Dolby Digital 5.1? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Dolby Digital 5.1?


Well-Known Member
May 11, 2005
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Year, Model & Trim Level
99 4 Door
Okay, the Panasonic CQ-VD6503U headunit I have on layaway says it has a decoder for dolby digital 5.1 surround sound. Is all I need to add a center channel speaker?

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JayDub said:
Okay, the Panasonic CQ-VD6503U headunit I have on layaway says it has a decoder for dolby digital 5.1 surround sound. Is all I need to add a center channel speaker?

I haven't researched that particular unit, but most likely you will still need a 5.1 processor. The DVD player itself has the decoder, which just means that it can read a 5.1 signal from a DVD and send it to a processor. From the processor, you can send the appropriate signals to the proper amp/speakers accordingly. The quickest way to find out is to see if that DVD player has outputs on the back for front right, front left, rear right, rear left, center, and sub. I'd bet it does not.

Also - with a decent setup, the center channel is a "take it or leave it" piece. Most good processors will allow for a phantom image between the front speakers. To most, this actually gives the front stage a coveted "wider" presence. Also, if you don't have the same center speaker setup as you do components, you could end up with a different sound from each. Even with the same exact speaker, it's nearly impossible to duplicate the same type of enclosure and on/off axis imaging between the door speaker and a center speaker. For example, if a train is moving from the left side of the shot to the right, with the sound following, you will hear the differences in the way each speaker reproduces that sound as it passes from right, through center, to left. Having just a front left and right blending together will actually sound more uniform, because the speakers and enclosures are identical.

Also, think of this - in a home, with an ideal setup, you sit directly in front of the center channel. In a car, the center will be on your right. So centered sounds will come from the right. You can use time correction, if equipped, to correct for left and right during stereo playback, but I don't see that working with a center channel. Those sounds are never going to hit your right ear like they do your left.

Besides - finding a good spot for a center channel on an Explorer is a huge challenge. Despite all of the reasons not to, I would try it if I could find a good place for the speaker in my '04.

Bottom line - No. You probably still need a processor to do 5.1. And to do it right, you'll need front amp(s), rear amp(s), and sub amp(s), but you can totally get away with not doing a center amp/speaker.

Good luck! I highly recommend the Alpine PXA-H701 if you decide to get serious about going 5.1. You can add this to your Panasonic, but you'll need the external controller. Make sure and use a digital optical cable (Toslink) between the head unit and processor.

i was just gunna go with it if i could add it on to what I haver. I already have an amp for my front speakers, and the headunit has a built in amp for any more necessary power. In most of the adds, it says all you need for dolby surround is to add the center speakers and a subwoofer (which I already have). But i dont know, from what you said Ill probably just stick with components in the doors

"2-DIN, 6.5" Wide LCD Monitor w/ Touch Panel, DVD Video Receiver, 5.1 ch Decoder Built-in, 50Wx4, MP3/WMA, SAT-Ready, iPod®-Ready, Bluetooth-Ready, Expansion Module-Ready, SRS"

If its built in amp only does 50 x 4, you'll need to utilize the center channel RCA and get an amplifier to use the center channel.

no reason you can't put a center channel directly in front of you in a car... is there?

very much agree that the center isn't always necessary for good "surround" playback in the car though- i actually listen to certain genres of music without it and others (and all movies) with it.

the pre-boxed center channel speakers- such as the 1 din alpine, or half din clarion aren't worth the effort. I've made the mistake of trying both. Im not running some bose 3" home theatre speakers @ 60wrms mono as my center in my audi (clarion dvc920/dvh940 combo, jbl 755.6, jbl power series speakers, gto subs, 9.2" in-dash) and a set of clarion 4" coaxials running @ 100 rms mono as the center in the explorer (and i'll spare you guys the list of what else i'm running in there)

as far as teh benefits of 5.1- it is a great thing to have, but functionally for most audio sources what i benefit from more is the other digital processing features of my processor (which you really wouldn't need 5.1 to use) and that it allows me to run digi cable rather than rca's

hmm- sure

I like my set-up better though- can't post pics from here

my "setup" still gives me full insurance when I crash and has a padded dash (SRS intact), its meant to be driven :salute:

i have full insurance up to my appraised value...

you have a point though and i have an a6

Im guessing an A6 is an Audi? I dont do imports:p: , no I meant as in crash protection, whats protecting you from those gizmos that may cause injury, or any safety components that were defeated, yes you did a wonderful job twisting everything that once was :thumbsup:, but for everyday practicality its not there if you were refering to your "setup" as being better in that sense, most of the time when someone does this its for display purposes. I'm just trying to conceal what I have and using it as a daily driver, and I'm assuming the original poster was also

yeah, if you read my fist post i also have an Audi A6 with dpl 5.1 and with a hidden center channel(which is centrally located in the dash)- which has all safety equipment intact. This is my "main" daily driver, the rest of the time i drive an escape with more of an spl system in it, and i never drive the explorer.

either way my post was assinine- rereadign it now it looks like i'm just ripping on your work or something. didn't mean it that way and i'm sorry.

yea I knew that, but whatever :p:, your trucks cool but way over my head:D, can you post pics of your Audis stereo. Im just doing minor interior and exterior mods, main things going to be the 331 block and blower, trying to go for a sleeper look

...the center channel in mine wasnt planned, just a 50$ speaker i had to add because the dash was already out and the head units main feature was the 5.1, so i decided to make use of it

all the speakers are in stock locations, the center channel is behind/below the climate control thing (sounds like it is mounted where the climate control thing is), and the subs are in the spare tire space.


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I cant see the center channel speaker:rolleyes: lol, and is that an amp mounted on the roof? how was that mounted and why up there?(just never seen it like that):eek:

amp is mounted on the ceiling because there was no where else it would fit and not take up cargo space- it's sort of a large amp.

center channel in the audi is meant to be completely hidden and it is. It is just two 3" home audio "mids". Sorry i don't have a better picture- but a similar install wouldn't work with an explorer (or most anything else other than my A6 anyways)

looks great

How did you get your indash to fit flush? Mine came with a bracket that's too big , and I'm working on getting that thing in there flush, as of now.. It bothers me. Your install looks good 50! I also like the black screen over the subwoofer in the rear.. I want to copy that, and my rear sub isn't even hooked up anymore. I noticed we both have a 97, if it worked for you I may have some sucess with it too. I'll post a picture of my install

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