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Old 15th December 2010, 00:08   #1
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Default The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

WARNING: It's a long post, please get some popcorn & cold drinks with you & sit comfortably (haha)

It started with the desire to replace the front 4” speakers in my car, an Alto, that has been running strong for the past 6.5 years & has clocked somewhere above 1.35 lac kms. The car had been bought by my dad after a lot of efforts & prayers as our first new car in many years & hence holds a special place in my family’s hearts.

I had been iching for an audio upgrade, however, the thought of the ICE keeda biting me kept me away for a while. I decided to upgrade the front 4” speakers for the time being as the previous ones had stopped working, with their plastic cones brittle & ready to break into a hundred pieces any minute. The rear speakers had also gotten a little out of shape with the cone having separated from the rubber surround at a couple of places, but I repaired the cones with the help of silicon sealant available at hardware shops. I even made a pair of boxes out of plywood & installed the speakers in them, but the boxes turned out to be too big for the speakers & the ‘jugaad’ was to fill in piles of newspaper & cloth into it till I achieved the sound I was aiming for.

Anyhow, went to a Car Plus in Gurgaon & got a pair of JBL 4” coaxial installed in the stock location, & while listening to the setup, felt like upgrading the rear 6*9 speakers as well. The reason I gave myself was that if upgrading only the front speakers can do this much good to the setup, how much of a difference would new rear 6*9 speakers make.
Finally, though I had started with a budget of around 1K for the front 4” speakers, I ended up spending approx. 5K for the set of front & rear speakers. I didn’t realize it then, but the ICE keeda had bitten me already.

I listened to the setup for a couple of days, but then I started desiring an even better setup. This feeling was totally new to me, & I had never felt this strongly about going any further or better than this for car audio.
It started with me sitting down for long reading sessions about car audio & this is when I understood that ICE means “In-car Entertainment”, am I right?
I read threads where people had upgraded or installed ICE in their Altos & took notes about what they had done. This gave me a plethora of options to choose from, options beginning at the choice of brands or products to the location/placement of speakers & other audio components. I read reviews about different products which were available in India, not just on TBhp but on other sites as well.

Finally, I had made up my mind to add a few things to the setup. I did not yet want to change the HU & simply wanted to add an amplifier & a subwoofer. I had since long referred to such a setup as “dhinchak” & I was glad that I was finally taking the plunge & gifting the “dhinchak” to my car.

My first post in the car audio section was off with a query about the confusions between the products I was considering. Before posting this query, I had done a little exercise of going to a few shops near my place & inquiring about the options that were available for an amplifier & a woofer under my budget. I had yet not considered the expense of a good wiring kit & had thought of going ahead with whatever would be available to me the cheapest like maybe the ‘Boss’ kit. It was only later after some insightful conversations with the some fellow TBhpians that I realized the importance of a good wiring kit. Plus, the math also made sense, which was that if I was ready to spend about 8-10K on some audio equipment, it would be wise to spend another 2K on some decent wiring kit so that I can assure the quality & more importantly the safety of my equipment. Amongst subwoofers, I had the option of a Pioneer DVC, a JBL GT5-S12, a Kenwood DVC & some model from Sony. For the amplifiers, primarily because of the budget, I had a choice between the Kenwood M845 & the JBL GT5-S644. Budget was a big constraint for me as I had already exceeded my budget big time. I had earlier planned on getting a local amplifier which you get for around 2.5K in any of the shops but then the fear of wasting those 2.5K on a worthless product or fearing regret later, I had decided to spend a little more & grab a good amplifier. I wanted to spend the least, & the best I could get were the two options listed above as per reviews that I read & also the ease of availability. And they came from companies which are established well in India as of today. For the subwoofers, Sony was ruled out purely because of the opinions about Sony here on Tbhp & the fact that my personal experience with the quality of Sony speakers was not too good.

Munna bhai said in his first hit, “Bahut kuch life mein pehli baar hota hai mamu”, & indeed. I understood what a channel means in an amplifier & what is the difference between a 4 channel amplifier & a 2 channel one. Also understood a little about a mono & I would have loved to get a mono, but only if I had the money or a lottery ticket that had won me a fortune.

The learning never ends & I am sure that I will keep learning more & better, but then after much thought, calculation & analysis, I decided on the Kenwood amplifier M845. One big reason for me here was the class D amplifier circuit in Kenwood whereas the JBL model had the A/B design. I was still confused on the subwoofer. The Kenwood subwoofer model had been removed from the list because of it’s low sales & the fear of poor serviceability if need arises.
All these decisions were till now in my mind & none of it had actually reached an installer, nor had I finalized on one.

