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Sound Upgrade in 02 Golf

caseyfriday

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Jun 1, 2011
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02 Golf GLS TDI
I bought my 02 Golf about 2 months ago, and the main thing I miss from my 06 NB is the Monsoon system. The Golf appears to have come with a Monsoon system originally, but the amp is not in the hatch cubby any more, and the previous owner installed a Kenwood head unit.

I've always been an Alpine fan, and when I used to own a Volvo S70, I had a CDA-7892 head unit that provided sweet, sweet sounds to that car. Since I missed the old-school Alpine sound so much, I picked up an Alpine CDA-9835 on ebay for $200.



I purchased the 9835 specifically for its V-Drive 60W x 4 (26W RMS x 4) internal amplifier. I ran a 10-gauge wire to the battery, to make sure it has ample current. I wanted to build a low-powered sound system, with as few external components a possible.

I installed the head unit - and thankfully the PAC C2R-VW2 unit was already installed in the car ($100 saved). It sounds much, much better than the Kenwood unit did (KDC-MP345U), but the original 02 Monsoon speakers are still holding it back.

Today I pulled the trigger on a pair of factory refurbished Polk DB6501 component speakers on ebay. ($100) I already cut my MDF spacer baffles, and the speakers I originally planned on installing needed 4 15/16" of cutout diameter. The Polks need 5" cutout diameter, so I figured it's close enough, and I can sand the baffles down if need be.



At first I wanted 2 pairs of Kenwood KFC-P709PS component speakers. Then I realized their sensitivity rating was only 86dB, whereas the Polk speakers (for $30 more) have a sensitivity of 92dB. This means that I will get more output per watt with the Polks. Since I only plan to run head unit power to the speakers (and I only plan on listening at low-to-mid volumes), it makes sense to get a more efficient speaker.

The 9835 has a 2-Way and 3-Way mode. This means you can flip a switch on the bottom of the unit to change its operation. I'm going to be running the front speakers only, in 3-Way mode. What this does is change the unit from producing "Front + Rear" into producing "Highs + Mids". It also has subwoofer output, but I don't have subwoofers yet.

I'll re-wire the front output to the DB6501 tweeters, and I'll wire the rear outputs to the DB6501 midrange speakers. I'll then set up the crossover frequencies on the Alpine 9835. This will give me much more control than just hooking the speakers up to the included passive crossover. It also provides 26W x 2 to each front door. 26W to the tweeter and 26W to the midrange. Perfect for my needs. (No rear speaker output.)

What's Next?

Well, quite literally, I need to install the speakers and speaker wire next; but after that, I plan on putting some 6" mid-bass drivers in the rear doors and adding a very small amp to power them. I don't want pounding bass in the car; I want a very warm, rich, full-bodied sound at low volumes.

My plans at this point (and I haven't done enough research yet) are to use the Tang Band W6 midbass driver with possibly the Alpine MRV-M250 to power two of those Tang Band drivers. They take 50W RMS, and I think the Alpine is low-powered enough to not top that. I'm hoping that using these in the rear doors (with the MDF baffles I've made) will create a nice, resonant mid-low end sound.





I'll report back here as soon as I install the Polk DB6501 components to let you know how they sound!

Note: I should also mention that I'm actually fine with the sound insulation in the Golf currently. It's much quieter than the Beetle was, and I don't want a competition-sounding setup - just something that sounds quite nice. So I don't have any plans to use sound deadening material.
 

caseyfriday

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I ended up changing my mind with regard to the fill in the rear doors. I went with a pair of Pyramid W64 6.5" midbass woofers. I wanted to make sure I wasn't spending enough money on this system to expect spectacular results, so I got the two woofers for $11.54 a piece. I'm not sure what I'll be setting my low pass at for these speakers, but I'm sure they'll sound just fine.



The baffles I cut have a cutout diameter of just under 5", and these midbass drivers require a 5 3/4" opening, so I'll need to sand them open a bit more to fit the drivers.

