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My Build Thread.... w/pics

November 28, 2012
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2001 Ford Explorer Sport
OK so my subs arrived last night, so I decided to start a build thread so you guys can follow along as I progress with things.

Here they are.....with banana for scale


These will be going in a huge bandpass horn enclosure (Its going to be 36"x36"x13.5") I have experience building these, as I built one for my ranger, and it pretty much sold me on the concept.
The nice thing about a horn is they have no real "sweet spot", it resonates across all frequencies. I'm planning on beginning work on the enclosure in the next week or so, so stay tuned and I will keep this thread updated with the progress.

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But also wondering how you designed your box. Or are going to?
I've read about bend horns in the past and thought it would be the best but don't fully understand how to design one.

As far as the enclosure design;
I'm essentially going to use the Decware Audio Engineering "Wicked One" horn design with some minor modifications of my own. Steve Deckert knows his ish when it comes to horns, and I have had great luck with my previous enclosure based on his design.

Other news on the progress of my build;
I found a giant roll of EVA foam that I used as underlayment on the floors in our house. I am going to use it later in the build for the interior panels to help control rattle.

Unfortunate setback:
I noticed some cupping on my new front tires over the weekend, so new shocks is going to take priority over buying the MDF. But this is semi build related, im going to be installing THESE in the rear.
They will hopefully serve 3 purposes;
1. Replace my worn out shocks
2. Fix my ride height and counteract the "01-03 Sport ass sag"
3. Help deal with the extra weight of the large enclosure I am building

Minor setback, but it will be for the better in the end.....stay tuned for more updates, and feel free to ask questions.

Those are actually quite good subs. Had a set of them for 5 years in a sealed box and never had a problem. For the price you can't beat it

Subscribed....I have the same subs but (2) 12" 4ohm 3500w max TS-W3002D4 model. was planning on just putting just one, but i dont want to lose alot of space...and my ported box is huge

Ok now that the end of the year is over (the craziest time for me at work and home) I can get back to work on this project. I will keep it more updated as I get things done.

I spent a lot of time this weekend cleaning out the garage, and will soon be able to actually work in there again. This weekend I will haul off all the old metal desks and cabinets that are in my storage shed (I will be selling them for scrap of course, and using the funds to further my build) Then I can move the rest of the junk out of the garage into the storage shed, and then I can finally have a place to work out of the cold.

I have been trying to decide on an sub amp for this build, and am tossed up between 3 at the moment. The Hifonics BRZ2400.1d, the Audioque AQ2200d, and the Crescendo Audio BC2000D. Pioneer recommends running these subs on an amp that "produces less than the RMS rated power of the subs". I say the hell with Pioneer, I don't want to run an amp that is going all outworking as hard as it can to drive these. I would rather run a more powerful amp with plenty of head room, keep my gains down, and not be pushing the amp to the edge of distortion to drive the subs. I'm going to be wiring them at 1ohm, so 1 ohm stable is what I seek. I am open to any suggestions, because I just cant decide.

I couldn't agree more with your theory on overamping and keeping your gains down. I have always used that same approach. With very good results I might ad. As far as amps I would scratch the Hifonics right from the start. The AQ would be my choice. they make a good reliable amp that does rated as long as you keep the voltage from dipping too low.

Pioneer's advice is actually pretty good, since subs tend to be rated with their RMS power actually being the maximum wattage they can handle continuously and still maintain a reasonable lifespan. Generally you're often better off going slightly under that, both to stay in a more reasonable continuous wattage range, and also because there are plenty of amps that are very, very underrated. Drive a 500W RMS sub with an amp that is rated at 500W but actually puts out 623.45W, and you might be taxing it above it's limits and find it only lasts a little beyond the warranty period, just enough so you have to buy a new sub. You're better off driving it with a 350W amp that puts out ~350-499W.

The input gains are just for matching the voltage level of the head unit or source, they don't affect the wattage output of the amplifier. You can have the gains all the way down and still be overdriving the voice coils of a sub with too many watts.

Distortion wise, sure, you can save a sub or speaker from destruction by not going over the input voltage it needs, but if you turn the gains down below the correct input voltage, you just make up for it with volume when you turn the knob to make it louder. Most good receivers and amps have tech in them that limits distortion and prevents this, so it can be easier to just match the gains to the input voltage, and simply match the amp to the driver in terms of actual power output and power handling.

The competition subs are generally able to handle more power, (sometimes purposely so) and so going over the rated wattage isn't as much of a concern as it would be with cheaper or more consumer-oriented products, but still, a driver will last longer when the power it sees is slightly below it's maximum continuous power handling.


Anime brings up some good points, so I guess I should clarify what I was saying for the other readers out there trying to get information from this forum.

For a majority of people out there, I would advise you follow your manufacturers recommendations for power handling. Pioneer engineered the speakers, they know exactly what kind of power to give the speakers to provide both good output and long life. It is also best to follow their recommendations for enclosure type and size.

Now for me to further expand upon what I was saying, and to stop making BS reasons for why I am doing what I am doing.
Over-driving the subs is a risk, but its a risk I am willing to take. I will be reducing the life of my subwoofers by doing this, I know that is a fact. But I am the type of person that likes to push things to their limit. I like to experiment, I like to try different concepts, I like to void warranties :D:D.
The fourth order horn enclosure I am building should allow me to push the subs a little harder, without reaching their mechanical limits. Now the mechanical limits are only one factor in premature speaker failure. Even if you are not pushing the speaker beyond its mechanical limits, you are pushing it beyond its normal thermal capabilities, making them run a lot hotter, which can also lead to premature failure.