The day following this decision, I was again off to some more shops & getting a quote on the total deal. I collected around 4-5 quotes, some out rightly atrocious & crazy & some too good to be real. Most of the shops I visited had local/duplicate copies of wiring kits from brands like Rockford & a few others. Plus, the Pioneer goods from the grey market have different model numbers for the same product with B&W. I also learnt that many of the shops were selling grey market stuff with no bills or warranties from the company, but a bill of their own. This meant that tomorrow, if there was any problem being faced then the company wouldn’t take the responsibility as the goods were actually from the grey market & the dealer had given a warranty on them on his own (on his bill).

Anyhow, I finalized on a shop & it was decided that the install would take place the next day. However, I was still itching to confirm if the guy had given me correct prices & if it was really possible to get the goods I had wanted, at the really low prices offered. To cut the story short, a few telephone calls to some helpful staff of Kenwood & JBL (Mr. Sahez of Supreme Audiotech in particular), it was confirmed that the dealer with whom I had finalized the deal was not an authorized one & was most probably selling me grey market stuff. Plus, the wiring kit he had shown me as being the original JBL kit turned out to be a fake after seeing the picture on TBhp. The deal was cancelled at that very moment & the quest began for another dealer who was genuine & this time I wanted to get the install done from an authorized dealer.

I had quite often heard of two places called Gyro & Driven on TBhp from many members & most opinions about them were positive. But Gyro was out for now as I learnt that they had shut shop. So, Driven was the only place I could consider as being one of the places where I can get a good install done. I am no audiophile, but I know that good workmanship & skills of the installer can make or break an install, & this is not limited to an audio install but to everything be it construction of a road or that of a house. I knew I could get the same product anywhere & cheaper but then installing those components in the car was equally important, & by now I was prepared to spend a little extra to get a better job done. As said earlier, most reviews about their work were positive except a few cases wherein the customer didn’t get satisfied by the way they worked on his/her car considering the money he/she had spent.

By this stage, quite a few days had passed & my HU had stopped working. I had given it for repair & meanwhile, my speakers had found a new home (I meant car, haha).

Going by the reputation of Driven on TBhp which I felt was positive overall, I paid them a visit & met Mr. Rana there. He was cordial & greeted me well. I told him about how I got to know about Driven, a little bit about myself & what I wanted as an audio upgrade. I told him about what products I had finalized till now & if he could arrange them for me. He said he could, though his suggestion was to get components installed in the front instead of the 4” speakers as they will not do justice, won’t give out decent sound & that 4” speakers are not really worth. But since I was not interested in getting my car’s front door panels cut/modified in any way, he suggested that I install Bull 4” coaxials instead of the JBL speakers I had gotten removed earlier & was now planning to get reinstalled. Mr. Rana assured me that Bull audio coaxial speakers were much better than the JBL 4” ones & they won’t give out harsh sound (fatna in hindi) even on high volumes. I already had the JBL ones with me (presently with my friend, though my HU had been repaired) but still decided to go ahead with Mr. Rana’s suggestion. He assured me that in case, the Bull speakers did not work out for me, he would get JBL for me. I was ok with it, since my previous speakers were now doing duty in a friend’s car. For the wiring kit, Mr. Rana suggested Scosche e400 though I was more inclined towards JBL for the simple reason that JBL is better known. I didn’t know the technical details then & I have always felt that it’s important to show faith in the person you are doing business with. So, even this was okayed & after discussing the approximate costs that I would incur, I decided to get the install done the next day. One of the things I observed was the price difference for a product between that of Driven & at some other places (with proper documentation & B/W). But then, all good things come at a price & I was okay to shell out a little more at Driven with the confidence that the install would be neat with superior workmanship. Another thing that I felt, & mind it that this is strictly my personal opinion, was that Bull audio was suggested quite strongly & at times it felt as if certain other brands are not good enough.

Anyhow, I was happy to have finally made a decision & was looking forward to the day tomorrow.

“Bhagwaan jab bhi deta hai chappar phaad ke deta hai”, I am sure most of you have already heard this overtly used phrase. And I have to admit, this is true. The install did not happen.
I am going to write it & many of you might not believe it, but I spent 7K on a glass of orange juice & this is the reason why I fell short on cash & couldn’t get the install done.

Ok enough of messing around, actually, I lost approx. 7K. The day I went to Driven, I was carrying a bag with me which had cash in it. I somehow misplaced it & though I was able to find it later, the money inside was lesser by almost 7K. I was broken-hearted but decided to mend my heart by still going ahead & getting an install done. I had to compromise on certain things, & due to a reduced budget, I had to stick to some other shop & not Driven. This also meant that the Bull 4” speakers wouldn’t be installed & I might have to revert back to my old speakers.

