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  1. #1
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    Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    I decided to upgrade the old Pioneer custom fit components in the front doors of my A4. I bought some Rainbow SLX-230 deluxe 13cm units with silk dome tweeters. Well 4 hours later and I have one side completed. It was a real ***** of a job as the new woofers are designed to be front loaded and I had to heavily customise the MDF adapters that I made to get them to fit properly. Also had to slice a few mm's off the inside of the door to stop the panel fouling on the speaker chassis. Well a roll of Dynamat and a few hot melt glue sticks later and....
    TBH now I can fade left to right and do a direct comparison there is very little improvement at high volume. The Rainbow components still sound a little harsh when driven hard (via an Alpine 4ch amp, HU & CD changer), and the benefit, if any, seems to be pyschological (they're better speakers so they must sound better).
    I wouldn't do this upgrade again, and just proves what I already thought that there is a limit to the quality you can get out of a front door speaker, and that limit has nothing to do with the speaker itself but the acoustical limitations of a hardboard door card loosely screwed to a metal tin can. No amount of Dynamat or money spent on the speakers can change those limitations. I'm sure there are some audiophiles who will poo-poo the above and come up with any number of theories as to why the upgrade is worthwhile but I can only report the facts and literally can't face doing the other side for such a minimal improvement.

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  3. #2
    imported_Yaseen
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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    Andy very honest of you to admit so [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif[/img]

    are you gonna try putting them in the kickwell to see if a difference? As from reading on Talk-audio a lot seem to feel thats the best iirc.

  4. #3
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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    No I give up, that would mean a huge amount of work. I'm not unhappy with the sound of the Pioneers or the Rainbows, they sound excellent with the 10" sub, I was just looking for a softer top end when driven hard, I guess it's just a sign to turn it down a tad.

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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    OK slight U turn. Having now fitted the drivers side components the sound does seem dramatically improved. Don't know why, but that'll teach me to review something only half finished. The clarity is retained at high volume, less chaotic, and the treble is sharp but not harsh as it was with the Pioneers. Also much more mid bass which I wasn't expecting, partly due to the extra inch in woofer diameter I guess and partly because the rainbow woofers are just better.
    Fitting was a lot easier once I'd established the template from the first door.
    Here's a pic

    And yes, I did run out of Dynamat.

  6. #5
    FactionOne's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    Hey Andy,

    How's life?

    I fell into exactly the same trap not so long ago... My boss gave me a set of EBTB Terra II (http://www.everything-but-the-box.com) speakers to take home and play with a couple of months ago; and being fully aware of the physics of monitor placement and stereo fields; I still decided to do a "side-by-side" comparison similar to yours... Surely enough, the Terra IIs sounded absolutely awful - quite like a loud pair of headphones left on a glass table in fact. Anyway, I hooked the other one up and fiddled with the HF-trim a little; and once they were located properly and the stereo-field was balanced there was a dramatic improvement [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    They did sound pretty good all of a sudden... However the tale doesn't end as happily as yours because after a while of listening with and without assistance from a sub, I still came to the conclusion that you can be as clever as hell with cabinet design to maximise bandwidth, but there's no substitute for voice-coil real-estate and promptly reinstated my Dynaudio BM15s! (http://www.dynaudioacoustics.com)

    ...It's amazing how much difference there is in sound quality between a proeprly configured stage and a "nearly-there" test eh!

    I take it your new components are recommendable by your last post(?) - A good friend of mine (the lad who's helped do all the work on my car) has just bought his first Audi, and it's a B5 A4; so I'm very much on the lookout for recommendations and tips for his forthcoming install...

    Hope you're well fella,

    Rob.

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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    Yes very well (now) thanks.
    I'd definately recommend the Rainbow comps, although they are a bugger to fit. While the Xovers are nice & slim so you can fit them on the door card, the woofers have a lip all the way round on the front, so if you're rear loading them they sit on the lip which isn't satisfactory.
    I cut out some thin strips of Dynamat and 2 layers all the way round gave the speaker something decent to sit on.
    Again the depth isn't an issue as they're only 60mm deep, but if you're making fitting adapters you have to hack bits of MDF off here & there to get the door card to fit properly (but this would be the case with any 13cm unit). But definately more tricky than an A3 where at least the mounting posts are square to the speaker, on the A4 the speaker is angled upwards but the posts are plumb (for extra annoyance).
    Rather than use a 2 part ring I used a single 9mm MDF ring and routed out the insert to take the bigger driver. Although I still haven't rewired them so they still use the Audi wiring partway. Just can't see how you'd route new wiring through as the loom enters the footwell miles away from the rubber boot that goes to the door. Another little job for another day I guess.

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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    hi andy

    scuse my ignorance but why haven't you dynamatted the door card itself

    i did this on mine and it made a hell of a difference

    just wondering ??

  9. #8
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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    As I said I ran out of Dynamat on the second one

  10. #9
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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    It sounds like you had good fun figuring out the best way to mount them - but I suppose that just makes the good results even more worthwhile!

    I can understand your wiring woes - I removed and replaced every last inch of Audi-fitted speaker cable (/dental-floss) in my A3; and that was enough of a headache and I wouldn't even fancy doing that again any time soon. ...We had a quick look at my mate's B5 just after he got it, and I have to agree, it looks like re-wiring it will be that much harder because things are a little further away from each other (and in some nicely-awkward places). I'm sure we'll manage though...

    All the best,

    Rob.

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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    I'm selling the Pioneer custom fit components on ebay if anyone wants a quality easy fit replacement for the Nokia garbage in their B5 A4. These are custom fit Pioneer TS-H1311 and literally just slot in with no cutting or modifications needed (unlike the Rainbow comps). Pioneer don't make these anymore but they were 80 3 years ago and are a big improvement on the OEM units. Audi A4 front components

  12. #11
    imported_kenloen
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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    [ QUOTE ]
    . ...We had a quick look at my mate's B5 just after he got it, and I have to agree, it looks like re-wiring it will be that much harder because things are a little further away from each other (and in some nicely-awkward places). I'm sure we'll manage though...


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I recently installed a 5 channel Amp, component fronts, coax rears and Sub. By far the most difficult part was making the front components fit (as described above), the wiring is the easy part, seemed to me the B5 was designed with DIY Ice installers in mind, huge trunking areas, nothing difficult in getting cable through or routed.
    The amp power cable (which i was concerned about) was simple, there is a waterproof box with some ecu just in front of the driver, through this there are fist sized holes down to the drivers side kick panel, from there under the carpet.... just one drill hole into the waterproof box (and that is easy to reach), hopefully i will have some pictures soon for you to see..

  13. #12
    imported_kris_tdi
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    Re: Upgrading front component speakers in B5 A4

    i have just changed one side in mine for alpine spr136's

    i have to say despite this being a twnety odd grand car, its a damn lot easier to work on than my old corsa, all the audi cables are so neat and tidy, and its easy to reroute cables.

    took me about 3 hours to do the drivers side, but recon only an hour for the passengers side now as i know what im doing.

 

 

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