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Old 8th December 2009, 17:33   #1
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Default "In Pursuit of Happiness" - The Journey of a True Audiophile

An audiophile, from Latin audio "I hear" and Greek philos "loving," is a hobbyist who seeks high-quality audio reproduction via the use of non-mass-produced high-end audio electronics*
*Source - Wikipedia

Audio in the form of Music has always interested me right from my childhood. My quest for 'improved Sound Quality' started when we got our first Music system or rather 'Tape Recorder' when i was 8 (prior to that we had records). It was a BPL-Sanyo radio cum cassette recorder. TO cut the long story short, I moved from one brand to other seeking better SQ than the previous ones. The era too changed from cassettes to CDs and ultimately to DVDs. We moved many brands, some of which i could recollect; Phillips, Sanyo, Panasonic, Sony, Onkyo, Creative etc..and my recent move was a Bose. I was having a torrid time in choosing between a Bose and a Wharfdale, but ended choosing Bose. While i am enjoying the current setup in my Home, my lust for a good SQ-oriented Car audio system is still in my dreams.

Call them old-timers or non-audiophiles, Somehow my dad is never convinced of music in car - while driving. Because of this, our first car - An Alto Lxi (2002) got a bare setup(that too after i crying and making a fuss of it infront of the dealer - I was into my UG then) we had the following setup:
A Blaupunkt Indiana Polis CD34 - Priced close to 13K
2 x 4" Blaupunkt Coaxials - Priced at 1K
When with friends we used to pump up the volume and the poor speakers literally cried out.
As days passed, so did the years (well, Obviously)

Time came for a Car change. I had finished my PG too and was on the 3rd day of my first job. We got a Azure Grey Swift Vxi (2007). I persuaded my dad to go for bigger tyres and alloys - but could get only the alloys done. Even before i could open my mouth on the ICE - My dad said, he had retained the old HU as the second hand car dealer quoted 1.5K for it. So it went into the brand new Swift. I had considerable effort in actually getting 2 pairs of speakers in...in actually convincing my dad that we need speakers to play and HU alone wont serve any purpose
Ultimaltely we got 4 Speakers - Coaxials from Sony Xplod. After playing some 'loud'..err..high volume music, the only thing that Xploded was the speaker wires. Two of the 4 stopped working and neither me nor my dad didnt really bother to rectify it.

2009: I got married (which i rue now)with it came the need for another car. We decided to go for the i10 (reason only God knows) after analyzing all cars right from C+ Segment to the Alto . This time i had laid out my plan perfectly (i thought so). I had informed my Dad i need a budget of 50K if i were to buy an i10 to "Spice it up". and my dad agreed (Thank God for that). I went in for Upsizing along with decent looking Alloys. I spent out 28K on that. Now to the ICE part of the whole story.

I had a 22K budget for a ICE setup. Meanwhile i stumbled across T-BHP sometime back in Jan 2009 and was a passive visitor for a long time. My list of mistakes started here;
I was in such a hurry and excitement that i chose a wrong place to get my ICE install done (Not that its a wrong place, but not suited for my kinda installs). The Equipments were too pricey which burnt a hole in my pocket. My Set up costed 19K;
HU: Kenwood 5039U - 8.4K
Fronts: Hertz Deici DSK 165 - 7K
Rears: Hertz Deici DCX 165 - 3K
Install - .5K

With only 3K left out of my given budget, i was left wondering if i had made a right decision. Came a new month, with it my Sal. Took permission from my wife for spending 10K more.
Sub:12" JBL GT5-S12 with some crap enclosure - 3.5K
Amp kit: Boss - .8K
Amp: JBL GTA-402 - 3.8K

was able to generate some Bass, Felt good, some how the Bass was just out of sync with the Sound from Speakers. I read through numerous pages of old posts in ICE section. Came to conclusion that my Amp was giving out a meager 120W RMS. Waited for a week. Started hating the way Bass is played. Again - Wife to the rescue, lent me 10K. Scratched around streets of Chennai (G.P Rd in particular), wanted to get a good mono. somehow felt bit pricey and settled down for 4 Ch Amp.
4Ch Amp: Blaupunkt GTA480 - 9K (with B/W)

