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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I fixed my Bose system for $40.

Please skip to page 2 for the $40 fix. Youtube video link also on page 2 with 5 minutes of demo music to hear how it sounds!

My new MM6501 component speakers sound worse than the factory Bose speakers. No bass or midbass whatsoever and the only way to get bass now is to turn it to +6 on the HU and fade to back slightly to hear the Bose sub. In recent memory I can't remember hearing a stereo that sounds as bad as the Bose package, and now it's worse. So please, don't do this if you have Bose unless you plan on upgrading everything. Now, moving on...

Has anyone had any luck getting any bass/midbass from the front of their cars?

I tried wiring up a 300W RMS stereo amplifier outside the car directly to the battery and tapped into the wire harness going to the front speakers, bypassing the factory stereo and Bose amp completely. Music was fed from my laptop's USB DAC, a high quality source with a flat response curve.



Jumped into the car expecting it to sound amazing. High quality source and very powerful amplifier. Hit play..........

And there was no change at all. Still sounded like there was a 500Hz high-pass filter. This brings me to two possible conclusions.

A) MM6501 has very weak bass/midbass which I have trouble believing considering they have 100W power handling and many owners have no complaints
B) The way the 6.5" woofers are mounted to the plastic vapor barrier in the door, rather than the metal of the door, kills the bass making it nearly impossible to get any bass from the doors.
[Edit: woofers are fine. tweeters are the problem. see page 2]

I ordered ANOTHER amp on Amazon since I don't know if the one I tested was 2 Ohm stable. The new one is Blaupunkt EMA 255, 80W RMS @ 2 Ohms & the Polks are 2.7 Ohms -- plenty of power. Will be receiving it tomorrow and will report back when I try that one out. (And when I say I will, I mean I actually will)

I just cannot believe my Mackie CR3 desktop speakers with 3" woofers have stronger bass than my car's 6.5" woofers. Any input from those who have changed their front door speakers is welcomed.
 

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I don't have any personal experiences of those speakers but just looking at the frequency response it should play nicely. I haven't really been able to get great mid-bass from my doors either although I have improved it but try some sound deadening around the speaker rings to see if that makes any difference for you. Also try making some spacers to push the speaker itself closer to the grill.

I myself have tried put butyl rubber sound deadening on the outside door skin, both around the speaker rings to spacer and spacer to the door card, made spacers to push the speaker closer to the grill, also cut out the plastic grill and had a shop put some speaker cloth and that was to allow the waves come out smoother and yes that did make a little difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for mentioning the deadening! I completely forgot to include that I did actually take the doors apart and install ~75% coverage of 80 mil Noico butyl deadener before putting the speakers in. (good stuff!)

Even more mysterious, eh?
 

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That is the same Polk component set I'm planing on installing in my nonBose vehicle (with 70 watt per channel amp).

:eek:

I'm sorry to hear you were dissatisfied with the sound after your install, perhaps they will sound better after they have been broken in, and with the new amp
 

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Discussion Starter #8


Stuck at work waiting to move a couple desks and computers around, but will be testing it with the Polks tonight!
 

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I forgot to ask earlier, on the previous amp was there a HP filter that you can adjust? That'll be another thing to look at if there is one.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
OK so I made some progress! But not necessarily the progress I'd hope a powerful amp would make.

Here are the wires I made to tap into the Bose wiring harness,


Plugged them in according to the diagram in my first post,


Wired it all up outside the car with two 12ga strands of pure copper twisted together for both ground and +12v,


And then started cycling through every source I owned including my laptop, LG G3, Sandisk Clip MP3 player, and Fire HD tablet.

Here was the only way I could get relatively balanced bass -- not overpowering -- just balanced,


It worked turning up the low frequencies on my laptop too but this was easier to show. The sound quality was definitely better, with the tweeters still sounding a little bright (need to switch them to -3dB on the crossover) and the woofers still sounding "odd", hollow and out-of-place even though they were producing enough raw volume.

