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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2014 Mazda 3 with Bose system - upgrade planned

Hi guys

My first post on the forum - be gentle..... :biggrin:

I just bought myself a Mazda 3 2.0 Astina (which is the top of the range model available here in South Africa), we don't get the 2.5 engine over here.

Anyway, it came with the factory Bose system, which I'm not a huge fan of.

I've been doing some reading on her the last couple of days to get info about the speaker sizes, and have a pretty good idea on which speakers to go with.

My dilemma though, I have to decide between 2 different DSP units, an Audison Bit One or a JBL MS8. I'd like to retain the centre channel, whichever route I go.

My question is, would I have to tap all 5 front speakers to feed signal to the DSP ? My understanding is that the doors only receive midbass and below signal, and the right and left speakers on the dash only receive mid-high upwards. The centre I'm not sure of, but there has to be some sort of processing done in the factory unit to supply signal to the centre channel, which I don't want to lose. Also, the navigation guidance drops the volume on the right and centre speakers to give the voice guidance when using the navigation system, so that needs to be factored in as well.

Has anyone else done an upgrade like this using an aftermarket DSP ?

The speakers I'm planning on using are Hybrid Audio Legatia L3SE's in the dash, and probably L8's in the front doors. Amplification will probably be 2 x Phoenix Gold Xenon 4 channel amplifiers, and the subwoofer will be a single 12" or a single 10" - haven't decided on that yet.

Any comments are appreciated.

Cheers
 

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Mazda Bose upgrade

Welcome and congrats on the new ride. I have basically the same car and have just completed my research. I'm just starting to buy and build the components. Here's what I found.

There is a ton of miss information out there on this system including posts on here so double check everything. I even got miss information from various DSP/LOC manufacturers. Local shops here in the northeast USA won't even work on Mazda Bose out of fear.

The Mazda Bose system is much simpler than it appears. You have a central control unit behind the 7"screen. Do not mess with this. The actual radio is located in the passenger side kick panel near the glove box. Perhaps the opposite side depending on which side of the road you drive on there I guess. This is where you want to tap in, before the Amp. A simple LOC interupt harness will do the trick. I bought a PAC mazda LOC PN AOEM-MAZ2 and just use the plugs and wiring discarding the actual LOC part in favor of a better device (LC7i). The webpage says it won't work in Mazda Bose but the package says it does.

The Amp is located under the passenger seat. Contrary to some posts here, there is no digital audio going to this amp. You can disconnect and replace it entirely. It's been done. There is digital audio from the central control to the radio, and digital data (instructions) going from the radio to the amp. But it still can be removed.

There is one full clean analog channel coming out of the radio, the front. The rear is analog mid-range only. So you only have one channel to work with. Unless you use a DSP/LOC here.

If you use a DSP/LOC from the Amp you will need to SUM the signals. There is no full range signal coming from the Amp. Also the amp, as you must have noticed, puts out a ton of distortion. I've not put a scope on it but I'd estimate it's nearly 10% THD. Painful to someone who appreciates clean audio.

Based on the features needed to get some decent signal I went with the Audio Control LC77i. Of course everyone is going to favor their brand of choice, I'm sure many would work for you. This will sum the two signals from the radio (not the amp) giving me a clean distortion free signal with two full channels. It also adds back in the bass lost from the head unit bass dropoff.

If you chose to tap in after the amp I'd still consider the LC7i over the Audison and MS8. The Audison rocks but it's expensive. The MS8 is lacking some key features in this scenario as I recall, bass rebuild and auto on via signal sensing I think. Either way I think a DSP is overkill in this situation. A good LOC should do the trick at a fraction of the price.

If you do go after the amp to retain center channel you'll need to retain all 11 channels, so two MS8s and 2 amps. That is if the MS8 allows you to turn off summing. Seems like a lot to retain center channel. To me, center channel is a movie only feature, it basically downgrades traditional "stereo" to "mono". I have it turned off all the time anyway. But...up to you.

Also there are rumors of a secret unobtainable "radio security code" that would prevent you from disconnecting the battery permanently destroying the radio. I've disconnected mine and not had a problem, but it was for less than an hour. Neither the dealers no Mazda corporate knows anything about this so I believe it's just rumor.

