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Mazdaspeed 3

edited November 2017 in Projects

Last year I spent a bit of time back home in NZ getting married and catching up with friends and family. We needed some wheels to get around and i had brought some car audio with me back from North America so we picked up a tidy and relatively standard Mazda 3 turbo and started work on an install.

It had been a while since the last time i had a car or installed any audio and i wanted to be a little experimental instead of following the tried and true. Unfortunately i don't currently have access to many of the pics i took except for the basics of the boot install so you might need to do some reading and get the imagination going instead.

Headunit:
None.. kind of. An NVX bluetooth receiver mounted in the boot connected to an NVX half din EQ with three preouts. I wired up a relay to turn on the receiver, eq and the amps with the car ignition. I got a little pop from it on startup but it was fairly small really. I ran tunes from my phone streamed from applications like Tidal.

This adds up to one cheap headunit without dashboard modification but volume adjustment and track selection is something your passenger really needs to do. One idea would be to mount a cheap tablet or similar and stream from storage on that.


Amplifiers:
2 x PowerBass ASA 700.5X 5 channel amplifiers.
50 x 4 each @ 4ohms for the components
400 x 1 @ 2ohms on the sub channel
All up a solid 10 channels of amplification to play with

Front Stage:
Powerbass 2XL-60.3C 6.5", 3ohm, 3-way components
I love these components.. the mid dome is fully sealed so you skip the difficulty of trying to build the right enclosure size for them. I had the mids and tweets mounted on the dash in a fairly temporary setup facing across the cabin, up and backwards. They looked ok but probably would have been bad news in the case of airbag deployment. The midbass were standard mount in the door.

These were bi-amped with one amp channel running the midbass and another running the middome and tweeter. I did have the amplification to run fully active which had been an original plan but ended up just sticking with the passive crossovers in the end.

Rear Fill:
I had some semi decent Sony coaxials of which i cant remember the model number now filling the rear doors providing a bit of additional volume. I had these also running off a single channel.

Sub:
Image Dynamics IDMAX 10" My new fav sub by a mile!
So i thought it might be a bit risky without proper gain matching but never ran into any issues. I ran each of the subs 2 ohm voice coils from each of the sub channels of the 5 channel amps. The sub is in a sealed box the dimensions i cant recall anymore but was very close to the recommended enclosure size which is what i was aiming for.

How did it sound?
Well i was super impressed tbh, easily the best sounding install i have done myself. Its hard to describe now since its been over a year since i had this install and last heard it but the cliche comment of hearing things in music id never heard before was absolutely true. I remember one particular song i realized for the first time there were two voices in the chorus (a much softer backing voice) and I normally listen to pretty decent headphones via headphone amps in my day to day so i really didn't expect that kind of improvement over what i had heard before.

The front stage was really good, wide and high but there was definitely no focused imaging to be had unless you were sitting in the middle of the back seat. This didn't bother me tooo much and i kind of expected it with dome mids, i really just wanted something i could enjoy.

Unfortunately with a bit of road noise the midbass was gutted quite a bit and the highs could become a little shrill but when parked up i could have listened to it for quite some time and often did after pulling into the drive way. Perhaps the road noise could have been dealt with if i had planned to keep the car and system a bit longer.

The sub was far more powerful then i had imagined it could be. The install is not exactly SPL focused and is in a sealed box but if i put the sub volume up a bit on the EQ it got impressively loud very easily. For day to day driving i had it turned down quite a lot where it still gave a great sound and plenty of kick. Unfortunately with the install the EQ was mounted under the false floor and i couldn't get to it without removing the sub so i had no easy option to tweak the sub volume on the fly. Something i would want to sort out better for next time.

Anyway.. here are some pics from the install





Sarah (the wife) actually did all the wood work and carpeting for the boot install leaving me to install the components, rear mids and do the wiring.








So after these were taken we built another carpet wrapped false floor that sat on top of what you can see here which was spaced enough that the sub wouldn't hit the second false floor. I imagined we would only use this when transporting but left it in pretty much permanently as it didn't rattle and has no negative effect on the sound. That left us with pretty much a fully functional boot with just a couple inches of height being taken out.

And now..

Now all the parts are uninstalled and waiting again in cupboards and the car sold. I think i would probably do something very similar next time but running fully active with something like a minidsp as the controller. Also keen to try other sealed mid domes such as the reference drivers from Dayton so will probably bring some of those back to NZ next time and give that a go.

Comments

  • It was a mint sounding build dude, those PBX 3-ways were awesome! so much so I'd almost consider swapping out my germaniums for them

  • Thanks man!

    Yeah those components have really changed my perception that you need to spend big $$ to get good sound. They aren't an expensive set by any means and the amps were pretty cheap as well. Apart from the IDMAX it was fairly low budget build all round, especially given the absent head unit as well.

    Makes me interested in skipping the bigger names and picking up some highly rated single drivers direct from parts express or something for next time. Will definitely keep these as a backup in case that ends up a failure haha.

  • @ignition22 said:
    Thanks man!

    Yeah those components have really changed my perception that you need to spend big $$ to get good sound. They aren't an expensive set by any means and the amps were pretty cheap as well. Apart from the IDMAX it was fairly low budget build all round, especially given the absent head unit as well.

    Makes me interested in skipping the bigger names and picking up some highly rated single drivers direct from parts express or something for next time. Will definitely keep these as a backup in case that ends up a failure haha.

    Ship them to me, ill keep them safe in good old NZ

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