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View Full Version : Kickpanels...should i do them?



ak47clown
07-11-2006, 09:28 PM
The question isn't whether or not I am capable of making kickpanels for myself. I love working on little projects like this but rather is it worth the effort? I was all set to install my rainbow slc's this week or next week when I stopped by a local stereo shop to pic up some wire terminals and got to talking about my system. He came out and took a look at what i had-a mazda 3 with stock tweeters in the A pillar and a 5x7 in the door. He was like you're not putting your components in the door are you? Up until that point the thought had never even crossed my mind to put them anywhere else but he explained to me much of what I spent last nite and tonite reading on various forums and it makes sense to me. So I guess here's my dilema-

Since I got the car last year, I've been trying to a get a really nice sounding system I can. I dont have unlimited funds by I have, over time collected a decent audio system-an eclipse 8445 deck, infinity perfect 12.1d sub and now the rainbow slc's. After what he told me and what I read yesterday I really think I should build a set of kicks but on the other hand I would hardly consider myself an audiophile. Seeing as how I was fairly impressed with the stock system of my car (coming from a 95 escort before this), I'm sure I'm going to be blown away once I install the SLC's but is there really going to be a noticeable enough difference between the stock location and kick panel setup to warrant this work? I guess the biggest pushback I have right now is making them so that they won't be a huge hassle for my feet as I've got a stick...

adam71
07-11-2006, 09:32 PM
I say give the stock locations a try first. Then if it leaves you wanting more then make some kicks. I mean, there is no sense in putting all that effort forward when you may like the stock locations just fine.

ak47clown
07-11-2006, 10:50 PM
very good point. I'm still up in the air but chances are curiousity is gonna get the best of me on a free weekend this summer and i'll give it shot. At worst, i get some more experience with fiberglassing and am ~50 bucks in the hole.

squeak9798
07-11-2006, 11:37 PM
If you were "happy" with the stock speakers, then chances are you'll be really happy with the new speakers in the stock locations.

But, going to kicks would really make a noticeable difference. With the speakers at more equal pathlengths, the sound will have more coherency to it (less "muddy" in the midrange, tighter midbass, etc), soundstaging and imaging will improve (which will likewise improve your perception of the sound), etc etc.

About the only way around this is by using time alignment. And even then, kickpanels will have much better net result than time alignment in most cases.

If you enjoy car audio as a hobby, I'd suggest you give it a try. Worst case, as you mentioned, is that you waste some money and time and gain some experience. Best case, you gain more enjoyment and a better appreciation for your music by way of a killer sounding frontstage.

My guess is that you'll end up experiencing the latter (plus the experience part) rather than the former, given you build the kicks properly.

ravendarat
07-11-2006, 11:44 PM
If you were "happy" with the stock speakers, then chances are you'll be really happy with the new speakers in the stock locations.

But, going to kicks would really make a noticeable difference. With the speakers at more equal pathlengths, the sound will have more coherency to it (less "muddy" in the midrange, tighter midbass, etc), soundstaging and imaging will improve (which will likewise improve your perception of the sound), etc etc.

About the only way around this is by using time alignment. And even then, kickpanels will have much better net result than time alignment in most cases.

If you enjoy car audio as a hobby, I'd suggest you give it a try. Worst case, as you mentioned, is that you waste some money and time and gain some experience. Best case, you gain more enjoyment and a better appreciation for your music by way of a killer sounding frontstage.

My guess is that you'll end up experiencing the latter (plus the experience part) rather than the former, given you build the kicks properly.

In most peoples cases time alignment wouldnt help here. Reason being that the driver and the tweeter are running through a passive crossover on the same channel. That means that what you do to one your gonna do to the other. If you ran the tweeter through its own crossover and channel and then the mid through its own crossover and channel than you could use time allignment to help fix the problem but in the end its still a bandaid. Kicks arent that hard to do man, give em a shot. Like you said worst case is your out 50 bucks but gained experience.

squeak9798
07-11-2006, 11:58 PM
In most peoples cases time alignment wouldnt help here. Reason being that the driver and the tweeter are running through a passive crossover on the same channel. That means that what you do to one your gonna do to the other.

And if the mid and tweeter are atleast relatively close to each other, it'll still be a night and day difference ;)

In my car the mid and tweeter are in the doors ~1' apart via passives (temporary install....though the longer it's in there the more permanent it feels :( ), and time alignment made a HUGE difference. Imaging and soundstaging actually isn't that bad. Not stellar.....but not bad.

Railrocker
07-12-2006, 12:02 AM
And if the mid and tweeter are atleast relatively close to each other, it'll still be a night and day difference ;)

In my car the mid and tweeter are in the doors ~1' apart via passives (temporary install....though the longer it's in there the more permanent it feels :( ), and time alignment made a HUGE difference. Imaging and soundstaging actually isn't that bad. Not stellar.....but not bad.

Ya it should at least fix the fact that one set of comps is 5 ft from your ear and the other set is only 2 1/2.

ravendarat
07-12-2006, 12:05 AM
OK mabye Im understanding something wrong here. Are you saying that you are using time alignment to counter the affects of having the tweeter mounted too far away from the driver? And if thats the case, how can you possibly suggest that by changing th time alignment on a channel thats hooked up to BOTH the tweeter and the driver would fix this? You should have to change the time alignment on ONLY the Tweeter or Driver to fix it in this fashion. I think I must have missed something here? Or are you saying you are using time alignment to adjust the system to companasate for the fact that one set of speakers is further away from you, cause that would make complete sense.

Railrocker
07-12-2006, 12:09 AM
Yes one set. Not one speaker. It wouldnt be perfect but it would help.

squeak9798
07-12-2006, 12:30 AM
OK mabye Im understanding something wrong here.

You are :slap:

Are you saying that you are using time alignment to counter the affects of having the tweeter mounted too far away from the driver?

No, I'm saying time alignment can fix having the left side speakers (mid & tweeter) closer to you than the right side drivers.

Sides as a whole, not individual speakers. The left side and right side components are not equadistant from the listener.


Or are you saying you are using time alignment to adjust the system to companasate for the fact that one set of speakers is further away from you, cause that would make complete sense.

Now it sounds like we are on the same page :thumbsup:

ravendarat
07-12-2006, 12:32 AM
OK yes now I am on the same page. I was wondering what they hell you were talking about to start with

squeak9798
07-12-2006, 01:11 AM
OK yes now I am on the same page. I was wondering what they hell you were talking about to start with

Don't worry....I wonder that a lot myself :wacky:

ak47clown
07-12-2006, 07:16 AM
thanks for all the input guys! It looks like i've got a new project for my next free weekend!