2 Ch for the Front compos; bridged 2 Ch to give 210W RMS to the Sub. used the JBL amp for the rears. felt good. was really better than my previous setup. The sound from an amplifier driven speaker seemed to have more clarity and punch in it. Had this setup for about a month. When i started browsing specific threads in "Sound Off and Show On" from Abinavgupta, frankmetha and Sathee46, Hydrashock, DocG etc... I was just blown off by their sound setups and the budget needed to make a good SQ possible. I would just drool over thier signatures. I was aware of my limitations and hence decided not to splurge any more in ICE. But still, there seemed to have distinct sounds between Front stage and the Sub stage. I mean it was'nt jelling well. Came to a conclusion that HU was the culprit. Borrowed 8K from my dad and went in search of a good pioneer HU (wanted 5190UB and i was ok with Grey). Sadly all i could find in grey was a 5050UB. Some how liked the red lighting and took it inspite of knowing it is a older product .
HU: Pioneer 5050UB - 7.2K
Swapped the kenwood HU to my Swift (the Blaupunkt HU went in for 500 bucks!!!). Now my i10 setup felt complete, was really happy that atlast my splurge was complete. But whenever i played high volumes, the boot and spoiler rattled a lot. Called up a Wurtz person and he made Damping of the Boot for 3.5K. It was a okey-dokey job only but was relatively better than before. I used to pride with my ride and all my Office peers would crowd me during breaks for an audition!!.

I was holding on to the new excitement for couple of weeks after which the itch for an uprage began again. I more i read through T-Bhp the more i wanted to upgrade. I was becoming an addict. I realised i could do anything esle with full concentration as this bug was at the back of my mind all time. But i was not going to be instinctive again. I realized that i have wasted lots of money by not researching properly and buying in haste is actually a waste.

I gathered enough courage and said to my wife about my plan to scrap everything (ICE) in my i10 and to start afresh. She didint react at all. (Probably she might have thought, She has married a lunatic). I sold of my JBL amp and JBL sub to my friend. I sold of my Kenwood HU too. I replaced the existing ICE setup from my i10 onto the Swift (HU + Front Compos + Rear Coax + 4Ch Amp). It was very sad for me to drive the car for past one month starring into the empty DIN's. At times i wanted to go to nearby shop and just plonk in atleast a simple HU + 2 Coaxes. But i know it would be a waste, I resisted the urge.

I drew up a plan. A big one (atleast for me). I understood that for my kinda of music/mindset atleast a minimum of 1000 Grand (1,00,000 INR) was required. But i would have to sacrifice atleast 3 month's sal fully - which ofcourse was not possible. All i can spend was 50K and that's the max limit. Exceeding that could even get me divorce. I was really perplexed and disappointed. Then i struck my mind like a bolt of lightening. I immediately thanked Columbus. Yes, the one who found US of A.

I decided sourcing from US would be the cheapest option possible as quite a few of my friends / peers fly up and down frequently. When i checked out the prices, it was 25%-40% lesser than what it is available in India. I drew up a US priced plan and that came out to 35K ~700 (Only for HU & Amps) so that i could use the rest of 15K on good set of speakers and a Sub.

I posted queries, troubled audio Guru's, browsed forums and finally decided what i wanted. I visited various websites and ordered whenever i got a good deal on products i was looking for. I am extremely glad to say that my products from US have started arriving. Also, i have brought the speakers. The Sub will be brought this week.

Although i overshot my budget by a good 30 Grand (only product cost, install not included), I still feel, its a very good effort for a budget SQ setup. As days pass, i ll be sharing with you my pics of my equipment and installs. i intend to complete the whole install before next year (Jan 2010). I ll share the pics / specs of equipment as and when they arrive here and ofcourse the install pics when its done.

Sincere Apologies for such a long post, i was holding it up for quite some time. Indebted to all Gurus for clarifying my (at times) dumb questions.

