Sunday, June 12, 2011

Old School Stealth Install - Part 1 - The Subwoofer

I must admit, I've been contemplating swapping out the cheapo EFX sub which came stock in the Scosche SCXB04 for quite a while. I've had this "stealthbox" like sub for the past 3 years and it has handled the rear channels of the Rockford Fosgate Power 550x very well. I've not bench tested the 550x for 4 ohm mono loads, but I'd estimate around 325-350w. The SCXB04 houses a 10" EFX sub in an approx. 0.75cu/ft injected molded plastic enclosure and is custom fit for 2004-2007 Scion xB's. Yeah, it's a funny looking car, but I laugh at other people when I fill up after averaging 35mpg.

My favorite feature of the SCXB04 is it's stealthy nature. I can have a decent amount of bass without sacrificing ANY usable interior space. Now, on to the question of what sub to use to replace the 10" stock sub? Well, I have only a few 10" subs to choose from; MTX Blue Thunder BTW-1044, JL Audio 10W3-D4 or some recently acquired Kicker Solobaric S10c's. After some online research, I found the box can support a 10" sub with up to 5" depth. Right away, the JL 10W3 was out (too bad, this is a NICE sub!). What about the Blue Thunder 10? Well, it is an early 90's sub and wants a minimum of 1 cu/ft of airspace and it would probably not perform optimally in th slightly smaller enclosure. Turns out, the decision was kind of a "no brainer"....The Kicker S10c it is!

I pulled the SCXB04 out of the car and noticed Scosche's attempt to be slick in using some strange star-headed screws...why would they do this? Not sure, but it was easy to locate a proper sized tool in my stash for removing these screws. Once I got the EFX sub removed, it was pretty apparent the EFX sub was somewhat smaller than the S10c. No fear, Dremel tool is here! After marking the box with an estimated cutout based on the S10c, I began the process of removing plastic. I used the cut off wheel on my Dremel and about 30 minutes later and a ton of black plastic shavings on my arm and leg....the box was ready for the Kicker sub. While performing the sub swap, I thought it would be a good idea to trade out the stock 16ga speaker wire for some high-quality 10ga wire. I actually used power and ground cable from an old amplifier install kit I had. This was to ensure there was no power loss due to wiring inside the box. Honestly, the 16ga factory wire was probably more than sufficient for up to 400w, but I didn't want to take any chances.

Once the box was rewired with the 10ga wire, I dropped in the S10c sub and pre-drilled new mounting holes. I was very careful to ensure I had the Kicker emblem lined up properly for mounting (at least I thought!). After securing the 8 screws, I was ready to mount the SCXB04 back in the car. Once I began to recall how the box fits in the car, I realized I mounted the S10c sideways! Doh! Due to the fact the sub will be  mostly hidden, I decided to leave as is for now.

View the video below for the entire process:

View the video in 1080p HD



Now, after using the Kicker S10c for the past 3 weeks in my daily driver and testing it out with various genres of music from jazz, rock, country, pop and rock, I must say it is a HUGE improvement from the EFX sub. Bass notes are noticeably deeper and tighter with the S10c. Although the EFX sub was no slouch in the SPL department, the Kicker S10c easily knocks the EFX sub out of the ring. I'm extremely happy with the sub swap and can't wait to upgrade the front stage from the 6.5 and 4" coaxials to 6.5" separates. I've been searching for some Boston Pro 6.4 or 6.5 separates, but so far have only been able to locate some Boston Acoustics Rally RC61 separates. 

I'm also getting my Rockford Fosgate Power 650 re-powdercoated and re-silkscreened so it can replace the tried and true 2002 model Power 550x. My biggest hurdle will be deciding the mounting location of the Power 650, while keeping the install as stealth as possible. Unfortunately, the Power 650 is too large to fit under the driver's seat, which is the current location of the Power 550x. I doubt in real world numbers if the 650 is more powerful than the 550x and also requires an extra feature I require....remote bass control. Luckily, I have an early gen Audio Control Epicenter, which will fit the bill as a bass level controller.

Also, one last note about the old school install; I am planning on using a new head unit, capable of iPod/iPhone control and maybe Bluetooth. I'm not going for NAV or DVD, but have some models in mind to replace the "Premium" Pioneer Scion head unit (T1809) I'm currently using. I actually purchased this head unit a few years ago and have been impressed with it's operation and sound quality. It even has 3 sets of pre-amp outputs, VERY unusual for a factory head unit. Unfortunately, the lack of support for my iPod means the T1809 has served it's purpose, but its time to move on to another unit.

Stay tuned for upcoming updates to the "Old School Stealth Install" project...




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