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post #1 of 87 (permalink) Old 05-10-2014, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Dash speaker replacement photos

The stock speakers in base audio setup are probably the worst I have ever had in a car. So after reading about my options I decided that the best upgrade on a minimal budget would be to replace the dash tweeters with proper 3 1/2 inch speakers.
I used Pioneer TS-A878 (from Amazon) together with 400Hz bass blockers.
I chose that specific speaker because it is only 1 3/8 inch deep and there is not much space in the dash to put the speakers.
The swap was easy except for having to trim some plastic (which holds the speaker cables under the dash, fortunately it is soft and can easily be cut with a knife).
The improvement in sound quality was amazing.
Below are some photos.

New speaker fits perfectly.

This is the piece that had to be slightly trimmed.

Standard tweeter is pretty pathetic.


Bass blocker.
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post #2 of 87 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 08:57 AM
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Consider these instead -- same dimensions, better drivers. I have installed both Pioneer and Polk as replacements in various vehicles and the Pioneers are, by comparison, poorly-balanced, especially in the midrange and highs (they tend to be very peaky -- and that's difficult to correct for even with a decent equalizer -- which a stock head unit doesn't have.) Polk isn't JL by any stretch of the imagination but it's not priced like it either.

There are several people who have put these in the CX-5 (which has the wiring but NO SPEAKERS in that location, believe it or not!) and they have fit. I've been tempted to stick a pair of these in my Sport....

db351 - Car | Polk AudioŽ

You're in the right zone with the bass blockers; that's a good choice. It would be NICE if someone (Metra, anyone?!) made a set of harnesses for these (and the doors too) so that non-destructive installs could be done. Here's hoping someone does, eventually.

BTW, don't pay $10 or $15 for "Bass blockers" -- they're just a non-polarized electrolytic capacitor rated for a reasonable voltage (if on a factory amp 25V is more than sufficient; if on an external amplifier, do the math to determine the voltage required to produce the watts claimed by said amp at the given speaker impedance, then buy something with a voltage rating of ~1.5x or better that and you're fine. Digikey sells capacitors cheap. Parts Express also has them; a 100uF non-polarized into 4 ohms will produce a ~400Hz block and can be had for about a buck and a half each. You can also use an LC network for this but nobody in the car audio world does in their "bass blockers" as the inductor actually costs real money.

Last edited by tickerguy; 05-11-2014 at 09:36 AM.
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post #3 of 87 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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I know polk work in CX5, what about Mazda 6?
Has anyone installed polk or similar standard size 3 1/2 inch speakers in Mazda 6?
The mounting depth of the Pioneers is about 1/4 of an inch less than the mounting depth of the polk speaker.

The Pioneers indeed do not sound perfect (somewhat harsh). Still way above the standard tweeters and they were


.

Last edited by DinkumThinkum; 05-11-2014 at 10:14 AM.
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post #4 of 87 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 10:38 AM
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That particular size of speaker is quite-uncommon. The Polks LOOK LIKE they'll fit, but I've had some trouble getting an accurate measurement in the hole due to the windshield being in the way (I have a pair of very accurate calipers but there's no way to use them in there.) Fractions of an inch matter in this instance and there isn't anywhere local near here that carries those and where I can return them if I buy 'em and they don't clear.
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post #5 of 87 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 12:06 PM
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The stock speaker connectors in the dash are .100 pitch.

That is very good; it turns out that a KK tabbed PCB connector will lock reasonably well against the factory harness. It's NOT pull-proof, but it goes in and makes solid contact, with the tab providing a REASONABLE interlock against accidental disconnect.

The point of this? Those Molex headers (which are intended for PCB use) cost pennies and they now give you a way to make up a speaker harness that DOESN'T require you to cut wires for that location.

And yes, I intend to exploit that (reversible decisions are GOOD folks and if you can avoid cutting wires -- DO!)

P/N: 22-01-3037, available at Mouser and elsewhere. Yes, you need decent soldering skills. I'd love to find a plug that has .100 pitch PINS but those are difficult to locate -- if I find them I'll give a shout-out.
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post #6 of 87 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 12:56 PM
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OK, looks like P/N 538-16-02-0117 (pin) and housing 538-50-57-9002 will work. I've got a few coming and will check it out; reference here: http://www.mouser.com/catalog/catalogusd/646/1680.pdf

It won't lock against the factory plug (female) but that can be addressed with a bit of liquid electrical tape, or you could just electrical tape it together and/or use a small wire tie.

More when they're here and I've made up some harnesses. I expect I will be able to pull the same sort of thing off with the door speakers (different series though obviously) although we'll see.

Last edited by tickerguy; 05-13-2014 at 01:43 PM.
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post #7 of 87 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 08:30 AM
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@tickerguy this is all new to me, but I'd love to see some photos of how you built the harness and the finished result.

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post #8 of 87 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 08:33 AM
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Waiting for the stuff I ordered to get here... I have some of what I need in my partsbox but not all of it -- the rest should be here in a few days and I'll update when it arrives and gets installed.
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post #9 of 87 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 05:47 PM
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subbing for pics of this DIY harness


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post #10 of 87 (permalink) Old 05-28-2014, 04:08 PM
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Thanks for the heads-up on the Pioneer TS-A878 speakers. I'll admit that I don't have the most critical ear (years around jet engines and shotgun shooting have taken it's toll), but even I can hear a huge improvement over the stock 1" tweeters in my '14 M6. I didn't use them with any kind of bass blocker, but the result is very impressive. Less than $40 for this much improvement gets a hearty thumbs-up!
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