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Discussion Starter #1
Before I begin, if the moderator of this area objects to me posting so many pictures please let me know.

I thought it would be neat to document my audio system upgrades. I challenged myself to do a complete overhaul for less than $700.00. I think I can do it. I will post pictures as I go along. I am am open to comments, questions or critisizm.

I dont really hate the Bose system. I, as many other members have voiced their dissatisfaction with the low and high end in the Bose setup. I dont think it is the result of the head unit. I rather believe it is a result of the amp and speaker setup. I happen to like the head unit. From my tests I have concluded that the full spectrum of sound is reproduced by the head unit faithfully. Something gets lost after it leaves the head unit though. So it is my objective to re-engineer this to my own standards.

Day 1: Out with the Bose subwoofer. Simple enough. I got a great deal on some subs from a vendor on ebay. They are 12" Bazooka raw woofers. They have decent power handling capacity and can be WATER cooled if I wish to extend their power handling capabilities. I dont think I am going to enter any SPL contetsts though so the water cooling may be overkill (not the case for the amps though..see details later) The subs were @ $43.00 each. Kinda low priced but I know others who swear by these puppys for their price/value. I had all the specs for these speakers even before I recieved them. I was able to do the neceassry calculations to make a proper speaker box using a bunch of calculators that are available on the net. I made the decision to go with a sealed enclosure for my setup. I did this because I did not want to give up my storage space. In a sealed enclosure my cabinet would require .93 cubic feet per chamber. With a ported enclosure that figure more than doubled to 2 cubic feet per chamber or a total of 4 cu. ft. I concluded that the smaller box, although slighly less efficient would be just what I needed. Off to Home Depot. Bought a sheet of 3/4" MDF @ $20.00. Bought liquid nails and another Marine adhesive to seal all seams air tight @ $12.00. Bought some really nice speaker carpet in China Town to compliment the black carpet in the cargo area @ $11.99 Whipped out some power tools and got to work. See photos









Notice that I shaped the cabinet to follow the contour of the rear seats to maximize space.

Also for those wondering. The side panels are recessed to accept another carpet covered panel and it will be flushed out when done.

I used liquid nails adhesive to glue all pieces together. I used 2 1/2" coarse sheet rock screws to screws boards together. All holes were pre-drilled and counter sunk.

Here is where I sealed all seams with a really tough marine adhesive. I used a dark color so I could see it well.

 

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Discussion Starter #2
DAY 2 DAY 2

Today I started to cover the cabinet. I used some 3M spray adhesive and a razor to get it done. Here are some photos.






Each speaker is basically sitting in its own chamber and is sealed/ isolated from the other.

I used a single heavy duty Microphone XLR jack for connections to the amp. This allows me to quickly remove the cabinet to utilize the cargo area. Both speakers are run parallel and only require one connection to a bridged amp.

Here is the finished product. For less than $120.00 I have completed a custom box that is air tight and for a fact is better than any cheap store bought cabinet. Also it was engineered specifically with the specifications of my woofers in mind. Store bought cabinets use average numbers and you have to play a guessing game most of the time to get the best performance.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
DAY 3 DAY 3

Now that I finally got the box done I will start with my amps.

I dont like the the look of opening a hatch and seeing massive amps and speaker cabinets. I prefer the more stealthy approach. The sub-box is obviously to big to hide but the amps, as far as I am concerned, should be out of sight. I got a really good deal on some (3) Bazooka amps. They are basically 150 watts each. They are stable down to 1 ohm so you could see output power reaching 600-750 watts depending on how you configure them. I have 3. One for the front speakers, one for the rear speakers, and one that will be bridged for the subs. I know you are asking "Why do you need such a large amp for the front speakers?" The reason is purely economics. Since I bought three amps I was able to get them for $80.00 each. It is cheaper for me to have three similar amps and it looks better and is easier to install. The amps can be WATER cooled. This is a feature I will be using as these amps will be hidden in the spare tire compartment with little ventilation. Anyone interested in how this works can visit Bazooka.com to see the C.H.I.L. enabled RS series amps and speakers. The attached photos show the three amps (two with end caps removed). They are attched to the bottom of the cargo cover. They basically will be hanging upside down and over the spare tire. There is enough clearance between the spare tire to accomodate the amps. Notice that I used steel L-iron to stiffen the cargo cover. The L-iron is attached thru the cargo cover with 4 flat furniture type (like you get with IKEA furniture) screws that are barely visible from the top. The amps are in turn riveted to the L-iron.







