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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2007 EX-L: Speakers upgrade and sound deadening experience

We bought our 2007 EX-L used in the spring and love it: With three kids, the space is just amazing coming from a Subaru legacy wagon!

One of the things I find lacking, however, are the speakers: They sound muddy (song sections with vocals AND cymbals AND guitar sound horrible), have poor mids and highs (for voices on podcasts...) and upgrading speakers is just generally something I do to my cars. :) When you add to that the general level of noise in the car, it needs work.

So, I bought what I felt I needed to fix that:
  • A set of Polk Audio db6501 component (tweeters and driver separate) speakers dor the front.
  • A set of Polk Audio db651 coaxial speakers for the rear.
  • 4 Metra 72-7800 speaker harness adaptors to plug all this in the Honda OEM speaker wires plug.
  • CLD tiles and butyl rope from Sound Deadener Showdown.
I have never bought any of the above, so have no idea how good/effective they are, but the basic ideas behind them are:
  • I read good reviews of the Polks, including on this board, and they were cheap-ish (70$ and 110$, shipped) by buying them refurbished on the Polk eBay store.
  • I noticed while driving on new asphalt (when it got very, very quiet all of a sudden...) that most of the noise is tire noise that seems to be amplified by the car, so I want to use the CLD and butyl to try and limit this amplification.
  • I will reuse wiring as much as possible and will put the new tweeters in the old one's place.
So, all this to say that I'll start posting pictures of what I got and of my progress. I won't do a full step by step, others have beat me to it very, very well (looking at you, sat), but I'll try to add information when I feel it was not covered in other threads. I also found a lot of information on the board about how to do this, so thanks to all who posted before me.

Edit: I'll host the picture on Flickr and include smallish sizes in the thread to make it load faster.

Nicolas
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
What I got:
  • db651 speakers. These will go in the back, if they should fit. :)

  • db6501 speakers. These come with external crossovers, not show, that I'll need to hide under the dash somewhere...

  • Metra 72-7800 harness adaptors. These fit in the Honda OEM speakers wiring.

  • The CLD tiles and butyl ropes will show their face later on... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
One note on the CLD tiles and butyl rope: I am both cheap and lazy (relatively... :) ) so I cringe when I look at the price of better known sound deadening material. I am also amazed and impressed at the amount of material some folks put in their car to dampen sound. Not saying it's not good, just not for me.

So, I found Sound Deadening Showdown's site by chance, and what the guy behind it says makes sense: Blocking all sound is very difficult, but you can get good results by limiting how the body of the car amplifies vibrations.

The way I think about this is two fold: Remember the thunderbolt noise trick you can do by shaking a large piece of cardboard? When you do that, you are transforming movement into noise. Also remember how a tuning fork can be silenced by applying your pinky to one small area of it?

The SDS CLD tiles bring these together: You apply a small amount of CLD tiles (1/4 of the area) to the panels in your car that resonate (make noise when they vibrate) so that they don't anymore. That way whatever vibration is being produced by the tires/suspension is not transformed into noise by the car's body. Not sure how sane the above is, but that's how I understand it, and I've already bought the stuff... :)

What I did was check what body panels resonated on our Ody, which gives me a map of what I need to work on. I'll also apply some to internal panels like the wheel wells and the floors well.





Now, I have no idea how effective this will be. I will try to make measurements before and after, and I will report on how I feel it went, but it could fail miserably. As the cost was reasonable, I feel OK trying this out. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The customary pictures comparing the OEM and new speakers... :)





 

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Let us know how this works with the stock head. with our RES I'm not going to mess with the head, but not against upgrade speakers. I'm not geeked about the souind of the stock system in my 06 exl, but its not too bad.

OT - I just scored a nice HT receiver off craigslist and guy threw in a 12" sub that the amp broke on - for free. Geeked on deal, I have extra amps laying about...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Will do, just trying to find another way to do pictures... One per post is annoying... :)

Nicolas
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Some things I am working on before starting the install: I bought the speakers from Polk, so did not get harness panel adaptors. This is what you get for trying to save money by not buying from Crutchfield... :)

The Honda speakers have 3 holes, the Polk 4. When I tried to see if the Polk adaptor thing would help, I saw I had two problems:
  • None of the holes in the Polk adaptors fit the Honda holes. So I need to drill new holes in the Pok adaptors.
  • The bigger issue is that the db651 that are going in the back have a tweeter sticking out. If I use the thick Polk adaptors, they won't fit. So, I need to mount them directly to the metal by making new holes in the body panel they attach to. Not thrilled about this, but eh!

    (pale area is where I figure the cover would hit the speaker)
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
The other non-trivial thing I am working on before I start pulling stuff apart is how I will fit the tweeters in...

The OEM tweeters are on the dash, next to the A-pillars, behind small dash plugs pieces. They are easy to take out and pull apart to separate the actual tweeter from the dash plug piece.



If I could take the Polk tweeters out of their casings, they would probably fit very well in the dash plug piece as the external size seems similar to the OEM.



