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My Custom Build: Focal, Stereo Integrity, Arc, Zapco, Alpine, etc!

just got my z back from a killer install by a well-known audio guy out here in the bay area. i will write more soon, but for now will let

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Old 07-11-2011, 01:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My Custom Build: Focal, Stereo Integrity, Arc, Zapco, Alpine, etc!

just got my z back from a killer install by a well-known audio guy out here in the bay area. i will write more soon, but for now will let the pictures do the talking. the setup sounds amazing. everything i asked for and more.

i'll see if i can't get my installer Bing to join the forum and participate in this thread, as he's a very helpful and knowledgeable guy with tons of build experience. he should be able to answer any questions you guys have about the build.

here is the build log written by Bing for diymobileaudio.com (link):


*****

Hey gang,

As some of you may know, I used to work on a TON of 350zs...for a while it seemed like I was doing nothing but 350zs and G35s...rough estimate is that over the years, I have touched about 35-40 of each model lol...it got to the point that I stopped going to those car forums because it was getting a bit repetitive.

So now, it’s been over a year since my last Z, and finally, I get to lay my hands on a new 370Z...a car I have wanted to do since it was released since it seems to be much better suited for sound quality than the old model.

This car came in on a pretty low budget, and was suppose to receive just a simple passive front and sub layout, but after giving it some thought to the fact that it’s my first 370Z...I decided to donate a Zapco DSP6-SL to the build... at the time of this post, the customer still has no idea that he’s getting a active system with a DSP, hopefully he doesn't visit this forum, or else the surprise will be ruined haha

Anyway, onto the goals:

1. Achieve a decent level of sound quality, this is not a comp car, just clean daily listening as the stock system is TERRIBLE!

2. Build a clean looking design in the hatch with ZERO loss of trunk space...not about being showy here...just sturdy and usable.

3. retain the OEM spare tire and have the ability to access it with relative ease

Obviously, the last two design criteria presented the biggest challenge...as we didn’t want to raise the floor at all...

Let’s get started:


The signal source starts with a customer supplied Alpine INA-W910 navigation headunit, it is installed in the stock location with the Metra kit:



The Alpine USB extension is routed to the cubby above the headunit, the supplied IPod adapter allows the customer to play either a USB drive or iPod/iPhone:



The customer also supplied me with a pretty cool back up camera that is designed to go in place of the rear passenger side license plate light...it snaps into place just like the OEM piece, still retains the light, and adds a low profile camera:







As the car uses a Zapco DSP6, all tuning is done from the front seat via a laptop:


The front stage consists of a set of Focal Polyglass 165 V30 6.5" two way component set. This 30th anniversary model is a step up on the normal 165VR. The tweeters were mounted into baffles cut to match the stock "tweeter" baskets:



and mounted to the stock location at the top corners of the dash...this to me is a much better stock location than the tiny sail panel of the 350z:





The 6.5" midbass went into the stock lower door locations, and new speaker wires were run into the door through the stock molex plug:



Here again the 370 makes it easier than the 350z, with big blank section in the plug that can be drilled out to pass the wires through and there is no window jutting down behind the speaker opening to cut into the mounting depths:



New baffles were fabricated for the midbass and coated with truck bedliner to protect them against the elements:



The door was then sound proofed and the baffle installed via stock bolts:



Here is a close up of the V30 midbass:




The speaker installed into the door:





The same procedure was repeated on the driver side door:









Here are some pics of the wiring bundles as they go from the front to the back of the car:













Moving onto the trunk, so here is the view with everything covered up, as you can see, the hatch looks pretty much 100 percent stock, the stock carpet still fits and the rings for cargo tie down are still exposed, overall height in case is around 1/4", basically from the thickness of the new fake floor:





Remove the carpet and here is what you see, a new fake floor wrapped in black trunk liner, divided into four sections, with two cutouts.







remove the two covers and here is what you see, two Arc Audio's new Xdi mini full range class D amps sit at the front, a 804 sends 80 watts a piece to the mids and tweeters, and a 1000.1 powers the sub with 700 watts at 2ohm. The sub is a Stereo Integrity BM MKIII.

The amps were chosen for their price point and more importantly, their tiny footprint, as they had to go into a unused space ahead of the strut brace area. the sub was chosen for its shallow mounting and its ability to work in TINY sealed enclosures. both the amps and the sub are trimmed in black CF for a lil visual pop. But again, things are dictated by functionality, not showiness.















Now you may noticed the four screw covers on the center section of the fake floor, they hide four bolts...and this leads to the system's little party trick, remove those four bolts and the center top floor panel comes out:





then you are left with the sub enclosure itself...which then can be lifted out to have full access to the spare tire. The side panels also release with Velcro and two screws each to access the tools if need be:



I timed myself and the entire process takes under 2 minutes and requires nothing more than a Philips screw driver. There is also enough extension on the subbox to rest it on the hatch opening:



This is a pretty weird view I guess of a sub enclosure



The enclosure is about .4-.45 cubic foot, which may sound small but the Si really have very little problem with it, as you will see later.
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Last edited by butdamnbrian; 07-11-2011 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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onto the build pics.

