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Old 28th August 2013, 11:26   #1
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Default Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

I need some help in deciding a realistic upgrade to my current ICE setup. The car in question is an SUV and is my wife's car and her preference of music is mostly Bollywood and some fusion music. But this is also our touring vehicle and so I do get to play my choice of rock music as well. We're no hardcore audiophiles but having a good sound system is still our #1 priority since we travel quite a bit. The emphasis is always on sound quality both for the front as well as the rear seats.

So here's the as-is situation:

HU
- The HU will remain out of scope for this upgrade - I've got no issues with it.

Speakers
- I currently have the Infinity Kappa components 62.7i at the front
- The rear doors have the Infinity Kappa 62.9i 2-way speakers with onboard tweeters with crossovers

Subwoofer
- The current setup has the JBL 1000W 12-inch sub. This was retained from my old car and so it's done quite a bit of service by now. Lately I have heard some jarring sounds when there are faster and consecutive bass beats. I'm really not very happy about it and have to get this fixed in the upgrade. Can't say for sure if its the sub or the amp that is causing it, my guess is it's the sub but thats just from my limited understanding of the ICE systems.

Amplifiers
- The four speakers are powered with a Blaupunkt GTA 475 4ch AB Class Amp which has been with me for a few years now. It's been a good amp so far and no complaints, but I'm sure there are newer and possibly better options to explore.
- The sub is powered by a JBL3501 mono amplifier. The power output of this amp is just about enough for the current sub, but not sure if it'd be enough if I plan an upgrade.

Wiring

- Wiring used has been mostly harness kits and good quality scosche or equivalent brands

Here's what I'm thinking of the upgrade in order of my priority. This is where I need help on deciding:

Upgrade #1 - Get a better 4ch Amplifier. Sadly, I won't have moolah to go for Audison and the likes but I was thinking more like the Infinity Kappa One. I'm open to other brands based on feedback and experiences but would like to keep the price in that range (20-25k approx)

Upgrade #2 - Get a better subwoofer and enclosure. There are two options here, one to replace the current 12inch sub with another of the same size OR install two 8-inch subs for tighter bass and faster response times. Space isn't a big constraint since all this goes in the boot of an SUV, but I'd certainly avoid the bigger bulkier enclosures. Moreover, given my requirements of tighter bass sealed boxes would do better. I'm still going to be on a budget and that means I can stretch upto 15k. I understand that the two 8-inch setup would need me to extend, I can consider it based on situation but would like to keep it under the budget. Again, my logical choice has been the Infinity kappa 12inch sub, read all good things about it, but I'm generally biased towards the kappa and want to get opinions about other brands that can match the performance.

Upgrade #3 - Change the mono amp to a higher model. The 3501 from what I understand was the most economical and VFM choice at the time when I installed it. I didn't want to go for any higher end models at that time. But if I upgrade the subwoofer, then maybe I'll also be left wanting to upgrade the mono amp to get best results. My choice is again the Kappa one, but thats coz most of the Kappa options fit within my budget as well.

- No change to HU or the speakers is planned at this time

Now, my list of questions

- Does the three step upgrade make sense in the order that I have listed or I can try some other options?
- What other brands will suit my needs and budget given that currently I'm so heavily biased towards the Infinity Kappa?
- Will the double 8-inch sub make a lot of difference vs the single 12-inch?
- Will the two sub setup need another separate mono-amp or I can run the two subs from a single amp?
- Will the new and improved setup increase the power consumption that will overload the alternator of a Safari for example.

Hoping to see some good advise coming from the ICE enthusiasts and gurus
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Old 28th August 2013, 19:22   #2
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Default Re: Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

Quote:
Does the three step upgrade make sense in the order that I have listed or I can try some other options?
Your Speakers seem good so an 4 Channel Amp should make it sound better in terms of Upgrading

Quote:
What other brands will suit my needs and budget given that currently I'm so heavily biased towards the Infinity Kappa?
Rockford Fosgate makes some good amps and sub but that's my personal preference.

Quote:
Will the double 8-inch sub make a lot of difference vs the single 12-inch?
IMO i would stick to a single 12 Inch

Quote:
Will the two sub setup need another separate mono-amp or I can run the two subs from a single amp?
You can run two-three easily on a Mono AMP as long as you wire properly, most amps run 2 OHM stable

Quote:
Will the new and improved setup increase the power consumption that will overload the alternator of a Safari for example.
Depends on how much power your setup consumes and the Amp of the Alternator. At the most if you experience dimming get a upgraded battery

Hope this helps

Last edited by Diamond_dawg : 28th August 2013 at 19:23.
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Old 28th August 2013, 20:35   #3
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Default Re: Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

May I ask what HU are you using currently.

