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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright folks here are the options I have put together for my stereo upgrade and I want your input. After getting a quote from an custom audio install, the Saab upgrade to the less crappy 300W/13 is starting to sound ok, even after all the bad things I have read about it being a very limited improvement over the 150W/7 system. I am especially interested in hearing from those who have upgraded their own speakers and addeed a sub.

Option 1
Get the upgrade for 150W/7 to 300W/13 at the dealer ~$900 installed, covered under Saab warranty for the remaining 2 years. I could cut the price to about $650 if I install myself and just have the dealer do tech 2.

Option 2
Go to a customization shop owned by an professional athelete I know, replace all speakers, branch a 4 channel x 125W amp off of amp 1, add 6x9s and add an Xtant 10" sub in a sealed custom fiberglass enclosure leaving ample trunk space ~$2100-$2500. All high quality components, cables and workmanship. It will sound great, they will tune it, power the door speakers and 6x9s from the new amp and it is the kind of place that will just swap out a warranty component if I have any issues. Not quite a "Pimp my Ride" event but a great custom job with a higher price than I expected. That price already includes a a bit of a discount on most line items because I know the guy.

Option 3
Replace the door speakers myself, add an amp and sub branched off of the door speakers in a generic enclosure taking up space. I am very handy and comfortable with working on electronics but hesitant to tear into my car as I have not done this type of thing in the past and don't know the tips and tricks for hiding cables, etc.

On a side note, the guy at the shop is not a fan of Image Dynamics, he has had quite a few speakers fail and they loop hole their way out of 75% of the bad speakers the shop has sent them. He basically said they sound good, the reliability is average at best, and the service and warranty sucks.
 

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jermichael said:
Alright folks here are the options I have put together for my stereo upgrade and I want your input. After getting a quote from an custom audio install, the Saab upgrade to the less crappy 300W/13 is starting to sound ok, even after all the bad things I have read about it being a very limited improvement over the 150W/7 system. I am especially interested in hearing from those who have upgraded their own speakers and addeed a sub.

Option 1
Get the upgrade for 150W/7 to 300W/13 at the dealer ~$900 installed, covered under Saab warranty for the remaining 2 years. I could cut the price to about $650 if I install myself and just have the dealer do tech 2.

Option 2
Go to a customization shop owned by an professional athelete I know, replace all speakers, branch a 4 channel x 125W amp off of amp 1, add 6x9s and add an Xtant 10" sub in a sealed custom fiberglass enclosure leaving ample trunk space ~$2100-$2500. All high quality components, cables and workmanship. It will sound great, they will tune it, power the door speakers and 6x9s from the new amp and it is the kind of place that will just swap out a warranty component if I have any issues. Not quite a "Pimp my Ride" event but a great custom job with a higher price than I expected. That price already includes a a bit of a discount on most line items because I know the guy.

Option 3
Replace the door speakers myself, add an amp and sub branched off of the door speakers in a generic enclosure taking up space. I am very handy and comfortable with working on electronics but hesitant to tear into my car as I have not done this type of thing in the past and don't know the tips and tricks for hiding cables, etc.

On a side note, the guy at the shop is not a fan of Image Dynamics, he has had quite a few speakers fail and they loop hole their way out of 75% of the bad speakers the shop has sent them. He basically said they sound good, the reliability is average at best, and the service and warranty sucks.
I vote for option 3. Option 1 sucks IMO, and option 2 is way too expensive.

I have been hearing not so good things about ID recently too. If it weren't for the fact mine sound good, and there are virtually no other 2 ohm 6.5's, I probably would stop recommending them.
 

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Hey jermichael,

Well I just added a temp amp and sub to my car until I figure out everything I'm going to do to it. I have the crap 150/7 in it now + subs. I know we live in the same area so if you want to hear the added subs before you go that route let me know.

I'm not sure how much better the system will sound by adding door speakers due to the amp crossing over the signal to the speakers. A good set of speakers normaly comes with its own crossover so it will be unusable and the signal will be tuned for the stock speakers. so this also rules out option #2 because the signal will be precrossed over and you'll never get the quility of sound you're looking for. There are some other options but I'm not sure how much you want to spend.

good luck let us know what you end up doing.