Finally, went back to one of the shops I had been to earlier & got a fresh quote. Since the prices seemed genuine & within my budget (revised) & after a final figure was decided upon, I asked them to arrange for the Pioneer subwoofer & the JBL subwoofer (GT5-S12) for audition so that I could install whichever would sound better to me. The only change was the wiring kit, which was now going to be the original JBL kit (rectangular packing in transparent hard plastic) & I was confident of the components I had chosen for myself.

FINALLY, the day had come. The install started around 5PM in the evening & went on till about 8PM. I was happily driving back home by 8:30PM that night & it was a joy that I had till now felt only in a few friend’s cars. Damages to the pocket – 12K (Total expense till now – 12K + 5K = 17K).

The details:
1. Amp: Kenwood KAC-M845 - 5.5K
2. Sub: Pioneer TS-W1208D2 - 3.6K
3. Wiring: JBL (original, it was same as Sam posted on some thread, rectangular clear plastic box) - 2K + .6K (for an extra RC)
4. Box: Self made
5. Extra switch: to switch off the amp so that only front speakers work (to stay vary of the parking guys) - Rs. 50
6. Woofer protective grill - Rs. 100
7. Male female connectors - Rs. 100

Part 2 to be continued .. A hearty thanks to all who have read so far & for bearing this long post.

Last edited by blackfire_9 : 15th December 2010 at 00:15.
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Old 15th December 2010, 00:32   #2
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

Hey Blackfire, Excellent write up, sorry to hear about your 7k loss but all's well that ends well, waiting for part 2 and pics!
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Old 15th December 2010, 12:38   #3
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

This reminds me of my early days. I once saw an advert for a Alpine HU for $230. Went to the store to pick it up and left with $2500 of stereo equipement in my car. This was in 1986 so a dollar had a bit more value.
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Old 17th December 2010, 15:35   #4
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

@raghav: Thanks man, & I am glad you enjoyed the write up. I will be putting up another part by today or tomorrow.

@navin: I guess this proves that all of us are wired the same in one way or another.

Here are a few pics from the first stage.

Old 4" speaker (cone somehow stuck in place with silicon sealant)
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040148.jpg

Old Pioneer 6*9 speakers (silicon sealant on corners to stick cone with rubbber surround)
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040149.jpg

Pioneer subwoofer
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040150.jpg

Subwoofer installed in self-made box
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1030636.jpg

JBL GTO947 speakers
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040151.jpg

JBL wiring kit (original)
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040154.jpg

Drive safe.

Last edited by blackfire_9 : 17th December 2010 at 15:36.
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Old 17th December 2010, 15:59   #5
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

I would strongly suggest that you screw the subwoofer directly to the box.
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Old 17th December 2010, 16:14   #6
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

^^hey navin, the subwoofer is screwed to the box only. I think you got confused with those black metal clips & if it is so, then those clips are for the protective grill. I had loosened those screws on the metal clips to take out the grill so that I could take the pictures of the subwoofer.

Drive safe.
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Old 17th December 2010, 20:03   #7
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

I didn't get why you put dollops of Silicon Sealant on the edge of rubber surrounds. What are you trying to do, if I may ask?
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Old 17th December 2010, 21:20   #8
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^^ abhi, the speaker cones had separated from the rubber surround because of which they were not working properly. At the time, I couldn't afford new speakers & had to look for some "jugaad" to keep these existing speakers running. Hence, I had initially tried pasting the cone with the surround using "feviquick", however, that didn't last.
Hence, tried bonding the cone with the rubber surround using the silicon sealant & voila!!!! It worked. I am sure that the sound quality was not good, but at that time, what was important for me was that the speakers keep putting out some music.

I hope that explains the humongous amounts of silicon in the pictures

Drive safe.

And oh, I completely forgot to upload the picture of my HU. This has been doing duty for the past 6 years or so.
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040164.jpg

Last edited by blackfire_9 : 17th December 2010 at 21:24.
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Old 17th December 2010, 21:55   #9
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

Ok, I lost my appetite seeing those speakers that way.
OTOH, The speakers would have continued to sound in the same, crappy fashion.
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Old 17th December 2010, 22:14   #10
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^^ hey nitrous, I am glad you lost the appetite as they were never edible in the first place.

Yes they never sounded too good, but good enough to keep me happy & leave a few friends in shock after they would come to know of what I have done.

Drive safe.
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Old 17th December 2010, 22:42   #11
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It’s tough having to spend a big chunk of money out of your saving on something you desire but what’s tougher is to not get your money’s worth. Well, that’s what happened when I took the plunge & decided to spend another 19K on my car’s ICE setup.

