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Audio set up: Exhibition vs hidden

Old 10-17-2017, 09:41 AM
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Wet feet
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Default Audio set up: Exhibition vs hidden


Purely opinión I know, but just curious what you guys/gals think of having the audio system i.e. subwoofer and amps in view, vs all hidden. I bought the car with a nice set up, but I'm also later 40's and not really into showing off per se. Plus the theft part, though my car essentially will never be out of my sight, or for brief periods only. Sunday driver. I would probably put the amp in the old oem sub box area and use an under seat sub. Gain some rear hatch storage, though admittedly I rarely need it.
Any opinions??

forgot to mention, this is my actual current set up in the photo

Last edited by Wet feet; 10-17-2017 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Add important info
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:57 AM
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Im an advocate of just make it do what you need it to (in my case, that means having functional setup that may not be pretty).

I used to have a semi-decent trunk setup that looked nice. But I since got rid of all the junk and packed everything in better and Im much happier with the crazy trunk space I have now.

In a Z, having 2 subs is overkill. 1 good under the seat sub will be more than enough for this car. So if you're looking for space, I would go that route.

For reference, here is my setup. 2 10" subs with the amp mounted directly to it, a 5 gallon air tank, my air compressor, air lines, and room to mount the roll bar. Its not pretty, but even with all of this stuff I still have a lot of room

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Old 10-17-2017, 11:38 AM
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Wow that is a lot of stuff! I feel the same as you, but just feel a tad guilty/nonsense for taking someone's good work out of the car. I mean, it's not ugly, it's just not me. I am an audiophile and have systems in my house and all of our cars, so I really enjoy a good set up. I'm just considering if it's worth re-installing my system in order to hide it and gain some space. Not that our cars have a lot to begin with.
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Old 10-17-2017, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by craig12895 View Post
Im an advocate of just make it do what you need it to (in my case, that means having functional setup that may not be pretty).

I used to have a semi-decent trunk setup that looked nice. But I since got rid of all the junk and packed everything in better and Im much happier with the crazy trunk space I have now.

In a Z, having 2 subs is overkill. 1 good under the seat sub will be more than enough for this car. So if you're looking for space, I would go that route.

For reference, here is my setup. 2 10" subs with the amp mounted directly to it, a 5 gallon air tank, my air compressor, air lines, and room to mount the roll bar. Its not pretty, but even with all of this stuff I still have a lot of room

what is your air compressor for? I have one in my off road vehicle for lockers and filling tires, as well as a water system. But never heard of it in a Z.
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Old 10-17-2017, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Wet feet View Post
Wow that is a lot of stuff! I feel the same as you, but just feel a tad guilty/nonsense for taking someone's good work out of the car. I mean, it's not ugly, it's just not me. I am an audiophile and have systems in my house and all of our cars, so I really enjoy a good set up. I'm just considering if it's worth re-installing my system in order to hide it and gain some space. Not that our cars have a lot to begin with.
Originally Posted by Wet feet View Post
what is your air compressor for? I have one in my off road vehicle for lockers and filling tires, as well as a water system. But never heard of it in a Z.
The compressor is for air ride suspension. I can raise and lower the car by the push of a button. Works well for me since my car is daily driven, helps with speed bumps, getting a jack or lift under the car, and on top of that the air ride is extremely comfortable.

And in your scenario, I would justify redoing the audio by saying that none of the wiring is yours. At this point, you have no idea how properly anything was wired so it doesn't hurt to go through all of it anyway to make sure it is up to your standards
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:05 AM
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I generally go with the stealth setup. Theft and storage space being the main reasons why. Now there are some things that can't be completely hidden without major compromises like a subwoofer box. So for those things I feel they should designed to look as if they were a factory option by blending in with the interior as best as possible.

In the case here a custom fabric grill covering amps would hide them. A simple black grill over the sub would provide some protection and keep it from standing out too much. I must say it looks like a really well built custom amp rack so I would be hard pressed to tear that out. With that said all of the stuff seen could easily be hidden by moving the amps into the glove box areas and putting the sub in the spare tire well.
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by JMII View Post
I generally go with the stealth setup. Theft and storage space being the main reasons why. Now there are some things that can't be completely hidden without major compromises like a subwoofer box. So for those things I feel they should designed to look as if they were a factory option by blending in with the interior as best as possible.

