Tag: Rockford Fosgate

JBL MS-8 Sound Processor Overview

THE BEGINNING:

2008+ Mitsubishi Lancer Rockford Fosgate Amplified Sound System Diagram

When someone says to me, “Come check out my awesome sound system!” Deep down I sigh to myself knowing that they will have two subwoofers in the trunk powered by a no name amplifier as well as a cheap head unit. Sure enough, it’s just bass… sloppy and inaccurate but loud bass. If only they knew what amazing sound lay just on the horizon. They can have loud, deep bass but obtain quality with their current setup. Where are the mids and highs? How about accurate, punchy bass? Does no one want that live concert, movie theater type sound? I bought a new 2008+ Mitsubishi Lancer and wanted to get the best possible sound from my factory amplified sound system, I had decided to hold off on an entire system until the vehicle was paid off. The JBL MS-8 was rumored to rock socks off, so I pulled the trigger and purchased one. It would integrate with my factory amplified navigation and sound system nicely. The system is made up of the following:

  • Navigation Headunit
  • 8-Channel DSP Amplifier
  • Front 6.5″ Component Speakers
  • Rear Coaxial Speakers
  • Trunk Mounted 10″ Subwoofer

INSTALLATION:

I had to do quite a bit of research before the installation of the MS-8 because I wanted to be absolutely sure I was cutting into the correct wires of my factory amplified sound system, which looked like rainbow spaghetti. If I had a basic, non-amplified or aftermarket sound system, the installation would have been very easy and straightforward. I used the hi-level input and output of the MS-8, which were two wiring harnesses. The clearly labeled harnesses made it easy to crimp all of the wires together once I had the colors figured out. I connected the MS-8 to the output side of the factory amplifier between the amp and speakers themselves, it would utilize it’s own high quality built-in amplifier from now on. Installation was slightly more difficult than a regular amplifier, but only because of the factory wiring.

CALIBRATION:

The included LCD display and bi-aural microphone are used for setup, calibration, and tuning of the MS-8. It can be mounted anywhere within the vehicle or simply used once and then unplugged and stored. I opted to store the display once I finished using it, however I connect it often to make adjustments to the 31-band EQ or the listening position. You must tell the MS-8 what speakers are connected to each channel, so make sure to write them down ahead of time. I then had to set the crossover points for each speaker and was delighted that I had this kind of control of my system. However, I had no idea what crossover points the factory system’s speakers were set at and Rockford Fosgate wouldn’t reveal that information to me, trust me I asked. This was a big pain in my side, but crucial to getting the best sound. The first x-over points I selected made the MS-8 sound awful and muddy, so keep that in mind if you are un-happy with the outcome, just re-calibrate with new x-over points. Finally, I donned the bi-aural microphone headset like a champion and started the sound calibrations. The measurements will take about 5 minutes to complete at which point the unit will calculate the frequency response, level and arrival time for each of the 8 output channels. Finally, it auto-tunes the car using 48 measurements per seat, up to 4 seats total (driver, passenger, two rear seats). Impressive isn’t it? Just make sure no one sees you during calibration. Looking in all directions with the headset on and the car making tons of awkward beeping noises will leave people wondering.

THE DEFINING MOMENT:
When completed, the MS-8 was ready to output the optimized tune from all of its calibrations. I was immediately impressed. I could no longer pinpoint the individual speakers in my car, all I knew was that the sound was coming from the front dashboard and all around me. More than just raising the center stage, the MS-8’s quality amplifier brought out the little nuances in my music that I was never able to hear before from the stock amplifier. Cymbals sounded like they were crashing, the bass drum was punchy and even vocals were more human and sibilant. I turned the calibrations off to revert back to the factory sound output and felt disgusted that I had ever thought it was good, at which point I immediately turned the MS-8 back on. Had I spent the same amount of money on just upgrading my speakers and radio, I would have better quality sound from the individual speakers but without time alignment and staging, it’s almost pointless. Now that I have the MS-8, adding upgraded components will be a breeze and they will sound significantly better with the additional calibrations.

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Multi-Channel & Mono-Channel Differences

If your car audio sound system is not meeting your expectations then maybe your specifications are to blame.  When examining mono and multi-channel amplifiers, there a few specifications that you should pay closer attention to than others.

Multi-Channel Amplifiers

Pioneer GMD9500F

Pioneer GMD9500F 4-Channel Amplifier

2, 3, 4, 5 or more channel amplifiers are usually Class A/B.  The class is determined by the configuration of the circuitry.  Class A/B circuitry leans towards being more inefficient but provides higher sound quality.  This makes them ideal for mid to high frequencies but are sometimes used for subwoofers as well.  They will also run at much cooler temperatures considering the lower wattage applications they are required to be operated in.  If you are considering purchasing a multi-channel amplifier, then the following specifications should be kept in mind to sway your decision:

 

  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: This figure refers to the strength of the signal vs. the level of back ground noise.  A high value will indicate a lower background noise and as a result, a better signal.
  • THD (Total Harmonic Distortion): This is the measurement of the harmonic distortion that is present.  It can be explained as the change in the signal as it is being amplified and exactly how much it is changed.  A lower value is desirable and a THD value of less than .10% is inaudible.
  • Channel Separation:  Sometimes referred to as “cross talk” this value indicates the level of interference between channels.  This value is measured in decibels and the higher the value, the greater and more effective the channel separation will be.

