View Full Version : Advice Needed: 6.5" drivers for Rock that will NOT fry.

11-30-2005, 09:31 PM
I'm enduring what I thought would be a great system but which has turned into a study in teeth-grinding frustration.

As listed in my profile, I'm driving a 2002 Civic Si and currently have:

- an Alpine 9827 head unit, which I despise and already have a Blaupunkt Casablanca MP54 ready for replacement purposes;

- PPI PCX4125 (4 X 125W @ 4Ohms) amp;

- two pairs MB Quart PCE216 component 6.5 speakers mounted coax in the doors and back side panels.

- I also have an Infinity Basslink powered sub that will be installed with the new head unit, but for the moment it's just the four MB Quarts.

I listen almost exclusively to rock - as in heavily-distorted 70s-80s guitar-oriented hard rock, and never, ever, run rap through my circuitry. Unfortunately I don't know diddly about tuning up a car audio system, and the idiots who installed the system at [rhymes with "Workit Sh*tty,"] along with most of the car audio world, are apparently lost when they try to dial in anything that's not rap. So I had to tune it up myself, in half-arsed fashion, after the install.

The PCX4125 / PCE216 combination is supposed to be an amp/speaker marriage made in heaven [I bought it largely on the basis of this rave review (http://www.dealtime.com/xPR-PPI_PCX_4125~RD-113534537348),] but I'm fairly certain that I've damaged the speakers. At higher volumes there's a whole lot of mid and high freq distortion that has nothing to do with the natural distortion of rock guitar, and it's gotten progressively worse since the install.

I hasten to add that I haven't been irresponsibly cranking the thing to max heedless of the consequences, just listening at a level I consider adequate for rock. From the very beginning the volume level and punch factor were vastly disappointing.

Obviously there's only so much bass you're going to get out of 6.5" speakers and the Infinity sub will take care of that once it's in, but bass is not the point. I jumped into a friend's car a couple months back and listened to his comparatively cheap system - I think his 6.5 speakers are a pair of mid-level Infinitys - and I was emerald-green with envy. He listens to the same kind of music I do (I distinctly remember the Rush "Moving Pictures" disc as a reference,) and his mids and highs were so powerful and crystal-clear I almost had to get out of the vehicle.

I have a hard time believing that MB Quart's top-of-the-line 6.5 components can be so lame at reproducing rock - I'm assuming most of the problem has to do with my setup job, but even so, with a head unit/amp combination with as clean distortion specs as what I'm using, should this kind of nonsense be happening?

Four questions - please pick one (or more) and sound off:

1. Given that I hear varying degress of buzzing and static whenever I get close to high volume- or just whenever a certain instrument hits a certain peak at a certain frequency - can I assume my existing speakers are fried? If so, is there anything that can be done to refurbish them short of replacing them altogether? Is the tweeter the only part that reproduces highs, or does fried highs mean the whole driver is damaged?

2. Does anybody know of a speaker manufacturer with a 6.5" mid-high speaker system that's built like an M1 Abrams tank and is capable of handling 125 watts of heavily-distorted rock guitar* on a more or less continuous basis with ease? At this point I think I'd be willing to go up to $600 or so if such an animal actually existed;

3. If there's anybody reading this from Southern California, can you recommend a good, reputable car audio installer who doesn't mind installing stuff without selling components and who is into rock exclusively and is therefore fully competent to tune up a system for optimum performance once the install is complete?

4. I bought a Dynamat Xtreme bulk pack but never had it installed because the Workit Sh*tty guys wanted something like $200 for the labor. Will that stuff make any significant improvement in the side and door panel drivers, or is it just for rattle elimination?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions, and pardon my running l o n g - they don't have brevity on my planet...

[* For specific examples of what's on heavy rotation on my system, open the Mahogany Rush MP3 player (http://mahoganyrush.net/mp3/pop_me_up.html) - click on #00 "RealLive-Trailer" or #06 "Mahogany Rush Live," turn it up, wait for the download, and bask... Also the clips at Amazon for Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Live On (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=ecoustics&path=tg/stores/detail/-/product/B00001U03X/qid=1132771044/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl15/103-1064670-1327029?v=glance&s=music&n=507846) or Trouble Is (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=ecoustics&path=tg/stores/detail/-/product/B000002L5I/ref=pd_bxgy_text_1/103-1064670-1327029?v=glance&s=music&n=507846&st=*), and Dogman (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=ecoustics&path=tg/stores/detail/-/product/B000002IXM/qid=1132773075/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-1064670-1327029?v=glance&s=music) by King's X. N.B.: These are not intended as "plugs," just examples.]

11-30-2005, 10:02 PM
Part of your issue might be the install, not just the speakers...deaden the crap out of the doors with some good quality deadening material, make sure the speakers are solidly mounted on MDF rings to further isolate them...make sure the door panels are completely sealed up except for the speaker cutouts. These steps will tremendously improve your midbass and enable you to cross the speakers over at a lower frequency :)

11-30-2005, 10:10 PM
Thanks, Jack.

That brings up another point: Since I wouldn't know how to take apart my doors and rear side panels without the likelihood of destroying them, and since I need the sub and h/u installed anyway, can you typically ask professional car audio installation joints to do that kind of thorough deadening and isolation work without them just laughing in your face?

