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Old 6th February 2009, 18:46   #1
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Thumbs up A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!

Before starting off with the DIY story, let me clarify a couple of things...

[1] Every DIY has its own inherent risks. I considered the 'worst-case-scenario' and decided that if I ended up with damaged speakers / blown HU or Amp, I was ready for it. [Acceptable risk]
[2] I have been using the setup in my cars since 2002, first in a Santro [with the rear-speakers running off a single Sony XM222 - 2 channel amp], then in 2004 the system was transplanted into a M800, then in 2005 the system was transplanted into the Xing, and an extra amp was added. Over the past 6 years, the speakers have worked great.
[3] My initial concern was around degradation of the speakers due to heat, since my car would be parked in sun for long hours. The only precaution I would take was to cover the speakers with a cloth to prevent direct sunlight from falling on them. They continue to work fine till date, so I can say that this is a 'tried and tested' DIY.
[4] The longevity of the speakers, the performance of the system etc. may depend on what you are starting with and how well-made the speaker boxes are etc.
[5] The only damage I have experienced is that one of the speaker metal grills is slightly dented due to a suitcase being placed on it. [No change in sound quality though]
[6] Before embarking on any similar DIYs, just ensure that you get the full tech specs of the amp / HU in your car and the ratings of your speakers to ensure that they match. [Look at the RMS, Impedance ratings etc. Preferably post them on T-bhp so that the ‘Audio-gurus’ can tell you whether they match or not.]

Current maintenance:
[1] Before I give the car for service, I disconnect and take out the boxes.
[2] Once every few months I use a vacuum cleaner blower to blow out dust from the speaker cones. [Not at full blast, might damage the speakers, I reduce the wind speed with a gauze / mesh cloth.]

How does the system sound?
[1] Sweet! Really sweet!!. Since the rear speakers are full-range speakers, with built in cross-overs etc. the sound quality is quite good throughout the volume range that I use.
[2] The bass is quite good, without the 'dead-bass' beats that come from a sub-woofer and powerful enough to require some mild-damping.
(See my DIY damping story. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/diy-do...-yoga-mat.html )

[I avoid sub-woofers since I tend to get a headache after a few minutes of being subjected to the 'dead-bass’ frequencies.]

What kind of music do I listen to?
Everything - from Bryan Adams to Eminem, Bhimsen Joshi to Jagjit Singh, the latest Bollywood hits to the old Hindi classics, KennyG to Infected Mushroom... so the system has been tested for almost all kinds of music.

Now for the DIY story...
Think about it, for an average Joe like me, buying a decent home audio system is a relatively painless exercise. Just walk into any good electronics store and I can walk out with a system that suits my budget and taste. Be it a Sony, Philips or a Samsung, they all make complete and ready-to-use systems.

But look at a typical car audio system buying exercise; first choose a head-unit, Pioneer or Sony or Blaupunkt or XYZ. Then choose the front speakers - components or coaxials? Next move onto the rear speakers - there must be atleast 100+ options available on JC Road, in all shapes, sizes and brands.

Other decision points include - should I just connect everything to the HU or should I use an amp? Do I need a sub-woofer?? Adding to all this complication is the fact that for every original component, there must be atleast two counterfeit ones in the market. With all these variables thrown into the equation, will the final result be what I want? Depends on luck I guess... lots of it.

When I got my first Santro in 2002, I did a lot of R&D, checked out all my friend's cars and then finally went JC Road thinking that I was ready to get my car ICEd. After deciding on the HU, I got a pair of Pioneers fitted in the front. Now the crucial rear-speakers, I bought a pair of Sony ovals (The pre-Xplod series).

Since I did not want to sacrifice on the usable boot-space and did not want a rear plank either, I got a pair of slim 'side-boxes' fitted in the rear - the kind that fit on the wheel arches. All connections done and system switched on... and it sounded really crappy. I had used better sounding '2-in-1s' in the past! :-)

The dealer suggested using normal boxes and adding an amp, a Sony XM 222. That done, the sound did improve a lot, but I was still not satisfied. The next option was adding a plank, the system sounded decent with the speakers mounted on the plank. Since it was already past 9.00pm and I was quite tired, I decided to call it a day and returned home, with a not-so-happy feeling.