I also got a 2-channel SSL F2.200 FORCE amp ($37) to power the midbass drivers. My front Polk DB6501 speakers will be getting about 52W RMS a set, and this amp will provide the rear channel with 50W RMS per speaker. That should be plenty for a rich mid-to-low end.



I would have liked to be able to put this amp in the front - perhaps near the glovebox - so I could wire it into the factory speaker wires (only 50W per channel), but I don't think it will fit anywhere at the front, so I'll have to put it in the rear hatch area.

I also ordered a 15' 8-gauge power wire, 2' ground wire, 15' remote turn on 18 gauge wire, 15' RCA cable, inline fuse holder, and right angle RCA connectors to save space in the CD changer cubby, where I'll be placing the amp.
I should be able to get it all installed by next weekend, so I'll report back with my "audiophile on a budget" sound results. (Oxymoron, I know.)
 

Votblindub

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Get a simple eq for this as well. It's a major help. You dont need to spring on a complicated one, but at least a solid 10 band or more.
What sort of voltage does your head unit put out RMS?
If you need an overdrive line driver, hit me up in PM's or reply here. I have a working one and 0 need for it after i went full active.
 

caseyfriday

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The head unit puts out 26W RMS to each channel, and since I'm running it in "3-way" mode, I'm sending 26W to the front tweeters and 26W to the front mids. I'm running the 6.5" woofers in the back doors off of the 2-channel amp pictured above. 52W RMS to each of the front stage channels is plenty for me. (Head unit wired directly to the battery with 10 AWG wire.)

The 9835 has a 5-band parametric EQ built in, as well as its active crossover. I've messed with it before installing these new speakers, and I think it will suit my needs perfectly. I just looked up what an overdrive line driver is, and since the 9835 has 4V pre-outs, that should be plenty for the "sub" drivers in the rear doors - but thanks for the generous offer!

It's taken me 3 days to do this job so far, and I have one door left! (Rear driver door) Once I get that bass driver in, I'll hook up the amp in the hatch cubby (already ran wires), and I'll be ready to jam! (I've taken TONS of pictures.)

What's your audio setup?
 

Votblindub

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I'd like to see your install shots and finished product shots.

Get a bit of sound deadener. You can use spray on, stick on or roll/brush on. Just as long as you get some areas around the speaker and some big flat flabby pieces of metal like the door skins. Vibrations will distort and kill a lot of sound.

That EQ is certainly going to help with getting it to sound more accurate. Car interiors being irregular shape(not a cube/rectangle or another regular shape) will muffle some frequencies and accentuate some. Everyone has their own way of tuning them. Mine tends to be more conservative and some mentioned it's more studio oriented, but I just do what sounds right to me. If 1 band on the EQ has more pronounced sound and another one is more muted - most will bring up the muted one to level it out. I do it the other way around. I will suppress all others around it in order to equalize them all. Most people hate it because it drops volume in most cases, but I prefer the accuracy.

As far as voltages go, check if its peak to peak or RMS. There's a massive difference there. 4V should be fine for a daily car, though.

Make sure you have a fuse between the battery and the headunit. To be on the safe side, pick one thats the same as the fuses on the headunit itself or a touch higher. If you have 2 10amp fuses there, pick a single 20 amp or a 25-30 fuse. Same thing with your amp. Always better to be on the safe side and blow a $1 fuse than having to get a new amp or something.

My sound set up is overkill for a regular daily. It's built(and still in progress, albeit dead-snail progress) for sound quality competitions. It's definitely nice, but it's too much work and money for an average car.

Eclipse 8455 headunit
MB Quart Q series 6.5 inch speakers and 1 inch titanium tweeters
MB Quart RAA4200 speaker amplifier
JL Audio W7 12 inch subwoofer in a custom JL Audio designed ported enclosure
Diamond Audio DS1200 subwoofer amplifier
Rockford Fosgate 3SIXTY.2 sound processor
1 Farrad cap
I'm not going to go into hardware and sound deadening, unless you need me to. If you want some tips or have questions, you can ask here or hit me up with a PM.
 

caseyfriday

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That pre-out voltage is RMS. This Alpine 9835 is a high-end unit. A lot of people rate it second to only the Alpine F1 Status head units - remember those? I used to drool after that thousand dollar unit.