At this point I'm about 99% certain that Mazda choosing to mount them to the plastic vapor barrier, which has a rubber gasket between it and the sheet metal of the car impeding music (vibrations) transferring to the metal, is what causes the "odd" sound of the Bose factory speakers AND these MM6501's. [EDIT: See next page, I was completely off. The woofers sounded so out of place because they were being completely overpowered by both the Bose and Polk tweeters. There is no need to install upgraded component speakers, or at least not to perform the mod on the next page.] Sheet metal vibrations are what really amplify the volume of the woofer and give that visceral punch from drums and bass beats and the only thing I could feel vibrating was the vapor barrier which would explain the odd sound (vibrating plastic??).

Here's a pic I snagged from my sound deadening thread to see what I'm talking about,


If you have the Bose system, try fading the stereo to 8 Front (8F) so the rear speakers are muted. You'll hear the odd sound that makes your ears (and mine) hurt; tons of treble and midrange with no bass and muddy, muted midbass. Fading to 8 Back the music sounds much better, with only a lack of treble which the front speakers handle. So that's how they achieved 'balance', with the front of the car producing all the treble and splitting the midrange, and the back producing everything below that. Not exactly what I'd call an ideal soundstage.

It's -3°F in MN right now so I'm not going to tear the doors apart and break all the clips, but this spring I will! Third time's a charm, right? I'm set on making my own solid metal bracket to mount the speaker directly to the metal of the door, and an entirely new 6x8 adapter. Vapor barrier be damned. If that doesn't work I'm putting the stock Bose back in and putting up with it.

So, all in all some interesting discoveries but no real answers from me until the spring. I think Bose did more than we give them credit for to just barely get passable sound out of those doors.

Edit: @pdc001 No high pass filter turned on, set to full range on amp :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I think I may have just found the "best bang for the buck" fix that anyone with a 2010-2013 Bose Mazda3 can do for $40 and it integrates perfectly with the factory system. I don't know why it wouldn't work with non-Bose models too, but I don't own one to try it!

I haven't tried the capacitor swap of the Bose tweeters that another user posted about, but I couldn't stand the Bose tweets in general so I needed to swap them.

The MM6501 tweeters were extremely loud, bright and harsh even at -3dB and literally made my ears hurt for the two weeks I tried to tame them; they are silk dome 'composite' and the composite is probably where the harshness comes from. That's part of the reason I thought the woofers sounded so bad on the MM6501 and the factory Bose woofers; they were being completely drowned out. On the other hand the Bose tweeters lacked detail and sounded boring; it's hard to explain why, but they never put a smile on my face listening to them.

These tweeters are 100% silk domes with capacitors already installed just like the Bose ones so no dedicated crossover is needed, just splice the positive and negative wires in. They sound just lovely with no sibilance, tinniness or emptiness; the woofer and tweeter sound like a single complete speaker now, rather than the tweeter standing out on its own like it used to. Easy to test fit and listen to without making permanent modifications.

The Bose factory tweeters are 3.4 Ohms and these are also 3.4 Ohms so they really are a perfect match.



I found these while purchasing and testing speakers from former cars I've owned with excellent stock stereos. Much cheaper buying tweeters as an OEM car part than buying something branded "Alpine" or "Infiniti". I'm soldering and mounting the second one now. Will post back soon
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
This is it. This fixed my mediocre Bose stereo sound for $40.

Oh my God it sounds good now. Sounds exactly like my stereo studio monitor speakers in my recording studio or my favorite Mackie monitors. I just spent an hour driving around in circles because I could not stop listening to the music coming out of this car. There's even BASS! Where did this BASS come from?? Now that the new tweeters are in harmony with the woofers rather than overpowering them, the bass and midbass come through loud and clear! My ears used to hurt at 16 volume; now I'm at 26 volume without a hint of pain, just smooth, musical goodness. When you reduce the loudness of the tweeters, you increase the volume of everything else. With the extra 10 clicks of volume the woofers really come alive, and not in an annoying loud way either. It all makes sense now what the problem was and how easy it was to fix it. I didn't want to get out of the car to type this.

