W124 Cabriolet ICE advice please?

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by jazzdude, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. jazzdude

    jazzdude Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Mercedes W124 320ce Cabriolet
    Just put a deposit on a W124 Cab and while I am waiting for it to be prepared I have been researching my ICE options, don't seem to be too many. :)

    It seems that although expensive, the Rainbow direct replacements are the way to go on the dashtop speakers. Has anyone any experience with any other less expensive brands? But as I only have the two pods under the armrests in the rear, which apparently have 5 inch speakers in them, I think the car will be lacking bass. I am not looking for ground shaking levels but just enough to round off the sound. I will be including a small amplifier in the mix to help a new mp3 playing headunit by the way, which I may wire up to the fronts while letting the amp deal with the rear/sub.

    I don't think a boot installed subwoofer will do much because of the apparent excellent sound insulation so I was wondering whether you have any ideas on what I can do. The underseat option seems to have been ruled out by the electric seats, but I was thinking about whether a small sub in each door could work or in the kickpanels in the front footwells, with midbass in the pods. Or perhaps put mid bass in the door pockets with the subs in the rear pods on the armrests? Maybe you have come across a speaker that could do both jobs just from the armrest pods?

    I have seen these Jenhert door pocket solutions but they are very expensive and really I am trying to do this on a relatively tight budget so any advice you might have would be very much appreciated.
     
  2. bolide

    bolide Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    These aren't easy cars to fit speakers to. The dash speakers are 11 cm. The Rainbows are an improvement over the standard Blaupunkt speakers (which are still available from MB at around £30 / set) but are not worth the price asked

    I have heard two good W124 setups: the first I built using a pair of Dynaudio speakers and the second used two Focal speakers in the dash, two in the rear doors, a multichannel amp a small tube woofer in the load area.

    The Dynaudio system has a 7" speaker in each front door mounted on a custom baffle. The door card will need modifying to fit a grille in the pocket but the door inner skin remains standard. The Dynaudios don't really need a subwoofer as they are big enough to deliver some decent bass

    Whichever way you go will need a fair amount of space for amps & etc plus space for a subwoofer. You could fit a subwoofer in the footwell behind a front seat

    The complete Dynaudio setup is up for sale as the owner has since changed cars

    Nick Froome
     
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  3. shanksy

    shanksy Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    When it comes to the front speakers, you can use Rainbow KX-120's which are half the price of the IQ range and are of a very good quality.

    I have four of them in mine, but needed to customise the rear mounts slightly to accomodate them.

    Even with the petrol tank in the way, a sub in the back still produces good results.
    One 12" boxed sub with around 300RMS to power it will give you a good full rounded sound without sounding like you want to compete with the kids in saxo's :)
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    jazzdude

    jazzdude Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I would be very interested to have more information re the Dynaudio kit you mention Nick, can you pm me with the details please?

    In any case Shanksy, I am surprised that the subwoofer in the boot produces results in that I thought that there was the fuel tank between the boot and the back seats. The sub I would need to have quite a lot of power to produce any results through so much insulation or is the tank different in a cab?

    With regard to the 7" speaker, did you just surface mount it onto a ring and screw that to the the door skin? And it produced a decent amount of bass?

    Would you put the amps in the boot too or look for somewhere in the car?
     
  5. OP
    OP
    jazzdude

    jazzdude Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Further reading is pushing me towards Rainbows in the dash, probably in the rear armrest pods too, and a sub in the boot.

    I dont know much about amps so I am now looking into a 4 channel amp and am between using it for the rears and sub, and run the fronts from the headunit, or using it for the front and rears while getting an active sub. Does that make sense?

    Does anyone know what is the difference between the KX120 'Dreamline' and the IQ line Rainbow speakers? The look the same to me but the IQ's are £50 more.
     
  6. GP801

    GP801 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have just installed the Rainbows (dreamline spec) in the dash of the estate. Certainly a big improvement over the Kenwoods that were in it. Head unit is Becker Cascade. Much clearer and more presence. Not much bass but what do you expect given the size.
     
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  7. OP
    OP
    jazzdude

    jazzdude Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Can anyone confirm the size of the rear speakers in the armrest pods please in the convertible? Are they 5 1/4" like the rear door speakers of a saloon/estate?
     
  8. jjrodger

    jjrodger Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have installed Rainbows in the dash of my E300 diesel T and I am quite impressed. I feel they were good value at £100ish. They are driven by a Becker Indianapolis Pro. They could do with more bass. I suspect a vast improvement could be had with a small subwoofer in the boot (mine is an estate, of course) and a dedicated amplifier.

    If you have plenty of readies, you may wish to investigate the Jennert custom door card: Produkte Doorboards Soundsystems | Mercedes | Jehnert Sound Design Automotive
     
  9. jjrodger

    jjrodger Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Double post: sorry.
     
