|16th February 2009, 16:26||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Thanked: 778 Times
Hesitation, Confusion, Recession and then the Decision – ‘Budget’ ICE for a Swift Vxi
Ok folks, here’s my story!
I. Oct 2006 – Super basic set up
I was an absolute newbie to ICE. I wanted a USB HU and the Kenwood MP-5033U was being advertised then. Sourced the HU from the Middle East with a pair of 6” and a 4” Kenwood Coax thrown in. Cost: HU – 5K, 6” Coax – 2K, 4” Coax – 1k. Came with speaker cables.
This was my PM to Sam then:
“hi sam, please help me out - i know the sound quality would be abysmal, but would 4 inch cones fit into my Swift VXI? I have a pair of 6 inchers and a pair of 4 inchers, fresh from Bahrain. Where do I dump my 4 inchers??”
And this was Sam’s reply. He would have been outraged, now I wonder how he replied in such a civil way!
“Honestly I would not suggest you even try fitting a 4" in a swift. Maybe you can try trading them at your dealers, or post them here, at the market-place.”
Now, I thought hard – I would install the components anyway someday, so why waste money on new 6” coax? So, the 4” went to the rear doors, the 6” to the front doors.
The system was absolutely sub-par. Just about passable SQ at low volumes. Again, I wasn’t using the car all that much so I let the matter rest.
II. Mar 2008 – Components come in!
I was driving a bit more, and started hating the lack of grunt/clarity. So one fine day, went with my cousin to GP Road in Chennai, bought a 607c for 3700 (if I remember right), went over to Technokrat for installation. Didn’t install an amp. The front 6” Coaxs went to the rear door and the 607Cs were up front. The 4” coaxs were dumped.
There was an instant increase in loudness & SQ was better - while the bass was more apparent, the treble and mids sounded a bit harsh to me unless they were at ‘low’ HU settings. Clarity was lost at higher volumes. However, I must mention here that the increase in SQ was not ‘phenomenal’. I felt slightly disappointed since I had greater expectations out of a component speaker but I felt ok with the ‘satisfaction/money spent’ ratio!
III. June 2008 – Jan 2009 – Decision making!
I got transferred to Mumbai. I also started reading the ICE section in some detail and then the upgrade pangs slowly began. My analysis was as follows:
a. Change of Car?
The Swift started rattling. Both me and the missus started getting pissed off. Also, the ride quality, even with 185/70s was not good enough for my wife. So, we contemplated buying a car. I wanted a good second hand Magnum Diesel/Skoda RS for a budget of about 7.5 lac.
However, that was easier said than done. Good examples of the RS were hard to come by and the Magnum was way too new. Also, the recession from October onwards made us a bit more careful. Next my Swift MH registration was taking time and so its expected second hand price of 3.5 lacs would suffer. So, decided to stick with the Swift till 2009 end at least. Enough time for ICE to come in.
b. Performance Upgrades or ICE?
I corner and rev hard. I was deeply contemplating a FFE+Porting/Polishing+Air Filter job. But the Mumbai traffic and the low KMs I was clocking made me pause. Also, I would get no additional benefit in resale value.
The traffic also made me think about ICEing – I would spend longer time enjoying the music than exploiting a performance upgrade. Also, I could transfer some ICE components to a new car. Plus, in the process, I would be saved from having to hear the rattles.
c. ICE Forum
Totally addictive, I looked at all the sections, groaned, gasped, whooped…and then the bug bit me. I just had to upgrade.
15K was what I initially planned. 20K was the absolute maximum. ICE upgrades were eminently possible within this range.
e. The Z2300 effect
I bought Logitech’s THX Certified Z2300 2.1 speakers for my laptop (after auditioning the Altec Lansing’s MX 5031 and the Logis). I was totally blown away with the SQ - especially movies/games - just couldn’t listen to my ICE anymore.
IV. Feb 2009 – Decisions!
After reading through the posts, decided on adding a 4 channel amp and a Sub.
a. Installer: Wanted to get it installed either at Boom or FM Drive. Spoke to Zohir first and we immediately gelled. Decision made.
b. Amp – 4.5-5.5 K budget – Kenwood 8401 & JBL GT5 A604
I felt the JBL 607Cs to be a bit bright for my taste and wanted to tone them down. So almost everyone suggested I get the 8401s. Zohir of Boom and Pankaj of FM Drive were both totally sold out on the 8401 and were against the A604. Decision made. Then I realized that it was really tough to source the 8401. The JBLs were everywhere in the market – kudos for sheer availability! Could finally lay my hands down on the 8401 after a 10 day wait, would have gone for the A604s otherwise.
c. Sub + sealed box – 4-5k budget
JBL it was at this price range. I was thoroughly confused between CS1204, CS1205, GT5 and GT5 S-12. Heard the CS1204 in a couple of cars and thought they were a bit muddy. My cousin, who has two GZs in his Swift, insisted that the GT5 sounded fantastic. (Dr.Frank Mehta made me pause here with his observation ‘all are the same khet ki mooli, just get the cheapest one blindly’) Finally, decision made. GT5/GT5 S-12 it was.
d. Wiring – 2-3K budget
Didn’t want to compromise here after reading the posts. One option was to buy everything individually from Opera House but I just couldn’t find enough time for the same. Also, I was a bit scared if some of the wires fell short etc, couldn’t rush back and buy a set. Zohir (Boom) said he’d use Ichiban+GZ+Illusion combo, and I decided to go with it.
e. Damping – 2k-2.5K budget
I knew I wanted damping in 2 front doors+boot ever since my cousin kept complaining about how his Swift felt as if it was falling apart with his 2 GZs. Also, the rattles were already pretty high and I didn’t want the car to collapse! I was really tempted to go the DIY way after reading some interesting threads, but then again, time was the enemy. Dynamat was way too expensive for the budget, and I wasn’t sure if it would be substantially better than Noise Kill. Plus, Zohir dealt with Noise Kill, so going in for it was a no-brainer.
f. Location of Amp
i. Below the front seat, or
ii. On the rear seat bench in the boot area
Was confused between these – the posts were inconclusive. Decided to hear the arguments from the installer and then decide. But I live in a monsoon flood prone area, so I was a bit wary of a below the front seat install.