P.S - Pics to flow from Tomorrow

Last edited by Mi10 : 8th December 2009 at 17:39. Reason: typo
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Old 8th December 2009, 19:47   #2
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Hey Mi10,
That was more of a hollywood feature movie. Happiness, excitement, sleepless nights, terrified (seeing a empty DIN). But what a happy ending!!. Really excited to check out the pics.
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Old 8th December 2009, 20:46   #3
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Man with that kind of sincerity and perseverance you've gotta succeed. All the best and waiting for the pics!
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Old 8th December 2009, 21:10   #4
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Not sure what all equipments you are buying, but can say for sure that you do expain your feelings well.
Best of luck and do post everything asap.
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Old 8th December 2009, 21:19   #5
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Hi Mi10,

That has been quite a journey so far. And the journey still continues..

One more thing, the title of your thread - "In Pursuit of Happiness" reminds me a line from that movie --'How did they know that happiness can never be achieved, its always being pursued'.

Here's wishing you achieve your happiness as you set out to.
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Old 8th December 2009, 22:45   #6
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List the equipment, dude.
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Old 8th December 2009, 22:57   #7
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and you have me interested..........
Watching this space for details, and of course, hitting the 'subscribe' button!
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Old 9th December 2009, 01:59   #8
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Excellent write up my dear friend, Straight from the heart! waiting for pics like everyone else!
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Old 9th December 2009, 07:25   #9
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As i see, i may have raised a bit of expectations, so please forgive me if it falls flat in terms of Equipment/brand. Thats the reason i would like to call it as "Budget SQL".

I would like to add that i have done exhaustive research in each one of my equipment, so expect a detailed documentation.

Anyways, as promised here goes my list

Components for the front stage

A Hertz Energy ESK 163L - 3 way components

Power Handling - 125W RMS (250W Peak)
Sensitivity - 92 db/SPL
Frequency Response - 50Hz - 23HZ
Impedance - 4 Ohm

Acoustic Specs, Component wise
Mid Bass
Xmax - 4.5 mm
Fs - 62 Hz
Spl - 92 db(1m/2.83V)

Mid Range
Xmax - 0.5 mm
Fs - 163.5 Hz
Spl - 90 db(1m/2.83V)

Fs - 1250
Spl - 91 db(1m/2.83V)
Attached Images

Last edited by Mi10 : 9th December 2009 at 07:26. Reason: typo
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Old 9th December 2009, 07:41   #10
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Co-axials for rear fills

Hertz Energy ECX165

Power Handling - 70W RMS (140W Peak)
Frequency Response - 60Hz -23Hz
Sensitivity - 93db/SPL
Impedance - 4ohm

Acoustic Specs:
Xmax - 3mm
Fs - 72 Hz
Spl - 93 db(1m/2.83V)

...More coming soon...
Attached Images
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Old 9th December 2009, 10:37   #11
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@ Mi10
Nicely written.
T-bhp has helped me too in well thought out ICE.
ESKs are nice set of speakers. I like them.
Eager to know about rest of equipments.
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Old 9th December 2009, 10:59   #12
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hahahaha... welcome to tbhp. Once you enter the ICE section, you budget would shoot anyhow, it is the greed to get more and more which continuously let you brag for more and more clarity & thump
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Old 9th December 2009, 22:57   #13
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what a wonderful write up mi10 , enjoyed it thoroughly , because i can relate to it a lot myself except for the marriage part

now just curiously waiting for your your install.
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Old 9th December 2009, 23:28   #14
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nice choice of equipment. This is ICE section my friend , i started with 20k budget and end up with 70k
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Old 9th December 2009, 23:39   #15
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Reading the title struck the right 'notes' with me. My SQ ICE project I fear, is still W.I.P . I am sure quite a few of us can safely share your experience and claim that we have been there and will go through the same for a long time to come, till we have a satisfied grin and the hair on the back of our necks stand up as our SQ ICE plays to our satisfaction.

Congrats on the new 'budget' sq set-up and am sure in time we will see a few more equally intriguing updates. Enjoy the mujik!!
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