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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some help trying to decide which brand to go with. First of all cost is my most important criteria. I am sure that Focal's are amazing, but with a wife, two kids and a big mortgage I really cannot justify spending all that much.

I will be driving rear and front speakers with a Soundstream Reference 414s amp (old school), 50x4 @ 4 ohm. I was planning on components up front and 2 or 3 way 6 1/2" coax in the back.

Secondly my music tastes are best described as indie rock (Shins, Spoon, Band of Horses, Jack Johnson and so on). When I was into car audio in my 20s my systems always had very little midrange (of course I listened to more bass type music). I would like to achieve better balance with this system.

FYI - My subs are original Kicker Solobaric (round ones) powered by Soundstream Reference 500 (125 x 2 @ 4 Ohms).

http://www.soundstream.com/manuals/AMP/REFERENCE/r414s/r414s.pdf
http://www.soundstream.com/manuals/AMP/reference200_300_500amp.pdf

Thanks for the help!
 

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Rainbow speakers are supposed to be really good and this dude is selling a set for $199 + shipping

http://www.8thcivic.com/forums/parting-out/132236-fs-tw-hfp-lip-6-5-components-sub-amp-more.html

I have a pair of Alpha compnent speakers (RD) BNIB that I don't need and they have never seen power, I have only heard from other people that they sound good as I have not hooked them up myself......$280 shipped, I just have to make my damn for sale thread too much stuff collecting dust.

Top quality audio equipment: Revolution Design Audio

Other than those two that are on this site, with a budget in mind, CDT's are supposed to be great and I have also heard good things about Infinity Kappas.
 

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I know you plan on using the 414 to power your front stage. With only 50 watts, you are going to need something efficient, especially if you like to listen at moderate to high volume. Look for something with low power handling and high sensitivity numbers. For a budget set, the Polk Db series work well in low power applications. Again, if you enjoy listening at high volumes, I would definitely run both front and rear speakers as you are planning (the added cone/motor will allow for increased output). This means that budget wise, you are looking at purchasing two sets of components (or one set of components and a matching set of coaxials for the rear).

You also have a Reference 500, which you plan on using for your sub-stage. IMO, that amp would be great for powering your front stage. If it were me, I would seriously consider running the Reference 500 on a single nice pair of components up front, purchasing another amplifier for the sub-stage, and not using rear speakers. This would allow you to consider some more robust component sets, and since you're only buying one set as opposed to two, your budget for speakers effectively increases.

Your could also bridge your 414 to get 100 X 2 out of it, but personally, I'm not a fan of running the front stage at anything below 4 ohms in an SQ application,

Either way, with roughly 100W of power, for around $200, I'd look into the following sets - (provided you are willing to put the effort into a proper install).

DLS MS6A / R6A
Image Dynamics CTX65CS
Rainbow SLC265 / SLX265
Pioneer Premier TS-C720PRS
Zapco i-6.2


On the other hand, if you're not looking to put much effort into the install & just want something cheap & easy that works with the 414, get yourself some Phoenix Gold RSd65cs, or Polk DB6501 and call it a day.


Hans
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know you plan on using the 414 to power your front stage. With only 50 watts, you are going to need something efficient, especially if you like to listen at moderate to high volume. Look for something with low power handling and high sensitivity numbers. For a budget set, the Polk Db series work well in low power applications. Again, if you enjoy listening at high volumes, I would definitely run both front and rear speakers as you are planning (the added cone/motor will allow for increased output). This means that budget wise, you are looking at purchasing two sets of components (or one set of components and a matching set of coaxials for the rear).

You also have a Reference 500, which you plan on using for your sub-stage. IMO, that amp would be great for powering your front stage. If it were me, I would seriously consider running the Reference 500 on a single nice pair of components up front, purchasing another amplifier for the sub-stage, and not using rear speakers. This would allow you to consider some more robust component sets, and since you're only buying one set as opposed to two, your budget for speakers effectively increases.

Your could also bridge your 414 to get 100 X 2 out of it, but personally, I'm not a fan of running the front stage at anything below 4 ohms in an SQ application,

Either way, with roughly 100W of power, for around $200, I'd look into the following sets - (provided you are willing to put the effort into a proper install).

DLS MS6A / R6A
Image Dynamics CTX65CS
Rainbow SLC265 / SLX265
Pioneer Premier TS-C720PRS
Zapco i-6.2


On the other hand, if you're not looking to put much effort into the install & just want something cheap & easy that works with the 414, get yourself some Phoenix Gold RSd65cs, or Polk DB6501 and call it a day.