  10. bolide

    bolide Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    To give some sense of perspective here: the Rainbow is a drop-in "fullrange" paper-cone 4" speaker with a copper voice coil about 1.5" diameter. It'll handle about 5 Watts easily, maybe 20 W on peaks with lots of distortion. Vmax is about 5 mm

    The Dynaudio 7" mid/woofer has a 3" voice coil on an aluminium former, long-term power handling of 120 Watts and transient power handling of 1 kW. Vmax is 17mm

    It's a bit like comparing a Fiat 126 with a Ferrari 456 Italia

    Nick Froome
     
  11. jjrodger

    jjrodger Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Nick, the system you described sounds--excuse the pun--like it will be superb. I am still happy with the little Rainbows, not least because they go in the stock apertures.

    Someone asked the question: there is no difference between the Dreamline and the IQ line.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    jazzdude

    jazzdude Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Really? so you can get the KX120 Dreamline for half the price of the 120CX IQ Soundline and they are the same speaker?

    Would it be worth considering 4" mid + tweeter component speakers over the Rainbows in the front? Will the sound be any better?

    I had a couple of negative reactions re the effectiveness of a sub in the boot of the cab (and no roof) and am now thinking along the lines of a pair of 6x9" coaxial woofers in the back arm rest pods (if they fit), lots of wadding and with a 2 speaker component system up front.

    The 7" speakers you mentioned Nick might go here too. That is externally, not inside as I don't mind the grilles showing.

    K419 SPY 027.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  13. jjrodger

    jjrodger Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I ordered the IQ120 CX and I am pretty sure that what came were labelled DL-X4.7. I'll have a look at the packaging tonight when I get a chance.

    I have seen an arrangement up front with 4" mid speaker and a little separate tweeter, all under the grille. I think this is one of the Jennert arrangements. I don't know enough about this stuff and it is yet another expensive hobby I can do without!
     
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  14. jjrodger

    jjrodger Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I can't find the packaging, I'm afraid: must have chucked it.

    Nick, you've got me hooked on the Dynaudio stuff. Tell me, what amplifier(s) did you use/would you recommend? and where did you put them? What does your Dynaudio set comprise and how much are you asking?
     
  15. OP
    OP
    jazzdude

    jazzdude Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have decided to take a leaf out of your book Nick and go with a 4 speaker system. Replace the dash speakers with either the Rainbows or Focal pc130 5" and go with Focal PC690 6x9" in the rear pods. Obviously the Rainbows just pop in but I am interested to see if the Focals might offer better performance that justifies the messing about with the fitting.

    There is a nice Pioneer amp that has just come out, the GM-D8604, which although is quite small comes highly recommended and seems great value. Might see if there is any space under the dash for it.

    I also found an interesting JL audio amp, JX 360/4 on offer, but it is nearly twice as long as the Pioneer and will need to go in the boot, which is the only reason I am not so keen on it.
     
  16. 74merc

    74merc Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    When I had my E320 coupe, I replaced the factory speakers in the dash with some 13cm Alpines. I suspect that most 13cm speakers will fit the 12cm aperatures with some minor modifications. In the boot I had a Clarion active subwoofer. There was no issue with bass coming into the cabin, the overall sound being nicely balanced.
     
  17. bolide

    bolide Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The Dynaudios were in an estate and the amps were mounted on a board under the floor in the rear. It used a Genesis 4-Channel amp for the sub & mids and a Macrom for the tweeters

    It took a lot of head-scratching to position the front speakers. I didn't want to cut the door so the speaker sits a way back - in a similar position to the midbass in a car with the MB Premium Sound System - and the tweeters are in the sail panels. The speaker sits in the blanked-off part of the door pocket so you cut the inner part of the card (which is never seen) and modify the lower trim for a grille

    I was a bit concerned with the seats masking the speakers but it just doesn't seem to make any difference. The Dynaudios have a very wide dispersion and the sound field & stereo width is amazing. If you used a modern stereo with TA you could Time-Align the speakers to get the image smack-bang in the centre of the car. I just teased up the gains on the passenger side a bit and the image was fine for the driver

    The key things are a really substantial mount for the mid/bass unit, sealing the door to make it as airtight as possible and damping the door inner & outer panels. If you do all those things then any speaker will sound its best

    Nick Froome
     
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  18. OP
    OP
    jazzdude

    jazzdude Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I am still struggling with the options for the front speakers as although extensive reading confirms that the Rainbow route is the most sensible, I cant help wondering if I would be better served with a 2 way component system up front.

    I would like to go with something like Focal speakers / Focal or JL audio amp but can't help wondering if fitting 13cm Focal mid in the dash with a tweeter mounted say on the A pillar is going to sound that much better than the drop in Rainbows. They cost about the same but the fitting will obviously be more tricky.

    Can anyone help with this?
     

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