I fused both the head unit power wire and the amp power wire. I'm more of the safety mind that if I get in a front end collision, I don't want a live wire putting live current to my entire car frame. But I also don't want to blow my equipment. :)

I have no immediate plans for sound deadening, but based off of how the Polks sound up front running of all the head unit's V-Drive power, I'm pretty sure that once I get the low end hooked up, it's going to sound just shy of incredible.

Looking forward to posting pictures when I'm all finished up tomorrow.
 

Votblindub

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MK4 Jettas: Sedan & Wagon
Honestly, I'd still love an F1. It's an amazing piece of engineering.

Definitely get sound deadening. It helps tremendously with mids. Most cars being as is are losing lots of mid, especially with the motor running and on highways. Even a small 1sq foot piece around each speaker mounting spot will make a difference. I'd say go ahead and do it. It won't add so much weight that your mpg or acceleration will suffer.
 

caseyfriday

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It's all installed, but sadly the cheap $34 amp I got was DOA. I sent it back to Amazon and got a Blaupunkt EMA 255 instead. Better known brand, and rated power (55W RMS x 2) is probably more accurate than the inexpensive amp anyway.

First, I set up the power / ground wires. The fuse that came with my 8 AWG fuse holder is rated for 100 amps, but I'll probably change that to the Blaupunkt's current rating later. For now, it's just for electrical short protection.



Next, I removed the driver door panel and drilled out the rivets that were holding the stock Monsoon speaker in.



Lots of space in the door rubber grommet for two sets of speaker wires.



And run under the steering wheel to the head unit area.



Replacements. Very nice looking!



I cut the tweeter enclosure so the 1" Polk DB tweeter would fit.



Custom MDF rings my best friend helped me cut out. I attached two 3/4" rings with wood glue, then drywall-screwed them together, then drilled holes for the mounting bolts (with small washers at their heads, to keep them in place). Taken from this tutorial.





High-temperature flex sealant, to create a perfect seal between the mounting rings and the door (passenger door now).



Speaker Baffle installed in door, with 6-32 nuts hand-screwed on the back of each bolt to keep the assembly firmly attached to the door. Duct tape around the periphery to somewhat keep water from destroying the rings.

 

caseyfriday

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A perfect fit, and a lovely seal.



I didn't need to epoxy the tweeter - it simply sat snugly in the Styrofoam already behind its enclosure and the plastic grill in front. It doesn't move at all while driving.



Stock tweeter wiring through the door jamb, where it was soldered to more speaker wire under the glovebox.





All connections were soldered with lead-free Silver Solder. Everything is EXTREMELY tight.



Mid and tweeter installed.



All speaker wires for front stage and RCA wires for rear woofers ready to be soldered to head unit connections.



Lots of slack, for if I ever need to remove the head unit for maintenance. Glovebox removed using a VWVortex tutorial.

 

caseyfriday

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Side plastic wall removed to get speaker into rear door, for bass drivers.



Soldered, and ready to go.





Nicely sealed, as well. Also put sealant between the speaker and the MDF rings, as these speakers did not come with a foam insert like the Polks did.



I will post pictures of the amp and wires in the hatch once my new amp comes in tomorrow.
 

Votblindub

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Excellent work! Just do a bit of sound insulation. Do it around the speaker mounts and cover the large gaping holes in the doors. It makes a big difference with how much mid you get.
 

caseyfriday

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Thanks! If it would make them sound better than they already do, they would likely sound incredibly good, as they already sound really good, even at highway speeds and with high engine acceleration.

