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Competent speaker/audio setup advice.


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Hi all,

Coming to the end (or the start, however you look at Landy maintenance! 🤯) of my 90 rebuild. It is a 1989 model with no current speaker or head unit setup. I’m ready to put in a centre console (Mud UK probably) and sound system and looking for some advice, primarily on component speakers.

Looking for something reasonably priced- so let’s not suggest the Focal ES100K! What have people done to upgrade their standard setup, or what have people in a similar position to me, starting fresh  

Many thanks
Jake

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For speakers, you can't really go too wrong unless you buy very cheaply. Kenwood, Pioneer and Alpine all do a 10cm/4in speaker that will perform perfectly adequately. They have a few depending on your budget, and will of course give you a sound quality proportionate to their price.

The problem is that people expect a 10cm speaker to do everything well and sound like the Bose setup in their Audi, but it just won't thanks to physics. If you accept that the size of speaker that fits well into a Defender is basically a large tweeter these days and that a Defender is inherently the wrong shape inside for good quality sound, you cant go wrong with any speaker from the big names.

For speaker positions, you can get headlinings with speaker mounts and a lot of people have put 6x9s into the cab, but the idea of having the right channel blasting into the side of your head really doesn't appeal. The rear ones mounted high seem like a reasonable option with no clear downsides, apart from (for me) looking less tidy. People have cut their dashboards up to fit tweeters, which seems fine to me except you can get speakers with them incorporated so less wiring and cutting about. 

Don't fit them in the doors. Yes this is where they are in almost all cars and yes there is a reason for that - it does sound best. Having the speaker pointed into the footwell from the bottom of the dash is the least good position for a speaker. But in most cars your feet aren't level with the doors and 'foot wells' mean actual wells for your feet. You will kick them, they will get full of mud and they will be in the way of the natural internal flow of water that must never be impeded in a Land Rover.

That's why I wouldn't recommend going much larger than 10cm - the interior is cramped enough and you're going bash into them. Later models don't have the windscreen wiper motor in the lower dash so they have more back spacing for larger speakers which I would have done if mine was the same but even then they're gaining another inch at most.

Same philosophy for the headunit. I would suggest a single DIN mechless unit as it will give you full functionality and be smaller than a traditional HU. Get one with at least 4x 50W outputs and you don't need to mess around with amps and other nonsense. You'll pick one up from a 'big name' for about £50 and it'll give you more than enough output for the size of speakers.

I have an Alpine headunit but I went with Vibe for speakers as they're British and were recommended to me, but I would say the sound is tinnier even for a 10cm.

For the cost vs reward and what a Defender is, I would stick in 4 good quality standard-size speakers in the factory positions and an active subwoofer under the cubby (MUD do a case for one that I'm going with when I've saved enough Lockdown tokens) and leave it at that.

I know that people have fitted very nice, very expensive and good-sounding systems to Defenders but it really is diminishing returns after a certain price point.

 

Edited by ThreePointFive
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Thanks so much for your thorough response!

3 hours ago, ThreePointFive said:

That's why I wouldn't recommend going much larger than 10cm

Agreed completely, I'll be putting them in factory position- not the doors, for the same reasons you suggest and i like the clean look of the series doors which I have on mine. I like the ideas of tweeters on the dash and the one of the previous owner morons has destroyed the vinyl on both sides anyway with unnecessary screwing.

3 hours ago, ThreePointFive said:

I would suggest a single DIN mechless unit as it will give you full functionality and be smaller than a traditional HU

I am still unsure whether to go for a double din or single.The issue is spending easily gets out of hand with these units and can be quite the target for tea leaves. 

3 hours ago, ThreePointFive said:

and an active subwoofer under the cubby (MUD do a case for one

I have seen these and look good. I have no space behind my cubby as I have a Disco 1 LT77 rather than the Defender one, so I cannot mount one on the back. Perhaps underneath is the only way to go. 

Some great advice, will think it over and commit to some purchasing this week! Cheers

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3 hours ago, western said:

I have 4 of these [old pioneer] https://www.pioneer-car.eu/uk/products/ts-g10102 in dash factory location & 2 in rear headliner each side of tail door. my head unit is one of these https://forums.lr4x4.com/topic/104622-flip-up-screen-stereocd/  it's plenty loud enough for me in my 110CSW. easily heard while driving.

 

Western, I'm afraid I am not a fan of the pop out player, despite being a good option- a mechless design is definitely more applicable. I am of course of the Spotify generation and have little need for the spinning plastic disks! 🤣 Speakers look sound though, I prefer the less loud, plain looking ones like these.

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No problem - this is one of the few areas on here that I actually have (half) a clue and I've just gone through the process myself. Just remember that this is only my opinion for a balanced system in a Defender against its many limitations. My view is no more valid than the next guy's.

