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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Amp/Sub Install w/ minimal impact to factory equipment & improving factory stereo.

Hi all, I wanted to give you a rundown on my sub install.

My goals: Use as as much of the factory equipment as possible, while keeping as much as I can intact (minus fake exhaust module, which was removed previously). Run as little wire as possible.

Equipment:
LC2i - $60
Wiring, fuses, circuit breaker, terminals - $40-50
Polk MOMO C500.1 - already owned
Polk MOMO MM12 - already owned

Note: This guide is used for the cars with the Sony amp in the back. If you dont have this, or if you have an amp that can accept line in, you will only need to worry about running additional switched power lines for the remote line and/or line converter power (optional). Generally while working on car audio, I start from the front battery, and work my way back. This time around, I went opposite. So Part 1 will cover most of the back half, while Part 2 will cover running power, and tuning the sound (pretty basic stuff). I ran out of time yesterday to finish up, but I will get Part 2 up this week.

So, lets get started. First thing I did was unplugged the factory amp and sub, and detached the factory cables from the Styrofoam channel (pull straight up at tie downs). Next I removed all the accessories stored out there, and unscrewed the factory sub from its mounting plate. Lastly, I pulled up on the styrofoam moldings, and removed (be careful here, I broke one of the interlocking tips between the two pieces with very little force.)

Now that we have a clean slate to work with, we can get to the real work.

  1. Why thank you Ford, what a very convenient ground spot you provided under the sub mount. I took my dremel tool to the area underneath where the and added a washer for some better spacing.
    View attachment 57857
  2. Next, went ahead and added my ground wires for the amp, and the line converter.
    View attachment 57865
  3. Moved over to the bigger molded piece, and lined up where I was going to install my amp, and checked how deeply I need to go.
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  4. NOT PICTURED: I used a serrated steak knife to mark out the corners, a razor to start the corner cutout cleanly, and the steak knife again to saw thru what the razor couldn't reach. The end result was basically this much material lost, and the amp sitting about a half inch below the top edge of the molding.
    R0vghSp.jpg
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  5. Here is the the molding back in the car, with the LC2i velcro strapped in temporarily until I can make a base plate for it so it can sit snug in the hole where the fake exhaust module used to live. You can also see the corner cutouts, and the power and negative wires being conveniently ran through what I believe is a handle hole (again, thanks Ford!). If I put the factory subwoofer back in at this point, it would cover up the corner cut outs completely.
    wG694sB.jpg
  6. Ahhhh, the fun part, cutting factory wires. In the end, I only cut 5 wires (4 to the sub, power to fake exhaust module). The subwoofer wiring feeds into the factory dual voice coil subwoofer, so they conveniently give you two pairs. The pairs are Voilet (+), Yellow (-) for one channel, and Green/Violet (+) and Gray (-) for the second channel. These were connected via two 2' sections of speaker wire to the LC2i Left and Right inputs (seen in background). It doesn't matter which pairs go where, as long as you have polarity and separate channels correct. I left enough wire on the plug side to repair if needed, and attached it back to the factory sub for safekeeping. If you have an amp that has high level inputs, you can wire these directly into there.
    8zWPIRk.jpg

    The second wire I tapped into was the power for the fake exhaust noise module. Since mine is completely removed, I went ahead and just snipped the wire, leaving enough to repair if needed, and ran that directly to the LC2i (Purple/Red, Pin 8 of smaller plug to module). Since it also has remote in, I went ahead and used that same power source since this does not need to have constant 12V for any reason. The LC2i also has remote out, so that was ran with the RCA cables to the amp. The cable is the one by itself on the bottom here (Purple/Red):
    qvYaAHi.jpg
  7. Pretty much ready to install the amp at this point. Power and ground ran underneath, RCAs, line inputs and remote all ran through the convenient wire channels. Granted, I have too long of RCAs, but that's something I can remedy later. NOTE: I have left the blue plug unplugged on purpose here, as it carries power to the amp and I didn't want any juice coming through until everything was connected back here.
    xuq9ZvH.jpg
  8. Connecting the amp. The RCAs only cross the power lines once perpendicularly, and about 4" away from each other. Should be no problems with ground noise (hopefully).
    NvlNlLi.jpg
  9. Getting things cleaned up. Pretty much all finished here with the back half of the car, just have to run the speaker wires to the sub, and the power up to the front (currently in a coil on rear passenger floor). Underneath the foam moldings are some great areas to run cable FYI.
    bkHV7Xd.jpg