Hans
Thanks so much for the help. Are these recommendations independent of music taste?

I would not say I necessarily want to listen at high volumes. My ears have taken enough abuse through the my teens and 20's. I just want something that sounds decent. I have an '08 EX sedan and was quite surprised at how horrible the stock system was (especially for one of the most expensive compact economy cars).

Things have certainly changed a lot since I was into car audio (I bought my amps over 10 years ago). Both those amps cost quite a bit back then (built in the good old USA). It seems that amp prices have dropped off substantially (probably due to sourcing out of China). Also I am guessing Class A/B versus Class D has something to do with it.
 

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All those sets sound different. Some are brighter than others, some play louder than others, some go deeper than others. What you choose depends on your personal preference.

The main things that dictate how the set will sound are the passives, the tweeter material, and the install. Obviously there are other factors (woofer design/cone material, amplifier architechture/power, etc.), but those three have by far the most easily noticable effects on sound.

As a general rule, If you like more muted highs, look for a set with a silk dome tweet, crossed over at a lower high pass frequency. If you prefer a more bright top end, consider a hard dome tweet at a higher frequency. So much is install dependent, which is why I mentioned it earlier. Where you place the tweets and mids, how you enclose and aim them, things like that, will have an enormous effect on the sound you get out of the set, especially with the higher-end component sets.

Doing a custom front stage properly is a big undertaking. If you're not interested in tackling such a project, you probably won't really reap the benefits of running a higher end speaker. I'm certainly not saying that you have to do a fancy custom install to get better sound - just that it would be counter-productive to buy an expensive set of high-end components if you aren't interested in putting a lot of effort into the install. You can have the most expensive cone materials on the planet, and a motor/suspension designed by NASA engineers, but if the set is just thrown in the doors, its never going to produce sound anywhere near its potential. At that point you're just wasting your money... which is why I said if you're just looking for a quick and dirty solution, go with the Dbs or the RSds, and be done with it. Even just doing that will be leaps & bounds above the factory setup.

If you do decide to go ahead with a custom front stage, my advice is to locate some local dealers in your area, and listen to as many drivers as you can, with some music that you yourself enjoy and know well. Try to listen to the sets on a amplifier with close to the same power rating as you plan on running. If you listen carefully, you should quickly begin to hear differences between the sets. Listening is subjective - everyone hears things differently. Decide what is pleasing to you, and base your decision on that. The most expensive set isn't necessarily the best for you. Don't let the salesman influence your decision - If you can't hear the difference between a $100 set of components and a $1000 set, you'd be crazy to spend the extra money (At this point, with your current listening experience, anyway). Take your time, go back and listen a few times if you have to. If the guys at the shop give you a hard time or pressure you, find another dealer.

Good luck,

Hans
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All those sets sound different. Some are brighter than others, some play louder than others, some go deeper than others. What you choose depends on your personal preference.

The main things that dictate how the set will sound are the passives, the tweeter material, and the install. Obviously there are other factors (woofer design/cone material, amplifier architechture/power, etc.), but those three have by far the most easily noticable effects on sound.

As a general rule, If you like more muted highs, look for a set with a silk dome tweet, crossed over at a lower high pass frequency. If you prefer a more bright top end, consider a hard dome tweet at a higher frequency. So much is install dependent, which is why I mentioned it earlier. Where you place the tweets and mids, how you enclose and aim them, things like that, will have an enormous effect on the sound you get out of the set, especially with the higher-end component sets.

Doing a custom front stage properly is a big undertaking. If you're not interested in tackling such a project, you probably won't really reap the benefits of running a higher end speaker. I'm certainly not saying that you have to do a fancy custom install to get better sound - just that it would be counter-productive to buy an expensive, fancy set of components if you aren't interested in putting a lot of effort into the install. You can have the fanciest cone materials on the planet, and a motor/suspension designed by NASA engineers, but if the set is just thrown in the doors, its never going to sound as the designers intended. At that point you're just wasting your money... which is why I said if you're just looking for a quick and dirty solution, go with the Dbs or the RSds, and be done with it. Even just doing that will be leaps & bounds above the factory setup.

If you do decide to go ahead with a custom front stage, my advice is to locate some local dealers in your area, and listen to as many drivers as you can, with some music that you yourself enjoy and know well. Try to listen to the sets on a amplifier with close to the same power rating as you plan on running. If you listen carefully, you should quickly begin to hear differences between the sets. Listening is subjective - everyone hears things differently. Decide what is pleasing to you, and base your decision on that. The most expensive set isn't necessarily the best for you. Don't let the salesman influence your decision - If you can't hear the difference between a $100 set of components and a $1000 set, you'd be crazy to spend the extra money (At this point, with your current listening experience, anyway). Take your time, go back and listen a few times if you have to. If the guys at the shop give you a hard time or pressure you, find another dealer.