I had been itching to make some upgrades as the mid bass was really non-existent in my setup. During this time, I met a fellow bhpian gt500 who had been looking for some upgrades for his car. It was during this meeting that I felt even more strongly about getting an upgrade. I spoke to a couple of guys again & it was finally decided that the door panels would have to face the knife & make room for the 6.5” components. With a heavy heart (as I had never wanted to change the stock look) I began my search for the 6.5” components, auditioned a few of them like the Bulls, Infinity 6030, JBL, Kicker, some brand from Morel & lastly a model from Pioneer. I was looking to spend not more than 5-6K on components & after much thought, the Bulls turned out to be the better amongst the list for my music tastes & within my budget. I had wanted to look at some other options as well like Illusion, DLS (c6a) & Auditor but they were not easily available & were costing more than the Bulls, hence they were not considered till now.

There was only one place that I knew of & who dealt in Bull audio products. It was Driven & I was more than happy to drive down to their premises & inquire about the Bull components. Now as said earlier, this is a place which was supposedly better than most other places, had a professional approach & a technical expertise which was at par (if not better) than the best of places for such installations. Plus, for some unfortunate reasons I hadn’t been able to get the install done from them the first time, hence I was all the more excited this time. And oh, I forgot to add, I had started desiring for another subwoofer in my car & this meant I would need to add another amplifier as well & oh God, another wiring kit as well. The reason really was that a cousin just booked himself a Swift Vdi & it is still a month before he gets it. But since we had the cash right now, we decided to make the purchases. And as the enthusiast that I am (haha), it was decided that all these things would make way into my car till his car arrived.

Now, I had been skeptical about adding the second set of subwoofer & amplifier, primarily because of the electrical load it would put on my car & whether or not it would be practical. Well, it isn’t practical, however, seeing no apparent ill effects except a lower battery life, I decided to go ahead. I was clear on what we (me & my cousin) wanted & it was as follows:

1. Front components – Bulls
2. Amplifier – Kenwood KAC-M845
3. Wiring kit – JBL (original, as used the first time)
4. Subwoofer – Pioneer DVC TS-W1208D2 (the same as previous one)

Anyways, back to the conversation with Mr.Rana, in which I told him about what I had wanted to get done in my car. I decided that I would get the complete install done from him i.e. not just the components but also the second amplifier & subwoofer (you know, it makes sense to get things done at one place). I even told him that nearly half of my setup would have to be shifted to my cousin’s car once it is delivered. Sadly, he couldn’t arrange the subwoofer (D2, though he could find D4) & it was decided that I would buy it from some other place & get it installed at Driven.
The deal was finalized (which included all of the above as well as two MDF boxes)& this was on 23/11/2010. I would return on 26/11/2010 with the subwoofer & the install would be done (yooooo!!!!!). I was on cloud nine, was really excited. Met gt500 to tell him about my decision & he seemed interested in getting his install done along with mine. Having had a bad experience previously, he decided to give another chance to Driven to prove their mettle. Both of us however realized it later that it was a big mistake (more on that later).

So, now it seemed Mr. Rana (or should I say Driven) was getting another customer along with me (haha). Anyways, I called up Mr. Rana & spoke to him about a second amplifier & wiring kit (gt had been a little confused about the sub) & finally a deal was decided upon. However, during this phone conversation, I was informed that Bull is out of stock & it would take at least another 6-8 months before they would get anything imported as the company had decided to revamp their entire lineup. Needless to say, I was sad & confused at the same time & with failed attempts to locate a pair of Bull comps by the next day, I decided to look at other brands for the time being. I wasn’t searching for components pro-actively as one might like to say, but I was open to ideas & if anything good came across, I would pick it up.

It was Wednesday evening when we picked up a pair of Auditor 3-way components. I wasn’t sure but my cousin who was with me, wanted to go ahead with the purchase & I can say that I have no regrets.

I spoke to Mr.Rana twice before the Friday (26/11/2010) when the install was to take place & both the times, the order was confirmed along with the prices.

Finally the day had come, & without any delay, I was driving towards Driven. Gt also was gonna reach there by the same time. (gt thoda intezaar nahi kar sakta tha,haha).
We were both there by 11:30AM & eagerly waiting for the install to begin. A cup of tea with some gup-shup & we are still waiting. Meanwhile, another customer calls & from what we can make out, he is arriving with his car to get an install done. The amplifiers that we ordered aren’t yet in the shop, nor are the wiring kits. And more surprisingly, we are told that the JBL kit was not available & instead we would get Scosche e400 & it is in transit (it was not in stock). This after having spoken on phone twice & confirming the order. Why wasn’t I told about it earlier, I could have tried arranging the kit on my own. But it’s a small issue because we are assured that the Scosche kit is actually better than JBL, is 8 guage like JBL & is the right/recommended kit for our setup (read as amplifier).