V. Install – Feb 13th 09
At last the day had arrived. Went to BOOM at around 12:30 PM. Zohir was extremely helpful and patient. Felt more like a TBHPian than an installer! Mohan was the installer – a typical verve-filled bloke!
The sealed enclosure looked good. The GT5 S12 was sourced by Zohir. The wiring looked and felt high quality. Zohir liked a boot amp install more than the under the front seat location – he was a bit wary of rear passenger’s feet hitting the amp. I did not then, but I should have asked how much in wiring costs would have been saved if the Amp had been installed under the seat. Since I typically don’t have rear passengers, it would’ve saved me some money. However, I think the length of wire + additional RCAs used would help me transfer the wiring to my new car without any additional costs.
The install went on till about 5 PM. Mohan also put in a steering cover which I had lying around at home. Felt pretty happy with the amount of time Zohir spent tuning up the system to my taste/ Mohan for his quality of work.
VI. First Experience – Feb 13th 09 5:30 PM
Perfectly tuned to my taste. The bass is never intrusive or tubby and never overpowers the rest of the music. The components sound less bright and are very musical. In retrospect, I think buying Components without fitting an Amp is pointless. There is no distortion at higher volumes and the Bass really made my hair stand up, literally! Also, surprisingly, even though I’ve read that rattles and damping are not related, rattling in my front two doors has come down significantly. Also, except for the centre rear view mirror, there is absolutely no vibration on the door mirrors/glass. At very high volumes, the rear hatch glass/seats vibrate slightly.
Despite not having a SUB out line in the HU (only 2 AUX), the amount of tinkering is perfectly adequate for me with separate Bass, Treble and Mid controls taking care of all my needs. In fact, Zohir was pleasantly surprised by the HU’s quality and proclaimed it to be very balanced. Maybe the 24 bit DAC feature helped.
Not all was hunky dory though. Had a few issues:
a. Alternator Whine: Was very minimal in ordinary driving. Increased in pitch with increase in revs. But when lights were on in the night, it became a bit intrusive. (I must admit though, I loved the sound!)
b. Rattle from the boot – Initially I thought the box was moving around/ amp wasn’t fixed properly to the MDF/loose wire on the rear bench moving around.
c. At very high volume with electronic music, the beats were maybe ½ a second behind the song.
VII. Second Visit – Feb 15th 09 5 pm
Mohan, the installer guy looked into the issues.
a. Alternator Whine: Earth wire was re-ground. More metal in the chassis below the rear seat was scrapped off this time. Poof, the whine disappears!
b. Boot Rattle: The noise was traced to a couple of things. A loose RCA wire in the rear bench seat was tucked into the lining. The plastic fairing/cover on the hatch door was re-fastened. Again, the noise disappears!
c. Delay in Beats: Was informed that the an be taken care only with a good HU with time alignment! I said ‘dude, stop right there, I can live with this for now!’
VIII. And so, all’s well that ends well! (rather, all’s well at least until the next upgrade!)
Pics will follow once my N72 learns to talk to my laptop! Prices will be posted at ‘What ICE, What Price’ section (Total cost: ~ 18.5)
A heartfelt thanks to frankmehta, vibhu_f430, ramie2400, nishant gandhi and countless others for their invaluable posts/comments!
Last edited by Technocrat : 16th February 2009 at 16:59. Reason: Only two smilies per post allowed
|16th February 2009, 16:47||#3|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2007
Thanked: 238 Times
That was a nice progressive report, Himan!
Surprised that after going thru the ICE thread you still managed to keep the cost well within you budget.
|16th February 2009, 18:03||#5|
Join Date: Mar 2006
Thanked: 19 Times
Very nicely put.
I read thru it in complete awe and interest. Explains almost all the aspects a first time ICEr goes thru. Will serve good for people who plan to upgrade their ICE.
Congratulations on getting what you wanted. Boom responsibly!
|16th February 2009, 23:35||#10|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Thanked: 778 Times
@frankmehta: the pleasure is all mine sir!
@superbhikari: no sir, no plans at all to upgrade the components! Very happy with them currently!
@hydrashok: thanks, was extremely tough to keep a straight head and stay within budget!
@speedzak: thanks dude!
@happywheels: thanks! yes, wasn't easy to stay within budget!
@arpandiv: no delay at all at most volumes. Only towards the highest volume and for music with continuous fast paced beats, a slight lag is observed. Isn't that a problem for all HUs without time alignment? Could Gurus enlighten?
As promised, some pics...
|17th February 2009, 10:28||#11|
Great man. COngrats. Few questions about the sub:
1) Whats the box size ?
2) Is it GT5? It seems like CS series sub. Still not sure but I guess the black and grey color combination is there is the GT5 series and the orange logo was with CS series.
|17th February 2009, 12:23||#12|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Back in the HOOD near you!
Thanked: 35 Times
|17th February 2009, 17:44||#13|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Thanked: 68 Times
So finally, the setup is complete after a loong hard search!!
The sub looks solid ! Have any pics of the finished install? wanna see how much of the boot is still left ..
|18th February 2009, 16:59||#14|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Thanked: 778 Times
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