ICE Installation Basics

eviljohn2

Well-known Member
Following on from my previous thread:
http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=241783&highlight=vectra

Whilst I can cope with the electronics and audio side of ICE I'm very much a newbie when it comes to car interiors and the details of ICE so I don't mind people being too patronising...

My current plan for my car (which is currently completely OEM) is to put in a new head unit which is connected to the steering wheel controls but not the dash display. New speakers in the front doors and a small stereo amp somewhere in the cabin. I'm also keen to reduce road noise so I hope to put some additional soundproofing in all 4 of the doors and potentially in the boot if possible. I'm not after outright SPL or even stunning hifi quality but jumping a few steps up the scale would be great and I'd like a system which can handle dynamic music.

That's the basics out of the way, I'm hoping to spend about £300 in total on the project which probably means I'll have to do the work myself. I'm not afraid of that but want the install to be completely stealth (original speaker grills, invisible amp and trim which still looks like a factory fit). Do people have any experience and advice WRT products and a plan of action? Do my plans seem sensible within my budget?

A few years ago someone posted a link to an excellent introductory website with details on most ICE aspects to a very basic level. Could someone post a link to a similar website?

And the final question is about amplifier mounting and connections. Is it possible to mount them without causing any damage to the vehicle body? And how are they supplied with power? Wiring directly to the battery seems like a cowboy way to go about it!

TIA. :)
 

BenW

Active Member
If you're spending £300 then i'd imaging you want to spend it like this:

£100 - Headunit
£80 - Amp
£80 - Component Speakers
£20 - Sound proofing for 2 doors
£20 - Wiring

From what i've read an amp would normally be connected to a splitter on the battery via some large guage wiring.

Also, an amp can just be thrown in the boot AFAIK but its not recommended. I'f you're mounting it somewhere out of sight (Under a seat?) then does it matter if you're putting a bolt or 2 through the body?
 
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trashbat

Guest
thats the way it is, an amp is usually connected straight to the battery because it draws a big current. if you wired it to another wiring loom in the car only bad things can happen (i don't know exactly what because im not willing to try it). try and put the amp in the glovebox maybe if you don't mind loosing that space. my friend put his cd changer in his glovebox and it looks stunning because he has finished it properly. if you dont want to do that just whack it under the seat. get a bit of MDF the same size as the base of your amp and screw it to that then get some pieces of velcro (halfords £7.99 for a strip 1m x 50mm) and secure it to the floor that way. never drill or screw into the body work if you are laying amps down (its not worth the effort and danger of screwing into something important) always use a sheet of MDF as a base. oh and make sure if you are going to put the amp under the seat, DO NOT screw it upsidedown to the underneath of the seat (like many people have) otherwise it will overheat and goodbye amp. hope this helps. :devil:

ps. a lot of the soundproofing that i've looked at is very pricey. if you want to do 4 doors and boot floor i dont think you will get much change out of 120+ quid :(
 

GaryB

Well-known Member
For the sort of money you're spending, I would dispense with the separate amplifier and go for a better quality head unit & speakers. Most of the newer head units have pretty high powered amps in them anyway.

If you do fit a separate amplifier, make sure you fit the fuse as close to the battery as possible, not at the amplifier end. This is to protect the wiring if it should get shorted to the body of the car.

The website you were thinking of may be:

http://www.the12volt.com

Most of the speaker adapters you will need are made by Autoleads and available from eBay.
 

BenW

Active Member
Price of sound proofing material depends on where you put it. If you want it in just behind the speakers (should improve sound quality) then you can do it for £10/door.

If you want to cover the whole door then you can do it for £35/door
 

eviljohn2

Well-known Member
GaryB said:
For the sort of money you're spending, I would dispense with the separate amplifier and go for a better quality head unit & speakers. Most of the newer head units have pretty high powered amps in them anyway.
That would suit me well, I've generally found that Sony MOSFET tech is pretty good for other uses. I'm not after blistering levels, just enough power to make the speakers work to a decent level - obviously they'd probably do better with an offboard amp but I do have other things to fund.

Trashbat, does velcro stick well enough to carpet inside cars or do you mean attaching hooks to carpet and loops to amp (or vice versa)? :
 

monkeynuts

Active Member
Afternoon John :)

Haven't spoken to you in a while, and hope you are keeping well :)

Just to let you know that i've just completed a simple but effective install in my latest car (Mk2 16v Golf ;))

I've sourced some bits and pieces on here to keep costs down and also been to the dreaded ebay!

