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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
I have decided to upgrade and I have a question. I have ordered a new head unit from Crutchfield. I have also ordered new speakers for the front and rear doors. I know about the issues when you switch from 2ohms to 4ohms. My question is about the factory tweeters. Will it cause issues if I leave them in place? I read that using 2ohms speakers with a aftermarket head unit can cause heating issues. Can I just unplug them?

I did not see any speaker options that would fit in the factory location or I would have replaced them as well. Its not a lack of money issue. I don't really care for the look of tweeters sitting on my dash exposed.
This is really an installation question.
Read part 2 again, I'd suggest true components up front instead of just door speakers.
The OEM dash speakers aren't tweeters, they are 2.75" full range.
Just unplug them if you don't want to use them.
 

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This is really an installation question.
Read part 2 again, I'd suggest true components up front instead of just door speakers.
The OEM dash speakers aren't tweeters, they are 2.75" full range.
Just unplug them if you don't want to use them.
Thanks that is what I needed to know. I will just unplug them and see if I am happy with the sound quality. If not I will look into replacing them. I am not shooting for the absolute best audio quality, just better than what I have. I really wanted apple car play as well.

I did read what you said about spending your money up front. I got the rear door speakers to avoid the ohms issue. If they had speakers that would fit in the factory location on the dash I would have gotten them as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Thanks that is what I needed to know. I will just unplug them and see if I am happy with the sound quality. If not I will look into replacing them. I am not shooting for the absolute best audio quality, just better than what I have. I really wanted apple car play as well.

I did read what you said about spending your money up front. I got the rear door speakers to avoid the ohms issue. If they had speakers that would fit in the factory location on the dash I would have gotten them as well.
Most people aren't shooting for absolute best audio. Just like any other vehicle - upgrading the stock Frontier audio is about choosing the right components to work together with the truck, not simply buying the most expensive equipment and dropping it in.

Crutchfield does sell 2.75" speakers. but if you're going to spend the money on 2 pairs of front speakers, at that point it would make more sense to go with true components (a matched midrange and tweeter with passive crossover) to put in the same place. IMO Upgrading audio is about quality, not quantity. 4 full-range speakers up front will be louder, but a matched component set in the same locations will sound better.

Regarding the ohms topic... it only becomes an "issue" if the person is only partially upgrading (usually budget-related) so they only upgrade 2 front speakers, or they only upgrade the HU, and by doing so they went from a matched OEM system to a combination of 2-ohm and 4-ohm system components. In other words, they literally create the "issue" by trying to get away with a partial upgrade to save on costs.
 

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Late to the party. Drive a 2019 with nissan connect and have upgraded speakers + sub. The only things I'm really missing feature wise is navigation, and possibly xm and video. What I'm more worried about is mic, backup cam, aux etc not working on new unit. Any good recs on sub say $700 receivers (with harnesses etc) that'll meet all the requirements? I know the sound will improve but if I lose other features why go thru all the trouble?
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Late to the party. Drive a 2019 with nissan connect and have upgraded speakers + sub. The only things I'm really missing feature wise is navigation, and possibly xm and video. What I'm more worried about is mic, backup cam, aux etc not working on new unit. Any good recs on sub say $700 receivers (with harnesses etc) that'll meet all the requirements? I know the sound will improve but if I lose other features why go thru all the trouble?
Definitely didn't read the first post, definitely didn't read the first paragraph.
 

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Definitely didn't read the first post, definitely didn't read the first paragraph.
Truly a perfect "stereo" type (see what I did there?) of a TLDR'ER.
I can hear the brain cells popping from over hear.
 