Looking at double DINs, the minimum I would spend is £250 just because of the complexity and the user experience being so bad on the eBay specials. The Pioneer units seem to come out well. I didn't go this route because of the theft issue and in vehicles pre-TDCi you can open the door locks with a spoon so it's like having £250 in cash sat on the seat. Also if you have a big screen with loads of functions, you're going to use it... while driving. Not a good combo.

I'm going for under-cubby on the sub because there is nothing else that you could want to put under there so you lose nothing. Behind may be useful for other things, but for me it's because the bulkhead removal bar now makes this area wide open so nothing to attach to.

Anyway, you'll find a setup you like for reasonable money and I doubt you'll be unhappy with it as long as you're realistic about what can be acheived, so I'll bore off now.

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1 hour ago, Geojake said:

Western, I'm afraid I am not a fan of the pop out player, despite being a good option- a mechless design is definitely more applicable. I am of course of the Spotify generation and have little need for the spinning plastic disks! 🤣 Speakers look sound though, I prefer the less loud, plain looking ones like these.

I like spinny vinyl (much better than spotify!!!!!!!) but the options for that are limited in a land rover. The sound setup in my 110 is excellent  - I will post the config tomorrow (am listening to actual spinning vinyl now)

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I fitted a £15 eBay head unit and £30 Halfords 6x9's in the ceiling and, honestly, in a Defender it's about as much as you need - the sound quality is carp but you can only really tell when the engine's off :lol: the rest of the time there's so much background noise you can't tell. And that's in a V8 with sound proofing, not a rattly old TDi.

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10 hours ago, reb78 said:

I like spinny vinyl (much better than spotify!!!!!!!) but the options for that are limited in a land rover. The sound setup in my 110 is excellent  - I will post the config tomorrow (am listening to actual spinning vinyl now)

Dat is cos you is soooooo old Rich 🤣

Mo

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On 6/7/2020 at 12:06 AM, Geojake said:

Western, I'm afraid I am not a fan of the pop out player, despite being a good option- a mechless design is definitely more applicable. I am of course of the Spotify generation and have little need for the spinning plastic disks! 🤣 Speakers look sound though, I prefer the less loud, plain looking ones like these.

That's fine, there are plenty of one piece mechless head units out there in single & double DIN formats.

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18 hours ago, reb78 said:

I like spinny vinyl (much better than spotify!!!!!!!) but the options for that are limited in a land rover. The sound setup in my 110 is excellent  - I will post the config tomorrow (am listening to actual spinning vinyl now)

I like spinny vinyl too! But not in the car 😄 I was referring to CDs and therefore not needing any kind of cd player etc etc. 

9 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

I fitted a £15 eBay head unit and £30 Halfords 6x9's in the ceiling and, honestly, in a Defender it's about as much as you need - the sound quality is carp but you can only really tell when the engine's off :lol: the rest of the time there's so much background noise you can't tell. And that's in a V8 with sound proofing, not a rattly old TDi.

Tis a fair point!

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My setup uses decent quality two way 4 inch speakers in the normal position in the front. I built speaker boxes that sit in the two upper rear corners of the 110 that house a 6 inch three way speaker each. The centre console has a ten inch sub built into it (facing rearwards) and powered by an amp housed in the battery box. I use a Sony headset - not expensive but chucks out enough to power the speakers well. The setup sounds really good. You need to house the speakers in something to get a decent sound hence headlining mounted ones are never going to do a great job IMO. The doors are too narrow and packed already so there is nowhere better than the standard location in the front and my speaker boxes in the back seem to work quite well.

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I do but I will need to find it. They used to be on here I think before photobucket screwed up so many forums. I will dig them out tomorrow - I have them all on a hard disk somewhere. I really like my setup. I often travel alone so the volume can be turned up and I like a moderate amount of base. You cant even see the speaker is there its so well hidden.

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13 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

I fitted a £15 eBay head unit and £30 Halfords 6x9's in the ceiling and, honestly, in a Defender it's about as much as you need - the sound quality is carp but you can only really tell when the engine's off :lol: the rest of the time there's so much background noise you can't tell. And that's in a V8 with sound proofing, not a rattly old TDi.

Hey ! I resemble that comment ! 

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All of the above sounds very sensible but is not the direction I have gone in at all!! :hysterical:

I have gone for Pioneer TS speakers, 16.5cm in the rear doors and 13cm in the front headlining. I have also fitted tweeters in the dash but you can buy component speakers if you prefer. In a moment of madness I then decided on the following

Pioneer 4 channel 1600w amp to drive the speakers

Pioneer mono 1600w amp and a capacitor to drive a 10 inch shallow mount Pioneer sub

For the head unit I am either going to have a Pioneer EVO92 or EVO82 which fit in a single din but are 'tablet style'. These are an expensive option but it basically gives you a Merc/BMW style touchscreen interface with Spotify, Waze etc etc

 

1226016399_Doortrim.thumb.jpg.7f53241a18accd96bb47a849a6f199c7.jpg91000099_Hedalining1.thumb.jpg.ce3b621612c3713cff769d11bd480fab.jpg2102066600_secondamp.thumb.jpg.072885ab2c7d1ca884941a87601435e2.jpg

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10 hours ago, Anderzander said:

Could you suggest any with the built in tweeters please? 