First I made the flat portion of the enclosure that matches the contours of the OEM foam spacer’s bottom side, and then cut a hole that is a little smaller than the spare tire rim size.



next, this is the bottom portion of the enclosure that sits inside of the spare tire rim...speaking of which, maybe I should go into business making MDF brake rotors? lol





Fleece was then stapled the outer edge of the piece:





then it was put into the wheel, and the fleece pulled and stapled to the inner edge of the flat mdf baffle. After this picture was taken, a 50 lb weight was dropped onto the center piece to pull the fleece tight, and resin applied:



Now the reason why I didn’t just take a profile mold of the inside of the spare tire well is because I want to have a little bit of wiggle room so the enclosure can slide forward and lift out of the trunk easily.

Once the resin cured, the entire thing was lifted out of the car, and a few strips of wood to act as bracing/support were secured:



Next, the inside of the fleece received a dozen layers of fiberglass mat to reinforce it, the center hole sealed off, and speaker cables fed in:



Here is the enclosure from the bottom:



Next the top mounting baffle was fabricated to match the OEM foam spacer's topside profile:



and the two pieces mated to form a single enclosure. I lined the bottom of the enclosure with foam to prevent any buzzing and rattling against the spare tire rim:





the top baffle was then covered with black CF vinyl, and now the enclosure is ready to be dropped into the car:





Moving onto the amp and processor. As mentioned, there is a strip of wasted space at the front of the hatch area, previous occupied by a single foam spacer. Once that was removed, I was left with a wide but short strip of real estate. First an mdf board was secured with stock bolts and nuts and provides the mounting point for the Zapco DSP6.





Next a top board was secured and the Arc Audio XDi amps were mounted and wired up:



I can tell you that bending over the high hatch opening to do the mounting and wiring was one of the more painful experiences of my installation career lol.

Here is the cosmetic trim for the amps before and after vinyl application, and then put into the vehicle:







The front fake floor before and after carpet:





The two side panels:





and the center fake floor portion:





Also the grilles for the amps and the sub:









So that’s it...after some tuning by my friend Scott Welch, the car sounds pretty good...overall tonality is nice and smooth, with good detail and midbass impact. Stage for some reason is absurdly high...like rear view mirror high lol, decent width, depth was okay considering the stock locations and shallow dash, and center is pretty decent as well. The SI BM MKIII continues to impress as without any tuning, it presented us with a very smooth and flat response from 80hz down…with no real peaks and valleys…this is a 12” sub in a .4 cub feet enclosure!!! Sub bass to midbss transition is not too bad either…not as good as say the dodge ram I did recently, but not bad. Overall, I think it’s a nice sounding car given the relatively modest budget.

An hour’s worth of tuning gave us this EQ curve on the RTA, the light rise at the bottom is from the sub turned up, not part of the sub response itself



So yeah, that’s my first 370Z...in many ways this is a better car for audio than the 350Z...and I noticed it’s put together much better and there were almost no audible rattles. The interior doesn’t come apart as easily and working on the amps upfront is very tiring, but overall...pretty cool!

Cheers,

Bing

***
so that's my installer's build thread. crazy stuff. can't wait to give it a thorough listen and add some more feedback...
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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very nice build!
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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wow this is just incredible!

it has me written all over it

i really respect the that the stock appearance and usability has been retained!

I would definitely have this done to my z if I were to have the opportunity
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Bookmarked for when I'm ready to start my audio build!
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Old 07-11-2011, 01:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow! That's a really nice build. I was planning on just making a mdf box to sit in the spare but...... Wonder if bing would be interested in replicating part of this build?
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think this is the cleanest audio build I've seen on a 370. Really cool.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Focal Installed Questions

I have a similar set of focal speakers waiting to be installed in my Z. Did you solder on speaker wire without cutting the tweater speaker wire length or?

What gauge speaker wire did you use?
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 37Z View Post
I have a similar set of focal speakers waiting to be installed in my Z. Did you solder on speaker wire without cutting the tweater speaker wire length or?

What gauge speaker wire did you use?

tweeter wires are 16 guage stinger pro, connected to the focal tweeter wire with quick releases in case the tweeter needs to be removed for servicing. the lead is just long enough to reach the bottom of the dash.
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for the information!

What's does the Zapco do?
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm not real familiar with state of the art in active crossovers in car audio, so maybe you could answer a couple things for me. How many filters can be used per channel on the Zapco? How many is typical on lower cost models (and what would some of those models be?)? What orders are available?
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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this is pretty sexy! Wish I had the money.. I would pay you to come do it to my car
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Love it!!!
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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the zapco is a full digital signal processor: Zapco - Processors

it is 6 channel in 6 channel out, computer controlled with GUI

you have individual controls of 10 band parametric crossover with 1 hz steps

hi/low/bandpass filters with two types of filter and 6 to 24 db/octave slopes

time alignment

input and output gain adjustment

this is on EVERY channel.


think of it this way.

say instead of car audio with high sound quality as the goal

lets say you are building a custom engine for maximum performance.


the DSP would be like a high end stand alone engine management system...that allows you fine tune everything to obtain the best results.

the DSP does the same, except for listening pleasure

b
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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whats a ballpark cost for the install done in this thread?
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