Here are the first two modifications I made to my 2012 Mazda3 w/ Bose:
- Polk MM6501 component speakers in front doors; completely unsuccessful in fixing the poor sound quality, extremely bright tweeters made it worse & NOT needed (the woofers & crossovers can be used with this fix though)
- Noico 80mil butyl deadener in doors, floor and trunk; nice to have, but not a must by any means

And the part that solved all my problems:
- Two tweeters from a 2010 - 2013 Kia Forte / Kia Forte Koup

The sail panels with the tweeters installed are easy to find on Ebay for $40-50 a pair and removing the tweets takes 5 minutes with a screwdriver. (picture of tweeter is in above post)

--------------------

Nothing in this post is worth anything if I can't let the community listen to it, so tomorrow I'm going to haul down my $300 Audio Technica AT4040 condenser mic with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 recording interface and play through some tracks so you can hear exactly what music sounds like now!

If anyone has any music requests to hear how the system sounds with the Forte tweeters installed, please let me know the song title and I will be happy to include it.

YouTube video coming tomorrow with some of my music and any requested songs!
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Some post install pics:





I mounted the tweeter temporarily with some foam tape and eventually used a hot glue gun to create a semi-permanent bond.

Looks and sounds great. I'll record the music sometime tomorrow afternoon, so if anyone has music requests I'll check back then!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Video has been made, editing and uploading to Youtube soon :) the sound isn't as nice as it sounds in person (we have two ears, but I recorded with one mic, aka mono recording) but it sounds as good as it possibly can without being here.

...that is to say, it sounds AMAZING. :)

 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Small update. Tonight after work I just couldn't resist and pulled off the door panels (AGAIN) and put the MM6501 woofers and crossovers back in the doors since I couldn't return them anymore, BUT kept the Forte tweeters installed since they are golden in this car.

They synergize perfectly! The crossover improves the audio distribution a bit and the Polk woofers hit the bass notes very cleanly. I'm keeping my system this way permanently and no longer have any desire to make any other audio changes at all.

Is it worth $200 for a pair of 6.5" speakers and a pair of crossovers? That's debatable, but I think the bigger point is that if you already have component speakers installed and are unsatisfied with them, you should really try the Forte tweeters hooked into your crossover. Just remove the capacitor on the tweeter as the crossover already handles high pass filtering. With or without components already installed these tweeters really deserve a place in our cars.
 

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So you are saying that just replacing the Bose tweeters with the KIA ones will make a dramatic sound improvement to the stock Bose system?
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Yes sir. Just a tweeter swap with tweeters from a 2009-2013 Forte or Forte Koup.

If you have a 2010-2013 with Bose, try fading your stereo to 8 Front and listen as all your bass and midrange get sucked away like a black hole. You'll hear that "something just doesn't sound right" sound! Meanwhile fading to 8 Back all you can hear are bass and muffled midrange.

The front woofers don't even sound or feel like they're doing anything since the tweeters are so loud and the Kia tweeters fix that. Reducing the overpowering front treble brings up the volume of everything else (especially the bass).
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I made a super rudimentary, easy to understand spectrum analyzer graph for the visual learners out there (like me),

Bass on the left, treble on the right.



THAT'S exactly what's going on here!!

I'm sure the Kia tweeter isn't the only one that's capable of doing this, but you'll never find a tweeter that's both simply quieter than the Bose one, and includes a high-pass filter capacitor for a dead easy replacement, inside of a retail box. So I had to get a little creative.

With the MM6501 woofer and crossover hooked up to the Forte tweeter with the capacitor removed, ahhh, it sounds even more lovely. But not as much bang for the buck as simply swapping out the Bose tweeters, for sure.
 

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That's an awesome find! However, with how much of a rattle trap my Mazda is, I think I'd just be happier replacing the whole thing with the Forte. :p

You happen to have the part numbers for the tweeters? It seems like ebay lists different applications, though I'm sure the tweeters within the panels are the same, even if the panels between the sedan and koupe are different.
 
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