In the case here a custom fabric grill covering amps would hide them. A simple black grill over the sub would provide some protection and keep it from standing out too much. I must say it looks like a really well built custom amp rack so I would be hard pressed to tear that out. With that said all of the stuff seen could easily be hidden by moving the amps into the glove box areas and putting the sub in the spare tire well.
Hm, great idea, just cover them with cloth and a grill, doesn't seem as "show off" either. I think it's hard to please both form and function sometimes. Function usually wins for me most of the time, thus I would've hidden everything and had more trunk space. But I got the car with 15,000 miles so I wasn't going to pass it up by any means!
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:51 PM
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[QUOTE=craig12895;10921071]The compressor is for air ride suspension. I can raise and lower the car by the push of a button. Works well for me since my car is daily driven, helps with speed bumps, getting a jack or lift under the car, and on top of that the air ride is extremely comfortable.

What a spectacular idea, I can't stand scraping my spoiler on everything
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:12 PM
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[QUOTE=Wet feet;10921259]
Originally Posted by craig12895 View Post
The compressor is for air ride suspension. I can raise and lower the car by the push of a button. Works well for me since my car is daily driven, helps with speed bumps, getting a jack or lift under the car, and on top of that the air ride is extremely comfortable.

What a spectacular idea, I can't stand scraping my spoiler on everything
For reference, this is the suspension kit. https://www.bagriders.com/infiniti-g...-ride-kit.html


If you go the route of putting the screens on everything, you really don't need to hide the sub. Where it is positioned under the strut bar makes it impossible to see if your hatch is closed. So that really shouldn't attract any unwanted attention when the car is just parked.
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Old 10-20-2017, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Wet feet View Post
Hm, great idea, just cover them with cloth and a grill, doesn't seem as "show off" either.
Pretty simple too: build a frame out of thin plywood, spray paint it black, maybe do several coats to ensure its jet black with full coverage. Then cover the frame with black speaker grill cloth, might take two layers to block out the chrome on the amps. This way the amps can still get air flow and stay cool but be hidden.

That amp rack even looks like it is recessed slightly so a grill would snug up nicely. Attach via velcro, magnets or really any kind of small clips. They even have nice little ball and socket joints for this very purpose here: https://www.parts-express.com/cat/grill-guides/325 Nice thing about a grill setup is you can remove it during a car show if desired. In fact the piece surrounding the amps now might be removable cover that could double as a grill once modified.

Rack currently appears to be covered in vinyl and not carpet which indicates to me nice piece someone spent good money on, or maybe its just painted? If vinyl then be careful not to damage it when adding whatever you chose to attach the grill. For example those ball and socket connectors require holes drilled into the material behind them then pressed (and glued) into place. This is why just velcro via some 3M double stick tape might be good enough.
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Old 10-21-2017, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JMII View Post
Pretty simple too: build a frame out of thin plywood, spray paint it black, maybe do several coats to ensure its jet black with full coverage. Then cover the frame with black speaker grill cloth, might take two layers to block out the chrome on the amps. This way the amps can still get air flow and stay cool but be hidden.

That amp rack even looks like it is recessed slightly so a grill would snug up nicely. Attach via velcro, magnets or really any kind of small clips. They even have nice little ball and socket joints for this very purpose here: https://www.parts-express.com/cat/grill-guides/325 Nice thing about a grill setup is you can remove it during a car show if desired. In fact the piece surrounding the amps now might be removable cover that could double as a grill once modified.

Rack currently appears to be covered in vinyl and not carpet which indicates to me nice piece someone spent good money on, or maybe its just painted? If vinyl then be careful not to damage it when adding whatever you chose to attach the grill. For example those ball and socket connectors require holes drilled into the material behind them then pressed (and glued) into place. This is why just velcro via some 3M double stick tape might be good enough.
You know, you really got me thinking, and I went out to the garage to look at everything again. It is indeed vinyl and the more I look at it the more I realize someone put some serious time and money into the build. While I would personally prefer to hide everything and enjoy the function of more space, I like the suggestion of the simple Velcro covers. A good compromise. Heck I think I could even fit them in just by pressure if I can fit them into the frame per se.
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Old 10-21-2017, 07:53 AM
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You mentioned you don't like show off so unless you specifically let someone in to the car no one would know they are there. And if a thief wants to ransack your car it doesn't matter where they are they will get to them. Might take them longer if hidden but they would. Extra space is a whole new reason though but again do you really need it. Honestly that's a nice setup and would leave it that way in my opinion. Installations like that requires messing with and sometimes drilling into some interior panels. Chances are there might be holes behind those amps
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Old 10-21-2017, 08:36 AM
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+1 for stealth but..... that set up looks amazing (from an aesthetic and quality-of-build perspective). If you use the car as little as you say, I'd just keep a black towel (to cover the hardware) in the car for when you park it for Sunday brunch. No overheat since you can just take it off when the car's running.

