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Disappointed with Stealthbox

Discussion in 'Modified 2011- 2019 Explorer Sport Tuning' started by Tony407, June 18, 2015.

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    1. Tony407

      Tony407 Active Member

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      I've got the Sony system with the Sony subwoofer. I recently put in a Stealthbox and I'm very underwhelmed. This is the 4th Stealthbox I've owned and this one is the worst. I'm not sure if it's bad placement of the box itself, or the limitations of the OEM system but no matter what settings I try it sounds mediocre at best, both in overall lack of volume and SQ. In fact, every Stealthbox I've owned previously has sounded great and actually makes people think I have more than just one sub or a much larger one than I have. With this one, I'd say it sounds like an 8-inch sub at the limits instead of a 10. And some songs it sounds downright awful.

      I'm using an Audio Control LC2i line output convertor, and a JL Audio HD750/1 amp. Nice big 4-guage wire straight from the battery.

      Tony
       
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    3. GeoGeek

      GeoGeek New Member

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      Where did you tap in for input to your LC2i? I assume after the Sony amp?
      I'm trying to figure out where to tap in to get full range signal for a processor & aftermarket amp.
      Sorry to hear that about the Stealthbox....I too have heard several that I liked quite a bit....on an HD750 that thing should be gushing with output.
       
    4. Tony407

      Tony407 Active Member

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      Yeah, after the Sony amp.

      Tony
       
    5. Ronin559

      Ronin559 New Member

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      That is dissapointing to hear, I really wanted to upgrade the sub and have never had any issues with JL. I was concerned that a 10" would not be enough for the size of the explorer, maybe i need to look into some of the low profile subs that fit under the seat.
       
    6. Tony407

      Tony407 Active Member

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      Please no one dismiss JL until I know for certain it wasn't something I did wrong! I'm going to take the install apart piece by piece and double check everything, soon hopefully.

      Tony
       
    7. Ronin559

      Ronin559 New Member

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      I would not dismiss JL, they make the best sounding products on the market. The W6's are by far and away the best in the class, and I once had a W7 in an eclipse... wahoo! the bass practicly made a speaker out of that large rear window. I just wish the W7 was not so large in depth.
       
    8. bigtexan99

      bigtexan99 Member

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      Hi, any updates on the effectiveness of the Stealth box replacement? Anyone else tried it and happy with it?
       
    9. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      Is the sound muddy/muffled sounding? Not all live out converters are created equal.
       
    10. Tony407

      Tony407 Active Member

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      Still overall very disappointed with this Stealthbox. Last year, the entire box fell out and landed on the cargo area floor while I was driving. One of the provided clips broke and I had to custom-make a mount with my own hardware, which solved that problem. However, there is so much rattling and buzzing that it detracts substantially from the music, enough that it's not worth turning up that loud because it sounds like poop. I suspect that this is an issue with the application (the Explorer) and not the product. Meaning, just because an aftermarket sub box fits in that location doesn't mean it will sound good. Structurally, there appears to be too many issues with unwanted structural resonances and even though I've meticulously applied a TON of damping materials (viscoelastic spray, damping sheets, closed-cell sound barrier), it just sounds...not great. I do not think anything I can realistically do will change that. I've been doing car audio for 30 years and this is the first Stealthbox I didn't like.

      I had a local JL Audio shop bench test my JL amp and it's working perfectly.
      I called Audio Control and explained to them the situation and they say it sounds as if the LC2i is working properly.
      I double and triple-checked my connections, they're solid.
      Reversing polarity doesn't help.
      I temporarily replaced the Steathbox sub with an old W6 I had lying around and it sounds similarly lackluster.

      Eventually I'll look into replacing it, but right now it's not my top priority. I suspect I won't be happy with anything less than a custom box, of which will probably have to be installed in the spare tire well. But until then I'm just living with it, unhappily, for now.

      Hope this helps.