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HI. I just bought a 2010 Nissan Frontier SE that has the original stereo and speakers. I read your post and understand the most important part is the head unit. I would like to install a new improved head unit. Crutchfield told me that the aftermarket head units they have can overheat if used with the OEM speakers in my frontier. Is it ok to replace the head unit now and later replace the speakers as needed? They said my door speakers are 2 ohms and I need 4 ohms to prevent overheating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
HI. I just bought a 2010 Nissan Frontier SE that has the original stereo and speakers. I read your post and understand the most important part is the head unit. I would like to install a new improved head unit. Crutchfield told me that the aftermarket head units they have can overheat if used with the OEM speakers in my frontier. Is it ok to replace the head unit now and later replace the speakers as needed? They said my door speakers are 2 ohms and I need 4 ohms to prevent overheating.
If you constantly play the volume at full blast, it might overheat - but most people don't, so don't worry about it, upgrade your head unit first, you'll be fine.
Plus upgrading the head unit gets you past the most complicated part of a full audio system upgrade in our trucks. Everything afterward (speakers, signal processors, amps, subs) is easier.
 

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To expand on this please...
Will the stock Rockford Fosgate amp have this same heating affect? I looked up the amp and it shows 380 RMS and wondering if can or is it even a good idea to keep the stock amp, but add aftermarket speakers? (I have a 2016 Pro-4X.) Funny thing is....I looked up the cost of that stock RF Amp...and it sells for anywhere between $857USD used to $1200.00USD new!
Thank You in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
To expand on this please...
Will the stock Rockford Fosgate amp have this same heating affect? I looked up the amp and it shows 380 RMS and wondering if can or is it even a good idea to keep the stock amp, but add aftermarket speakers? (I have a 2016 Pro-4X.) Funny thing is....I looked up the cost of that stock RF Amp...and it sells for anywhere between $857USD used to $1200.00USD new!
Thank You in advance!
Many people have upgraded partially before and haven't had any problems.
You might want to make your own thread for this now.
 

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READ THIS BEFORE YOU POST ANYTHING HERE:
If you started reading this to find out what wiring harnesses you need and which adaptors will let you keep your factory USB and steering wheel controls working and so forth… you’re in the wrong place. This series of guides will not cover any specific installation steps, parts lists, or harness guides. This thread is not about what speakers will fit, or what color wire does what.

If you need INSTALLATION SPECIFIC help then
go here and look around first.

This thread you're reading right now is more about why all Nissan Frontier owners who enjoy listening to music in their truck should seriously consider upgrading their OEM audio components. A lot of this guide will be based on my own experiences with my Frontier, as well as leaning on everything I’ve learned and experienced over roughly 25 years of tinkering with all kinds of car audio as one of my hobbies. That also means a lot of this guide is MY OPINION ONLY so keep that in mind; this audio upgrade guide will only reflect my thoughts, explanation, and advice. In the end car audio is as subjective or objective as you want it to be =)

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Intro: Your OEM Nissan stereo sucks.
a.k.a. Prepare to be disappointed.
So... you have a nice Nissan Frontier that you bought brand new (unless you bought it used, or “new to me” whatever you want to call it) and it has a working stereo system. Maybe you have the cool one with the big touch screen. Or better yet, maybe you have the Rockford Fosgate “premium” system with the powered subwoofer under the rear seats. Some of you might even have the newest and final 2nd-gen model years 2018-2019 fresh off the Nissan dealer lot, which came with their latest and greatest Nissan “Connect” infotainment system with factory navigation. So high tech, right? Well when it comes to actual sound quality, guess what?

Your OEM Nissan factory audio system sucks.



Now before some people get mad about what I just said, let’s start with this: if you really, really, really are satisfied with the “audio quality’ of the OEM Nissan Frontier sound system, then you know what? That’s just fine. Stop reading here, and do something else. Just understand that ignorance is bliss, and again - if you believe that the OEM Nissan Frontier sound system has “audio quality” then that’s where your standard is. Stop reading the rest of this, and enjoy your OEM stereo =)

However… if you wondered if you could improve it, or if you tell yourself “it’s good enough” (meaning you’re already trying to convince yourself that it’s fine but deep down inside you know it isn't), or if you want to upgrade to a nice sounding audio system that plays music the way it’s supposed to then guess what? The first thing you have to accept is that:

Your OEM Nissan factory audio system sucks.