Ciao
 

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I have the 13/300 Watt system and it is a joke. It most definitely is not worth the $900 it costs to have it installed. For that money, you can buy the JL Audio CleanSweep, a decent 4 channel amp, a pair of 6.5" Component speakers for the door/dash and either some new 4" or 6X9's for the rear. I don't think this has been done yet (I plan to do it when I get some dough!), but it has to sound better than the 300 Watt system.

I've replaced the dash speakers and while it sounds better, it still sounds bad. When you say "they will tune it", do you mean using an EQ? Because you will need one to fix the signal from amp1.

JMHO of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Smoke,

Definitely interested... I'll send you a PM when my schedule clears up in a week or so. Full range goes to the 6.5s in the door so that is where we would tap the signal.

RJA,

We discussed the JL Clean Sweep but it really wouldn't be necessary. I would be giving up F/R fade regardless and the signal quality is not going to warrant the Clean Sweep. As, we have no control over the other speakers frequency response and those will still be part of the system. The biggest issue we might see is phase and timing problems and the Clean Sweep really doesn't address those.
 

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the stock headunit is horrible. if youre paying 2000+ thats gotta be in the agreement to replace.

for 2100-2500 i can turn the car into an uber competition car lol. Adding 6x9s and a sub was cool, but the stock headunit really restricts how loud it gets while staying clear.

also, if you add a 4 channel amp, are you not going to connect the center speaker?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Scoop,

We would replace all drivers, powering the new 6x9s, sub and new door speakers with new amplification. We would leave the the smaller speakers powered as is and cross them over (additional high pass at the speaker) if necessary to get get the right balance and tuning.

I wish option 4 was and option. One of the benefits of option 2 is the great fit/finish and the work they would do to incorporate the new smaller drivers on the existing system. There would be 5 upper range probably mid bass from the door and 6x9s along with some upper range and good old lows from the 10" sub (sealed box).
 

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np mano just let me know when.

I found the door speakers were set at a low pass, thats where we taped in for the subs.

Scoop
2500 for uber? hmm going to hit me aroun 5k when I'm all said and done and that doesn't count the GPS or Mac depending on what route I go. but I'm kind of sick in the head :lol:
 

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jermichael said:
Scoop,

We would replace all drivers, powering the new 6x9s, sub and new door speakers with new amplification. We would leave the the smaller speakers powered as is and cross them over (additional high pass at the speaker) if necessary to get get the right balance and tuning.
One thing to think about for the back, replace the 6x9 with a 6.5 componant set, the space is there for it. All you would need is a custom mounting plate for the 6.5 and that's easy to make.
 

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I did one of the typical updgrades:

Boston 3.5" up front, ID 6.5" in the doors, and an Infinity Basslink in the truck. I'm pretty happy for for under $700. I know I have better sound that the 300w/13 speak factory setup.

BTW, what are the bad things about ID? Infinity also has a 2 ohm now I thought??
 

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jermichael said:
I am especially interested in hearing from those who have upgraded their own speakers and addeed a sub.
Well, the first question is, "What are your goals?" As you can see, you get a variety of opinions here. If you want superb sound you'll probably need to replace the head unit and ignore eveything Saab has in place. If you think the stock system is almost OK, then I would recommend changing things in a stepwise approach. You may get to an acceptable level of quality before you think.

You can drastically improve mids and highs by changing the front 3" speakers to decent coaxials. Changing the front center and rear 4" speakers has a more subtle improvement in "blending." Changing the door 6.5" speakers to better 2 ohm drivers will significantly tighten up the mid-bass, but you still will not have LOUD bass. To get louder bass you need to add an amp and subwoofer, or drive two 6x9's with the amp. If you are a glutton for trunk space, using 6x9's as subs may suit your needs.

I changed all the speakers except the stock 6x9's. I added an amp and 12" sub. This all cost me about $700, but I was patient and waited for deals on ebay. I also bought two of the speakers as used items. They all sound great. My amp drives the 12" sub and two 6x9's in tri-mode.