      Tony
       
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    11. boostedflex

      boostedflex New Member

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      Hey what speakers did you tap into for your line level converters. On my old Flex (which did have the Sony system in it) I believe the recommendation was to tap into the front door speakers as they are full range. I seem to remember people having poor results when tapping into any other speaker outputs, particularly the factory sub output.
       
    12. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Welcome to the Forum.:wave:

      Peter
       
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    13. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      My guess also would be the source signal. It isn't a great idea to use any full range signal, low level(RCA) is always preferred.

      I had great success with my first try at a stereo in 1981, a cheap cassette deck and one 30wx2 amp, and two 5.25" speakers. That was amazing, and the deck only had speaker outputs. The amp was adjustable so in the end about 1/3 volume was maximum for the amp/speaker, and beyond that was terrible distortion. It was louder than you could hear someone yelling, outside the car.

      I suspect that your signal from the converter is poor quality, whether the maker says it's working right or not. I'd change the deck to one with real RCA outputs, and then you have no distortion going into the amp(which magnifies it). Regards,
       
    14. Alptbird

      Alptbird Elite Explorer

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      O.P. Has a 2015 sport. 2015 sport models have Sony can bus systems. Putting a deck in is not an option. (Presuming you are not trolling). Proper interface with the factory radio can bus system is not easy or cheap.
       
    15. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      I disagree. He is using a line out converter which sources its input from a signal to the speaker, if I understand correctly what he has done. He has the factory deck installed.

      Also, replacing the head unit is always an option, it just would some extra wiring and mounting headaches.
       
    16. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      I'm sorry but I know nothing about the Canbus system. I do know a little about older Lincolns, which used way more wires between the deck and amp than seems necessary(a couple dozen), and those don't take retrofits well either.

      My 91 LSC I replaced all of that wiring, with four signal wires(RCA), and new speaker wires from the PA 350 amp, to the four JBL speakers. The aftermarket deck(Kenwood DVD player) and amp have way less distortion(the amp is .003%) than any stock system. I like a well designed stereo, and lots of OEM systems do very well. But distortion is far more important than speaker balance etc, OEM tries too hard to deal with imaging etc, and very little on sound quality. I like that they spend millions on development, but they fail miserably at the sound quality. If there is distortion above normal listening volume, it's a failure. I want it loud, and clear. Hunt the old Nakamichi amps, and work with those. That will bring your music alive.
       
    17. reserved50

      reserved50 Well-Known Member

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      I've had the Stealth boxes for the older gen Explorers and they were terrible. They only sound good on low volume. The boxes just didn't have the volume to make decent sound. I know a few people that had fiberglass custom enclosures made and they sounded pretty good. Do they have the volume of the box listed anywhere?
       
    18. boostedflex

      boostedflex New Member

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      I had a JL 10 TW1-2 in a .35 cubic foot box (fiberglassed into the spare tire) and it sounded great. I have a lot of details on it on another forum, not sure if the moderators allow me to reference it or not. If they still make that line still it’s specs did call for a .35ish sealed enclosure. So for the size of the stealth box I guess it depends what sub is in it. For my comment on using the front door speakers, if I remember the problem with using the factory sub output is it has some funky equalization being sent to it, probably cause it is only an 8” sub, and that causes issues when using that as your feed signal.
       
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    19. machine4321

      machine4321 Active Member

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      Here is a quick terst you can do to narrow down the issues. Take your phone (or mp3 ect) and run you phone directly into the amp that poweres to sub with a 1/8th to rca cord. MAKE SURE THE VOLUME IS DOWN ON THE SOURCE!! lol If the amp is full gain it could cause some damage. Try to get a cord long enough to go from the amp to the front seat. This will give you clean signal and you will know if you need to find anout source to tap into. The placement of the sub should be ideal for the driver seat (Bass like to build up in long waves.)