Alpine 9815RB Mp3 headunit £140inc on here

Kenwood 4" components £15inc on here
-front doors on the golf

Infinity BassLink thing £90ish inc on here
-Velcroed and strapped into the boot and leaves loads of boot space.

MB Quart 4x6" £29inc on ebay
-not arrived yet but will go in the stock spaces next to the rear shelf.

Now i appreciate that everything is different makes! But also they are all doing totally different things and i have to buy on price at the moment.

The system needs a bit of tweaking, but being an older german car, things seem to be a lot more solid than my previous newer french car and i haven't the need for sound proofing as yet.

I have some alpine amps that i picked up at the scrappy for a fiver ;) but am yet to try them out powering the components as most people suggest.

I have a few bits and pieces left which you are more than welcome to and i'll PM you what i am going to put up for sale shortly elsewhere.

Speak to you soon

cheers

Sam :smashin:
 
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trashbat

Guest
what ive found best with the velcro is if you stick the hooks side of it to your board and then stick it to the carpet (shouldn't have to worry about sticking the loops side to the floor as this is usually crappy cos you can't really stick tape to carpet). the velcro hooks hold surprizingly well to car carpet :devil:
 

skap7309

Banned
eviljohn2 said:
I'm also keen to reduce road noise so I hope to put some additional soundproofing in all 4 of the doors and potentially in the boot if possible.

TIA. :)
As a so-called newbie.......thats a very good addition to a good system, people need to know the importance of this. I spent £850 on a system and was quite dissapoined untill i used dynamat xtreme to cover the majority of the interior. It is expensive, but read every soundproofing guide/test on the web and this stuff excells well over anything avalible. Dont be tempted to scrimp with just roof flashing etc, you are wasting your time.
£300 may be pushing it, but as it was pointed out, ditch the amp as most head units are well powered now, and just replace factory fit with upgrades.
Good luck! :smashin:
 

eviljohn2

Well-known Member
Top stuff, thanks guys.

Looks like I may have garnered a nice head unit from my old chum Monkeynuts which sorts that out. If I can then just swap out the OEM speakers with some appropriate aftermarket models and put some soundproofing in where possible within budget hopefully I'll be laughing.

Does anyone have any advice as to what price range speakers would be appropriate? I suspect that I'll struggle to find a really bad pair in my price range as they all seem fairly similar. :)
 

skap7309

Banned
When i had my old car i had £45ish pioneer/sony 2-ways in the doors/parcel shelf and was more than happy. The solid build and sound quality will be light years away from the cardboard cones on factory fit.
Just to throw a spanner in the works though, it was the head unit that really changed the way my stereo sounded, after all, it is the 'brains' of any system. Spend as much of the budget on this as you can.
 
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mack10

Guest
i recently purchased sony mp70 head unit, sony 400w amp and kenwood sub. any tips on how to fit it? this is my 1st real installation apart from the odd head unit. cheers
 
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trashbat

Guest
hey mack.

hopefully you have already got your head unit fitted and have all the nesessary parts (ie. wires, crimps, tools etc)

1) disconnect the battery (positive and negative) remember not to short the battery with any tools you have in the engine bay.
2)take head unit out of cage to expose the back of it and connect your RCA and remote cables. run these out of the back and it should just come back out where the pedals are (obviously run the wire in front of them not behind!)
3) conect a FUSED POWER WIRE to the positve terminal on your battery and make sure the fuse is as close to the battery as you can get without being in the way then find a small hole in the fire wall (make sure it is the passenger side because this is easier as you can get right underneath the glove box to get at it and you need to run wires down seperate sides). if you make youre own hole make sure you put a gromet in otherwise you might accidently cut the power wire. feed the power wire through
4) remove all of the trims down the sides of your car so that you can start putting the wire down underneath the carpet. do this all along and then feed into the boot might be a bit difficult on some cars but you should be able to do it as long as you back seats fold down to a certain extent. if not have a poke around and try to find a way in.
5) with all the wires in the back (POWER, RCA and REMOTE) start to connect them to the amp and make sure you earth the amo to a metal part of the car body and also try outting the amp on a piece of wood as to not let is slide around

you should then be able to wire everything up by the manufacturers guidelines>

if you have any questions please ask them before attempting the install :devil:
 