This is because not only is the OEM Nissan head unit a really poor performing device when it comes to audio quality, but the way Nissan chose to configure the rest of the stereo system components themselves is annoyingly sub-optimal. To illustrate this point, take a look at the following… illustration:


Shown above is the OEM stereo system + how it is wired for most Nissan Frontiers since 2005. The only exception is that if you have the “premium” Rockford Fosgate system, you may have a wired subwoofer as well. But that doesn’t matter right now – what does matter is how the front speakers on each side are configured.

Ideally, a good sound system setup will have speakers at the height of the listener's ears, at equal distances from the listener on each side, balanced to “project” a listening experience where you feel like you’re listening to a live band on a stage in front of you.

Now take that description and apply it to the OEM Nissan factory stereo setup. If you’ve ever looked at how these components are in your actual truck, you already know 3 easily visible problems:

  • There are small 2.75” speakers in the dashboard up high near ear level… but they are farther than your front door speakers… and they are pointed up to the windshield.
  • There are 6x9” speakers in the front doors… down low… aiming sideways at your ankles.
  • There are a pair of 6.5” speakers behind me in the rear doors… that are actually closer to your ears than the front speakers… and they are aimed directly at each other.
And how about we add a few more problems, one of which wouldn’t know without digging into equipment details and seeing my diagram above:
  • The factory head unit limits high and low frequencies the higher the volume is set… in other words, the more you turn it up, the fewer frequencies you’ll be hearing from the speakers.
  • The front dash and front door speakers are wired in series, somewhere behind the dashboard where you can’t reach the connections.
  • The factory speakers run at a lower resistance than the industry standard to artificially make them sound louder.


And just to make it a complete mess, let’s mention 3 more problems that affect most vehicle sound systems, not just specific to the Nissan Frontier itself:
  • You (the driver) are not listening from dead center – instead, your seating position is all the way forward and over to the left (in relation to the speaker placement).
  • The Frontier isn’t the quietest and most aerodynamic vehicle ever made (it’s a truck), so road noise and wind noise easily enter the cabin and drown out audio frequencies (engine noise too).
  • The cab itself is relatively small (even the Crew Cab version) which means sound can bounce all over the place.
Combine all 9 reasons I gave you above and the conclusion here is:

Your OEM Nissan factory audio system (obviously) sucks.

So how then, can we make it better? Yes, you can. It’s not a lost cause at all. In fact, there’s a lot of things that can be done to improve the audio quality of the Nissan Frontier… it all depends on how picky you are and how far you’re willing to go:

Just as an example, if you look at the current audio system setup I have in my Frontier (shown above), I went way, way down that rabbit hole! However, this is just me and how I do things. It took a while to build my system into what it is now, and I can confidently say that I am very, very happy with how my audio system is equipped, and (more importantly) how it sounds. Also, everyone I've demoed the audio system to compliments the audio quality, the defined sound stage, and the distinct separation of instruments. The voices sound real, the music is crisp, and yet at the same time, I can also shake the people in the car next to me if I crank the subwoofer control knob up.

Now then, to be completely honest - you don’t necessarily need to go as far as I did to get sound that you can truly enjoy, but the process of improving sound is best done when plans are made and steps are taken in the correct and logical order. If this is something intriguing to you, stay tuned :)

In the next part of this series (which is actually Part 1), I’ll explain what the most critical component in any car (truck) audio system is. Hint: where is your brain located?

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If you have any questions or comments about this guide, please feel free to post them in this thread. I will try to answer all of the questions that I can to help you out.