11-30-2005, 10:18 PM
as far as sound deadening goes, take a little time and read over this thread;


squeak will prolly chime in later - but that will get you started with some information.

secondly, as the install is concerned, coaxial mounting in the door is far from the most efficent way to go. i would consider trying to mount your tweeters in your sail panels (if you have a civicSI, there should be removeable sail panels - those little triangular pieces on 'door mirror' part of your door). im not a huge buff on the best kinds of mids on the market, and im sure squeak can help you more out there - but from my expierence - the infinity basslink is a piece of garbage.

you would be better off buying one of these subs (the DVC10" one for $99)

building your own box for it (if you get daring, use fiberglass) and getting a little [email protected] amp like this one *you will need 8 guage wire for this, not the 10awg that is prolly used with the infinity basslink - double check to be certain)

that will help you out as far as the low end and high end is concerned, but i would look into getting a whole new set of components.

Thanks, Jack.

That brings up another point: Since I wouldn't know how to take apart my doors and rear side panels without the likelihood of destroying them, and since I need the sub and h/u installed anyway, can you typically ask professional car audio installation joints to do that kind of thorough deadening and isolation work without them just laughing in your face?

most likely not, its actually not too hard to work on a civicSI - ive worked on one, but the best way to learn is to take it slow and figure it out. and im sure if you post pictures of the door on here (www.imageshack.com for free image hosting) and then ask questions, people will tell you how its done, rather than you wasting $300 so a pro can do it, when you are more than qualified for such a task.

12-01-2005, 12:00 AM
Sounds like something is clipping somewhere... wheter it be the HU preouts or the gain settings on the amp..... or if the amp was used it could be damaged I guess. I have the little brother of the 4125 and it never gave me any problems.... though I have Bostons that say they can handle 280 and I have heard that the MB's don't like too much power, but I haven't witnessed this like I did with my Focals :(

12-01-2005, 11:44 PM
sounds like its clipping to me as well.

if you're really wanting new speakers though, i just put the CDT-HD62 components in my '02 TA WS.6 and have them powered by a PG xenon 200.2 amp. theyre getting atleast 160-180watts rms, and i listen to pretty much nothign but rock as well. they sound AWESOME. i'm very pleased with my setup

12-02-2005, 10:27 PM
I've been thinking about the mounting and deadening aspect - would that affect the mids and highs that much? I've always assumed deadening had most dramatic impact on the bass, not treble.

If I've truly fried - or just damaged to some degree - the MB Quarts, will swapping in new tweeters fix them up, or is there damage that relates to other areas of the speaker? (I no absolutely zilch about speaker construction, theory and function.) If I had to ditch them I think I'd try a pair of the Diamond Hex S600 components rather than plunking down more for MBQ. Bad idea or good?


12-02-2005, 11:14 PM
im not a huge fan of the quarts tbh. if you have fried the tweet(s) on them, you are pretty much SOL unless you buy some do it yourself tweeters and build a new passive crossover for the set... or replace the quart tweeters with the same make\model (replacement tweets), but why would you want to go thru the hassle of breaking them again?

right? :)

and the deadening will have more of an effect on the bass, and midbass (kickdrum), relativly no effect on the treble tbh.

12-03-2005, 12:12 AM
well sounds like the amp gain may be too high for the volume you listen at. Try tuning the gain down, try not clipping the amp and get some components. You are in luck though as i have a pair of ES-600 6.5 woofers for sale. 175$ and they're yours. Can handle 125RMS, but no speaker can take a distorted signal for long. But they will be good on rock and whatever type of music you listen to. Also do deaden your doors to improve midbass response and also try re-tuning your setup's EQ if you have one.

12-03-2005, 12:14 AM
but no speaker can take a distorted signal for long. But they will be good on rock and whatever type of music you listen to.

kind of ironic no? rock = distorted guitar

i think you meant, clipped signal. :uhoh:

12-03-2005, 12:14 AM
It's possible that you jacked up your speakers, but I doubt it. Those are very well made speakers and i ran them for 1.5 years (they are not the top of the line..the Q's are) and ran as much as 250 watts per side.

1) Check the gains on the amp and make sure that there is no audible distortion with the hu set at 75% max volume.

2) Check the attenuation on the crossover. I always ran mine at -4.5 db or -6 db

3) Dumb the rear speakers. You are wasting you money on them. Spend it instead on power for the fronts and on properly deadening and sealing your doors.

4) Good luck:)

12-04-2005, 03:40 PM
Thanks again - I will check all of this stuff.

Another wrinkle I didn't mention because it's a separate issue: When those fine, competent folks at Circuit City did their 9-hour system install they failed to anchor everything in the doors properly, so since a few months after, I've been hearing and feeling what are presumably the crossovers for the front pair of Quarts bouncing around whenever I open and close the doors. Which of course means the wires have disconnected from them and they haven't worked at all for most of that time. I've just had the fader set to the back pair until I can get the car in for a rework by someone who knows what they're doing. Maybe the front ones will even be in better condition than the rear because they haven't been in use...

Word to the wise: Avoid Circuit City at all costs, for anything.

I suppose the thing to do is just have whatever shop I find test the Quarts and use whichever ones are working, if any. I had wondered a bit about overkill on putting in the back pair as full 2-way components. On second thought I'd likely be better off removing the tweeters from them and just using them as mid drivers - the "PWE160" config. (If I were to do that, would I be able to ditch the rear crossovers and wire them to the amp direct?)

I'm also extremely skeptical about subwoofers in general - that thing about the human ear being incapable of distingishing stereo from mono anywhere below such & such frequency... The Basslink is definitely going in (on the enthused advice of some fellow rock lovers who have them,) but I'll have to hear it to believe it's as good as those huge EPI home speakers I used to haul around in my old Plymouth hatchback in the '80s.