I know some of you might be concerned about cooling, but I am not really concerned. I actually have more airflow with this setup than I have had with the same amp in other vehicles. Not only to the sides and top both have airflow, but the bottom does as well, since the amp is technically floating by the corners. Its also VERY secure, much like the factory amp, the it is held in by the tight tolerance between the amp and the styrofoam.

All and all, 5 wire connectors and a couple nuts, and you can potentially have this back together as stock in an hour or so.

Part 2 should be done here shortly, maybe this afternoon if it isn't raining. That will involve running power to the battery, which looks to be pretty easy. Also need to install the sub box, and secure it (super important). I will cover both, as well as some extra info that may benefit some of you when I have a moment. You can plug back in the blue plug again at this point, as there is no real power to the amp, and you can still listen to the stereo if need be if you are doing this in multiple parts. This will come into play later as well. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The rain decided to keep falling, and I am no longer writing posts on company time (it's good to be IT), so will take a brief intermission to talk about stock audio components and what can be done to improve them.

Warning: The following isn't an end all anything, a "this is the right way" or anything close to that. I am just a huge audiophile, gadget/techy geek, with a modify everything approach to life. So my phones and computers are just as customized and modded as my cars. Why not share what i have learned and used. I have worked in the car audio industry for a few years as well 20 years of IT (damn, has it been 20 years...). If this helps someone, cool, if not, maybe it will make you laugh.

I have two personal philosophies for using stock stereos and speakers and getting the best possible sound, and it is pretty simple: Adjust at both ends, and leave the middle alone. Starting with one end, the source, which goes to the middle, the stock speakers and stereo, and then the other end, adding subwoofers. My other philosophy is that any speaker (car/home/otherwise), if not blown and/or complete garbage, with enough tweaking, can be made to sound pretty good... or considerably better than before. Besides, these speakers are not terrible after they break in a bit. I have found you can extract some incredible sound out of stock components by following this idea, and I'll explain each.

First off, the source. You have a few options for higher quality sound: CD, USB stick, and your phone. HD Radio and SiriusXM do NOT make the cut IMHO. So the truest of options is the device with likely the best sound processor, your phone. It is unfortunately limited to Bluetooth connection at this point, but at some point, USB connections will be available (carplay/android auto), and that will be the best way to connect for both Apple and Android for the best possible sound. I actually miss my my headphone jack... but let's go with what we can work with. I feel its reached a point where its not REALLY an issue anymore as far as quality of BT audio goes, but will still use the USB when available. If you are dedicated to your CD or MP3 collection, kudos to you. Not going to be able to help you much, but maybe. I would like to guide you to the future though as both your old mp3 collection and cd collection can both be easily uploaded for free to Google Music (50,000 songs for free). I uploaded my entire MP3 collection, which was ~40gb or so, and it used like 30 of the 50k. Though, I barely touch them because of an app mentioned in the next paragraph.

So you have an iPhone or an Android connected, so we want to have the best possible source for our music. That means your content should be above 128kbps (CD quality). Luckily, there is an app that is on both that allows you to choose what quality you download/stream music at: Spotify. We are going to use that as our example cuz there are a million different apps out there and this is already going to be long as hell. Spotify's normal mode is 96kbps for audio quality. While this might be ok for walking around streaming, this won't do for when you are trying to get the most out of your music out of your vehicle, its like trying to enhance a lowres picture. Unless you are CSI:LV, it ain't happening. On the other side, Extreme is 320kbps, and that likely is overkill for a BT connection (and your phone's storage). High is 160kbps, and perfectly fits the bill here. If possible, use offline storage for your media. This one is just as important as choosing the higher quality stream, IMHO. Playing content from local storage > streaming the same content every time. Also, device to device, some might sound better at this point than others. I have found that iPhones usually have better sound processors stock for stock, and android's can vary, but most modern phones will perform well here. Android will surpass the iPhone in the next step, but we will get to that. At this point, we have a great quality source being brought into our stereos, so we can check off that off as being a bad possible source of sound.