All the way while driving back I was thinking, why don't these audio companies make good and easy-to-use car audio kits? Give me a good HU, with matched front speakers, a decent amp, rear-speakers pre mounted in good boxes - designed specifically for each popular car model. Throw in all the different wires and connectors required and you have a ready to use kit. [Sony / Philips, are you listening?]

For the next couple of months I drove around with the system, all the while thinking that there should be a better way of doing things.

I had a Sony MHC-VX501 HiFi system at home that I was not using much. The system has an amplifier rated at 120w +120w RMS @ 6ohms. The speakers are SS-VX333 boxes, 3-way, 3-unit bass-reflex type [See the spec sheet for full system details. Sony systems normally have a tendency to be 'Bass-rich' and the same was the case with my HiFi. Since I was catching up on my music more during my commute than at home, the system at home was under utilized.

One day, I was wondering about what if I use the Sony speaker boxes in the car... was it possible? I pulled up the spec sheets for the speakers and the car amp and the numbers looked decent. The single amp would still be quite under-powered compared to what the speakers could take, but it should work...

Went down to the car, took out the plank, placed the boxes in the boot, connected them to the amp and viola! it sounded good!!! The main argument against using home-audio boxes in a car seemed to be whether they could take the heat and vibration. Considering that the speakers were not being utilized fully at home, I thought that even if they last for a year or two, it should still be 'paisa vasool'.

As mentioned earlier, the system worked flawlessly in the Santro from 2002 to 2004. Then I had a M800 for about a year in the interim, the system was transplanted and worked fine... when I got the Xing in 2005, the system was again transplanted. This time a second amp was added for more juice. Since the XM222 amp was not available, I picked up the nearest alternative, the XM502Z. Currently each amp is powering one rear speaker in a bridged mode. [The HU rear-speakers selection is set as 'full range' and the band-pass filters on the amps are set to 'off']. Recently I changed the HU to a Pioneer 6050UB since my previous HU did not have USB connectivity.

The front speakers are JBL GTO426e 4” 2-way units, fitted into the stock receptacles, running directly from the HU.

I got the amps wired as follows; the left rear channel from the HU is split into two using a 'Y' type RCA splitter cable, fed into the left and right channels of the amp and the speaker is connected in a bridged mode. [So both the channels of each amp are getting the same input.] Similar setup with the other amp. [See diagram below in this post for clarity. Why this type of wiring? It sounded better than running just one input into each amp in a 'bridged' input mode. i.e. like when a sub-woofer input is connected.]

There are also a pair of JBL CS265e's fitted in the stock speaker receptacles in the rear. On rare occasions where there is a lot of luggage to be carried in the boot, I take out the speaker boxes, put in the detachable plank and switch-over to the JBLs.

I had thought of fabricating some sort of fasteners / Velcro belts etc. to hold the boxes in place. But each box weighs 4.3kilos and they don’t move around, so no fastening required. I have placed them on a thick cloth / mattress.

Currently I am quite happy with the system and see no need to change it in the near future. Though I did consider picking up a more powerful 2 channel amp, it has not moved from ‘wish-list’ to ‘action-item list’ as yet.

Specs & Pics of the DIY:

How things are connected...
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The speakers are normally placed like this...
A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!-rearboxes.jpg

The speakers look like this when placed upright...
A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!-rearboxesstanding.jpg

The XM222 amp under front driver side seat...
A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!-222amp.jpg

The XM502z amp under front passenger seat...
A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!-502amp.jpg

The front speakers...
A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!-front_speakers.jpg

Full Tech specs...
A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!-caraudiospecs.gif


