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Raido & speaker upgrade


davidmac

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Hi I have an A class motorhome based upon a Peugeot chassis which has a poor raido and sound system. I would like a raido that I can play my I-pod through and also has RDS. Plenty to chose from so not much of a problem. The sound quallity from the front speakers is not very good when driving,road noise drop down bed rattle etc but I think the main problem is that in the original cab the speakers direct the soundwaves to the windscreen which the reflects them towards the driver/passenger. As the screen is another 12"-15" further forward this does not happen. iam thinking that if I swap the speakers for some Pioneer ts44 shelf speakers this will solve the problem.Any thoughts?

Regards David

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davidmac - 2013-01-19 5:02 PM

 

Hi I have an A class motorhome based upon a Peugeot chassis which has a poor raido and sound system. I would like a raido that I can play my I-pod through and also has RDS........... thinking that if I swap the speakers for some Pioneer ts44 shelf speakers this will solve the problem. Any thoughts?

 

David

 

You won't go far wrong with Pioneer equipment.......radios and speakers are very well made. Other speakers worth looking at are Alpine.

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The speakers you are looking at will most certainly be better than the 'factory fit' cheapo ones but you'll need to make sure that whatever you fit will match the output from the radio.  You need to look at the what watts your radio is putting out and try to match it to the speakers.  Basically if the radio output is too high relative to the capacity of the speakers you will over drive them and probably blow the cone.  If it is too low you will underpower them and get poor sound reproduction.

 

The Pioneer ones you're looking at are:

Pioneer TS-44 On Dash Speaker Pods

  • Maximum output power 40 Watt

  • Nominal output power 10 Watt

  • Frequency response 180 - 20.000 Hz

  • Sensitivity (1W/1m) 88 dB

 

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Hello,

 

I would not bother with the pods if I were you; they sound awful!

 

Don't you folks remember having Mini's and Escorts back in the 80's?

 

We all put these crappy pod things on the rear parcel shelves and they were totally rubbish. You ended up cutting holes in the metalwork where this was possible and fixing some proper speakers in there to much better effect.

 

The basic principle of a loudspeaker is that the cone needs to be able to move a volume of air and the volume that can be moved within a small plastic enclosure is minimal and the size of the speaker cone and magnet are just too puny to sound any good.

 

A far better bet is to spend as much as you can afford on a component pack of woofers and tweeters. The woofers need to be 16.5 or 17cm (it's a standard size) and the tweeters will probably be an inch diameter and should be stuck or screwed to the door above the woofer angled towards your ears, or if you can be bothered to run the cables back through the door wiring harness, they would be best placed on the top of the dashboard where they can be angled towards you again or even 'reflected' off the windscreen.

This sort of kit will cost you from about £70 to £many hundreds but ANYTHING will be better than the pods.

 

Kenwood make a couple of brilliant MP3/CD players that have USB inputs and 3.5mm, thus making them compatible with almost anything and for about £150 you can get one with DAB built in. It works extremely well and comes with a very effective windscreen antenna.

 

If you find you need more bass you can fit a 'tune-up' sub-woofer under your seat. I have one made by Fusion in my van and it is superb. It needs it's own power supply and is connected to the radio unit by the remote power output (to switch it on and off) and one of the phono pre-amplifier outputs.

 

You can spend as much or as little as you like but one thing is for sure; The pods will be a waste of time and money.

 

Spending money is painful, but not anywhere near as painful as wasting it.

 

Nick

 

PS; From the specs posted above you can see that the frequency response of the pods starts at 120Hz. This means that there will be no appreciable bass whatsoever since bass that you can distinguish starts from about 16Hz up to 60Hz. 120Hz is mid range so all these will do is squawk at you in an irritating way!

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Not very "techy" I know but make sure the actual unit itself is "user friendly"...

 

...and not so plastered with miniscule,multi-function buttons,that everytime you try to adjust the volume or balance,you inadvertently end up opening up a baffling array of "menus" or altering "modes" etc .. 8-)

 

..although having said all that,if you'll be using an iPod,it may not be such an issue.

 

Our Kenwood is a pain in the arse and it would be nigh on impossible to "adjust" on the move,if we weren't using an MP3 player as a "remote" for the basic functions :-S

 

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Hi Nick.thanks for your thoughts and remarks.Never had a mini or escort so missed out on speakers on parcel shelves.The main problem as I see it is that the existing speakers are mounted in the top of the Peugeot dash at a small angle towards where the van windscreen would normally be. Being an A class the wind screen is further forward and fairly vertical so the sound waves have nothing to reflect off. The idea of the pods was to redirect the sound towards the driver /passenger area.As it is the volume has to be turnd up quite high to hear anything and starts to get distorted. I looked on the Kenwood site and saw some 6"x9" 3 way speakers with a lower response frequency but iI think I would have to make some pods or boxes to mount them in.

regards David

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To be perfectly honest the small speakers contained behind the grilles on the top of the dash are pretty useless no matter where the windscreen is. They have tiny cones and magnets and are rated at about 5w which is about right for the feeble output of the standard stereo!

 

I could go on at length about the theory and reality of achieving a decent stereo 'image' in the bay window of your vehicle but my original plan will do the job perfectly. You would be wise to just disconnect those top speakers. They will just confuse things.

 

Your front doors will act like a speaker enclosure and boost the mid and low frequencies. The highs will come from the tweeters. It will sound much better. Your new Stereo will produce more like 20 to 30 Watts (proper ones) instead of the original 10W per channel.

 

By the way, 6x9 inch speakers are brilliant if used correctly which would be fixed into an MDF enclosure or shelf and with large cavity (like a car boot) to use as an enclosure they would sound really good but without that firm fixing and enclosure (and probably more power than the head unit will produce) they won't achieve their potential.