Most here would agree that it is important to have & show faith in your installer & that’s precisely what we did. We were skeptical but having faith in Mr. Rana & Driven, we decided to give a go ahead. Another shocking thing that happened was the dismissal of Auditor components as some cheap Chinese “no good” stuff. On telling Mr.Rana that this was a sister concern of Focal, he still didn’t budge from the theory that we had been duped with a Chinese product which was worthless (it was Gunbir who later told Mr.Rana about Auditor).
Some time later, another customer shows up in his swift for the install & another few minutes later, the wiring kits arrive. Physically seeing the kits, we were again prompted to ask whether or not these were right for the 4 channel amplifier we were planning to use. We didn’t understand the technical details but knew that for our amplifier, the optimum guage would be 8. Having used the JBL (which was 8 guage), I could realize that this wire was thinner & the same was communicated to Mr.Rana. However, we were constantly assured that this kit is the right one. Once again, faith & trust was triumphant & we decided to show this faith in them. However at this point of time, we were informed that the speaker wire that comes along with the Scosche e400 kit was no good in our case & we would need better wires. I still can’t believe this, however it would be really helpful if someone can tell us otherwise.

One of the installers starts working on gt’s car & the other one on the other swift. All this while, the carpenter is making those MDF boxes that I had ordered. By this time, it was afternoon & we got the pleasure of meeting Gunbir. It was a pleasure conversing with him & I must say, he is a nice fellow. I even consulted him on the size of the boxes, & he okayed them based on the tight kick bass I desired (gosh, I was even happier).
It was getting past lunch time & Subhan, Mr. Rana & Gunbir were kind enough to offer us a nice lunch of rajma chawal.
As time progressed, the work on gt’s car was completed & I could now focus on getting the work started in my car. It was gonna take long but I wanted the work to be top-notch & the installer to be patient. This was around 5PM.

I don’t think I need to write details about how the installer went about installing the “worthless” components in the front doors, but what I would like to mention is that the work was not too good. The photos posted below highlight the disappointing areas. One of the biggest sore points that I discovered later was the excessively tightened screws; they were tightened to such an extent that their tops resembled big craters. If the installer had seen the nuts losing their groove, I feel that they should have ideally replaced these nuts to avoid future troubles. Moreover just a week into the install, water starts seeping into the tray from behind the MDF rings & the reason as I learnt is the absence of the plastic sheet which is present behind the plastic trim. During install, that sheet was never put back & the reason given was that it would create “phad-phad”. But again, it’s a small thing & can be easily taken care of; however, I feel that for someone who does such jobs day & night & are experts in this field, more caution & care could have been exercised.
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040170.jpg
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040171.jpg
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040173.jpg
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040176.jpg

It was already dark & the only lighting to help was the cabin light & an emergency light running off the 12v power socket with me holding that light & trying to help the installers in the best way I could (haha).
Now, as per our conversations with the installers & Mr.Rana, I would have required 4 RCAs. I already had 2 of them from the previous setup & needed two more. One came from the wiring kit & another had to be bought separately (we bought Scosche as that was the only one available). Anyways, the installer there, Mukesh, is doing the install & making the connections behind the HU. I am asking him a few things in between to keep up with what’s happening in the car. In between, I go inside the office where gt is finalizing his bill amount as his install was finished earlier & was just waiting for mine to get over. By the time I come out, everything has been set into place & they are just waiting to start the setup. I start the engine & switch on the HU. There’s some problem as the rear speakers & one of the woofers are not working. Mukesh takes out the HU again & he suddenly realizes something & it appears to me like he missed out on something. I asked him what happened, & he simply tells me that your HU has 2 pre-outs & we would need some adjustments. It is already 11PM by now. He got a Y splitter from inside the shop, & attached it behind the HU (was not possible for me to see what he did as both the installers were inside the car & it was dark) & everything starts working. The only explanation I am given is that the HU has 2 pre-outs & hence the adjustment. Till now, I am under the impression that there are 4 RCA cables in my setup now, though I was to learn later that this was not correct (more on that later).

Anyways, with the job completed, I paid the bill amount to Mr.Rana & rushed back home reaching only around 12AM. I didn’t get a bill yet as the bill books were not available at the time. As they say, all’s well if it ends well. I would loved if the experience & my post could have stopped here, but it was just the beginning of some harrowing discoveries & an experience least expected which forced us to uphold a popular saying in our mother-tongue for everything/universally, the saying that goes like this, “uncheen dukaan pheekay pakwaan”.

Once again thanks to all those who have read so far & I will shortly be uploading part-3.