Guide Posts Listed Below
Intro:
This post, you just read it.
Part 1: It All Starts with the Source.
Part 2: Speak(er) the Right Way
Part 3: You Don't Drive From the Back Seat.
Part 4: Dogs Underwater
Part 5: Less is More
Part 6: TBA
etc. TBD

(The full guide can also be read on project:KEIRA.)
When wiring your front components, we’re you able to use your the factory door speaker wires and just run new tweeter wires?
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·


PART 6: More is… Less?
a.k.a. How Adding Weight (in the Form of Sound Deadening Material) Enhances the Audio Experience.

At this point, it’s safe to say that we’ve covered most of the “electronic equipment” portion of the guide in terms of why your source is important, what speaker choices do in terms of expanding the sound you hear, why speaker location matters when improving sound, how subwoofers complete the audio spectrum, and why having ample amplification is ideal. Then one day you’re out on a nice road trip drive, cruising at highway speed, when you turn on your super sweet upgraded audio system and… it doesn’t sound as good as it did in the garage when you were setting everything up. The crispness of the highs, the small details in the music, and the bass doesn’t hit like when you first turned your new audio system on in the garage after getting everything installed. What gives? The answer: vibration.

Shake and Bake
Yes, saying a single word doesn’t tell you much, but here’s some quick and simple science for you: basically, all the sounds you hear (and many you can’t) is simply something that is vibrating and creating waves, whether it’s through a liquid, gas, or solid material. Your vocal cords vibrate when air passes them to make your voice audible; a guitar string vibrates when you pluck it to make sound notes, and a speaker vibrates the air around it to create the music you hear in your truck:

Unfortunately, the same vibrating sound waves your speakers are creating also affects any other solid material in the vicinity that is susceptible to sound waves – like metal or plastic panels… not coincidentally the exact same things that your vehicle cabin is made of. Every material will vibrate at a specific frequency or its “resonant frequency”. To keep it simple, generally larger or thicker materials will resonate (oscillate or vibrate) at low frequencies and smaller or thinner materials will resonate at higher frequencies.

To put this into a real-world example – if your metal door panel has a resonant frequency of say 120-Hz, whenever your music plays something at 120-Hz, that metal door panel will vibrate. Now take that basic idea and extend it to your entire vehicle interior and you’ll see how this can become a problem quickly! Sheet metal door panels, sheet metal roof, sheet metal floor, plastic door skins, plastic trim, plastic interior panels, plastic glove box cover… everything in a vehicle interior is prone to vibrating at certain frequencies, and at different frequencies based on the material properties:


So with all of these things capable of vibrating, how are we supposed to “fix it” so that we can enjoy our music without having to also listen to plastic and metal rattles? Simple: we change their resonant frequency.

Change the Channel
I just told you that every material will vibrate/rattle at a specific frequency. For this discussion, what that actual resonant frequency is will vary depending on way too many factors – material type (Is it metal? Plastic? Aluminum? Steel?), material composition (chemical properties), material thickness, material area, mounting method, vehicle location, proximity to speaker sound waves… and so on and so on. Sure, there are scientific ways to get the actual resonant frequency of every single rattling or vibrating component inside your interior, but only super dorks go that far. For us, all we need to be aware of are two things:
  1. What part of the interior is rattling/vibrating when we play music; and
  2. What method we’ll use to try to eliminate the rattling/unwanted vibration.
But the one thing that is the same here is that to reduce or eliminate rattles/unwanted vibrations, we will have to effectively change the resonant frequency by adding mass. This is where various forms of “sound deadening“ materials come into play.


How “Sound Deadening” Works
Mass makes a difference – and that’s basically how sound deadening materials work. The name “sound deadening” is a little misleading, because it doesn’t really “deaden” any sound. A common misconception is that these sound-deadening materials actually absorb or cancel unwanted frequencies to eliminate rattling/unwanted vibration, but this is incorrect; sound-deadening materials function by changing the mass of an object so that its resonant frequency changes. So understand that the object may still vibrate… but with sound deadening applied, it will now vibrate at a different resonant frequency (ideally a frequency outside those being played by your music). If done correctly you can eliminate any associated rattle/unwanted vibration that was there at its original resonant frequency by applying sound-deadening materials.

