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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2009 Escape and I'd like to upgrade the audio system. I don't want to change out the head unit because I like the way it works, looks and I don't want to mess-up the Microsoft Sync.

So here is where my research leads me.

All Alpine brand, unless otherwise noted.
PDX-5 5-Channel Amplifier: 75W X 4 + 300W X 1 $600
SPR-176 6-1/2" Component Speakers (Front Doors) $300
SPR-17C 6-1/2" Coaxial 2-Way Speakers (Rear Doors) $150
SWR-1042D 10" Subwoofer (4Ω + 4Ω): RMS 500W $150
Custom enclosure under rear deck: $500

Questions:

The SPR-176 speakers in the front door are 5-11/32" deep. Will that fit in the front door?

Do I need a "processor" or can I just convert the stock head unit's speaker output to component level for the amp? (I want to use all the stock volume controls)

Will any of the functionality of Microsoft Sync be affected by these additions?

If I get the processor ($200), the price of all the components, parts ($300) and labor ($300) would be about $2500. Would that be a reasonable price? And what do you think of my choices overall?
 

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KC5ZRQ said:
I have a 2009 Escape and I'd like to upgrade the audio system. I don't want to change out the head unit because I like the way it works, looks and I don't want to mess-up the Microsoft Sync.

So here is where my research leads me.

All Alpine brand, unless otherwise noted.
PDX-5 5-Channel Amplifier: 75W X 4 + 300W X 1 $600
SPR-176 6-1/2" Component Speakers (Front Doors) $300
SPR-17C 6-1/2" Coaxial 2-Way Speakers (Rear Doors) $150
SWR-1042D 10" Subwoofer (4Ω + 4Ω): RMS 500W $150
Custom enclosure under rear deck: $500

Questions:

The SPR-176 speakers in the front door are 5-11/32" deep. Will that fit in the front door?

Do I need a "processor" or can I just convert the stock head unit's speaker output to component level for the amp? (I want to use all the stock volume controls)

Will any of the functionality of Microsoft Sync be affected by these additions?

If I get the processor ($200), the price of all the components, parts ($300) and labor ($300) would be about $2500. Would that be a reasonable price? And what do you think of my choices overall?
To do it "right" you'd be best doing a processor to align it all correctly. Alternatively, you could go with Alpine SPX17-PRO components (I have them) and run them passively, and just tune w/ the passive crossovers until you like what you hear. The ideal way to do it though is to run active and through a processor. A processor also can EQ out the head unit's troubles.

Damn near anything fits in the front doors, btw. You need to shave off the 5x7 oval plastic lip on the inner door panel skin, and create a foam weatherstripping gasket to match it back to the speaker, but that's easy.

I think you are overpaying by 100's, potentially much more than that. For ~$600 you could get a Zed Audio 6ch amp, which would KILL an Alpine PDX. PDX amps are good and all, but they do introduce noise to the system (very low signal-noise ratio in practice), but otherwise they are fine. They do sound "digital", for lack of a more colorful description and to over-simplify my point. They sound somewhat cold and a little lifeless. If you are in the $600 territory, that's playing with ARC audio, Cadence high end, Sundown, Pioneer PRS (4ch and a mono), etc. Alternately, you could just buy a PDX and try it out, and see if you like the sound quality.

I wouldn't even touch the rear speakers. I haven't, and nobody, including me being the audiophile in the family, seems to notice. You see, in a proper system, the front soundstage has presence, depth of field, and a lively feel. The rears simply fill the void in behind you and create an ambient sound, and when done right that sound will be roughly 20dB lower than the fronts. You should power them off deck power, and no more.

I see what you did there running all Alpine. I'm a BIG Alpine fan (I run their best gear) but I can think of a lot of other brands that would do better in the subwoofer and amplifier department.

As I say with all audio concerns here on E-C, if you want me to help just let me know and I'll go full-bore with you and walk you through how it is done. But, I only recommend going my direction if you want a faithful audio reproduction in your car (meaning, I don't build SPL cars, and I don't care about blowing out windows or my neighbor's dog's ear.) If that's your goal, then I hope I can make your day.

Some of my threads are listed on my signature, to help.
 

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While you are contemplating:

This is a Zed-made Leviathan. Simply bad-***.





Stephen Mantz made it, that's all I ever have to know.

That's a 6ch amp, with full-range class-D on all channels so it is very efficient and very powerful. Rated conservatively at 150W per channel, and bridgeable on all channel pairs to a 600W 4ohm load.

I'd sell my Phoenix Gold RSd's in a HEARTBEAT to purchase one of these.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tnx for your input. I'm not buying right away, but eventually I want to upgrade.
 

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KC5ZRQ said:
Tnx for your input. I'm not buying right away, but eventually I want to upgrade.
That's fine.