Since your speakers and 4 channela amp is good, you can use it as it is.

For Sub - Try checking out Infinity Kappa 120.9, its a good sub at a great price. Put this into a good sealed box and you will be a happy man.

For Sub Amp - You can use your current amp for the time being and upgrade later or can upgrade to a better amp - many choices and you should be able to get a good one around 15K.

For wires - I will suggest get them checked and see if they are good to serve you and if required change them to better ones.

Also the reason why I asked about the HU was since its the source unit and it does makes a huge difference in how your music plays, so see if want to have a go at it.
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Old 28th August 2013, 23:13   #4
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Default Re: Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

Some pointers for you:

1. The Infinity Kappa 120.9 is a great buy. Its an SQ sub which works great in its (recommended) 1 cu ft sealed enclosure. Clean, tight bass. Part of my ICE setup. I hear good things about the Gladen Audio M-12 and RS12 subs too, though availability might be an issue.

2. In my opinion (as well as most online reviews), the IK4 shines provided you give it 350w RMS (its rated power) or more. My personal setup has an audison LRX 4.1 putting out 400w RMS (bridged mode) to the sub, and it sounds brilliant. In your case, the JBL 3501 puts out just 225w RMS in 4 ohms mode. So I'd strongly suggest get a higher rated mono. What price does the IK one come for? Also look at some Rockford Fosgate monos. Clean power at not so high budget.

3. In case you're not looking to upgrade your speakers, stick to your current amp. Its a good SQ amp producing very neutral sound. Heard it in Bhpian NOS Power's car.
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Old 29th August 2013, 01:25   #5
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Default Re: Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diamond_dawg View Post

Your Speakers seem good so an 4 Channel Amp should make it sound better in terms of Upgrading

IMO i would stick to a single 12 Inch

You can run two-three easily on a Mono AMP as long as you wire properly, most amps run 2 OHM stable

Depends on how much power your setup consumes and the Amp of the Alternator. At the most if you experience dimming get a upgraded battery
Quote:
Originally Posted by invincible7 View Post
Since your speakers and 4 channela amp is good, you can use it as it is.

For Sub - Try checking out Infinity Kappa 120.9, its a good sub at a great price. Put this into a good sealed box and you will be a happy man.

For Sub Amp - You can use your current amp for the time being and upgrade later or can upgrade to a better amp - many choices and you should be able to get a good one around 15K.
Quote:
Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
Some pointers for you:

1. The Infinity Kappa 120.9 is a great buy.

2. In my opinion (as well as most online reviews), the IK4 shines provided you give it 350w RMS (its rated power) or more. My personal setup has an audison LRX 4.1 putting out 400w RMS (bridged mode) to the sub, and it sounds brilliant. In your case, the JBL 3501 puts out just 225w RMS in 4 ohms mode. So I'd strongly suggest get a higher rated mono.

3. In case you're not looking to upgrade your speakers, stick to your current amp. Its a good SQ amp producing very neutral sound. Heard it in Bhpian NOS Power's car.
Guys, thank you for the inputs. From what I gather so far from the suggestions:

Action 1 - Stick to 12inch subs. Get the Infinity Kappa 120.9 subwoofer with a 1 cuft sealed enclosure
Action 2 - Upgrade to a bigger capacity mono amp, may be the Kappa One or Rockford fosgate
Action 3 - Retain the Blaupunkt 4ch Amp (as pointed out by predatorwheelz and also the guys at Autoshop, it is one of the better amps of it's time and should last me for some more time). Upgrade only if the itch to spend money becomes severe
Action 4 - Keep the current set of speakers (anyways the lowest priority on the upgrade list)
Action 5 - Worry about the power drawn only if I run into issues after the install


Quote:
Originally Posted by invincible7 View Post
May I ask what HU are you using currently.

Also the reason why I asked about the HU was since its the source unit and it does makes a huge difference in how your music plays, so see if want to have a go at it.
I currently have a Pio 7150UB head unit which has 3 pre-outs etc, there may be a kenwood unit I may use which has similar 3 pre-outs and a lot of other jazz. My basic requirement is to have 3 pre-outs so that I can control the front/rear and sub accordingly. I'd want the amp to do the work of distilling and amplifying the music that goes to the speakers and hence the question on whether the current GTA475 is good enough or should I upgrade it.
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Old 29th August 2013, 01:31   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
Action 5 - Worry about the power drawn only if I run into issues after the install
Do you happen to know what kinda wires were used? the gauge? and if its OFC wire or CCA?