OK, you may be rolling your eyes at this point, and saying "ugh, duh pdxgeek, I already know all this. I can get the same thing out of a CD or USB drive or my phone!" You are right. You absolutely can. BUT. You are stuck with the same middle. The middle with just 3 points of adjustment. Treble/Mid/Bass. Ah yes, the pinnacle of music tuning, 3 settings that will adjust a certain ranges of the audio spectrum. Only barely surpassing "HIGH/LOW".... Not only this, but its doing it on whats likely the worst part of the whole chain of equipment: the factory stereo. So what do we do? We leave it alone/zero the hell out. That's right. Leave all three sliders right in the middle. This means that the audio is basically untouched through the factory stereo, and comes out relatively unscathed by the factory stereo's processors.

"Ugh, really? It totally sounds so flat and meh." Yep, right again. So if we can't change the middle, what do we change? We change things at the source. We are using Spotify as the example here, and both the IOS and Android versions have a built-in EQ in Spotify. Here is where the iPhone gets left behind, and the REAL fun begins. On the iPhone, you can make your EQ changes in Spotify, or in the Music app, but its not system wide, and its very much done at the software level. Still much better than the factory EQ 3 way (giggity). In Android, you can forgo the software EQ in applications, and do it on the system level. Your phone might have a built in EQ (HTC, some samsung/LG/Motorolas). You can install any number of EQs from the Play Store like PowerAmp, or if you are rooted, Viper4Android is by far the best. This is where you adjust the sound, and start getting sound out of your speakers you never knew you could get with the factory.

Here is a screen shot of Viper4Android FX:
View attachment 58113

There is so much more than the EQ built in here. Different types of enhancements, corrections, boosts, etc are built in to this.

DONT TOUCH THAT DIAL YET. If you are running aftermarket subwoofers, disconnect the amp or sub before adjusting your sound. If you are running the factory sub and just trying to tune your system, you can leave it plugged in. The reason for this is we want to tune these speakers WITHOUT the extra bass, because we won't necessarily be able to hear how everything sounds once the subwoofer is added to the mix. It will definitely overpower some ranges of the other speakers.

"Ok, fine, adjust the sound on my phone, easy enough." Yes, easy enough.... unless you have been blasting music into your ears and/or you unknowingly are deaf to distortion. Holy hell is this common. You don't know how many times someone has bragged about their setup, or I have hopped into a friends car, and their stereo is distorting and they have NO FRIGGIN CLUE. Either they don't hear it, or they think that's how its supposed to sound. Distort it enough and the speaker gets blown. When did bass turned up to 11 on stock speakers ever sound good? Or maybe I am super sensitive to it, but I can spot distortion in a heartbeat. Bring a friend who is NOT a basshead with you. My friend didn't realize how deaf he had made himself until I rode with a buddy. Not only was he missing distortion, but his stereo was at ear splitting levels, and he didn't think it was that loud. I was able to tune the setup to work at that same volume without distortion, which made it sound much better to both of us, but advised the buddy to get his ears checked out. Have the friend be honest about what they are hearing. Its also better to do this with the car running, and make changes at the light/have a passenger do it. You will listen to the stereo at louder volumes with the car running/with windows rolled down/etc. If it doesn't distort at those levels, it wont do it at lower volume levels. Settings set with the car off might distort at higher volumes. Its important to remember what these speakers are for: mid and high ranges, do not try and squeeze bass out of these during this process. Your goal is tight highs, clear mids, and just the slightest midbass. You want clarity here (hear?). Listen to a wide variety of music for testing. Have your friend give their opinion of changes. Rock songs should have a nice punch to them, but rap/r&b/electronic/club/etc will sound pretty underwhelming, at least bass wise... which brings us to our last part, the other end, the subwoofer.