Good luck,

Hans
Very good advice. Thanks again.

Time for me is quite precious. Honestly it will be quite hard for me to even break away to listen to different component sets (hence the reason for this entire post on brands).

Your summary of speakers is quite good. I have never really looked into speaker compositions with regards to sound type (which of course makes sense). In the past I have just selected based on name (and not spent a great deal of time listening).

I don't mind spending some time on the install, but I definitely don't have the time to go all out the way many here do. I do not plan on placing the tweeters in the stock location. I hope to find a solution that keep the driver and tweeter as close possible (potentially putting the tweeter in the panel right next to the door (not sure what it is called). Are there pods that fit our generation Civics?

I know sound damping is quite important. I definitely plan on doing the doors, but am debating on whether or not to go much further than that (obviously due to cost/time). I am not that excited about gutting my car and putting that stuff everywhere.

Oh by the way I did get in a double din Kenwood DDX512 a few weeks back. It went pretty smooth thanks to all the great info on these forums.
 

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I know of no kick panel pods at present that are mass-produced for the 8th gen civics. The space on the driver side is tight, especially with a manual tranny car, and the hood release being where it is. But some of the members on here have glassed their own, successfully.

If you plan on not using time alignment, try to keep the straight line distance between the woofers and the tweets as close to the same as possible. They don't necessarity need to be right next to one another, but the imaginary straight line that runs from your ear to each should be kept as close to the same length as possible for the tweet and the woofer.

Ideally, you would want those distances to be the same from left to right as well, but unless you always drive alone, your passengers probably wouldn't appreciate having all the sound on the driver side, and nothing on the passenger. :thumb:

Hans
 

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Kick panel installs sound great in the 8th civics, but require the extension of 45 wires that run down the sill of the driver door and up to the fuse box under the drivers side dash. I just did this modification and built my own fiberglass kicks to mount there. I'm running ScanSpeak 12m midranges and AirCirc tweeters... and it sounds very good.

It's very tough to recommend a bargain set of speakers even knowing the taste of music you prefer and that you'd like balanced sound - which I think you will find much more satisfying than your old style. If you don't mind used speakers, I'd look at some older ADS models as they have a wonderful warm sound that makes them as fairly high value set in my opinion. I only recommend things I've actually used in my own car, and its a civic, so hopefully this might translate to decent sound for you - even though it doesn't take into account a lot of the things. Sadly, I've run about ten or twelve sets of comps in my car over the last 3 years but I've finally settled on a combination of Morel drivers and Scan Speak drivers in a triamped active setup. Its been a major pita though and the Rainbow profis were the best midway step I could recommend. I''ve jumped all over in this post - sorry, but I will try and come back later and qualify things. I've not posted here in about a year lol, but I'm much more active on audio oriented sites.

Personally, I'd avoid infinity and alpine or almost any big name brand speakers as I've never heard a set that I've thought was genuinely good. Value wise, if your budget is quite low, Infinity Reference speakers are the exception and most think they are better than their more expensive sets. Ifyou have more money to throw at the system (and if so, then speakers are the place to spend it imho) I'd consider a set of Rainbow Profi 2ways - the Kick version if you are running subs. They are a VERY nice set of install and forget drivers that sound great without requiring a lot of fussing with an eq etc.

I'd also check out a site that many good people populate and can offer you more advice on the whole set up - DIY Mobile Audio.com.

I don't have time for more detail today but good luck!
Less/Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I know of no kick panel pods at present that are mass-produced for the 8th gen civics. The space on the driver side is tight, especially with a manual tranny car, and the hood release being where it is. But some of the members on here have glassed their own, successfully.

If you plan on not using time alignment, try to keep the straight line distance between the woofers and the tweets as close to the same as possible. They don't necessarity need to be right next to one another, but the imaginary straight line that runs from your ear to each should be kept as close to the same length as possible for the tweet and the woofer.

Ideally, you would want those distances to be the same from left to right as well, but unless you always drive alone, your passengers probably wouldn't appreciate having all the sound on the driver side, and nothing on the passenger. :thumb:

Hans
I'm not too excited about doing any glass work. So I assume it is possible to install the tweet in the door some place. I have not taken the doors apart yet so I am not sure what the space constraints are.