Just in case you are wondering what happened to the Sony Music System after the speakers were taken away. Well, the system is still in use occasionally... it is connected to the DVD player for use as a home-theater setup. It now sports a pair of Jamo E370 floor standing tower speakers.
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Old 6th February 2009, 19:07   #2
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nice dude i had connected my home wooden speakers to my car audio player long long back in 1989 in my maruthi suzuki 800 they were so huge i had to keep 1 in the boot and another on the rear seat those days i was in II puc and max money in my pocket used to be 20 or 30 rupees no funds for amp equaliser good speakers for the car
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Old 7th February 2009, 12:15   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dockap View Post
nice dude i had connected my home wooden speakers to my car audio player long long back in 1989 in my maruthi suzuki 800 they were so huge i had to keep 1 in the boot and another on the rear seat those days i was in II puc and max money in my pocket used to be 20 or 30 rupees no funds for amp equaliser good speakers for the car

I used to do exactly the same to the smae car (1989 maruti 800)
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Old 8th February 2009, 11:24   #4
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Bose 201 make excellent car speakers; I had a pair in my omni many years back. The 201s have robust build and are available in the second hand markets for around 5K.
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Old 22nd February 2009, 01:15   #5
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Have you checked what ohms are all your speakers? From what I know different ohms generate heat in the ic's of the amp and headunit thus resulting in damages.
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Old 22nd February 2009, 17:24   #6
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Arrow Impedance...

Quote:
Originally Posted by humm View Post
Have you checked what ohms are all your speakers? From what I know different ohms generate heat in the ic's of the amp and headunit thus resulting in damages.
Well, the front speakers impedence is 4ohms, they run directly off the HU, which is rated for 4ohms... so they match.

Rear boxes are rated at 6ohms, the specs for both the amps state that they can be used with speakers rated between 4 to 8ohms. So they are in the safe range.

But then again, even if the speakers were rated for 8ohms (as many home audio boxes are), it would still be ok.

The thumb rule that I follow is that as long as the speaker impedence matches the amp ratings or even slightly exceeds it, it is still ok. And I never mix speakers with lower impendance with amps rated higher. i.e. a 4ohms speaker, with a 8ohms amp is absolutely no-no.
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Old 15th July 2009, 20:06   #7
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totally unrelated question...
I need speaker grill like this:

I do not intend to use it on another speaker but rather in the cavity of my front bumper. so I sill need a big sheet. free treat to anybody who helps me find a sheet.

Last edited by blacmagic : 15th July 2009 at 20:12.
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Old 21st March 2010, 02:10   #8
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hey i even i am planning to do such a thing for that i need your help....
i have got JVC HU with blaupunkt rear speakers... my HU has Y RCA cable popping out from back which i use for playing songs through phone via LINE IN..
I have a woofer (AKAI) of home theater which i don't use anymore... so is it possible for me to connect that to my car audio system using AMP or any other modification because a person who fits music systems in cars told me that it is not possible because of different power consumption.. so any chance ??
attaching the pics of the woofer

AC-220-240v
120W
50Hz
Attached Thumbnails
A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!-img00431201003210159.jpg  

A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!-img00433201003210159.jpg  

A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!-img00434201003210159.jpg  

A DIY Story: Home Audio Speaker Boxes in a Car??? Yes!!!-img00435201003210200.jpg  

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Old 24th March 2010, 02:53   #9
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would it be possible to connect 2 Sony HiFi Speakers to one amplifier. Is it necessary to have 2 amps.

and i also have 5.1 Logitech Computer speakers which includes 4 speakers, 1 surround and 1 woofer. Would this be a direct connection to a HeadUnit as all the 5 speakers feed in to the woofer.
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Old 24th March 2010, 03:24   #10
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Hello Experts,
I too have a same query as @Desmosedici . I have creative 5.1 channel SBS5200 sound system. Is it possible to install it in a car with any HU? If yes, what is the correct way(as most of you will agree that now everyone has a laptop and all those desktop speakers lie in dust.So it is better to make some good use of them).
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Old 24th March 2010, 05:25   #11
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The returns don't justify the investment (even if the investment is the depreciated value of the computer speakers). PC speakers are at best what they are - PC speakers.

