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 Post subject: Project Serious
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:49 am
Posts: 38
Long story short:

I used to drool over the old school car audio magazines (think late 80's early 90's...yes I am getting old).

Fast forward to this year. I have a new truck. I have some time. I have some money. I have a garage........so I said "Let's do it!".

I only have a few pictures at the moment, however I'll add more as time permits (and I finish the actual build).

Reader's Digest Summary of Equipment:

Eric Stevens full size HLCDs (horns) with Beyma cd10nd drivers (Neodynium).

2 8" midbass speakers: JBL 2118h (old school baby) in massive sealed kicks in matching vinyl with matching oem style stitching to match the door panels.

2 10" JL 10tw3 in a ported box under the rear seats (this was an act of several deities to design), the box in vinyl of course.

Amps: PG Xenon 100.4 (mids), PG Xenon 1200.1 (subs), Lunar Audio 40X2 (horns).

Processor: Helix Pro DSP

Lighting: Edge and back lit ribbon led's and acrylic

Sound dampening: CCF and MLV over the entire floor and rear wall (haven't touched the doors yet as there are no speakers in them AND the floor treatment really did the job, not to mention I'm not a big fan of "dynamat" style products as they don't block sound....which I proved in this install).

At this time I JUST finished the soldering/wiring for the lights (talk about a colossal pain in the rear...over 50 wires and very small ones to boot). I have to install the finished amp rack, finish the wiring, and then tune the damn thing. I have conservatively 300 hours into this build already.


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 3:57 pm 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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congrats looks like you had fun! 8s and horns f-yea....

Forgive me being a former installer my eyes are immediately drawn to what isn't perfect and the spots that I see in yours are fairly repairable. The 3 small spots around your fuse blocks where it looks like a screw came up further then you thought on the spacer panels? If you can or have back the screws back a few turns, then just take your hammer and lightly start tapping on the spot and increase the force until they flatten out. You don't need to hit it too hard to get the wood under it to go back into the general area and the vinyl will help to hold it in place.



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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:49 am
Posts: 38
100% correct on the "oops". I'm fixing that before I put it in the truck (I used a flush mount drill bit on the back side to mount the plexi...well let's just say I drilled the flush/recess a tad too deep obviously)...just spent the last two days sitting on the floor wiring all the ribbon leds (never again...never).

I still have glue, dust, dirt, tears, sweat, blood all over the damn thing as I haven't had a chance to take a freaking rag and clean it up before install.


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:01 pm 
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Awesome install! The Xenon amps are some of my favorite PG amps.



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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 4:48 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:49 am
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Mini-update (no additional pics at the moment):

Finally installed the amp rack, finished wiring, tested, etc.

Let me just say....used equipment makes me work harder:

Xenon 100.4 is powering the left and right 2118h (midbass) speakers.

I spend a good part of my afternoon setting up the Helix DSP pro (btw....if you THINK you want it, GET it. It's hands down the DSP I have been waiting for the last 2 decades....translation: It actually works and is easy to use).

Right mid.....sounds great.

Left mid.....hardly any sound.

Troubleshoot troubleshoot.......fixed it. What was it? The case on the 100.4 is not exactly "precision" if you know what I mean (that or it was reinstalled a bit hastily). I know this as I was about to call it quits for the day when I stare at the amp one more time. Sure enough, I notice that the enable/disable button for the xover on the left channel is STUCK under the aluminum lid of the amp. I take a small screwdriver and barely nudge it down....POP...it's disabled. Left mid rocks now. OY.

Lunar 40x2 for the horns: It works.....but good lord the noise floor on it is ridiculous. I have the gains all the way down and I can hear a nice static even with engine on. The sound is good, but the noise floor is crap (especially for horns). On the hunt for a very nice low power 2 channel amp.

Xenon 1200.1: I suspect the fan is shot or on it's way out. I can't hear a fan fire up on that one (the 100.4 does a quick full speed fan on when it starts) unlike the 100.4. Then I notice as I'm adjusting xover settings that a small rattle is heard. Yep....it's coming from the 1200.1 (sounds like a fan trying to start or crap bearings). So I will be pulling that amp tonight and investigating the fan and possible replacement fans.

So in summary:

Used vintage equipment always has "quirks". The Helix DSP Pro is completely sweet (did I mention I love how it senses the high level input signal for a trigger on? Stupid easy to install and intelligent).


One more thing: DVNT88....you have made my day selling me the 100.4. I was beside myself when I thought it was the amp (re: the midbass issue), however I kept thinking "There is no way this amp is an issue...it was sold by a "good" guy and it was recently serviced). Indeed you are a man of your word (and made at least THIS one amp stress free).


