with local installers.

I was looking online earlier at guides where people ran new 0 gauge wires for their existing electrical system (from battery to body ground and alternator). That seems like a waste of time for a non-competition system, correct?

Answered: The "big 3" is debatable. I'm not going for an SPL system with thousands of watts RMS. So I'm going to put this off until I'm ready to do my doors and second amp. Then I'm just doing it for fun.

Question 5: Wiring Layout
My battery is on the driver's side of the car, so I plan to run my power and remote lines down that side. Then RCA signal lines on the passenger's side. That seems the best way to isolate any noise generated from the power cable.

Answered: thanks xxkiloxx.

But what about speaker wires to the doors? Since my amps for the doors will be in the trunk area, is it ok to run them along with the RCA signal lines? Or should I go out of my way to run the RCA lines down the middle under the carpet?
Answered: thanks xxkiloxx.

Question 4: Panels & Rear Seat
In order to run the wiring, I'll need to remove some things. I had no problem removing the floor trim when I was checking things out (before installing). But I had trouble removing the trim panel that's on the lower portion of the pillars between the two doors on each side. Can anyone link an image or explain where those clips are located on that panel?

Also I need to remove the rear seats (the bottoms, not the fold-down). I was told that all you have to do is lift up REALLY hard to pop them up, then fiddle with clips at the rear to completely remove them. Is that true? Has anyone removed the rear seats in their 2010-2012 Legacy?

Resolved: I removed the rear seat and panels just fine after some playing around with them. I'll include photos in other posts below.

Initial progress...

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...acy1_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...acy2_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...acy3_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...res1_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...res2_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...res3_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...rds1_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...rds2_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...rds3_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...rds4_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...rds5_thumb.jpg

cipher_nemo 09-19-2012 11:48 AM

For the wire wrapping, I have a ton of Techflex Flexo F6 boxes in multiple sizes for the interior. That's mostly for looks, but also for a little bit of abrasion resistance.

I might go Techflex Flexo Shield around the RCA lines and ground both ends for insane EMI protection. It doesn't cost too much for the sleeving, just time and energy to wrap it all.

As for the power cable exposed in the engine compartment, a couple feet of Techflex Liquid Wrap (L6) might be the easiest solution to protect it from the elements and heat.

http://www.techflex.com/images/prod_F6N_banner.jpg
http://www.techflex.com/images/prod_FSN_banner.jpg
http://www.techflex.com/images/prod_L6N_banner.jpg

xxkiloxx 09-19-2012 07:46 PM

Try and listen to hertz hi energy line for the focal replacements. They sound amazing. Ive had good luck with the old diamond audio hex series as well.

upgrade your big 3 to 1/0 gauge and you should be fine without the ho alternator. I ran a very nice sq system in my car and all I needed was the big 3. I did however use 1/0 stinger wire to my distro block and 4g to my pdx-f6 and pdx-m12 amps. BTW, very good natural tone with those amps. 4g wire SHOULD work, especially since youre using legit 4g wire.

youre wiring layout is exactly how i did it. youll be fine with the speaker and rca's together. I ran power down the drivers side and speaker/signal on the passenger side.

I'm looking forward to your install.
-mike

cbass85 09-19-2012 07:57 PM

+1

I cant wait to see some more pictures to get ideas for my audio

cipher_nemo 09-20-2012 08:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xxkiloxx (Post 4079230)
Try and listen to hertz hi energy line for the focal replacements. They sound amazing. Ive had good luck with the old diamond audio hex series as well.

Thanks, I'll check them out! :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by xxkiloxx (Post 4079230)
upgrade your big 3 to 1/0 gauge and you should be fine without the ho alternator. I ran a very nice sq system in my car and all I needed was the big 3. I did however use 1/0 stinger wire to my distro block and 4g to my pdx-f6 and pdx-m12 amps. BTW, very good natural tone with those amps. 4g wire SHOULD work, especially since youre using legit 4g wire.

youre wiring layout is exactly how i did it. youll be fine with the speaker and rca's together. I ran power down the drivers side and speaker/signal on the passenger side.

I'm looking forward to your install.
-mike

Very cool. I've found this video and it looks like the best of the bunch for the big 3. I'll either do this after I order and install a new battery, but before the bigger amp and door speakers are installed, or just right now. What do you think?


Quote:

Originally Posted by cbass85 (Post 4079247)
+1

I cant wait to see some more pictures to get ideas for my audio

Thanks! :)

zambazil 09-20-2012 09:01 AM

Finally an interesting upgrade path for digital lossless media audio. Would like to avoid mp3s myself. OP which app do you use for ripping? TIA!

xxkiloxx 09-20-2012 10:44 AM

I installed all my speakers, amps, sound deadening, and ran wires before I upgraded my electrical system. I just kept my gains down until I upgraded the batt and big 3. After that my amps/speakers played a lot better and I readjusted the gains to suit the more efficient electric delivery. The biggest reason for doing that way was because I ordered most of my stuff while I was home on r&r from Afghanistan but didn't have time to do the electrical as I needed to research it a bit more. I ended up with the big 3 and a yellow top optima battery. Also, I ran my ground back to the battery... Didn't "need" to but I had the wire. Also if your battery is a descent one, you can wait on that.

cipher_nemo 09-20-2012 11:43 AM

Update: I just purchased a couple roles of 3M tin-plated copper foil tape (4mil) for additional shielding of RCA lines and for casing around the head-unit. This is absolutely a luxury and overkill since the RCA cables and head-unit have their own shielding. But it's a fun one I wanted to include in my near-audiophile install.