@desmosedici, your question was a bit ambiguous - one cannot make out what type of speakers and to which amplifier you intend to connect them to. 1 pair of speakers or 2? One thing for sure - if they are home hi-fi speakers, they are likely to be 8ohms impedance at least, and that would mean they can only be half as powerful as 4ohm car speakers. Which would mean you would need to turn up the volume that much higher, which would mean much more distortion possibilities.
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Old 25th March 2010, 22:17   #12
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Lightbulb Speakers and experiments...

Its been quite some time since I visited the DIY section and was surprised to see this old thread being dug up...

Before sharing my experience, please note that I am not a car-audio or electronics expert. If you are trying any of these experiments, please consult a proper car audio guru or electronics expert.

Quote:
Originally Posted by torque.steer View Post
hey i even i am planning to do such a thing for that i need your help....
i have got JVC HU with blaupunkt rear speakers... my HU has Y RCA cable popping out from back which i use for playing songs through phone via LINE IN..
I have a woofer (AKAI) of home theater which i don't use anymore... so is it possible for me to connect that to my car audio system using AMP or any other modification because a person who fits music systems in cars told me that it is not possible because of different power consumption.. so any chance ??
attaching the pics of the woofer
AC-220-240v
120W
50Hz
@Torque.Steer, I too had done a similar experiment sometime in the past. I had a unused Sony Powered Subwoofer box lying unused and on a whim I wanted to see if I could fit it up in the car.

First thought was to see if the inbuilt amplifier from the sub-woofer could be used.

Option 1: Using a DC-AC (12vDC to 220vAC) converter box - The type which can be connected to the cigarette lighter socket in the car and used to power laptops and chargers etc. (They are available at Staples / Croma / Reliance TimeOut & also as Hyundai Accessories.)

But I discarded the idea since it would involve another 1800/- expense + the charger may not be good enough to be used for long periods and also I did not want to add more load on the car power supply.

Option 2: Since most household electronics run on a DC current (18/16/12/10 etc. volts) - There is usually a AC-DC transformer inside most HiFi systems to convert the 220v AC to a 18v/12v/10v DC.

I opened up the Subwoofer to take a peek. There was no mention anywhere of the exact DC voltage that the SW amp circuit was working on. So I noted down the part number of the transformer and some of the other components.

I Googled around for Sony part number specs and found that it was indeed a 12v transformer. Which meant that I could bypass the transformer and look at directly powering the SW from the car 12v power supply.

But I discarded this idea too since I would have to get additional wiring done to power the SW. Also, though the voltage was 12v, I could not get the full specs for the transformer, so I was not sure if the SW amp circuit would survive being powered from the car battery etc.

I thought it was too risky to try since the amp circuit may fry and do damage to the car wiring etc.

Option 3: This was the option I finally used for the test and it worked perfectly.

I just disconnected the Subwoofer amplifier circuit totally from the subwoofer speaker and ran wires directly from the speaker leads. The sub-woofer speaker was rated at 6 ohms. So I could just use a normal car amp to power the SW.

My car already has 2 twin channel amps and I am using each one separately in a bridged mode to power one rear speaker each.

I switched the wiring a little to use one of the amps to power both the rear speakers.Hooked up the other amp to the sub-woofer output from the HU and connected it in a bridged mode to the subwoofer box, which was now just a 'passive subwoofer'.

Switched it on with my fingers crossed and it worked just fine!!!

I used the setup for about a week before taking it out and reverting back to my original setup.

If it worked fine, why did I take it out?

[1] I like 'crisp' bass. Where each beat has a punch and a sharp ending. The sub-woofer added a lot of low frequency bass, but it was the sort of sound where each beat would have a deep thump but the crisp ending was missing... and I preferred the older sound.

[2] The boot space in a Santro is limited and the additional SW box occupied more space.

[3] The Sony boxes that I use produce more than enough bass and sound best if powered by one amp each. (The amps I have are not all that high powered to optimally drive the rear speakers in a two channel mode.)

So if I wanted to continue with the subwoofer in the car, I would have to either buy a separate amplifier for the SW (car would have 3 amps!) or buy a more powerful 2 channel amp to power the rear speakers and use one of the older amps with the SW.