Just seems like more trouble than worth by tearing it all down. I do like the velcro speaker cloth "grill" idea for a more permanent, less Mic The Mouse fix than a black towel. Hahahahaha.....
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Old 10-21-2017, 09:05 AM
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Yeah that's funny, I actually just put a big, black towel in the back for those times I might need to hide it. And as mentioned, thieves will get into anything if desired. I'm a bit of a perfectionist (boat detailer by profession) so it's hard for me to let go of things sometimes if they're not perfectly the way I like them. And I prefer function over form, but this time in lieu of not throwing away quality work/money, and perhaps, as mentioned, possibly uncovering holes etc in the interior, I'll work with it. I'll definitely go with the speaker grill mod for a more subdued look though. I've had two cars broken into in my lifetime for stereos, so I'm a bit paranoid I'm sure.

I say Sunday car, and it really is babied, washed and stored each week with a car cover on it, battery charger, moisture pack inside, etc, but I really plan to have fun with it and slowly, tastefully, fix up each aspect of the car; suspension, wheels/tires (doing that now), FI motor, brakes, lighting, and luckily the audio is mostly done. It's an old system from the previous owner, but it was well done with great components and still sounds amazing. I'm not into mirror shaking bass, but just full, loud, clear/undistorted music. The previous owner hadn't even set up all the parameters in the system. So after a couple hours of manuals and setting filters, speaker types, equalizer, etc, it just jams! I'm that guy that sits out in his garage in his car listening to music for 2 hours.
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:35 AM
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my 2 cents- if system (and everything else in the car) works and you are happy with the sound- i'd keep it.
like others have pointed out- with hatch down- the sub is not visible- so- the question that comes to mind is--- what is the legality of tint on the hatch window in your area? how dark can you go? if those amps and such don't light up- then a simple tint job should hide them until you open the hatch.
and if you want to hide them when the hatch is open- an option to the plywood frame with cloth/screen covering- you could use that arts and craft foam board stuff and some velcro tab stickers to attach it,
advantages - no vibration noises- you can cut and install it yourself w/o power tools. and fairly cheap.
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Old 10-22-2017, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by tampa_joey View Post
my 2 cents- if system (and everything else in the car) works and you are happy with the sound- i'd keep it.
like others have pointed out- with hatch down- the sub is not visible- so- the question that comes to mind is--- what is the legality of tint on the hatch window in your area? how dark can you go? if those amps and such don't light up- then a simple tint job should hide them until you open the hatch.
and if you want to hide them when the hatch is open- an option to the plywood frame with cloth/screen covering- you could use that arts and craft foam board stuff and some velcro tab stickers to attach it,
advantages - no vibration noises- you can cut and install it yourself w/o power tools. and fairly cheap.

Right on my same wave of thinking, just went and got the windows tinted (3M) including the legal limit on the hatch (20%)! It definitely helped tone it down a bit, and I think with the addition of the speaker cloth it should almost be perfect.
It's just one of those things like when you go to the gas station etc., the amps are just there looking out saying "hello!"
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Old 10-22-2017, 02:40 PM
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I imagine some audio people are getting heart burn reading this. I know some people will put thousands of dollars into subs, custom fiberglass enclosures and cool lighting, while I'm trying to hide simple work. And I totally appreciate that type of work too.
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:38 PM
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trust me- i don't like being a showoff with any of the stuff in my car either...
luckily- when i got my amp installed -i had it mounted facing the other direction- directly behind the drivers head rest- and its black - so even if i did not have full limo tint on back/side windows- you would really have to cran your neck around to see it ...