 

This is one of my favourite subjects by the way!

 

 

Nick

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Fair enough David,

 

It's going to be a challenge then but I would definitely recommend that you visit an car audio specialist. They will have seen similar set ups before and will be able to recommend something for you. If the price they put on the job is too steep then tell them what you want to pay and compromises can be found. If all else fails you will know what they had in mind and could set about doing it your own way with a bit more knowledge. Make sure you buy something from them though or they won't be there next time you need them!

 

Car Electronics in Leicester are very good if you are anywhere near here.

 

Nick

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Hi ,not hearing the missus can be o.k. at times but as she will be sitting within arms reach it might get painfull around the left ear!

I had thought using the pods was the only solution BUT,from the front of the Peugoet dash to the windscreen is a flat Autosleeper 'parcel shelf' that the speakers could be mounted in.This shelf is over the engine compartment directly, above the engine .If I were to fit the speakers there, would it be advisable to put boxes around them to protect from heat, fumes etc and how much deeper than the speakers should they be? Would they also improve the sound?

Regards David

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davidmac - 2013-01-23 7:14 PMHi ,not hearing the missus can be o.k. at times but as she will be sitting within arms reach it might get painfull around the left ear!I had thought using the pods was the only solution BUT,from the front of the Peugoet dash to the windscreen is a flat Autosleeper 'parcel shelf' that the speakers could be mounted in.This shelf is over the engine compartment directly, above the engine .If I were to fit the speakers there, would it be advisable to put boxes around them to protect from heat, fumes etc and how much deeper than the speakers should they be? Would they also improve the sound?Regards David

 

Hi David,

 

My son is heavily into ICE....(he is a Guinness world record holder for something to do with ICE) and from what little I have picked up from him unless you custom make the speaker boxes to a specific size relative to the output it really wont make a great deal of difference.

 

Regarding fitting in the 'shelf' if it means cutting into the engine compartment I would say it is a big 'no no' because you will effectively 'breaking' the engine bay firewall which obviously is not a good idea from the point of view of fire (god forbid you ever have one) breaking out in the engine bay, fumes etc.  If you can fit them in the doors that would be the best option.

 

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I have spent quite a while trying to sort out the In-Van audio.

My MH is also based on a Peugeot cab, but is a coachbuilt so may be slightly different.

 

The front "In dash" speakers are not connected, instead the Front speakers are located in the door panels and the rear speakers are in the Hab area.

 

I suffer from problems with clarity and bass definition. The rear hab speakers are great and sound really good, but the fronts in the doors are really tinny and can be hard to hear at anything over 30mph.

 

I upgraded the Head unit to a Sony unit which has CD, FM, Bluetooth and also USB and Aux inputs.

 

The FM radio is pretty good (I bought a blaupunkt window antennae to help reception), as is the CD. The iPod over USB is very good, but less good using the Aux input, so ensure your new head unit has a USB input (This bypasses the iPod's DAC and uses the head units DAC).

 

Bluetooth gives me Hands free calling (from my iPhone), and also can play music over it. This is less good quality, but it does mean i can sit in the Hab area and change tracks with the iPhone in my hand.

 

I upgraded the Front speakers to some Alpine ones, which made it better, but its still not great.

 

I then padded out the doors with Dynamat (Cladding in the doors to help audio quality), and whilst this makes, again, a small difference, it is still not great - however it does greatly reduce the noise outside the van, so is neighbour friendly.

 

I have spent a while researching this further, and have spoken to a number of Car Audio dealers, and it seems the best way forward is to fit and underseat subwoofer. My local dealer does about 3 motorhomes per week with this.

 

Any speakers you fit in the Cab (Doors or dash), will still not provide the depth of bass you need, so I would suggest you explore the Sub. The pioneer ones (TS WX110A), are about £150.

Dont worry, it wont make the van sound like a Chavv'ed up Ford Sierra, as the bass is adjustable, but having the extra bass helps with the overall balance of the sound.

 

I am booking mine in to have the Sub fitted next week :-0

 

So,, ensure your Head Unit has Bluetooth hands free & a USB input for your iPod. You may also want to think about getting one with DAB as the FM systems is due to be turned off from around 2017. DAB units are not really much dearer than FM only

Start by upgrading the Dash speakers, and if you still need a bit more, then go for an underseat Sub.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

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Our van has a sub woofer under the bed, apart from effects when watching films it does not add that much to the sound, the door speakers in our van have been upgraded by the converter and the habitation speakers are very good. Spend your money on good speakers before thinking about a sub woofer.

 

Unless you have a very big van a sub woofer won't do much basic physics, a 30 Hz sound wave has a wavelength of 38 feet, even at 60hz wavelength is 19 feet. So if you want to hear good quality bass at 20 hz get a least 60 foot van.

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Hi Lenny,

 

I am afraid that is where science fails us a little. Despite the characteristics of the sound frequencies that you can hear, the lower bass is also 'felt'. The sub that I have under the seat of my van produces either subtle or seismic amounts of bass and because you are asking less of the door speakers (which are upgraded too), they can concentrate on mid and treble without the colouration that trying to get bass out of a 6 inch speaker will inevitably cause. Therefore the stereo image is better defined. Happy days.

 

Nick

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I won't disagree with you Nick (I was a Audio engineer in one of my earlier incarnations) I was just pointing out don't go the sub woofer route until you have fitted decent speakers. I only really get the benefit of the sub woofer when wild camping and you know what this lot think of that.
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Brian Kirby - 2013-01-25 6:56 PM

 

So, Lenny, let me get this straight. When wild camping you take to your bed and put a big woofer up your bum? And for this you think it odd that others criticise your choices? :-D

 

Yer man and wind it up nice and loud it turns the bed into self exciting massage parlour. Hymer obviously know their customers :D :D :D

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