XR, great information . I’m learning a lot. I stumbled upon this thread as I searched for info on car audio.
I purchased a 2014 cruze just 2 weeks ago. I think the Chevy Cruze is a very underated car. I would like to do an upgrade to the stereo system, as the stock system in the LS is lacking. Last time I bought a fairly new car was in 2000 & I installed a system at the same time, which I thought was pretty good. Man things have changed since then. Consider me a noobe. I want to keep the factory head unit, install 2 amps that I have & upgrade the speakers. The amps I have are small. One is a Kicker IX402 & the other is an Alpine 3519. I’ve had these amps for years & haven’t put them to use in a very long time. Was looking for your expertise on a few things. I would like to keep the install as simple as possible. I plan on purchasing the speakers you recommended & also the sound deadening. Do you think the factory speaker wiring would be adequate given the low wattage amplifiers? Although the front speaker channels are wired in parallel so that would be an issue. I’m looking for crisp clean sound, not super super loud. Not sure I want a Sub. I never thought it made sense to have a loud obnoxious thumping going down the road like most of the young kids have. Very annoying.
I recently purchased a Pac AA-GM44 LOC just to get a look at the harness. I did not want to use the LOC in this kit. I noticed the wiring to this LOC is just spliced into the harness & still utilizes the factory speaker wires. In other words, the way it is wired, the head unit still feeds directly to the speakers. Not exactly what I expected. I think the Pac unit was designed as a means for adding amps to the system while retaining the factory speaker hook up. Doesn’t make much sense the way the harness is laid out.
I was looking into DSP’s as I never heard of them before. Apparently these units are the way to go. I have no laptop or any other means to set one up. I was looking at the kicker front stage & the audio control DQ-61. I understand these two do not require a laptop interface to set up & I won’t have to break the bank to own one. I’m leaning towards the DQ-61 from everything I’ve read about it. What I was planning on doing was cutting the wires on the PAC harness & running some 9 wire from the head side to either the Kicker front stage or DQ-61, whichever one I decide on, & then wire up the amps & then more 9 wire back up to the pac harness to feed the speakers through the factory harness. Basically creating one big loop. Does this make sense? Do you see any problems with anything in this set up other than the front channels being wired in parallel?
I’m sure I’ll have more questions as I continue to research this stuff. Your write ups have been a great inspiration. Thank you for that.
Factory wiring won't work unless you plan on cutting it right behind the trim inside the car. If you plan to do that, and just splice the rest of the wire to the trunk, that would be fine, but if you're halfway there, may as well run it all the way inside the door. You're only running 18 gauge anyway.
A subwoofer provides a musical addition to an otherwise thin sounding system. You can only expect so much bass extension from door-mounted 6.5" drivers. You'll realistically get down to 60hz, maybe 55hz, and will be missing the musical range down to ~29hz. Just because it's a sub, doesn't mean it has to be loud. It just has to BE there if you want the full depth of sound. This is why there are smaller, single 8" and single 10" subwoofers. I'd personally recommend that corner mounted fiberglass enclosure with a nice SQ-based 10" sub for a sleek install that adds the low-frequency extension music needs to sound truly full. Don't have to make it loud.
Yes, the PAC was designed to add functionality to speakers. The benefit here is that you can leave your entire system alone and not splice or cut anything. Simply disconnect the speakers in the doors, ziptie the connectors somewhere inside, and if you ever need to revert your vehicle back to stock form, you can do so without leaving any traces. The only other way to do this is to actually cut wires.
You can tune a miniDSP off of a desktop computer, but you need at least that much. A laptop simply allows you to make adjustments in-cab. Not all DSPs are created equal, and the miniDSP (that's the actual company name) 2x4 is by a long shot the best value on the market for world-class tuning capability.
Due to the complexities of tuning each individual driver in-cab, and adjusting for time alignment, a plug-in solution like Kicker or AudioControl's will provide better results than stock but won't even come close to what a miniDSP can do with a good tune. I've already provided that good tune with two sets of affordable drivers. If you don't use the miniDSP, you can't use those drivers, plain and simple. You'll have to go with a passive component set instead of a 2-way fully active front configuration.
You don't want the front channels being wired in parallel, and your loop idea doesn't really make sense. Here's the signal path you need to take.
1. Head Unit
2. Line-out converter
3. Processor. You have two options here, with (A), or without (B) active crossover capabilities.
3A. miniDSP with active crossover (or a MUCH more expensive alternate option that can digitally tune crossover points and slopes)
4A. 4-channel amplifier
5A. speaker wires to each individual driver (two tweeter and two door woofers, for a total of 4 wires).
3B. Kicker/Audiocontrol processor
4B. 2-channel amplifier
5C. component set with passive crossover
The whole point of the miniDSP is having the active crossover and being able to tune each specific driver individually. With the two options you listed, you can't do that.
The AudioControl DQ-61 is $320 on crutchfield. The miniDSP is about $130 to your door including the miniDC. You could buy a miniDSP, AND a refurbished dell Latitude laptop
, for the same price, and achieve notably better results at the expense of a worthwhile learning curve.