I might do sound deadening in the near future, but I'm going to get accustomed to this for at least a couple weeks first so that I can hear the difference once I get the sound deadening in.

I'm too excited for the amp install tomorrow. It's gonna sound awesome!
 

TDikook

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'06 Golf Anthracite Blue
Votblindub is right. sound deadening, even a little bit , will make a huge difference. I would get a few small pieces and put them behind your speakers. since you got the speakers out, just put some as far as you can reach.

great build though, mad props.
 

Votblindub

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caseyfriday, if you want, i'll look for my shots of my doors(not sure if i have them readily available).
post shots of just your doors and i can indicate the key areas where you really should have a bit. yes, its going to add a couple pounds, but it makes no difference. i don't believe if you do even 5 pounds per side it will make any sort of palpable difference in the mechanical performance or mpg change, but the sound will be rather different in a more pleasant direction.
 

caseyfriday

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The thing is, I already screwed the speakers into the baffles, and I'm afraid if I remove the screws, the MDF will lose some of its holding strength to keep the speakers in after I put them back in. I also left very little slack in the front speaker wires so that if I were to take the front speakers out, I'd have to hold them up while I put the sound dampening material in.

So you're saying I wouldn't put it on the surface parallel to the speaker, but rather on the metal that's behind the window, behind the speaker? As a 'rebound material' of sorts?
 
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Votblindub

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It's ok if you have it all screwed in. You can use scissors or a knife to slice the material into pieces. Things like dynamat(i have dynamat xtreme in my doors) are easy to apply. What it will do is help eliminate vibrations along the metal/plastic surface that the speaker is attached to.
 

caseyfriday

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Ah, so you're saying I should put it around the speaker, not behind it on the inside of the outer door skin? That's something I could do, as it wouldn't require as much work as unscrewing the speakers would.

I do need to remove a couple of the door cards and order some new rivets to put in them, as I noticed a couple were missing when I removed the door cards. The more solid the connection, the better.
 

Votblindub

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I'll give you a couple examples. All comments will be under the pictures

Here is my door without the interior panel.
As you can see, there is some factory stuff(honeycomb texture, black color strips), but there is still a lot of sheet metal that's just bare.

Here is some progress on the same door.

Here is the same door essentially completed. As you can tell, it's done in large and small peices. I used a rubber mallet to bump around the door, to find spots that make anything but a solid noise and apply a patch over the problem area.

Here is a picture of a lot of small pieces applied to very irregular surfaces. As you can see, the wires are still accessible for repairs/maintenance/troubleshooting.

Here are both the door panels.

Now, mind you, this is overkill for an average car. You can use them as reference. Definitely cover the metal around the actual speaker hole. Do a square foot around each.
There are panels that go behind the speakers. I have those. The ones I have are called dynaxorb. It's there to eliminate standing waves and properly dissipate sound. It's nothing you have to have, but it helps when you're going to a higher level of a build.
 

caseyfriday

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I see. Thanks for the pics/notes! My speaker wires are soldered on with very little slack, so it would still be quite difficult to remove the door cards without yanking a component off of the speakers, but I could see putting some sound insulation material around the speakers on the metal surface they're mounted to.

Thanks again, for the great advice!
 

caseyfriday

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I got the amp installed today. It turns out the previous amp I ordered was indeed a dud. The new Blaupunkt works fantastically well!

Here's a photo of it so you can see its size. My minion is about 10" tall, so this amp will fit very nicely in the CD changer slot in my trunk. I'll build a rack for it very soon.



I did some initial tuning of the rear channel, but I still need to tune it such that the speakers don't try to play too incredibly low. The Blaupunkt amp comes with an 80 Hz high pass filter, so I might just turn that on and see how it sounds. The rear drivers only go down to 60 Hz anyway, so it'll probably be beneficial to save them from receiving low frequencies they can't play.