Some other pictures of the install

Amplifier under the front driver seat
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040179.jpg

Tweeters mounted on A-pillars
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040165.jpg
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040168.jpg

Subwoofer mounted on the MDF box
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040180.jpg
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040181.jpg

View of the front door
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040169.jpg

Drive safe.

DISCLAIMER: The contents in my posts are a personal experience & my personal opinions.

Last edited by blackfire_9 : 17th December 2010 at 22:51.
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Old 21st December 2010, 19:22   #12
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

Hey guys, it's a little delayed but here's another installment about my journey. I hope it will be an interesting read despite being a long one.

Here it goes,
======================

“Maybe that’s all there is to happiness, the PURSUIT”.

I am sure a lot of us have been in situations more often than not, wherein we were forced to believe in the above quote. As I had said in my earlier post, I was given a reason to believe in it too. Read further for the details.

The install had been done in my car & it was a proud moment for me. I had never even imagined in my wildest dreams of going this far with ICE, but as fate would have it, I did & I was relishing each moment. The install was working fine except for a difference in the outputs of the two subwoofers for the same settings on the amplifier. My car now had two subwoofers, two amplifiers & speakers at both front & rear. The front however were components (Auditor) & the rear were JBL 6*9 speakers. I couldn’t comprehend on why the outputs were different despite the two subwoofers being the same model & being powered by the same amplifier. The only thing that was different was the wiring kit.
But since I am not a technical guy & I had faith that the installation had been carried out at an honest & professional establishment by honest, competent, motivated & technically sound people, I hadn’t bothered digging further into it. This particular observation came to light while I was cleaning my car the next morning.

Now, I had also noticed a loose connector (like the ones you find on RCA cables) in the glove compartment & couldn’t help but wonder where it could have come from. Surprisingly, it also resembled the connectors on the JBL original RCA cable which was part of the JBL wiring kit packing (this kit was installed during the first stage).
Anyhow, a call to Mr. Rana to ask him about it & the reply I got was that the installer might have left it there somehow. He said that the installers have these things in their pockets etc & so while working on my car, they might have kept it there for some reason & then forgotten to take it out. It sounded like a genuine thing that could happen but I still insisted on asking in case, one of his installers had decided to cut this out of my RCA cable (by mistake or otherwise for some “adjustment”).
The answer was a negative & I trusted them.

A few minutes later into the interior cleaning, I found one of my previous/old tweeters broken & hidden underneath a piece of cloth (I keep a small piece of cloth to clean the dashboard on the move) in the cup holder. The tweeter (picture would be posted tomorrow, as they are not in PC) was in two pieces, with its wire connections “terminated”.
At the time, despite being upset, I decided to inform Mr.Rana about this when I would visit him in a couple of days (I had to visit him again to deliver an item he had requested from me).

Anyways, rather than staying upset at the loss of the tweeter, I decided to celebrate with my friends & cousin (thanks to whom, this was made possible). As already mentioned, my current HU is an old model that has been serving in my car for the past almost 6 years. It has 2 RCA pre-outs. Most of my friends who had some interest & knowledge in car audio wanted to know how this setup was installed & how the connections had been made using the 2 RCA pre-outs of the HU. Now, what better way than to ask the installer himself.
One of the installers at Driven is Mukesh & it was him who had taken care of these connections. Upon conversing with him on phone, I couldn’t really understand much, however, he told me that one of my RCA cables was faulty & for that he had to use a Y-splitter. Now since much was unclear to me, I decided to pay him a visit to get a better understanding. All this while though, I was pondering on what he had meant when he said that one of the RCA cables had been faulty. Before the install had begun, there were no problems in the previous setup, everything was working fine, there were no unwanted noises etc, so what did he mean?

Upon reaching Driven that evening, I had a chat with Mukesh, who was standing outside the premises only, & again tried understanding the connections. However, what he said was not making any sense to me. I had to ask him to open up my HU & explain everything to me & also show me which RCA was faulty. He was hesitant & maintained that everything is fine with my setup & I needn’t worry. He kept telling me that one of the RCAs on my setup was faulty & so he had to make some changes to the connections behind the HU. I had to pester him a bit to do it (please note that there was no other job at hand at this time). Finally, he loosened the HU so that we could see the connections at the back & how the pre-outs had been utilized.

The first shocking discovery, right there in front of my eyes was the broken RCA cable (see the picture below).