arby1

Active Member
GaryB said:
For the sort of money you're spending, I would dispense with the separate amplifier and go for a better quality head unit & speakers. Most of the newer head units have pretty high powered amps in them anyway.
although most headunits quote 4x50w etc, they are 'max' ratings which mean effectively nothing when real-life performance is required- you generally get one third or less of the quoted head-units power available as rms wattage (ie 15W or less), and this isn't just a ploy from the cheaper brands, pioneer, alpine, clarion etc all do it. For this reason, you NEED an amp, just trust me on that, even a cheap second hand ebay bargain will improve your sound hugely as all head-units will distort the sound before you reach the limits of the speaker (unless you have rubbish speakers). Just look at the physical size of the head-unit, they're tiny in comparison to an amp and a head-unit has to have all the cd mechanism/tuner parts in it as well. And if you're thinking, does size matter, for amps, it does, as the limint on power is overheating and to cool it you need heat-sinks which are almost non-existant on head-units. If you want me to point out some suitable ebay amps i'll have a look later.
Not trying to dampen your spirits here, but for the speakers you'er looking at, have a glance at the rms power rating they work best with, and if it's more than 15W then no head-unit will be able to get the best out of them and i feel you'll just end up disappointed.

Also, haven't read the whole thread so sorry if i repeat this, but if you're wanting to sound-deaden on a serious budget, (you said £20) then you need to get flashing tape/marley tape, it's not as effective as other dedicated produclts like dynamat, but when it's ten times cheaper you can't complain, you should be able to do most of what you said with £20
 

eviljohn2

Well-known Member
arby1 said:
then no head-unit will be able to get the best out of them and i feel you'll just end up disappointed.
Many thanks for the comments Arby, they were practically what I thought originally as I'm quite familiar with speaker/amplification combinations in the home and professional sound market.

Having said that I'd like to zoom-in on the quote I made above - whilst I appreciate that I wouldn't be able to get the best out of a pair of speakers without an amp I also know it to be true that the vast majority of the time the speakers will only be drawing a fraction of your 15W figure at sensible volumes. Assuming head units have decent clip protection would it still be a viable alternative? :)
 

arby1

Active Member
almost no head-unit has clip protection- some are set so that max volume is still producing a clean signal- but the second you increase any setting on the eq (particularly 'loud' or 'd-sub' or whatever they call it now) you'll be well into clip territory! The biggest problem with running devent speakers off a head-unit is that standard oem speakers are designed to be run from the low power and often have a high sensitivity, whereas aftermarket ones expect a higher power and can thus be less sensitive but use the extra power to have more control over the speaker, thus producing a sharper sound.

A second problem is that oem speakers usually are quite heavy on the bass, in an effort to create the image of a quality sound, so that when replacing them the new sound is often clearer, but if you're somebody that judges the sound on the amount of bass/feel in the music then you could think you've lost out!

As for if you think you're currently drawing more than 15W, then that depends on how loud you like it, if you really don't like it loud then it's prob fine going with the head-unit, but bear in mind i don't think i've met someone who hasn't been clipping the sound when the sound is above moderate, distortion just sounds like 'muddy' bass unless it's extreme but degrades the quality of the sound, and this is where you can gain hugely with an amp
 

hornydragon

Well-known Member
John i have just done the same thing in a similar car....Astra not Vectra by replacing the front speakers with some much better quality units and running them off a mid-top end HU the improvement is good. Having taken loads of advice over 6+ months I would suggest the following..................(if you have this done Pro it will cost £150+ more)
£250-300 HU look for Apline for better AMPS and useful features mine is a kenwood 9531 but alpine would have been better in hindsight
£30 adapter for steering controls (not sure if apline do this but SONY, KENwood, JVC, Pio all do)
£100 front components i have 160mm woofers so i assume yours will be similar this will give you an increase in quality and increase the volume at which you listen without distortion.........
if you are doing the doors your self then by a couple of rollls of dynamat (i didnt bother) for reducing road noise then fitting dynamat under the carpet in the cabin should help a lot as the noises (tyre noise) will come from the arches for egine noise its the transmission tunnel (below gear stick) and firewall fron bulk head you need to do) this could cost you £1500 and still not do what you want, first step is the HU but remember that any aftermarket HU will be more "nickable"
 

eviljohn2

Well-known Member

hornydragon

Well-known Member
keep at it mate....... did you take the glove box out? And I'll have a sound off with you any time (might bring the missus car tho....)
 

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