Thanks everyone for the awesome advice.
1. go back to running passive but now bridge the amp for 4x as much power.
2. don't just deaden the doors - seal them. the link shows you how. do that and you'll gain midbass. we ran the MLK without sealing the holes (but with a lot of deadener) and midbass was lacking due to phase interference. the door panel rattled also. sealed the doors and wow, what a difference. foam around the front of the woofer to seal to the door panel is also key. midbass requires mass and seals.
3. change how the tweeters are aimed and try to work in the deeper chamber. this will mean custom tweeter pods/spheres. the difference will be amazing and you'll get the smoothness you want.
4. add deadener as required to control resonance and add 1/8" CCF to control buzzes.
buying different speakers is a waste of money until you get the vehicle treated acoustically.
one thing that i have seen over 20 years is that speaker placement/aiming & airspace/enclosure (control of back wave) are vital to proper performance - regardless of how much you spend on them.
2. I'll have to recheck the doors, I feel like when they were first installed the midbass was much nicer, maybe the deadening has peeled off in places (due to heat), because I do hear some rattlings/resonance now. I Also will try adding the foam around the front of the speaker, good tip.
3. Using the larger chambers is something I've always wanted to do. I will be sure to use them in the new car. It sounds like you are pretty confident they will make a difference.
You have the 5.1k also? Sorry, I missed that. Instead of full active, try bi-amp through the crossovers, at least for the tweeter inputs/outputs.
I am confident that improving mounting/aiming will make a difference.
installing crossovers is easy, just do it near the amp, move the speaker wires from the amp outputs to the crossover outputs. run new wires from the amp outputs to the crossover inputs. just be careful to not mix up wiring for woofers and tweeters!!!
removing door panels is also easy. there are usually a few screws (typical locations are at the door handle (sometimes behind a removable panel), at the arm rest, and sometimes along the bottom). you typically remove the sail panel cover first, then door handle screw/cover, arm rest screw and window/door lock/control panel. the panel will pop off with clips from there, with a few wire harnesses you need to undo. once free, lift up as it hooks on the window ledge. be careful not to poke the woofer with the door panel.
you can find forums for your specific make/model that tell/show you exactly how to remove the panel.
none of this is "hard", it's just time consuming. you need to devote time to your install if you want it to sound good. money is always a factor, but time should be limitless. stay off the internet, don't watch TV, don't play games, don't sleep so much, just work on the car. :) most of my build was between 11pm-3am after the wife and kids went to sleep. Advocare Spark has helped me combat a lack of sleep while maintaining a high level of cognitive performance at work. kids steal sleep from you anyway, i just took advantage of the habit. :)
you could show your installer the Scion tC build and say "I want that".
Been busy this week with school, have a bunch of free time right now but no camera to take pics. Still tossing around the idea of getting different speakers.
I have however been listening to music this week with my subwoofer off, and I must say the Hertz MLK do put out pretty nice bass, although I hear a bunch of resonance/vibrations so I'm sure I could get even better output with more work. I have been playing with my EQ too, kind of fun seeing which bands effect which sounds in my songs.
Still seems like something is too bright or too detailed or revealing, I suppose a processor could fix that, which I am also looking into.
I've been reading threads comparing Hertz to Morel and HAT, seems like HAT's smoothest/laidback tweeter is the L1 Pro R2, read that all their other ones are more on the bright/revealing side. Can't find any MSRP prices for Morel. Going to try and get more opinions on these 3 speaker lineups. New car might be here sooner than expected.
Got my new car, been listening to the stock sound system for the last couple days.
This is going to sound absolutely crazy, but I think I like the sound of the Accord more than the MLK 165's. The highs are ridiculously smooth, I played several songs pretty loud that would normally give me the onset of fatigueness with the MLK's, and I just felt like I could listen to them forever.
The Accord has tweets installed on the dash facing upward right next to the windshield. Sounds more laid back (less hot/sharp) compared to the MLK165's. Sounds fuller/richer as well. The only things I noticed was that the mids sounded muddy on a few songs at higher volumes, less extension overall, less detail, but the fullness and richness make up for it.
So I may sell the MLK's and go with something else after all, unless using the large chambers would really make a huge difference and give me the mellow/more laid-back sound I love.
Thought I should update this thread...
After only driving the Accord around for a couple weeks, I decided to drive the car with the MLK 165's around for a couple days. I couldn't believe how awesome they sounded again lol. If I had to use one word to describe the difference, it would be fidelity. Instruments in songs are much more pronounced and easier to identify/recognize (better imaging). It almost felt like going from a boom-box in the Accord, to headphones with the MLK 165's. Or going from a tape player to CD player ...hard to describe for me. I even turned down the gain a little more on the tweets and obtained the sweet, laid back sound I like. They are still a little too detailed/revealing for my optimum liking, and I'm sure that's what others love about them, but it almost makes me hear the flaws in a lot of my favorite songs more than just hearing the song as a whole.
Anyways, I've decided I'm going to sell them and try something new/different. Either HAT Clarus, or HAT L3SE and L6 mid, not sure if I can fit the L3SE yet. I also want to try Morels and Dynaudio's in the future, but one step at a time. I'll also be changing out my IDMAX for either a DD 2500 or Arc Audio Black.
I've loved my IDMAX + Hertz MLK 165 setup for the past few years, but I've been itching to mix things up. New car, new equipment, new sound. Thanks everyone.