But, I do not want to take a chance with damaging the new tweeters, so they're staying in their casing... :)

What I am thinking I will do is grind/cut the plastic which the OEM clips in and fit the new tweeter in the dash plug. How much plastic I need to remove is shown in the image below by the red and green lines.



Now, how should I position the tweeters? I can put them facing straight up, like the OEM (green line for plastic removal):



Or facing backwards, towards the cabin (red line for plastic removal):


So, thoughts? Should I go with the OEM and bounce off the windshield, or try to aim for the passengers?

And before anyone says so, yes, I could have gotten rid of the tweeters and put coaxials in the front doors, but eh, I couldn't boast about having 6 speakers... ;)

Nicolas
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One word on the Metra adaptors: They look like a good fit, so I am not worried about them matching the OEM harness.



The other end of the adaptors has clip on things, and some of them were a bit too wide, making them loose on the speaker connectors. So, I crimped them a bit, just to make sure they were tight and safe...



Nicolas
 

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Hey Nicolas,

Thanks for the posting about your venture and the detail. Like you (and many others), I wasn't thrilled with the sound so I debated various options over a few months and ultimately changed my head unit and left the stock speakers.

Anyway, I just wanted to say:
1) I had purchased the polks (651) and listened to them in the front location and rear location and compared them to the stock paper cones. From that excercise, I do remember the three vs four holes and I remember just putting in three of the screws (I had to create new ones in the front-plastic and back-metal. Outside of this, there wasn't an issue with the fitting that I recall.

2) Based on the problems you have with the stock sound, I think you'll like the polks. I realize it's subjective, but the polks were definitely neither muddy nor lacking in the mids & highs.

3) From all the reading I did, (i.e. no experience), it seemed like the consensus from various boards was to bounce the tweets off the winshield, especially if you do not have the ability to attenuate the tweets. You can use a resistor if needed, but I'd just avoid it. I'm sure you can temporarly mount the tweet and audition before cutting.

Hope this helps somewhat.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It does! :)

The crossovers that come with the Polks have a +-3/0db switch for the tweets, and I was starting to think I could just try them both ways and see which I prefer.

The downside to this is that I won't be able to get everything ready before I start the work, so would have to do it in two steps.

Having 3 young kids cuts down on my car time... :-/

Nicolas
 

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Nice post. I agree that the stock sound is just awful. Who OEMd this crap for Honda? Our CRV sounds so much better for stock ish. I was BIG into car audio years ago and have since had Euro cars which come with nicer sounding stock systems. I HATE our Odyssey sound system. I was going to throw some entry level Alpines in the stock locations and maybe add something for bass response...
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Here is the wiring of the front speakers and tweeters as it currently is and as it will be when I am done.

I will cut the speaker wires and use them to feed the crossover, then reuse the rest of the speaker wires but will run new tweeter wires and leave the old tweeter wires in place.



(Edit: To be honest, not sure if I am cutting the right side before or after C731, but it doesn't really matter...)

Nicolas
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have been thinking about installing the rear speakers... Since I can't use the supplied adaptor, I will be bolting them directly. What I think I will do is reuse the top bolt then use a punch to mark the three other holes so that the self-tapping screws stay in place.

I made a gauge for the holes, showing where the three OEM holes are and where the 4 Polk holes need to be. I will use it to punch, as I don't want to get a hammer anywhere near the speakers themselves... :)





Nicolas
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
So, what was I saying before the forced 30 hours break... :) *

I installed the rear speakers. This was easy and took about 30 minutes, without rushing. Some notes:
  • Having the speaker harness adaptors make this install soooooo easy. No reason to go without them.
  • I re-used the top hole and ended up using self-tapping screws for the remaining bolts. Just a lot simpler than drilling...
  • Because of how it is positioned, the bottom of the driver-side rear speaker is not accessible, so the speaker only has three bolts holding it in.
  • The Polk db651 speakers have no problem clearing the plastic cover. I think the confusion comes from adding the Polk adaptor to their height, which might make them touch the cover. However, since the adaptors do not fit the Honda holes, they are basically useless. So, no need to with he shallower db651s speakers then. :)
Some (crappy cell phone) pictures:



From a quick test, comparing one old and new speaker, the new ones "clarify" the sound a lot: When music has a lot of instruments, you actually hear all of them well, whereas the original speakers, IMHO, tend to favor the low frequency sounds (bass...) and muddy things quite a bit. We'll see how it goes when all 6 are new.

Next up, the front!

Nicolas

P.s. For those who don't know, the site was down for a bit more than a day for maintenance of some sort.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I had to put it aside for the winter as I don't have anywhere to work on the car if it's cold.

Weather permitting, I'll post an update within a month with the front speakers and tweeters.

Nicolas
 

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The speaker grills are just clipped in on my 07 Odyssey. I bought some trim removal tools from Harbor Freight for $10 to make sure I didn't scratch the plastic. They worked great.
 

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