Wiring will be next.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
DAY 4 DAY 4

Today I received my amp harness. You definately need some type of interface if you are trying to put amps in a Murano. The lines to the amp are balanced and not your typical line level RCA type setup. You need a way to convert them to line level RCA and from what I understand this device will do that. I give credit to Dookie for finding this. I dont know if it works yet but I will post results. Initially I tried to buy this thing on-line from some rip-off place and they quoted me over $100.00 for it. I was then tempted to make my own harness from op-amps and such but got discouraged really quickly when I learned how much it would cost to make a quality interface not to mention the amount of time and the possibility of my harness generating noise, etc. I picked this kit up for $47.00 at Audio Warehouse in New Jersey (audiow.com). No wires to cut and it includes a nice amp trigger wire. So out will come the little Bose amplifier tommorrow.

 

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Thats a very nice box you made. Good design by keeping the end caps inside the front and rear walls, which makes it strong. I used liquid nails when I made my box in my other car as well. I like the bazooka subs, I think a friend of mine has them in his S-10. I'll go check tomorrow, but if he does, you will be pleasantly surprised. Nice Master P series amps you have too!:2:
 

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SHIFT_FASTER
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Nice work so far. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Water cooled stereo equipment. :1: Now there's something I hadn't though of.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
DAY 5 DAY 5

I got home from work late today. Couldn't really accomplish much. I did take on the task of installing the PAC audio interface today ( see pictures from previous day ). Let me begin by saying thank God for companies like PAC. The nightmare of cutting into the factory wire harness is no laughing matter. Cutting up the wiring makes it really difficult to de-install a system if you want to sell the car in the future. This device cannot be any simpler. It just sandwiches itself between the head unit and the factory amp. In fact you can even completely remove the factory amp if you so desire and you don't have to cut a single wire. In my setup I will remove the factory amp and put it in storage.

There was one disappointing aspect to this device though. As most of you know the factory amp is under the passenger side rear seat. All power, trigger and balanced signal lines run back there in a nice little bundle. There are two plug jacks at the amp. I imagine one is the power plug and the other signal and speaker plug. I was under the impression that the PAC device would sandwhich itself between the head unit and the factory amp at the plug jack located in the rear of the vehicle. It turns out that the device is designed to be inserted right behind the head unit. The plugs are different on the factory amp side. This was sort of a bummer because now I had to dismantle the dash to get to the back of the radio. So now I have to run the trigger wire back again but I also have to run two 20 ft. stereo RCA cables to the back of the vehicle. This in essence defeats the whole purpose of the vehicle having balanced lines to begin with. I think the device would have been better engineered by picking up all the signals form the already existing wiring at the back of the vehicle. I guess its another trip to the store to get long RCA's. My only fear is the RCA's are gonna pick up engine noise. I got my fingers crossed. I saw 4 isolation transformers in the PAC unit. Maybe that will help lower any engine noise threats or ground loops generated on the head unit side.
 

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Gen,

I thought the RCA cables would pick up engine noise too, but to my surprise, they didnt. Before I decided to buy the PAC unit, someone sent me a "trial" line converter that plugged into the harness near the amp--I received some pretty noticeable engine noise from this though, mostly because it didnt have the circuit card like the PAC unit does. I used a 4-channel twisted pair interconnect to run to the back and I have absolutely zero engine noise. If you haven't figured out how to take the radio out, it's really easy.
1) Pop off center vents just above radio. (All clips)
2) Unscrew 2 screws behind this.
3) Pop off trim below radio. (Two pieces where the little accent light is.)
4) Take off one screw on each side of the radio. (Some may have two on each side though, you'll need to look.)
5)Radio should slide out.

I think this is right. Can someone confirm. It has been a while since I did it. I ended up running my PAC unit just above the front Cig. lighter because I can pull the lighter out of the dash and the unit can pop down through it in case I need to make any adjustments without ripping the radio out again.

Hope this helps!

Good luck!