Ah yes, the subwoofer. The region of boom. So you got this far, and your speakers sound great, and now you ready to add some bumps in the trunk. First, if you have never done this before, I will go over some basics. Start with the gain all the way down. Two things are not your friend: Gain and bass boost but you may have to use both. The more you use either, the greater the chance of distortion. Set your cross over to 80-120, depending on what type of music you listen to, and what type of box you are running. Ported boxes tend to be more boom (think 99% of rap songs), sealed boxes tend to be more punchy (think One by Metallica). There is a lot cross over there, but rock music will tend to be more muddy sounding on ported boxes, and rap music will tend to lose some lower frequency bass notes on sealed boxes. Speaker size plays a part too. An 8" sub is usually in its element at 150hz, while a 15" sub might prefer a 60-80hz note. This all oversimplifying things, but whatever, this is already a novel.

Again, test with car running, because the amp will get ~14v vs 12v (which is what the RMS is rated at), and also for the reasons I mentioned above. With the gain all the way down, turn the volume up to around your maximum listening comfort, with no distortion on your stock speakers. You should have a good idea where this is from the testing you did earlier. Turn it up until you think it sounds BALANCED with your other speakers. You will know its balanced when you can't really tell where the bass is coming from, and the volume is right around where your other speakers are. You can adjust the bass boost at this point if that improves the sound. You may need to tweak your cross over a lil bit up or down depending on preference. Make a note of where the gain and other dials are at, and slowly turn the gain up a 1/4 of the way between that point and max gain. If it starts distorting or the amp starts clipping, turn is back down until it stops. Find some more songs to test, repeating if you get distorting. If its too loud, turn it down to a point where its comfortable for you. You can add bass boost as needed, but this will bring on distortion or amp clipping as well eventually. Remember, you are listening to MUSIC, not just bass. Don't overpower your other speakers. Keep tweaking until you reach the point where either you start distorting, or you start to effect your car's power (lights dim with bass). If it does either, turn it down until it doesn't, and make a note of where the gain is. Now set your gain between those two points where it sounds best to you. This is not usually a one time session. It can take me a week or two to get things dialed in completely. I will think I have everything where I want it, and then come across a song that will require some slight adjustment on either the crossover point or the gain or the bass boost.

This ended up being longer than I thought it would be. I will finish this up with these last few thoughts about safety...

Ear safety: Protect your ears. Seriously. You only get two, and as much as I love music at body shattering volumes, its not great for your ears. Keep the volume moderate, take breaks, etc. Standard parent/old person advise here (LOL, I'm 35 and childless).

Vehicle Safety: Bolt or strap down your subwoofers. Hell add straps to anything heavy in your trunk area. Anything unsecured in the hatch will come flying forward in an accident. Anything with significant weight will have serious momentum. Don't believe me? My little sister was paralyzed at age 8 in an auto accident, in a sedan (not even a hatch). They were rear ended, and there was a full cooler in the trunk. It came flying through the seat with enough force to break her neck, and ultimately, after 10 years on a breathing machine, she passed away. A sub box has more weight usually than that. In this case, something is better than nothing.
 

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To late - I'm 39 and I always get the "speech" after my audiograms about how hearing aids are inevitable for me as my hearing loss continues. Meh - YOLO? Is that still a thing?
 

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Nicely done!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I know, I know! I ran out of time after this due to rain, 2 major work projects, and a puppy who injured her paw which required an emergency vet visit. :( Now the car is getting paint protection coating and film done, so it will likely be a few days before finish the install.

I do have more information for you all though.

CN: The sony speakers arent bad... in fact, they are pretty good.

As there has been a period of time without the subwoofer (stock or otherwise) installed, this is the perfect time to do the stock speaker tuning I mentioned in the last post I made.