The Image Dynamics CX62's seem to have quality control issues. Mine needed tweaking when they arrived. The "phase cone" in the center seems to cause problems. Mine wasn't centered, but really it was not hard to fix it. Someone recently got one where the phase cone came loose. I'm not sure how easy that would be to fix. My reaction when something doesn't work is to always try to fix it before returning it, provided it doesn't have some kind of tamper evident decal holding it together.

Messing with the stock equalization is something you can do at your own discretion. There is a chart here with the frequencies available at the wire for each speaker. These signals can be converted to line level if needed. Why these output patterns were selected beats me. I don't necessarily think the system was tuned with the speakers that ended up in the production vehicle. The sound you get from any speaker ultimately depends on the input signal as well as the characteristics of the speaker itself. Most of us here have installed Boston Acoustics and Infinity drivers, and you can read comments about the performance of those brands in different positions in the car.

If you get involved with re-crossing the stock signals you should have a pretty good understanding of the signals, crossover slopes, speaker parameters, etc. Frankly, if you are that particular about sound, you should probably add a new head unit and forget the Saab amps alltogether.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
CTRLZ,

I have a Masters of Music degree and have the physics background so metering and tuning won't be hard, and would only come into play with the custom install. I am leaning more towards an install like you did, Run a sub and replace many/all stock speakers. I'll pimp my next ride... it'll probably cost less and either not have everything on an optical bus or there will finally be MOSTnet upgrades (deamin' again, I know)

Right now, my goal is to make my stereo not suck. No boomin' system, no shaking neighbors, just no more sucking.

DAMN STEREO!!!!!!!!
 

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Ctrlz,

How did you connect the sub and the stock 6x9's into the system? Was it already the 150/7 system you had or the 300/13?

Julian

ctrlz said:
Well, the first question is, "What are your goals?" As you can see, you get a variety of opinions here. If you want superb sound you'll probably need to replace the head unit and ignore eveything Saab has in place. If you think the stock system is almost OK, then I would recommend changing things in a stepwise approach. You may get to an acceptable level of quality before you think.

You can drastically improve mids and highs by changing the front 3" speakers to decent coaxials. Changing the front center and rear 4" speakers has a more subtle improvement in "blending." Changing the door 6.5" speakers to better 2 ohm drivers will significantly tighten up the mid-bass, but you still will not have LOUD bass. To get louder bass you need to add an amp and subwoofer, or drive two 6x9's with the amp. If you are a glutton for trunk space, using 6x9's as subs may suit your needs.

I changed all the speakers except the stock 6x9's. I added an amp and 12" sub. This all cost me about $700, but I was patient and waited for deals on ebay. I also bought two of the speakers as used items. They all sound great. My amp drives the 12" sub and two 6x9's in tri-mode.

The Image Dynamics CX62's seem to have quality control issues. Mine needed tweaking when they arrived. The "phase cone" in the center seems to cause problems. Mine wasn't centered, but really it was not hard to fix it. Someone recently got one where the phase cone came loose. I'm not sure how easy that would be to fix. My reaction when something doesn't work is to always try to fix it before returning it, provided it doesn't have some kind of tamper evident decal holding it together.

Messing with the stock equalization is something you can do at your own discretion. There is a chart here with the frequencies available at the wire for each speaker. These signals can be converted to line level if needed. Why these output patterns were selected beats me. I don't necessarily think the system was tuned with the speakers that ended up in the production vehicle. The sound you get from any speaker ultimately depends on the input signal as well as the characteristics of the speaker itself. Most of us here have installed Boston Acoustics and Infinity drivers, and you can read comments about the performance of those brands in different positions in the car.

If you get involved with re-crossing the stock signals you should have a pretty good understanding of the signals, crossover slopes, speaker parameters, etc. Frankly, if you are that particular about sound, you should probably add a new head unit and forget the Saab amps alltogether.
 

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Julian_Arnold said:
Ctrlz,

How did you connect the sub and the stock 6x9's into the system? Was it already the 150/7 system you had or the 300/13?

Julian
I had the 300/13. I used the speaker wires (from stock 6x9's) to feed a line level converter. From there to the low-level inputs on an aftermarket amp.

The amp drives a 12" subwoofer and the stock 6x9's in a configuration called "tri-mode" (a.k.a. mixed stereo/mono).
 
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