Dustin
 

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Nicely done!:4:
 

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NO-MO-SNOW
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I ordered my PAC kit yesterday. I should have read this entire thread first...I was under the impression that it went in the rear of the vehicle too. Oh well. I dont mind a little bit of work, all I do know is that I want to get rid of the Bose Sub and put in my own amp and Sub. Can't wait to begin!

Where did you run the wires to go back to the rear of the vehicle? Has anyone put the sub in the spare tire well? Pics? Pics? Pics!
 

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coooool

My band pass cabnet is shaped exactly like the one you made.
Excellent detail and craftmanship.
Can't wait to see the completion!
:)
 

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SHIFT_FASTER
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Re: DAY 5 DAY 5

generator said:
There was one disappointing aspect to this device though. As most of you know the factory amp is under the passenger side rear seat. All power, trigger and balanced signal lines run back there in a nice little bundle. There are two plug jacks at the amp. I imagine one is the power plug and the other signal and speaker plug. I was under the impression that the PAC device would sandwhich itself between the head unit and the factory amp at the plug jack located in the rear of the vehicle. It turns out that the device is designed to be inserted right behind the head unit. The plugs are different on the factory amp side. This was sort of a bummer because now I had to dismantle the dash to get to the back of the radio. So now I have to run the trigger wire back again but I also have to run two 20 ft. stereo RCA cables to the back of the vehicle. This in essence defeats the whole purpose of the vehicle having balanced lines to begin with. I think the device would have been better engineered by picking up all the signals form the already existing wiring at the back of the vehicle.
Ditto. I too ordered my PAC kit yesterday. I have decided to let someone professional do my install, but only at a place where I can help out. I don't have the money for the tweeters and midranges yet, but once the PAC arrives, I'll have everything I need to install my sub.
 

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NO-MO-SNOW
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What else do you have for your sub? What kind of setup are you getting? I have a 12" Shiva sub that was the rave of an audio forum I used to frequent several years ago. It hits pretty hard. I want to make the install very minimalistic looking, but be capable of rattling your teeth when I want it to.
 

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SHIFT_FASTER
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I went way overboard a few years ago, and installed a setup worthy of both sound quality and sound pressure level competitions. When I wrote off my Jeep, I decided to sell the system, but when I found out how much I would be losing, I decided to install it in my Murano instead.

What I am putting in soon:
- JL Audio 10W7 sub in a JL Audio High Output Wedge box (slot ported)
- Zapco Reference 750 amp

I also have 2 Zapco Reference 150 amps for the front and back speakers.
I'll be buying Eclipse Component SC8362 speakers for the front and Eclipse Point Source SP8962 speakers for the rear.

The H.O Wedge box for the sub is huge (15.25"H x 32.00"W x 19.25"D) and I like the sound of sealed enclosures better, so after all that, I'll be switching to the JL Audio ProWedge.

Alas, I can't use my old head unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
DAY 6 DAY 6

Here goes the scoop. I got home from work today anxious to start some preliminary tests on my setup. The only thing I have to say is I am going to have to install a heart defibrilator in this car. I hooked up only the sub amp and left the factory amp connected to power the doors speakers. I am hearing lows now that the Bose setup could never reach. WOW!

I installed the amplifier deck in the car today. IT LOOKS SICK!!! I wanted to post some pictures but it got too dark out. I will take some tomorrow. I ran 2 guage welders cable wire from the battery to the rear. I still havent figured out what kind of fuse I am going to use yet but since my smallest cable is a six guage I will probably use a 80-100 amp fuse. I know the wire is overkill but I have it at my disposal from working on electric vehicles. Remember my goal was to do this as cheap as possible, so I will save money by not using pretty wire. The wire I use is basically indestructable, so I like it. The Murano has some clever harness enclosures that run along each side of the car. The 2 guage fit inside these enclosures perfectly and looks OEM. The cable terminates at an industrial battery connector that I am using as a distribution block. From there I ran 3 pairs of 6 guage welders cable to each amp. Found a nice ground point in the rear by the seats that had a big bolt going right into the frame. Used a Dremel tool to sand a good patch of paint off and bolted my ground down. My only expense today was the cost of some Stinger 20' RCA cables @ $8.00 each. I ran these cables on the opposite side of the car from the power cables. I also did not route the RCA cables in the harness enclosures to keep them away from possible induced noise sources. I ran them neatly under the carpet since the wires are so thin. I am pleased to announce that from these preliminary tests I could not detect any engine whine or noise thus far. The PAC interface is really good and worth every cent.