However, lets first talk about some automation to make your life easier. Again, since we are going for the most options, this post will be about Android. Sorry iPhone users. So when we get in the car, and the bluetooth connects to our phone, we have to turn the volume up, unless you walk around with your media volume jacked up full time. A minor annoyance, but annoying all the same. You want the Bluetooth volume at full volume, as this cannot "clip" like a headphone jack or the phone speaker at max volume, and you do not want to use your stereo volume to compensate for a lower bluetooth volume, for reasons explained above.

To automate this, I use an app called "Tasker", which can use flags/conditions/states/etc as triggers for actions. So when I get in the car and connect to Sync, my phone will automatically set the media volume to max, my screen timeout to 15 minutes vs 2 minutes, and a number of other settings I prefer while travelling in the vehicle (turning down notifications, turn off wifi, etc).

Now, at least we know when we get in the car and start "tuning", we are using correct settings on the phone every time, though it doesnt hurt to check the volume now and again.

Here is the EQ application I am using, Viper4Android. This is by far the best one, as it interacts with Android's sound on the system level, versus interacting with it on the OS/Software level. Look at all those options... :D
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Before we touch the EQ, I first go these two different settings and enable them on the lowest setting.
from XDA said:
★ ViPER Fidelity Control ★
★ ViPER Bass ★
With different bass modes, you can have greater bass experience than before!
★ ViPER Clarity ★
With the latest Clarity mode selection, you can balance up heavy bass with high clarity audio that you can never imagine before!
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You have a few different choices here for these filters (Natural/Natural Bass, Ozone+/Pure Bass+, xHiFi/Subwoofer). I use natural, on both, and leave them both on the LOWEST possible setting. There really is no need to turn these up beyond that first setting with what we are working on. And I know, I railed against BassBoost in the previous post, but the Viper Boost setting is pretty good, but we wont touch it again until the subwoofer is installed.

Now that we have those two settings set, we can get to EQing. Here is the rough draft of the 10 band EQ so far. Its a work in progress, but I will explain my findings below.
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With everything flat (stock eq and viper eq), and with the filters turned off: Music is flat, sounds dull, and generally meh. Some music will clip the stock speakers (Both mids and highs) at the 20-22 volume we are shooting for.
With everything flat (stock eq and viper eq), and with the filters turned on: Music clarity is dramatically improved, but weaknesses are brought forward, and now ready to correct with the EQ. The clipping is still present, but is a lil more obvious, which makes it easier to tune out.

The mids in the car are REALLY the surprise of all this. They have good range, excellent punch in the 100-250 range, and even some performance lower than 100, though not much. The issue is that its TOO much punch from the factory, even zero'd out. I see people turning up the bass to make up for the stock subwoofer, but then complaining about clipping/distortion. I am not surprised by this at all. So I turned down the sub-100 bands, and decreased 125 and 250 a hair, so that no song tested would clip in those volume ranges. Even with this turned down, the sound coming out of the mids are still very good. Don't worry too much about the decreased lower bands, these will be improved by the ViperBass setting once the subwoofer is installed, as well as the amplifier itself.

The highs were especially interesting. These I found to be generally too harsh and tinny at the higher ranges of the EQ. I ended up lowering the higher ranges quite a bit.

Where the stock system really falters is in the mid range. Which is really the important part for most music. Deep bass and crisp highs are nice, but if its all muddy in the middle, whats the point. You can see that i have had to add a good amount of correction to the middle.

Now, you might ask, "well, you turned on those filters, that's bound to effect something." And good observation, you are absolutely correct, the EQ settings are different with the Clarity filter turned off. I usually try both off and on, and did so even for the RS. The reason I say turn it on is because no matter how you EQ it, it will always sound better with that turned on, and the EQ work needed to correct it with it off is FAR more difficult and time consuming, and the changes you have to make are far more dramatic. Like I said, this is still a work in progress. I test A LOT of different songs from different genres and eras. DO NOT USE MUSIC BEFORE THE mid 90s as tuning (adjusting) music, but its ok for testing (listening). The reason for this is that the volume level (db) music was recorded/published at was lower before that time. So modern music is a bit better to test with, unless its been remastered.

