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What is a good way to improve the sound stage in a car? Where I am coming from is a typical 5.1 surround home theatre system sounds like it has way more depth to it, and different parts of music alternate from speaker to speaker causing the music to sound like it has more 'depth' to it. My current setup consists of MB quart componets in the front and quart coaxials in the rear, powered by 130x2 and 70x2 Alpine amps respectively. The components have the maximum amount of wattage they can handle, but the coaxials could use another 40-50 watts before they would be near the max specs for wattage. Deck is a Pioneer DEH-9300. Sure its loud, but it doesnt have that clear/rich sound of a home stereo and the music sounds flat and dull. I have played with nearly every setting on the deck, and the EQs/etc which improved it alot, but it is still not where I would like it. What kind of equipment can I purchase to improve this? Would an external EQ help out? Putting speakers in the kick panels? Having the EQ professionally tuned as I do not have the equipment to do this properly? Basically I am just looking for a place to go from here to improve the sound quality of my stereo setup. Thanks for any info!
 

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I think the main difference between a home theater system and a cars' is the "surround" aspect. Home stereo's have those dolby digital surround processors or something of the like that process the sound to come out like you described," causing different parts of music to come from different speakers."
I believe it lies in how the music is processed before coming through the speakers.
In the average car HU, i believe the extent of "processing" is music produced from left to right channel(or vice versa), and sound to the sub.
I've seen those "sound processors" for car audio/video to get that surround sound effect but they aren't too cheap.
 

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kick panels are great..but what you are looking for is related to the sound of the room ...I have kicks and it's much better than stock locations..but the space that a room affords you let's you hear the nuances..the spl in a car compresses the sound and it becomes less "distinct"...what you could do to improve the sound is get a time processer and use a mic and an RTA to align all the speakers to the correct time...of course then there would be only one listening postition..the one you set it to..hope this helps
 

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there is another way to improve the soundstage but no one ever seems to want to practice it......
I learned this from Earl Zausmer years ago, he was a Car Audio fanatic and had a few sick systems in his BMW

speaker pods (custom fabricated) in the corners of the dash firing at the listener will improve the sound drastically (but for daily drivers who wants to risk theft?) Earl also had subs in front of the vehicle in small spaces usually free-air

he won alot of contests, but how many of us are competing? lol

USD began the kickpanel fad and I swear by Eric Holdaway for sound quality
you can pick up a set of prefabbed kicks from usdaudio.com for about $150/pr

by the way............... A Pioneer 9300 is not an ordinary head unit, it comes with alot of extras
 

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Looking for a "rich" sound...

Rich: in the acoustical engineering world, it's usually taken as a subjective term that's associated w/a lot of even harmonics that goes along w/"warmth" and other subjective terms. objectively, you're looking at something that has a lot of low end, without dropping out afterwards.

So...I suggest adding a small subwoofer somewhere. Nothing for high volume, but simply for an added freq. response.

Comparing a car to a home 5.1 system is a big difference. First off, the speakers in a home system are completely different...cabinets, ports, etc. In a car, that speaker you mount sounds completely different from one car to another. It's hard to duplicate it...reasonably. But, that doesn't mean it has to sound bad, trust me.

...

And one more thing...the kickpanel enclosures. I know the arguments for them, but I disagree w/them in our cars. As I've stated many times, the sound will come from "below" and...even worse...your legs will work wonders when it comes to blocking higher frequencies. Think physics and wavelengths in particular...then think of reflection and absorption based on that....yep, won't work.

In any case, you want a rich sound...eq and a sub. See how that sounds...you have a great deck already, that shouldn't be a problem. Good luck...
 

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Paul, the 9300 comes with time alignment and built in self aligning RTA.

Now to the topic.

Unfortunately, there are a very, very few cd's available in a surround sound format. Even the ones that do are in dvd format. So first thing you need to do is sell your rear speakers and buy kickpanels with the money you got. You can get them for 125 shipped from www.thezeb.com. You've got plenty of tuning capability with the cd player, so you don't need any more eq's or processors. I'd get some good midbasses for the doors. JL has good ones, but if you're willing...my personal favorite are Adire Audio- Koda 6-1/2's. www.adireaudio.com. Get some 6-3/4 inch, 4 1/2in deep foam baffles and fill them full of polyfil. This set up is giving me tons of midbass. 55hz-250hz. Put your MB Quart midranges in the kicks. Hopefully, they're 5-1/4's so they'll be easy to install. Cross them over from around 200hz-25k hz. Because you have timealinement on your HU, you can get away with putting the tweets in the kicks. Tuned from 25k hz up. Have a sub playing from 60hz down. Low frequencies are omnidirectional, so you can't really tell where they're coming from. Measure from the midrange to the bridge of your ear, and set the timealignment accordingly for the components. Then do the same for the midbasses. (I'd run the midbasses on the rear channel output of the HU) Then adjust the measurements to suit your ears. (Make sure you have your seat position set to left front when doing this. It allows you to select center seat position when you have a passenger and it computes what would sound best for both.)

I'm just partial to this method, because it's one of my tried and true methods for competing.

Stephen right about horns too. Image Dynamics makes really good ones.
 
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