High-End Audio for the DeLorean

Created: 1/1/03

Last updated: New

Author/source: DML-Kayo Ong

From: kayoong
Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 7:46 AM
Subject: Re: [DML] biggest speaker possible in rear speaker holes -- VERY LONG!!!

Several months ago I post a thread asking if anyone had any experience with McIntosh or Sinfoni amplifiers in a DeLorean.  In short, there were only two DeLorean owners who had responded.  One person has asked me to post my "info" regardless, as to share info.  In short I did purchased the Sinfoni 120.4x amp and I love it against many amps I had or heard and I have heard many sound systems.... McIntosh amps are no slouch or losers and both of these company's amps are not cheap and they are the best amongst others amps in the industry.


Anyway, I hope I can add some insights on this subject of "sound reproduction" for it can be very subjective with controversy.  Reproduced sound from any audio equipment whether it is home or auto can sound good upon first hearing it.  But listening under long period of time is the real test.  Irritating sounds from bad audio equipments (as well as bad music) may disturb your nature or behavior or put you to sleep and this is not good, especially on long drives in a car.  It is called "listening fatigue."  Good sound will liven and perk you up.  Remember, sound is energy and when this energy is in harmony when you are listening to good sound, it will energize and liven you.  When I am in a car and driving long period of time from 12 to 16 hours or better, which I frequently do; a good audio system is a must. 

Now to answer the original question that was posted about "the biggest speakers possible," the first thing to keep in mind is, are you looking to hear your reproduced music as in the "quality" or do you want sound reinforcement as in "quantity" -- volume, with the excessive bass shaking sound?  If you want sound "quantity" then just buy or make speaker housings for large speakers that can house 10" and/or 12" woofer that can pump out the sound that you can live with.   BTW… Do protect your ears when you pump out those excess decibels, for the premature lost of hearing is from loud noises or sounds.

If you want good "quality" sound then you will have to research and work at it.  Let me start by saying that the cabin's interior of the DeLorean is NOT the best for sound to be reproducing in.  In reality it is the worst.  The cubic area and the unusual internal shape do not allow the easy of placement of the speakers as the difficulty to get the right quality of sound.  The DeLorean's cabin does not provide adequate room for the different frequencies to merge together to become a sound field let alone and accurate sound field.

The famous Bose Company for decades and several new comers such as Mark Levinson and others spends loads of money and time working with car manufactures and their individual car models interior to get the acousticsand the sound correctly.  They will even alter the electronics to enhance or to compensate the sound to achieve their goals.  This is one of the reason why you cannot buy these systems to fit other models or cars, for it is dedicated for the car's interior that it has been engineered for.

I hope my next statement will not start a flame with the DeLorean community, but the original sound system by Craig that was installed from the factory is on the same level of the PVR powerplant in the DeLoreans.  Both can do the required job, but both lacks in performances.

For general listening, a sound system should be "front dominating."  All sound should be from the front.  Sound should be front dominating and not from the rear.  Rear sound should be just "fill in," unless you like your music or sound from the rear.  Ask yourself, when was the last time you were listen to a concert or person playing an instrument from your backside? 

Now for the DeLorean's cabin to get good sound is a difficult task because of several factors.  One is the limited or the lack of area available to mount the speakers, especially a good large round speakers of 6" or better which is a must as to reproduce the lower frequencies.  With component speakers systems, they are more of a challenge, because of the many required areas for the speaker placements as to insure dispersion for the integration or homogenizing of all the separate frequencies produced by the individual speakers. 

To install any types of speakers in the door panels of the DeLorean is impossibility.

The front dash panel is engineered with the space to accommodate a 3 1/2" speaker and is no prizewinner for good sound.  You can squeeze a 4" round full range speaker in this space.  It will sound warmer then the 3 1/2" speakers, but it will still lack the low bass.  There are no small speaker under 6" that can provide substantial low bass without over working itself to premature failure.  The other problem associated with the front panel is that an adequate acoustic camber cannot be provided as to seal up the backside of the speaker, under the dash to reinforce the speaker acoustics.  So, the sound quality is poor no matter how good the manufacture or the design of the speakers. 

There is another choice to get an acoustic chamber in the front area, is by fabricating speaker boxes for the foot well area.  I have constructed boxes to house speakers up to 6 3/4."  I understand that foot well speaker boxes are available for sell by some DMC venders.

Now back to your original question.  The side panels, where the 4"X10" speaker are originally engineered and are mounted is not the best for several reasons.  One reason is the material is too thin and the panels will vibrate or will over resonate, which will produce or introduce the wrong sound when the speakers are playing, known as coloration and basically producing the wrong harmonics with the speakers. 

The second problem is that there is not enough chamber space behind the original panels as to aid as a chamber for the speaker to reinforce the lower frequencies.  There are formulated cubic space requirements for all speakers to work at it best and some manufactures will list this information. 

Thirdly, the speakers are facing towards each other, which is not the best for distributing a balance sound stage.  Because the speakers are facing toward each other, it will induce sound cancellation or reinforcement.  Sound cancellation or reinforcement is when frequencies are lost or compounded when frequencies crosses each other.  One may or may not hear these phenomena with the different frequencies lost or gained unless the cabin is swept with a frequency meter with a tone generator then compensated with audio equalizers.

