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I am just learning through measurements in REW that my best SPL and response curves have been for downfiring subs with either the seat down or up.

 

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2007 Nimbus Grey Metallic RTL
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I'll chime in. I don't believe the internal volume of the enclosure is your main culprit. Yes, it is a bit small for that particular sub (factoring in driver displacement, too), but you can easily correct this by stuffing the inside with some Polyfil. Next, I am not a huge fan of upfiring enclosures at all. Not only is the driver exposed to dust and dirt or foreign objects sitting on the cone, but I've always been able to hear a noticeable drop in performance as compared to down-firing or side/front firing configurations. I also don't feel this is your issue, though.
Being that the S is a dual 4ohm coil sub, how do you have it wired? If it's in parallel, you'll have around a 2ohm nominal load (which your amp should be fine with handling). If it's in series, it will be an 8ohm nominal load which will cut the usable power considerably. Considering that the Alpine subs are and have always been power hungry (85db sensitivity), you're going to want to supply it with some strong RMS power.
I would look directly at the settings in your head unit as the culprit. I had a Sony unit many years ago and its settings were pretty complicated to get right. You ALWAYS want your low pass and high pass filters to match. If you have the LPF set to 80hz and the HPF set to 100hz, you're completely missing all of the frequencies between 80 and 100 in your music. The stock door speakers should have no trouble producing down to and maybe even a little below 80hz, so keep the LPF and HPF at 80hz. I, too, find that settings at or above 100hz permit too much midbass to the sub which should be producing the truly low frequencies. It's a quick way to muddy the sound. You can play around with the sub level, loudness settings, attenuation settings, equalizer, etc. until you get it where it's acceptable. I have a shallow 10" sub in the stock location that produces the perfect amount of punchy bass for my liking. I can turn it up a bit with a few settings changes in my Pioneer head unit, but I typically don't touch it.
New HU, new sub, new amp... it's going to take some fiddling to get it right. But, I would spend some time with the owners manual of the HU and play with it a bit before you go building another enclosure.
 
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