The Alpine head unit I am using is an older head unit, but the reason I plan on using it is for its fantastic 5V pre-amp. With the 5v signal, I know my amp gains are going to be pretty low to begin with. (Well the manual it says its five volts, but we will see at what voltage it starts clipping at when I put an o-scope to it. I plan I thoroughly going over the entire signal chain from head unit to amp output to watch for signal clipping.) For those of you how dont know what clipping is, in simple terms, its the point where you are demanding more power from the amplifier than its capable of producing with no distortion. Distortion not only sounds bad, but it can damage speakers very quickly. (unless were talking guitar amplifiers, then distortion sounds AWESOME, lol)

Now for informative purposes, I will will explain the planned setup in more depth.

Lets start with sub wiring (I love wiring :D)
I'm working with 2 DVC subs, each voice coils at 4 ohms, which gives me several options.
1.Each subs VC's in parallel with the subs in parallel = 1 ohm impedance
2.Each subs VC's in parallel with the subs in series = 4 ohm impedance
3.Each subs VC's in series with the subs in parallel = 4 ohm impedance
4.Each subs VC's in series with thee subs in series = 16 ohm impedance
(option 2 and 3 are one and the same really, and 4 I just included for educational purposes, I have never seen a car audio amplifier that would output at that impedance)

I think I have settled on the Audioque aq2200d for my amp.The aq2200d is a pretty beefy amp, that reminds me a lot of some of the old school amps when it comes to how it responds to impedance. The AQ2200D will output 500 watts at 4 ohms up to 2200 watts @ 1 ohm, at 14.4v. Since I am planning with going with wiring option 1, we will estimate the impedance to be 1 ohm.
The efficiency of your enclosure contributes to your final impedance, if the enclosure allows the subs to run 100% efficient, then you will still be at 1 ohm impedance. Perfect efficiency is rare, so your impedance will tend to be a little (or a lot) higher depending on how efficient (or inefficient) your enclosure is. This is known as "Box Rise"

In the end, I most likely wont see the full 2200 watts this amp can produce. A. Because I most likely wont hit a perfect 1 ohm impedance
B. Because without pouring a buckets of money into the electrical system of my truck, I most likely wont be able to feed the amplifier a perfect 14.4 volts (even with 1/0 gauge wiring, and two batteries, the stock alternator can only do so much.....and I'm not keen on spending 600$ on a high output alternator that a 6 rib serpentine belt is going to have a difficult time turning anyways)

Once everything is hooked up, using a clamping meter and a good digital multimeter, I will be able to measure both the final impedance of the subs and enclosure, as well as measure approximately how many watts the amp is outputting.

I know this is a big read, but hopefully it will help some of you understand where my brain is at on this.

What an amp actually outputs at real world voltage vs. what it outputs at a test lab ideal 14.4V is also part of the equation. You can certainly get more out of a system when you design it around real world numbers rather than manufacturers specs.

You can use a capacitor and even a voltage regulator to keep an amp seeing ~14.4v or at least more than it would without, caps and regulators are a pretty good idea for high wattage setups if you're spending the dough anyway.

You could just get a ~200A alternator with slightly higher output than stock if it's not quite enough, there's no need to spend hundreds for super high end stuff, but the electrical system needs to be up to the requirements of the amp, plus everything else that the vehicle requires to run, if you plan to drive it with the system on.

Breif Update

I was fiddling around and decided to re-do my render of the enclosure in sketch up, so here is the final design.


I cant wait to get rolling on this, progress is still slow (some other things are taking financial priority at the moment)

Anyhoo, stay tuned

Ok so I got the amp for the front stage out of exile. It was under the seat of a dodge ram for about a decade, so it was super crusty. Even after a good cleaning, She's still a little rough around the edges, but she's got it where it counts.

Its a early 90's vintage Coustic AMP-268.

Its rated at 180 watts (45x4) at 4 ohms, with 0.09% THD, S/N ratio >95db......its a clean machine.

So what do you guys think, will it do rated? :-)

clicky photos for super hi res





I would think so, there are old school amps half that size rated for 50W x 4 that put out well over rated power. The old Coustic amps seem to have a good rep, even though they don't go for much these days.

Ahhh... The good old day of cheater amps... Like the old Rockford Fosgate Punch HD series and the Soundstream stuff... I still have a 6.0A rated at 25Wx2, however at 1/4 OHM will push 1000W :D

I do love some old school amps...

....and speaking of old school cheater amps, I finally found an amp for my Sub stage....


Its a PPI Pro MOS-450, and it may be a little ugly, but it has more than enough balls to push my Pioneer subs hard and clean....

Other things I have acquired since my last update:

Bravox cs57cf Carbon Fiber 4x7 Components (I may be ordering a second pair of these)
My main power/ground cable (Funkin Audio 2/0 OFC) I will be using this for my Big-3 as well.
Roll of rg-56 to make my interconnects with (a little stiff, but its shielding is awesome)
Pair of solid brass marine grade battery terminals (I am not a big fan of overpriced/overhyped "car audio" wiring products, so you will notice all my wiring to be a little more "industrial" looking)

Current Shopping List:
2/0 awg ring terminals/lugs
8 awg ring terminals
ANL Fuse block:
Positive and ground bus bars:
2 good maxi fuse blocks for the power leads to the PPI amp (haven't found ones I like yet)
RCA compression ends for the interconnects.
MDF and Carpet for the enclosure/amp rack.

I know its been a while since my last update, but I'm taking my time gathering my materials, as I am trying to maximize my bang per buck!

Stay Tuned!!

Why now use 1/0 Gauge, it will leave you room to upgrade, and is not too much more expensive then 2 gauge. If you want real good OFC 1/0gauge wire check out KnuKoncepts.

Actually I'm using 2/0 not 2 awg

I feel stupid, I need to not read so fast, Well damn! you are going to have one heck of a setup! I am loving the old amps aswell! Be sure to keep us updated.