The most common way to achieve this is by sticking a material to the offending panel so that the panel gains mass, and thus has its resonant frequency altered. The material commonly used in retail sound deadening materials is some form of butyl rubber. Butyl rubber in the correct composition and thickness has good shock absorption characteristics, is resistant to moisture, and has excellent mass-to-area porperties. When attached to vehicle panels, the added mass of the butyl rubber effectively changes the overall mass of the panel itself.


Advantages to Sound Deadening
If you’ve ever been in a luxury vehicle, you’ll know that they are very quiet, everything feels solid, and road noise is at a minimum. All of that is due to luxury vehicles having a lot of sound-deadening materials and techniques applied. Adding sound-deadening to your vehicle may help reduce or eliminate unwanted interior rattle and vibrations when you’re playing music, but there are also other “side bonuses” that also come with installing sound deadening that you might not immediately realize. One bonus is that it not only keeps your interior panels from vibrating, but it also helps keep outside noise from getting into the cabin; this includes road noise, wind noise, loud vehicles on the road, tire noise on the pavement, and so on. Another bonus is that you get more interior insulation since you added more layers in between you (in the cabin) and the elements (outside weather). The sound deadening slightly helps in keeping the summer heat and the winter chill from getting into the cabin. Finally, just like more expensive luxury vehicles, when you close a door with sound deadening applied, the door will close with more of a luxury vehicle-like thud than a hollow-sounding metal shell.

Lay It Down
If you decide to add sound deadening sheets to your vehicle, be aware that it is very labor-intensive. A lot of interior disassembly will be required since you’ll need access to the most prone places of the vehicle that can vibrate or rattle. For example, if you plan on adding material to the floor panels, you’re most likely in line to have to remove the seats completely, the center console completely, and any other thing bolts to the floor before you can remove the actual carpet liner. Then under the carpet liner there may be electronics or wiring harnesses or air ducts that you also have to remove to gain access to the bare floor of your vehicle. Only at that point can you install your sound deadening… then go through the entire process in reverse to reinstall everything back into the cabin.

The doors are the usual places to start with sound deadening (since they are a series of panels that can easily vibrate with sound), meaning you only have to figure out how to remove the interior door panels. With the interior door panels removed, it’s just a matter of measuring and cutting sound deadening sheets to fit the areas you choose. A general rule is 30% coverage (meaning for each panel you want at least 30% covered with sound deadening material) but some choose complete coverage for maximum sound deadening capability.


How much you use depends on your ability, your budget, and if you already have a rattling issue you’re trying to chase down. Each panel is different, just like each person listens to different types of music with different frequencies at different volume levels. Some people might just need a small 6×6″ piece of sound deadening behind the front door speaker location to keep the outer door panel from rattling, while others might lay down sound deadening on not just the outer metal door panel, but the inner metal door frame as well as the interior door panel to keep the whole door from rattling from heavy bass music. The target areas of the Frontier to consider adding sound deadening material to are (in order of what I think is of importance): door panels (inner and outer), roof panel, back wall panel, floor panels (near the front where the firewall is).

Know the Costs
Another thing to be aware of is that effective sound deadening costs money. For example, to completely cover the inner and outer door panels of my Crew Cab, I needed approx. 30 square feet of Dynamat Extreme, at the cost of about $4.40 per square foot, or $160.00 (2015 pricing). Bear in mind that that just took care of the four doors; I had to buy more Dynamat to cover the rear cabin wall, front driver and passenger footwells, and the underside of the roof panel. An associated "cost" is time - before you even get to install the sound-deadening, you have to disassemble or remove a lot of interior parts. One good thing though about installing sound deadening is that you can partition the job out over multiple days for each separate "area", i.e. one day you can just work on the front doors. The next day you can do the rear doors, or just the roof panel, or just the back wall. The most labor-intensive area would be the floor; to do a complete job you'll have to remove the two front seats, the rear seats, the entire center console, lower door trim panels, and then the molded floor carpet.