This evening I realized that I am going to need another interface to connect my door speaker to my new amps. I dont intend on using the factory speakers but I dont want to rewire the car. I dont want to cut into the harness either so if I am lucky PAC may have a solution for me. Needless to say I am really excited about the whole thing and cant wait to post some photos.
 

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Factory door speaker wires would not strip using the 20 guage setting on my wire strippers so you may want to reconsider using the factory harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
DAY 7 DAY 7

Well I am getting closer to the finish line but not there yet. Here are some pics of my progress thus far. Excuse the mess. I have to neatly tuck away wires and clean up saw dust etc.


This is a photo of the engine bay. Note the cool fuse holder i bought from Radio Shack. This is 2 Guage welders cable. The red stuff around the wire is some heavy duty shrink wrap.



This is a photo of the amp deck raised up. The wiring is is disarray right now but I have to fix it up later.



This is the photo of the industrial emergency battery disconnect. I used it as a distribution block ( 2 guage in and three 6 guage wires out) as well a as way to disconnect the panel to remove it from the car for servicing.



This is a photo of the speaker box sitting on the deck. If you look closely you can see the four black furniture screws that hold the amp rails to the deck.



Notice the size of the box still allows me to get to the storage areas on the side.



This is the side of the box with the XLR connector showing. I strategically placed the connector at a height that would allow me to slide the box all the way over to the right with no interference. That way I can still fold down the left seat to carry long items with out removing the sub. Box is all full of sawdust. It gonna be a pain to get it off :(

 

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eager said:
Factory door speaker wires would not strip using the 20 guage setting on my wire strippers so you may want to reconsider using the factory harness.
I just ran completely new speaker wires to all four door speakers because I didnt want to cut into the factory harness.

The amps are nicely installed! I had thought about that with mine, but there is no way I could do that here in Vegas because they would easily overheat in the summer, especially being mounted upside down like that with nowhere for the heat to go...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
DAY 7 DAY 7 continued

Note to self : When running 3 power hungry amps do not use with car turned off.

Yep....I almost killed my battery. Car barely started and I was not testing the system out for too long. I think at some point I may have to get a beefier battery.

Anyway Bose amp is now completely disconnected. All three amps are now fired up and running. The difference is tremendous even when using the factory speakers in the doors. Even the voice from the navigation sounds clearer.

I have absolutely zero engine noise...hurray! This is why the PAC interface is so great. The PAC interface has four gain adjustments on it. Since the PAC is merely a passive device ( i could not see any active electronics in it ) I would sugget you keep those gains very high. Lets not get this confused though. The gains are not a volume control nor will you get more power or final output by setting these gains higher. You just want the signal going thru the RCA's to the back to be HOT. I tried to oversaturate the PAC unit and could not do it even with the PAC's gains at max which I think is due to the device being passive. If this were an active device I dont think I would have been able to do this. The hotter the signal is coming out of the PAC, the less you have to use the gain on your amp to get a decent output. If for some reason you do have some noise somewhere in your system, driving gains up on the amp will certainly reveal them, especially during quiet music passages. If you are going to pick up noise, it is going to be after the PAC device and will probably be induced into the RCA lines. You want to be able to keep the gains on your amps low by having a HOT signal. The same principles apply to recording on analogue tape. If you record too low then when you play the tape back you have to boost the volume to hear the material but you also boost the tape noise when you boost the volume.

I ran all three amps for one hour very hard. The setup is loud and powerful. When I say "Can you feel the music?" I mean it litterally. I don't plan on driving around blasting it at max volume anyway but it is good to know that the power is there. At the end I checked the temperature of all amps and found only one of them to be slighly warm (sub amp). If this is the norm then I may never have to run the coolant thru the amps like I had originally planned.

I had minimal light dimming when playing at high levels. I am sure a 1 farad super cap would resove the small problem

The speaker box sounds great and it sounds tight too. I am so proud of myself.:cool:
 
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