Just don't make the same mistakes i've made in my first ~30 builds...buying retail. Better deals are out there and I can point you in the right direction, all with warranty and such. I'm on my ~40th build now and I can assure you running a processor (though the cost more than you budgeted at $200) changes the game entirely.

My dream system at your price point would be:

Zed Leviathan, group buy discount price of ~$540 currently. That's all 6 channels.
JBL MS-8 processor if it comes out in time, Rockford Fosgate 3sixty.2 processor if it doesn't.
Pioneer TS-C720PRS components from trusted seller on eBay ($225), sell the crossovers on ebay for $30 and run speakers actively.
Subwoofer, I'd run Stereo Integrity's new BM sub, due out very soon. It is extremely thin and takes almost no space. I'd run a pair of them in a false floor arrangement in the trunk (similar to my #2 system but more flush) If they didn't come out in time, I'd run the higher end Kenwood shallow-mount subs OR figure out how to shoehorn in a pair of Stereo Integrity SI-mag's. Just need a final ohm spec of 4 ohms for that leviathan's 600W RMS bridged channels.
Power wire: Phoenix Gold 1/0 gauge or 4 gauge, depending on what the leviathan takes. Being a specialized D class amp, it may not need more than 4 gauge. I also would recommend Knukonceptz for wiring, especially RCA's, which you will need 3 pairs from the processor to the amp. For speaker wiring, I always grab a 4 conductor in-wall roll of wire from my local audio store. It always does the trick, since you can run the 4 conductor in the door, and then you have your tweeter and woofer wires in one. Just split in the door and you're golden.
Always deaden fully, and foam cover or MLV cover. I would purchase and research at http://www.soundeadenershowdown.com
For labor? pfft...do it yourself! Or at least be a big part of the construction to save costs. Labor runs WAY over $300 to have a true professional install a system. But parts won't cost near $300 unless you are counting wiring and deadener, in which case you are almost exactly right. Wiring MAYBE $100 tops, and deadener maybe $250 including MLV and foam.
That system (assuming JBL MS8 sells for $600 as planned, and a pair of SI BM subs run 500) is $2500 and will absolutely kill. Of course you could step down in subs to just one (or a cheaper actual sub for a total of $250 for a pair, either way), step down in processors to the RF 3sixty.2 for ~300, and end up right at $1950, and still absolutely kill, just more conservatively.

Remember when buying on eBay to enable Bing Cashback for ~8% money back, and free shipping offers save money too. I bought a set of wheels from the money saved in my cashback account, from the system I bought and built. You can do the same.

BTW, after describing that ideal system, I've come to notice that I actually might consider replacing my system to go that route. So my own equipment may very well be for sale. lol.
 

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Great advice once again.

+1 for sounddeadenershowdown (my experience below)

I e-mailed him about product/price on a Friday evening (currently doesn't have online shopping cart set up). I received a response/price Sat @ 3:00 AM. I paid (paypal) Sat morning -- when I got up. He shipped that day (Saturday). I received the product on Monday! I was shocked. Mine was a tiny order (20 tiles). He threw in some trial samples of other product.

PS. I've got dibs on your RSD 4 ch amp :D
 

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fourthmeal said:
While you are contemplating:

This is a Zed-made Leviathan. Simply bad-a**.





Stephen Mantz made it, that's all I ever have to know.

That's a 6ch amp, with full-range class-D on all channels so it is very efficient and very powerful. Rated conservatively at 150W per channel, and bridgeable on all channel pairs to a 600W 4ohm load.

I'd sell my Phoenix Gold RSd's in a HEARTBEAT to purchase one of these.
Thanks, for those pictures Fourthmeal.

Nice componentry in that device. :thumb:
 

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stone said:
fourthmeal said:
While you are contemplating:

This is a Zed-made Leviathan. Simply bad-a**.





Stephen Mantz made it, that's all I ever have to know.

That's a 6ch amp, with full-range class-D on all channels so it is very efficient and very powerful. Rated conservatively at 150W per channel, and bridgeable on all channel pairs to a 600W 4ohm load.

I'd sell my Phoenix Gold RSd's in a HEARTBEAT to purchase one of these.
Thanks, for those pictures Fourthmeal.

Nice componentry in that device. :thumb:
Yep, the difference in performance between this and an Alpine PDX is massive. I met a contact that told me he can get great pricing on this unit, and the sound quality will be as good as the legendary Zeds before it. Considering the PDX and this cost the same, I figured it would be the ideal competition.

Another route would be the (discontinued but still out there) Kenwood eXcelon X4R and X1R amps. The X4R has a built-in high-end crossover and sound processor, so it is a STEAL around $250 or so. The frustrating thing is setting up the amp in the back of the car while trying to audition it from the driver's seat, but still a processor included in the amp is very powerful and extremely flexible for an active setup. It also sounds very good, and is small and efficient. They don't make them anymore, however. Only a new model without the processor.
 
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