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:15 pm 
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^^^^ Anytime bro and I knew the amp was in perfect working order :? ...have never sold a piece of gear that I wouldn't use in an install myself :naughty: ... glad it was something simple and your happy with it ... :clap: :twisted: :clap:



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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:17 am 
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Nice work! I run almost the sames set up of amps. If you were looking to replace the tweeter amp, I'm fairly sure you could find another Xenon X100.2 for cheap. I think woofersetc.com may even have some stock left.

My issue with the Xenon's is that I have 2 different blue LED lights.....one is a really pretty bright blue and the other is like a blue-greenish tint. (i'm very OCD LOL!).


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:18 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:49 am
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Progress.....

Thanks to DVNT88 (great seller as always), I just replaced that absolutely horrid, ugly, high noise floor, completely total utter garbage (did I mention I hate Lunar amps) with a Zapco DC200.2 for the horns.

10000000% better.

I know this is THE Phoenix Gold forum, but allow me to expound for just a few moments on how completely ridiculous the software side of the Zapco DC amps are:

First, you want to install it on a x64 bit machine? Of course you do. There haven't been mainstream 32 bit OS installs in at least 5 years. So you have to google for the latest Zapco DPN version that comes with a la carte x64 bit drivers. Admittedly it came with an easy to follow pdf for installing the 64 bit drivers, but seriously? You can't update the install shield program to detect x64 and install the correct drivers? Really piss poor installer.

Second, being that this amp was brand spanking new in the box/wrapper as soon as I got it working (doesn't work in Windows 10 btw, drivers are unsigned and the OS was getting pissy....luckily I have another laptop with Win 7 that allowed me to install an unsigned driver)......yep, the firmware in the amp's dsp was too old. No big deal, it has an option to "restart the amp in reprogramming mode" (I'm paraphrasing).

Big deal...I hit that option in the software. The software returns back an error basically saying it can't update the amp, restart the amp, then restart the program. No go. Same thing.

The solution? I had to read another pdf that the DPN software came with. Turns out you have to change dip switch #5 to the ON position, then turn it on, THEN you can program.......OR CAN YOU? Haha....one more hurdle. I had to enter the administrator password (apparently Zapco was trying to stop stupid end users for blowing up a rather complicated amp).

I google for the password. I find it. I enter it. NOW it updates.


WHEW!

The best part of all this? I spend all of 30 seconds tweaking the output gain (it lets you attenuate it waaaaaaaaay down). I can now sit in the truck without wincing from the brutal raw highs of the horns. It actually blends with the mids! I have amplitude control of the horns from a laptop! THIS KICKS BOOTAY.

Yep.....this hobby is fun when it's all done :).


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:14 am 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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amplifier software firmware wha????? Am I that old that I would have got in the car with a small screwdriver to tune it and feel that old?



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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:30 am 

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ttocs wrote:
amplifier software firmware wha????? Am I that old that I would have got in the car with a small screwdriver to tune it and feel that old?


You and me both. The Zapco DC amps have NO physical gain knobs. The whole idea behind them was amp + dsp in one chassis. They had network ports that connected between amps (you could create a "Zapco Network"). They were quite ahead of their time back in their day (2006).

For me this is even more hilarious as all I wanted to do was adjust the gains. I have a Helix dsp Pro installed, so I certainly don't need a 9 year old dsp setup inside an amp. I just wanted to lower the gain.

For what it's worth, this amp completely solved the infamous HLCD/horns are too loud issue. I can now perfectly level match with the 2118h midbass. Something I thought would never happen at this point as horns are stupid loud. I've read over the years about guys using LPAD's/weird xover networks/etc. The real solution is proper output level control This amp has it. I went from two weeks of "Damnit these horns are so loud I might need to stuff them with rags" to within 20 seconds (after the aforementioned 2 hour fight with amp software) of getting into the level settings and go "WOW! It blends and images".

I can't even imagine dealers back in the day handling these amps correctly. I'm a 20+ year IT consultant and I had to really get dirty to get it "solved". A typical installer in a mid level shop (even high level I bet)? No way. Probably swamped Zapco support with stupid questions.


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:38 am 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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we never did horns with out a 1/3 octive eq and I always heard not to do it with out one. I figured you were doing all that through your dsp as simply knocking down the entire signal is not ideal for a horn. They are stupid loud for the most part but that does not mean it needs some work on the eq to get them to the best they can sound.



