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Lessons Learned: Audio / Sound Deadening Install

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by Biscuits, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. Sep 30, 2018 at 12:42 AM
    #1
    Biscuits

    Biscuits [OP] Thorny Crown of Entropy

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    All,

    As we all know, preparation and knowledge are critical to success in any endeavor. TacomaWorld and it's membership has been indispensable to each one of us because the community shares their knowledge and experience to help others with the same questions or facing the same issues. To that end, my hope is that thread becomes a central repository of the lessons you learned from either doing your own installations, or installations others have done for you, in your pursuit of a better and more enjoyable audio and driving environment.

    Nothing is too basic obvious, dumb, or embarrassing. We all start from the same place, and we can and should always learn more and strive to be better. This is a learning environment, because regardless of whether the reader is grossly inexperienced (like me) or highly skilled with numerous installations under their belt, it is my firm belief that everyone will have the opportunity to learn something new, refine their technique, and become more confident with your help.

    So please, post your lessons learned:
    • Post the nuances you've discovered that made your installations easier or more efficient!
      • e.g. A particular tool to help properly install deadening material, good baffling material for door speakers, or how you would do something different.
    • Share critical information that took you hours of research and reading to discover but that shouldn't have!
      • e.g. How much speaker wire is in needed for single/access/double cab speaker installations, or what is the square footage of the doors and rear, top, and bottom panels for sound deadening purposes?
    • Review the mistakes you made so no one has to repeat them!
      • e.g. Disconnect the battery, used the wrong tool to remove an interior panel and broke it, or your ground was insufficient or the grounding location was inadequately prepared.
    I hope to read and learn from what you have to share!
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  2. Sep 30, 2018 at 1:44 AM
    #2
    Biscuits

    Biscuits [OP] Thorny Crown of Entropy

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    Like I said, my experience is very limited, so much of what I have to offer is more basic and preparatory. Nonetheless, I hope they help someone.

    • Pre-plan everything and take detailed notes in a notebook or spreadsheet. Make a list and get everything you need before you start your project, and have extra whenever possible. Two is one and one is none. Having extra allows for mistakes to be made without having to stop what you're doing. If the interior of your Tacoma has been removed and you don't have an alternate vehicle, going to your local car audio store to buy something is going to be a pain at best. If you don't use the extra equipment, you can return or sell it and recoup your costs.
    • While recommendations are always appreciated, do everything you can to listen to the speakers in a real world environment. For example, don't expect that awesome sub you've been eyeing at the display wall at Car Toys to sound the same in your truck as it does in the store. Listen to it in a similar if not same vehicle as your own. Take notes. Be honest with what your ears are telling you. If something sounds a little too sharp or muddled for you, it'll never change. Take notes.
    • ASK QUESTIONS. Ask your questions as many times as it takes for you to understand the answer and how it pertains to what you're attempting to accomplish. It is more than likely you who is going to be doing the labor, so you had better know what you're doing as much as possible. It's my impression that car audio is seen by many as daunting at best and black magic at worst. I make no bones about the fact that I'm still intimidated by my own audio project. The more I learn, the more notes taken, the more advice solicited and received, the more confident I become.
      • *Caveat: Not wanting to put too fine of a point on the issue... but car audio can be and is subjective as hell. If what you're asking is subjective, realize what you're going to get and be judicious with your judgement. Sales people are inherently going to steer you towards a product they have. It doesn't mean that they necessarily bad people "out to get you" or that they don't know what they're talking about, but sales people trying to make money just as much as you are with your own employment. So again, exercise your best judgement. A good source of information are installers and competitors who do their own work. Ask the friendly people on TacomaWorld. :)
    • Go through authorized dealers. Makes warranty claims much easier.
    • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Caveat emptor.
    • Don't be afraid to make mistakes, but double and triple check your work and the work done by others. Check connections and verify the wiring is correct before applying power to the system.
    • Related to the lesson learned above, take the necessary precautions to eliminate stored energy and live wires. This is electricity you're dealing with, and although it's "only" 12v, you can still be hurt and damage or destroy your equipment, vehicle, and plans without warning. Be safe instead of sorry.
    • LABEL EVERYTHING! Even making a little flag using a piece of tape and using a sharpie to label the wire is so incredibly helpful. Label your wires at some regular interval, like every 10 inches or every foot. Do whatever works for you, but when you have to remove an interior panel three years after you installed your audio system, those little labels are going to save you from wondering what the hell that wire is connected to and used for.
    • Disconnect negative terminal from the battery and use ziptie to fasten it away from anything metal. If you have a sleeve or something similar made out of non-conductive material, wrap the negative terminal for a precautionary measure. Or hell, just remove the damn battery. Either way, break and isolate the electrical source before tinkering with wiring.
    • Read the directions and understand them prior to installation. Saves time and headache.
     
    Ensemble88 and Shmellmopwho like this.
  3. Sep 30, 2018 at 9:28 AM
    #3
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    Here are some of mine I’ve learned as an installer, in no particular order.

    Use GOOD wire. 100% OFC (oxygen-free copper.) Do not use anything that does not specify it is 100% copper. CCA (copper-clad aluminum) has way more resistance than copper, therefore it does not have the current carrying capacity, and will heat up. Heat leads to melting rubber, and melting rubber leads to shorts.

    Use AFS fuses and not those awful glass tube AGU fuses. They come un-soldered inside the casing so they don’t look blown. And then they’re a bitch to change when they do blow.