What Brands to go With
Whenever anyone asks me what sound deadening should they purchase, I always recommend brand names like Dynamat, Second Skin, or Soundskins. I don’t just recommend them just because they are brand names, but I recommend them because every time I’ve used them they have proven to be effective and worth the cost – with actual numbers to back it up. For example, using a UMIK-1 calibrated audio mic I did a before and after comparison of the sound levels inside my Frontier, and my results were as follows (before is stock, after is after installing Dynamat Extreme):
  • Idle before = 49.7-db / after = 45.5-db (-4.2-db drop)
  • 30mph before = 59-db / after = 55.1-db (-3.9-db drop)
  • 60mph before = 72.7-db / after = 69.1-db (-3.6-db drop)
What do those numbers mean? On paper that shows a noise level drop of 3.9-dB (averaged), which is a significant change. More importantly though, to my ears (and everyone riding in my truck) that 3.9-dB decrease meant sitting inside my truck was noticeably quieter, with less road noise, no rattling panels, and better-sounding music.


Why Brand Names are Typically Better
Of course, there will without a doubt always be someone who will claim that they used some off-brand or other “alternative” material to sound deaden their vehicle that “basically does the same thing” as Dynamat, and that’s perfectly fine – everyone has an opinion. What I find telling though with this topic is that in every case of someone arguing against using a more expensive brand name sound deadening material, 100% of the time these claims always boil down to the real reason why they used something different – and go figure, it’s always because they simply did not want to spend the money. Some will preach that the name brands are all “overpriced marketing” or that they somehow discovered some “secret material” for sale that was meant for a different application but works just as good or even better than brand name sound deadening at (here it is again) a lower price… only to later add in more info like that they had to apply multiple layers of their cheap stuff to get “similar performance” of a single layer of a brand name material (also usually claimed without actual hard numbers to back it). So when it comes down to what brand to use, ultimately it comes down to choosing not just by price but also by actual effectiveness.

Silence is Golden
So that’s it – the benefits of adding sound deadening materials in a sorta-large nutshell. If you decide to go this route, do yourself a favor and do the research. Look at each brand, what they claim, and if they have actual proof/hard data for comparison. Learn how the installation is done, and check if you need any special or helpful tools (like a mini-roller). Plan ahead, and take some measurements of your vehicle to get a good idea of how much material you’ll need; once you start installing sound deadening, it’s such a hassle to have to stop midway through because you ran out of sound deadening! Once you’re done though, you can enjoy better, cleaner sounding audio as well as a tighter, less noisy vehicle!

In Part 7 of this series, we’ll discuss why separation is the best… and the worst. HINT: You know the saying, more parts mean more things can go wrong.
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If you have any questions or comments about this guide, please feel free to post them in this thread. I will try to answer all of the topic-related questions that I can to help you out.

For links to the rest of the guide, see the table of contents by clicking here.
(The full guide can also be read on project:KEIRA.)
 

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I didn't see you get into this in this section, but the question of replacing speaker wires came up in one post. There really is a good reason to go with fine strand, oxygen free copper wiring. It is due to skin effect. The higher the frequency, the more the current sticks closer to the skin of each strand of wire.

A single strand 14 ga wire will have very little surface area for the current to ride on as compared to a multi strand 14 ga wire. The more strands, the more surface area. Very fine stranded wire has a lot of surface area which will be very important for the highest frequencies.

Oxygen free wires are a continuous extrusion of each strand of wire. When extruding wire, you have to stop and "reload" periodically. During this process it is customary to weld the end of the previous strand to the beginning of the new strand to make it continuous. This welding creates gas bubbles which will wreck the purity of the signal. Oxygen free strands are continuous from a single extrusion, no welds.

If you are going high end, do not cheap out on the wiring and do NOT solder the ends of the wires in a clip on terminal. If the terminal is a clip of some kind, the strands should be able to squish out to make maximum contact with the terminal. It is OK to solder the wires onto a solder terminal though, if you know how to solder.
 