To summarize: The experiment worked and was tested for around a week. It added to the sound pressure level, but the sound quality level was not to my taste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desmosedici View Post
would it be possible to connect 2 Sony HiFi Speakers to one amplifier. Is it necessary to have 2 amps.
and i also have 5.1 Logitech Computer speakers which includes 4 speakers, 1 surround and 1 woofer. Would this be a direct connection to a HeadUnit as all the 5 speakers feed in to the woofer.
I was running the HiFi speakers in the car with just one 2 channel amp originally. But the amp did not have enough power to optimally power the speakers at higher volumes. I nevertheless used the system with just one amp for quite a few years. When I added in another amp later, the sound quality improved dramatically.

To summarize: A single 2 channel amp should be good enough, if the amp has enough power. (I would try to see that the rated RMS of the amp is as close to the rated speaker RMS as possible, without exceeding it. The gurus or google can tell you how to match the RMS/Ohm ratings of the amp vs the speakers etc.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anandg View Post
Hello Experts,
I too have a same query as @Desmosedici . I have creative 5.1 channel SBS5200 sound system. Is it possible to install it in a car with any HU? If yes, what is the correct way(as most of you will agree that now everyone has a laptop and all those desktop speakers lie in dust.So it is better to make some good use of them).
Quote:
Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
The returns don't justify the investment (even if the investment is the depreciated value of the computer speakers). PC speakers are at best what they are - PC speakers.
@desmosedici, your question was a bit ambiguous - one cannot make out what type of speakers and to which amplifier you intend to connect them to. 1 pair of speakers or 2? One thing for sure - if they are home hi-fi speakers, they are likely to be 8ohms impedance at least, and that would mean they can only be half as powerful as 4ohm car speakers. Which would mean you would need to turn up the volume that much higher, which would mean much more distortion possibilities.
I agree with @DerAlte that the effort may not be worth the effect if you are using ordinary PC speakers. I had the Creative 5.1 speakers with me for a while and they were good... but not great enough to be transplanted into a car. However if you can live with the sound, then to connect them you will need to somehow power-up the 5.1's amplifier circuit.

You can also probably drive the satellite speakers separately from the HU directly, but I am not sure if the specs / ratings match.

For the sake of experimenting, I would have done it this way...

[1] First of all, make sure that the PC speakers sound good enough in the car before planning ahead. So park the car at home, place the 5.1 system in the car, use a long extension cord from the home wall socket to power up the 5.1 and use a music phone or MP3 player to just see how everything sounds inside the car. If it sounds good, proceed...else you wouldn't have wasted time.

[2] If the system does indeed sound good in the car, think about how will I power up the system from within the car. Either using a DC-AC converter, or by powering it directly from the 12v power supply (if the 5.1 runs on a 12v circuit.) or by connecting the satellites directly to the HU outputs and powering the SW box separately... some practical option.

[3] Also think about how will you fix-up the speakers and place the SW box in the car so that the outcome is aesthetically acceptable.

Last edited by hotstuff : 25th March 2010 at 22:24.
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Old 26th March 2010, 09:46   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotstuff View Post
For the sake of experimenting, I would have done it this way...
Also remember that PC and home speakers are not designed for teh hardy enviroment of a car. the car is dusty, hot, and humid. You car speaker has to survive being in a car that is parked in the hot sun, temperatures that be very uncomftable if not dangerous for humans. The surrounds of almost all car speakers is UV treated. PC speakers do not need this treatment.

In a car their life might be limited, especially if exposed to direct sunlight and high heat.
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Old 26th March 2010, 23:58   #14
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i have just got a gypsy and will shortly turn the drivers cabin to hardtop.

I have a Sony HiFi sysetm and also a Logitech 5.1 system lying around at home which i have not been using for a long time.

Hence wanted to try out the options as i have the speakers and they are unused.
So dont mind if blow them off after sometine

Just wanted to know the safest way and try to maximise the usage.

Thanks for the revert guys. I shall try one soon and post the results.
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Old 8th June 2010, 12:35   #15
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Hi,

Please check this - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ve...ml#post1926381 (MPFI Gypsy King bought from Mayapuri) and help me :-)

Cheers

Nitin
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