The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-copy-p1040157.jpg

The connector that had been found in my car’s glove compartment was actually from this RCA cable only. When Mukesh was confronted with this, he changed his statement (again hesitant) & admitted to damaging this RCA cable (by mistake ofcourse!). He tried telling me that this was a minor thing & it keeps happening with even better RCA cables like Scosche, Audison & the likes & can be easily repaired by soldering the connector back. I am no expert but either these so called “better” RCA cables are actually no better than any local stuff available or this guy needs some serious training about his work. As per my knowledge & what was later confirmed by Mr.Rana & the concerned people at Sahil International, these connectors don’t go loose just like that. They are soldered well & need quite a bit of abuse before they break away. Moreover, though the connectors can be joined again with soldering, it can never be the same as original & chances of developing unwanted noises like alternator whine are high. This was also confirmed by more than one person, & each of these is a qualified professional associated with the company.

Anyways, the hurtful thing was the lies which were told to me. The installers at Driven have been praised by many & that too many a times here on TBhp but sadly, this little incident was enough to show their sincerity & honesty. Mistakes happen, but one should have the courage & courtesy to be honest in accepting their mistakes & trying to make amends for it. All in all, due to this damage, my setup was running on 3 undamaged RCAs & 1 damaged RCA with a Y-splitter attached to the one of the connectors (the one which was still attached to the cable; circled with green colour in picture posted below).

The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040157.jpg

I don’t know how this can work but Mukesh maintained that there is no need to change the RCA & the setup can keep working like this. This damaged RCA was being used for a subwoofer & he said that the subwoofer doesn’t need both signals & it can run using one of the signals/connectors (since one of the connectors was broken). These same installers had earlier said that my setup would require 4 RCA cables (Mr.Rana had also told me the same), but now they were ok leaving & running my setup the way it was.

Post this, Mr. Rana was informed about the whole incident & he agreed to the fact that the connectors don’t go loose easily. However, what I heard next was something I couldn’t believe. The response was that such things keep happening & like Mukesh, he also maintained that these connectors come off loose quite often & it’s a routine thing. He also suggested that these connectors can be easily repaired by soldering them back, however, there is no need & the setup can be left as it is (when earlier even he had said I would need 4 RCAs). Now, during my previous install (stage 1), I had known that these wiring kits (if genuine) come with a warranty & that this incident could void my warranty. Upon telling this to Mr.Rana, he outrightly rejected the possibility of me having a wiring kit with bill & warranty. He maintained that JBL kits were always available in grey market & they never carried any bill on them. In fact, he was kind enough to make a call for the same to somebody he dealt with for JBL products. However, facts remain facts & whoever he spoke to, validated my point.

Aghast at knowing the facts, I was bombarded with questions like where I got the kit from during stage-1 etc. A few minutes later, once the facts had settled in, I was told to get a replacement of the RCA cable from the dealer from whom I had bought this kit earlier. I was shocked to say the least, how can another dealer/installer be expected to provide a replacement when neither the product is at fault nor has the damage occurred at his establishment. I don’t think I am wrong when I expect the outfit (who has done the installation) to bear the damage & that’s why I had expected Driven also to extend the same courtesy. I can understand if they cannot provide me with the exact same RCA from JBL, but they could have at least offered to replace my damaged RCA with what they had.
Further during the conversation, when I tried explaining the same logic to Mr.Rana, he seemed interested in dismissing this incident stating that such things (damages) keep happening & maintained that it is not his or the company’s (Driven’s) responsibility to bear such losses. Further, I was told that there have been cases of bigger & much more serious damages like holes drilled into a 9K subwoofer as one of the cases. He clearly said that the labor (installer) is at fault & he cannot do anything about it. This came as a big & annoying surprise after being told stories throughout our conversations during the installation (Yes, I can now bet that they were stories) of customers whose cars had suffered bigger damages like burnt roofs (I am shocked) & what not & how he or the outfit (Driven) had borne those losses out of their pockets. I feel that this was nothing to boast about in the first place; rather this is expected in a professional setup run by ethical people.
Anyhow, if an RCA cable worth Rs.600 could elicit this kind of a response from him, I am not sure how could he have had ever borne the damages towards burnt roofs et all. And I cannot even imagine what could have caused such a huge damage during ICE installation, & I leave it up to the audience of this thread to think what this portrays/reflects.

Despite multiple requests (yes, I requested him because he is elder to me & I still believed that he has some sense of business ethics), he didn’t budge. Now, I don’t know about others, but even Rs.600 is a big amount to me, especially when it is the cost of a wire (that’s what a RCA cable actually is). So, I asked him to provide me a replacement & if it is a problem, then he needs to sort it out with his installer. He could do anything, deduct it from the installer’s salary or out of his own pocket or from the company, I think I deserved a replacement. With much headache, all that I was able to get was a second hand RCA cable (JBL). I was assured that it was genuine & in working condition. With no energy left to discuss any further on why I deserved a new RCA & more importantly, to avoid the discussion from turning into an argument & spoiling the relations, I decided to accept what was offered. Please note here that the previous setup was only a month old.