      I Will alway try to feed off a full range source, fronts are damn near full range from what I can hear but you would think the sub output would be the best bet. My guess is they have doctored the output to offer a smooth and distortion free factory sub(which are commonly crappy quality) They may have added some sub sonic cut out on the fronts or maybe cut 40hz and below but hopefully not) Has any one confirmed if the feed from the source unit? I would like to feed pre processor but unsure of how the souce is sent to the amp or it may be all in the same unit.
       
    20. boostedflex

      boostedflex New Member

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      Hey Tony407, did you ever figure out your issue?
       
    21. Tony407

      Tony407 Active Member

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      My 1997 Explorer with a Stealthbox was amazing, and I mean really amazing. I had a Nakamichi CD-700 head unit, old-school Phoenix Gold ZX amps, and a Dynaudio 3-way all-active component set up front. That Stealthbox actually did VERY well keeping up with all the other high-end stuff I had. I got compliments on the bass everywhere I went, many from seasoned car audio peeps like me. Also had one in my 2006 Mustang that sounded very decent, same thing with my 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

      No, JL Audio was unwilling or unable to give me the box volume. Although they would tell me that the box was custom made for the 10W3v3, which calls for a sealed enclosure at .625 cubic feet. LOL

      That's actually very good advice, thank you. I'm not sure why I didn't think of that myself.

      I can't comment on the quality of the signals from the OEM sub wires I tapped into, other than it's what I've done for many of the vehicles I've owned and I've never been as disappointed as I am with this particular Stealthbox.

      Sort of. I've always suspected that one of the reason(s) it sounds so awful is that the physical mounting location is pure crap (not to be confused with the placement of the subwoofer driver, which is likely very optimal in my opinion). Even with my DIY mounting hardware upgrade (courtesy of the Stealthbox coming loose while driving around last year) the box isn't solidly attached to the vehicle. I have no doubts it'll stay in place now, but I can easily move the entire enclosure around with my hands (I could do this before as well). I'd say probably about 1/2-inch movement in all directions. AKA wobbly.

      So I used a section of a 2x4 to press up against the bottom of the Stealthbox on one side and the lower rear cargo area on the other side. I had to really jam it in there so the box was pressed HARD into the side of the vehicle. And the sound improvement was SUBSTANTIAL. I really don't have anything to compare it to because the box has always sounded that way, but the sound quality was night and day different.

      When I called JL Audio back about this revelation they told me I needed to sound dampen the area. So I did. Very meticulously. Absolutely zero change.

      Having said all this, I recently decided (after 3 years with this Explorer) that I'm going to invest a ton of money and time into installing a really, really, really good sound system. Just yesterday I took out the third-row seats (never used 'em) and I'll be making a custom-fit sub in the spare tire well/lower cargo area. There appears to be ample room down there and underneath the new floor I'll be making to fit everything I need: amps, battery, sub, sound processor, etc. I'm pretty excited.

      Here's what I have planned so far:

      Possibly two JL Audio 12W7AE subs.
      Audio Control DM-810 processor
      Maybe an Audio Control Epicenter
      JL Audio HD 1200/1 Amp for the sub(s)
      Arc Audio SE 2150 amplifier
      Arc Audio SE 4200 amplifer
      Dynaudio System 362 (8-inch midwoofers, 3-inch mids, 1-inch tweets) in the front doors (no passive crossovers, all active).
      XS XP950 secondary battery

      Thanks, everyone for the help!

      Tony
       
    22. toypaseo

      toypaseo Flunked daycare Elite Explorer

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      @Tony407, for the signal to the LC2i, did you tap into the sub output, or a full-range output?

      I have an LC2i in my Budget Bass setup. OEM head unit, OEM speakers, aftermarket sub and aftermarket amp to power it. I tapped right after the OEM door speaker amp for signal. There was not enough signal before the OEM amp for a past PAC high-low converters I used in the past. It's good on some music, and bad on other. I have no idea if the LC2i is set up as best as it could be. I definitely am not going to win any audio competitions for sure. I do like how it compensates for the bass cutoffs at higher volumes.