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One more thing, you do address the different frequency ranges quite well. I would like to add a little context to that though. Most people think the sub is for the bass drums. The bass drums are not all that low in the frequency range, most in the 100-140 hz range. The beat is a burst of the fundamental frequency plus harmonics.

The instruments that benefit from the sub are low organ tones, the bass guitar, some brass instruments, but not drums. Your low/mid speakers can handle the drums just fine. If you really want to enhance the drums, then you need a sub or a dedicated woofer that can go up to 200 hz. Voices are in the low/mid range and just about all the fundamental frequencies of any instrument are handled by the mid range. Mids also handle the first order odd harmonics of the lower fundamental frequencies and even the third order harmonics of the lower fundamental frequencies.

The tweeters handle harmonics almost exclusively, but it is the harmonics that give the definition of the instrument being played. I.e. the difference in the sound of a sax and a trumpet playing the same note is the balance of the harmonics that each instrument produces.

I used to be anal about my sound systems, but at 72 with 20 years of jet engine noise on the flight deck of various aircraft carriers, the only frequencies above 3k are from tinnitus.

BTW, about that vinyl. It's not the pops and clicks that endeared those LPs to us. There was a big difference between an album that sold at Woolworths for $3.98 and the same album from a high end record shop for $25+. The high dollar album was one of the first pressings from a new mold using only virgin vinyl. When played on a high end turntable using low tracking weight cartridge with an elliptical diamond on a beryllium shaft, the sound was amazing. There are no beryllium shafts made today because the one and only mine where it was found has played out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
When wiring your front components, we’re you able to use your the factory door speaker wires and just run new tweeter wires?
One could, but I didn't because I'm using outboard amps and I have an active setup in the front; since I had external amplifiers to power all 6 main channels (front dash left/front dash right/front door left/front door right/rear door left/rear door right) I ran AudioQuest 14-ga. OFC speaker wire to each location in the dash/doors, so each channel was uninterrupted from amps to speaker terminals.
 

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I didn't see you get into this in this section, but the question of replacing speaker wires came up in one post. There really is a good reason to go with fine strand, oxygen free copper wiring. It is due to skin effect. The higher the frequency, the more the current sticks closer to the skin of each strand of wire.

If you are going high end, do not cheap out on the wiring and do NOT solder the ends of the wires in a clip on terminal. If the terminal is a clip of some kind, the strands should be able to squish out to make maximum contact with the terminal. It is OK to solder the wires onto a solder terminal though, if you know how to solder.
Theoretically this advice is sound, but in actuallity as soon as you take the truck outside your NASA-grade anechoic chamber, the noise of the neighbor's lawnmower or starting your truck engine's going to cancel out any "noticeable" ( dubious ) audible differences. And let's not even mention when you actually start moving down the highway.
I use OFC mostly because it ISNT CCA and can handle more current reliably with consistently high loads. My LED lightbars are run with CCA, my speakers are the OE harness ( currently on OE Rockford Fosgate ICE HU ) and my power wiring from battery fuseblock to subfuseblocks is OFC. Each tool for its purpose and place.

IMHO the biggest incentive for changing out the speaker wires is simply power handling, larger, heavier gauge. Even heavier CCA is going to be an upgrade but for the lengths you'd probably be buying, drop the extra $25.00 to 30.00 and get the OFC, one and done. When I was building my Camaro's system with 3 amps, active analog signal processing and 14 speakers, back in the late 80s, to early 90s, I didnt use any of the factory audio harness at all. I replaced all the speaker wire w/ 16GA except the subs, that got #12. The battery cables were mostly 2GA or 0, factory battery location on the engine battery and an Optima RedTop in the cabin under the rear audio shelf which completely replaced the rear seat area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Due to the nature of the topic (mobile audio), We already know that there will be frequencies lost due to road noise, engine noise, wind noise, external noise, etc. because we're talking about audio inside a vehicle. Sure we could go into cable type and gauge size (or ground positioning or connector types or wire configuration or frequency slopes or alternator outputs... and so on and so on!) but things like that give very marginal gains. These smaller details are things that only are experimented with after someone has a decently tuned, dialed-in audio setup. That's not my purpose with this. I'm not going to get into platinum vs. gold fuses and so forth LOL