So let me ask this question. What is better a good set of coax speakers or components with the tweets in the stock location? From what I am hearing, it seems that coax would sound better?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Kick panel installs sound great in the 8th civics, but require the extension of 45 wires that run down the sill of the driver door and up to the fuse box under the drivers side dash. I just did this modification and built my own fiberglass kicks to mount there. I'm running ScanSpeak 12m midranges and AirCirc tweeters... and it sounds very good.

It's very tough to recommend a bargain set of speakers even knowing the taste of music you prefer and that you'd like balanced sound - which I think you will find much more satisfying than your old style. If you don't mind used speakers, I'd look at some older ADS models as they have a wonderful warm sound that makes them as fairly high value set in my opinion. I only recommend things I've actually used in my own car, and its a civic, so hopefully this might translate to decent sound for you - even though it doesn't take into account a lot of the things. Sadly, I've run about ten or twelve sets of comps in my car over the last 3 years but I've finally settled on a combination of Morel drivers and Scan Speak drivers in a triamped active setup. Its been a major pita though and the Rainbow profis were the best midway step I could recommend. I''ve jumped all over in this post - sorry, but I will try and come back later and qualify things. I've not posted here in about a year lol, but I'm much more active on audio oriented sites.

Personally, I'd avoid infinity and alpine or almost any big name brand speakers as I've never heard a set that I've thought was genuinely good. Value wise, if your budget is quite low, Infinity Reference speakers are the exception and most think they are better than their more expensive sets. Ifyou have more money to throw at the system (and if so, then speakers are the place to spend it imho) I'd consider a set of Rainbow Profi 2ways - the Kick version if you are running subs. They are a VERY nice set of install and forget drivers that sound great without requiring a lot of fussing with an eq etc.

I'd also check out a site that many good people populate and can offer you more advice on the whole set up - DIY Mobile Audio.com.

I don't have time for more detail today but good luck!
Less/Jim
I have thought about an Infinity set (and had some in the past). I hear they are quite bright though.

I think I will try comparing Infinity and Polk. A lot of these other brands you guys are mentioning I would imagine are hard to find at stores, meaning I would need to try to find a high end car audio store.

It looks as though I really need to find the time to go listen. Although you have to take the showroom with a grain of salt as it is a completely different environment.

BTW where do you guys (online) purchase brands such as Rainbow, Focal and so on? Is there a good reputable online seller that most of you use? I noticed that Onlinecarstereo.Com - Wholesale Car Audio/Stereo Deals At Bargain Prices does not carry these brands.
 

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While most of those companies are very much against online sales,

Seller wise, I know IQ Car Audio and Speed & Sound both sell Rainbow:

Rainbow speakers, Rainbow car speakers, Rainbow Car Audio speakers, RAC speakers

Car Audio & Mobile Electronics - Speed & Sound Electronics Corp.

I have never ordered from either, personally.


Woofers Etc. and Sonic Electronix both sell Focal (At least some of the line).

Sonic also sells DLS. Woofers also sells Zapco, and is an authorized Image Dynamics Dealer.

WoofersEtc.com - The Online Car Audio Super Store, The largest selection at the lowest prices!

Car Audio Stereo - Car Subwoofers - Car Amplifiers and Speakers

The Pioneers are much more readily available, and sound like a really good fit for you, IMO. They are more mellow up top, with an oversized tweet and a lower high pass freq. on the passive. They really are a nice set which out performs many others costing 3 times as much, if you have the power to run them correctly. I am currently running that exact set active in my car, and are very pleased with them - but I did put a good deal of effort into the install.

If you are mounting the midbass drivers in the doors, without angle to them, consider a driver with a phase plug, for more sound dispersion off axis. (Which again, the Pioneers have).

If you are buying Focal or DLS products online, make sure you know who you are dealing with and their history, to avoid counterfeit product.


As for listening at a shop, yes, the speakers will obviously sound different on the soundboard than they will in your car. But it should still give you a baseline at which to judge the units on a level playing field, and extrapolate results. For example, if the tweeter sounds harsh in the store, and its going to be used in the stock tweet location firing at the glass windshield, you immediately know it's going to be really harsh in the car. If the midbass driver loses its authority off axis, and your install plans have it going in the factory door location, then you know it isn't the best choice for your application.

You follow?

Also, make sure to ask how the passives are configured. Obviously if one set is on 0 and the other is on -3, Its difficult to compare the sets fairly.


Hans
 

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Personally, I put Infinity and Polk at opposite ends of the spectrum. They are both very nice speakers, but the listening experience for the two is about as different as you get.