So in a nutshell my design is keep Central control unit, keep radio, discard amp, tap in between radio and amp with PAC LOC MAZda with LOC cut out (this is plug and play). Put AC LC7i where amp was with 1 full channel and 1 half channel coming in. Sum the signal. Split that signal back out (2 channels) to a AC EQX/S which splits our sub channels too, 3 amps (w built in crossovers ) in trunk. 9" pioneer shallow subs/mids in the front doors, 10" sub in custom box in the trunk jack holder position. 4 inch rainbow mid-base drivers in rear doors, separate tweeters in the dash locations. Unplug front center speaker and rear mono speakers in rear deck.

So I'm going from 11 absolutely horrible paper crap speakers driven by a filthy dirty amp to 6 really good ones, and very very clean sound from the amp crossed and equalized to my taste with bass fully restored at high volume and no need for a remote controller knob in the dash. All signal adjustments will remain in the central control unit 7" screen interface.

Just my 2 cents.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Cebwrd, much appreciated.

I have both the JBL MS8 and the Audison Bit One from previous installs, which is why I'm considering one of those.

I'd like to retain the centre speaker, it just makes for a really nice and stable centre image, and helps to lift the soundstage a little.

My factory system only has 7 speakers, and not the 9 as I have the hatchback, not the sedan. The MS8 will work because it supports 8 outputs, assignable to each speaker. So, the subwoofer will only utilise one of the 8 outputs, instead of the 2 it would normally need.

As for amplifiers, I will use 2 x 4 channel amplifiers, and run the rear speakers off the MS8 amplifier. The speaker will therefore be powered as follows :
Amp 1
Front channels bridged to drive the centre channel
Rear channels to drive the left and right dash speakers
Amp 2
Front channels driving the left and right midbass drivers in the front doors
Rear channels bridged to drive the subwoofer(s) - haven't decided on a single or dual setup yet
JBL MS8 channels
2 channels used to drive the rear door speakers

I guess what I will lose from the factory head unit in this setup is the ability to fade between the front and rear speakers, but I can control that using the MS8 remote control and digital display unit.

The Bit One wouldn't allow me the ability to retain the centre channel, as far as I know.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh, and on the speaker choices, I've chosen the Hybrid Legatia L3se speakers as I have a set 3.5" midrange speakers which are wideband speakers, and will handle the tweeter frequencies as well. No need for separate tweeters.

Will just need to get another 3.5" HAT L3se to use for centre channel duty.
 

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Welcome and congrats on the new ride. I have basically the same car and have just completed my research. I'm just starting to buy and build the components. Here's what I found.

There is a ton of miss information out there on this system including posts on here so double check everything. I even got miss information from various DSP/LOC manufacturers. Local shops here in the northeast USA won't even work on Mazda Bose out of fear.

The Mazda Bose system is much simpler than it appears. You have a central control unit behind the 7"screen. Do not mess with this. The actual radio is located in the passenger side kick panel near the glove box. Perhaps the opposite side depending on which side of the road you drive on there I guess. This is where you want to tap in, before the Amp. A simple LOC interupt harness will do the trick. I bought a PAC mazda LOC PN AOEM-MAZ2 and just use the plugs and wiring discarding the actual LOC part in favor of a better device (LC7i). The webpage says it won't work in Mazda Bose but the package says it does.

The Amp is located under the passenger seat. Contrary to some posts here, there is no digital audio going to this amp. You can disconnect and replace it entirely. It's been done. There is digital audio from the central control to the radio, and digital data (instructions) going from the radio to the amp. But it still can be removed.

There is one full clean analog channel coming out of the radio, the front. The rear is analog mid-range only. So you only have one channel to work with. Unless you use a DSP/LOC here.

If you use a DSP/LOC from the Amp you will need to SUM the signals. There is no full range signal coming from the Amp. Also the amp, as you must have noticed, puts out a ton of distortion. I've not put a scope on it but I'd estimate it's nearly 10% THD. Painful to someone who appreciates clean audio.

Based on the features needed to get some decent signal I went with the Audio Control LC77i. Of course everyone is going to favor their brand of choice, I'm sure many would work for you. This will sum the two signals from the radio (not the amp) giving me a clean distortion free signal with two full channels. It also adds back in the bass lost from the head unit bass dropoff.