    If you’re going to solder, make sure you practice before hand to be comfortable when the real work starts.

    If you’re using crimp caps or butt connectors, USE ACTUAL WIRE CRIMPERS. Do not try to crimp with pliers.

    Take your time. If a panel seems too hard to get loose, don’t keep prying. Go find a YouTube video and make sure there’s not another screw you’re missing and about to rip out.

    Never wrap wire bundles in electrical tape. It gets sticky and leaves residue everywhere that’s impossible to get rid of. It makes troubleshooting a pain. It doesn’t look good.
    Just get a bag of 6” skinny zip ties and be liberal with them. They’re cheap, easy to cut off, and hold well.

    Speaking of zip ties, cut them off with flush-cutters. Nothing worse than slicing your arm open on the stubble part of a cut-off zip tie.

    Leave some slack. Doesn’t have to be much, but figure out how much wire you need, and add another 10%. It’s easy to hide extra wire, but it’s really hard to make a wire longer.

    Will continue to post more as they come to me
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  4. Sep 30, 2018 at 9:58 AM
    #4
    rob feature

    rob feature Tacos!

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    Sound deadening sounds like a good place to start.

    There is enough information on this site to take you from the ground up to a pretty good understanding of what's going on.

    There are still holdouts who don't think it's worth the effort. And maybe it's not. Maybe the rattles and rings and resonances don't bother you but to deny it's a major difference is lying to yourself. As long as you follow a basic set of principles, and spend some time and money, you can turn most any vehicle interior - no matter how loud, into a luxury environment...at least in regards to extraneous noises and vibrations. It's absolutely worth it in our trucks & one of the first mods I'll do in my future vehicles. Since I spend hours every day in my truck, it's a no-brainer. The only downside is now I'm spoiled.

    Even if you aren't installing an audio system you can improve the factory system simply by sound deadening and maybe a few additional tricks while you're in there. 'Sealing' the door with a stiff damper can have dramatic effects on midbass production even in factory speakers. Deadening the doors alone will make the speakers sound better as resonances and rattles will be greatly reduced if not eliminated. And you won't need as much volume as you won't be overcoming as much road noise. That's to say that a full sound deadening treatment alone might suffice as a good alternative to a new stereo system as your factory stuff will seem louder. It's not working as hard, distortion is lower, fidelity is improved.

    There are also thermal benefits to full treatment. Your cabin will more easily maintain a desirable temperature, especially in more extreme environments. Your HVAC won't have to work as hard to keep you warm or cool and the cabin will maintain a more uniform temperature throughout.

    Anyone exploring the idea of a new audio system should go here first. Even if not looking for better sounds, it's easily worth the effort if you drive your truck much.
     
  5. Sep 30, 2018 at 1:30 PM
    #5
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    Adding more



    Use the right parts. If there is a bracket, use it. If there is a harness, use it. Don’t half-ass something or make do. Get the right items to make the install easy, clean, and professional.

    Test everything before putting it all back together. It really sucks to put your whole truck back together to find out something isn’t working. Then you have to tear it back apart to figure out why.
     
  6. Oct 1, 2018 at 4:28 AM
    #6
    Biscuits

    Biscuits [OP] Thorny Crown of Entropy

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    Great stuff! :thumbsup:
     
  7. Oct 1, 2018 at 5:44 AM
    #7
    CoastieRon

    CoastieRon Hammocking Fool

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    Too much.
    My biggest lesson learned is:

    Read Read Read!

    1. Know your goals: What am I trying to achieve? Am I looking for a time aligned front sound stage? Am I looking to just improve upon what I have?
    2. Know your knowledge-base: Going outside of what you know tends to get you into trouble.
    3. Take your time, do it right!
    4. Make it clean: Use the right tools and parts to make the job look like it was done by a pro, for a pro. I follow Car Audio Fabrication on YouTube, and have found the videos to be incredibly helpful.
    5. When setting the gains on the amp, unplug the speakers!
    6. The gain dials on an amp ARE NOT volume dials.
    7. A good portable oscilloscope is worth it's weight in gold, inexpensive, and will help you dial in your amp properly.

    I bought a wire terminal kit with crimping tool

    For shrink tubing, assorted sizing

    For shrink tubing shrinking

    For larger wire terminal ferrules

    For quick disconnects - tweeters

    For wiring

    Oscilloscope


    I learned a lot watching this guy's videos on YouTube:

    Car Audio Fabrication


    This time around I jumped right into the $250 band wagon and found myself underwhelmed by the sound. I ended up going way outside of the $250 to remedy that, buying the right stuff after the fact. The whole "buy once, cry once" applies here. While that whole set up is good for some, I think people should do more research first, before jumping right into it.

    There are tons of webforums out there on car audio, but I have found DIYMA to be one of the better ones out there for learning about car audio.
     
  8. Oct 1, 2018 at 5:55 AM
    #8
    CoastieRon

    CoastieRon Hammocking Fool

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  9. Jun 17, 2019 at 9:04 PM
    #9
    StayinStock

    StayinStock WHATEVER.

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    Thanks for this!
     
    Biscuits [OP] likes this.
  10. Jun 18, 2019 at 9:36 AM
    #10
    badhabit2break

    badhabit2break Well-Known Member

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    Carfab Kitchen....lol. he does great work and has taken my install game up a few notches.
     
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