Last edited by Diamond_dawg : 29th August 2013 at 01:33.
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Old 29th August 2013, 01:52   #7
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Default Re: Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

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Originally Posted by Diamond_dawg View Post
Do you happen to know what kinda wires were used? the gauge? and if its OFC wire or CCA?
OFC/CCA, I have no clue what that is.

I know that the wiring for power is done using standard harnesses like scosche so that there is no cutting involved etc. I'm not very sure on the brand or specs of the speaker wires, will have to check this. Is there a brand recommendation you have and the gauge to be used too. I have seen people using zero gauge wires for power and then using a distribution block, is that really helpful or its just more cosmetic than functional?
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Old 29th August 2013, 01:56   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
OFC/CCA, I have no clue what that is.

I know that the wiring for power is done using standard harnesses like scosche so that there is no cutting involved etc. I'm not very sure on the brand or specs of the speaker wires, will have to check this. Is there a brand recommendation you have and the gauge to be used too. I have seen people using zero gauge wires for power and then using a distribution block, is that really helpful or its just more cosmetic than functional?

Was asking about the wiring use to wire both the Amps.
OFC= Oxygen Free Copper and CCA = Copper Clad aluminium.

In your case Zero gauge is not require but a good OFC brand 4 gauge would work best for your power requirements
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Old 29th August 2013, 13:33   #9
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Default Re: Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... The emphasis is always on sound quality both for the front as well as the rear seats. ...
What is your objective for upgrading? That in itself is a funny question - since such things are never a result of objective thinking. What I am getting at is: What is lacking in your current system that you want to change parts or all of it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... - Does the three step upgrade make sense in the order that I have listed or I can try some other options? ...
Nothing will make sense unless you are clear about the why of the change

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... - What other brands will suit my needs and budget given that currently I'm so heavily biased towards the Infinity Kappa? ...
Doesn't work that way. Each brand has a different sound signature - there is not good / bad or inferior / superlative about it. There are a few ones costlier than Infinity Kappa, not necessary that they would be better

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... - Will the double 8-inch sub make a lot of difference vs the single 12-inch?...
Yes, it will make it a lot worse. 8" is no comparison to a 12"

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... - Will the two sub setup need another separate mono-amp or I can run the two subs from a single amp? ...
Depends on a. the Power rating of the amp, and b. whether the amp is rated for half the impedance of each sub when connected in parallel

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... - Will the new and improved setup increase the power consumption that will overload the alternator of a Safari for example. ...
Unlikely, unless you are using the system for PA duty by playing at full volume all the time

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... Action 1 - Stick to 12inch subs. Get the Infinity Kappa 120.9 subwoofer with a 1 cuft sealed enclosure ...
Slightly less than 1cft. At 1cft it is a bit boomy

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... Action 2 - Upgrade to a bigger capacity mono amp, may be the Kappa One or Rockford fosgate ...
Only if the bass output is unsatisfactory for the type of music you hear

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... Action 3 - Retain the Blaupunkt 4ch Amp (as pointed out by predatorwheelz and also the guys at Autoshop, it is one of the better amps of it's time and should last me for some more time). Upgrade only if the itch to spend money becomes severe ...
That would be a wise course of action

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... Action 4 - Keep the current set of speakers (anyways the lowest priority on the upgrade list) ...
Again, a good choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... Action 5 - Worry about the power drawn only if I run into issues after the install ...
Correct

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... the amp to do the work of distilling and amplifying ...
Distilling?

GTA475 is a good amp. No point changing it unless the power is genuinely insufficient

Last edited by DerAlte : 29th August 2013 at 15:20.
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Old 29th August 2013, 14:49   #10
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Default Re: Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

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Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
What is your objective for upgrading? That in itself is a funny question - since such things are never a result of objective thinking. What I am getting at is: What is lacking in your current system that you want to change parts or all of it?
You make a good point, I should have clarified why I want to upgrade. As you rightly said, it's not a fully objective decision. You can consider it to be half emotional and half situational.

Leaving the emotional part out for now, the need arised out of the fact that lately we have been listening to a lot of fusion and coke studio type of music with a lot of percussion instruments and the current setup isn't coping up with that too well. We're feeling that the bass is to heavy and jarring and I'm particularly missing the tightness of the bass. On some faster beats, the sub felt like it was gasping for breath and wasn't able to deliver the correct sound at all. I somehow feel that it's to do with the age of the subwoofer which is now done more than 7 years of service. I've also tried fiddling around with the subwoofer settings and also the gains adjustment on the mono-amp, but haven't been able to get the right setup that I want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Distilling?
Haha, even I don't know what made me write that. Let's just say it was too late in the night for me.

