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    • Clarion CZ603AU Head Unit - Has anyone used?
      Thanks for the replies everyone and nice to see you on here again muzzy ;)!   Just to chime in on your recommendation - I would push for a 9887 wherever possible, if you are interested in SQ. The Clarion CZ603 and also the older Alpine 9855r only have level adjustment per pair of channels, not per single channel. It will be much more difficult to achieve good balance and work around the install limitations of a car without proper level control on each channel.  Also, the 9887 also has more crossover slope options, 6/12/18/24 which I found very handy when I was trying to push some tweeters to the lower limits!
      I am considering the CZ603 because my current 9887 is broken and I can't find another one for sale. 9887 will always by my number 1 budget SQ preference.
    • Using a RTA to help tune
      My god yes...I cannot tolerate most of the garbage being churned out today. As more and more talented musicians from the past pass away (e.g Prince) I start feeling more and more sad in knowing that we may never see that type of talent and/or originality again. *sigh*
    • Help me choose between 2 and 3 way splits!
      I must agree with all of the above. Early in my 'DIY' life I tried going the extra mile with a three-way active system, draw to the idea of wanting the ultimate no-compromise system.  With the level of knowledge I had at that time, I found it incredibly difficult to get even remotely good sound out of that system, despite the fact that I was using nothing but high end components. Running three-way active plus a sub means you have 6 different crossover points you need to work with (tweeter HPF, mid HPF, Mid LPF, low HPF, low LPF, sub LPF).  For each of those crossover points you need to be able to accurately tune: 1) Crossover point 2) Crossover slope 3) Gain (driver level) 4) Time alignment 5) EQ - as a last resort It doesn't sound that complicated.  When you're a beginner who is actually sitting in the car playing with the settings, it it well and truly FUBAR.  If it seems to bright for example, you won't know if it's because the tweeters are too high, the mids are too low, the midbass is too low, the sub is too low, the mixrange has a peak, the tweeters have a peak, the midrange/tweeter crossover has an overlap, etc. There are just many bloomin' possibilities that you will drive yourself crazy chasing the problem, like a cat chasing it's tail. If you have a 3way passive setup that it's not as bad, but you still need to get angles right on your mids and on your tweeters, you need to get the mids in a suitable sized enclosure, you need to adjust the level settings on the passive crossovers (they usually have it), etc.  There's a lot to mess with, and it can be really overwhelming. I think the best path to take when building a system yourself is: 1) Two-way passive: Gets you used to playing with EQ, tweeter angles, etc 2) Two-way active: Gets you used to playing with crossover slopes and points, time alignment, etc 3) Three-way passive: Gets you used to playing with angles of multiple drivers, working with small midrange enclosures, playing with basic driver levels on the passives 4) Three-way active: By the time you've gone through all of the above, you've probably gained the experience to be able to toy around a bit with 3-way active You can probably do step 2 and 3 in either order, to be honest. Of course you're welcome o try sooner if you really want to, just know that is very complicated and involved, and you might find it very difficult to get the overall system sounding how you want it to - which may leave you feeling demotivated given the amount of effort involved.  If you don;t care and you wannt jump in and get your hands dirty for the sake of learning (and are willing to accept imperfect sound while you work it out) the by all means, power to you!    
    • Clarion CZ603AU Head Unit - Has anyone used?