I have the amp's crossover set to 'full' right now, as I figured I'd just control everything from the head unit, but the crossover on the head unit only allows for a low-pass for the "low" signal. I'll basically create my own bandpass filter using the head unit's lowpass (set at 250Hz), and the amp's high pass set at 80Hz.
 

caseyfriday

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Yup - I turned on the amp's high-pass filter and messed around with the low-pass in the head unit until I decided on 200Hz flat, so I'm sending exactly 80Hz to 200Hz to the rear bass drivers, and 120Hz to 2kHz (with some rolloff) for the mids. It didn't sound very good with the lows having any rolloff, as it felt like it was taking the sound stage toward the back of the car, and I prefer it to stay in front.

I still need to get an 8AWG extension of about 3' so that I can get the power cable back into the cubby, and once I do, I'll take pictures of that installation.

I'm really, REALLY happy with this install overall. It just sounds killer.
 

Votblindub

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Excellent, excellent. Sounds like your install is coming along great, man. Toss in a bit of insulation, make sure you've got wires zip tied and out of the way. If you want a bit more control, like i said before, grab a simple eq. Then set all other things to just flat and at 0 and tune it from one single point. Usually you can find ones that are fairly advanced and don't cost a lot, but still give you lots of settings to fine tune it to get the most accuracy.
 

caseyfriday

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I remember Alpine used to sell a single DIN EQ. That would be pretty cool to install it above my head unit. I broke the single DIN compartment that was installed when I got the car, and I still haven't bought another one, so it's just the head unit with empty space above it now. It looks a bit janky, but I wanted to be totally done with everything before I closed it all in.



The only problem with that one is that it needs a standalone processing unit that I'd have to install somewhere else. I'll look for one that has everything in the single DIN unit.

For now, I'm happy with the 5-band EQ in the 9835. Here's a crappy cell phone picture of my current EQ setup.

 

Votblindub

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It doesn't really matter how it looks, to be honest. Sound equipment is for sound. If it does the job properly, it's all good. See if you can snag a 10 band. That's actually a really nice set up to have. My headunit comes with a 10 band built in and it's actually really nice. Scour craigslist or ebay or yahoo auctions for some nice pieces.
 

caseyfriday

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Hehe, I meant my current install looks janky since there's nothing installed above my head unit.

I'll keep my eyes open for an EQ deal. Thanks for keeping up with this thread!
 

caseyfriday

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I still haven't had time to fabricate my "amp shelf", but I should be able to do that in the next week. However, I was reading the manual for the Blaupunkt EMA 255 amp that's powering my rear bass drivers. It says the 'level' dial on the back of the amp is not a gain dial, it's meant to match the voltage of the pre-out RCA's.

I had no idea, and I had it turned to about 6, and I wasn't very happy with the sound from the bass drivers. I dropped it to around 4 (my head unit provides 4V pre-outs), and set the bass boost to +6dB on the amp, and now it sounds incredible.

I messed around with the parametric EQ a bit more too, and I've found a mix of settings that sounds good with everything I've thrown at it so far. I really look forward to driving (even though I already love driving) because of this awesome sound system!

Pics will be posted as soon as I build the amp shelf.
 

02DslPwr

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I have one of these I'll make you a screamin' deal on! 28 band EQ(L/R individually adjusted), 8-12V(iirc) RCA outs, 8-way xover(L/M/H for F&R and 2 sub outs). The RDAT(remote data access terminal) can be mounted(or not mounted at all) in the trunk as it has a 20ft wire.
 

caseyfriday

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Sadly, I've realized an EQ is not going to work for me, since I'm running the front stage off of head unit power. I don't know any way to reverse the RCA output from an EQ back into the head unit's RCA output cables, so the only way I'd be able to use an EQ is to run the front stage off of an amp. One of the requirements of my build was that it is as simple as possible.

I do really appreciate the offer, though!

The only type of EQ I could use would be an Alpine AI-Net specific EQ that provided an extra AI-Net output so I could still use my iPod, but honestly, I've gotten it to sound so good with the 5-band EQ that I don't really feel I need any more control than I currently have.
 
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