Originally Posted by Wet feet View Post
Right on my same wave of thinking, just went and got the windows tinted (3M) including the legal limit on the hatch (20%)! It definitely helped tone it down a bit, and I think with the addition of the speaker cloth it should almost be perfect.
It's just one of those things like when you go to the gas station etc., the amps are just there looking out saying "hello!"
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Old 10-24-2017, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Wet feet View Post
I imagine some audio people are getting heart burn reading this. I know some people will put thousands of dollars into subs, custom fiberglass enclosures and cool lighting, while I'm trying to hide simple work. And I totally appreciate that type of work too.
I prefer the concealed approach myself, especially in this platform. Aiming (anything) is one of the biggest keys of the game in car audio, and more power to you if you can play around to find the setup that gives the most accurate front stage and sub cabin gain possible. I'm personally not happy with the front comps, Bose screwed it up for us - imaging crappy audio components is what they do, so anything more powerful than a 0.75" voice coil design overwhelms the occupants due to tweeter angling.

In terms of sub bass cabin gain and finding the exact res freq of a hatchback Z (windows closed obviously) using an RTA, it's doable but it's not an SPL friendly platform if you're looking to compete with walled off hatchback Civics and Golfs. Now for everyday -awesome- bass, I went forward-firing but the general guideline for coupes and hatches is rear-firing... strictly because of the initial sound wave bouncing up and away from rear-firing sub(s) towards the front, where your head (or an SQ/SPL mic) is located. My forward-firing 12" is a counter intuitive setup, would probably sound a bit sharper if it were rear-firing, but I never ever intended on having a grille over my IDMAX to shield it from a golf bag, groceries or whatever lies in that small hatch area. Get a G35 sedan and we have a whole different ball game for cabin gains with that idiotic ski trap - the Z is easier to make bass heavy than most sedans.

Any fiberglass work in a Z should be geared towards kick pods. I haven't been courageous enough to learn all about fiberglass resin, and quite frankly I admire those who do.

Last edited by drozzy; 10-24-2017 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 10-24-2017, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by drozzy View Post
I prefer the concealed approach myself, especially in this platform. Aiming (anything) is one of the biggest keys of the game in car audio, and more power to you if you can play around to find the setup that gives the most accurate front stage and sub cabin gain possible. I'm personally not happy with the front comps, Bose screwed it up for us - imaging crappy audio components is what they do, so anything more powerful than a 0.75" voice coil design overwhelms the occupants due to tweeter angling.

In terms of sub bass cabin gain and finding the exact res freq of a hatchback Z (windows closed obviously) using an RTA, it's doable but it's not an SPL friendly platform if you're looking to compete with walled off hatchback Civics and Golfs. Now for everyday -awesome- bass, I went forward-firing but the general guideline for coupes and hatches is rear-firing... strictly because of the initial sound wave bouncing up and away from rear-firing sub(s) towards the front, where your head (or an SQ/SPL mic) is located. My forward-firing 12" is a counter intuitive setup, would probably sound a bit sharper if it were rear-firing, but I never ever intended on having a grille over my IDMAX to shield it from a golf bag, groceries or whatever lies in that small hatch area. Get a G35 sedan and we have a whole different ball game for cabin gains with that idiotic ski trap - the Z is easier to make bass heavy than most sedans.

Any fiberglass work in a Z should be geared towards kick pods. I haven't been courageous enough to learn all about fiberglass resin, and quite frankly I admire those who do.

Totally agree! And unfortunately Bose is highly overrated in the home platform as well. Usually for the same money you can get a killer 2 channel set up with great soundstage, power and minimal distortion. (I'm a 2 channel purist with a home system worth more than my turbo ). But admittedly Bose is not targeting that type of crowd, its more for ambient/party type listening, no "imaging" per se. And for that they're decent. I never heard the original Nissan OEM Bose system, but I'm pretty sure for whatever the cost of that system was, you could do much better with the money.

I also agree with your writing on an accurate front stage, with the speakers right behind your head it makes the sound appear to come from behind, and that is not correct. We don't go to concerts and listen to music from behind. I always laugh when I get into someone's car and they have blaring 6x9s in the rear and it sounds like all the music is hitting the back of your head. Luckily the previous owner of my car installed a really decent head unit and just this weekend I spent the better part of 2 hours dialing it in, speaker to ear distances, low/hi pass filters, eq, listening position etc, all the extras is had, and now it sounds like the music is coming from the front and sounds nice and clean. I really like it now, and previously I was about to rip it out! It does have a rear firing subwoofer, and I think I got that dialed in now too. I like tight/clean filling bass.

If you can mess with fiberglass you can fabricate just about anything!
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