So the next part will be finishing the power install to the front, and tuning the sub. Hopefully will get to that... soon. :D

Edit: Protip, if you are rooted and have viper4android installed, you notice how it has settings for the phone speaker? Turn the bass down for your speaker, and you can usually got full volume on your phone without having to worry about blowing it.
 

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The stock speakers are definitely improving with time. That stock sub is just a paperweight though. I look forward to seeing the finish of your project!
 

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Sub is not installed yet, wasn't going to bother until I finished the rest, and get my strap points figured out. Its also the simplest part of the install. That part is coming. :)
Are you doing a sealed (or ported) custom box under the carpet and replacing the foam on the right side or something in the trunk area?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Are you doing a sealed (or ported) custom box under the carpet and replacing the foam on the right side or something in the trunk area?
Something in the hatch/trunk area. I semi-frequently need to load up the car, and like the ability to just unplug/unstrap the sub and put it garage temporarily.
 

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The stock speakers really are pretty bad, you just get used to it the longer you drive it. I had finally had enough and a buddy hooked me up with some Morel Tempo Ultra's, I threw them in without an amp and it was ridiculous the change in sound quality just from changing speakers. The stock speakers, to get any kind of bass out of them you need to crank the bass right up, with the Morel's I tuned it back to the "normal" bass setting and it they had more bass than the stock junk. Of course I won't be running them long without an amp, just waiting to get the one I want for my setup in as they had to recall a bunch.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The stock speakers really are pretty bad, you just get used to it the longer you drive it. I had finally had enough and a buddy hooked me up with some Morel Tempo Ultra's, I threw them in without an amp and it was ridiculous the change in sound quality just from changing speakers. The stock speakers, to get any kind of bass out of them you need to crank the bass right up, with the Morel's I tuned it back to the "normal" bass setting and it they had more bass than the stock junk. Of course I won't be running them long without an amp, just waiting to get the one I want for my setup in as they had to recall a bunch.
We will have to agree to disagree. I have turned DOWN the bass and still getting great sound out of my speakers, and plenty of bass where I want it without distortion. Its not the speakers that are bad, its the stock head units 3 way EQ that sucks. Zeroing it out, and using the EQ has made a night and day difference. You may have improved it with new speakers, but the underlying issue is the HU, not the amp or speakers, IMHO.

Did you install load resistors on the channel(s) you fed into the LC2i? If not, prepare for tweeter meltdown.

Why would I need to add in resistors "and prepare for tweeter meltdown" when I used the pair of channels going to the sub as my inputs for my LC2i? I have been running it this way for 3 weeks, my tweeters are not "melting down" in anyway, and other than the EQ changes I have made, sound the exact same as before... So you are going to have to explain that to me, considering an LC2i can take 2ohm inputs just fine and up to 400w, and the channels going to the sub are each 2.3ohm outputs and way less wattage than that. Not only that, but the 10 speaker sony amp runs 9 independent channels with 2 dedicated just to the DVC sub, so the tweeters and sub are not even running off the same channels.
 

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We will have to agree to disagree. I have turned DOWN the bass and still getting great sound out of my speakers, and plenty of bass where I want it without distortion. Its not the speakers that are bad, its the stock head units 3 way EQ that sucks. Zeroing it out, and using the EQ has made a night and day difference. You may have improved it with new speakers, but the underlying issue is the HU, not the amp or speakers, IMHO.




Why would I need to add in resistors "and prepare for tweeter meltdown" when I used the pair of channels going to the sub as my inputs for my LC2i? I have been running it this way for 3 weeks, my tweeters are not "melting down" in anyway, and other than the EQ changes I have made, sound the exact same as before... So you are going to have to explain that to me, considering an LC2i can take 2ohm inputs just fine and up to 400w, and the channels going to the sub are each 2.3ohm outputs and way less wattage than that. Not only that, but the 10 speaker sony amp runs 9 independent channels with 2 dedicated just to the DVC sub, so the tweeters and sub are not even running off the same channels.
Call Audiocontrol or read the manual that comes with any LC2i (I run a DQ61). These units don't provide resistive load and if you don't use load resistors on the channel you're feeding the LC2i, it will blow the output filters on the amps. Maybe not today, maybe not next week, but it WILL blow.