      My Paseo with aftermarket stereo everything is a way better setup. I have no plans to upgrade the OEM stuff in my Explorer unless needed.
       
    23. toypaseo

      toypaseo Flunked daycare Elite Explorer

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      That sounds like it could be a nice setup.

      One of my friends had an Epicenter in the past. His full custom 1800W setup in his S15 Sonoma would pound, and was sounded clean. The Epicenter was fun to play with, and at times, made the bass sound weird. From his mid-90's setup, my friend still has in storage three of four Alpine V12 amps, one (or two) 12" round Kicker Solobarics, Epicenter, and maybe the custom door pods with two 6", one 4" and two tweeters of Peerless (?) and Vifa (?) and/or (?)
       
    24. Alptbird

      Alptbird Elite Explorer

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      I have been following this thread for a while now, and Tony407 it seems to me once you integrate the Audio control dm810 in general your bass issues should remedy themselves. I have been following because I like to know what I am getting into. I have been installing car audio for over 20 years now both professionally and personally. I was MECP master installer certified(if that tells you how long ago it was). just don't get too many 5 gen EX rolling through. I have co workers with 5th gen explorers and they both came to me to help them install the stealthbox. After seeing Tony's mounting issues I made sure to take steps to prevent that from happening to them. One Ex was an 15' XLT with the regular plain stereo. I use a pac converter and a little 250watt digital amp actually mounted it behind the side panel where the Sony amp would be mounted if the EX had the Sony system and the stealth box in its usual location. it was pretty bass heavy and over drove the stock speakers easily, but what bass it did have was clean and powerful as I would expect a stealthbox to be. The other co-worker has a 16' sport model, with the Sony system. used an LC2i and got signal, installed same amp same stealth box(models). The sport was very lack luster. It would turn on and for second of hope the bass was strong then seemed to die away. Not off, but signal integrity weakened. Kinda of like tony said, just pitiful. added some bass but nothing like what we had out of the XLT model. I did some research and got a fosgate DSR1 and bypassed the stock audio control system. And as a test measure did not touch anything on the amplifier just to get and idea of before and after. The stealth box came alive. I had to gain the amp down to get it to match the stock speakers. So what I am guessing is the Sony DSP/TI system tries to over take control and back signal out to keep a balance. But with this experience I know what I will be doing to my own when I get the time and money to do it.
      Thought I would share what I have seen and experienced if it helps cool, if not Sorry, thanks for the time you took to read it.
       
    25. boostedflex

      boostedflex New Member

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      Hey Alptbird, so for the Sport install you kept the factory Sony amp for everything else and the DSR1 just basically grabs you a good preamp signal for the subwoofer? Debating doing a spare tire sub for my Sport, even with the changes for the 17 stereo it still can struggle at times with bass.
       
    26. Alptbird

      Alptbird Elite Explorer

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      Boosted, yes, I kept the Sony amp for this particular set up. Co-worker didn't want to buy another amp for the mid range and highs.

      Let me start with "the DSR1 option is not a cost efficient way to get the result." My main point above was that the Sony system has to be taken out of the loop in regards to the sub amp signal. I had a lot of splicing to do in order to allow the DSR1 to do what it was designed to do(Take the Sony Can Bus out of the sub signal processing) yet allow the Sony amp to stay in place for the rest of the car, and get a good Sub out signal that can be used. basically I used the DSR1 as a glorified120$ line converter. we already had the DSR1 sitting around, in the event he did want to go full stereo system so we used it here.
      There may be a more cost efficient way to do this and get great signal but right now that is how I did it for my co-worker. I may investigate getting the Forscan tool and changing the audio out to a variable signal, instead of fixed like the Sony system does,and see if that can help in the long run. But right now I don't have the time to do it. If a customer were to come in and allow me the chance to play with it, and their EX, I may be able to pick up the pace and do it. I have not been able to try this method on my EX.
       

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