Mono-Channel Amplifiers

Rockford Fosgate PBR300X1

Rockford Fosgate PBR300X1 Monoblock Amplifier

Mono-Channel Amplifiers usually are Class D.  These amplifiers are going to be able to obtain lower ohm loads and higher output which makes them ideal for subwoofers. They are more efficient then their class A/B counterparts. In recent years, monoblock amplifiers have become more efficient and with smaller chassis. Features such as signal-to-noise ratio and THD will often be negatively effected. However, these specifications are not as important as others in regards to mono-channel amps. When examining mono amplifiers there a few different specs you should pay a bit more attention to:

 

  • Damping Factor: Having a high damping factor means there is a high ratio between the nominal load impedance (typically 8W ) and the source impedance of the amplifier.  It is said that the higher this value is, the more cone control is present which results in a better system response and more accurate bass.
  •  Pre-Amp Outputs: Most Mono amps have pre-amp outputs to daisy chain multiple amplifiers together without splitting the pre-outs from your head-unit.
  • Subsonic Filter:Only on mono amplifiers, this filter allows you to block frequencies that are not able to be reproduced by your subwoofer.  This filter is usally variable between 15-50 Hz.

Using an amplifier in the wrong application is bad, mkay.

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What Amplifier Do I Need For My Rockford Fosgate P3 Subwoofer?

Rockford Fosgate P3 Subwoofer (P3D4) Banner

Rockford Fosgate P3 Series Subwoofers provide a good amount of bass and when powered properly sound amazing. This week in our series of What Amplifier Do I Need? we will take a look at some of the amplifiers offered here at Sonic Electronix that are perfectly suited for the Punch Stage 3 subwoofers. P3 subwoofers are great woofers that offer amazingly clear, crisp, and precise sound reproduction and use some of the most recent technologies to really set themselves apart from the car audio pack.

Rockford Fosgate PRIME R1000-1D

PRIME R1000-1D

It is all about efficiency with the Rockford Fosgate PRIME R100-1D monoblock amplifier. This amplifier is able to output 500W RMS @ 4 ohms and 1000W RMS @ 2 ohms. With this much power you could easily run a single P3D2-10, P3D2-12 or even a P3D2-15 to a final impedance of 4 ohm. Or if you want more power you can easily power up a pair of any of those subwoofers to a final impedance of 2 ohms. The amplifier features an included wired bass level remote as well as a heavy-duty aluminum alloy heat sink for heat dissipation.

RE Audio DTS-1000.1

DTS-1000.1

RE Audio’s slogan is “Release the Beast” and with this DTS-1000.1 monoblock amplifier you will be able to do just that. This amp is perfect when looking to power up a single P3D2-10, P3D2-12 or P3D2-15 to a final impedance of 1 ohm. If you want to run the amplifier a little less hot you can also use this amp to power up a single P3D4-10, P3D4-12 or P3D4-15 to a final impedance of 2 ohms. This amplifier really does open up so many wiring options and features a 0 to +12dB variable bass boost as well as low-pass and subsonic filters for specific sound reproduction. A classy looking subwoofer deserves a sleek amplifier like the RE Audio DTS-1000.1.

MTX RT500D

RT500D

Another good amplifier to power up a single Rockford Fosgate P3 Dual 4 ohm subwoofer would be the MTX Audio RT500D Road Thunder series monoblock amplifier. Any P3 Dual 4 ohm subwoofer will wire down to 2 ohms final impedance and this amplifier will provide 500W RMS @ 2 ohms which will be enough to properly power out a P3 subwoofer. The amplifier features an Adaptive Class D topology that will create a cleaner, crisper sound while eliminating interference generally found in Class D amplifiers. The amplifier also features a Smart Engage circuitry that will make installation easy and simple into any car audio system.

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Battle of the Subwoofers: Rockford Fosgate P3 vs Kicker L7

Here at Sonic Electronix we are constantly being asked what subwoofer is better. This only becomes a problem when comparing two great subwoofers. At this point the word “better” no longer applies and instead it becomes which one is best for my application? This series will showcase two car subwoofers at a time, drawing out the features that make that particular subwoofer better for one application than the other. This will help you decide which woofer is better for you.

Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12

P3D2-12

First up is the Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12 Punch P3 series subwoofer. This woofer is rated at 600W RMS and features multiple technologies that make a solid and great woofer. Double stacked magnets provide the driving force need for this woofer to really hit hard, while the VAST surround increases the effective radiating cone area increasing nominal efficiency and maximum output. This is what we call the “all around” woofer, great for those who want accurate and loud bass. This woofer will offer clean bass that isn’t too punchy but still provides a nice reproduction of lower frequencies. This type of woofer is perfect for those who listen to music with a faster beat.

Kicker Solo-Baric 11S12L72

11S12L72

Unlike the P3 the Kicker 11S12L72 Solo-Baric L7 subwoofer was made more for SPL than SQ. Rated at 750W RMS, this woofer is able to handle a bit more than the P3, giving you a much louder bass. Its unique square design gives the woofer more surface area which allows for more air movement and thus a louder sounding bass. The L7 also has a lower frequency response which allows it to have a more resonant lower frequency reproduction. This is the kind of woofer you want when listening to music with deep bass, such has Rap and Hip-Hop. That type of music has elongated lower notes that are often missed with other woofers but not with the L7.

In conclusion the P3 is best for those who want a woofer with more sound quality features, while the L7 is best for those who want a woofer with more deep bass features. Both woofers are top-notch woofers within the car audio industry that will provide both bass and quality but will perform better when applied to their specific application.

Want to learn more about subwoofers? Check out our Learning Center!

Sonic Electronix Knowledge Base

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Top 3 Shallow-Mount Subwoofers Setting the Standards

After much debating and researching you finally decided to get a car subwoofer. However you are limited to space. Well lucky for you some of the top car audio manufactures carry shallow-mount subwoofers that are perfect for anyone with limited space. Some believe that shallow-mount means low-bass; however companies like Kicker, Rockford Fosgate and MTX Audio have created a subwoofer than is not only slim but powerful. Below are 3 of the top Shallow-Mount subwoofers in the car audio industry. These subwoofers are able to produce enough bass to satisfy anyone’s need for a little more bump in their car.

NVX X-Series

NVX XQW104

Despite its size, the NVX XQW104 X Series shallow mount subwoofer can more than compete with standard mount subs. With an RMS rating of 500 watts, this 10” woofer brings some serious power to the table. This shallow mount sub features a custom made ultra-stiff and lightweight Egyptian Papyrus-Blend cone for some serious hard hitting lows. The woofer also comes with the patented oSD (oversized SD) surround, which increases the cone surface area by attaching the surround on a vertical edge. To further increase performance, the surround itself is constructed with a multi-radius elliptical edge which creates incredibly linear cone movement. NVX further improved the overall sound quality with an innovative aluminum short ring which increases power delivery to the 3” dual 4 ohm voice coil while greatly reducing distortion. With a mounting depth of just 4-7/8”, the XQW104 will fit virtually anywhere. The open aluminum basket was custom designed for greatly improved airflow, superior bass cone response and reduced interference. This sub is a perfect match for any vehicle that is tight on space.

Rockford Fogate Punch Stage 3 Series

Rockford Fosgate P3SD412

With a name like Punch Stage 3, you know that the Rockford Fosgate P3SD412 is going to hit hard. The 400 watt RMS power rating is more than enough to really feel those lower frequencies while not overwhelming the rest of your music and sound. Rockford Fosgate has equipped this shallow-mount woofer with a Kevlar fiber semi-pressed paper cone and compressed poly-foam surround. This not only improves the performance of the subwoofer but it also increases the sturdiness and longevity, ensuring you keep on rocking for the years to come. The use of a 2-1/2” dual 4 ohm voice coil with spun-laced Nomex insulating collar will improve heat dissipation of the voice coil giving cleaner, more crisp and efficient bass. With a mounting depth of 3-5/8”, tear and fatigue resistant poly-cotton spider and all of its other features, this subwoofer is sure to impress and make you forget you are even running a shallow-mount subwoofer.

Pioneer Shallow Series

Pioneer TS-SW251

The Pioneer TS-SW251 Shallow Series subwoofer is designed to fit in the tightest of spaces in your car without sacrificing power or quality. Rated at 200 watts RMS, this 10” sub is perfect for mounting in the small spaces under or behind seats thanks to its 3-1/8” mounting depth. In order to create a sub with such a small mounting depth, Pioneer created a patent pending air suspension system which locks air between the main cone and the drive cone. To power your sound, these two cones movie in unison with the locked-in air behaving like a spring. This design removes the spider from the woofer while maintaining linear, reliable sound even after hours of use. The sub features a lightweight carbon glass fiber propylene cone and an M-shaped 3-layer interwoven radial surround to pump out the deep lows for your music. The fin shaped basket channels airflow sideways rather than downward to improve the overall performance and responsiveness of the sub. Forget about space limitations with the Pioneer Shallow series subs and get window rattling bass in your car.

Want to learn more about subwoofers? Check out our Learning Center!

Sonic Electronix Knowledge Base

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