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8's in your doors

Well, I know there’s gotta be a few more audiophiles out there like myself…or at least a few guys who feel that the biggest and best is just par for them. Well whichever camp you’re in, if you own a 2g DSM, you’re gonna want 8s in your doors. Now this can only be done on certain models. If I remember right, the 95-96 rs's have different door panels that don’t protrude like the gs/gst/gsx/esi/tsi door panels do. And I think the 97+ have the same style for all of em. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this one.

Now let me start this by saying this isn’t designed to by your sub-bass system. These drivers are meant to be mid-bass only, typically 60-200hz. This should be tag-teamed with a set of components in the kick panels crossed over at 200hz and a subwoofer in the trunk playing 60hz and below. Tuning the xover points is your prerogative, these are just general guidelines. Same goes with how you cross them over, weather it be active or passive. If you want my opinion, pm me, I’m not going to get in a signal transfer argument here.

Second is amplifier power. Here’s another one of those grey areas, where a us amps usa100 just might put out a tad bit more power then say, your flea market 50x2 kenford amp would. You want, at minimum, 50w rms per 8” driver, that’s clean power from a nice amp (xtant, precision power, us amps, arc audio, etc…) some people can get by with 25wrms in a well-designed system and not be too hard on the volume knob. But I like to jam every audio system I own, so go big or go home.

If you’re strapped for cash and still want that killer audio system, go on eBay and find equipment that’s a couple years old. The technology really hasn’t changed over the past 5 years or so, some of my equipment is older then that. If you want my advice, pm me. The system in my 99 gsx cost me $650 for everything…some people spend more then that on a freakin cd player…kids these days.

So back to our project, I’m gonna assume you know how to take your door panels off…it’s not rocket science. First thing I did was dynamat my doors. I used dynamat super, dynamat extreme is the newer stuff that is lighter, I’ll be using extreme in the gsx. For those of you worried about the weight the dynamat adds…if you’re worried about that, then why are you putting 8’s in your doors??? Okay, I’m done. I put a layer on the outer door skin, and a layer on each side of the inner door skin, and tried to cover up any holes along the way. Any edges where air can escape should be covered. If there’s a small hole, air will oscillate through it causing a whistling noise that’ll drive you nuts. The goal is try and seal up the door the best you can with the dynamat. You can’t get it perfect, but you can get close. Air is going to sneak out via the top where the window comes in anyway. That’s not a huge deal, don’t fret. Here’s a pic of the dynamited door.
 

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koolade9

Proven Member
66
1
Nov 18, 2003
Schaumburg, Illinois
If you’ve never worked with dynamat before, here’s my advice; get dynamat, the actual brand, it cost a buck or two more per square foot, but it’s worth it. I’ve used the stuff from McMaster Carr, I’ve used rolled roofing, and nothing adheres better, is easier to work with, or gets the job done better then plain 'ol dynamat. Next, get access to a heat gun, a hairdryer just sucks. Use the heatgun to heat up both the surface you’re adhering to, and the dynamat itself, don’t get it too hot though…you’ll learn that one pretty quick. Also, get a roller; the mat is useless if it’s not bonded to the metal properly. The roller ensures that, and it makes the job go a lot quicker. And please…whatever you do, clean the surface you’re dynamatting FIRST. If it’s dirty, the dynamat won’t bond, and it’s worthless…you’re paying like 2-3 bucks a foot for this stuff…do it right the first time.

I also used deflection pads behind each driver. These are an option. I’m a go-big or go home kind of guy, and acoustically, these make sense…but like I said, they’re an option, the dynamatting is not.
 

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koolade9

Proven Member
66
1
Nov 18, 2003
Schaumburg, Illinois
Now the 8s don’t exactly drop right in, but it’s close. You obviously took out the 6 1/2s from the factory and the plastic bezel they were mounted to. And you saw how big that hole was, and thought, man this is gonna be simple…well kind of. Once I got to this point (see pic above), I took my driver (a cdt dvc with stamped basket) and made a baffle for it. Now in this project, I wanted a baffle that would cover as much area as possible, so I cut, filed, and grinded away till I had my baffle. A simpler way would be making just a speaker ring out of ¾ mdf, that’s roughly 1 ½” wide. Enough so that you can cut away as needed around the bottom, and have enough lip around the outside to screw it to the door.