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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:26 am 

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Yes, I am tuning everything via the Helix dsp (eq, time delay, phase, xover, etc). That however did not address the stupidly loud level of volume disparity from the horns vs the rest of the system. Indeed the combination of level, amplitude, and phase are what I am using. I only had to cut the output gain (the Zapco has input and output gain settings) -5 db to completely kill the noise floor issue. However with the old Lunar, I had little to no control over level (I had both single gains to the floor and it still was way too loud and way too much noise floor). Now I have a ton of gain control and a silent noise floor (think "needle on record" static sound with old Lunar.....totally stupid).

On a very related note: High efficiency drivers are challenge. Now that I solved the noise floor issue with the horns, I hear a faint noise floor issue with the 2118h mids (they are 97 db/1w). The Xenon 100.4 is bridged to two channels (200ish watts per mid). I have both front and rear gains on the Xenon to the floor as well. I have a ton more tweaking to do on the dsp/tuning side so hopefully I can cut that out, but this is definitely a challenge compared to "normal" drivers.


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:37 am 
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Sounds like the Zapco 200.2 did the trick for ya :clap: ...just as an FYI ...I still have the ZAPCO DC750.2 and DC1100.1 (Also the DRC-SL controller), so if you wanted to do a deal on the DC750.2 for the X100.4 you got from me (have the matching X600.1 in the stash) :shock: , lmk and we can go from there ... :twisted:



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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:20 pm 

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I would consider that, but believe it or not, the 750.2 is not enough juice for my midbass drivers. That amp is rated at 2 x 175 @ 4ohms. My midbass drivers are 8 ohms (JBL 2118h), so at best they would be seeing around 87.5 ish watts. I have the x100.4 bridged down to two channels which according to test data I found should put out around 230ish x 2 @ ohms.

Normally I could care less, but keeping up with the horns is a challenge. That's why the 100.4 was so "ideal". I'm just not really impressed with the noise floor from the Xenon's. The high efficiency drivers really illuminate it.

Pro audio drivers add another mix into this puzzle.


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:28 pm 
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Quote:
Normally I could care less, but keeping up with the horns is a challenge. That's why the 100.4 was so "ideal". I'm just not really impressed with the noise floor from the Xenon's. The high efficiency drivers really illuminate it.


The Xenon series amplifiers can handle quite high input voltages, higher than most PG series amps. I've read of input voltages of around 12 volts prior to clipping! A higher input voltage will help reduce induced noise being transferred to your cables as they travel from the source to amplifiers and provide a lower noise floor.



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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:02 pm 

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I'm willing to give a line driver a shot. I have the gains on the 100.4 to the floor and I still hear a bit of noise floor through the 8's. Note this is with the vehicle not running, so it's not likely to be signal leak/infiltration/etc....it's flat out noise floor static.

It will be a simple "test" (line driver that is), however I'm a bit shocked as my dsp claims 6v outputs and the Xenon gain dial lists 8v-.2v......

One more data point: The cables from the dsp to the 100.4 are a whopping 1.5 ft long. Not really much room to have issues (the signal from the oem headunit is highlevel to the dsp, that of course outputs low level that goes to each amp).

It's seriously possible that the 100.4 just has too high a noise floor for what I'm using it with. My mids are higher sensitivity than most people's tweeters.


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:04 pm 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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if you have noise with the motor off and gains down then a line driver probably will not help. It sounds like either your source or your DSP, basically something before the amp, that is noisy. Try a different source it can be as simple as your phone with a headphone to rca cable just for a quick test.



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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:04 pm 

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ttocs wrote:
if you have noise with the motor off and gains down then a line driver probably will not help. It sounds like either your source or your DSP, basically something before the amp, that is noisy. Try a different source it can be as simple as your phone with a headphone to rca cable just for a quick test.



Must be reading my mind. I went through the Helix dsp software and found the output gain control (it's controlled through software vs the input gain was adjusted via two small pots INSIDE the dsp that I already set correctly).

I'll drop the gains in the dsp and see what I get. I suspect some joy is coming.


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:20 pm 

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I believe I am hearing amplified noise floor from the wonderful OEM headunit electronics. I'm feeding the OEM headunit (line level) into the Helix DSP. I listened to the headunit in my other Toyota (stock system, nothing touched) and I can hear the same hiss if I put my ear to the dash tweeters (just much quieter). Logic would state that IF this is coming from the HU, it's of course being amplified and then more obvious due to the high efficiency horns and mids I am using.

Fun time: I have to temporarily wire the DSP's input remote turn on as the current config has only an output turn on wire wired up (the dsp when using high level inputs automatically triggers on with audio signal detection). Going to do a down and dirty test to see if the hiss disappears without the OEM HU in the chain.