As a matter of fact, all speaker placements, no matter how well they are placed, there will be sound cancellation, but it is a matter of getting the best sound - it is a kind of a hit or a miss proposition.  In reality the DeLorean cabin is really too small to do an accurate frequency sweep make an accurate assessment.

Lastly, to remove the original side panels which is glued into place by the factory and then to replace by re-gluing the side panel with the new speakers (after you figure how to mount the new ones), it is a job.  And if you are not satisfied with the sound of the newly installed speakers and wish to replace it with another brand or to replace a blown speaker, the process to remove the panel and to re-glue it again, is in order.

IMO, the best place to mount speaker are the left and right side of the interior back panel on the firewall.  This way you will not lose any space or the look of the interior.  (I can send you pics of my car.)  The original factory panel is I/4" in thickness of plywood which stiffer then the side panels made of thin plastic material.  The back panel is also stiff enough to do the job and it is also factory damped with sponge foam material to absorb vibration and sound.  You can also opt to make another back panel using thicker particleboard material (at least 3/8" and up) if you do not wish to hack up the original factory's back board.  Behind the backboard, there are two openings left and right of the firewall.  These two opening is an asset in offering an acoustic chamber, with more cubic space necessary then any speaker manufacture's required.  Remember, a chamber is necessary in the aid of the speaker's bass reproduction and the richness of the sound quality.  It is also in the right place, at the corner (adjacent to the side panel), which will also enhance the bass (a natural phenomenon).

As for speakers on the back panel you can use a 4"X10" which will fit nicely.  4"X6" are too small to reproduce the low bass end.  Speakers of 6"X9", 5" and 6" configurations are difficult to installed in this area due to the speakers frame will not clear the corners of the fire wall.  So, 4"X10" speakers are the only way to go.  The only problem is that you will have to find a pair of good sounding 4"X10" speakers, for they all sound different.  FYI, 4"X10" speakers as a "configuration," in general are "not the best sound" reproducing speakers, but they are okay.  Conventional "round" speakers do sound better, but a good "round" sounding speaker's configurations are usually too larger to be mounted in the back panel or the side panels.  Unless you want to redesign and construct panels or housings as many owners have done and to lose some or all of the back parcel space.

For my set up I have away use the 4"X10" speakers mounted in the rear panel and I had recently replaced my speaker for the THIRD time this summer because I was not satisfy with the sound of the other 4"X10" speakers of the other manufactures.  For your reference, the old speakers were Pioneer 3 ways, to Kickers 2 ways and now the Emerson's 3 ways.  I think the Emerson's 3 ways are excellent for 4"X10s" and I heard many 4"X10" speakers.  The Emerson highs ends are "sweet" and "accurate" and not hard or raspy with a nice smooth "tight and deep" bass end which is not hard or thumpy and it is just as good as many 6"X9." 

As far as subwoofers?  First, on physic principles as a science, to hear a bass frequency of 40 HZ and lower you must be at 12 feet from the speaker.  That is why you don't hear all the bass in the cabin but you will be hearddown the block because you are a distant away from the speaker.  For listening purposes, unless you are into the Rap, Hip Hop, New Wave, Heavy Metal and etc, the question is "how much bass do you need for correct and accurate sound?"  Besides, IMO, I have never heard a subwoofer adequately integrated or "tuned in" an auto system set up.  It is difficult to get a subwoofer to integrate in a home or industrial setting that had better provision as to placement to place or to control the subwoofer and all you get is BOOM BOOM BOOM.... The bottom line?  When was the last time you heard classical, chamber or jazz music emphasized with exaggerated bass shaking frequencies?  So, if you are looking for the reproduced sound that is equal to the original sound, you can do without the subwoofers for REPRODUCTION OF "QUALITY" SOUND... anything beyond that is SOUND "QUANTITY" AS IN SOUND REINFORCEMENT and the cabin is too small for any subwoofer arrangement.

I have learnt from several Hi-End Audio manufacture that a good sound system, which includes all its equipment as an entirety, must be able to reproducethe instrument of a CELLO.  The sound of the cello is selected, for it is the
hardest instrument for many speakers and supporting equipment to produce in getting the harmonics, the pitch, the warmth, the size and the volume of air of the instrument....  Too high of a pitch it will sound like a viola, too low it will sound like a bass… Get these areas right and you have the foundation of getting good sound for the other instruments, music and voice.  The next step for a good system is to reproduce the detail, the separation, the sound stage and etc.... and all the equipment of Sinfoni 120.4x amp and Eclipse head unit with Eclipse CD changer, 4" round Polks on dash, 6 ¾" Infinitys in a foot well box and 4"X10" Emersons, Cello Strings interconnects and Monster Cables speaker cables does it all together nicely. 

FYI…  for those whose wish the best CD head unit is the Denon -- (maybe one day in the future, as for now the DeLorean and my other vehicles needs work). http://www.redmountainaudio.com/default.asp?id=35

I hope that helps the high-end audiophiles/DeLorean owners.

Kayo Ong

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