IMAO, Infinitys are very bright speakers, very very defined sound. Some people really like this. Me, it gives screaming headaches to. Some ceramic tweeters will do this too.

Polk makes a speaker that is less bright and less defined. I think of it as a warm, full sound, though an Infinity lover would probably call it muddy.

Regardless, I've run Polks or Blaus for my last 6 installs and when I swap out the stock junk this summer, I will probably go with Polks again. Blaus will give a similar type of sound for less money. I have blown a Blau though, never blown a Polk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I actually got a chance to get out and listen to some speakers tonight (not long but enough to get a taste).

I was able to compare Focal 165A1 against different sets of Infinity sets. The Infinitiy's are too bright for my taste.

I really liked the sound of the 165A1 and think I might get it. I know it is the very bottom line of Focal, but that is all I can justify. Where is the best deal to be had (online) for 165A1s?

I still want to try to hear some Polk.

On another subject, at Car Toys they told me that the stock tweeter location in the Civic is pretty good. They said the pillar is best, but the stock location is not bad. This is the opposite of what I have heard. Is the stock location actually worth considering?
 

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On another subject, at Car Toys they told me that the stock tweeter location in the Civic is pretty good. They said the pillar is best, but the stock location is not bad. This is the opposite of what I have heard. Is the stock location actually worth considering?
Obviously the stock location will work, provided the tweets will physically fit in the space... but personally I would not run tweets there. If you are looking for quick and easy, put them in the kick panels. Otherwise, consider putting them in the a-pillars.

Hans
 

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So I actually got a chance to get out and listen to some speakers tonight (not long but enough to get a taste).

I was able to compare Focal 165A1 against different sets of Infinity sets. The Infinitiy's are too bright for my taste.

I really liked the sound of the 165A1 and think I might get it. I know it is the very bottom line of Focal, but that is all I can justify. Where is the best deal to be had (online) for 165A1s?

I still want to try to hear some Polk.

On another subject, at Car Toys they told me that the stock tweeter location in the Civic is pretty good. They said the pillar is best, but the stock location is not bad. This is the opposite of what I have heard. Is the stock location actually worth considering?

Focal Access is one of my prime choices for lower budget applications, I do like their sound over the Polyglass, as I regard them as too bright. . . but my money went for K2 series since its got the kevlar mid-bass to back it up. . . but thats beside the point, A1s are a good speaker, but I think theyre trying to get rid of the olf K2s for the new models, so see if you can ask them about getting a better deal on some KFs. . . I only paid something like 450 for mine through Car Toys, and that honestly not too much morew than what theyre asking for on the A1s. . . oh and I wouldnt try to buy Focal online, too many counterfeits to know which way is up anymore


the stock location. . . really wasnt too bad, the Focal invert dome tweeters, especially of the titanium variety can get quite harsh on-axis, and I did enjoy my KF's TN47s up there, they sounded great considering I didnt need to put in any time or money on custom work. . . but I ended up in the pillars and I havent looked back, the sound is much better
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I do not mean to beat a dead horse. I have read on a multitude of forums regarding counterfeit Focals. Are there any retailers (cheap) that are safe to purchase from?

I have read about the issues with Woofersetc (which was about a year ago). But are they okay to buy from now? Is Sonic safe? Obviously I am going to avoid ebay.

I really do not care if the warranty is authorized. I take this gamble all the time with online purchases and have never had a problem.

Unfortunately if I cannot purchase the 165A1 near the $200 range I need to look at a different set. Unfortunately $300 is out of my budget (ie my wife will kill me).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well I ended up getting a set of 165A1's from ebay. The guy selling stated that he was liquidating his retail store (he has 100% feedback).

FOCAL ACCESS 165A1 6.5 INCH COMPONENT SPEAKERS NEW - eBay (item 170306337539 end time Mar-04-09 12:48:27 PST)

Are there going to be any installation issues with the 165A1's? Are spacers necessary due to depth constraints (mounting depth is listed at 2 5/8")?

So I feel better this was a much safer option than the 2 ebay storefronts selling this model (who incidentally I e-mailed one of the storefronts and they confirmed that the serial numbers are removed but were quite adamant they were not counterfeit - as thought they would admit if they are).
 

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well Id assume youd be safer on the Access line, id be more worried about it at the Polyglass and especially the K2 line


but as for spacers, ive got a small spacer on my KFs and im sure theyre going to be deeper than the A1s, so I wouldnt think youd need one, but dry fit it when you get them, just to be sure
 
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