Tin-plated tape will make it easier to solder wire connections to the tape for grounding purposes. But more importantly, it helps it ward off corrosion (exposed copper can oxidize and corrode over time).

I'm going this route instead of the 'Techflex Flexo Shield' sleeving which is too expensive and has fewer uses. I'm still using my regular Techflex F6 for final cable sleeving.

http://www.all-spec.com/products/1183-10.html

http://etool.ca/GFX/PRODS/130-142.jpg

Quote:

Originally Posted by zambazil (Post 4079767)
Finally an interesting upgrade path for digital lossless media audio. Would like to avoid mp3s myself. OP which app do you use for ripping? TIA!

:icon_chee I love one app I found: Easy CD-DA Extractor by Poikosoft. It's free for 30-days without any limitation, and still only $40 for licensed copy with lifetime of upgrades (sort of like FRAPS if you're a gamer).

Honestly, I tried to use the freeware Exact Audio Copy, but it was a total PITA. Not only did EAC not find my blu-ray drive, it also has an insane number of trivial settings that make its usage an experiment in trial and error. I just didn't want to hunt for 3rd party dll files to make EAC work. It also has an ugly UI. Easy CD-DA was much more refined. In 30 days you could probably do an entire CD collection, but I plan to buy it after my install. I've ripped 4 CDs with it so far to test the app and it was flawless on each (Die So Fluid, Metallica, Nirvana, and a Xandria CD).

http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/201..._2_540x374.png

Quote:

Originally Posted by xxkiloxx (Post 4079960)
I ended up with the big 3 and a yellow top optima battery. Also, I ran my ground back to the battery... Didn't "need" to but I had the wire. Also if your battery is a descent one, you can wait on that.

Yeah, I will most likely wait on the battery until I do my big amp for the door speakers. The head unit, mono amp, and all cables runs done right the first time is a priority for me before I get into the electrical system stuff.

The optima yellow top batteries are decent since they're dual-purpose crank and deep-cycle. But they still don't compare to AGM deep-cycle batteries. At least the yellow tops are less expensive than high-end AGM models. :)

zambazil 09-20-2012 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cipher_nemo (Post 4080050)
:icon_chee I love one app I found: Easy CD-DA Extractor by Poikosoft. It's free for 30-days without any limitation, and still only $40 for licensed copy with lifetime of upgrades (sort of like FRAPS if you're a gamer).

Honestly, I tried to use the freeware Exact Audio Copy, but it was a total PITA. Not only did EAC not find my blu-ray drive, it also has an insane number of trivial settings that make its usage an experiment in trial and error. I just didn't want to hunt for 3rd party dll files to make EAC work. It also has an ugly UI. Easy CD-DA was much more refined. In 30 days you could probably do an entire CD collection, but I plan to buy it after my install. I've ripped 4 CDs with it so far to test the app and it was flawless on each (Die So Fluid, Metallica, Nirvana, and a Xandria CD).

http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/201..._2_540x374.png

Amen on the EAC - too many settings that tend to be different for every CD or track. I'm with Monkey Media right now and okay with it. Planning to upgrade with DB PowerAmp or JRiver once I complete my Ivy Bridge build, but I'll research Easy CD-DA Extractor & check it out.

Following this thread for awesome build. Carry on sir!

cipher_nemo 09-21-2012 10:27 AM

Question 2 answered...
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pioneer Online Support
It only supports one partition and FAT32 will be the maximum and no guarantee on compatibility on large storage devices.

So that's a bummer. It looks like I'll have to use two 32 to 40 GB SSDs, one for each USB from the back. And it's not fun to change sources, as you can't do it on the fly. Oh well, it's still 400 or so lossless wave songs for each SSD. But I'll need to ask if their implementation of FAT32 can read larger than 32GB partitions. The theoretical limit of FAT32 is 2TB, but each developer/manufacturer's implementation of FAT32 might vary. 32GB would be the smallest, and 2TB the largest.

Update: Pioneer support doesn't have a clue. Sort of pathetic, but I will keep pushing, even if I have to go all the way to the national training manager, Harry Kroll.

cipher_nemo 09-22-2012 08:31 PM

I removed all of the trim and the rear seat tonight. I didn't complete as much as I wanted, but that's because I had to watch the Penn State Football game today. ;)

Any ways, here's some photos of it for those wanting to do the same to their 2010 to 2012 Legacy. Red arrows point to the clips where you should be focusing your pulling force to remove them...

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...or_1_thumb.jpg

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...or_2_thumb.jpg



40 feet of 12 gauge wire I picked up for speaker runs, along with a couple of my several boxes of Techflex Flexo F6 wire sleeving and two rolls of tin-plated copper foil to wrap around the RCA signal cables...

http://modarmor.com/images/car_audio...es_1_thumb.jpg

ThatVAguy 09-23-2012 03:13 PM

This is amazing. impressive

cipher_nemo 09-23-2012 08:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ThatVAguy (Post 4083708)
This is amazing. impressive

Thanks! :) I took some more photos today and will post on Monday. Build is going slow because I'm taking a lot of care in doing it.

ThatVAguy 09-23-2012 10:42 PM

I think whenever i buy an BRAND NEW car ill throw an absolutely absurd stereo in it. i love sound quality (i work in audio systems) but feel like my car wouldn't have a long enough life to make it worth the investment

cipher_nemo 09-24-2012 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ThatVAguy (Post 4084182)
I think whenever i buy an BRAND NEW car ill throw an absolutely absurd stereo in it. i love sound quality (i work in audio systems) but feel like my car wouldn't have a long enough life to make it worth the investment

Yeah, I know what you mean. I waited a little too long on mine (2 years after I bought it), but then again I baby my low-mileage legacy. :)


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