I have Vibe Slick4s all round which have integrated tweeters. I don't feel they struggle for mids or treble though, it's the bass which is really lacking.

Again, I think you can trust Alpine/Pioneer/Kenwood/Panasonic etc to put out a product that will meet most people's expectations. There are cheaper but you take far more of a gamble with the lesser-known brands. Some are excellent while others are complete carp and there's no way to know before you part with cash. I only look up reviews from multiple sources, it's all still a best guess.

I'm starting to think Pioneer offer the best quality for the price so I'm considering a set of these now. They have consistently good reviews and do fit into a Defender dash as demonstrated in the customer feedback on that page.

Edited by ThreePointFive
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@L19MUD I love youridiculous approach haha! The fabrication behind the cubby is nice, however I'm currently in the process of cutting mine out, so will probably need to go under the cubby box for amp/sub/whatever i go for. I am also looking at a car play double din- I think if i didn't buy one, i'd be forever wishing i did. The Pioneer or the JVC seem best priced and can get for 250ish if you look hard 👀.

53 minutes ago, ThreePointFive said:

I have Vibe Slick4s all round which have integrated tweeters. I don't feel they struggle for mids or treble though, it's the bass which is really lacking.

Again, I think you can trust Alpine/Pioneer/Kenwood/Panasonic etc to put out a product that will meet most people's expectations. There are cheaper but you take far more of a gamble with the lesser-known brands. Some are excellent while others are complete carp and there's no way to know before you part with cash. I only look up reviews from multiple sources, it's all still a best guess.

I'm starting to think Pioneer offer the best quality for the price so I'm considering a set of these now. They have consistently good reviews and do fit into a Defender dash as demonstrated in the customer feedback on that page.

For that price, these look great. I do want the separate tweeters that i can mount higher in the dash. I'm still yet to buy anything, but i was recommended these - a little more money but meant to be good. 

These pioneer component speakers are only £33 and get great reviews. Both are 13cm however.

Edited by Geojake
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So... a bunch of random pics of my setup. The RRC seats in the front of the 110 make the speaker box more complex than it needs to be. The sub is ten inch. It has a grill and covering on the back to protect against feet so is well protected and hidden - you wouldn't know it was there from looking. It needs re-covering now really - its one of those when I get round to it jobs and these pics were about ten years ago! The amp is just one from Halfords for £60 I think - it really doesnt need to be anything special to drive one sub. But the base is a good addition as the 4 and 6 inch speakers cant pump out that much and this means you can turn the sub setting up to deal with the base and not stress them too much.

The speaker setup in the back is shown. Personally I wouldn't put them in the rear door as low down as L19MUD - they will get bashed and damaged and the second you load the back up it will mess up the sound so I went for mounting high up in the back corners. The front speakers are in the standard position although I did have to make a spacer ring for the passenger side as they were deep and fouled the wiper motor without. All of my speakers are reasonably priced Kenwoods - nothing to break the back, but as above, they are good quality. Pioneers would be good too. I really wanted to get some 6x9's in there as I have had pioneer 6x9's before and they were excellent but given my chosen locations I couldn't fit them in easily. 

My fader is set to send a little more to the rear speakers as they are able to handle a little more load. All in all it seems pretty balanced and produces a good sound and didnt cost the earth!

 

IMAG0599_zps6122299e.jpg.ef9aad829aa97e866a73758f6bb1e49b.jpgIMAG0596_zpsab57223c.jpg.d008ffc5a064c64305d26da708597fd3.jpgIMAG0604_zps8f61c066.thumb.jpg.327a838aab45d8bce63b65fc267a350a.jpgIMAG0602_zpsa9755e05.jpg.6f5f07e2484dc46be62f25117527e5e7.jpgF23066B3-FAB6-4C2D-8D48-C34311FAAE2F_zpscr9zfvuh.thumb.jpg.577437927b46bddd5fd341b7199af908.jpg5147B7EA-68FE-4857-A421-1B4D4B62D35E_zps4wxrmirk.thumb.jpg.8215a7915491c470a145d45799769f5d.jpg

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The Pioneer tweeters came with some nice trims which made fitting into the dash really easy and looks like they should be there. I just cut the hole with a decent hole saw

Tweeter.thumb.jpg.ddf09f65def52b1d060c55542d7613da.jpg

 

Personally I really dislike where a double DIN stereo ends up on a MUD dash or in the Puma configuration. I think it ends up too low and takes your eyes from the road. That is why before I had a flip out screen in the top position on the MUD dash - that positioning makes it much easier to see and use, especially for Navigation. The new tablet style that I have linked to above are only really just coming onto the market. Alpine do a similar one

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