      Howdy Spink, long time no speak! haha It is sad that there is such little activity on here - as you know I used to spend a bunch of time on here.  Audio became less of a priority in my life, but I still used to enjoy coming here just to see some of the discussions going on around, and to offer up advice here and there. I think the problem is that so many new cars are going with highly integrated solutions now days, and it's making aftermarket solutions much more complicated to implement.  The upside is that a lot of people who wants aftermarket systems in newer cars are going to have to get them installed professionally, which generates more business for the local industry.  The downside is twofold: 1) The reason why I took the DIY path to begin with (and this is probably true for most who do) is because I had a limited budget.  I barely had enough money to be able to buy the components I wanted, and I just couldn't get my hands on enough cash to be able to blow upwards of $1k on install work.  If DIY wasn't an option for me, then I would have just had to go without audio...and I suspect that's what a lot of people are probably doing.   2) As exciting as it was paying for pro installs, it really wasn't until I started on the DIY path that my interested really started to spike.  When I started doing my own installing, and started experimenting with different components / techniques, and started to see the varying results...it motivated me to want to understand WHY I was getting the results I was getting.  It was this thirst for knowledge and understanding that drove me to be so active in discussions, in my research, and on forums.  Before I took that DIY path my forum involvement used to be pretty much limited to biased fanboy arguments about why product X is so much better then product Y - and the worst part is that I never actually had any grounds on which to base that argument.  I would just listen to what other people say, blindly take it as truth, and then I'd regurgitate it out again.  It was stupid.  People would ask for recommendations about speakers and all I could say is things like "Focal are harsh / bright speakers, and Dynaudio are more smooth and natural" - silly things like that.  I had no clue what I was talking about, I just said this garbage because that's what everybody else said, so it must be true - right?  When I started to engage in my own research and experimentation I started to learn a great deal more about the science of audio, and I started to realize how blind I had been all those years.  I started to learn how complex the world of audio really is, and how naive I had been all those years, when I was looking at audio in such an utterly one dimensional way.  It opened up a whole new perspective on how I looked at sound and audio, and all of that just served as further motivation to want to learn even more, and understand it all even better. When car manufacturers started this huge push towards integrated AV systems I think they scared a lot of DIY people away.  When you kill the DIY market, you kill the interest.  You kill the knowledge.  You kill so much of the drive and the motivation.  It gives people less reason to want to come to forums like this, and spend hours discussing sound, because you have no motivation to really understand the complex workings of audio if all you're going to do is hand cash over to your installer and say "here throw in X and Y and Z and tune it for me!"...and that's sad.   /rant   If you're looking for a head unit with good processing capabilities...well. I guess it depends on what type of budget you are wiling to apply, and exactly what degree of processing you desire. Personally, I've always been a huge fan of the Clarion HX-D2.  It's one of those units that I consider to be "valuable beyond the sum of it's parts" - so to speak.  Many will look at the spec sheet and will sigh over the lack of EQ bands, or the lack of crossover slop options, or the lack of Bluetooth / iPod functionality.  Those who give it a chance and spend some time with one will learn to appreciate the sheer comprehensiveness the unit offers with each and every one of it's tuning features.  Things like: * The 0.5dB stepped volume adjustments, * The extremely fine EQ adjustment (each band allows Q values ranting from 0.5 - 24 in half steps, with gain from -24dB to +12dB on half dB steps) * The versatile crossover system, which allows you to the freedom to mute individual channels, toggle phase on each channel pair, and adjust gain in 0.5dB steps) Don't get me wrong, the HX-D2 is some 15 years old now and it's not going to give you sheer processing power of a an ARC PS8 or the equivalent Helix standalone processor.  But it will STILL stand up well and hold it's own when compared to the most powerful integrated units (including the P99), and if you search you can sometimes find used ones at bargain prices. Beyond that, the next unit I would probably go for (if you don't want to sacrifice modern features) would be a Pioneer DEH-P80RS (or the newer 80PRS, if you need Bluetooth).  Alpine used to build some nice integrated units in that midrange price point, but in my experience I found the UI to be clunky to use, I found the tuning features to be (at times) limiting, and subjectively I was never a big fan of their their sound signature (which I always found to be a bit muddy / mid-bass heavy).  The Pioneer's main limitation is that it 'only' has a 16-band graphic EQ, but I don't think that's a big deal given that the Parametic EQ's on integrated head units tend to be pretty limited unless you stretch to the pro grade units (HX-D2 / P99).  I don't think the 16 band EQ on the P80 is likely to be much less powerful then the Parametric on an Alpine for example, as the Alpines from memory only give you something like 4 or 5 different Q values and also tend to restrict you from being able to overlap bands, etc.  Eclipse used to make some pretty powerful integrated units (CD8455, etc) - probably the strongest processor in that sub $1k price point if I'm to be honest.  However the company no longer builds head units, and finding used ones can be incredibly difficult. I would probably make my recommendations something like this: Budget < $300, new:  Clarion CZ603 Budget < $300, used: Alpine CDA-9887 (or older equivalent) Budget < $800, new: Pioneer DEH-P80RS / 80PRS Budget < $800, used: Clarion HX-D2 Budget > $1,000: Pioneer P99R I don't think you'll do better then the above without going for a dedicated processor. 
    • Pro-Audio drivers for HLCD
      Cheers guys! This is going to be a slow process but I will do detailed updates as things progress
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