I think what I may have intended though is that I'd want the amp to make sure that the sound quality is adjusted to my taste rather than relying heavily on the HU. In any case, the HU I'll be using will not be the entry level unit in either brands so I'm not very concerned about changing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
GTA475 is a good amp. No point changing it unless the power is genuinely insufficient
You are the third knowledgeable person telling me that the amp is good and now I'm totally sold on that fact. It saves me some good money and also gives me peace of mind that it's not considered an outdated piece of equipment as yet.

Though we play music loud enough to drown the engine noise of the truck, it's never so high so as to test the limits of the system. There may be times when I play it really loud but that's probably for one odd favorite when I'm alone in the car. Net-net, the max output etc will never be tested and hence the power from the GTA475 should be fairly sufficient to drive the Infinity Kappa components since both are rated at 75W RMS per speaker/channel.
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Old 29th August 2013, 15:33   #11
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Default Re: Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

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Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... I somehow feel that it's to do with the age of the subwoofer which is now done more than 7 years of service. I've also tried fiddling around with the subwoofer settings and also the gains adjustment on the mono-amp, but haven't been able to get the right setup that I want. ...
No, not age. The JBL 12" is a slower sub than the Infinity Kappa sub. Settings won't change basic character.

I have the 120.9 in my truck, and it faithfully reproduces anything that I play. When I played it in the 1cft box, it was really boomy for electronic, hip hop etc. I finally reduced box volume, and provided internal damping, by stuffing in a whole pillow! Loudness reduced a bit, but it is fast and faithful now. The actual volume now is ~0.8cft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... Though we play music loud enough to drown the engine noise of the truck, ...
Haven't you damped the doors at least? The 5th door you can stuff clean cotton waste. At cruising speeds the clatter is substantially less, though I drive with windows closed all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
... it's never so high so as to test the limits of the system. ... the power from the GTA475 should be fairly sufficient to drive the Infinity Kappa components since both are rated at 75W RMS per speaker/channel.
Even if you play very loud, you will not be reaching the limits - the actual consumption is less than that. If you play loud for a very long time, it might test the fuse limits, or the amp might cut out on overheating.
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Old 30th August 2013, 01:21   #12
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Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
No, not age. The JBL 12" is a slower sub than the Infinity Kappa sub. Settings won't change basic character.
Thanks, that makes things a lot clearer now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Haven't you damped the doors at least? The 5th door you can stuff clean cotton waste. At cruising speeds the clatter is substantially less, though I drive with windows closed all the time.
We usually have the windows rolled up 99% of the times, I always try and avoid dust and noise coming in the car. I didn't get damping since at the time I was getting the install done on the Safari I was suggested that the car has pretty heavy door construction anyways and I can keep damping for later if required. The "later" never really happened but I'm totally determined to change that whenever I get the next opportunity.

Now I must agree that the Safari has really thick gauge metal all across and damping is inherently pretty decent even without any bitumen/tar sheets. The comment about drowning the engine noise was just indicative to show how loud the music is played at most times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Even if you play very loud, you will not be reaching the limits - the actual consumption is less than that. If you play loud for a very long time, it might test the fuse limits, or the amp might cut out on overheating.
Agreed, and so the GTA475 shall remain in service for a while now.
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Old 30th August 2013, 12:25   #13
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... Now I must agree that the Safari has really thick gauge metal all across and damping is inherently pretty decent even without any bitumen/tar sheets. ...
There IS some damping provided in the car, but it is not enough to reduce noise substantially. Look at the outer door metal from inside after removing the door pad. There is some strategically placed tar-mica damping.

What good damping does is to reduce noise so that the music content in the same frequency band stands out. This band, in the ~100-600Hz region, contains a lot of harmonics of low bass which actually convey punch.