And I THOUGHT this was going to be the simple part of the install....................really did NOT want to mess with an aftermarket headunit. The OEM one has all the features I want (bluetooth, usb, rear camera, hd audio, blah blah)....but I'll be damned if the hiss is a "feature" of the OEM unit (wouldn't be shocked at all).


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:49 pm 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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I had no idea you were using the high input for the dsp. That means that from the deck on you are amplifying and manipulating all the noise that the factory radio amplifier creates. Try swapping in an ipod with rca to heaphone cable



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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:46 am 

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Will do. The signal from the hu should not be amplified already as I removed the factory amp and ran the high inputs right to the dsp. I think it's truly crap noise floor from the hu itself. I just need a few hours to do the necessary tests.


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:53 am 
the Floor Sweeping Hack with Golden Ears

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it could very well be that the modifications you made are causing the noise. Could be anything from a ground that was weakeend something like that.



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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:35 pm 

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No modifications were made to the oem head unit. All I did was unplug the stock amp (it's under the passenger seat) and via a wire harness adapter I ran the 4 wires for FL and FR to the high level input on the Helix DSP. Nothing fancy/no mods/no wiring modifications.

I know I know...I need to test the theory by bypassing the radio. Darn kids and work keep getting in the way of this :)


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:17 am 

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Update:

So I had some tuning time yesterday in the garage (read: 6 hours).

I temporarily rewired the dsp so that it would turn on without the high level inputs connected (in fact NO input signal connected).

Results: Hiss still present at 1 foot or so from the horns.

Next step, I disconnected the output cables from the dsp to the horn amp.................NOISE STILL PRESENT.

What does this mean? The horns (rather the Beyma cd10nd drivers) are extremely sensitive and car audio amps are not exactly "audiophile" grade. In other words, this is as good as it's going to get (short of going to some esoteric "high end"/bend over price amp.....even then I doubt it will matter).

The good news? It's MUCH less with the Zapco (as opposed to the aforementioned junk Lunar amp) and it's tolerable with the x100.4 on the mids. Even better is I have it dialed in so much that you can only hear it with the car off in a quiet garage. Engine on? Nothing audible (at least to my aging ears).

My main "win" is that I don't have to delve into some aftermarket head unit disaster. I get to keep the OEM unit which is better than any aftermarket unit I've used (and spare me about the specs/etc....they aren't audible at this level).

I tested out the subs as well during this session (temporarily put the enclosure on the rear floor of the cab...still dealing with fitment issues of the rear bench seat (think air grinder and BFH).

The 2 JL 10tw3's are "interesting". Certainly not low end bass monsters. You are not going to annoy too many neighbors, BUT I will say they are very defined and controlled. Reminds me of a very nice concert (small venue) setup. It does punch me in the chest a bit, but it's not "hard to breathe" style bass. I am partially surprised by this as I have them in a very large ported enclosure. Sealed would probably not be my cup of tea with these (despite being what JL recommends). I had to go with these due to the ridiculously small space under the rear bench seats in this truck. Anything larger would require cutting the floor or a blow-thru (and that's not happening as I am not 18 with no responsibilities).


VERY interesting results verifying gains:

On the Xenon 100.4 that I am using for the midbass drivers, I have 2 y cables (to supply signal to both front and rear sections of the amp). I have the midbass speakers wired bridged (one to the "front" of the amp and one to the "rear" of the amp).

Using a cheap dmm and a 0db 50hz sine wave, I calculated approximately 30 vac as the target output of each channel. With the gain to the floor, I was seeing 31-33 vac per channel! That's almost 300 watts per channel!?!?!

I'm surprised by that as I found a "results" thread ages ago claiming at 8 ohms bridged, the Xenon 100.4 put out 234 X 2 into an 8 ohm load (which is what my midbass drivers are impedance wise). I wonder if the tester in the article didn't provide signal to both front and rear via y-cables? Either way, I was chuckling at the juice I am getting from this amp.

The x1200.1 was the oddball with the gain. Calculating 69.2 vac for 1200 watts at 4 ohms, I had to turn the gain up a decent amount to get to 69ish vac. Maybe a difference between the two amps architectures (i.e. the 100.4 is class AB while the 1200.1 is class D). Also, I NEVER hear the fans on the 1200.1, but the amp never has a single issue. Quieter fans??? Who knows.

On the topic of efficiency: I'm shocked at how well these amps are performing. My truck has an oem 175 amp alternator (which who knows where that is rated and at what rpm/temperature/etc), however consider this:

This system has three amps:

Zapco DC200.2 (class ab)
Xenon 100.4 (class ab)
Xenon 1200.1 (class d)

With the truck idling and the headlights on while cranking some silly "crunk" song (think "Shots" with little Jon...still have that stupid song in my head thank you), NO dimming. I didn't even see the needle on the oem volt gauge move. I have yet to put my meter on the inputs, but I suspect less than a volt of drop at full blast. This is amazing! "Back in the day".....I used to run PPI PC2150 amps (class ab of course was what we had to play with then). I could not only get headlights to dim, but on smaller cars I could get amps and sometimes the engine to shut down (low voltage/etc).