This is where the custom part comes in. Not every basket design has the same dimensions, and mine wouldn’t quite clear the speaker hole in the door. So I took a hammer and banged away at the factory hole till it got big enough for me. I didn’t have to bang it too much, it went pretty easily, and actually added a little strength right there. You’ll have to do a combination of hammering that area, and cutting/filing the baffle to get everything sitting in there solid. Now I’ll be using kicker rmb8s in the gsx, and those have a pretty narrow basket, so I may not have to do any hammering to get those to fit. Check my website and I’ll post a more detailed write up when I do that car.

Once you get the 8 to sit in the baffle and sit against the door panel w/out rubbing anything, use some 1 ¼” wood screws (please pre-drill first) and screw the baffle into the door. Don’t hit any of the wires in that area. Then take some 3m strip caulk or some type of thick sealant and seal the gap between the baffle and the door skin.

Now you’ll have another fun project on your hands… running new speaker wires for the 8s. Pick up a length of 14/2 speaker wire, roughly 40-50’ total to do both doors. Where you route it in the vehicle is up to you. I ran mine right down the center to keep everything symmetric. When you get the wire to each door, you’ll have to get a little dirty. Pull out the rubber grommet hose that’s connected to the door and the car. If you pinch the sides, it’ll snap out. You’ll have to poke and fight a little to get the wires up to that grommet, and then through that tube. But it’s not too bad. It went pretty quick if I remember right. Once you have all your wire pulled through, put the grommet hose back in place and make sure your speaker wires aren’t tying up any other wires running through there and that there’s enough slack not to stress that grommet when the door opens/closes. Use zip-ties to secure the new speaker wire to the factory wiring in the door. Your speaker wire will follow the factory wire route to just below the speaker. This will keep the wire from moving around and potentially getting caught in the window track. Hook it up solid to the driver and mount the 8 in its place. Use a foam-type gasket around the lip of the driver to ensure it’s sealed against the baffle. Your 8s probably came w/a set. If not, your local shop should have something for you. Once you’re done with the first door, the second is a breeze.
 

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koolade9

Proven Member
66
1
Nov 18, 2003
Schaumburg, Illinois
Also, you’ll have to do a little work to the door panel. First you’ll pull off the speaker grill; it’ll get in your way. And cut out the cross hatching that sits behind it. I pretty much cut all the way around the shape of the grill, just leaving about 1cm of edge for the grill to mount back on. (The pic below is to illustrate the door panel. Ignore the enclosure in the door, that’s for an aperiodic setup…that gets a little advanced…we’re just going free-air for this write up.)
 

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koolade9

Proven Member
66
1
Nov 18, 2003
Schaumburg, Illinois
You’ll also have to trim a little off from around the lower part of the door panel behind the grill. This is a trial and error process, of putting the door panel on temporarily with the grill off, and seeing where the baffle/speaker hits the door panel. A dremel or a rotozip are excellent tools for removing the excess plastic in your way. Once you get the door panel to sit nicely against the door w/out rubbing anywhere or bulging out at the bottom, then you’re almost done.

Now, you’re going to do a little more dynamatting on the back side of the door panels, right around where the armrest is, and on the lower part around the pocket. Get a majority of the area on the back side of the door panel. This is the part that can rattle, and rattles are bad, very bad. If you had plans to paint any part of your door panels or re-cover your armrest with something else, do it before you start dynamiting. You don’t wanna be pulling this stuff off later.

Now for some more fun. With the door totally dynamatted, and everything mounted and in place (keep the grill off still), now it’s time to hook it up to the amp (do 1 at a time), and test for any rattles. Lowpass it at around 200-250 depending on the capabilities of your xover. Don’t use a hp filter for now, because we wanna test the low end too. Get yourself a cd that has linear notes, or a sweep that covers all the lower frequencies one at a time (20-200 Hz) db jams is an excellent cd, so is the iasca cd. Play a few sweeps and listen for any rattling or distortion from the woofer and tune as needed. Add volume but don’t distort your driver obviously. And don’t turn on any bass boosters or any crap like that. I call those distortion buttons.

Once you’ve identified and eliminated all your rattles, if any, pull the door panel back off, re-attach your grills, and put it back together. You have now conquered the biggest problem facing car audio…midbass…you should have gobs of it, so much; it’ll be the part of your audio system you’ll actually have to turn down to balance out w/everything else… that’s a good thing. Pm me if you have any questions about doing this project or about your audio system as a whole.
 

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