I understand the 'will do it later' part - been there, done that!
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Old 30th August 2013, 15:19   #14
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Default Re: Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
Upgrade #1 - Get a better 4ch Amplifier. Sadly, I won't have moolah to go for Audison and the likes but I was thinking more like the Infinity Kappa One. I'm open to other brands based on feedback and experiences but would like to keep the price in that range (20-25k approx)
For this budget i would suggest you go for a Digital Designs C5c, good amp with decent output.
I for one would have added my Mono amp budget to this and bought a Focal FPS 4160 or an Audison LRx 4.1k. the front two chanels can power the components and rears can be bridged to power a decent 12 inch subwoofer. Both these amps give out around 350 watts RMS when used in two channels bridged mode.
Also Infinity Kappa Four is not the latest amp in the market, moreover its class D, though modern class D amps are as good as class AB, but the Kappa is the older one amongst these. If you want Class D, Hertz HDP series is the one to look at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
Upgrade #2 - Get a better subwoofer and enclosure. There are two options here, one to replace the current 12inch sub with another of the same size OR install two 8-inch subs for tighter bass and faster response times. Space isn't a big constraint since all this goes in the boot of an SUV, but I'd certainly avoid the bigger bulkier enclosures. Moreover, given my requirements of tighter bass sealed boxes would do better. I'm still going to be on a budget and that means I can stretch upto 15k. I understand that the two 8-inch setup would need me to extend, I can consider it based on situation but would like to keep it under the budget. Again, my logical choice has been the Infinity kappa 12inch sub, read all good things about it, but I'm generally biased towards the kappa and want to get opinions about other brands that can match the performance.
The Infinity Kappa is a great Sub indeed, but it has availability issues right now, you can find one on purplekart.in maybe! and a proper enclosure made to specifications sure helps the set up a lot. Again i think Digital Designs and HAT has good Subwoofers. Also try the new Rainbow subwoofers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
Upgrade #3 - Change the mono amp to a higher model. The 3501 from what I understand was the most economical and VFM choice at the time when I installed it. I didn't want to go for any higher end models at that time. But if I upgrade the subwoofer, then maybe I'll also be left wanting to upgrade the mono amp to get best results. My choice is again the Kappa one, but thats coz most of the Kappa options fit within my budget as well.

- No change to HU or the speakers is planned at this time.
Have answered this question above but thats entirely my choice, if you want to go for a mono, Digital Designs has good Monos in the line up, also the Kappa One is a good mono amp, but dated!
Look at Rockford Fosgate for a decent Mono maybe, i have no experience with monos though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
Now, my list of questions

- Does the three step upgrade make sense in the order that I have listed or I can try some other options?
- What other brands will suit my needs and budget given that currently I'm so heavily biased towards the Infinity Kappa?
- Will the double 8-inch sub make a lot of difference vs the single 12-inch?
- Will the two sub setup need another separate mono-amp or I can run the two subs from a single amp?
- Will the new and improved setup increase the power consumption that will overload the alternator of a Safari for example.

Hoping to see some good advise coming from the ICE enthusiasts and gurus
1. I think getting all that equipment in at once makes more sense and would make you grin wider at once!
2. have already suggested brands everywhere.
3 &4. I have no experience so cant comment! but a good sub with a good amp is adequate for most needs!
5. Again no idea about this.

Also upgrading the HU will make a lot of difference, and so will Upgrading the Front components!
HU is more important because no mater what amp you buy, if it doesnt get clean signals, it will not be good music!

Cheers and all the best!
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Old 30th August 2013, 16:35   #15
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Default Re: Advice: ICE upgrade in stages

Quote:
Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
I
HU
- The HU will remain out of scope for this upgrade - I've got no issues with it.

Speakers
- I currently have the Infinity Kappa components 62.7i at the front
- The rear doors have the Infinity Kappa 62.9i 2-way speakers with onboard tweeters with crossovers

Subwoofer
- The current setup has the JBL 1000W 12-inch sub.

Amplifiers
- The four speakers are powered with a Blaupunkt GTA 475 4ch AB Class Amp which has been with me for a few years now. It's been a good amp so far and no complaints, but I'm sure there are newer and possibly better options to explore.
- The sub is powered by a JBL3501 mono amplifier. The power output of this amp is just about enough for the current sub, but not sure if it'd be enough if I plan an upgrade.
Quote:
Originally Posted by invincible7 View Post
For Sub - Try checking out Infinity Kappa 120.9.
Amolpol,

Since so many have already chimed in and you seem to have your Action plans pretty well sorted out there is not much I can add.

1. I have often maintained that damping is the best and most VFM upgrade so damp well.

2. A chain is only as strong as the weakest link and in a moving car the CD player is often that link. Think about it. A Car is moving, a CD is spinning it is a wonder that the laser can track the CD at all. I moved to ALAC on an iPod and have never looked back. I get album and artist tags and on a 160GB iPod I can fit a couple of hundred albums. Since I have a large collection of CDs I just spread my collection across multiple iPods.

3. Make sure all your power wires are in good shape. 4GA would be minimum for a set up such as yours. Your don't need to get fancy. Good ISI brand wire like Polycab or Finolex is very good. LBM aka "The Freed-a-bad Earthquake" also uses such simple cable and his power needs are many times yours and mine put together.

Hope this helps.
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Help, need advice on Ice upgrade ! DRAGONLORD In-Car Entertainment 16 14th November 2008 19:01
Need Advice: Esteem ICE upgrade+new installs Flintstones In-Car Entertainment 9 26th February 2008 21:01


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