Amazing what technology can do.

Off to go fiddle more with the rear seat mounts. Hoping to button it up today so I can take more pics. Then a few quality days of RTA time.


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 Post subject: Re: Project Serious
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:23 pm 

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Cross posting "final" (is a system ever done?) pics.....

Ok,

Most of the physical install is complete.

Equipment:

Headunit: OEM

Processor: Helix DSP Pro

Amps:
Horns: Zapco DC Reference 200.2
Midbass: Phoenix Gold Xenon 100.4 bridged (approximately 300w X 2 at 8 ohms...verified).
Subs: Phoenix Gold Xenon 1200.1 at 4 ohms. I am WAY overkill here.

High/Mids: ES full size horns with Beyma CD10ND compression drivers

Midbass: 2 JBL 2118H 8" drivers (in fiberglass and vinyl'd pods I built).

Subs: 2 JL Audio 10TW3 in a ported enclosure

Wiring: 1/0 for power and ground, 4/0 for distribution, random smaller gauges for appropriate sizes.

Sound deadening: I removed the entire carpet and covered in closed cell foam, then mass loaded vinyl. This made a tremendous difference in sound reduction. The only "Dynamat" type product I used were the CLD tiles from sound deadener showdown on the rear walls (and ccf + mlv like the floor). I did NOT put a single ounce of material in the doors (heck, I didn't even remove the door panels as I don't use door speakers of any sort).

*NOTE* I have yet to clean the truck (been in the garage for months), but at least my pics show the general finished idea.

Also, let it be known...I have officially achieved the goal of 100 lbs of poo in a 1 lbs bucket. This is a double cab Toyota Tundra. If you know the truck, you know how much space (or lack thereof) there truly is.

Pics:

Amp rack on rear wall with cover panel and edge lit acrylic via ribbon leds (I can change the colors to basically anything via a remote). NEVER doing this again...the amount of wiring and solder work that made this work was ridiculous. I should have taken a pic of the wiring on the back...

Image

Side shot of amp rack, the real ass kicker is the seatbelt (I have kids so it wasn't an option to remove) AND the rear seat covers the fusing and dsp windows that I built into it as well. As my wife keeps saying, "You did all this for WHO to see??". Hey...I got it out of my system :)

Image

Dual JL 10TW3 subs in ported enclosure. The top is in vinyl (and dusty in this pic) with countersunk mounting for the subs (a major challenge due to the odd shape of these subs). The front of the box says "Serious" in raised vinyl (I tried to get a pic of that, but bad lighting in the shop):

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Drivers side midbass pod. These are made from an mdf baffle and fiberglass covered in foam and vinyl. They are approximately .6 cu ft. Another part of the install I will never do again. I'd estimate 80+ hours just in the pod fabrication. I also added about 15 lbs of lead shot and "milkshake" inside each pod. You can NOT feel the pods vibrate. Nice and dead. The midbass these put out is ridiculous. I can hear snare drums like you are standing in front of the band. My 8 year old said "Dad it sounds like the instruments are right in the truck".

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Passenger side pod:

https://i.imgsafe.org/d9da897.jpg


I'm not 100% in love with the pod grilles. I made them fairly quickly (and they are strong due to 14 gauge mesh behind the fabric), but I might redo them in actual speaker grille metal and press them. For now they work/protect well.

More passenger pod. These are tucked as much as possible. I had to remove the emergency brake bracket/pedal on the driver's side (not a big deal as this is an automatic tranny and I can't remember the last century in a daily driver that I used the e-brake.....if I REALLY care I would add an electronic actuator to pull the cable (it's still under the dash) via a button...but I digress:

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Sub enclosure (you can kind of see the lettering in this shot).....just made it by a hair...

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Showing sub enclosure port and the Zapco (horn amp) under the passenger seat:

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Underhood wiring....about as simple and clean as it gets:

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Ask away...I now know the insides and outsides of audio for a 2014 Tundra.

FYI: I hate techflex. I must have used over 500 feet of the crap for this install. It's fairly pointless on most of the wiring I covered....but so be it, I did it the "right way" for this install. Would I do it again? Only if someone else did it. I spent more time putting techflex on speaker wires than I did actual installing some nights. C'est la vie.

Off to RTA/tune/repeat for a week.


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