At this point, I also mentioned the broken tweeter & the prompt reply was that the tweeter I had is a mere Rs.30 commodity, it’s a small thing & I shouldn’t bother about it. I can’t imagine how a tweeter can be so competitively priced when even a roll of cello-tape costs more than that. Moreover, just because something costs Rs.30, they shouldn’t bother about it & also I shouldn’t be bothered about it, IS IT? WOW!

Another shocker was delivered while I was exiting the premises, when Mr.Rana told me that the installers are pissed at me & I would now need to pay labour charges for even the smallest of things like tuning the system or tightening a few bolts. He made it clear to me that the installers would now not be interested in working on my car/setup & he won’t be able to do anything in such a scenario as he cannot afford to lose these installers. I will leave it up to the audience of this thread to comprehend the meaning of this statement.

I can say that I was not too happy with this approach/attitude but seeing no point in getting worked up over this, I decided to head back home.

Within the next few days, concerns were raised about the wiring kit I was using. As mentioned previously, gt500 & I had gotten our installs done together & we were both facing a similar issue. Even with gain settings nearing 70-80%, the output was nowhere close to what it should have been. I could say this because, I have heard other setups using the same amplifier & even a 2 channel amplifier, plus I had my other set of amplifier, subwoofer & speakers for reference. Both of us decided to independently try to figure out the issue. It was during this process, that we realized that the kit is only capable of carrying 20A at full length whereas, our amplifiers were rated at a peak consumption of 36A & that too at 14.4V. So at any given point of time & at 12V, the consumption would have to be over 20A. This concern led us to some professional people involved in this trade & associated with the company, who validated the concern. It was also validated by Gunbir later (with gt500 on phone) that the kit (Scosche e400) is not a true 8 guage (AWG, which is the standard followed).

So, now we were using a product which cost us approx. 2K & which we bought on the faith of Mr.Rana after being told that the kit was better than JBL, after he assured us that it was 8 guage & was the recommended/optimum kit for our setup (read as amplifier). I am sure most of us here understand the difference between “sufficient” & “optimum/apt/most suitable”. I could have saved quite a lot of money & used one of the local kits, & I am sure that my setup would have still run BUT I paid 2K for something that was recommended & not simply just “sufficient”. I was assured of something, but I did not get that & since it happened at one of those places that are known for quality & passion, it was all the more hurtful. We were glad that we had met Gunbir on the day of our install & had his company through most of the installation, I am assuming even he wasn’t aware of which kits were going into our setup(s); else this might not have happened. But as they say, what’s done is done.

With well validated facts & information, we decided to speak with Mr.Rana on this matter. We sincerely hoped & believed that it was a case of genuine mistake & the kits would be replaced with something which is more apt for our setup. I had some commitments with my cousin (he was getting married & it was his bachelor party), hence gt500 was kind enough to personally visit Driven & speak with Mr.Rana on my behalf as well.

“To stumble twice on the same stone, is a proverbial disgrace”

As it turned out, gt500 & I became perfectly suitable characters to fit in the above quote.

Thank you for all those who stuck around to read through my short novel Hopefully, you would stay around for the final chapter in my journey till now & the road ahead.

Drive safe.
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Old 22nd December 2010, 21:42   #13
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

Hey guys,

As promised, here are the pictures of the broken tweeter.

The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040183.jpg
The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K-p1040184.jpg

Drive safe.

PS: Part-4 coming up soon, hopefully, you guys are still looking forward to it.
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Old 22nd December 2010, 22:15   #14
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

I really have no idea what to say after reading this. This is the first time in my life I have seen this kind of a set-up

Wasnt there any other way to conceal the speakers on the doors. They look like some tiffin boxes sticking out ;-)

Anyways, all the best with your setup
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Old 22nd December 2010, 23:19   #15
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Default Re: The journey for ICE: From budget of 1K to 40K

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedreamcatcher View Post
I really have no idea what to say after reading this. This is the first time in my life I have seen this kind of a set-up

Wasnt there any other way to conceal the speakers on the doors. They look like some tiffin boxes sticking out ;-)

Anyways, all the best with your setup
Hey mate, I didn't quite understand though I am hoping you meant it in a good way seeing those 2 subwoofers etc. in a small car like Alto

About concealing the speakers, I am in fact considering a DIY this time to improvise on this aspect. The only problem is that I don't have any ideas yet on how to redo the fixing of speakers so that the messy look can be cleared. I am not interested in doing anything with fibreglass, at least not this time. Any ideas as to what can be done using MDF only?

Drive safe.

Last edited by blackfire_9 : 22nd December 2010 at 23:21.
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