Likewise, that doesn't mean doing all of this tuning is worthless, because one of the goals here is to have an audio system inside the vehicle that sounds as good as it can be so that when all of the outside "noise" comes into play, we don't lose as much as we would acoustically when compared to a mediocre OEM audio system that already has a limited frequency output... that also reduces that limited frequency output even more based on volume level - whether you like it or not!
 

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When played on a high end turntable using low tracking weight cartridge with an elliptical diamond on a beryllium shaft, the sound was amazing. There are no beryllium shafts made today because the one and only mine where it was found has played out.
Hmmm, don't know about most of your facts, I'm sure Raine will comment, but I do know your beryllium statement is BS, plenty of it still mined, USA is largest consumer, today's market rate is 857.00 a kilo.
 

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Raine, appreciate all the excellent info. It certainly explains why I have been so annoyed with my truck's oem sound.

I have a 2006 Frontier that needs its OEM head unit and speakers replaced. In reading over all your points, I have a few questions (let me know if I am in the wrong thread for these, but they are directly related to your discussion):
FYI - I plan to follow your advice and dump my rear speakers.

1) Currently, my Frontier does not have dash speakers, so i assume adding them is no big deal, but not sure how they would get added in. Any resources you can point me toward?

2) I think you mentioned buying paired speakers (can't seem to find the spot where you said it) but speakers that are made to be paired together between the door and dash units. Do you have any recommended pairs or resources where I can better evaluate my options? I didn't see anything quite like that in Crutchfield's online configurations system.

Many thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
Raine, appreciate all the excellent info. It certainly explains why I have been so annoyed with my truck's oem sound.

I have a 2006 Frontier that needs its OEM head unit and speakers replaced. In reading over all your points, I have a few questions (let me know if I am in the wrong thread for these, but they are directly related to your discussion):
FYI - I plan to follow your advice and dump my rear speakers.

1) Currently, my Frontier does not have dash speakers, so i assume adding them is no big deal, but not sure how they would get added in. Any resources you can point me toward?

2) I think you mentioned buying paired speakers (can't seem to find the spot where you said it) but speakers that are made to be paired together between the door and dash units. Do you have any recommended pairs or resources where I can better evaluate my options? I didn't see anything quite like that in Crutchfield's online configurations system.

Many thanks in advance.
RE: Dash Speakers
Okay, from your post I'm going to assume you're in the market for a new aftermarket head unit (probably a double-DIN size, with a built-in amp). If you are going to use the built-in amp in the head unit, you will most likely have 4 channels of output -Front left/right, rear left/right. Now, if you plan on dumping the rear speakers and just run the fronts, then 4 channels will work just fine in conjunction with adding new speakers in the dash. You can wire the dash speakers to the new head unit "front" channels, then wire the front door speakers to the head unit "rear" channels and you'll have a good base for a front stage - with a bonus "side effect" being that your head unit 'fader" control can be used to adjust the output level balance between the dash and door speakers.

RE: "Paired" Speakers
I think you mean "Component Speakers." There's a filter for component speaker systems on Crutchfield, I think this link will take you directly there:
Component Speakers at Crutchfield

Since you're swapping out to an aftermarket head unit, then look for the following specs for your front speakers: 6.5" or 6x9" midrange with no deeper than a 3-3/8" mounting depth for the door location, and no larger than 2.75" in diameter for the tweeter in the dash location. Also, look at standard 4-ohm component speaker systems, no need to go 2-ohm since you're ditching the OEM head unit.

(y)
 
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