Don't take my word for it.. Do your line converters put a resistor load on the speaker outputs of my factory amp? - AudioControl

The stock drivers are VERY poor quality. The headunit is absolutely not the culprit in this system, I have my stock HU + Sony amp feeding front mid+tweet (summed) and subwoofer to a DQ61 that's feeding a PDX 1.1000 and PDX 4.150 amplifiers. These feed OG MB Quart (German) Reference components and a JBL W12GTI 12" sub. Stock head unit is gravy.
 

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Something in the hatch/trunk area. I semi-frequently need to load up the car, and like the ability to just unplug/unstrap the sub and put it garage temporarily.
I get my RS next month! I have a JL, D class alpine amp and focals to replace the Sony speakers. Once it's set we should meetup you're 10min away from me! :D would be interesting to see the different setups
 

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Something in the hatch/trunk area. I semi-frequently need to load up the car, and like the ability to just unplug/unstrap the sub and put it garage temporarily.
I would like to do something similar but I am ignorant when it comes to car stereos / speakers / wiring, the good news is that I'm pretty handy. I just want to replace the stock sub and maybe the front door speakers/tweeters.
For just the sub, basically I will need the sub and the LC2i audio control and amp?
Could someone explain this to a dummy like me or should I just buy everything and have a professional shop do it? What would the labor cost be?

Here is the best explanation that I could find, pages 22-24

http://www.focusst.org/forum/focus-st-electronics/28810-must-read-if-you-upgrade-you-2014-s-stereo-avoid-damage-24.html
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I promise I haven't forgotten about this project, but unfortunately, life sometimes finds a way to suck up all your time. The past 3-4 weeks has been extremely busy for me. Between a giant storm that lasted about a week, a crop to harvest (Oregon rules! ;) *cough cough*), and a ton of work and home projects, I have yet to find a chunk of time to dedicate to this. My garage has unfortunately been out of commission during the last month, so that made it hard as well. I should be getting my garage back next week though, and will finish the install then. :)


In response to the resistor post:
I appreciate you passing on the link, and sorry if I seemed a bit short in my post. The issues with using the F/R speakers as inputs makes sense, because of how they are configured. However, I have seen no evidence that says that this needs to be done on the sub channel, other than the OP stating "better safe than sorry."

Here are a few things I have in response:

  • If anyone removes the factory sub for a track day or in general, and the above is true, that means they are running the risk of their speakers/amps smoking while its removed. I have seen a number of people who have removed the factory sub only, and no one has had this complaint yet. You would think that if removing the factory sub would potentially cause massive damage to the rest of your speakers and your amp, that Ford would put a warning somewhere.
  • I have noticed no hot tweeters or amp during this time. No buzzing, no hum that the people in that thread had, and to my knowledge no one who has removed their subwoofer only has had these issues.
  • Everyone who had issues in that thread were using the front/rear outputs as their inputs into their LOC, I saw no one with with issues running off the sub output, other than someone who had issues AFTER they added resistors just to be safe.
  • Not sure if related, but consider this: The F/R/C channels are all connected together on some level to allow for control of fade/balance. The center channel is created off the front channels, IIRC. The sub channel sits all by itself basically. It's volume is controlled by the amp, but other than that, it has no other dependencies on the rest of the speakers. The power and ohm output is completely different for the Sub channel vs the other channels. There is no passive crossover, and the outputs are ~2ohm, vs 4ohm like the door speakers.
That said, I am going to continue to monitor this. I have a remote temperature sensor I can throw on the amp, and see if its heating up abnormally that I am not noticing.
 

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Following with great interest as I love my ST3 sounds system and apparently the RS doesn't touch the ST3. So, once my RS shows up, it will be in need of some upgrading.
 
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