If you chose to tap in after the amp I'd still consider the LC7i over the Audison and MS8. The Audison rocks but it's expensive. The MS8 is lacking some key features in this scenario as I recall, bass rebuild and auto on via signal sensing I think. Either way I think a DSP is overkill in this situation. A good LOC should do the trick at a fraction of the price.

If you do go after the amp to retain center channel you'll need to retain all 11 channels, so two MS8s and 2 amps. That is if the MS8 allows you to turn off summing. Seems like a lot to retain center channel. To me, center channel is a movie only feature, it basically downgrades traditional "stereo" to "mono". I have it turned off all the time anyway. But...up to you.

Also there are rumors of a secret unobtainable "radio security code" that would prevent you from disconnecting the battery permanently destroying the radio. I've disconnected mine and not had a problem, but it was for less than an hour. Neither the dealers no Mazda corporate knows anything about this so I believe it's just rumor.

So in a nutshell my design is keep Central control unit, keep radio, discard amp, tap in between radio and amp with PAC LOC MAZda with LOC cut out (this is plug and play). Put AC LC7i where amp was with 1 full channel and 1 half channel coming in. Sum the signal. Split that signal back out (2 channels) to a AC EQX/S which splits our sub channels too, 3 amps (w built in crossovers ) in trunk. 9" pioneer shallow subs/mids in the front doors, 10" sub in custom box in the trunk jack holder position. 4 inch rainbow mid-base drivers in rear doors, separate tweeters in the dash locations. Unplug front center speaker and rear mono speakers in rear deck.

So I'm going from 11 absolutely horrible paper crap speakers driven by a filthy dirty amp to 6 really good ones, and very very clean sound from the amp crossed and equalized to my taste with bass fully restored at high volume and no need for a remote controller knob in the dash. All signal adjustments will remain in the central control unit 7" screen interface.

Just my 2 cents.

Good Luck.
Thanks for the write up. I also want to change the crappy setup for a better one but have a question. My understanding is that you will lose your controls for audio, etc if you remove the amp. Is there a way to retain these features? Would cleaning the signal post amp and then using another amp work? I came from a car that had a 2.1 setup using Dynadio 2-way speakers, a Boston sub and 2 Zapco amps. It was wonderful. This is crap and I need to change it fast.
 

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Hi guys

My first post on the forum - be gentle..... :biggrin:

I just bought myself a Mazda 3 2.0 Astina (which is the top of the range model available here in South Africa), we don't get the 2.5 engine over here.

Anyway, it came with the factory Bose system, which I'm not a huge fan of.

I've been doing some reading on her the last couple of days to get info about the speaker sizes, and have a pretty good idea on which speakers to go with.

My dilemma though, I have to decide between 2 different DSP units, an Audison Bit One or a JBL MS8. I'd like to retain the centre channel, whichever route I go.

My question is, would I have to tap all 5 front speakers to feed signal to the DSP ? My understanding is that the doors only receive midbass and below signal, and the right and left speakers on the dash only receive mid-high upwards. The centre I'm not sure of, but there has to be some sort of processing done in the factory unit to supply signal to the centre channel, which I don't want to lose. Also, the navigation guidance drops the volume on the right and centre speakers to give the voice guidance when using the navigation system, so that needs to be factored in as well.

Has anyone else done an upgrade like this using an aftermarket DSP ?

The speakers I'm planning on using are Hybrid Audio Legatia L3SE's in the dash, and probably L8's in the front doors. Amplification will probably be 2 x Phoenix Gold Xenon 4 channel amplifiers, and the subwoofer will be a single 12" or a single 10" - haven't decided on that yet.

Any comments are appreciated.

Cheers
Audison bit one over jbl ms8 hands down!
 

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Audison bit one will give you a lot of control and if you plan on running active, that's where you tie in each speaker into the audio processor.
 

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To the thread starter, why do you want the center channel? For what?

With your audison bit one, youre able to time align your L and R dash speakers and L and R door speakers plus sub, centering your image already and having a true stereo 2.1 sound with this setup. Adding a center speaker will just mess up your imaging.

Anyway a member here already put an audison dsp. Just look at the stickied whats your audio upgrades thread, the post is there.

Im sure he just tapped on the hi level full range line from the factory system before the factory amp.
 
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